Tough Times Call for Tough Actions.
Use this time now to re-think your financial life
Kathleen J. Owens
November 3, 2022
We’ve all been through hell for the past two- and three-quarter years. Some more than others. My fiancé was killed by the Corona virus. It’s been a heartbreaking and stressful time. I’ve been struggling to pull myself together and move forward. But now, I’m ready to use the worst time in my life as motivation. And the stock market downturn is also an impetus to be proactive and re-assess any areas where portfolio improvements can be made. However, I believe we will emerge from this nightmare: smarter, stronger and more resilient. At least, that is my hope for all.
Now is the opportune time to take a hard look at your life. There can be many areas which you can improve your life, only if you are brave enough to take action.
It would be bold to assess all areas of your life which you feel could be better, but since I’m a financial planner, I’m going to discuss how you can take this ‘re-set’ to confront your behaviors that are holding you back financially.
Inflation has increased the cost of just about everything, so now is a good time to re-assess your spending.
You have good intentions, but financial matters often get pushed to the back burner. This is normal for a lot of people. We are all very busy with our daily lives, and if something is not staring us in the face, we tend to ignore it, even if it is something that we know we should do.
Use the time now to take a deep look and ask yourself, why? What fears, misinformation, lack of time, or lack of inertia is getting in the way of your financial success?
A survey revealed that 44% of adults keep financial secrets from their spouse or significant other. Usually, the secret is hidden debt. (3)
Is it time to come clean and confess to yourself and to your loved one’s a financial habit that you may not be proud of? Or does your spouse or significant other sabotage your finances?
Here’s how you can make a plan not to return to normal.
Get out a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the center of the paper, and a horizontal line across the middle of the paper. (a big +). On the top left, list the things that you liked about your financial life before the pandemic, and on the right list the list the things that you liked about your financial life during the pandemic.
One thought could be that you liked your financial life before the pandemic because it was predictable and you had a routine. Your bills were paid on time because you automated your bill pay and set-up automatic reminders.
On the bottom left of the sheet, list the things that you disliked about your financial life before the pandemic. One the bottom right, list the things that you disliked about your financial life during the pandemic.
Another thought could be that before the pandemic you were forced to spend more due to social obligations. Your friends expected you to accompany them for after-work drinks, or your kids pressured you to buy them “stuff”. You developed a habit of caving-in to their expectations. Be brutally honest with yourself and determine, were all the things that you bought, really things that you wanted to spend your money on, or were you pressured or coerced to do so?
Are you living a financial life that you don’t want to live? Do you want to earn more, but aren’t seriously taking action to make that wish a reality? Are you just ‘going through the motions’ of living a life that you didn’t intentionally want, but it just sort-of happened?
Next, make a list of behaviors that you want to leave behind, and make a list of activities and behaviors that align with the type of life you want for yourself; those are the keepers.
Change can be invigorating for some or it can be a source of discomfort. Change can be even more difficult for the people in your life because it wasn’t their idea to change the way things are. Status quo – the existing state of affairs, is a strong force. Many people keep to the same habits: it’s easier to keep things the way they are.
Keeping things, the way they are requires no effort. Change requires effort.
A large proportion of couples fight about money, and studies have revealed that money disagreements are one of the top reasons couples’ divorce.
But in reality, we all have relationships that are simply not mutually beneficial. At work and elsewhere, there are people who bring out the worst in us, belittle us, or just bring us down. If the pandemic has been a welcome furlough from these relationships, you should ask yourself whether you can make that break permanent. This moment is the best chance you might ever have to do so (2).
It helps a lot to have the guidance and support of a financial planner, if you want to take action to change the things about your financial life that you don’t like. The financial planner can also point out many things that you are unaware of or haven’t thought about as viable options.
Again, as the saying goes, tough times call for tough actions. It’s your one life, and your financial life. Take action to make it better!
Contact us now. We can help!
(1,2) It’s time to prepare for a new and better normal than your pre-pandemic life.
Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic
May 13, 2021
3. Study from creditcards.com