Plan Ahead – It’s Liberating!

Woman driving car

I have found that at this time in my life – in Act 2.5 – I am more interested in planning ahead than ever before. My recent separation from work has made me look at life a little differently. Up until a few weeks ago, my commitment and priorities centered around family and work. Now that the work piece is gone (at least for now), I need to rethink not only my daily activities but consider my financial future.  

I recall something shared at the Women’s Leadership Conference by Ann Richards, the former Governor of Texas. Her statement,  “no one – particularly women – should be dependent on someone else for money.” It made me realize that my mother was great at managing our family finances. She was an excellent role model who knew the value of having a detailed budget for both short-term and long-term goals.

This idea energized me to start asking some new questions about my current situation. There were definitely aspects of my financial situation that I was taking for granted. Whether single or married, this is an important awakening. It begins with some basic questions about your priorities. You may know your weekly or monthly expenses, but have you truly assessed your long-term needs against your resources.

It can’t hurt to put a plan in place, and the upside is that it will be liberating to know how to reach your goals. When and where will that next vacation be? Should I start that home remodeling project? Am I in a position to adapt to the changes that come along? Maybe you’re not expecting to retire or move your home location just yet, however, there will be transitions along the way. Which is why it’s important to start planning now. The idea is to develop a clear financial and health care plan that includes everyday expenses as well as your special interests (travel, hobbies, entertainment etc.). This foundation will increase your ability to adapt and provide a framework for decision making.

It will be liberating to know how to reach your goals

These skills are similar to those needed to manage a business, and it will be necessary to manage our personal plan as if “we are our own enterprise.” In the article, 5 Ways Women Can Better Plan Their Financial Future, the author Jennifer Halloran includes an overview of the fundamental ways to get started. She states that “Women of all ages have an opportunity and responsibility to take steps to not only secure their financial future today, but to have options for their tomorrows. They do not need to do it alone.  Nearly all women (92 percent) say it is important to look out for one another – at home, in the workplace or in the community – and in my experience, when we depend on each other, we are not only more secure, but life is also happier and more fulfilling.”

The current business and social environments are changing rapidly. Whether directly or indirectly, we are impacted by the pace of change. If we are willing to learn and adjust now, our future interests have a good chance of being achieved. A recent article in the New York Times recommends some apps for budgeting that are worth a look.