Life isn’t normal right now.
If your life is anything like most Americans right now, life doesn’t feel “normal.” We’re all out of our comfort zones, while ironically being stuck more than ever in our primary comfort zones – our homes. The certainty I thought I had 3 months ago regarding my spring plans suddenly has been revealed as just a myth of certainty.
As I entered 2020, I did not imagine any of the following were ahead:
- Working from home for an extended period of time
- At-home school for a 6-year-old
- At-home preschool for a 3-year-old
- Cancelled birthday celebrations and family trips
- Missing entire sports seasons
- Not being able to go to most public places
- Having to talk with my children about why they can’t go to school (They’re finally begging to go to school!)
The one thing that’s certain in life is uncertainty. That statement feels more real right now than it did a year ago. As a financial planner by trade, this has been a good reminder that the plans we make are our best guesses as to what will happen in the future, and even if we feel very sure of them, they are still just educated guesses. We have to maintain flexibility and humility as we adjust course along the way.
So What Should We Do?
What should we do when our plans feel like they’re failing – whether cancelled plans, a daily routine or lack thereof, a homeschooling plan, or a financial plan? Should we give up on the plan? Certainly not. We should continue to plan, sticking to the action items our plans bring, but holding our plans loosely knowing they won’t be exact. And when changes come, we make any necessary adjustments to the plan, and we move onward.
Times like this with market uncertainty and general life uncertainty make me extremely thankful to have a financial plan in place for my family, especially knowing that Financial Symmetry’s financial plans are stress-tested for bad markets.
Is There Anything Else Can We Do?
While none of us individually can change the current state of our world, there are still some things we can do to make a difference for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.
- Follow to the guidelines in place from those in authority. Washing hands is never a bad thing, and while staying home isn’t always ideal, it hopefully will help us, our communities, and healthcare professionals.
- Remind yourself daily of the things we should be thankful for, whether shelter, food, health, loved ones, technology that allows us to still communicate with loved ones even if we can’t be physically close to one another, and more.
- Offer kind words to those you interact with. A little sincere encouragement might just make someone’s day.
- Focus on things that both 1) matter and 2) you can control. Let go mentally of anything that doesn’t fit into both categories.
- Check in regularly with friends, colleagues and loved ones – especially anyone who has to be in complete isolation.
- Look for ways you can help others, whether a family member, friend, stranger, or elderly neighbor.
- If you’re a client of Financial Symmetry, let us know of any life changes that we might need to update in your financial plan. We’d love to help make sure you’re still on track to achieve your goals, even if we need to make some adjustments along the way.
The current situation presents a unique opportunity to get back to basics in our lives. With less hustle and bustle we have more time to focus on spending time with family, exercising, cooking and eating nutritious foods, and Spring cleaning. All these activities will help us come out stronger when we resume our normal lives. From a financial perspective we can refocus our long-term goals and reevaluate what is really important to us in our spending plans.