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When Your Financial Life Suddenly….Changes

It’s easy to think, in our simple monkey brains, that life is always going to resemble the way we’re living it today. This is especially true of adults, who tend to sink into a routine, enjoying the security of knowing that one day will be very much like another. I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons of the banal. I am here to say that this sensation of sameness and security is largely an illusion! Most people have sudden shocking events that impact their lives one way or another. These events often hit you in the wallet, leaving you with no option but to change your life. Because these game-changers are coming for most of us, it’s good to mentally prepare for them long before they arrive. Here’s how I do it.

  • I Prepare for the Best. So what happens if I win the lottery or a huge settlement from a court case? I’m on the phone with the 123 Lump Sum Purchasing Company, of course. See what I did there? I had a specific plan lined up for a specific occurrence. It doesn’t happen often, but most people will experience a windfall at least once in their lives. This can happen because of reasons like the above, or due to the death of a relative, a big investment win, or other reasons. You’ve got to know what you’d do in a case like this. I recommend that you A) squirrel the money away for a few months, till you are used to having it and are sure you have a good plan for investing it or at least using it in such a way that it will benefit you for many years to come, and 2) don’t tell people you have it in the meantime. This saves you from having to have awkward conversations with people who might want a little piece of your action.
  • I Prepare for the Worst. You can do this a lot of ways. If there’s a chance that you could lose your job or your house, make sure you’re being nice to your family and friends in the meantime, just in case you have to crash on a couch in a financial crisis. I also save whenever possible, trying to have at least 6 months of living expenses waiting in the bank, just in case some personal money catastrophe materializes. It’s a lot more common to lose money than to gain it suddenly in a windfall. It can help to be prepared with a (good) relationship with a financial professional, someone who knows you and your finances who can give you concrete advice is things ever go south.

The only thing you can be sure of is that things will change. Whether they change for the good or the bad isn’t really up to you. You’ve got to simply be prepared for whatever change brings. Hopefully, it’ll bring you a solid windfall, one that can change your life for good. But if foul financial winds blow, you can be ready for them.

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