Melissa Myers, CFP®

(231) 733-1166

Your 2018 Checklist

Your 2018 Checklist

| February 01, 2018
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Designed for a year of intentional living; here's your 2018 monthly checklist!  While it isn't all-inclusive of everything that you could or should do, this printable timeline can serve as a starting point.


It's time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

When was the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke detectors?  If you can't remember, it is time!

Try picking a day of the year that is your "change the batteries" day.  Maybe it is New Year's Day.  How about your birthday?  Or today?  

Never miss a year by scheduling "change batteries in smoke detectors" as a recurring annual appointment for yourself. may also want to schedule "buy new batteries" a week before your "change the batteries" date.

Encourage your friends and family to change their batteries too!


Practice 2FO.  Eliminate two items for every one item you bring into your home.

 2FO is a great practice, especially in your closet. 

Show yourself some love by getting rid of the clutter in your life.  Purge and organize your belongings. 

Where to start:  your closet, the pantry, or a room in your basement are all good places.  If one of those places seems too overwhelming, how about starting with a drawer?  

Like BOGOs, you know, Buy One, Get One?  Try practicing 2FO (Two For One) in your home.  Each time you buy a new item, select two things to give away or discard.  


Next month is "Tax Day."  Schedule time this month for organizing your files and doing prep work for filing taxes.

What if you have to pay in this year?  Are you financially prepared? 

How about a refund?  If you get a tax refund, what will you do with the money?

Either way, it's a good idea to consult with your financial planner and create an action plan as tax codes have recently changed

Tax time is frequently a trigger for clients to call their financial advisor or financial planner.  There are many other reasons for meeting as outlined in my post from February 20, 2017.


Find out where you stand financially by calculating your net worth.

April is a great month to calculate your net worth.  It's a simple calculation with three easy steps. 

  1. Add up the total of all of your assets.  Assets are the things you own.
  2. Add up the total of all of your liabilities or debts.  A liability or debt is what you owe.
  3. Subtract your assets from your debts.  The result is your net worth.

Net Worth = Assets - Liabilities

Do this simple calculation every year and compare your results with previous years. 

Try setting a goal pertaining to net worth.

  • Will you set a goal of increasing your net worth from year-to-year? 
  • Do you want to attain a specific net worth by a certain date? 
  • How soon could you improve your net worth, making it a positive number rather than a negative? 


Create a debt payoff plan.

If you have debt, this is the time to put a debt pay-off plan into action.  Debts hold you back from other things you could be doing with your money, like saving for retirement, having the right insurance, paying for college, taking a special vacation, or buying a new car.

What's your smallest debt?  

How much do you own on your smallest debt?

Could you pay it off in 3 months? A year?

I'm passionate about helping people create and implement debt elimination plans.  If this is your year to get focused on paying off debt, call or email me today!


Check your credit report.

While debt elimination is important, it is also important to check your credit score on a regular basis.  Once a year is typically sufficient. is a good place to check your credit report for free.  It won't give you your credit score, however, you'll be able to see your history and review your report for accuracy.  If you find errors, you can easily call the number provided to initiate the corrections.


Transfer your passwords to an online, encrypted password keeper.

This summer, take a break from the heat and dive into an online, encrypted password keeper.  What??? 

If  you have your passwords written down or saved on your phone or computer, make the switch to an encrypted password keeper.  All of your log-in information is saved in one spot and you need to remember only one password! 

It's time to step up your security and ditch the list.


Always Be Learning.  

Brigit Hassig's September 7, 2017 guest post explains that Growing Older Is Just About That-Growing!  Is education one of your core values?

Have you been thinking about furthering your education?  Consider your interests.   Wouldn't it be fun to take your knowledge to the next level?

Learning can take place in a variety of settings outside the traditional classroom. 

Read a book

Listen to a audio book or podcast. 

Participate in a new activity.

Learn a new game. 

Take a free or inexpensive online course. 

Attend a free program offered at your library. 

Regardless of your age, you can ABL (Always Be Learning). 

Has it been on your heart to pay or help someone pay for their education?  Perhaps a family member or other relative?  How would you feel about helping someone you don't even know get an education? 

What a beautiful gift, the gift of an education! 

Traditionally we think that the only way to help with college expenses, is to save, over time, in a college designated account.  Saving early, and on a regular basis is a strategy that works well for many people, especially parents. 

There are many ways to participate in giving the gift on an education.  

  1. You can establish a college savings account for anyone, even yourself.
  2. Cash-flow the cost by writing a check to the institution. 
  3. Establish a scholarship fund. 
  4. Leave instructions in your will or trust as to how you would like your money allocated and for whom. 


Review your life insurance coverage as part of your comprehensive financial plan.

How has your life changed in the last few years? 

It may be time to consider a life insurance review, especially if you have more debt or people who rely upon you for support.  Implementation of life insurance as part of  your financial plan is a considerate step to take. 

Life insurance isn't only for the young or parents with children at home.  It can also be an effective planning tool for business owners in a buy-sell arrangement, for married couples with children from previous marriages, when planning for end of life care, and for those with a high net worth.


Reduce your responsibilities and social obligations if they aren't aligned with your core values.

Do you feel like you are so busy that you can't even think about adding one more responsibility?  Are your responsibilities and obligations keeping you from doing the activities and tasks that really matter to you?

This month, look back at your calendar.  Have you been spending time on activities that bring you joy? 

Which of your activities are you doing out of guilt?  Is it time to simplify before the holidays?

Ask yourself, "why am I doing this?"  If you don't have a really good answer, or don't feel convicted that you are absolutely supposed to be engaged in that particular activity, it is time to "pass the torch."  In other words, it's time to move on.

When you make decisions about how to spend your time, based on your values, you'll benefit from reduced stress.  You'll be freed up to enjoy the people, causes and activities that mean the most to you.


Review your charitable giving.

This November, in addition to celebrating Thanksgiving and being appreciative of a long weekend, how about taking some time to review your charitable giving? 

Is there an organization that is important to you?  Perhaps it's time to increase your donations? 

What about volunteering? 

Do you have knowledge that would help others?  

Giving of time, talents and/or treasures is a way to embrace gratitude and celebrate with a spirit of thanksgiving.

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

---Zig Ziglar


Review your estate plan.

It's estate plan review time!  Chances are, you're taking time off over the holidays.  Can you spare an hour to review your estate plan documents? 

Consider the past year and whether or not you've experienced any life changes that would warrant your estate plan being revised.

If you don't yet have an estate plan, wait no longer.  After all, it's impossible to create an estate plan, with your wishes, after you've passed away.  Failure to have a plan in place is a plan. 

Do you want your plan, to be a plan, in which the state in which you live, makes the decisions about who will get your money? 

In addition to a will it's a good idea to have a Patient Advocate (health care power of attorney) and Durable Power of Attorney (financial power of attorney).

Your attorney can discuss other estate planning tools that may be appropriate for your situation and desires.

Neither Kar-Mel Financial Planners nor LPL Financial are attorneys.  It is important to seek the advice of a licensed and competent legal professional for estate planning matters.

One last thing...

If this is the year for you to hire a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, here is a list of questions to ask.

One more last thing...

If you enjoyed this article and want to reference it later, 2018 Checklist and post it where you'll see it so that you'll take action.

Melissa is a Gen X business owner and CFP® professional.   She is a teacher at heart and wants to share her lessons for life, which include financial strategies, with you. Contact Melissa at (231) 733-1166 or email:

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