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DM 80 - Money Check - Easy Steps to Assess Your Finances from Last Year

What's the best way to do a personal financial review of last year? Hey, it's Jon from Financial MD, welcome to today's Didactic Minute.


Now the best way to look back on last year, number one, is to be honest with yourself, and by doing that, you've got to be as accurate as possible and you've got to be able to see any kind of spending that you did, any kind of savings, any kind of balances, to be able to look back and ideally keep it all in one place. So, being accurate, being honest, and not just giving ballpark estimates is going to be the best way to see how you did last year.


Number two, having a way to actually track it and keep it all in one place. So we've talked about Mint in the past. Mint is actually being shut down, so to speak; I'm not sure why. It's owned by Intuit who runs QuickBooks and Quicken and all that stuff. So, we've come up with a couple of other options. So there's Rocket Money which is one, and we'll put these links in the description, and Monarch Money, which is another one that does aggregate all your stuff, and it will show you your spending. It'll help you categorize it. You'll have to do some work, but it works best if you can do it ongoing. So, nothing we can do now looking back at 2023, and we'll talk about this in a video coming up pretty soon about how to best get organized for this year so that when you're looking back, it's a lot more productive and actually effective. So you're going to have to put some work in to really see 2023 and how well you did and what you actually did and what you didn't do -- so that's the question. So, nothing we can do now except spend some more time, do some heavy lifting, really dig into your checking accounts and credit cards and see how you did on spending and savings, and check your investment account balances and any of those things, and your loan balances. So you got to be able to see all these numbers. They have to be accurate. They have to be up to date, and it's best for you if you can take the time now to get organized. So clean up 2023s; get yourself organized so when you do 2024s -- 12 months from now -- it's going to be a lot less time and a lot easier. I suggest every Monday morning, Sunday night, you get into your app whether it's Monarch or Rocket and you track stuff, categorize it, make sure it looks good -- boom! It takes 5 minutes. And then you do that every week, every week, every week, and you're ready at the end of this year to look back -- boom! You know what you spent every category, you know what you saved, you know what your balances are -- all that.


Number three, this is the biggest one. There's no way to tell how you're doing if you don't actually have goals. Now we talked about S.M.A.R.T. goals in the previous one. It doesn't matter what goals you have -- just know what you want, make sure it's clear, okay? Make sure it's achievable, make sure it's relevant, make sure it's measurable, okay? Make sure it's time-sensitive. And then the S -- well, you'll have to go back to our last video and see what that S actually was.


So, do take the time. It might take you half a day to really look back -- maybe a whole Saturday -- but it's worth it. Okay, you're not going to able to look back and say, "I wish I didn't do that." You're going to find out some stuff. It may suck. It may hurt a little bit. But it's going to be better in the long run.


If you've got questions, put them in the comments below. You know how to reach us and we've got some great podcast episodes coming about this. So check out the Financial MD Show. And one more sneak peek: we are currently working on our online course for residents -- the Financial MD Residency. So, shoot a message in the comments if you want to get on the early list to take this online course.


It's Jon from Financial MD, we'll see you next time.


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