The Fiscal Fitness Podcast Episode 74: New Year, New $$ Transcript

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Kelsa Dickey: Hello everyone. I am so excited to bring you this episode. It’s coach Kelsa and I am recording this five days before Christmas. So happy holidays everyone. I hope you’re feeling ready for the holidays. We actually are really going as lean as possible this year. So we didn’t put out nearly as many decorations as we normally do. Tried to go as simple as possible on the gifts that we buy. Carmen’s birthday is a week after Christmas and everybody was telling us how she would probably hate her birthday at that time of year and never not feel special and all that kind of stuff. So we decided when she was born, Mr. Fiscal Fitness and I that we would always have Christmas decorations down for her birthday so that she didn’t feel as if she was sharing her birthday with the holidays. And so you can imagine if you put out too many decorations and then you have to turn around and take them down really fast, it’s not exactly enjoyable.

So, we still put up a tree and we put the stockings out. But normally we decorate the staircase and really go elaborate on the fireplace mantle and that kind of thing and outside decorations. And we just went as simple as possible this year. I’m curious how you are handling the holiday. So this episode is actually going to be all about the new year. So new year, new money checklist and really helping you to lay a solid foundation for your money in the new year.

It’s really likely that you are planning to set some new year’s resolutions or at least some goals with your money. And believe it or not, that’s actually step three. So if you’re not careful, you can actually get ahead of yourself a little bit. And that’s what this episode is for is we really want to help you lay a really solid foundation so that you can make 2020, just the best year ever financially for you.

We actually have a couple of other episodes that are really good at this time of year. Episode 48 is all about choosing your word of the year, which is a theme or that main compass, like your North star idea for the year. And that’s episode 48. And then the second one is episode 49, which is the new year’s resolution super episode and it is actually our most downloaded episode. It’s Michael and I and we poke a little bit of fun at each other in that episode. Talk about some of the things we’ve done in the past goals that we’ve had and kind of poke fun at him for overdrafting his checking account before he met me. So take a listen to episode 48 and 49 as well. But this is an episode all about setting a really solid foundation.

I think the most important thing that you can do, even before you set goals is really gain focus on why you want to set goals. So why is it important to pursue financial growth or progress in the new year? Why is it important to you to work hard and stay focused on your finances? You don’t have to, you could just not budget. You could not pay attention. You could rack up a bunch of credit card debt, not put any money in savings. You could not care at all about your finances and yet you’re listening to this podcast because that’s not what you want to do. But why? Why are you not willing to settle for that? Why do you want to take your finances to a new level? Why do you want to save more money? Why do you want to get out of debt? Why is managing your money well important to you?

I think it’s really important to write that out because throughout the year, after you’ve set goals and you are trying to achieve them, but you’re faced with temptations and you’re surrounded by friends or family members or coworkers who aren’t as steadfast as you. It’s really important to know your why; know your driving force. So that’s the first thing that I want you to really ponder and journal out. What are you hoping to achieve? And I’m not referring to something very specific, like a very tangible goal. When I asked you that question at this step, I’m really just asking you like how do you want to end the year? Feeling what? Feeling proud, feeling confident, feeling clarity. What is it that you want to achieve in the next year? What is most important to you with your money?

Maybe it’s that you gain awareness. And so while hopefully that will lead to less debt, more savings, more control, all sorts of things, maybe really ultimately what you’re shooting for. And what’s most important is that you know where your money’s going. Okay? Maybe what’s most important to you is that you talk to your kids about money in the new year or you are a better communicator with your spouse. Then you guys work more hand in hand and together with your finances. So what is the thing that is most important to you? Push comes to shove. You can only choose one thing. What is that one thing? So that’s where I want you to start by really setting your intentions and firming up your why for pursuing financial growth and progress in the new year. That is the first step.

The next thing that I want you to do is reflect on your wins and losses for this past. So start with what did you do well this past year? What are you proud of? What is a change that you made and maybe you stuck to it or you stuck to it most of the time.

  • Did you eat out less and cook at home more?
  • Did you review a bunch of your subscriptions and dues expenses and cut out anything that you really weren’t using?
  • Did you simply become more intentional with what you spend money on?
  • Did you lose excuse me, use your credit card less or not at all in the past year.

