When the plane lands, is the mission truly over? As pilots, we know the value of mission debriefs. These meetings allow the team to unite and analyze the mission’s successes and shortcomings immediately. With 2022 ending, the season of retrospection begins to unfold. Many people take this time to create New Year’s resolutions, often centered on improving their health for the upcoming year, but how can we do the same for our finances? The practice of debriefing began resurfacing in my mind. Today, I want to share the power of debriefing for your finances and how you can use this practice to plan for the New Year.
The first step is to gather as a team. Typically, arranging a debrief was done by meeting planners. Let’s be honest; it is easy to get swept up by life’s obligations and busy family agendas. For this reason, set aside time and energy to debrief. Whether with your spouse, family members, or even your financial advisor, take the initiative to schedule a meeting; your financial future will thank you.
The location of your meeting can affect the tone of your gathering. Your favorite coffee shop might provide you with a perfect latte, but it can also come at the cost of distractions and unintentional pairs of ears to your financial conversations. Similarly, meeting with electronics and cell phones nearby can break your team’s focus. To set the right tone, choose a safe place to look at finances together that provides a comfortable atmosphere and minimizes distractions.
One of the main reasons people do not participate in meetings is the lack of understanding of why the meeting is being held. As such, make it clear to everyone involved the purpose of debriefing. Additionally, use this time to create goals. For example, you may host a financial debriefing to analyze the past year’s spending habits and then use this objective to develop a plan of action to alter/improve spending habits.
With the objectives clearly outlined, now is the time to welcome feedback. Has everyone been committed to the budget, or has the budget gone a little off course? Are you satisfied with the investments you’ve made in the past year? What financial successes are you proud of? Take this opportunity to reflect on your economic flaws and praise the positives.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what has worked for you and current challenges, take this time to plan financial goals for the next year as a team. An example of a simple financial goal could be to schedule check-ins (such as quarterly check-ins) throughout the year instead of an annual meeting at the end of the year. You will want to delegate tasks and assign each member a role to help with accountability. After a thorough recap, I suggest that you ensure everyone is aligned with next year’s plan and is in agreement before ending your debrief. Doing so will increase your chances of everyone sticking to your plan.
By now, you can see the power debriefing has for your life in flight and financial management. If you continue to stay the course and use the power of debriefing for your finances, you will find that each debrief becomes more of a habit than a hassle.
With another year closely ending, I want to take a moment to wish you all a safe and wonderful rest of 2022.