THE STRAIGHT S K I N N Y
The Steps to Recovering From Financial Loss BOUNCING BACK Nearly every competitive athlete knows that eventually, the body can’t keep up with your dreams to be Superman (or woman). I was a swimmer, a runner, then a triathlete, back in the days when your 40s were the new 20s. I was always pushing myself just beyond the edge. So clowning around in the gym with my swim peeps (the “old and busted” crew) back in early 2017, I managed to injure my right knee. Long story short, I did everything I could to avoid major surgery. Finally, in 2018, I’d reached critical mass and had to admit it was time for a replacement. While I’m doing phenomenally well — back in the pool, spin classes, and doing some training — it’s still not “my” knee after six months. So … I’ll keep moving and eventually, I won’t notice that weirdness … or so they tell me. Much like recovering from any major surgery, bouncing back after a financial loss can be a lengthy process. Market losses are easily recovered so long as you stay disciplined and remain in your portfolio strategy. Losses from fraud, poor decisions, or investments will take much longer to overcome and may require some soul searching. Most people don’t anticipate this kind of loss. Certainly, we don’t anticipate losing future income due to a medical condition. Like physical therapists and personal trainers who help guide the patient back to normal activity, good advisors can be instrumental in guiding you back to good financial health. The first step in any recovery is to accept what’s happened. It is what it is. You can’t spend too much time dwelling on what could’ve been (if only I’d bought Apple 20 years ago, I shouldn’t have bought that property, etc.). You have to look with “new eyes” on where you’re going next. Next, I encourage clients to take an inventory of the situation. If you’ve lost a job, let’s retool the resume. What are your strengths and experience, and what talents can be leveraged toward a new position? What spending habits need to change? Do you want to stay in the current house? An objective, in-depth examination of all facets will help guide you to the next move.
You can only stand still for so long. At some point, you have to move forward. The third step to recovering from a financial loss is to define your goal. What’s the roadmap to get there? It helps if you use the SMART goal- making method: Specific,
Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This will set you up for future successes, instead of being stuck in “shoulda-woulda-coulda-land.”
Lastly, develop the plan and take action. Paralysis by analysis will keep you stuck. In fact, I’d like to recommend a book: “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. Her ideas of the “cultivation of tenacity” can change how you think about your situation, your mindset, how to mentor your adult children, and teach your grandchildren. Do you remember how many times you fell down when learning to walk? No. It was a natural occurrence. As adults, we often forget how to get back up after we fall. Getting back up is what makes the difference, not talent or luck. We have a saying in the Navy: “A plan is something from which to deviate.” Because rarely do things go exactly as planned. Adaptability and resiliency are the real key to happiness and success, because the only constant is change. “Expect the unexpected,” my dad used to say. Then you’ll be ready for new challenges.
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