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Happy New Year to all! We hope you had a truly wonderful holiday season. With all the celebrating going on, you may have gotten a bit behind on the personal finance happenings. No worries! Here’s a look back at what we’ve been focusing on:

October: Planning ahead for life’s unpredictability:

Unexpected things in life happen all the time. Having emergency funds set aside will make the stress of handling those events much easier to swallow. While easy enough to understand, emergency funds can be tricky. You need to know how much to save, how best to save it, and when to turn to that money. Here are a few quick ground rules to follow:

  • Work toward setting aside six months worth of income. To get started, decide on a reasonable amount of money to put aside each month. Then, set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account to your savings. Start small, be consistent, and soon you’ll have that money ready and waiting when you need it.
  • Everyone’s situation is different. Take your personal situation into account. How much money you need depends on where you stand in life. If you have a lot of bills each month, you need to save a larger chunk in case of an emergency. If you live more frugally, that may not be as necessary. Having a financial plan makes figuring all this out a lot easier.
  • Use your emergency funds for…emergencies only! An emergency is a situation that meets two criteria. It’s something that has to be taken care of right now, and it’s an absolute necessity. If both of these parameters are met, go ahead and tap into your emergency funds to get it taken care of. If not, hold off until you’ve saved up enough separately.

If you have any questions at all about preparing for life’s curve balls, don’t hesitate to reach out.

November: New Year. New business venture?

Are you considering taking the leap and starting your own business in 2019? With all the business to-dos running through your head, you must prioritize the financial side of the equation in order to be successful. There’s so much to think about before you open the doors, and digging into the details is key.

One of the biggest contributors to the downfall of many new businesses is problems with cash flows. You can’t afford to neglect the details…literally. Before you hit the ground running in 2019, ask yourself these financial questions first to make sure you’re on the right track:

  • What are my costs?
  • What will my monthly cash flows look like?
  • How much capital do I need?
  • Where will I get the funding?
  • Can I take care of my personal financial situation and my business at the same time?
  • Where do I want to be financially in five years? How about ten years?

Diving deep into the financials now can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary stress later. If you have any specific questions about cash flows and where you stand financially, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

December: Celebrate your successes. Learn from your mistakes:

Have you spent some time reflecting on what’s happened in your life this year? ‘Tis the season for taking stock and reevaluating. Perhaps you’ve even been through a major life change: getting married or going through a divorce, buying or selling a house, having your first child or sending your kids off to college, changing career paths, reaching retirement. A lot can happen in twelve months.

Did you reach any of your financial goals? Make a little progress? Follow your financial plan? Give yourself a pat on the back. Well done! If you have some financial regrets, that’s okay too and completely normal. Wishing you’d done things a little differently? Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, think about what you’ve learned and move on. Sometimes the best way to become financially educated is by making money mistakes along the way.

As we head toward 2019, we’d like to personally say thank you! To our clients, our families, our friends, and the Richmond small business community. We’re thankful for all of our successes and for the people who’ve helped make it possible. If we can be of any assistance to you in the new year, give us a call. Wishing you all the best this holiday season.

Want to keep up to date with all things personal finance? Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, The Monthly Interest! We’ll keep you in the know so you can keep doing what you do.