What To Do When Your Plan Falls Apart

What happens when you wake up one morning and your plan falls apart for some reason or another? Maybe you’ve had a set back with work and aren’t making the amount of money you thought. Or you’ve had one, two, three big and unexpected expenses, so that goal of yours now seems impossible. What are your options now that your perfect plan isn’t so perfect anymore? What do you do?

Well it seems you have two options. 1. You can give up because your plan didn’t go according to plan. OR 2. You can tweak your plan, adjust it, and get back on track. Remember a few weeks ago, we talked about choices, so here are your choices. What will you choose?

In my book, I talk about how much more important our reactions are to set backs and road blocks than our initial actions. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. I think this is so important, that I wrote an entire chapter on it! If you haven’t bought Strong Woman Stronger Assets, here is the link to get it:

My husband and I have a bucket list of stuff to do before our baby is due. We’ve been crossing the small stuff off, but some of the big and very daunting items are still on it. We have a four room renovation lingering over our heads, one of the rooms being the nursery. Right before we were going to get started with the renovation, the ceiling light fixture in our foyer started dripping water. Dripping, might not be the best verb, pouring water is more like it. We ran up to the attic and found our AC unit was leaking water everywhere. The first thing that ran through my head was no AC and being pregnant! Next was how are we going to pay for this since it turns out we need a new AC unit. Luckily for us, we had money set aside for our renovation. Unfortunately, that means our renovation is being put on hold for a bit longer until we figure out the costs of everything. So our big renovation plan went out the window. Or did it? I started playing with the numbers, took out parts of the renovation that can wait (not the nursery!), and now we are able to modify our plan and get it done.

I was very close to a few breakdowns, especially being extremely hormonal. Some nights my husband would open the door and throw in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream before coming in. It was like an ice cream grenade to settle me down first! But remembered, this is why we keep money in our emergency fund. It’s there for unexpected emergencies like this! Crying wasn’t going to fix our problem, though it was tempting. Complaining wasn’t going to get us more money. Side note, I just saw a video about complaining and how it retrains our brains to make us negative. Complaining creates new pathways, and these new pathways are easier to access so we use these negative, complaining routes in our brains more and more with every complaint. Scary!

I always say it is critical to have your financial plan or map with any goal, but what’s equally important or more important is to review your plan along the way. Life comes up, and it does tend to get in the way, so we always need some tweaks and modifications to our plans. Let me give you another example.

We had a woman in our office for a discovery session, and she was out of work for two years. This was not part of her plan, and made her very hesitant and actually completely fearful to make any decisions with her life. She had a plentiful amount of money in the bank as her emergency fund since the two years of unemployment really terrified her of it happening again. She also had some debt, about $10,000, from three unexpected, large expenses with her house. She explained how much the debt was weighing on her and made her feel terrible and so far away from her retirement. It took us some time, but we finally were able to explain this is why she needs a plan. Instead of being paralyzed and stuck in her current situation, a plan can help give her confidence, help get rid of that huge fear, and better understand her options. She had a huge emergency fund, which I explained is there for these large expenses. By having a plan catered to her, she can understand what her best option is to pay off the debt, save for retirement, and actually start doing some of the things she really wants to do. I asked her what she wanted for her retirement. She said to travel, continue to give to some charities she is very passionate about, and to live by the water. But before she could finish any of these wants, she always said her fear will never let her do any of them. Can you imagine wanting all these things, but never actually doing them? She only has one life to live, what would she think if she looked back when she was 90 years old and never had any of these enjoyments during her life?

By the end of the meeting, she started to understand she needs to stop stalling and staying stuck in her fear in order to move forward. She’s been living this way for already too long, and it is time to change. What I haven’t told you yet is she already has an advisor, but this advisor hasn’t asked her what her concerns were with her money. This question alone brought up so many concerns and fears, it took 45 minutes for her to go through them all. And he definitely hasn’t asked her what she really wants for retirement. Least to say, she already felt so much better leaving our office, she said she really needed to open up about her fears because they were paralyzing her. She didn’t realize how much she was sabotaging her own happiness until our meeting was over, and for that she was so grateful.

So don’t live in fear, don’t live in the past, and don’t give up on your dreams. There is a way to get to them, it just takes some creative thinking and adjusting our plans. I’ve done it for myself, I’ve done it for many women, and I can probably do it for you too. Let’s set up a call to see how we can get you on your way. It’s your life that’s speeding past, don’t wait until it’s over and it’s too late. Grab it now!

As always, Happy Planning! AND Adjusting that plan!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Wealth Advisor