Here is another edition of Finance Friday. I hope you enjoy!

Idea I am pondering:

I was listening to a podcast his week where an athlete named David Goggins was being interviewed.

He once ran a 100-mile ultra-marathon in less than 19 hours. He is obsessed with knowing what his limits are and overcoming them.

He went on to say during this podcast that he firmly believes individuals operate at about 40% of their abilities.

I have heard something very similar to this from the Iron Cowboy James Lawrence – who may be the one individual I know of who has stretched his body further than Goggins.

Goggins said the mind has a tactical advantage over us, because it knows everything about us – what we are scared of, our dark lies, and our insecurities. The mind tries to push us away form these things to keep us safe.

He expressed how important it is to overcome our minds if we want to accomplish great things – be in charge of our brain instead of it ruling over us.

If we want to get past the 40%, we have to conquer our minds and believe we can do more.

This really got me thinking about how much I am pushing myself. Am I stuck at the 40% – or even less – or am I exceeding that?

This has helped me gain perspective as I enter a new year. I know I can do more to push myself beyond the 40%.

Stock Market Update:

It was an eventful week in the financial markets.

The Federal Reserve held their year-end meeting. This one was anxiously anticipated by Wall Street.

Over the last two months – as we have talked about weekly in this letter – the stock market has seen a lot of turmoil.

Depending on the indices you look at, we are down roughly 15-17% over the last 60 days.

Most of this being attributed to interest rates and the trade war.

Many believe the Federal Reserve is being too aggressive with their rate-hikes. This is why the meeting this week was so important.

Many wondered if the Fed would slow the pace at which they hike rates – to help prevent a recession. Most agreed if the Fed didn’t loosen up their policy the market would likely suffer.

During the meeting they held true to the course they had outlined – at least for the most part. They hiked rates another .25%, and said they plan to do it another two times next year.

This was less strict than what they stated during their former meeting – as they were forecasting 4 rates hikes for next year. The market went on to lose 3-4% over the next two days.

Mortgage rates were dropping leading into the meeting and they have now leveled off and even risen slightly.

Over the coming weeks it will be interesting to see how the stock market responds in the aftermath of the Fed meeting. The Fed seems to be purposefully slowing the market. The question will be, are they going too far?

Only time will tell!

Finance Tip:

Something I always like to do at the end of the year is reflect back on the prior twelve months to see how well I did.

I do this with a few key areas: creating memories with my family, spiritual progress, financial momentum, health, learning, etc.

As you look back on 2018 it is important to ask yourself: are my finances in a better situation than when I started the year.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about how to track your net worth. Knowing where our net worth is at is important because it helps us determine if we are making financial progress.

As we come to the end of another year, I would encourage you to read this net worth post again and think about where you are with your finances.

Even if you are doing well, tracking and setting goals will help you make more progress than if you remain on auto-pilot.

If your finances are messy, make the determination to change. View the new year as a new start. Set goals for what you want to change and get to work.

If we are not constantly monitoring our progress it is unlikely that we will make any significant progress.

Book I am Reading:

This time of year, I enjoy reading the novel: The Immortal Nicholas

This is an interesting story that combines both elements of the Christmas Holiday – spiritual and secular.

It mixes the religious element of the birth of Christ and brings in the tradition of Santa Clause. It is obviously fictional, but helps me to yield my thoughts to what the true meaning of Christmas really is.

If you haven’t read it, it is a enjoyable and easy read for this time of year.

Interesting Topic:

I came across these interesting facts about Christmas and thought I would pass them along.

The original Rudloph didn’t have a red nose. At the time a red nose was related to being a drunk, so they didn’t want to incorporate that into the original Rudolph. There goes everything I ever believed about Christmas!

In 1914 during WW1 there was a famous truce of war. The British and Germans even came together in a safe zone and exchanged gifts and played football.

During WW2 the card company, Bicycle, gave all of the US prisoners of war in Germany playing cards. When the cards were soaked with water, they revealed an escape plan – Germany never knew.

The tradition of Santa Clause can be traced back to the 3rd century to a monk named St. Nicholas. One legend says he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled to help the sick and needy – especially children.

Another legend states that a poor father didn’t have enough money to help is daughter get married. One night a small bag of gold fell down the chimney and landed in a stocking. This happened for each of his tree daughters. The father later found out it had been delivered by St. Nicholas and so the tradition began.

Whatever the true origination of Santa Clause, I think we can all agree the giving behind this time of year is what makes it truly special.

Thank you for reading. I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas.