A Decade in Review

Maggie sits down to reflect on the past decade of life and everything that came with it.

In celebration of the impending new year and new decade, Maggie is looking back on the last 10 years and everything she’s accomplished. Plus, she talks a little bit about looking forward and planning for more big changes.

Check out Marie Forleo’s Decade in Review exercise.

Download Maggie’s worksheet that helps you celebrate your 2019 achievements.

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.

To get more involved with Money Circle:

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano: 00:00 Hey there and welcome to the money circle podcast. My name is Maggie Germano and I am your host. Thank you so much for tuning in, especially on the day before new year’s Eve. I know a lot of you are probably taking the day off and relaxing with friends or family or perhaps just by yourself, so I appreciate you taking the time to download the episode and taking a listen while you’re at it. Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe to money circle in your podcasting app so that everyone else you know and don’t know. We’ll hear about this podcast and listen. As always, this week’s episode is brought to you by Stitcher premium. Listen to some of your favorite shows. Ad-free was Stitcher premium like throwing shade. Conan O’Brien needs a friend, my favorite murder and more. Plus you can get access to Stitcher originals like the neighborhood listen and groceries. You may have never heard of them, but they are very funny and very silly and are a great way to pass the time.

Maggie Germano: 00:58 Stitcher premium is only four 99 a month or 34 99 a year. But if you use the code money circle, you can get your first month for free. Go to stitcher.com/premium to sign up today, this week on the Eve of new year’s Eve and looking forward into 2020 which is not only a new year but a new decade. I wanted to do some reflection and look back on the decade. So this is not something that I normally would do. I don’t always look at things in terms of the decades going by a, it kind of freaks me out to think about huge chunks of time and how quickly they’re passing me by. But I’ve seen a lot of different exercises and activities about looking back on the decade and planning forward for a new decade and I was interested in maybe taking part in that for the first time. So one really cool exercise that I saw was actually by Marie Forleo.

Maggie Germano: 02:01 I will definitely share the link in the show notes, but Marie was doing a three part series. It’s a video series, but she’s also written it out in a blog post and I believe it’s on her podcast as well. Uh, but so it’s, it’s a structured way to look back at the past decade and reflect on the things that you’ve achieved, the things that maybe you don’t want to be holding onto anymore as we’re going forward and thinking about what we want to do in the next 10 years. So it’s a 10 year reflection as well as a planning tool and it was actually a lot more helpful and interesting than I was expecting. So I highly recommend anyone go ahead and do that. The first video and Marie’s exercise is all about celebrating your wins. So looking back and actually acknowledging the things that you’ve accomplished in the past 10 years and she’s not specific on whether that needs to be personal achievements or professional achievements.

Maggie Germano: 03:05 So I really just thought about all of the things and decided to lump them all together cause they’re all just as important. So in the past 10 years, you know, thinking 20 2009 to 2019 I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree and three months after that I moved down to Washington DC by myself basically without a job and after a few weeks living in DC, I actually, I did secure my first job, my first real job in the field that I was looking for, which was the environmental conservation nonprofit realm. I started working at the national wildlife Federation as a full time paid intern for a year and that was an amazing opportunity, amazing experience. I have lifelong friends from that organization and wonderful memories of my time there. From there I got a, my next job at the Pew charitable trusts, which is a large nonprofit that also has a heavy environmental conservation focus and I got promoted twice while I was working at that organization and they’re actually kind of known for not particularly promoting their low level administrative staff.

Maggie Germano: 04:24 And so being a brand new person in the workforce, getting hired as an administrative assistant with dreams of working my way up the ladder at that organization, it was really important to me to be able to get promoted. And so that did happen twice before I left and started my own business, which is another big accomplishment. Something I never thought would happen, but while I was still at that other organization, I nearly doubled my income while I was working there. And that was obviously thanks to uh, getting those promotions and also just their good, uh, rules and guidelines around how much the raises are when you’re going from one level to another. Another really important thing that I took advantage of while I was working at that organization was to contribute to my retirement fund. So they had an amazing retirement program where they would match what you were contributing up to a certain amount and then they would actually put in a percentage of their own money whether you were contributing or not.

