Year End Money Moves to Make

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If Money Were Easy

Hosted by Mary Beth Storjohann and Neela Hummel

Year End Money Moves to Make

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If Money Were Easy
Year End Money Moves to Make

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Episode Summary

Welcome back to another episode of the If Money Were Easy podcast. Today, Mary Beth and Neela dive into some financial items to check in on before the end of the year. They explore what to focus on when creating a 2024 budget and what to account for when eyeing future spending. They also discuss how to approach your charitable giving, understanding your “why”, and help define which causes are truly meaningful to you. As the year end approaches, be sure to listen to this episode and help keep your finances moving in the right direction!

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Reasons you should evaluate your financial situation before the year ends
  • Items you should focus on with your finances
  • Things to consider for your 2024 budget
  • How to approach next year’s budget and tools for tracking spending
  • Something specific to think about when deciding which charities to give to
  • Ways to prioritize and plan for future spending goals
  • The importance of understanding “why” you contribute to retirement planning accounts or 529 plans, and what those numbers mean
  • A summary of topics to touch on as the year wraps up

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

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Transcript of the Episode

Neela [00:00:14]:

Hey there. Welcome to the If Money Were Easy podcast, the show where we teach you how to expand what’s possible with your money. We’re your hosts, Neela Hummel – 

Mary Beth [00:00:23]:

And Mary Beth Storjohann – 

Neela [00:00:25]:

Certified Financial Planners and Co-CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show, we’re going to talk about year-end money moves to make. 

Mary Beth [00:00:35]:

This is a very exciting time, mostly because it’s almost holiday season and I love holiday season.

Neela [00:00:40]:

It’s basically what do you do in addition to buying every pumpkin spice latte and loaf cake you can find? 

Mary Beth [00:00:46]:

Loaf cake. Thank you. 

Neela [00:00:46]:

What else should you do? 

Mary Beth [00:00:48]:

Yes, exactly. In addition to buying all of the decorations and decorating my house before Christmas, I’m totally decorating my house before Christmas, and I am not sorry about it that I’m one of those people. It’s a fact for you all, it’s happening like the week after Halloween. Not the tree, though, okay? Not the tree. 

Neela [00:01:06]:

Not the tree. It’ll be a fire hazard by Christmas if you do it. 

Mary Beth [00:01:07]:

The tree is coming after. So now that we’ve gotten through that, now we’re going to talk about your money and what you should do with it before the end of the year. So Nee, kicking it off. What are the first things that you’re doing for your finances that you think clients should do if they’re coming up to the end of 2023? What are you looking at?

Neela [00:01:24]:

Yeah, I love that we talk about this, and I feel like it gets a lot more playtime of things you should do before the end of the year because we’re all like, “Oh, have I been doing the things all along the year that I should have been doing?” And so I think the first thing you want to do is take stock where you are, particularly when it comes to things like retirement savings. Have you put as much as you can put in? Are you looking at if you have a health savings account, is there money going into there? Where are you from a tax standpoint? Have you put taxes aside and are ready to make those payments and just assess where you are in terms of where you started the year, where you want to end the year and is there any shortfall to make?

Mary Beth [00:02:02]:

Yeah, I completely agree. So basically doing like an annual financial check in. So if you haven’t done one already, now is the time to take a look. So you’re going to look at your net worth statement. So ideally, you’re tracking your net worth somewhere, whether it’s on a spreadsheet with your financial advisor, et cetera. So looking at your net worth. Sorry about the markets this year. You all just stay with it. 

Neela [00:02:22]:

Don’t you love roller coasters? Aren’t they so much fun? 

Mary Beth [00:02:24]:

So fun. So fun. So there’s a number for the net worth, but also, again, the contribution limits. If you had planned to max out your retirement accounts, have you done that? Are you on track? Do you need to load up to make sure it’s happening before the end of the year? Same thing with the flexible spending accounts, dependent care, all of that money. If you have room to continue to max out and there’s room in your cash flow, you want to level up to make sure you’re getting all of the funds in there. You also get the tax benefits from doing that as well. So I just like to check in there on what it’s looked like. The other thing that I like to look at in the financial review is what has happened, like what life transitions have happened this year and are any coming up in the next twelve months? So you’re looking back, “Okay, what have we gone through? What pivots have we had to make? Do we have any more anticipated ones coming up in the new year? How have we adjusted and what adjustments need to come down the pipeline?” You’re going to start to think about that now as well.

