The most important financial goals are long-term. We are all wired to think short-term. How do you square this circle?
The solution: Prepare an annual report, just as a company would.
Your annual report should have these key items:
- Reminder of your long-term goals: spending in retirement, affording college for your children, etc.
- Progress made over the past year toward these goals
- "To-do list" for the year ahead
Your annual report should have financial information, like the value of your home and investment accounts, the extent of borrowings and investment performance. It should have key facts like a summary of insurance policies, your estate plan and your tax rate.
But it should also have qualitative information. That could be your view of investing risk, the way you prioritize your goals or your expectations of the future. These will all impact your long-term financial success.
We have launched an effort to create an annual report for each of our clients. It's the best solution we have found to helping clients understand how their daily lives impact their decades-long goals.