Future Goals...With a Little Help from Your Friends

Personal Money Planning |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

It will be slower to get back to normal than many people think. Today, I’m not focusing on society and economics; instead, I’m focusing on you.  With a few exceptions, I don’t know you, the reader. But I do know that whether or not you have the virus, kept your job, or stayed in isolation--no matter to what degree this affected you--COVID-19 did affect you. It’s like a slap upside your head: It gets your attention.  And it should inspire you to protect yourself both in the moment and in the future.

You are being bombarded hourly with the “now,” so let’s look at actions to protect yourself in the future. Being “safe” will take on many forms and definitions as we go through this over the course of a few columns.

One of the first things you can do to make sure you are safe is to not be alone. No, you don’t have to find a roommate or a spouse (who hopefully would also be your roommate), but you do want to reach out to those who care about you. There are many emotional reasons for this, but I’m going to concentrate on the fiscal and the physical.

Can’t get out to shop? Need someone to feed the cat? Want a referral to a doctor? Videoconferencing got you confused? We all know that having friends (be they business, social, or personal) makes life a lot easier. Consider how you’d find a job if you lost yours, how you’d find a place to live if you can’t afford your rent, or who would watch your kids if you were hospitalized—who are these friends?

Be a friend. Keep your friends. And appreciate them. Don’t forget to do the same with your family. They are often the ones who are there in our worst times and are unfortunately often taken for granted.

Next, align your goals to yourself. This requires you to 1) know yourself and 2) make some goals. I’ve talked about goals in the past and there are many articles about it on the Internet. I am not an expert on how to help you know yourself. Some of us believe we’ve got it down. Most need some help.

I suggest three possible avenues for help: Clergy, psychologists, or friends. Friends can be very effective here…but you need the ones who can be honest (in a kind way). When you tell an acquaintance that you see yourself as kind and caring, they will likely nod their head. A true friend would, with an appropriate mournful pause, that you are a selfish jerk. You may decide that you don’t mind being a selfish jerk, but it is good for you to acknowledge it. (This is just an example, YOU are kind and caring.)

The reason you need to know yourself is because to protect your future self, you need to know what you realistically will and won’t do, what methods will and won’t work for you, and what truly matters to you.

See you next week…but please stay six feet away.

 Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.