Looking Ahead to 2020 Hindsight
Our cities are starting to reopen but it will still take a while to get back to some sort of normalcy. With the last couple of month’s struggles still fresh in our minds, if you could go back in time, what would you do differently to prepare for the financial stresses that most of us had to experience?
Let’s hope there will never be another pandemic like this, however, this isn’t the first time we’ve gone through a major event that affects our cash flow. We’ve had recessions, market corrections, government shutdowns, and individually we may have medical issues or unemployment which can all affect our finances. But will we actually remember the pain we’ve gone through this time or instead go back to old habits and old ways?
You should remember. Send a letter to your future self and list out whatever it is you wish you would have done differently. For many people, this is saving for an emergency fund. This is the kind of emergency you’re saving for! Think about what a difference it would have made if you had even one month’s worth of living expenses if you are currently going through a rough time. A good rule of thumb is at least three month’s worth of living expenses. Take this experience and commit to starting the habit of saving so you’re prepared for the next time.
Include other suggestions for your future self by committing to spending more time with friends and family, learning new skills for a side hustle or keeping more cash on hand for buying opportunities—whatever comes to mind.
You may have to wait until you’re in a better financial position to make even small emergency fund contributions, but don’t let this favor to your future self be forgotten. Slip a note in your calendar, ask Siri to set a reminder for you or tack the letter on your fridge with a note to open in a few months. Make this letter the motivation to be good to your future self and make positive changes for the next time the unexpected happens.