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Life Take a Turn? Managing a Financial Setback

June 29, 2020

You have a financial goal. You know what it's going to take to achieve it, and you're disciplined in seeing it through. Then, out of nowhere, life throws you a financial curveball. Maybe it's something exciting, like a new baby or new home. Or something you were hoping to avoid, like a separation or job loss. Do you double down on your strategy, or throw up your hands and walk away? No matter how much you prepare, setbacks will happen, but they don't have to prevent you from getting what you want out of life.

Don't give up on your goals. Recognize that the financial setback is just that – a temporary hiccup in your plans and not the end of your dream. Small adjustments to your strategy (like saving a bit more or spending a bit less) can often have a big impact on your ability to achieve your goals. And, a solid long-term financial strategy should include some protection against risk.

Ask yourself:

Have my priorities changed? A new baby may cause you to focus on ensuring they're cared for should something happen to you. A job loss may mean focusing all your attention on providing for your essential needs. Your financial advisor can help you incorporate these priorities into your financial strategy.

What aspect of my goal can I still achieve? If you were saving for your daughter's wedding, for example, could you scale down the guest list or streamline the menu a bit? Maybe that new home you've been dreaming of can still be yours if you purchase a fixer upper so you can space out costly home improvements over time?

Can I extend my timeline? Another option to consider is extending your timeline a bit. For example, instead of buying a new car this year, maybe wait until next year?

Are there sources of money I haven't considered? Discuss your situation with your financial advisor to ensure you aren't achieving one goal at the expense of another. There are always trade-offs to consider, and your financial advisor can help you weigh them and make a decision that isn't based purely on emotion.

Finally, prepare for the next financial curveball. The best lessons in life are gained through experience. Take the knowledge you've learned and use it to plan for the next unexpected event. It may mean beefing up your emergency fund or purchasing insurance. Your financial advisor can talk you through your options.

The most important thing to remember is: Don't give up. Stay focused and keep your eye on your long-term goal.

More Resources:

Weekly Market Update

Each week we provide a summary of market highlights and the latest economic news.

Keep Emergencies from Derailing Your Strategy

Here are two ways to protect your strategy when life's unexpected emergencies try to derail it.

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