So what is it that you did really well and try to reflect back on that? If you’re like me, I know one thing that I have to work really hard on is giving myself credit when credit is due. I usually accomplish something that I’m very quickly right on to the next goal or target. And I have to remind myself to stop for a moment, pause, give myself that Pat on the back and enjoy the accomplishment in the hard work that I’ve already created before moving on to the next thing. So I think that that’s really important.

Not only that, but it’s really important that you don’t lose sight of what you’re doing well. So one of the things that I want you to do is fix the things that maybe need fixed or improved on. But when you do that, don’t stop doing the things that you’re doing well. One of the things that I think that we do really well during a Eureka session with clients is we tell them not only, here are the red flags that we’re seeing are some of the things that we think could be causing you some stress or lack of control, lack of awareness.

And let’s work on changing those. But here’s the things you’re doing well. So whatever you do, don’t stop doing these things. If you read an article or you talk to a friend and they’re doing it a different way, these are the things that we’re seeing that are actually working really well for you. And so we want you to keep doing them despite what other advice you hear. So it’s important to know, here’s the things that, the habits that I have, the skills that I have with money that are working really well for me, and I don’t want to stop doing those. Okay? So ask yourself, reflect on your wins for the past year and after you’ve done that, ask yourself, what could you improve on in the new year? What could be tweaked? Maybe you’ve got some expenses going on your credit card that are recurring transactions and you haven’t looked at them in a little while.

Maybe you want to have a recurring meeting with your spouse to talk about money. Maybe you want to shop your insurance on your vehicles. Maybe you want to calculate your net worth, maybe you want to put just one more dollar towards your credit card balances, or one more dollar in savings. What is it that you could tweak or improve in the new year? And really try to be as specific as possible with that. Maybe you ate out too much, maybe you didn’t use your gym membership, but you continued to pay for it. Really try to think about all the things that you can tweak or improve in the new year. And then my next recommendation is to get those things on your calendar for when you’re going to address them. So don’t try and convince yourself that you’re going to tackle all of them all at one time.

So it can be really overwhelming. And what you do is you kind of set yourself up for failure. You just create a pass or fail scenario. Usually what we recommend is to get each of those items on your calendar as a reminder for the next six months and spread it out. That way you’re tackling one thing at a time and you’re, you’re keeping your momentum going throughout the year. So it’s much more sustainable. It’s long lasting, you’ll actually feel proud or longer. And you’ll get used to that feeling of pride with your money and I really want that to continue as long as possible. I want that to become your new norm.

So step one is to set your intentions and firm up your why. 

Step two is to reflect on your wins and losses for the past year. 

And then step three is to think about all the things that are coming up in the new year that are projects or special occasions that we need to get ahead of.

So I’ve got a list of these things. We’ve got a checklist that you guys can download, but I’m going to list off just a few of them.

So is this the year where there’s a unique family event such as a family reunion or a cruise or a big trip? Sometimes we’ll hear clients say, well my dad is turning 75 and for his 75th birthday we are all going on a cruise together or something like that. Is there a big family reunion? Is there a wedding or a baby shower or your son or daughter’s graduation and these are things maybe not necessarily a baby shower that you’re just attending. You’re just going to take a gift though that might be more normal. But this is like you’re planning, the baby shower, you’re hosting it or your hosting the graduation party. And that tends to be more of an anomaly.

It doesn’t happen every year and it tends to be a bit more expensive. So that’s really what we’re talking about with those unique family type events.

Is this the year that you will need to replace a car, possibly? Is this the year where there’s some home upgrade that’s required? So whether it’s like this is the year we need to buy a new mattress or our dining room table is definitely needing to be replaced or anything like that. Or this is we might want to get ready in case our washing machine goes out this year or our fridge is making funny noises or something like that. So, is there an appliance that’s bound to go out? And if it doesn’t, great, we’re excited about that. We kind of just got ourselves another year, but we want to be ready for it just in case as well.

Is this a milestone anniversary year for you? So if it’s your 25th wedding anniversary maybe there’s something a bit more grand that you’re looking to do.

So you really want to look ahead and while there’s a lot of small things that can happen and we do want to get control over those small things, the big things can really throw us for a loop. And so we want to try to get  intentional with all of the big occasions or big projects. So is there a home renovation? And again we’ve got a list of things that you guys can download. So we’ve got a checklist for you. If you want to go to

You can sign up and there’s a free download there to get this checklist. It’s lots of pages long. You’ve got an opportunity to work through all of these steps, journal out your answers, and then there’s the checklist for all the things that could be possibly popping up in the new year for you.

