This year, after we have all muddled through news headlines that change from minute to minute, crying out doom and gloom from start to finish, don't be surprised if you are emotionally drained and mentally spent. That's why at this holiday season I want to remind all of us that what is really important is not how many winning hits you had in Atlantic City, the interest rate you managed to get on your checking account or the refinance you survived, but rather, how is your health, how is your family and are you really happier today than you were a year ago?
As always, this year I held many client reviews and meetings with prospective clients who wanted to know our philosophy, economic outlook, fee structure and other technical concerns; questions rightfully asked of any professional about to be hired to be on one's team of advisors. Yet, what always surprises me is that at almost every meeting the actual numbers and performances were reviewed for about 5-10 minutes, followed by a discussion for an hour or more about the individual's life long aspirations, hopes and dreams.
I hope that as you review your 2011 you take time to summarize both the objective and subjective aspects of your life. Here is a quick list of things to do before the clock ticks midnight on December 31st.
•How much did you spend at each vendor where you shop?
•What were your household expenses for the year?
•Review your income from all sources.
•See how your cash flow compared to your fixed expenses.
•How did you do? Was it a positive or negative year end cash flow balance?
•Either way are there changes you can make to the bottom line that will reduce the stress of financing your lifestyle in the coming year?
•What did you do this past year for fun?
•What did you do this year to bring your family together?
•Was there a new hobby, habit or experience you had this year?
•How is your health?
•How are you family and friends feeling?
•How is the balance in your life between God, country, family, friends and work?
•What can you do to bring calmness into your life in the New Year?
You see, we all spend so much time worrying about the dollars and cents in our lives, when ultimately, it's the subjective - family, friends, health and spirituality - that makes our lives fulfilling.
I hope we all have a wonderful holiday season with our loved ones and may this New Year be better than the previous and not half as good as the one to follow.