Even when we do not plan out our lives on various levels, we operate with certain expectations that are derived from past experience, input from our family and friends, and (these days certainly) whatever social media suggests we should be thinking about. But what happens when your plans and expectations do not materialize or at least not in the fashion you anticipated?
Here we are in early summer – at this writing – on a national holiday: Independence Day. This is a time of travel, family, cookouts, ball games and the like for many of us. Those may be the plans but what did you have as an alternative for a cool, rainy day that seems to foreclose the cookout and ball game, suggests a postponement of fireworks, and makes a long drive seem unappealing?
Some of us may cancel our plans, sit at home and sulk about the weather. Others may head to the movie theater or restaurant or maybe even go shopping. The braver souls may move their plans indoors and continue with the holiday fare and get the children involved in games and pastimes that are enjoyable even when the outdoors is not attractive. And some of us may head outside and splash in the puddles for a while.
That said, the idea of addressing an unexpected change in our plans is something we will all encounter and further is something we all may handle in different ways. When it comes to our finances and planning for today and for retirement and other goals we likely will fare better if we are resilient and able to come up with useful alternatives rather than sulk and complain about our setbacks.
Being prepared might include the obvious – an emergency reserve of cash for those surprise expenses, an unexpected illness or job loss; the ability to reduce lifestyle expenses at least temporarily; willingness to adjust goals in terms of timing or amounts; and so on. The not so obvious may be things like a line of credit or willingness to shed assets to improve the current situation. Above all, being prepared may best be accomplished with an open mind and an upbeat approach allowing you to rise above the unexpected.