And then there are some funds that we recommend our clients set up and fund on a regular basis. So things like car maintenance, home maintenance, gifts, clothing, vet bills. These are all things that tend to happen for most people. It’s just a matter of when, not a matter of if. And so we have clients set up savings accounts for each one and fund them monthly. So it’s a really good time of year to just reevaluate those and ask yourselves, is what I’ve been putting aside good enough? Am I kind of putting it in and taking it right back out or is there too much in there?

Is this the year where maybe I might need a little bit more? So my car is a year older now, so maybe I need to start putting 20 bucks more aside. Maybe this is the year that your kid is starting a new sport or a new activity. And so a kid fund is also a really good account to have. So there’s these everyday funds that we really like people to be funding on a regular basis because when the expense pops up, you take it out of the savings account, you pay for it and it’s like it never even happened. And what you’re funding is the same amount every single month. So it really can help take out that roller coaster ride. And again, I’ve got a whole list on the checklist of different funds that you might want to set up. So if you’re not setting it up, that’s okay.

Just start small. Try to think of all the accounts that you are, the expenses and categories you have of things that don’t happen every year or every month. But when they happen, they tend to happen big. And how can you minimize that roller coaster ride?

So the goal is not that you eliminate the roller coaster ride entirely. I’m not sure if that’s realistic, but if you can minimize the rollercoaster ride. So when a $700 car repair happens, maybe you have 600 in your car repair fund. So it wasn’t perfect. But in that month you had to come up with $100, which is a lot easier to come up with then $700 all in one month. Because if that car repair happens in the same month, that soccer registration lands and your other kids birthday party and a vet expense, it can feel like a really expensive month. And these savings accounts can help you to feel as if you’re still in control and you are at least ready for most of it. Okay.

So step three is to think about the funds that you need going into the new year, the projects, the occasions, the everyday funds, and ask yourself, how can you get more prepared for them? Be more proactive and less reactionary going into the new year. Okay.

Step four, we’ve got a checklist of things that really should be happening throughout the year, maybe one time. And it’s a matter of getting these on your calendar, saying when you’re going to complete them. So it’s our year end checklist. And the first thing is updating your net worth and setting a new net worth goal. The second one is calculating your savings rate and then setting a new savings rate goal for the new year. Reviewing your insurance policies and coverages and getting a new quote.

Reviewing your credit reports from which is the free website where you can download your credit report once a year. So we highly recommend our clients do that every single year. 

Organize any files and receipts to consolidate the prior year and create new files for this coming year. If you, especially if you’re a business owner, that’s important. But even if you’re not a business owner, chances are you’re going to the time of year where you’re going to start getting tax documents in the mail. So 1099, your mortgage interest statement, things from your investment portfolio, that kind of stuff. And you really want to have a place to put everything. So your W2 is a great example. So creating your file folder for that, getting everything nice and organized. And again, that’s just like, you don’t have to do it today when you’re listening to this podcast, but when are you going to do it and get it on your calendar?

So pick a Saturday or Sunday maybe and carve out some time to get that task done. That way it’s planned for it and you’re going to, you’re going to tackle it.

Another thing on the list is to choose your word or intention for the year. And again, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about when I say that you’re going to want to take a listen to episode 48 because that explains the purpose of that extend out your budget for the coming year. So that is something that I love to do with clients. This, this whole checklist actually I love to do because I feel like we just lay this really great foundation going to the new year, this whole game plan of what month are we going to tackle certain things? So we go into the new year just knowing it’s going to be a successful year financially.

We’re not going to wing it. The year’s not going to go by and we’re going to be like, “Oh, I didn’t get anything done that I wanted to get done.” It’s all planned for it. I just love that feeling. Clients feel really good going into the year knowing that they’re ready for it. So we extend out their budget.

We also will set goals and milestones. So we choose the word of the year and then we set very specific goals and we actually break those down by quarter typically and have quarter milestones. So we know, well, here’s the goal for the entire year and here’s where I should be at: the 90 day mark, the end of the second quarter, end of the third quarter. So, if you’re on pace or if you’re ahead of schedule, which is awesome, that’s always the goal, right? That’s always feels remarkable. Or if we need to take it up a notch kind of thing.

