Where has the year gone!? I am in disbelief that Christmas is already behind us and that the New Year will be here in a matter of days.
One thing I like to do at the end of each year is to reflect on the highlights from the year. There are a few reasons for doing this. First, I am firm believer in self reflection and the power of focusing on the positive and rolling that momentum into the New Year. Yes, each year comes with valleys (some more than others) but I do my best to take the lesson learned and put that event in the review mirror. Its the good that it most meaningful to unpack and bring into the New Year.
Second, from a professional perspective, self-reflection is a great way to capture the year’s successes and memorialize them in a meaningful way that can be helpful in performance reviews, and negotiations around salary and job title.
The third reason I take a moment to reflect on the year’s successes is because those mountain top moments are moments I want to keep replicating in the years to come. I wan to replicate that experience or feeling in the year to come which helps inform my goals, personally and professionally, in he year to come and continue my journey forward. The questions I ask myself are:
- What did I accomplish this year that I am proud of?
- What can I do to replicate or improve upon the accomplishment in the New Year?
You better believe I am using this exercise to help me create my SMART goals for 2020.
2019 Personal Highlights
To get things started, I am going to kick things off my with personal highlights of 2019, with this blog being top of the list!
Launch of The Financial Fashion Planner
I had been toying with the idea of a blog for years but struggled to identify my voice and point of view. End of last year, while doing some self-reflection and goal setting for 2019, I came to the decision that starting a blog would help me achieve some of the professional goals I set for myself in 2019. The blog would allow me to draw confidence in communicating financial concepts and would support my personal mission of spreading financial education.
It was a slow start to the year. I hid the fact that I had a finance and fashion blog until August of this year but thanks to the support and encouragement of my friends I finally ripped off the band-aid and am so glad I did! The feedback I received from friends, family members and colleagues in the industry has been incredible and so supportive which makes me excited to continue grow the blog and try out some new things in 2020. Be on the lookout!
The icing on top was that the blog opened so many doors for me to connect with some incredible individuals and make some amazing friends. From these connections I had the opportunity to be featured as a financial expert in an article on The Golden Girl Blog and was a guest on the Living With Money Podcast. Excited and hopeful for more opportunities like these in the New Year.
Millennials Making Moves
Launching Millennials Making Moves with my dear friend, Kim Howard, was unexpected but in the best way. It was over a few glasses of wine that we dreamed up this concept of hosting a networking group for young professional women in the Chicagoland area. Two months later we pulled together a rock star group of panelists to share on the topic of goal setting and the impact on their careers. I got the opportunity to sit on the panel and was pleasantly surprised I didn’t go into shock during the event!
Kim and I were also pleasantly surprised that the event sold out and the incredible feedback from the attendees. The comment we heard over and over again was ‘when’s the next event?’. While we only hosted one event in 2019, we are hoping to put on another event (or two) in 2020 and partner with some of the fabulous ladies I’ve met this past year!
How could Mac not make the highlights of 2019!? We adopted Mac back in September of this year and our lives have been changed in the best way! I had so many hesitations adding a dog to the family, especially since I never had an animal growing up, but having him in our lives has been such a joy. As I shared in this post, the road to where we are today was paved with sleepless nights and constant cleaning, but we made it!
Mac has taught me to be responsible for another living creature and how to be more selfless. My horizons have been expanded and have found more confidence in myself and the confidence of my husband and I as a team. I know we can take on any challenge or new adventure in 2020.
While there are many other personal highlights to reflect on from 2019, I want to shift gears from the personal to the professional side of things. Professionally, 2019 has been a wild ride that I hope to share more details on in future posts. Some of the highlights include:
Launch of New Service Offering
This year started off with a bang! My firm launched a new service offering targeted towards a traditionally undeserved market in the personal finance industry. There is a gap in the industry, most wealth management firms have a stated investment minimum to work with households. Often those minimums are high and well above what the average household has to invest. This is especially magnified if you are a young professional looking to invest for the first time or young family just starting out. With this new offering, I now have the ability to work with folks that would otherwise have to do investments and financial planning themselves or, even worse, do nothing at all.
I now have the opportunity to work with this undeserved market because of our relationship with a top online investment platform and let me tell you, I have never felt more fulfilled at work in my life! I find so much joy in my conversations with young professionals looking to create wealth overtime and in my planning meetings with families looking to navigate multiple financial goals like to purchasing a new home, saving for college and focusing on a future retirement. I feel very blessed that I wake up everyday excited for the day ahead and the opportunity to serve my clients.
Promotion to Financial Advisor
This was a big one. Since I started at my firm after college, over six years ago, my goal was to climb the ladder to financial advisor. Guys, it finally happened! I am now a financial advisor at my firm which means I have the ability to work with clients one-on-one to map out financial goals and design strategies to achieve them.
While the title change and new office was exciting, it has been an humbling experience. As the new kid on the block, the work has just begun and I have a even bigger mountain climb as I shift my attention to building my practice. There will be lots of goals around building my practice in 2020.
Speaking & Interview Opportunities
A final professional highlight from this year has been the opportunity to speak on professional panels, give personal finance presentations and get interviewed for industry publications. This past August I was asked by Betterment, our online investment platform partner, to speak on a panel of “power users” to share insights on how to partner with Betterment for Advisors to work with collaboratively with clients and reach traditionally undeserved markets.
I was flown out to New York City, one of my favorite cities to visit, and had the most surreal experience. From the personal chef prepared meal to meeting other incredible advisors on the platform, it was an experience that shaped me as a newly minted advisor and will stay with me forever.
In addition to the panel, I have the distinct privilege to give a personal finance presentation to a group of residents at a local university. The call time was unbelievable early but it was one of the best ways to wake up and start my day. If you haven’t already guessed, I love to educate and share financial knowledge.
A final cool thing that happened this year was the opportunity to give an interview for an industry publication on integrating online investment platforms into your firm. Any one of these opportunities would have made my year but all of them together was a dream. One of my goals for 2020 is to seek out more public speaking opportunities and share financial education.
What’s on your highlight reel for 2019? If you haven’t already, I encourage you all to find some time over the next few days and reflect on your personal highlights of this year. Here are some questions to help kick off the self reflection process.
- What was your single favorite moment from 2019?
- How did you feel in that moment?
- What would you have to do in 2020 to recreate that feeling?
- What do you hope to see on your 2020 highlight reel?