Maggie Germano: 05:31 So I was not only doubling my money by getting a match, I was more than tripling my money because I got an additional match. And so I was actually able to have $100,000 invested in my 401k by the time I left Pew after seven and a half years. So that was something I never really envisioned seeing that number in terms of just having that money in an account. That’s mine. Um, and I’ve, I transferred that over into a SEP IRA, which is for self employed professionals so that I’m still able to contribute a significant percentage of my income in there as I work for myself. Uh, several years ago I paid off my student loans in full, which was very exciting and amazing milestone for me because that was something that I was heavily focused on. After a couple of years of not really being able to put too much towards them, I really wanted to get rid of them quickly.

Maggie Germano: 06:29 So I was able to throw all of my extra money basically at my student loans and pay those off in just a few years. I saved about $25,000 in my emergency fund after, uh, several years of not having to pay my student loans, as well as having my boyfriend at the time move into my apartment with me so we could split those costs instead of me having to cover them myself. So don’t forget that being able to share the burden is a big way of how a lot of people can save up money and pay off debt and do things like that. So if you’re carrying your own burden on your own, still don’t compare yourself to other people who have either two full incomes coming in at once and are able to share their bills with each other. Related to that, I stopped wasting time on relationships and romantic involvements that weren’t making me happy and weren’t going anywhere.

Maggie Germano: 07:28 So I met Dan, who’s now my husband and allowed myself to get into a healthy relationship with him. We moved in together, we bought a house, we got engaged and last year we got married and just celebrated our one year anniversary last month. So lots of change and accomplishment in terms of that. And that’s been something that I’ve been really proud of because it wasn’t always something I saw it happening. If you know me personally, you know that I was never a big fan of driving. And so I got my license in the past decade. Yes, I am 32 and I got my license when I was 24. And uh, that was a big milestone for me cause I hated driving so much. I thought I would just always live in downtown DC and never need a car. But as I was staring down the age of 25, I decided maybe I should, uh, go ahead and get my license so that when I was older and needed to be able to drive a car, I could do that for myself.

Maggie Germano: 08:29 Of course, I went several years after that, not driving at all. And uh, earlier this year Dan and I bought a car, which is another accomplishment. We bought a car in cash. Um, and that was a big, big accomplishment, a big financial, uh, commitment for both of us, especially, uh, taking basically half of what we had in savings to buy a car. But it made the most sense for us that time to not take on a car payment and we still had enough in our savings to feel like we could get by if something were to happen. So I now actually drive the car and feel pretty comfortable with it. I drive myself around quite a bit now and uh, more than I ever expected that I would. And it’s nice to have that freedom knowing that I can get up and go and get to where I want to be even if it’s not Metro accessible.

Maggie Germano: 09:22 Something else that I actually skipped over was after, uh, getting one of my promotions back at my old organization. I actually moved from living in a row house with roommates into do an apartment where I lived by myself and I lived in that apartment alone for three and a half years until Dan moved in with me. And that was a really interesting experience because it was a way for me to just really learn how to take care of myself and how to be comfortable being by myself a lot and getting comfortable with my own company as well as, uh, learning how to be social when I needed to and trying not to be too much of a hermit. And, um, it also, I think really I credit that with being able to reign in my spending and stick to a budget because I was paying a full rent by myself and I was paying my student loans at the time.

Maggie Germano: 10:17 And so I was pretty limited with what I was able to be spending money on and how much I could actually spend. So having that time to have the higher expenses and the not as high income was really good practice for helping me learn how to live within my means. I became an aunt twice. I have a beautiful niece named Charlotte and a wonderful nephew named Joey and I love them to death. They’re so funny and so smart and I’m so grateful to watch them grow and learn how to love other human beings in a way that I never really imagined before. I traveled to England, Ireland, and Scotland by myself a few years ago. I, uh, I had a bunch of points and I could go over there for basically free outside of the taxes and fees. And so I decided to take a two week vacation by myself to the UK and it was amazing.

Maggie Germano: 11:14 Again, another opportunity to show me that I am capable of taking care of myself and enjoying my company and getting stuff done that I don’t need to be surrounded by other people at all times. So that was really awesome. I also traveled to Iceland with Dan and we went to Spain and Peru and Thailand and Maine and The Bahamas and Bermuda and Atlanta, the Dominican Republic, new Orleans, Savannah, California, Colorado. So lots of places. We’re also about to go to Japan in just a couple of weeks, which is going to be incredible. That’s one of, uh, biggest dreams of where to visit and Peru was mine. So we’re hitting both of those right away. Um, but you know, being able to save up money and travel the world is something that’s been very meaningful to me when I’m not planning on slowing down on that. We have a bigger travel savings goal for the coming year.

