Six Year End Preparations

2010 is nearly over, and I am thrilled. 2010 was easily one of the worst years of my life. I’m eagerly looking forward to 2011. With that in mind, I’ve outlined six things I need to do prepare for the new year.

Set New Goals
Because this year went so badly, I don’t think I met any of my goals for 2010. I’ll check tomorrow. So, it’s time to set new goals for 2011. Most of them will carry over from 2010. I will also determine the steps I need to take to reach each goal. I did that last year, but life interfered and I couldn’t do any of them.

Gather Financial Documents
I like to do my taxes early in February. It gets them out of the way and I’m expecting a sizable refund because my husband was on disability (non-taxable income in California) for so long that our tax bracket dropped! So, I started by making a list of all the financial documents I need to have in hand before I can prepare our taxes. I keep the list in my notebook and mark the items off as they come in. They must all arrive by January 31, 2011, but I’ve already received one of them.

Assess Personal Finances
While you’re gathering your financial documents, this is a good time to review your assets. Review your portfolio to see if you need to do any rebalancing. Review your savings account balance to see if you need to shift any of it into higher-return options like CDs. Review your emergency fund to see if it needs to be replenished. Review your spending to see if you need to cut back in certain areas.

Say Goodbye to 2010
Whether your year was horrible or happy, it’s time to say goodbye to 2010. I do this by thinking back on the year and writing down everything important that happened and how I felt about it. It’s a nice record of the year that was, so you’ll know what it was really like twenty years from now when you’re telling the grandkids about the blizzard of 2010. It only takes about thirty minutes, but it lasts forever.

Make a 2011 To Do List
I make a major to do list of all the projects I need to do around the house or in my personal life at the start of each year. Things like organize the shed, build closet shelves, etc. By the end of the year, my list is marked up and scribbled all over. Start fresh by making a new list, with all the incomplete tasks copied over. You don’t have to put dates on them, but remember to bring the list with you when you’re going to the hardware store so you can pick up some of the small items on the list, like push lights for the dark closets. (Are you sensing a theme?)

Buy Some Champagne
Be sure to grab a bottle of champagne to toast the new year. It’s the best way to get the year off to a good start, and then hope things only get better from there. Make sure to buy a decent bottle. This isn’t the time to go for the cheap stuff.

Tomorrow I’ll assess my achievements for 2010, and then the next day I’ll review my 2011 goals.

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