As 2012 ends, consider your financial goals

Merry Christmas Eve! Tomorrow, we’ll see the wishes of our children, family, and friends fulfilled as gifts are opened on Christmas Day. In the next few weeks, you can start thinking of your own wish list for the upcoming year, as well as for your long-term future.

We’re nearing the end of this series of tips for your annual financial review, and now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and use it to create goals for the future.

Tools for Creating Goals

Throughout your financial review, you’ve had the opportunity to set upcoming goals related to debt and retirement, which you can now include on a list of your overall financial goals for 2013.

You also have some tools to guide you in creating your 2013 goals. In last week’s column, we discussed reviewing last year’s savings goals. You considered the strategies that worked and the goals you did and did not meet, and you can use this as a leaping off point for a new set of 2013 goals.

Last week included a review of your net worth, which you can now use to create or change short-term and long-term goals. How do you want the figures for your assets and liabilities to change within the next year, and the next twenty years? What can you see for yourself and your family?

Take notes on the ideas you have from reviewing these lists, and if you share finances with a spouse or a partner, take the time to discuss each goal. As you make each goal more specific, you’ll also begin thinking about how to manage and reach goals with your current and future resources. Your discussions and notes will also help you prioritize goals for 2013 and the years ahead.

New Goals and Ideas

A year is a long period of time, and the new experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve met in 2012 can influence your thinking about new goals, or even change your financial direction. You may also have experienced changes in your family or circumstances that result in new goals for you.

The end of the year is a good time to think back on those experiences and changes, and to write down new goals or ideas that you have been considering. You can discuss these ideas with your family and friends, so that you have multiple perspectives available to you.

Revise or Draft a New Timeline

In previous columns, we’ve talked about create a timeline that helps you map out your specific financial goals, which are marked at specific dates of completion. This can help you decide whether or not your goals are realistic, given the time and the resources you have to complete them. A realistic view will give you more motivation to prioritize, and focus on the goals you truly need and want to meet.

This timeline, or multiple timelines, should be a part of your annual financial review. You can choose any span of time that is helpful to you, from a short-term timeline of five years to a 30- or 40-year timeline.

Choose Goals for 2013

Now that you have a complete list of goals and a timeline to help you prioritize, mark out the goals that you intend to pursue in the upcoming year.

We’ll use this goal list next week, in revising your monthly budget for 2013.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years experience in retail banking and with financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at


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