ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Shit Happens

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

No matter how prepared we think we are, life always seems to have a trick up its sleeve. We can protect ourselves with all the insurance, savings, and safety nets we can afford, but the potential for unexpected life events and challenges to derail our carefully laid plans is always present.

Life constantly brings us new surprises, many involving loss: the loss of a job, a loved one, money, car keys, passport, cabin or air pressure—the list goes on.

We can’t prepare for every possible contingency, but there are some basic steps we can take to keep from going under at the first hint of trouble.

Build a safety net

Your landlord hikes the rent. Your insurance didn’t cover as much of that hospital bill as you expected. Your daughter is making her surprise debut as a new mom. Lots of people think they’re prepared for potential life changes…right up until things change. That’s the wrong time to realize your preparations are inadequate.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, make today the day you start one. Find one lifestyle change you can make to free up some cash; if you’re having difficulty carving out the extra expense, ask your bank to automatically round up every purchase and siphon the change into a new account. Every little bit helps.

Respect the contingency plan

You can’t predict everything, but you can take steps to make yourself more resilient in the face of unexpected obstacles. Nobody likes paying for things they don’t need, but health and life insurance are some of the most important ways to protect your financial future and those of the people you love.

We live in a country where a single accident or unexpected medical event can send a family into financial ruin. It’s easy to believe we’re immune to these shifting sands until our own lives are swept away by them. If the worst happens to you, those pesky or even painful monthly premiums you’ve been paying suddenly won’t feel so cumbersome.

Don’t stress what you can’t control

After all the preparation and planning, there comes a point where we just have to let go and roll with the punches. (If we don’t, we’ll never leave the house!)

Life will change, sometimes in ways you expect, frequently in ways you don’t. If you expect the unexpected, do what you can to prepare, and trust in your own financial and emotional resilience, you’ll be able to manage any hand life deals you along the way.

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