For most clients that I worked with over the past year, 2010 has been a turbulent year full of both highs (new babies, new jobs) and lows (home value declines, pay cuts). And if you follow the Chinese Zodiac calendar, this is not surprising since it was the Year of the Tiger. The Year of the Tiger brings extremes (both good and bad) and can be marked with spur of the moment decision-making and the end of trusted relationships that depend on cooperation (e.g. divorce).  However, sometimes the Tiger can bring out the best in people with its fiery heat. Hopefully, the latter is what you experienced over the past year.

In 2011, the Year of the Rabbit takes over and is said to bring a placid year for us to lick our wounds from the Year of the Tiger and get some much needed rest.  Personally, I will have a newborn baby in the New Year, and I am hoping for peace and serenity (wishful thinking I’m sure since he will be a Tiger). So, what does this earthly Rabbit zodiac sign mean for your financial future over the next year?  According to some interpretations of the Chinese sign, here is some advice:

  1. Money can be made without too much labor. Life should be leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries which we have been craving. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible to be carefree and happy without too many obstacles. What does this mean for you? Do you want to take a real vacation or buy some new clothes? Make a list of the things you would like to experience or treat yourself to in 2011 and      prioritize. Pick the one thing that means the most to you and is     financially feasible, and commit to doing it in 2011.
  2. However, do not become too indulgent. The influence of the
    Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort, and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.
    What does this mean for you? When you make your list of things you want/want to do in 2011, reflect on what will make you and your family happy. Is it an experience together or a new gadget? If you try to do everything on your list, you may end up lessening the value of each individual item.
  3. Use diplomacy to get what you want, not force. By using     persuasion, acting with discretion and making reasonable concessions, you will get your desired outcome without too much difficulty. What does this mean for you? Are you thinking of buying a home or negotiating a raise this year? Use reason and persuasion instead of issuing ultimatums to get what you want.
  4. Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be
    rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these
    unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of sleepiness. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible.
    What does this mean for you? Are there things on your “Financial To Do List” that have been there for years waiting for you to tackle? For example, rebalancing your 401(k), setting a Spending Plan, or getting life insurance or an estate plan in place. Do not let the calmness of the Rabbit cause another year to go by. Enlist the help of friends, other moms or professionals to get one or all of these goals accomplished in 2011.

As a Rabbit (born in April 1975), the guidance provided by the Chinese zodiac calendar puts me in my comfort zone for the next year. What is not to like about a year of rest and leisure? By heeding the advice above, you can be better prepared for 2012’s Year of the Dragon when caution is said to be thrown to the four winds and all kinds of overly ambitious and daring projects are undertaken.