The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now!
So, now each one of us is dealing with an extended time of staying safe and keeping a close eye on what we spend and especially what we save. A year ago, I wrote a blog about the “hidden” costs” we have in our lives—costs that can quickly add up. At that point, I noticed that my credit card was being hit by expenses from companies that I was using on a monthly basis.
It was pause for concern because when I scanned my bill each month, these extra costs seemed logical. Then I also realized that my teenagers were downloading music to their devices without thinking how quickly small charges add up!
While we are all in some form of “lock down” and working from home, I think it is the perfect time to take back control of our finances. Some advisors have written about this already but I’m going to take a semi deep dive into what you can do to preserve and maximize your savings.
• Consider being satisfied. When we first began this journey over five months ago, most of us were writing through social media how we could be champions of “thrifty nickels.” We cooked from home, stayed inside and cherished the memories that we were making with our families and friends. But as the pandemic spread and time for it to end lingered, we became restless and restless leads to desires and wants and when these are not met on the basic level, we get depressed.
Before you begin to battle feelings of “is this ever going to end,” stop and take a true inventory of your life. Most of you have heard me say that Perfect Days are not perfect! And they are not. The reason we can say that a day is perfect is because we have chosen to view it from a different angle. It is the old “snow globe” analogy. Until you shake it up the snow in the globe sets on the ground.
• Shake your world up! One novelist who also does freelance writing for large corporations like Coke and Chick-fil-A told how most of his clients had “dropped off.” These are firms that he has worked with for close to 20 years. So, what did he do? He did not sit and wonder fearfully what is next on the docket. He took stock of what he had to run on each week, double-checked his financial plan, cut out extra expenses, and began to write a 10th novel! In other words, he stepped on the “go” peddle and went forward.
• Take the first step. It’s always the hardest. I know this. I understand this, but I also know that each one of us can do it. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 30 percent of Americans have withdrawn money from their emergency funds prematurely. The numbers go up significantly for millennials at 45 percent! It is 32 percent for Gen Xer’s and just 16 percent for baby boomers. We can do better than this! Don’t touch any emergency fund unless it truly is an emergency. We have a lot more time to go in this environment!
• Some believe the quickest and easiest way to create more accessible funds is to pause savings. Whether this includes your 401(k) contribution or eliminating the automatic transfer to an emergency fund, but this can only make matters worse. In the middle of challenging times like these, it may seem unthinkable to develop a savings strategy, but this is exactly the time to do it! It can be a very creative plan that will keep you on course even after this pandemic is behind us. Always remember that the most effective solution allows you to experience financial growth and future stability. Don’t lose sight of your original vision—to achieve your financial goals, retiring with some comfort, and leaving a legacy for those who come along behind you.
• Consider financial counsel or coaching. It can be difficult to assess your finances and some of you may think, “I have so little why even worry about it.” The reason: to take the worry out and build in a structure and simple plan that will keep you on the right pathway. Entrepreneurs need encouragement in these times. Small businesses are taking a hit along with large companies. And while the stock market has stayed high at times, we are still riding a roller coaster through unchartered lands.
One of the best ways to work through this time of short falls is to spend less and be creative in the process so you know you are doing something positive that will pay huge rewards in months to come.
• Regardless of the path you take, know that you are not alone. Countless people are facing uncertain times. Most of us are looking at new challenges. The key to success is having the right plan in place, viewing your situation correctly and with hope, and also being determined to take advantage of this time by having a long-term financial perspective that will also work right now in today’s lean environment.
Start right now—where you are today with a free 411 Reset Strategy Meeting. Let’s talk and let’s invest wisely in the future!