Neela [00:03:16]:

Right, so like, what were your intentions at the beginning of the year and now knowing that the year is getting close to the end and you’ve got a new year on the horizon, are there going to be different changes? And do those require different savings goals? For example? Are there different strategies, et cetera? 

Mary Beth [00:03:32]:

Yeah, I think the other thing is if you had a compensation adjustment this year. Like what does your compensation look like? And when the compensation adjustment came through, where do those funds flow through to? Do they flow through to just discretionary spending? Are you saving it? So if you haven’t made those adjustments thinking through, okay, well, the compensation adjustment, is that in line with your career goals? And then also what should you be doing with that surplus? And are you making sure that you’re not just doing lifestyle creep, that you’re able to put some of that away for your future self? 

Neela [00:03:58]:

Yeah. And you mentioned sorry for the markets this year. As you’re looking at both your net worth statement and you’re also looking at retirement limits and contributions, the best advice I think we could say is focus on the things that you can control. Because when markets are super volatile and when they’re going down, it can sometimes feel like you’re treading water or even losing money, even as you’re putting money away. And so focus on the things that are in your control. You can control how much you’re putting aside on a monthly basis. You can’t control what the value of that account ends up being, but focusing on the things that are actually in your ability to move the needle. And so what is the progress that you have made towards that goal, even if the markets don’t want to cooperate with the growth goals that you have in the short term. 

Mary Beth [00:04:40]:

So I have a question, kind of pivoting, since we’re talking about markets and putting away money on a monthly basis. How do you feel about lump sum contributions versus dollar cost averaging? What are your thoughts on that? And dollar cost averaging means you’re putting money in a fixed amount of money in each month or week, whatever that time period is. 

Neela [00:04:58]:

Yeah. The general thing that you want to remember with investing is the best time to invest is yesterday. The second best time is today. And so I often think about you want to get the money in as soon as you have the money to go in. You want to be careful, I think, of trying to time the market. Now, if you end up getting an end of year bonus or your cash flow has shifted and you have more money available towards the end of the year and you can only do lump sums, great. But in general, I want to get the money invested as soon as we can. And you just make it automatic so that you’re not looking at the markets, you’re not trying to time it on a particular day. You’re just knowing that you’re putting it in whenever you can, and you’re going to buy the market at whatever the price it’s at. And so just take the emotion out of it and contribute when you can. 

Mary Beth [00:05:44]:

Yeah. So we’re not trying to save up your $1,500 a month into your own savings account and then put it all in once you have $15,000. We want it to go in over time. 

Neela [00:05:54]:

Right. And we joke a lot about artificial scarcity. And we’re like, “Get the money in it and then get it out, give it the job, and send it to its job as fast as possible.” 

Mary Beth [00:05:59]:

So many auto transfers from our account, so many. In timing the market, the comfort is you’re buying things on sale, and then you’re buying things even further on sale, and then they’re even further on sale. So from the emotional standpoint, if you’re looking at something and you’re like – if you are dollar cost averaging over time, knowing that you’re buying on sale is kind of comforting. At least for myself anyways, that could just be me. 

Neela [00:06:28]:


Mary Beth [00:06:30]:

I get excited, market goes down, and I’m like, “Do I have any change in the couch that I could throw into the market? Is there anything?” 

Neela [00:06:36]:

I’m just going to say you’re in the right career. I’m just going to go on record and say that. 

Mary Beth [00:06:37]:

This is a great buying opportunity. 

Neela [00:06:42]:

Okay, so we’ve talked about savings and trying to automate it as much as we can, try and maximize it for the year. What is your approach to your budget as you come towards the end of the year and you’re looking back on what’s happened? How do you and Brian approach it? How do you recommend clients look at reconciling their budget for the year?

Mary Beth [00:07:01]:

I completely ignore it. It’s like denial. 

Neela [00:07:07]:

I hide under my desk. Next question. 

