The one constant in life is change.
It sounds cliché, but it’s very true. Almost everyone will have a moment where change will rock the typical steadiness of your life. A health scare. An unexpected job change. Divorce. A significant drop in the market (i.e., a bear market) as you’re on the verge of retirement. These shocking twists can make us want to scramble and take immediate action to right our suddenly turned around world.
However, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. When coping with physical imbalance, the key is to focus on a stationary point.1 This allows your brain to make adjustments to maintain your equilibrium. The same applies to other life changes. Fear and frustration may urge you to take some unexpected course of action to address sudden changes, and sometimes these knee-jerk reactions cause more harm than good. In those highly-charged moments, soliciting some professional council, like from a trusted financial advisor, can help us locate that stationary goal and work with us to identify any adjustments that need to be made.
Every time I meet with my clients, I remind them what we’re working towards. Yes, I want to be made aware of any changes they may have experienced, but I also want to remind them what all the decisions we’re making and actions we’re taking are working towards. We planned for the unexpected expenses by saving an emergency fund. For my younger clients, momentary dips in the market don’t necessarily derail us from our long-term goals. In fact, it actually provides purchasing opportunities. Additionally, markets go down, but they are always achieving new high’s long-term. For my clients on the cusp of retirement, these dips were prepared for by diversifying their savings and expanding their emergency fund. With the long-term goals in mind, it’s easier to see the horizon from within the storm.
The trick of it all is to stay focused on the long-term vision of the life you’re trying to create. I’ve learned that this applies not simply to your finances, but other aspects of your life like your career or your family as well. Changes will occur, and your world may get a little rocked, but as long as you take a breath and continue to focus on your long-term goals, you’ll find yourself on sturdy ground once again.