December 20, 2012

Year in Review

Credit: Danilo Rizzuti
Assuming the Mayans are wrong, and thankfully we know they are (leap year wasn’t a part of their calculation, so the apocalypse date has already passed), it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I love coming up with resolutions, and frankly, I think it’s important to periodically consider aspects of your life and reflect on how they could, and should, be better.
I have 3 resolutions for 2013:
  1. Lose the remaining 14 lbs of my 2012 goal- Hey, I lost 11 lbs. this year, but I didn’t quite make my goal of 25 lbs. Comfort food is so good, and exercising in the cold weather is so hard…
  2. Do less- Many of my friends and family often compare me to the Energizer Bunny, but I saw the bottom of my fuel tank a couple of times in 2012. I need to get a little more rest and set aside a little more time to do what’s important with the important people.
  3. “Attack” the mortgage- My wife and I are going to still contribute to our retirement plans, but we are going to make a conscientious effort to pay as much extra principal in 2013 as we possibly can. This will strengthen our financial position, give us a guaranteed rate of return (our mortgage interest rate), and allow us to work towards lowering our fixed monthly expenses.
I wouldn’t begin to tell anyone (well, at least most people) what their personal resolutions should be, but I thought I’d take this last 2012 blog post and offer a few financial resolutions that might help you in 2013:
  • Attack any long-term debt you may have by making an “extra” payment in 2013. As this example shows, if you make this resolution a habit, you may be able to cut substantial costs and shorten how long you will be in debt by more than you might think. I’m talking like $56,000 and 6 years off a $200,000, 30-year mortgage!
  • Save an extra amount from each of your paychecks. Maybe this is $50 a paycheck, maybe it’s $500. The amount does not matter; the action does. Do something as simple as putting this extra money in an envelope or as complicated as setting up an automatic deposit to a different account, but give this a try. If you keep this resolution, you will have a nice, little sum set aside at the end of 2013 that can create or strengthen a “rainy day fund,” be used to fund an IRA contribution, or be used as a “jump-start” towards a major purchase.
  • Increase your contributions to your employer’s retirement plan. You are probably having to fill out a lot of 2013 enrollment and benefit election forms anyway, so you might as well adjust your retirement plan contributions and add 1% to whatever you are already contributing. 1% more coming out of your check probably won’t hurt much now, but 1% more invested compounding year after year in a tax-deferred account could end up being a pretty sweet sum when you finally head towards your retirement home on the beach.
  • Collect your change. It depends how often you pay with cash, but if you throw all your spare change in an old shoebox, a chic-looking jar, or even a very manly looking piggy bank, you may be surprised what you end up with by the end of 2013. It sure would be nice right about now to have a jar full of change to help buy that perfect Christmas gift for my wife…

I hope you will try one of my suggested resolutions or come up with at least one financial resolution on your own, but before I sign off for 2012, there are a few more things I want to mention:
First, I’d once again like to thank Kenny Wuerstlin for designing my banner and logo, Andrew Davis for helping me edit my content, and my lovely wife, Lindley Presley, for her grammatical editing and blog expertise.

Second, I’m very proud that, in its first year, had a little more than 6,600 page views from 10 different countries. Let me assure you though, we’re just getting started! In 2013, we’ll unravel technical topics like family gifting, long-term care insurance, and the risks of a fixed income portfolio. We’ll also take a look at how rational investors are (or aren’t), why I don’t think you should always let a “tax tail” wag your dog, and how you can spend everything (though I don’t advise trying).

Finally, let me thank you for checking out my weekly ramblings. I appreciate your questions, your ideas, and your encouragement. I hope that at least a little of what I have shared has been interesting, educational, and maybe even helpful. Please continue to let me know how I can use my training and experiences to try to help, please keep telling me what financial topics you are interested in, and pretty, pretty please keep sharing your favorite posts with your family and friends. There’s no telling where 2MuchCents can go in 2013!

I hope you and your family have a healthy, happy, and financially successful 2013!



  1. As always, great post, Tom! I look forward to your 2013 posts! A few you mentioned are right up my alley! Happy New Year!

  2. Can't wait for year two of 2MuchCents!

  3. Also, I've already set up an automatic transfer to do bullet number two of your suggested financial resolutions. Thanks for the idea... looking forward to seeing that savings next December. :)