Mary Beth [00:07:11]:

So because of the artificial scarcity that we’ve talked about previously on this podcast that I live that kind of tightrope walk, but what we do, we do have a window of spending that we have. And so we have a – surprise, surprise – we have a budget and a spreadsheet that I reset every year. We actually just transferred from, like, we went from Excel to Google Sheets. So trendy. I know. And so, Brian’s, like, “Maybe we can edit over each other now.” So we have the Google Sheet now. So we have like, our 2022 budgets in there. 2023. I’ll create a tab for 2024. And so we break it out by pay period. So what we’re going to look at, we’re going to basically at this point in time, we’ll set our budget for 2024. And so factoring in what are the big changes, big expenses we think might come up? We might get a new car in the future. How’s that going to factor in? So we basically redraft the budget, copy and paste, and then make some adjustments for 2024 for any upcoming changes that we have, any savings we want to put aside for travel. And then as far as looking back, we also take the opportunity to look at things like, oh, what did we look at? Our credit card statements for the summary. We look at those. We’ve also gone through and figured out things, I think I said in the past, like Amazon spending. We double check what we’re spending on gas. California gas is, like, crazy. And so what does that look like? Are our numbers still correct for what we’re estimating in the budget? We’ll cross check those as well to make sure that our estimates are on track. So it’s the setting for the new year. And then there’s just kind of a double check of what we’ve done this year. And sometimes it’s a gut check. We’re like, “Oh, yeah, we spent way more in this area than we thought we did.” And we have a certain budget for kids activities, which my kids right now have the extracurricular activities of a teenager. So those are being blown out of the water, I think, this year. And so readjusting for the new year. 

Neela [00:08:48]:

So how do you approach that? Because I think one of the biggest pushbacks I feel like I hear from people on budgets is that they’re too rigid. And I have yet to see a budget where everybody hit it exactly right. And when you look at your categories, there are things that you’re over on, things that you’re under on. How do you approach it, and really from an emotional level and treating yourself with kindness, the fact that it’s not perfect. 

Mary Beth [00:09:14]:

Kindness. I have a cushion. We have a surplus cushion. So even with the budget, I also have X amount of just whatever is going to happen in the month. And so there’s a dollar amount in there. Actually, every two weeks we have it in there basically because I’m going to go over in certain categories. And so knowing that we are kind in that way. And we have had times throughout the years where we had to pull from our savings account because somebody, typically me, has overspent in something, right? Like my own glass case. It’s like literally my own maze that I’ve built here for myself. Obstacle course, probably more like it, take the money out and pay it back. So for the budget, I have a certain amount that I like to keep in our savings to know either we’re building the savings for a surplus or like bare minimum, this is it. And so I’ll throw some extra money into the savings, knowing darn well I’ll probably pull it out like two months later to cover an expense, a surprise expense that comes up. So that’s how I give myself the buffers. There’s some built into the cash flow and there’s some where I’m like, “Our geriatric dogs need to go to the vet yet again, right?” And so that’s coming out of the savings, the extra surplus savings cushion. So restriction with pots of surplus stashed in different areas, like virtually mattresses basically that I can find it from. So that’s my own “Do as I say, not as I do.” Maybe that’s how I deal with it.

Neela [00:10:28]:

But you enjoy it. 

Mary Beth [00:10:30]:

What kind of non obstacle-y way do you do? What do you do? 

Neela [00:10:34]:

Well, you and I’s idea of relaxing is like a Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee and like a Google spreadsheet. 

Mary Beth [00:10:40]:

It’s so true. Every Saturday, that’s probably every Saturday. 

Neela [00:10:43]:

Like, “Oh, I’m really reconciling things.” 

Mary Beth [00:10:45]:

When I don’t do it. I’m like, “What am I supposed to do? There’s no spreadsheet.” Actually, my hands twitch a little bit if I’m not in there. 

Neela [00:10:51]:

Just living the best life. 

