Life has a way of going on as normal—until it doesn’t. It might be a job loss, an unexpected medical expense, an accident or sudden death. These events cause emotional turmoil and come with a financial price tag. The chaos that naturally ensues from an unexpected disruption can destroy even the most well-conceived plan.
Think about a time an unexpected event occurred. What did you do? Did you play ostrich and hide until the worst was over? Did you seek help from someone with the knowledge and/or resources to help lessen the problem? How did you get back to normal after your life was turned upside down?
You want to explore these types of questions to better understand how you deal with crisis emotionally and financially. If you’ve never had an experience like this, you might want to talk with others who have and ask them what they did and how they reacted.
For some additional insight, you can employ the old SWOT analysis—Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats—to your current financial life. Determine what is working, where you have holes in your plan, what you can focus on to improve your position and what potential threats exist that could waylay your success.
Increasing your awareness of potential financial threats to your goals needs to be a normal and regular part of your financial planning. The impact of prolonged illnesses, divorce, death, legal liabilities, job loss, business downturns and other unanticipated events can shake your ability to move your life’s mission forward in a strong and positive manner. But your active participation in the quantitative and qualitative (feelings) side of preparation can assist in making the best of a bad situation.
You should also include an understanding of your level of Emotional Intelligence, or EI, and work to improve and strengthen your resilience. Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, offers an important insight on EI and how vital it is in your life and your ability to navigate challenges. Consider the benefits of understanding and dealing with your capacity to recognize your own and other people’s emotions and to discriminate between a variety of feelings and deal with them appropriately. When life is smooth and easy, your EI, while important, doesn’t even touch the scale of its importance when the “stuff” hits the fan and chaos ensues. That’s when a strong and well-developed level of emotional intelligence is so vital.
Combining your financial IQ with your emotional IQ provides a more rounded and appropriate view of your life from both a numbers perspective and a qualitative point of view. While you might have one or the other in alignment, not until both are working together do you have a heightened ability to deal with and resolve unexpected problems and challenges. Life rarely provides a written invitation to the next event, so your readiness is important and necessary.
Life’s disruptions happen and are more manageable when you are properly prepared. The lack of proper preparation and readiness will leave you exposed to financial and emotional stresses and chaos. Take a SWOT analysis of your financial and emotional life. Work with professionals who can help outline the possible threats and offer insights and suggestions that may help. Focus on your Emotional Intelligence to provide the balance and stability that is necessary during times of stress. Remember, you cannot prevent all unknowable or unforeseeable events from happening, but you can be better prepared!