If you weren’t aware that events of all sorts—the good, bad, expected, and unexpected—occur throughout our lives, this year has likely made that clear. You’ve probably seen how new circumstances, whether planned for or not, can overwhelm the best of us and complicate even the most carefully laid plans.
Big changes can affect every facet of our existence, from our love lives to our careers, how we parent, and where we live. But you do have options when it comes to how you handle it all—expected or not, it all boils down to preparation.
Ultimately, the way we prepare for both types of events is the same: we need to have conversations about them and we must have flexible plans in place that we follow. If we don’t, we risk being blindsided by that which we’ve anticipated, and the situations we couldn’t possibly predict. Here, we’ll cover crucial strategies to ready yourself for both, focusing on the expected in this post, and the unexpected in the next.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the expected: the life events that are likely to occur, like paying for education, getting a job, getting married, having children, retiring and establishing a legacy, and caring for a loved one. While many of these events are welcomed, without thoughtful, flexible pans in place, you may find yourself unable to experience and protect such blessings over the course of your life.
Keep in mind that it’s never too early to start thinking about tomorrow and that the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to afford the life you’re dreaming about. Just ask the many boomers who have lived through a series of recessions and are now wondering how they’ll manage with 401(k)s that are leaner than they hoped.
So, how do you take control of your destiny—at least as much as anyone can?
Find a personal financial advocate.
Most of us benefit from guidance from someone who’s been there. A personal financial advocate with wealth management experience can help you formulate effective plans for your future.
Plan for retirement and the legacy you want to leave.
While many of us consider retirement and legacy planning part of the expected, none of us know where life will take us decades from now—or even tomorrow. Where will you live and work? Will your mate still be with you? Will health issues alter your life? Thus, it’s essential to plan flexibly—and to start now.
I often speak to women in their twenties who believe it’s too early to start thinking about retirement, and those in their forties who are sure it’s too late to acquire real wealth. Both are wrong!
Think in terms of next, now, and later.
Considering everything you must account for can be overwhelming. As you embark on—or continue—the planning process, think about next, now, and later:
- What decisions have to be made right now?
- Which decisions will need to be made next?
- Which decisions can be made later (or maybe not at all)?
Doing so can prevent decision-making paralysis and keep you moving forward. Next up, how to prep for the unexpected.