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Now is different, how to plan for things you never planned for.

June 22, 2020

Now is different, how to plan for things you never planned for.

(And how to change the plan you had when your world changes)

It is well known that creating a plan (for pretty much anything), can increase your success at accomplishing that ‘thing’ you want to accomplish and bring comfort to you as you’re working towards it.

But what do you do when you had a plan, and your life gets turned upside down? Now what?

Here are 5 steps to help you move forward with your finances when this happens:

  1. If you’ve lost your job, or have been subject to a pay cut for a variety of reasons you’ll want to look into what financial resources or breaks are available to you. Unemployment, PPP Loans for small businesses (or other CARES Act provisions like IRA Distributions), loan forbearance opportunities, a home equity line of credit, or possibly temporary eligibility for Medicaid?
  2. Put into a place a monthly spending plan if you haven’t already got one. See where you are today, the clarity accomplished here will help you make decisions as you move forward. Be sure to take a step further than just writing down what you THINK you’re going to spend. It’s important to know what you are actually spending to make this exercise work. Log every dollar that comes in and tell every dollar how it’s going to go out. Some things to consider here: Is your spending aligned with the things that are truly important to you? (For more on budgeting, check out:
  3. Get out of your head and find other abundances in your life. I know this can be a HARD one but it’s so important for our mental health and mindset moving forward. Walks on a beautiful day, free events in your area that allow you to connect with others, a hug from your kid. Get creative here, this part can be fun. One way I’ve incorporated this into my life at times is by using a daily gratitude list. Pick a time every day to sit down for 5 minutes and write down what you are thankful for.
  4. Learn to let go and forgive yourself. Both of these can be incredibly difficult but today is a new day and holding on to the past will do little help to us advancing ourselves forward. For tips on this, I would suggest a simple Google search about acceptance. Some recommendations I’ve seen (and done!) are meditation, breathing exercises and even yoga. It’s all turning your focus forward. (For more on financial shame, check out:
  5. The Money Koan. I recently read the book the Art of Money by Bari Tessler. (Great book by the way, watch next month for more on that!). Anyway, Bari mentions something she calls “Money Koans”. Money Koans are those money decisions that have no quick and easy solution. We all have them. Money dilemmas that are challenging to solve despite the number of lists and charts and sleepless nights we have around them. An example she uses is “How can I earn the money I need to have the life I want, and work little enough to have the life I want? “. These money solutions require patience, persistence and focus. There is simply no quick answer sometimes, this is something most of us push back on hearing but that’s no reason to give up. The tips Bari gives to solve these Money Koans are to live them, breathe them and take them on walks. Allow your rational mind to relax and get creative through brainstorming and dreaming. Talk about it with others and I think most importantly “Stay with it”. It is so important to not give up. Setbacks happen, and though hard when we experience it, so often we come out on the other side stronger for it.

It can be stressful when things don’t go according to our plan but by working through the steps above, it can help you address the change rationally with the circumstances as they are in front of you today, while helping to create that road-map forward as you clarify and create your new financial journey.

As always, if you need help laying out and thinking through the numbers, I’m here to help.