My Three Words – 2024 Version

my three words
Let's review how well I did sticking to my three words for 2023, as well as share my three new words for 2024.

Last January, I introduced the “My Three Words” concept and shared my three words for 2023.

The My Three Words concept is simple. You choose three words that can help guide your daily choices and actions in the coming year. When making a decision, you check in with your three words and ask if they align with your chosen focus for the year. Using these words properly can help make it easier to say “no” to a project. When a project does not align with your three words, you should say “no”. To learn more about the process, you can also read this blog.

You want to review your three words frequently. I kept My Three Words front and center by including them as part of my 2023 business and impact plan. They were integral to my most important personal and professional goals for 2023. Sharing them helps make me more accountable. As promised, it’s time to check back in and see how I did. Then I’ll share My Three Words for 2024 and comment briefly on some exciting developments for Apprise.

My Three Words for 2023

  • Communication
  • Value
  • Focus

Let me recap why I chose these words.


When you think about financial planning do you only think about numbers? Some do. But there’s much more to it than that. Going into 2023, my top goal centered on earning the Registered Life Planner (RLP®) designation. Life planning should position you to live your most fulfilled life both now and in the future. A big part of the RLP® program centers on communication skills, especially listening.

I learned a lot during the RLP® program and made some life-long friends, too. I have already worked with numerous Apprise clients on their life plans. Life planning allows me to get to know more about Apprise’s clients and what matters to them. Please use this link if you would like to work on your life plan in 2024.


How did I do? Overall, I’d give myself an A-. I achieved my goal of earning the RLP® designation. Clients spoke with me more frequently. I also helped clients with their life plans. Personally, my communication skills improved, too. But this is an area where continuous improvement rules the day. I know I can be an even better communicator.


Oftentimes people find it hard to fully grasp the benefits of working with a financial advisor on an ongoing basis. Financial plans are not meant to be a one-and-done experience. Life changes. Not everything goes exactly as we plan. Questions come up. Advisors can help you answer questions related to most – if not all – aspects of your financial lives. Those with a good understanding of taxes can help you with tax planning. Good tax planning can help lower your lifetime tax bill. That can leave you with more money to spend today and/or save for tomorrow.

2023 Value Adds to Apprise’s Service Process

In 2023, Apprise added some new elements to its service process to provide more noticeable value to clients:

  • Q1 – Sent all clients a tax letter.
  • Q2 – Requested copies of client tax returns for review and planning ideas.
  • Q3 – Reviewed and updated client beneficiary designations and trusted contacts.
  • Q4 – Reviewed and implemented tax planning strategies where applicable, primarily centering on Roth conversions.

You might wonder why so much of the focus was on taxes. Remember that taxes represent one of our biggest lifetime expenses. I find it interesting that most lists center on home, transportation, children, education, and retirement. Those all lead to big numbers. But taxes can easily dwarf some or all of them. Taxes should be a year-round conversation.

Keep in mind that the current tax regime only applies through the end of 2025. In 2026, either we go back to the 2017 tax regime or we implement something new. The odds favor higher tax rates going forward. Apprise helped clients complete more Roth conversions in 2023 than in the past. We expect this trend to continue in 2024.


I’d give myself a B+ for this one. Yes, the process was more formalized. I reviewed numerous client tax returns. But not every client shared their return. I want to get 100% compliance going forward. I would also like to add another element or two to this process.


Going into 2023, I wanted to narrow Apprise’s focus on working with female-led households. I worked with an outside consultant in 2023. Apprise now focuses on working with “Women Facing New Beginnings.” Our goal is to help these women flourish through life’s big changes. This language appears front and center on Apprise’s homepage. Our weekly blog addresses topics more directly related to our core client group as well.

In November, Apprise, along with Laura McDowell from Charles Schwab hosted a Women & Investing workshop – “Investing from the Inside Out: Powerful Principles That Women Should Know.” Plans for more investing-related workshops for women and women’s circles are already planned for 2024.


The performance for this one was the strongest of the three words, meriting an A.

My Three Words for 2023 proved to be impactful for both Apprise’s business and its clients. With a new year starting, it’s time to look forward to 2024. While these words also have meaning personally, I’m going to focus on the professional aspects here.

My Three Words for 2024:

  • Partnership
  • Collaboration
  • Life planning

Why did I choose these words as My Three Words?


Apprise is growing. In 2024, Another advisor’s firm will be merging with Apprise. The combined firm will still be called Apprise. We believe the merger will create a dynamic and unified entity that will continue to provide high-quality financial advisory services.

The merger represents a commitment to enhancing our capabilities and expanding our reach. Both firms focus on life planning as the driver of the financial planning relationship as well as working with women facing new beginnings. The other advisor and I met during the first class in the Kinder Life Planning training program. We went through the other parts of the training program together as well. Importantly, this advisor is also a woman. If Apprise wishes to focus on working with women facing new beginnings, it makes perfect sense that a woman has a meaningful role in the business as well.

You can expect to receive a formal merger announcement later this month. I’m holding off on naming this new partner until we publish a video and issue a written announcement formally announcing our partnership.


As described here, collaboration represents “a partnership; a union; the act of producing or making something together. To collaborate is to commit to the possibility of producing an outcome greater than would be developed in a silo.”

With a business partnership in store, it logically follows that collaboration must be an important element of Apprise’s 2023 business plan. I look forward to collaborating with my new partner and believe our work together will bring additional value to our current and future clients.

In addition, life planners collaborate with their clients. We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we do promise to listen and help our clients come up with ways to address those things that can get in their way. We want to collaborate with them and help them live their most fulfilled lives.

Life Planning

Okay. That’s technically two words. But they go together so well that they count as one. They also refer to one concept, so this list still represents My Three Words.

More seriously, life planning is now an integral part of Apprise’s business. We offer every client the opportunity to work with us on their life plan. As a result, we also endeavor to check in with clients and see how they are progressing with their life plans once they have one. If anything changes, we want to make sure it gets reflected in both their life plan and their financial plan.

The upcoming business partnership and the increased opportunity it provides to collaborate also better position us to achieve our life plans. You can find mine here.

If you would like to complete your list of My Three Words for 2024, consider the following suggestions:

  1. Choose three words that are individual and actionable.
  2. The words don’t have to mean anything to anyone but you. Don’t worry about explaining them.
  3. Stick with your three words throughout the year.
  4. Your three words should be meaningful and action-oriented.
  5. The more you review your three words, the better. I write mine into my short- and long-term planning guide. I also have them on a sticky note hanging from one of my monitors.
How About You?

Have you chosen three words for 2023? If so, please share them via email. I’ll be happy to share them – anonymously of course – in a future blog post.

If you choose your own three words for 2024, don’t keep them a secret. Share them with your family, friends, and even your clients.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2024 a great year! Thanks for taking the time to read this week’s blog. Please reply to this email with any questions or comments.

If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating your life plan, saving for college, saving for retirement, or the retirement smile, please complete our contact form or schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom. We will be in touch.

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