It’s December and during a year with so much uncertainty, fear, and overwhelm, we’re taking a moment to look back on what’s changed here at North Financial Advisors in 2020.  Despite a global pandemic it’s been a big year for me as well as my company.   Here are my top 5 wins from the year.

  1. I wrote and launched my book, The Resiliency Effect: How to Own Your Adversity to Act on Your Biggest Dreams.
  2. I completed the Registered Life Planner® coursework and mentorship program and became an official RLP®.
  3. Despite a global pandemic, writing a book and focusing on continuing education, North Financial grew to be able to serve new clients this year on both coasts of the U.S.
  4. I gave a speech at a national conference (virtually) and a podcast discussion for my industry about how to write a book.
  5. I joined as co-host for a series of 20 episodes of the Corporate Hostage No More Podcast.

Because of the pandemic and with so much going on this year I think many folks have been searching for good financial information online to help them organize their financial life, make better financial decisions, and plan for contingencies and life changes.  I’m grateful to be a source of unbiased and professional advice out there, so, I wanted to put together a list of the Most Read Posts from the year.

1. How Much Should I Donate to Charity

Many of us are charitably inclined and take pride in giving monthly or annually to charities. But most of us typically give when we’re asked by a friend or when we set up monthly or annual donations to charities we like. We don’t think too much about how it fits into our bigger financial plan or our values around money. It’s popular to give during times like Giving Tuesday or at the end of the year.  However, it can be good to set up or review your charitable giving strategy any time of year.   Here are some ideas for how to figure out how much to give and where.  Don’t forget there’s a special tax deduction in 2020 for up to $300 of your charitable giving, even if you don’t itemize.

2. 6 Signs You’ve Reached the Glass Ceiling

This is an oldie, but a goodie. I’m really passionate about making sure my clients get paid what their worth, find opportunities and careers that are fulfilling to them and grow their wealth so they can give back to their communities and families.   But it’s challenging. Every day I see examples where the glass ceiling still exists.  This article provides ways to recognize when you might be jutting up against the glass ceiling and how to address it.

3. Why is Money Important To You

This article dates back all the way to 2016, but still got a lot of hits this year.  It’s a book review of Carl Richards’ book called, “The One-Page Financial Plan.” Many of the people I work with are entrepreneurs or want to create a side business one day. They often like to get straight to the point with the question, “So, what should I do with my money?”  Even though the question is cookie-cutter, the answer will never be the same for two people.  It all depends on your goals and values.  This book provides some easy ways to get at the answers, and digs into some of the reasons why finances can be so difficult for people to understand.  I also feature Carl Richard’s work on imposter syndrome in a chapter in my book, The Resiliency Effect.

4. How to Prioritize Financial Goals When You Can’t Do It All

Whether it’s saving for travel, building a nest egg to start your own venture, or saving enough for a comfortable retirement, chances are, you’ve got a few financial goals weighing on your mind.

I know because most of my clients come to me with competing priorities and they share how it can feel overwhelming.   A typical scenario is the desire to take a nice family vacation while also saving for a major home renovation and planning to leave your corporate job one day to start a business. It’s enough to make anyone feel conflicted.  This article is all about coming up with a plan that works for you.

5. 6 Powerful Questions to Help You Get Unstuck

Since we live in a goal-obsessed society, I bet you can rattle off several things you’re hoping to do, be, or achieve right now.  I know I can. But how many of you are stuck on the action part?  I had a goal like this, I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know how to take action.  That all changed for me when I followed the approach detailed in this article.   In less than a year, I published my book!

6. How to Take A Sabbatical

In 2015, I made a gut decision. I quit my job. The day before I finished my final presentation for my MBA I just quit.  Did I have a plan about what I wanted to do? Loosely. Had I done any of the work to make it happen yet? No! Who had the time?  So I decided I would take a break from work, and I called it a sabbatical.  This is the story about what I experienced while taking my 6-month sabbatical and how I advise clients wanting to do the same thing.  I feature an expanded version of this article and include interviews from others who have taken a sabbatical in Chapter 9 of my book, The Resiliency Effect.

7. Focus on What You Can Control During a Crisis

During any crisis which impacts employment, economic growth, financial markets, or our health there will be a fair amount of fear an anxiety.  The crisis we’re experiencing with COVID-19 is affecting all four of these things, making the collective fear and anxiety we are all feeling even more severe.  Figuring out where we can gain back some semblance of control can be really helpful during times like these. This article details four specific areas of your finances you CAN review and work on right now.

8. What Should I Do With My Investments During a Crisis?

We all get scared and nervous when markets take a turn for the worse.  Instead of taking some action you may regret later, focus your efforts on reaching out to a professional, spend some time doing academic research about stocks, and look at historic trends which show that recoveries typically take months, not years when we see market downturns.   One book that is great at putting things in perspective is “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.”  This article goes into more detail about what you should do with your investments during a market crisis.

Hopefully one more more of these articles helps allay fears or concerns you might be having and puts you in the right from of mind to take action.  If you’re looking to take action on hiring a financial advisor this year, I recommend starting with a search on the National Association of Professional Advisors (NAPFA) which is the largest directory of fee-only financial advisors, and then doing your own research on the planners fees, specialties, education and focus.   See you in 2021!

What financial questions did you struggle with most in the last year? 

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