Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana
As the year comes to an end, it’s good to review the year to find out how well you have done. Not only financially, but also with all of your other goals. My pastor said over this weekend, that “we must learn from the things we have done in the past. We get older, but will we get wiser?” It’s up to us to make that decision to be wiser as we get older.
Looking to the Past
I can tell where I am going by how I have been setting myself up in the past. There are questions that help me look back at the year are:
1. What were the high points this year?
- Starting this blog to get my ideas out to the world. This has allowed me to be creative and start to put my ideas down to start a financial program of paying back debt.
- Understanding that my passion is to share the ideas I have on personal finance to help people learn from my mistakes and victories.
- Being honest with my financial circumstances, and making the changes to correct my mistakes.
- Helping my co-workers start the process of tracking their expenses.
- Setting up the payment plan on my debt.
2. What experiences do you wish you could have changed?
- Start the blog earlier because there is value in what I have to share.
- Stop feeding the fears and worrying about what other people would think of my ideas
- Going through with a balance transfer on a card that is currently in use. (such a bad idea)
- I wish I didn’t take money out of my retirement account to pay off debt because the compounding effect in the future would have been more than the interest I would have paid on the debt.
- Start reading books on the stock market earlier, and invest in Vanguard index funds
3. What advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of the year?
Don’t try to beat the system of paying back your debt. There is no magic bullet to pay off your debt faster with limited resources. The overall best ways best ways to pay off debt is the debt avalanche (paying debt off with the highest interest rate first). There are ways to save a little bit more interest, but sometimes taking that extra bit of effort or chance might not be worth it.
4. What were the three biggest lessons you learned in this past year?
1. Read more, and retain the information. There’s nothing wrong with reading a book for enjoyment, but if there’s a lesson to be learned, take notes. Spending 30 – 45 minutes a day reading is a good habit to cultivate better ideas for the future.
2. If you have a bad feeling about a situation, especially financially, don’t go through with the deal. My brother wanted to buy two sets of high end knives that would have cost me well over $4,000. He could purchase for 65% off of the Manufacturer’s suggested price and resell them.
I thought it was a good idea at first because the knife sets were going to be discontinued, but there were circumstances where it did’t make sense. (I’m also not very educated in how sales in knives work.) He was a bad communicator when it came to the sale of the knives, profit margins relied on too many factors to make a profit, and there didn’t seem to be that great of a demand for the knives. So overall, I didn’t go through with the deal, and I feel better about it.
3. Setting up an automatic repayment plan for your debts and saving is by far one of the greatest tools you can have to build wealth for the future. Once it’s in place, do your best not to change the payment. It forces you to keep the “promise” of payment to yourself or your creditor.
I hope that you find some of these insights interesting, and that you can learn by asking yourself these questions as well. Please like and share if you found this interesting. I’d love to hear from you as well.