What a year it has been. I no longer believe that “2020” is perfect vision, because I don’t think any of us saw this year coming…no matter how good your vision is! It’s definitely been a year packed full of challenges, frustration and uncertainty - on so many levels. 2020 has brought with it an element of change for all of us. It has forced us to modify the way we work, the way we learn, and the way we play.
For many of us, a shift in our routine is unnerving and fills us with doubt and anxiety. We worry about our family’s physical and emotional well-being. We become anxious about our job and our finances; and this looks different for everyone.
The reality is that all of us experience change; it’s the one constant in our lives. There are changes that we look forward to and there are changes that we fear. One thing is for sure. Things will not stay the same no matter how much we would like them to. (And, there are some things that don’t change soon enough, no matter how much we would like them to…‘go away COVID-19!’)
When life does throw us that proverbial curve ball, we have two choices in how to respond. We can despair that a change has come and assume that things will only get worse, (I call that the ‘Ostrich Effect’ - burying our heads in the sand) or we can look with excitement at the new possibilities that the change presents; to seek out opportunities to grow and learn.
As a financial advisor during this pandemic, many of my clients have asked me, “How do we plan for ‘times of change’ or uncertainty and insecurity like we are experiencing now, and how do we plan for those in the future?” It’s very important to address this question from both an emotional perspective as well as a financial perspective. In my experience, they actually go hand-in-hand.
As a financial advisor, I see it happen all the time. “It” being that people tend to feel an urgent need to get their financial ‘house’ in order when their life is in disarray or when things are changing. When people are in the middle of a crisis (you know, like during a Global Pandemic) and things feel totally out of control, that is when they really start to think (and worry) about their financial plan. These types of life events bring on all kinds of emotions and can oftentimes lead to making financial decisions based out of fear or lack of information rather than truth.
My answer to that very important question is to take the time to dig in and organize your finances when things in life are steady and routine rather than when you are in the midst of a crisis. That way when the next wave of ‘life happens’ hits you, which it will, you have the facts to make educated decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions.
Here are some places to start:
- Create a net worth statement; taking note of strengths and weaknesses on your balance sheet.
- Start tracking your expenses; know where your money goes every month and create a budget.
- Set yourself a goal and create an ‘emergency fund’.
- Make sure your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations are current.
- Take inventory of your life, property & casualty, and health insurance policies.
This will definitely take some time and discipline, but having your finances in order and a financial plan in place can help guide you through not only the predictable changes in life, but also the unexpected twists and turns that otherwise could derail your future dreams and goals. The Compass Team is here for you if you have any questions or are not sure where to start. Contact Us with any questions.
Take care and stay well!