Whether you’re a fan of change or the idea of it makes you want to crawl under your covers and hide, you’re bound to run into big changes throughout the course of your life.
With all the emotional stress in those big moments, it can be tough to stay organized. Finances might even be the last thing on your mind during these times – but that doesn’t mean they’re not important.
Today, we want to walk you through a few top strategies for keeping your financial planning in order during a life transition.
Life’s Big Moments, Planned and Unplanned
Generally speaking, life transitions fall into two broad categories: planned and unplanned.
Obviously, planned life events are the ones we see coming: intentional job changes, the sale of a business, retirement – the list goes on. These planned transitory times are usually (but not always) rooted in choice, because you have some foresight and agency in the process.
On the other hand, unplanned life events are more sudden, such as: a job loss, divorce or major relationship shift, death of a loved one, natural disaster occurrence, or a major change in health.
How to Keep Your Finances in Order During Big Transitions
You can’t separate your financial life from the rest of your life – the trials of one nearly always affect the other. With that in mind, here are five strategies to keep your finances in order, even when everything else may feel like chaos.
1. Avoid spur-of-the-moment decisions
To whatever extent you can do so, do not make emotional decisions.
Unless there is a hard deadline that you absolutely have to meet, try to put any major decisions on hold for a while. Remember, life doesn’t come with an easy “undo” button – and sometimes late is better than rushed-and-hectic. You’ll need time to process your emotions and make sound decisions, so give yourself a grace period.
2. Know that you are not alone
Even if you feel totally isolated, it’s likely the challenge you face has been dealt with by many people before you. It might be beneficial to reach out to in-person or online support groups to help you gain perspective.
It’s too easy to shut yourself off from the world when life feels overwhelming, but you may actually find strength and sage advice by talking with others in similar situations.
3. Surround yourself with people who want what’s best for you
While support groups can offer great perspective, they don’t really know you. For the big decisions that can’t be put off any longer, you’ll want to surround yourself with friends or family that you can trust to have your best interest at heart.
4. Partner with a specialist
When it comes to specific advice, a specialist is the way to go. Friends are great to lean on for second opinions, but that doesn’t mean your neighbor or grandmother is necessarily qualified to offer sound financial advice or life coaching.
When your decisions involve technical subject matter such as legal, tax or financial advice, it’s probably time to turn to a professional.
5. Plan, plan, plan
Planning ahead of time can help ease the burden of your situation. Whether a life event is planned or unexpected, being prepared can help ease the stress.
You already know that proper financial planning can help keep you on track for major milestones like retirement or college, but it can also involve contingency planning for life’s unexpected curveballs.
Some of the contingency planning I often suggest to my clients includes:
- Establish an emergency fund to cover at least three to six months of expenses
- Make sure your insurance coverage is adequate
- Create a “what-if” file of important contacts, account numbers and passwords
- Rehearse and share your preparedness plan with family
- Have legal documents, such as power of attorney and healthcare directives, readily available
These strategies can help you cope and stay on track during a major life transition, without adding financial stress to your already-full plate. And if you need a little extra help, the right financial advisor should always be there to answer your questions and help you get on track.
Plan for Life’s “What-Ifs” with Lasso
Is your life feeling a little topsy-turvy? Do you have a big change headed your way and want to get your finances in order ahead of time? Lasso can help. Click here to download Lasso and start saving toward your goals today.
Ayad Amary is a Senior Wealth Advisor at Wealthcare Capital Management. When he’s not using his 20+ years of financial expertise to advise clients in the Greater Lehigh Valley region, you can find Ayad spending time with his family and volunteering with local charitable organizations.