2019 was a very eventful year for me. At the beginning of this year, I decided that the theme for my year was "being brave". Interestingly, I did not know what experiences I will face that would make me have to choose to be brave. With all the ups and downs of the year, I am very grateful for another amazing year where I had the opportunity to work towards my goals.
In this blog post, I will reflect on my highlights and lowlights in 2019, the lessons I learned, and some questions to help you prepare for 2020.
MC's Year in Review
2019 was a year of being brave and pushing myself to do things I was afraid of.
My year in numbers
Preparing for 2020
As you wrap up 2019 and kick-off planning for 2020, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
I would like to wrap up this year with a huge thank you to all of you who have read my blog posts, watched my videos, commented, shared your stories, and encouraged me on this Journey. If you had asked me when I first started in Jan 2018, where I would be in two years, I could never have told you I'll be where I am today.
Call to Action
What is your 2020 bold goal? If there is something you have always wanted to do, 2020 is the perfect time.
Sharing some of the lessons I learned this Year
Achieving and maintaining financial health is one of my ongoing goals. On my journey so far, I have learned many valuable lessons. One of them has been to normalize the conversation around money.
In this post, I will reflect on my financial journey, the top lessons I learned about finances in 2019, and an outlook on my financial plan for 2020.
MC's Financial Journey in 2019
When I think about my decisions and actions when it came to my finances in 2019, there were a lot of new and unexpected things for me. At regular intervals this year, I have been closely monitoring how I spent my money. It is important to me to always know my financial status, plan for how I want to spend my money, and track how I spend it. Especially since I took some financial risks this year, I needed to stay focused on my financial health.
What lessons did I learn about money?
#1: Taking big financial steps is very scary
This year, I made a huge investment that impacted my finances significantly. The surprising part was that I was not prepared for the feelings I will have after I made the investment. I thought I was ready, and all I needed to do was work hard to replenish my savings after I took a lot of money out to invest in a project. Interestingly, I did not plan for the emotional impact it would have on me. Being worried about Read more about "My experience making difficult Financial Decisions".
#2: Be ready to pay for things that make your life easier
This one was hard for me to learn. I had to fight the mental battle of feeling like I can do everything myself. Learning to delegate tasks or part of my life to make some time available for things that I really want to do. This year I spent money on household support and ordered things online to save me some time. Although it took me a while to overcome the guilt I was feeling, when I started seeing the great results of paying a little more to make my life easy, I knew it was worth it.
#3: Continue practicing your good money habits
In my post titled "10 things to do for your financial wellness in 2019", I shared some of the things I was committed to doing in my finances this year. Especially with everything going on this year, I was reminded of the fact that the reason I was successful financially was that I am disciplined and have learned good money habits. Knowing that I could rebuild my savings because I had been practicing for a while, gave me confidence.
#4: Talk about your finances with people
Two conversations about money really helped me this year. First of all, I spoke to a lady like me who wanted some advice on building her finances. Being able to share some of the tips that have helped me on my journey reminded me of my humble beginnings and how I got here. The second conversation that helped me was talking to another woman who is in a similar phase in her life and has comparable financial responsibilities. Talking to someone who could relate to my situation was very refreshing. I know talking about money is not something we do very often. There are a lot of benefits from talking to people around you and sharing financial knowledge.
#5: Be bold when exploring new financial aspects
I started investing money seriously in 2017. Through 2018 I stayed consistent and continued my learning journey. However, in 2019, with the markets being less predictable, I found myself being afraid to make any investment moves. I stopped learning about investments and didn't do anything for most of the year. As I reflect on my behavior, I see that navigating uncertainty with finances is something I am not comfortable with and need to learn.
Outlook on My Financial Plan for 2020
As I set my goals for 2020, I have been thinking about what I want to do with my finances in 2020. Here are some of my initial ideas that I will be adding to my list
Call to Action
As we get into the festive season, I have been reflecting on my relocation. I have been very fortunate to celebrate Christmas and holidays in Nigeria, Germany, and now in the US. The celebrations are very different, and my experiences have been diverse. Each country has provided me with things I enjoy and value during this season.
In this blog post, I will share my experience in the three countries I have lived in and some of my favorite memories.
What is important to me during the holidays?
As I start planning my Christmas celebrations this year, I have been thinking about the three things I'm really looking forward to.
Christmas in Nigeria
The sights and sounds of the holidays in Nigeria seem as if it was yesterday, although I haven't been there in 18 years. I still remember the excitement in the air as December progressed. The Christmas carols and events leading up to the holidays were filled with music and theatre plays. Growing up, with all the joy and excitement, also came some concern about if we will have something special for Christmas. Sometimes we were unsure if we would have the festive clothes we wore on Christmas day, let alone gifts.
My highlight during Christmas time in Nigeria was spending time with my extended family. My cousins were all in town; we enjoyed great meals together and built great memories. Christmas celebrations seemed to last longer when I was growing up in Nigeria. Till today, the delicious meals I cook during Christmas are inspired by what I enjoyed growing up.
Christmas in Germany
My first Christmas in Germany remains engraved in my memory. It was the first time I saw so much snow and low temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius. In addition to the extremely cold weather, this was the first time I spent the holidays without my family. It was very difficult to adapt to new traditions and culture.
Another major shock for me was that the 24th, which is Heilig Abend, is the main celebration day in Germany. For me, it felt like a day to prepare for Christmas, not to actually celebrate it. Honestly, this was something I never really got used to.
My favorite part of Christmas in Germany was going to the Weihnachtsmarkt, aka Christmas markets. They bring together the best regional snacks, meals as well as arts and crafts. Every year, I made it a point to visit the Christmas markets multiple times with family, friends, and coworkers. I miss the special sausages and fresh waffles a lot. The scent of winter spices reminded me of the special time of the year.
Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US
Interestingly as I write this post, we are on our way to spend Thanksgiving with family. Until I moved to the US about five years ago, Thanksgiving was a foreign concept to me. To be honest, it still comes as a surprise every year. It definitely feels good to have a long holiday weekend in November, and then four weeks later, we get another break. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with songs and nice decorations.
Christmas in California is very different. One of my favorite parts is that the weather is beautiful and sunny in December. I have come to the realization that I really enjoy Christmas now. I believe it is mainly because I have my own family, and we are creating our lite Christmas traditions.
I have learned that I can influence how much I enjoy the holiday. The five things I remind myself of during this season include the following:
Call to Action
How was Christmas while you were growing up or living in a different country?
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
What is one thing you'll do for yourself this Christmas?