Setting Financial Goals (or Resolutions)

Confession: I have a borderline obsession with goals.  I’m not sure why (although my wife has introduced me to the Enneagram, from which I learned I’m a type 3, and might explain some things), but sometime during college I started writing out my goals, and haven’t stopped since.  

That said, I have evolved, a bit, in focusing less on outcomes I can’t always control and more on actions I can control.  Outcomes are still important, but sometimes they’re beyond our control.  Actions, on the other hand, are fully within our control, and probably deserve more of our focus.  

As an example, for Fident in 2018, I have 5 Action/Activity goals - things fully within my control such as marketing and operations  - and 3 Results/Outcome goals - things somewhat beyond my control, but hopefully the measurable results of my actions, such as new clients, client satisfaction, revenue, and profits.  (Fident is a convenient sixth F I use personally to blend with Men of Iron’s other Five F’s of Faith, Family, Fitness, Friends, and Finance).  

I have found that the beginning of December is a good time to start thinking about what you want to accomplish in the following year.  Brainstorm a list of goals - actions or outcomes - and write them down.  Revisit it in a few days.  Revise it.  Scratch them out.  Start over again.  Pray over them.  

Take the month to really let them simmer and see what excites you most.  Best yet - find a half day or full day of solitude to really spend some time in silence with them in front of you.  Then, come January, you’re usually geared up and ready to roll with any new goals you are going to tackle.  
Interesting Resources 

1. Richard Rohr - The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (book)
As mentioned above, my wife introduced me to the Enneagram after talking with some of her friends about it.  A very high percentage of my downtime the past few weeks has been devoted to devouring this book.  Personality systems have always intrigued me, but there’s something about the Enneagram that seems fresh (although it is possibly thousands of years old).  I’ve never been a believer of putting people, myself included, into a box that doesn’t fit - and the Enneagram somehow remains descriptive yet at the same time fluid.  A Type 3, for example, might act like a Type 9 when under stress and a Type 6 when feeling secure.  I’m so fascinated with this that I’ve begun seeing (and understanding) clients in their various Types, and have started taking notes in the margins about how I think different Types relate to and act towards finances.  

2. Ben Carlson - Market Perspective (Twitter)
It seems silly to describe a single tweet limited to 280 characters, so here’s the image below.  Great perspective and reminder comparing the markets in 2018 vs 2017.
3. Morgan Housel - Smart-Sounding Reasons to Sell Stocks During a Period the Market Went up 100x After Inflation (Twitter)
Sorry - another tweet.  I had a few clients email me and ask for my opinion on some doomsday articles they’ve read recently (or what I like to call the apocalypse du jour).  The chart below shows how many of these serious events happened since 1950 (and they were definitely serious) and how the market sometimes reacted poorly, sometimes didn’t react at all, but continued the movement upward.  
Full disclosure on my goals: I’m not perfect with setting them, and certainly not in accomplishing all of them.  In fact, a year in which I hit 75% of my initial goals is a success in my eyes.  Sometimes I find they’re just not that important, and strike them out.  Or they were overly optimistic.  That’s fine.  We should give ourselves grace - and realize that goals are sometimes just more of a guess.  However - they do give us direction, motivation, and clarity in life and are well worth setting.

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