Mary Beth [00:10:53]:


Neela [00:10:54]:

I think when it comes to end-of-year budget, I approach it in two different ways. One, at the beginning of every year, I set a savings goal in terms of what is the percentage of savings that we want to target and where do we want that to go. So factoring in 401(k)s, cash savings, whatever college savings, and I set that intention at the beginning of the year and then obviously life happens. And so it’s a good time to check back and be like, “How did I do on this intention? And if I missed, why?” We’re in the middle of a very expensive home renovation. And so I’m a little nervous about checking back in on the intention from the year because I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit it. But I think that’s it is that setting that intention, setting the range of savings that we want to hit and then how did we do? And then the second piece, from just a general budget standpoint, I use an online tracking tool. There’s lots of them available, Personal Capital, YNAB, Mint, et cetera. I do use Mint, and it does a nice job of categorizing things. And so Tom and I will sit down and look at it and say, like, “Okay, where did our money go? And is that how we wanted it? Based on our values, where did we spend our money?” And like you mentioned, like, “Oh my gosh, how much have we spent on Amazon? Well, what is that from? Is that books which bring me so much joy, or is that little plastic throwing up toy that existed for like two minutes in my kid’s life and then ended up in a landfill? Because that is something that I don’t necessarily need.” So we just kind of check back in, where did the money go? And is that in line with our values? 

Mary Beth [00:12:28]:

Yeah, I think you’re right. In terms of intention, I know for this year, for example, we’ve talked about our travel budget. We went beyond our pension there. So I think that hit our savings goal. We traveled more this year than we originally intended, and so that did impact our savings goal that we had set for the year. So I already know that before we even look at the end of the year. Just like some going and knowing that and thinking, “Okay, did it align with our values?” And so going back to that kindness, “Oh, that doesn’t feel good,” knowing it didn’t hit that goal and also a little burned out from all the travel, but also now we know. Now we know. We said just because we can doesn’t mean we should. And so that’s kind of where we’re at right now as a family of like, “We did these things, we had these experiences, next year we’ll rein it in a bit more.” And so this is a marathon. 

Neela [00:13:10]:

Familiar rebalance. You’re rebalancing where you’re spending the money and in these different categories.

Mary Beth [00:13:14]:

Yes, exactly.

Neela [00:13:15]:

Let’s pivot to charitable giving. So a lot of people in the nonprofit sector, they make up a lot of their endowments and funding at the very end of the year. So what do you recommend in terms of approaching charitable giving as we’re in the middle of Q4? 

Mary Beth [00:13:31]:

So there’s a couple of different ways. If you are inclined to do charitable giving, I think that’s the first thing, right. You’re not required to. So if you are inclined to, first just knowing about yourself, do you prefer to do it throughout the year or do you do it at the end of the year? Two, having budget for it, what is the part of your cash flow that you’re intentionally setting for your charitable giving? I think that’s one of the big things. Like just in terms of financial boundaries for yourself, how much are you looking to give? Making sure that you’re not going beyond, and if you are, why are you doing that? So just checking back in, there’s a lot of different options. So if you want to do charitable giving, but you don’t quite know where you would like to give to. You can do a donor advised fund. If you’re interested in charitable giving, you can bunch your charitable giving in terms of it, making sure that you can itemize for your taxes to really maximize those donations. For our family, we end up – basically we do all of our charitable giving at the end of the year for the most part. If there’s something that does come up, we set aside money into an account. And then if there’s things that come up throughout the year. But we at the end of each year sit down. We have our charities and areas that we want to make an impact in, and so we dole out the money between November and December each year. And so that’s basically how I recommend it. If you’re somebody who’s inclined, I have clients basically look at, “What’s your budget, what has worked for you, what’s your plan for it?” So setting your budget for the year coming up, and also looking at your budget for the year, where are you at in that? Do you still have the funds set aside? Because if you don’t, you might need to make adjustments, and then if you do, deciding, “Okay, which charities or nonprofits would you like to donate those funds to?” If you’re not sure, you can also look at the donor advised fund. But doing some of that planning now and making sure that you get it in before year end just helps you from the tax planning standpoint for the most part.

Neela [00:15:01]:

That’s great. Do you also find that the amount of letters that you get in terms of soliciting donations goes up towards the end of the year? 

Mary Beth [00:15:10]:

Q4 is just so much paper. You have my email address. Please just email me. I also just don’t feel good about the pens and mailing labels and free gifts that I get. 

Neela [00:15:23]:

“Here’s this paper envelope, help us save the environment,” you’re like, “But you could approach this in a different way?” 

