While I am unable to recall the source, one thing I read that made an impression on me was something on the lines of – At the end of an year, you should feel like an improved version than what you were in the beginning.

Of course, the way I read it was written in a far more refined manner but the gist of the statement was that every year, consciously try to improve yourself in whatever area you choose. I just love the thought behind it because it speaks to a strong belief that I hold of me being my only competition.

I do not like comparing myself to others and choose to look at relativity only through versions of myself. Not that it works in every aspect. For instance, I have been struggling with losing weight and inches. Tired of this, my husband tries to pacify me by telling me to look around and how I am still fitter and well slimmer than a lot of people around. Unfortunately, my only response to it is, I don’t really care because I was never like this and I need to get back to the shape I was in. So, yeah comparing to your own previous versions comes with it’s own baggage.

With blogging, I believe I have started looking at my year in a far more structured manner. While last year, the year end meant one post with resolutions and best posts, from this year on, I realized my year end musings deserve two posts. The first post will be about the year gone by especially with respect to the blog and the resolutions made last year. Considering that I now talk about my best performing as well as any other favorite posts in my blogiversary post, that part now gets knocked off from the year-end post. The second post in the year end series will actually be the first post of the new year, listing down some actionables for the coming year.

So, here’s an update on what happened on the 3 public resolutions that I made last year:

Update on Resolutions made in 2018

Resolution # 1 structured way to help people with their money

While I managed to fulfill this resolution, it happened in a way very different to how I imagined. When I started with the year 2018, I was firmly entrenched in the Marketing team of a private bank in India. I had thought of starting a Virtual Financial Planning service while continuing with my marketing job.

In a stereotypical “water cooler chat” with a colleague, I got an idea of making an internal move within the organization which would also be in line with my helping people with their money. This colleague happened to be from the Wealth Management team in the bank and I had worked with him briefly. After listening to me jabber for five minutes about becoming a CFP and writing about money, he told me to consider becoming an Investment Counselor.

Taking his advice to heart and after getting some more details over a chai (Indian brewed tea), I decided to muster the courage and have a conversation with the head of Investment Counselors in the bank. That guy was really senior up the chain but I got lucky with how nice, open and approachable he turned out to be, once his secretary gave me my five minutes of chat with him. He recommended me to the Regional Head of Investment Counselors for the West Region.

While it took some time, waiting for a day when he would be in office and not traveling to meet his wide spread team or clients, I met another true gentleman. He listened to me, heard me out, grilled me a bit and maybe even read some posts on the blog. Since I had the limitation of not wanting to go outside Mumbai, he told me he would get back if there was a vacancy in his team since he had recently had two new recruits join his time. While that was the best outcome possible, I could never say when such an instance would come up.

In the meantime, I checked up more people on Linkedin at various big Wealth Management firms and used some of the other people in my network. I managed to meet people at two Wealth Management firms thanks to my cold emailing, even with no experience at it. Through my network, I met a senior person at another Wealth Management firm. With all these conversations and meetings, I understood more about the business and how much I wanted to be in the industry. However, for most of the places, either my existing salary was too high or no experience was a barrier.

By August, I took a financial plan creation workshop over a weekend and was trying to figure out how I could start using my knowledge and passion, when the West head of Investment Counselors, who had told me he would call in case of a vacancy actually called. As you can imagine, I got lucky and made the move from marketing. Today, my job involves meeting 2-3 clients a day, understand their relationship with money, their existing portfolio, and money moves and recommend their way forward.

For me, this experience was an eye opener. I am a believer of signs and it tells me that Personal Finance is where I am meant to be 🙂

Resolution # 2 More excitement in the posts

While I did not lay it down in numbers, I had a bold ambition of a lot of roundup posts and guest posts. In March this year, I collaborated with 6 fantastic ladies for a 3-post roundup series on their thoughts for women and Personal Finance. The best part about that roundup? A lot of them became great Twitter friends.

Then in October, I collaborated with 18 Personal Finance bloggers for their view on how to remain within budget for this Festive season. While each instance gave more exciting content to Elementum Money, it also made me realize every time what bunch of phenomenal people are running their own Personal Finance blogs across the world.

I also managed to get one guest post on my dear friend Liz’s blog – Chief Mom Officer, where I talked about my experience of being born in a pre-liberalisation India and the changes thereafter.

As for the blog, there were three other changes. One, I moved down from three to two blog posts a week. With a crazy work schedule, I was running myself ragged with imposing the pressure of 3 posts a week. While 2 is also a strain at times, it has proven to be far more manageable than the earlier goal of 3. Two, I introduced the segment on Personal Growth. I believe Personal Finance and Personal Growth do go hand in hand and having those threads simultaneously on my blog each week has been enriching for me personally. The personal growth posts are also what have received the best responses so far. Three, I invested a bit and got the website to be done up professionally. While I was quite happy with what I did on my own, this new layout makes me happy every time I see it. Having been a marketer, no excuses for me to not have a good looking site.

Resolution # 3 Better blog marketing

While I still think this is my Achilles heel, 2018 has been a fairly decent year for Elementum Money. The retirement planning post was on the top page of Google search results for a while. This post warning of the perils of social media addiction was featured on Rockstar Finance. This post about the trap of Instant Gratification got a noteworthy mention on Rockstar Finance. A lot of posts were picked up and curated by dear Twitter folks and other associated websites. There were a few times I hit the sub-1 Million mark in the Alexa ranking as well. So yeah, while my time commitment to the marketing aspect has been a little wanting, I can’t complain much on the results!

Other wins for 2018

Side hustle initiated

In May last year, while I was visiting my sister, I started interacting with another Indian blogger on Twitter. One day, she messaged and asked if I was interested in freelance writing for a Personal Finance app blog that she managed. I figured no harm in exploring. That has led to a 7 month strong relationship of freelance writing for that blog. Later in the year, I also started writing for the blog of an Investing app. The more I have written, the more effortlessly it seems to flow.

I practiced what I preach

I have always talked about the importance of automating savings and spending more time invested in the market. In that respect, Systematic Investment Plan or SIP is hands down one of the best instruments. 2018 was finally the year that I put into action my teaching and started my SIPs for the long term.

Financial planning for a friend and a family member

Having taken that workshop on financial plan creation, I realized I now have a better idea of taking a consolidated view of money matter for a person or a household. I reached out to friends and family who had earlier shown an inclination to take my help in streamlining their money matters. One very close friend whom I have now known a decade and a half and a second cousin who I have been very close to trusted me with their money matters. I worked out the numbers and shared my recommendations. The best part was that they found it pretty professional and actionable. If you have read the post till here, then I am guessing you do believe in me and what I write about here. In case you need any money help, I am happy to help pro bono! Feel free to email me at aparna@elementummoney.com

So, that was my 2018 and I do look at myself as an improved version on the last day of the year today. How was your year? What were your wins?