When I first begin a new relationship with someone ready to begin building their financial house, I find one scenario repeats itself over and over: most have experienced some severe money problems that don’t seem to let up.
It’s like a nightmare where a tornado goes through town, followed by a hurricane, and then the overdue tax bill (that you didn’t know you owed!) arrives.
The truth is that it can sometimes be that bad in real life. Recently, I worked with an individual who had lost his job, then his car, and finally his home. A second had been the victim of an auto accident that kept her out of work for weeks, and then she had her wallet stolen.
It all seems so random.
Yet at the same time, it’s predictable.
A wise person once said that life isn’t about what happens to you; it’s about how you handle life’s challenges.
The meaning is powerful: We can choose how we respond to the adversity life throws our way. Instead of just letting bad things happen to us, we can use this knowledge to our advantage.
“What do you mean?” I’m sure you’re asking yourself. “That woman in your earlier story couldn’t help it that her wallet was stolen!” Absolutely true. She couldn’t help it that bad events happened to her.
However, she could build her plan ahead of time with the understanding that challenges, (sometimes quite painful ones) will always be a part of life’s adventure.
Most people spend their time thinking only about what they’ll accomplish if everything happens perfectly. But how often does that happen? I know in my own life, it’s never followed whatever script I laid out for myself ahead of time. Life has a way of throwing curveballs.
1) How would you plan your work schedule if you knew life’s difficulties could happen all at once? You’d learn to appreciate the value of your time and ask for raises whenever possible. If you’re in a dead end job, you’ll realize that life is short and now (not tomorrow!) is the time to begin looking for your next great opportunity.
2) How would you plan your savings? You’d build a cash reserve. Sure, maybe your auto insurance will cover the accident, but will it also cover all the costs of not having reliable transportation while yours is being repaired? Also, will it cover the threat of “the next bad thing” happening? By having an emergency fund in place, you’ll deftly handle any second threat to your financial picture once the first one has arrived.
3) On that note, what would change about your insurances? Are your insurances up-to-date? Do you have reliable coverage? What would it take for you to purchase some?
Perhaps you already have reliable answers to each of these three questions. If not, now’s the perfect time to begin working toward a plan to cover that glaring Achilles heel. It’s never easy when bad things happen, but it will always be far less painful if we’re prepared with that second line of defenses, instead of closing our eyes and hoping life is always perfect.