2009 money resolutions: How we fared

Marketplace Staff Dec 25, 2009

2009 money resolutions: How we fared

Marketplace Staff Dec 25, 2009


Tess Vigeland: As we say on this show all the time, it is important to have financial goals. And we on the Marketplace Money staff are no exception. For 2009, I made some financial resolutions and to keep me honest, I brought in our Marketplace economics editor, Chris Farrell, on the deal and he made some of his own.

Hello, Chris.

Chris Farrell: Hello Tess.

Vigeland: So just remind us what you set out to do in 2009.

Farrell: Two things: One, to organize my life — clean up the office.

Vigeland: OK.

Farrell: The other, was to exercise more.

Vigeland: And remind us how those were financial resolutions.

Farrell: Well, with my office, it’s kind of like figuring out what do I have and what do I owe and where is it? I mean, organization is a big part of just getting a grasp of your financial life, bringing some order out of the chaos. And exercise? Exercise, I believe, is one of the keys to working longer. And by the way Tess, I’m the camp that believes that I’m going to have to work for a long time. Because I know, I can’t save enough to fund the retirement that I’d like to have.

Vigeland: You and me both. Maybe I need to get organized and exercise too.

Farrell: What were yours?

Vigeland: Mine were… I had two as well. One of them was to do a living will; my husband and I do not have one. And the other was to bulk up our emergency fund. So, why don’t we take ours one at a time? How is your office looking? We gave folks a photo in January, and it was quite, quite a mess.

Farrell: Oh, it’s looking much better, Tess. It’s looking much better.

Vigeland: All right

Farrell: However, if we were talking two months ago, you might have been able to see me somewhere behind the books and papers piled on my desk. So, I can’t claim that I’ve been doing this all year, but I am now making progress. So maybe it’s a biannual resolution.

Vigeland: Fair enough. And exercising?

Farrell: Exercising? Now here’s the trick: I did a lot of walking, did a lot of biking and now what I’ve done for three months — temporary, it’s a test — I joined a health club. Because I don’t know about you Tess, but you know, I just realized when it’s, 20 below zero, I don’t like getting my exercise outside. So I’m going to try now to do a little more weight lifting and see if I can be more disciplined. So, I made progress, but not as much as I’d like.

Vigeland: OK, I would give you a “B” then.

Farrell: All right

Vigeland: I’ll give you a “B” instead of a “C.”

Farrell: All right. Now, how about you?

Vigeland: Oh well, like I said, I got 50 percent of it done.

Farrell: Give us the good stuff first.

Vigeland: OK, the good stuff is, we now have a living trust. We did find an attorney that did the whole package for a flat fee. We have our advance medical directives, we have a will, we have pour-overs, we have all the stuff that you need. It’s interesting, Chris, the one thing that I was wondering how to take care of was our animals. You know, both you and I are animal people. And this attorney said that he had a lot of clients who basically just put an amount in their will that would go toward to care of the pets for anyone who took them. So that’s what we did.

Farrell: I like that.

Vigeland: So they’ll be taken care of.

Farrell: Congratulations. I think this is wonderful, I mean, you should feel good.

Vigeland: We did feel good.

Farrell: As far as I’m concerned, you’re doing really well. But what’s the one that you fell short on.

Vigeland: This is really embarrassing to admit, because it’s something that we tell all of our listeners to do. We did not bulk our emergency fund as much as I had hoped. And I really have no excuse for it. Both of us were lucky that we kept our jobs this year, in a year of 10 percent unemployment, but we just weren’t disciplined to set aside that money.

Farrell: Tiny steps for tiny tots, you know, you just gotta make a little bit of progress, not a whole lot. This is something that you build up over time, so I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself.

Vigeland: OK. Well, let’s not be hard on ourselves at all and just be proud that we did make some progress and vow to have more progress next year.

Farrell: And you know, Tess? What is it: it’s a journey, not a destination.

Vigeland: Ah, very good. I think we’ll have to put that on a poster, if it’s not already. Happy New Year, Chris.

Farrell: Happy New Year.

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