There’s two last things that I think are really important for to do each year. And the first one is to reevaluate your values and verify that your spending is truly honoring what you care about. So asking yourself, what do I care about in this life? And if I were a hundred years old and I’m looking back on my life, what is it that I want to say I spent my time, my money, and my energy on, am I doing that today? Am I really putting my money behind what I think is most important? And if not, let’s start moving toward that direction. Not that we necessarily have to just rip off that bandaid really quickly and change everything tomorrow. But let’s start making some small incremental changes to move you toward spending in a really value based way.

And then the last one is setting or reviewing your financial principles and updating those or strengthen strengthening them as needed. So all of our clients have financial principles, which are your convictions around money. So it’s the things that you’re like, “I will always manage my money a certain way. I will always care about certain things. I will believe that this is my money philosophy,” and it’s really important that once we get good with our money that we sort of draw the line in the sand and we say, no matter what, here’s how I’m always going to do this. 

No matter who I talk to, no matter what temptations arise, these are my guiding principles with money. And once a year we review those for accuracy. But we also maybe need to strengthen them. So some of my clients have the goal of I won’t invest less than 10% of my income each year and maybe in the past year they got a raise or they cut some spending and so they were actually able to take it to 12%. well the idea is you never want to go backwards with your principles.

You always want to strengthen them and be doing better with your money. So the idea is that that client might say, well, I’m doing 12% my principal says 10% but I really never want to drop below 12% now that I’m doing that. So we actually will strengthen their principal that would going forward when they start to make even more money, they continue to strengthen their philosophy with money. Okay. So reviewing your financial principles, really asking yourself, what do I want to stand for financially is such a powerful question to ask yourself.

The other thing that we use financial principles for sort of as a side note, is whenever our client is trying to, trying to make a big decision and they will ask me, “well what should I do?” And I’ll say, have you looked at your financial principles first? If they haven’t, then that’s okay.

Always where we go first. Because oftentimes our principles will guide us in our decision making. And how did I say I was going to make these types of choices? How did I say I wanted to be intentional with my money. What did I say was important to me? So even though now I’m now, being tempted and there’s a lot of feelings and emotions around this decision when I was saying and logical and rational and wasn’t faced with a decision, this is what I said I was going to do. And so let me read that to myself. Okay. So that was step four, the annual checklist. And like I said, those are all the things that we do each year.

Step five might sound unrelated, but we’ve, I feel that it is very, very connected to money and that is being intentional with your health and wellbeing. There is no doubt in my mind that not feeling good about yourself, not feeling good in general not being happy, not loving life can really affect your finances more than almost anything. And so we like to talk with our clients about what ways do they want to invest in their health and wellbeing in the new year. And when we say invest, it’s not always about money, even though sometimes it is. It’s sometimes more about what kind of habits do you want to put in place? What sort of energy shifts do you want to make and how do you want to be spending your time? Do you want to be getting up and going for a jog in the morning? Do you want to watch less TV on Sundays? Do you want to eat organic fruits and vegetables instead of non-organic and stuff like that.

And do you want to quit smoking? I mean, there’s so many different things that this can relate to and clients tend to have an idea too. This is one of those things where it’s usually a nagging thought in the back of their mind and setting the intention is everything. And sometimes it does affect your money and we need to know that. So maybe they want to hire a personal trainer or they would love to join a CrossFit gym or something like that. And they’ve been telling themselves they can’t afford it. Well, feeling bad about yourselves and spending money to feel better is definitely not something that you can afford. So we really like to talk about that and set an intention and see, how can we make this happen? How can we make health and wellbeing a priority?

Because everything else, it’s amazing to me how much health and money are connected. And I know Jill did an episode about this recently. They’re so connected. And as soon as you start to get control of your money, it’s really normal that you’ll start to get control of your health if you feel like that’s not yet in control and vice versa. So if you start to lose weight or eat healthy or be more active, it’s usually right after that or shortly, sometime later that you’re going to start to actually want to get control of your money as well. So they’re very much connected.

Another question that we like to ask with health and wellbeing intentions and this step five is what boundaries will you set around personal and family time? Again, sometimes just being pressured by others and how we spend our time and our money and our energy can affect our finances more than anything.

