Working Through Unexpected Change
27 April 2020
We have learned over the years that it’s pretty tough to predict the future. Through today’s global health event and economic adversity, we’re seeing how essential it is that we are able to shift gears when faced with a challenge. The things we couldn’t have possibly planned for catch us off guard, so we have to quickly adapt. By leaning on the insights and beliefs that shape us most, we are in a stronger position to move forward and embrace the unknown.
At In Good Company, we believe your values are what motivate you to achieve financial confidence. It’s this mindset that can help keep you aware and afloat when stressors hit. Being prepared is key, even if we don’t always know exactly what we’re preparing for. So, as you adapt and attempt to ready yourself for changing circumstances, here are a few steps you can take to feel more confident.
1. Revisit Your Values
When facing a major economic shakeup, you may find yourself taking a good look at what — and who — matters most. Events like this often provide us with the clarity we need to focus on our competing priorities, both financial and personal, and make decisions (especially those we often put off) about where our money goes.
Give yourself some time to reflect; observe what inspires you or write your thoughts down in a journal. Initiate conversations with loved ones about their priorities and brainstorm ways to work any unaddressed values into the budget. To help you identify and rank the most important values, this tool from our workshops is a great place to start.
2. Reconsider Your Expenses
In addition to getting good at social distancing, we’ve likely become more mindful of our money, especially the money we spend. Whether cutting back by necessity or for a lack of need, there is a natural shift towards more awareness of what we are, and are not, spending. Among lifestyle pivots, income adjustments and value check-ins, we now have a fresh perspective to help us consider our current expenses.
While many expenses will remain the same, and some may even grow, focus your sights on those expenses that have gone done over the last six weeks. Based on what you now know, can some of these expenses (entertainment, dining out) be eliminated or substantially cut back in the future with limited pain or interruption? If so, this creates a great opportunity for you to redirect that money to fund other priorities such as savings. To help you get started, here’s a short video of one person's experience with a budget.
3. Add Safety to Your Finances
Recent stock market volatility has given us all pause. We’ve seen much of the market gains of the last six years nearly erased in just a few days. But like many things in life, what goes up must come down — and what goes down often comes back up. It’s the same with the stock market, and we need to take a long-term view.
In preparation for the market’s potential return to its previous levels, it’s important that we rebalance our portfolio’s asset allocation. Your allocation may look quite different than it did before this crisis, but a rebalance can help ensure you are closer to your original allocation when companies start getting back to business.
And as you go through the rebalancing process with a financial professional, you may consider talking to them about adding safety into your financial mix. Safety can come from certain financial products like life insurance or some annuities that are unaffected by the ups and downs of the stock market. Some of these financial products also come with guarantees that are helpful for long-term planning.
4. Embrace Your New Work-Life Balance
For many of us recently, the work-life balance pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other. Work-from-home regimes have forced us out of our comfort zones and made us realize that elusive concept of “balance” is actually achievable. There are ways to take advantage of this new equilibrium and make it part of your everyday — your new normal.
Schedule your workday around your family’s needs. Connect with coworkers via phone and video more often now, and face to face when you’re back together. Get used to fewer emails. Tech-enable your home, so you can continue to work effectively and keep your homelife balanced. Finally, experiment with your skills and hobbies: cooking, coding, arts and crafts — or discover new things you enjoy. Spend some time on yourself, improve on what you are good at and make room for the things you value most. Because you never know what the next crisis might require.
In Good Company is a team of researchers, designers and thought leaders who are taking a different approach to financial education in the workplace. With engaging workshops, trusted financial professionals and hands-on activities, they create an empowering experience that inspires employees to align their financial decisions with their personal values. It’s all designed to make financial education more accessible.