How to Do an Annual Finance Review (And What Money Girl Learned From Hers)

Money Girl explains why you should do an annual personal finance review, reveals 5 important money lessons she learned in 2014, and recommends some great books for personal and financial growth.

Laura Adams, MBA
7-minute read
Episode #383

Annual Review Personal Finance Lessons Money Girl Learned in 2014For me, and most people I know, each year seems to fly by quicker than the last. It seems like I say, “I can’t believe it’s December 1st already!,” sooner every time.

That’s why it’s so important to hit the pause button on our hectic lives and take some time to reflect. If we want to improve in areas such as finances, health, or productivity, it’s critical to evaluate what went right and wrong in the previous year. and to make adjustments going forward.

In this episode, I’ll share insights into kicking off an annual personal finance review, including some important money lessons that I learned in 2014—plus reveal an awesome book recommendation to help you dive deeper into each topic.


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Why Do an Annual Personal Finance Review?

If you don’t give yourself an annual personal finance review, no one else will. Neglecting to take stock of your performance could result in years, or even decades, that blend together with no significant progress toward reaching your goals. Sounds terrible, right?

It’s good to step back and examine your failures and frustrations. I enjoy the review process because you can’t change what you don’t discuss or measure.

Here are 5 lessons I learned in 2014 that will help me set goals and decide how to work next year:

Lesson #1: Decide What’s Important

The concept of focusing on one thing is pretty simple, but it became crystal clear to me after reading The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. If you struggle at all with productivity or knowing the right way to spend your time, don’t miss this book!

The One Thing really shaped my thinking about what’s keeping me from my most important work, and how to achieve more with less stress. It’s a skill that everyone should master, no matter if you’re trying to improve your finances, health, or relationships.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks that our careers and families demand and lose sight of the big picture - it's definitely an ongoing struggle for me. I want to challenge you to decide what’s really important in your life, and narrow the list down to just one thing.

For many, having financial security for retirement is the one big thing. In other words, having enough money to allow you the option to quit working and kick back by a certain age or date. If you’re not working toward that financial goal right now, I encourage you to get started.

Once you’re clear about achieving that one big thing, work backward to chunk it down into smaller goals; these will become your more immediate "one things," which can then be broken down into individual tasks that will become your "one thing" for each day.

See also: How to Improve Your Finances With a Personal Money Day Checklist


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a trusted and frequent source for the national media. Her book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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