So we feel pressured or we feel badly if we say no and we like to have a conversation around what boundaries need to be set and how can we support you in setting those. And how does this affect your money? And just seeing how it’s all connected as essentially what this question is about. Because we can’t just talk about money. If we don’t want to talk about the things that you’re doing, the decisions you’re making that then affect your money. Right? So this is definitely where that area comes in.

So step five, health and wellbeing intentions. What ways will you invest in your health and wellbeing in the new year and what boundaries may you need to set around your personal and family time and money?

Step six is getting clear on what types of things you might want to talk with your kids about financially. Going into the new year. I love talking with our clients and really just getting them super intentional on talking with their kids about money. I know this topic can be so overwhelming. I understand. It’s like, well I know my five-year-old doesn’t need to know about compound interest, but what does my five-year-old need to know about?

So we always end the year by looking ahead and saying, my kids are going to be this old. And you always have to say, well they’re this old but maybe one of them is a mature six year old and the other ones may be an immature, everybody’s sort of ages a little differently. So we have this conversation around their and really get clear on what types of skills do we want to try and teach them in the coming year with money.

And is this the year where we begin an allowance? Is this a year where we’re going to need to buy a car for the 16 year old? Is this a year where your 13 year old daughter’s going to start babysitting or I mean there’s so many things. Do we want to buy a purse for the daughter or a wallet for the son? Do we want to open a checking account or a savings account this year? There are so many different things that we want to try and get clear on. That way all of a sudden this is one of those areas where the year goes by, it’s a year later, they’re now a year older and it’s like, Oh God, I just, I don’t know. I didn’t really do anything intentional with them. I didn’t have any good conversations about money. So we get really clear on that. And then what goals do you have for your kids going into the new year?

Like I said, would you like to talk with your kids about saving half of the gift money that they receive for their birthday and Christmas from family members and things like that. Do you want to set something up where they get it money for certain grades. Every person is very different on how they treat allowances. So we really like to strategize and problem solve around that. So I’m going to recommend you ask yourself that. What lessons do you want to teach your kids in the new year? I think that that’s really important.

Last but not least, step seven. How can you adopt a growth mindset going into the new year? So what topics do you want to learn more about in the new year? So is there something that you’ve kind of heard people talk about or you’ve heard a term you’ve maybe heard some coworkers saying something and you’re like, “I wish I knew more about that or I wish I understood that a bit better.”

And maybe you feel as if you’re just faking it a little better. Like, Oh yeah, I totally get what you mean, but really you don’t, right. What are those topics and writing them out because if you’re, once you get the list, then it’s easier to ask yourself what resources are available on those topics.

So maybe you want to learn a bit more about investments or college planning or scholarships and applying for scholarships, which we’ve got a great episode on the podcast about that as well. Is this the year where you want to learn more about your 401k at work or your benefits at work and whether you’re making the most of them? That’s definitely one of those areas where we see people just kind of choosing whatever and they don’t really know what some of the words mean. And so is this the year where you want to really try to understand your workplace benefits?

Is this the year where you want to know, are you taking advantage of all the resources that are out there for small business owners or that kind of thing. So really getting clear on what topics would I love to learn more about in the new year. And then following that with what resources are available on the topics that you listed. And this is where I hope you will reach out to us. We’ve got so many resources. We’ve got recommended reading lists and we’ve got our favorite podcasts and books and experts that we think are just really amazing at the value that they offer on various topics. And so we can certainly point you in the right direction.

So I’m going to recap really quickly.

Step one is setting your intention. So firming up your wife for pursuing financial growth and progress in the new year.

Step two is reflecting on your wins and losses in the past year.

Step three, reviewing sinking funds and savings accounts. In other words, for any projects or special occasions and just everyday type expenses that might be happening in the new year.

Step four is the year end checklist, getting organized and completing the annual tasks or at least getting them on your calendar of when you’re going to complete them.

Step five is your health and wellbeing intentions.

Step six, lessons for the kids. 

And step seven is adopting a growth mindset around money.

And again, you guys can download this checklist by going to

I’ll say that one more time. I’ll spell it out. I know sometimes it’s a tongue twister, And we would love to hear from you, please share your thoughts and we hope that 2020 is the best year ever for you. Financially.

We we know we’ve got some exciting goals for ourselves this year and that we are completing our new year new money checklist, just like we’re hoping you will. So. All right, everybody, I look forward to talking with you guys again soon. Thanks for tuning into the Fiscal Fitness Podcast. Bye everybody.


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