Maggie Germano: 12:12 So that’ll be something we still really focus on. So like I mentioned, I started my own business while I was still working. I never considered myself an entrepreneur. Um, and so, you know, pushing through some of that fear and allowing myself to change some of the ways that I view myself and that I view my career path, uh, was really difficult for me. But a strengthening process to go through once I felt like I had established my business enough and made it strong enough and also had enough savings, I quit my job, my full time. Very stable, well paying job with incredible benefits, which was a terrifying decision to make. And sometimes I wonder if, if that was the best decision to make because entrepreneurship can be a little shaky and scary and, um, off-putting sometimes. But it was a scary thing to do. And I think, uh, allowing myself to have the courage to make that decision and take that leap was a really big turning point for me.

Maggie Germano: 13:16 And so, you know, since I’ve had this business and been running it full time, I launched a podcast, this one that you’re listening to right now, which is another thing I never really consider doing. Um, I have started viewing myself as a public speaker and getting hired and paid to do so and spread the word of personal finance and financial literacy and money as a tool for women’s empowerment. That’s been something that’s been amazing. I’ve won two different awards for my business. I’m a certified coach, I’m a certified financial educator. I have a column, my own column at Forbes women, which Forbes is a really cool platform and very well known and has a wide reach. So just saying that I’m a contributor to Forbes on a regular basis is really exciting. Something I did in just the last year was that I increased the amount of money I brought in through my business by 40% from what I brought in last year.

Maggie Germano: 14:13 Which uh, running the percentage point it, it sounds a lot more impressive than a what I thought originally looking at the numbers. So that’s something that I’m very proud of. And uh, in terms of more personal achievements, I also have been consistently going to therapy and working my way through, uh, dealing with things like depression and anxiety and self doubt and all those fun things that come along in life. And that’s something that I’ve really prioritized is really prioritizing that, the mental health side of things and getting myself in good working order as much as I can. And related to that, making sure that I’m really prioritizing relationships and friendships that are happy and healthy and loving and uh, mutual and really, you know, filling up my life rather than taking away. So that, that’s something that I’ve been really focused on and proud of.

Maggie Germano: 15:11 So a lot of this probably feels like I’m just bragging to you about all of the things that I’ve done in a home, just so amazing. But the way that I think about it is, you know, we don’t really consistently focus on all of the positive things that we have achieved in our lives. And it can, it’s so much easier to think about the negative and to just kind of brush by the positive. And the more that we are reflecting on the positive, keeping track of the positive and speaking it out loud in a way that we don’t feel embarrassed about or like we’re bragging, the more confident we will feel and the more supportive of ourselves we will feel. And the more we can just really celebrate the things that we’re able to do and then keep moving forward to keep going and achieving more things.

Maggie Germano: 15:59 So, um, that was a really fun exercise. I very much enjoyed it. And um, I’m going to both re listen to this episode and reread my list that I made in my notebook whenever I’m feeling bad about myself and feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. And I encourage you to do the same. So the next section in Marie’s exercise is to look back on what you’ve learned based on all of your accomplishments and the things that you’re proud of. What did you actually learn about those things and about yourself? And for me, I had a few kind of similar revelations that kind of go across the board with the different accomplishments. So I’m capable of more than I thought I was. So moving to DC by myself without a real plan. That was a huge scary leap for someone who had never really lived more than just a couple of hours from her family and is kind of a home body and I haven’t left.

Maggie Germano: 17:00 So I’m capable of more than I thought it. Same with my business and my career in general and just the different things that I’ve been able to do. So that is a good realization cause sometimes I don’t always feel that way. Next is that I am worthy of good, loving, comforting, supportive relationships and friendships across the board, family, romantic, friend wise, all of those things I am worthy of feeling happy and supported in those relationships. And that is again, not always something that I really felt. And that definitely led me to certain relationships that maybe weren’t very healthy and didn’t make me feel very good. And I am doing my best to be conscious of that these days and be very intentional and the people that I’m spending time with and also showing them how much I care and appreciate them as well. Cause we don’t always, uh, let people know that all the time.

Maggie Germano: 18:02 So that’s something that’s important. Um, next is that perfection is not a thing. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody does everything perfectly. Nobody has it all figured out. And that doesn’t mean that you can’t still figure things out and keep going as you need to. So not chasing perfection as the ultimate goal anymore. So those were my main learnings. And the next section, which I, this is the kind of thing that I really love because it is a vulnerable question and it forces you to really dig down. And the question is, what am I willing to let go of when I am moving into the new decade? And Murray uses examples like old projects and goals that you’ve always been setting for yourself that you just every year and never seem to work towards and never seem to achieve resentments, anger and upsets that you’re holding on to and limiting beliefs or crappy old stories.

