I love to learn. A hobby of mine is to attend conferences – motivational, leadership, mindset – the list goes on and on. I recently attended a conference where we focused on our human tendencies so we could improve our leadership skills. We also set a vision for all areas of our life. The experience included lots of goal setting and process improvements, but the one thing that was missing from the content (and it was a lot of good content) was: What would I do when I hit a roadblock?

The speakers at the conference were awesome, and I was surrounded by many very successful, driven, and motivated business owners. But I couldn’t help but wonder how they moved past the inevitable detours. No one can execute their 2022 strategic plan perfectly, so how do you move past those bumps in the road? And when it comes to your financial plan, how do you handle changes you can’t control?

One of the fundamental keys to a successful plan is to anticipate and plan for those common blocks. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the vision, goals, and accountability that we don’t stop to think realistically. A challenge will come your way. What are some of the most common challenges you face and how might you move past them?

Our current market conditions are a good reminder that some things are out of your control. Much like when you want to go for a run when it is raining, what is your plan B? Having a downturn in the market is not unusual, but we might want to pretend that it never happens. It is much easier to follow a plan when the market is up. You feel better and are more optimistic. It is much easier to carry through your monthly contributions or allocation in the market. But you know what is also much easier when the market is up? Formulating a plan for when the market goes down.

Now don’t get me wrong: You still have opportunities when the market is down, and you can work with a trusted advisor to see what might work best for your situation. But please remember, when the market comes back up (I wish I had a crystal ball to know when that might be!), take the time to anticipate some of the blocks. It is much easier to think strategically and clearly when you aren’t worried about your income or investments.

Figure out, based on your tendencies, triggers, or disposition, what your plan will be when the market goes down 20%, when you are laid off, or when you have a health crisis.

Here are some common situations or blocks that might throw your plan off course, but this is not an all-inclusive list. You might have completely different risks and priorities. Do what is best for you. It is also important to think through these answers with anyone else who might be affected – for example, your partner, parents, or kids.

  • What if I or a loved one has a health issue and I need to be off of work for a long period of time?
  • What if the market continues to decrease and I need to adjust my monthly spending?
  • What if a natural disaster occurs and I cannot live in my house?
  • What if I have another child?
  • What if I decide to start a business?
  • What if I become the victim of identity theft?

These questions might seem overwhelming and scary to work through but find the right support to help you. Do some research, ask the tough questions, and think through these situations. Write a tentative plan and communicate it with those you trust. Your future self will thank you.

Author Anne M. Mank Director of Financial Planning

Anne co-hosted the weekly radio show, Money Sense, and is a Certified Integrative Holistic Coach.

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