Mary Beth [00:15:29]:

My grandma collects all the cards, the holiday cards and the birthday cards that they also give you as the free gift. And that’s what we get, our gift. She actually uses them. She is one of those people which I love, I adore. And then she gives them all to our daughter. I have so many notepads. She collects all the nonprofit stuff and basically hands us a bag every time we see her, “Look what I have for the kids.” And I was like, “You’re giving me your trash. You want me to take it? Great.” 

Neela [00:15:51]:

I love that we’re actually talking about the gifting because there is a reason that nonprofits do that, because when they feel like they give you something, like the pressure is on you to give something back. 

Mary Beth [00:16:03]:


Neela [00:16:03]:

And so as you’re approaching your charitable giving, think about what are the values that you and your family want to support, and give proactively to the things that you care about and less reactively, because maybe saving the otters isn’t your number one priority. But they have a really good mailing campaign. 

Mary Beth [00:16:20]:


Neela [00:16:20]:

Sorry to pick on otters. 

Mary Beth [00:16:21]:

Otters. That’s a good one. Like seals. I used to have saved the seals. “Club sandwiches, not seals,” is actually what my sweatshirt said. For the Humane Society for the Seal Clubbing. That’s a good one. But yeah. So thinking through it from the value standpoint, that is one of the good things I would recommend that you do, making sure that you’re giving in line because that makes it more impactful for you and understanding you can give each year to whatever charities pull on your heart at that point in time. But I would encourage my clients, and we’ve done it ourselves, like having a family kind of charitable giving statement. Like, what are the organizations that you’re looking to create an impact in what’s important to you as an individual and as a family as well. So factoring that in.

Neela [00:16:59]:

I love that. So that’s something that you can reference. So you get any kind of a mailing or a solicitation, you’re like, “Oh, this doesn’t quite match up.” It almost gives you the permission to say no and then move it to something that is more impactful. 

Mary Beth [00:17:10]:

Yeah. Even as you’re checking out the grocery store now everywhere. It’s like, “Round up for donations. Round up for donations and pennies and dollars.” But still you’re being asked all the time for donations. And so knowing however you do those things, it might not be much, but also knowing where your true impact is being made. 

Neela [00:17:26]:

Yeah. We should also talk about the moves that you have to make before the actual end of the year. Some things like Roth IRA contributions you can actually make up until your tax filing deadline. But there are some things that 12/31 is a hard and fast rule. Some things that come to mind are using the funds in your flexible spending account. So not your health savings account, but if you have an FSA, those funds are use it or lose it. So take a look. Make sure you’re getting everything that you need and that you can use it for contact lenses.

Mary Beth [00:17:55]:

Tell us what you could use it for. Tell us some things. 

Neela [00:17:57]:

You can use it for so many things. A lot of the stuff that you can buy at CVS, but basically anything medical related. With the exception of the Halloween candy and the toys. 

Mary Beth [00:18:09]:

Sunscreen. Sunscreen does count. 

Neela [00:18:11]:

Sunscreen, yes. There you go. So make sure that you just don’t lose that money because you did get a tax break on it. So make sure you take care of it. Another one that comes to mind is tax loss harvesting. 

Mary Beth [00:18:20]:

Thank you. Yes. 

Neela [00:18:22]:

Big year, bumpy year with the markets. Making sure that you are giving yourself the future gift and work with your financial advisor to make sure that that happens. But any financial advisor worth their salt is already doing it. What else?

Mary Beth [00:18:36]:

Roth Conversion. 

Neela [00:18:37]:

Roth Conversion. Yeah. Good one.

Mary Beth [00:18:39]:

Yeah. And that’s definitely talk to your CPA about the Roth Conversion. That’s transitioning some funds from your traditional IRA into your Roth IRA. There are parameters that have to be in place for that to happen. But to do that strategically can be a long-term tax planning strategy for you to implement for yourself.

Neela [00:18:57]:

Especially if this year’s tax situation, if your income is lower, that can be a really great opportunity to take advantage of that tool. 

Mary Beth [00:19:04]:

Yes, exactly. I think those are the big ones. Maxing out your contributions to your 401(k), employer sponsored retirement plans, max out year-end charitable contribution, charitable contribution, tax loss harvesting, spending your FSA and Roth conversions. 

