How to Foster Financial Wellness Before Things Get RoughSeptember 19, 2022
No matter how perfect someone’s life appears on paper, the truth is that we’re all out at sea. At some point, we all encounter one of life’s big waves, like a health challenge, divorce, or job loss. So how do we preserve financial wellness during these tough times? How do we ensure that money helps support us, rather than hinders us?
In this blog, you’ll find how to foster your financial wellness by:
- Finding your “anchors”
- Charting your course with financial planning
- Keeping an even keel and adjusting when winds change
1. Find your “anchors”
While we can’t anticipate all of life’s surprises, we can establish anchors, or robust support systems, that keep us in place.
Trusted financial professionals can play a crucial piece in a strong support system. While some people choose to sail solo, others benefit from hiring financial professionals who help manage complex financial situations. Here are some of the people who can help:
- Wealth advisors can evaluate your financial situation, help make a financial plan to match your life goals, and adjust your plan as life unfolds.
- Accountants can help inform tax planning, retirement planning, and the sale of a business.
- Attorneys can help with estate planning and divorce planning.
These professionals are at their best when they coordinate, like when an accountant chimes in on managing a tax loss or an attorney offers insight on estate planning when an LGBTQ family is navigating complex legal frameworks.
When finding “your” people, keep in mind that soft skills, like how well these professionals connect with you and others in your network, are just as important as hard skills, like investment portfolio allocation and tax-loss harvesting.
Does your attorney make you feel comfortable and informed? Do you feel that your wealth advisor communicates well with your accountant? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you’ve found a great fit. If the answer is “no,” then it may be time to find another person to fill this role.
2. Chart your course with financial planning
The world is sprawling before you, so where do you choose to go? Whether you’ve decided to employ a professional or you prefer to make your own plan, here are some frameworks that can help map your future:
- Financial plans pair your financial goals with strategies to achieve them.
- Budgets estimate your income and spending for a set period of time.
- Investment portfolios include a range of assets with the expectation that they will grow in value.
- Estate plans articulate how you wish to distribute your assets after your death.
Plans are not just useful when the going gets tough, but they also help us channel our resources toward what we value now. Financial planning has a way of helping us zoom out, asking, “What do I want for my life?” Whether you realize that you wish to pass on family values through an intentional estate plan, or you realize that your budget doesn’t align with your deeper goals, financial planning has a way of tapping into something deeper than numerical values.
3. Keep an even keel, and adjust when winds change
Because change is constant, our plans should be flexible. Change can come from within us, like choosing to plan a family or change our careers, and it can come from outside of us. Whatever the source, our financial plans are most effective when they are adaptable.
When we realize that the winds have changed, 2 things need to happen. We need to:
- Pause a beat before making a decision, and
- Respond to the change without getting stuck in decision paralysis.
Both action and stillness are necessary for successfully navigating change, but choosing which mode to focus on depends on you.
Do you tend to rush into action? Focus on letting yourself pause a beat before making a decision. Pausing before making any decision can not only improve decision-making accuracy, but it can also instill a greater sense of calm and satisfaction with your decision.
Others of us tend to sit in decision limbo, overanalyzing the infinite routes we could take. In reality, we can’t know all of the possible outcomes, but we can learn to overcome decision paralysis by trusting our gut instincts, getting comfortable with uncertainty, and accepting our choices. As with any meaningful decision or life change, having an objective outside voice can help make the most of our energy.
4. SOS: Know who to call
You’ve mapped your anchors. You’ve charted your course. If you start to feel out of your depth, you have your people – people who will listen and offer stability in challenging conditions.
Haven’t found your people yet? SWM is here to help. Contact us for a complimentary meeting.