You lie awake in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling. All your dreams and plans for a future with your spouse have come to an end. This wasn’t the plan.
The reality of your situation is clear: you are now on your own and responsible for the outcome, in ways you never imagined.
Resist the urge to panic. You’re better prepared for this challenge than you know. It’s a good time to get your emotions in check and think about these five core concepts:
- Your financial security is now aligned with your beliefs and focused completely on you
- Your values belong to you and will evolve as you evolve
- Your passions are solely yours, you can pursue them however you choose, and achieve the impossible if you so desire
- You can and should experience and embrace your new life, new adventures, and new beginnings – it’s your journey
- You will have an impact on those causes and people you care about, and you will need to be able to measure that impact in some way
Eating an Elephant
Being in this position can be overwhelming. Don’t let the enormity of your situation lead you to paralysis.
For many individuals who are now on their own, this is uncharted territory. Most financial/life decisions have been made up until this point with the consideration of your spouse and/or children in mind. You may still have some residual considerations – like college planning or care for aging parents – that you will have to take into account. But the decisions are yours to make now, and doing what’s best for you is where your focus now lies.
It might feel like you’re being asked to eat an elephant. The decisions feel elephant-sized, but the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. That means you’ll need to organize your thoughts, strategize your actions, and implement your plans in a way that can be measured. A year or two from now, you’ll want to be able to answer these questions:
- Have I made the impact I wanted to make?
- Have I grown with my choices?
- Am I in a better place now?
- Am I still on track to continue what’s most important to me?
The answers to these questions begin to form with the actions you take now. A year or two will pass quickly, and you’ll want to be prepared.
Organize your thoughts
What needs immediate attention? What are your long-term goals? What no longer fits into your life plan? These questions are not just a onetime ask. They should be asked, monitored and tweaked as your life evolves.
What will it take to move your ever-evolving values and financial life along? How will you monitor forward progression? What is the first thing you need to do? Where do you start?
Implement your plan with clarity and confidence
As you put your plans into action, it will be important to assess your progress as you go along. This is not a “set it and forget it” proposition and is not an easy task. Keep in mind, things will change. Examine your progress through the lens of your values and intentions, not just your overall balance sheet. Are you staying true to your principles? Have your beliefs and ideals changed/evolved?
Your Life and Legacy
Developing a clear plan of action for the tangibles in your life can help you to move forward, one step at a time, through the chaos of a significant life change. It might not have been the plan you had for your life, but it is possible to rise and move forward in a powerful way. It’s important to focus on one central idea: your life and legacy is NOT about your money. Your money is merely a tool to make things happen.
Sitting down to discuss your newly-altered plans and dreams with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help you to focus your efforts toward your ultimate goals. A fee-only financial advisor will help you to look objectively at the tools you have at your disposal, and will help you to make decisions that fit in with those goals. Because a fee-only financial planner is held to a fiduciary standard, you can rest assured that the advice you receive will benefit your financial goals, first and foremost.
Facing the Future on Your Own
Facing the future on your own might not have been the plan, but with careful consideration of your personal financial goals, that future can be a powerful testament to your life and legacy!
Though you are on your own personally, you do not have to go at it alone when it comes to managing your financial life and financial well-being. Working with a team of fiduciary advisers can help answer the big questions of your unique situation. If you’ve recently gone through a major life change or currently going through one, focus on what’s most relevant and impactful to you. A conversation centering on financial planning for the present and the future is a step in the right direction. Talk to a fiduciary adviser today.
Published: January 4, 2017
Author: Ann Pendley, CFP®
Phone: (812) 602-6304
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