“He’s making a list, and checking it twice.  Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.”  Which list do you think you should be on based on how you’ve handled your finances this year?  The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has put together “The Santa Claus Audit” to help us figure out if we were naughty with

our expenses, or kept our finances nice and orderly.  Chances are, you’re on the naughty list if your outstanding credit card balances have increased over the year; You dipped into your emergency reserves for a non-emergency expenditure; You have not requested nor reviewed your free annual credit report; you still have not prepared a will or estate planning documents; do not contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan. Add another lump of coal if you are not contributing to a 401(k) plan that has a match.

You may be on Santa’s Financial Nice List if you always shop with a list; You prepare a budget every year to govern your spending; You pay yourself first. For example, you automatically set aside a portion of your paycheck for short-term and long-term financial goals; or You know the following numbers by heart: your FICO credit score, your net worth, your marginal tax rate, and your monthly fixed expenses. For an extra candy cane, you know your asset allocation (percentage held in stocks, bonds, and cash)

If you find yourself on Santa’s Financial naughty list, 2015 could be the year to do a little planning and end up on Santa’s nice list.  

Kris Dugan