Neela [00:19:20]:

So then heading into 2024, I always love a fresh year, New Year’s resolutions, et cetera. How do you start thinking about getting started with a new year? Do you create any kind of money mission statement of “Where do you want to be spending your money?” How do you want that year to go? How do you plan for the next year? 

Mary Beth [00:19:38]:

Yeah, it goes back to that question that I talk to clients about three years from today. What would have had to happen personally, professionally, and financially in order for you to be happy? So it’s looking at those things three years out and understanding what you’re looking to do that kind of helps you to back into what needs to happen this year. And then you also know as an individual, if anything immediate is happening as well. It’s starting there. We know for us, we’ve talked about – there’s a variety of big purchases that we’d like to have happen next year. I’m already thinking, like, “That’s not going to happen.” There’s too many things that are going to start to conflict, and so we have to start to prioritize, sitting down and thinking through, “What’s the dream that we’d love to have happen next year?” And then, “Okay, what’s the reality of what can actually happen?” And so us being proactive will help to put a container on what we’re looking to do and help us to strategize in terms of timing, because we’ve talked about, like, a backyard remodel, a potential new car purchase, and then somebody in our family turns 40 next year. I don’t know who it could possibly be, but there’s also a potential for a trip around that. 

Neela [00:20:30]:

I don’t want to talk about it. 

Mary Beth [00:20:32]:

I don’t want to talk about it. I welcome it. I’m actually welcoming it. I’m ready for it. Ready. But everybody wants to know, apparently that’s the big question I feel very pressured on, is, like, “What are you doing for your 40th?” That’s the thing. I feel like it’s almost like the wedding question. I don’t know. I feel like I’m supposed to have an answer and I’m very nervous.

Neela [00:20:49]:

Leave me alone. 

Mary Beth [00:20:50]:

But that’s also going to be a budget line item, I guess. And so thinking through those things personally, how do we plan for those? So, like any other individual, what are the things coming up? How do you budget and timeline those out? So we start there, and then it gets backed into that fun Google spreadsheet, which has the copy and paste every two weeks for savings.

Neela [00:21:10]:

I love the idea of doing it three years in advance. And so it almost takes some pressure off you that the next year doesn’t have to be perfect, next year doesn’t have to be everything. But what can you do next year to make progress towards that three or five year goal? Whatever it is, it helps. Like a reframe. 

Mary Beth [00:21:28]:

Yeah. Even if it’s like, “Hey, I want to go back to school, I want to change careers, I want to start a business,” all of these things, you’re going to back into it. So it could be this year, like, “Hey, we’re building up the savings fund so that I can quit my job in 2025 to do the thing right.” So having that vision, that longer term, helps you to set the goals in place this year to meet that. Retirement is so far out, we’re all just like, set it and forget it. But there’s expenses that will come up over time and for us, too. I despise car shopping. It’s one of my least favorite things. I like to negotiate at the very end. I don’t like being there and having to do all of it. But factoring in the payment side of things, I should say I despise debt. That’s really the issue. So if we’re going to have a payment, I need to have all of the money. That’s actually the problem. So planning those out of, like, how often do we plan to replace and they’re expensive now. Holy cow. It’s like, holy cow. Cars are so expensive. And so factoring in those types of things as well. 

Neela [00:22:22]:

Yeah. I read that the average American car payment is over $700. 

Mary Beth [00:22:28]:


Neela [00:22:29]:

That’s a lot of money. 

Mary Beth [00:22:30]:

It’s a lot of money. 

Neela [00:22:31]:

Just a quick disclaimer, cars are depreciating assets, so they are not the thing that is going to make your retirement.

Mary Beth [00:22:41]:

How long can we drive this baby? Because I’m not feeling good about that on the balance sheet. 

Neela [00:22:50]:

I feel like other small things. If you’re feeling motivated to really tackle your overall financial situation, I think towards the end of the year, just making sure that you’re looking at, are your beneficiaries the way you want? Taking a look at your debt, where are you spending money on interest? Can you make different strategic moves and pay off the higher interest loans first? Are things organized from a tax perspective as you head into filing taxes for the next year? 

Mary Beth [00:23:15]:

Yeah, and we’re also, I guess by the time this airs, open enrollment season comes up. So making sure you’re factoring in those things as well, like any increases in health insurance, looking at your employer benefits, evaluating those. And if you don’t know or understand them, working with your financial advisor to ensure that you’re maximizing them to the extent possible for your career and for your family. 