Maggie Germano: 19:01 And what is the most important of those to let go of and why? So for me, I couldn’t really think of old projects and goals that I’ve been holding on to. I tend to, you know, if I think of a project or I set a goal and then I changed my mind about it. I don’t typically have a hard time letting that go. So I didn’t really have anything in that category. Uh, in terms of resentments and anger and upsets. Um, I think a lot, you know, as I’ve mentioned, just past relationships, romantic relationships and friendships, uh, allowing myself to just let those things go and not hold on to that as a source of sadness or regret or resentment for those people and just letting it kind of be and moving forward in that, you know, in a more positive way. And so feeling more comfortable and confident in where I am now and not holding on to those feelings from the past.

Maggie Germano: 19:59 And so letting go, for me, the most important thing was letting go of those old resentments and anger and pain upsets because it really, it closes me off to new opportunities and it makes me, you know, a little hesitant to get close to people, whether those are friends or, um, new, you know, business partners or, uh, other people in the industry and just like feeling hesitant and nervous about those kinds of things. And, uh, holding back when maybe I do want to be connecting on a deeper level. So that is something that is super important to me, um, to, you know, let go of as I move forward in the new year and embrace deeper and happier relationships with everyone around me and collaborations with in the, uh, financial industry with new opportunities in terms of career. And, um, I’m excited to be more intentional and thoughtful and courageous in those areas.

Maggie Germano: 21:00 So that’s really what I had in mind for moving forward. And I honestly think that letting go of that and really focusing on that is going to open me up in many different ways. No. For the last section and the last video of Marie Forleo’s decade in review, she talks about what’s next. So we’ve done all of the reflection and looking back and celebrating our wins and our accomplishments and thinking about what all of those things meant to us. And that is so incredibly important, but it’s also important to look forward and do some planning and think about what do I actually want to achieve moving forward? What kind of life do I want to have? How do I want to feel? And those are the kinds of questions that I actually ask a lot of my coaching clients. Because when you’re thinking about setting goals, it can be hard to come up with something and it might seem like everyone else around you knows exactly what they want with their lives and they know exactly what they want to do.

Maggie Germano: 22:05 And you can feel a little stuck. And the truth is that you know, you have to do some thinking and ask yourself some questions and uh, work through some of that. In order to get some clarity. You don’t have to know exactly what you want right at the outset. So some of the questions that Marie kind of put forth was what do I want to do? How do I want to feel? What kind of structure do I want my life to have? What do I want my finances to look like? So it doesn’t have to be just personal goals or just career goals. It can be personal, it can be career, it can be financial, it can be health related, it can be relationship related. And so just getting some clarity and writing out all of the different things that you want to be achieving in the next decade, which can be kind of scary. Cause if you’re like me and you’re thinking about how old you might be in 10 years, it’s like that seems like it will be a completely different life and I’ll be a completely different person. And the truth is, I’m a very different person now than I was 10 years ago when I was 22 and having just moved to D C so it’s okay to be a different person in 10 years, even if it’s hard to imagine.

Maggie Germano: 23:26 So for me, and I’ll just give a couple, cause I know that this episode has been going on for a while and you probably want to get to your Netflix or your new year’s Eve celebrations. Um, but just a few different goals that I kind of have in mind for the next decade is starting a family. So I really want to have a kid or two in the next few years. And so that’s something that’s even terrifying to contemplate because that’s something that I actively avoided for the past decade. And so thinking about actively trying to make that happen is terrifying and exciting at the same time. I also want to continue prioritizing my health, both physical and mental health, so maintaining, being in therapy and uh, improving my relationship with my body and food and exercise and maintaining some sort of balance and moderation with all of that. So that I’m feeling like I’m taking care of myself and I’m feeling good about the choices that I’m making without too much restriction and too much overindulgence as well as just making sure that I’m taking care of myself and so that I don’t end up with any, um, potential, you know, genetic issues like diabetes or other things like that that are in the back of my mind.

