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Taking inventory: your first six months of 2011

We are officially in the second half of 2011. How have your New Year’s resolutions held up? July is a good time to gauge your progress on your goals. And it’s also an ideal time to take a financial inventory. How much has your savings grown this past six months? How much do you want it to grow in the next six?

This week, take a few moments to look back on the first half of your year. Think about where you stand now, and how you can improve for the remainder of 2011.

Your goal progress

I always encourage people to look deeper, and your financial progress through the first six months is a great opportunity to do so. If you are on pace to make your year-long goal, good for you. You crunched the numbers, figured out what was feasible, and stuck to your plan for six months. Be proud of yourself; it’s quite an accomplishment.

Maybe you ran into a few snags and, as a result, are behind in your progress. Don’t be disappointed in yourself for not making it to that set number. Realize that by putting forth an honest effort, you accomplished something. You’re growing your savings faster this year than ever before. Or your dream home is much, much closer than it has ever been. You spent time each day, week or month to deliberately grow your savings. Congrats.

If you started to make progress but then stopped a few months ago, it’s time to look deeper. What made you stop? Was it a bad break-up or lost job? Did you lose sight of the bigger picture and fall prey to the daily spending challenges? Really think about what happened that jerked you off your path. Don’t be ashamed or judgmental; just be aware.

The next steps

Being on pace – or close to it – is a great accomplishment. You set an intention for 2011 to be your financial year, and you are making big progress towards your goals. Your next step is to continue on your path and, if you’re feeling up to it, set new goals for the second half of the year. Add a few more dollars to your savings goal each month, and see where you end up by New Years.

Starting out strong and stopping along the way, though not ideal, is probably an indicator of something more going on. Ask yourself in a heartfelt way if the behaviors you engaged in and the emotions you experienced during your transactions were healthy or harmful. Once you start to fix the “why” behind your actions, you’ll get back on track for your financial goals of 2011.

Sign up for my weekly words of wisdom for encouraging thoughts each Tuesday. And be sure to check out my book, Emotion Behind the Money, for guidance and healing. You can take control of your finances, and I can help you.

Tags:  advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Financial Intentions, grow your savings, Chicago financial planners, taking financial inventory, emotion behind money, Julie Murphy Casserly

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