Neela [00:23:35]:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mary Beth [00:23:36]:

What else? Anything else we’re missing here in terms of year end? 

Neela [00:23:39]:

I think that’s the big stuff. 

Mary Beth [00:23:40]:

Yeah. It’s really about having clarity in terms of where you’re going. So again, having a money mission statement, having your goals, starting there, looking back at your progress for the year, and then setting your intentions for the year coming up, and really being kind to yourself. Because it might not have worked out the way that you planned for the year. I think giving yourself grace, because if you beat yourself up and do the shoulda, coulda, woulda thing, it just demotivates you in terms of moving forward. And this is a whole journey that we’re on. It’s not going to be a straight shot up. It’s going to be more like lots of twists and turns along the way in your financial journey. So take it with a grain of salt and just make strategic moves going forward. 

Neela [00:24:15]:

Yeah. I also want to make a quick plug that when you are setting intentions, setting your money mission statement, setting your goals for the next couple of years, write them down. 

Mary Beth [00:24:24]:

Oh, yes. 

Neela [00:24:25]:

There’s like a neuroscience component that if you are actually writing your goals down, you’re so much more likely to achieve them. So hold yourself accountable, write those goals down, and revisit them throughout the year. 

Mary Beth [00:24:36]:


Neela [00:24:37]:

See how we’re doing. 

Mary Beth [00:24:38]:

I would also say understanding why we have our numbers. Let’s say we want to save six figures. We want to save $100,000 this year. Why? What is that doing for you? And I think being clear of the emotional connection to those things, you can set it on autopilot. Then if you don’t meet it, why are you beating yourself up? Or why is it important to you? It helps to keep you motivated. So not just the number, but understanding the reason behind the number. It could be that your financial planner told you that that’s what you need for your kids to go to college or whatever, but still know why you’re doing that amount. 

Neela [00:25:09]:

Right. And listening to our episode with Bahar, the estate attorney, progress. 

Mary Beth [00:25:16]:


Neela [00:25:16]:

Just because you have a certain dollar amount that you want to do and you feel like it’s impossible to do that, still do something, do whatever you can and move in the right direction. I always like to say for automating savings, automate anything, automate $10 a month, I don’t care. But automate it. Because once you’ve automated it, you can always adjust it, and you can keep increasing it over time, but you get used to the habit of automation. 

Mary Beth [00:25:41]:

Yes, I love it. Also, great plug for the episode with Bahar. I think everybody should listen to that because it was fantastic. 

Neela [00:25:47]:


Mary Beth [00:25:48]:

So great. Fabulous. All right, y’all. 

Neela [00:25:52]:

That’s all we got. Enjoy the end of the year. Let us know what you think.

Mary Beth [00:25:54]:


Mary Beth [00:25:56]:

Financial knowledge is for everyone. If you enjoyed today’s episode of If Money Were Easy and you’re looking for more tools and resources to expand what’s possible with your money, head to, Abacus Wealth Partners’ e-learning platform offering a variety of courses to empower you in your financial life. 

Mary Beth [00:26:40]:

Abacus Wealth Partners is an SEC registered investment advisor. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of Abacus Wealth Partners by the SEC, nor does it indicate that Abacus Wealth Partners has attained a particular level of skill or ability. This material prepared by Abacus Wealth Partners is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation of any particular security strategy or investment product. Opinions expressed by Abacus Wealth Partners are based on economic or market conditions at the time this material was written. Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Abacus Wealth Partners, however, cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Abacus Wealth Partners does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as tax or legal advice. Economies and markets fluctuate, actual economic or market events may turn out differently than anticipated. No investor should assume that future performance will be profitable or equal, either the previous reflected performance or that of the reference benchmarks. The historical performance results of the comparative benchmark do not reflect the deduction of transaction and custodial charges or the deduction of an investment management fee, the incurrence of which would decrease indicated historical performance. The S&P Index includes 500 leading companies in the U.S. and is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap U.S. equities. The holdings and performance of Abacus Wealth Partners client accounts may vary widely from those of the presented indices. Advise services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Abacus Wealth Partners and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Abacus Wealth Partners unless a client service agreement is in place.

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