The recent financial crisis has forced me to live on less, while also trying to find a way to make ends meet and saving for retirement. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I had much to begin with. While I could say that it was challenging, I don’t believe that “challenging” sums it up in a pretty little nutshell. I believe that “trying”, “frustrating” and even “scary” are words that would best describe it (however I cannot discount challenging because it’s been that too).
I have always been a little on the frugal side so going back to the basics was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be, although I was not expecting to have to do that now. Now when I’m thinking about retirement (and the fact that retirement is looming on the horizon adds to the issue), now when I’m thinking about settling down, chilling out and relaxing…these new issues arise. I was once told that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but worrying about money and how to take care of things is not my idea of a good time.
So with that I started thinking, what can I do to change my situation. Clearly since someone has “moved my cheese”, it made me think that now might be a good time to start actually thinking about my situation, what I could do differently and where can I go from here. Here is what I came up with.
1. Change my attitude. Everyone in some way or another has been affected by the financial crisis and I know that there are people who are worse off and people who are better off. If I think of it as a learning situation, it better equips me to go out and learn about my options.
2.Take action. Once I have this information in hand, I can do one of two things. I can put it to good use or I can shove it in a drawer, complain about my situation and stay stuck.
3. Change my thinking. I can look at the positive or focus on the negative, the choice is mine. When I focus on the negative and everything that wrong, I will bring more of what’s wrong to me. I want to bring more of what’s right, so I decided that’s it’s in my best interest to think positive about the financial crisis.
4. Go back to the basics. Although cutting back is not fun (because I’d much rather be spending), I recognize that the more I spend, the more I worry. Worrying about the financial crisis just makes me edgy and cranky and that doesn’t go well with my positive attitude.
5. Create a plan. With a plan, I know that I won’t have to stay in “cut back” mode 24/7. It gives me the space I need to be able to reward myself – without the splurging and without the guilt . It also helps me to stay on track in achieve the financial goals that I have set for myself.
6. Talk to a certified financial planner. A CFP will help me to look at my goals from an objective perspective. It’s easier to see where you’re going when outside of the storm, instead of in it.
7. Try to keep a positive attitude. Okay so I’m supposed to keep a positive attitude when my financial world is crumbling. Yes – I’ll probably be eating crow after this one, but as I mentioned in steps #1,2 & 3, try to see this as a new beginning. A new way of doing things and seeing things. This one is not going to be an easy one, but with all things that are not easy, it will be worth it.
We all have been affected by the financial crisis in one way or another, but keeping our wits about ourselves, taking steps to correct the situation and looking at it as a stepping stone rather than a curse is an outstanding way to start down the road to recovery. Your situation and steps may be different from mine, but may be equally effective in taking you on your way to financial recovery. Best of luck and much prosperity to you.