It is 97 degrees out today and a girlfriend and I are getting on the river. I am blessed to live in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, with outdoor amenities at my fingertips. It is her first time on the river, and she is a bit apprehensive of getting into a plastic blow up kayak (called a duck) and trusting me to get her to our destination. I see so many parallels of my time on the river and our financial lives – especially for women.
Money may not be something you are comfortable with – there is a lot of emotion involved. Don’t dip your toes in the water of monetary maneuverings with fear! As you glean understanding of tools and techniques, you will gain confidence and maximize your experience. If you don’t want to go alone, who do you trust to do the best job possible in an uncertain environment?
Here are a few tips for a successful financial trip through your fall season of life.
Plan for the unexpected
One of my goals when we first started in our “ducks” was to keep the boat upright, with my body and gear safely planted inside. After a particularly grueling spring runoff adventure, a dear friend with many rafting trips under his belt shared that getting “dumped” is part of the experience. You have to plan on it and be prepared for what you need to do to recover. There are economic, life and financial winters – if you anticipate and plan, you will be more resilient. Plan and prepare for the unexpected. Have you reviewed your insurances, investments and other financial tools to make sure you can withstand and recover from various financial shocks?
Reading the river is not easy, and neither is reading life. We pick our run and get into our boats with a destination take-out downstream. We anticipate a pleasant journey, then hit an unexpected rock, flip, and lose your paddle. Likewise, we head into retirement, look down the road with enthusiastic anticipation of what we have planned. Then, life plays out and we get slammed with economic uncertainty, tax law changes, health challenges, and family dynamics. Having your financial house in order does not prevent these things from happening, but it will help to keep your head above the water until you can eddy out and catch your breath.
Acclimate to life changes
Adaptability is just as important as preparation. Adaptability has as much to do with our attitudes as it does with our financial tools. The same way we want to have the right gear for whichever river expedition we have planned, you want to have the proper financial tools for your journey into and through your financial fall of life. You need to how these tools work for you when things are going smoothly. When life happens and changes course, how can they be evaluated, refined, reworked or replaced?
We also need to be adept at adjusting our attitude to whatever lies around the bend. I have witnessed many women wrapped in the unpleasant coverings of victimhood. They blame the economy, their circumstances, their ex-spouses. You can don the royal wrap of victor! Take charge of your financial life, do the best you can, with what you have in this exciting new season of life.
Hire the right guide
If you don’t want to embark on this journey alone, do your homework and find someone that will come alongside you as your guide, advocate and cheerleader. Understand the different ways financial advisors can assist you, how they get paid and know what type of experience you want to have.
On the river of your twilight years, gather family, faith, friends and a fiduciary in your boat, put on an attitude of gratitude as your PFD (personal flotation device), hold tight to perseverance as your paddle, equip yourself with the financial tools to sustain you on your ride, embrace the adventure and enjoy the journey!