Maggie Germano: 24:52 But I’ve been young enough to not really worry about it too much until right about now. So making sure that I’m prioritizing those things without, uh, buying too much into the restriction of diet culture and the shame that comes along with all of that. I also, like I mentioned earlier, want to keep, uh, prioritizing travel and seeing the world and visiting family. I really want to make sure that I’m seeing my family more often than I am now. Right now I’m kind of at a every three or four month routine, but I want it to be a little more like every two months or something like that. If I can manage it. And now that I have the car that I can drive, it’s easier for me to go home and my career is flexible so I’m able to take long weekends and go see my family and friends.

Maggie Germano: 25:39 And so I want to really be prioritizing that as well as continuing to see the world. Like I said, we’re going to Japan in just a couple of weeks now and uh, we also want to go see Mexico city. Dan hasn’t seen a whole lot of Europe and he really wants to do some of that. I want to go out West and see, um, a bunch of those national parks out there and some of the other cities that I haven’t been to. So just making sure that we’re continuing to prioritize that even once we do have a kid or two, I want to make sure that we are living by example and traveling when we can and continuing to save and prioritize, um, where our money is going in terms of travel. I also want to be growing my business, so making sure that I’m expanding into areas that people can have more access to like courses.

Maggie Germano: 26:32 And online group coaching and monetizing things like this podcast and my writing and things like that. Being able to reach more people at an a more price outside of the coaching model, the one on one coaching model. And so just expanding and growing my business both so that I can be reaching more people, impacting more women as well as increasing the amount of revenue that I’m able to bring in for myself and my family and the amount of money that allows us to do the things that we want to be doing. So, um, that is a big focus for me. And uh, the next part of this exercise was, uh, getting really clear on what your top three goals are out of your huge list of dozens or hundreds of things you want to do in the next decade. And so for me, it was deeply prioritizing my physical and mental health, improving and strengthening my relationship with Dan and starting a family as well as growing my business and increasing the amount of money coming in so that we can be putting that money towards the things we prioritize, like travel and family.

Maggie Germano: 27:41 And our home and the last piece in this whole decade and review exercise is what future me wants me to know now. So it’s a really interesting exercise that I have not yet fully completed, so I’m not going to be reading it to you, but, um, it’s a good way to kind of envision yourself in 10 years and think about who you might have to be in order to achieve the things that you want to achieve. And then thinking about you as that person who did achieve all of those things in 10 years from now in the Eve of 2030, which makes me shudder to say, um, but looking back and telling yourself, these are the types of things that you need to be doing, these are the type of things that you need to be thinking. This is how you should be treating yourself and talking to yourself.

Maggie Germano: 28:35 And this is, you know, what you need to be doing in order to get to where you want to be. So that’s a fun exercise that is a little outside of my comfort zone, but I’m going to complete it. And I hope that you complete it and that you enjoy it. Um, and I really hope that you found this whole decade in review exercise as helpful and as exciting as I did because you know, sitting down and really thinking about these things, getting vulnerable with yourself, getting specific, it can be really hard, but I think that it’s incredibly important and it can shed light on all of the different things that you want to do and the different changes that you need to make and it can impact all different parts of your life. You never know what you might actually want to change that has kind of been rattling around in the back of your head that you’ve been too scared to face.

Maggie Germano: 29:28 So I hope that you work through this exercise yourself. I will link to it in the show notes. I also will link to a worksheet that I’ve created, which is all about celebrating your wins of the past year. So maybe you’re a little overwhelmed by the idea of looking back on the last 10 years and maybe you want to narrow it down a little bit to just 2019 so go ahead to the show notes and download that worksheet where you can list out all of your achievements from the past year as well as doing some reflection on maybe why or how you didn’t reach certain goals that you set for yourself and what might you need to change for the year forward in order to reach some new goals. And there’s some space there for you to set some of those goals for 2020 so go in there into the show notes, download it onto your computer, print it out, do what you need to do. Um, it’s something that I like to fill out every year and I hope you enjoy it too.

Maggie Germano: 30:30 Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast. If you’d like to get more connected with money circle or with me, there are lots of ways you can do that. To join the free Facebook group, visit facebook.com/groups/money circle group to stay informed of any upcoming events. Subscribe to my weekly [email protected] slash subscribe if you’d like to join the virtual money circle membership group, visit Maggie germano.podia.com/inner-circle to learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings, or just to read my blog, visit Maggiegermano.com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @MaggieGermano. Thank you so much for listening and have a wonderful new years. I hope that you are inspired to do some reflection and planning and please do share some of those goals and reflections that you’ve come up with. I’d love to hear about them in the Facebook group or on Instagram, so feel free to get in touch. Bye.