The only guarantee in life is change. Sometimes it’s great change! New exciting adventures, new jobs, new relationships, better circumstances, goals met, and dreams coming true. And other times it’s hard change. Moving away from loved ones, divorce, getting fired or laid off. Cancer. Losing a parent. It can seem like your world is being shaken to its very core, even in the highest of highs and richest of moments.
So what do you do when life throws you curveballs? Obviously, you can’t anticipate everything—or live in fear of what may come—but you can make choices now that set you up for the future. What does your savings look like? Financial planning might not be a natural inclination, but think of it as putting on your seat belt. You might not need it, but you’ll be really glad you have it if you do. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Plan on it.
Life happens. Don’t worry about it now—thats just suffering twice. Instead, start setting aside a small percentage toward your future to get the ball rolling. Already doing that? Look into diversifying or increasing your contributions.
Get out of debt.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but getting out of debt is one the best things you can do for yourself and your family. If you haven’t already, start throwing a little extra each month toward your payments to get out from under them sooner.
Use what you’ve got.
Do you have a matching 401k? Take advantage of it. Add in as much as you can, as early as you can. It will grow stronger and faster, especially when its auto-deducted. You won’t even realize it’s gone! Plus, employer match = free money. Thats a no-brainer.
Get on it.
Time is your friend, so start early. The sooner the better! Compounding interest is an awesome multiplier we forget about, but like a fine wine, takes time to come alive.
Defer 5%, then the next month (or quarter), invest 5.5% and so on. Small increments are easier to adjust with—you might not notice at all. Then you’ve got a great savings account with much more than you expected.
Trust the process.
It can be overwhelming to consider all the unknowns of investing and preparing for future-you. Talk to smart investors who can help you diversify and open your eyes to watch your money grow and flex for when you need it the most.
So free yourself up! Allow yourself to enjoy life’s changes, knowing you’ve prepared yourself financially. Life will continue to push us through, season by season, appreciating the bitter so we can fully embrace the sweet. And man is it sweet.