“This is about life. It is one wave after another wave and you are struggling to go on……If you survive, you can tell the story, you can go on. If you don’t survive…….. that’s it.” Maria Belon. Tsunami 2004 survivor.
In any grief, trauma, or catastrophe the first step always is survival. If you can get through a day, a week, a month; then you can keep going. You can survive.
In regard to finances then, the first step is to stop sinking, stop going backwards. The next step is to stay afloat. The third step is to move forward. Here is what I have done so far and intend to do going forward.
1. Let Go Of The Losses.
In losing anything there is a grief process you need to go through. If you lose your former financial security, you need to mourn that loss just the same as the loss of a person. There are stages to pass through of shock, denial, anger, and sadness until finally you let go of what you had. I have found it really important to let go of what could have should have been, and to stop looking with envy at friends and family of the same age who are moving on to blissfully peaceful and financially secure retirements. This is gone for me now …. although not necessarily forever.
2. Face The Reality Of The Changed Situation.
Until you face it, you cannot do anything about it. I have taken stock and reviewed my complete situation – my assets, my debts, my insurance, my will, my superannuation fund, my home, my savings. I know exactly where I am at. I will move on to a different life.
3. Protect My Home.
My first drive will be to protect my home. This will mean ridding myself of all debt over it as a top priority over the next year or two.
4. Remain Debt-Free
Once I have cleared the last of the debt, I will remain debt-free. This means not using credit cards to buy things that I cannot afford or do not need.
5. Build Up Asset Base
As described in the last post, after the property settlement is finalised I will have a depleted asset base which, on its own, is inadequate to see me through my retirement years. I aim to rectify that by a series of options (isn’t it great having choices?)
(a) Delay Retirement for 5-10 years preserving my retirement fund intact to allow it to grow
(b) After the business goes, find another means of making an income
(c) Downsize my home to release capital to invest.
(d) Put all available spare funds into my retirement fund
6. Take Control Of My Budget and Spending
Rather than wait until retirement to begin living a more austere and simple lifestyle, do that now. Not only will it provide me with the comfort of knowing that I am living within my means, it will prepare me for my retirement years. If I learn to live on less, then there will be more to put away. That nest egg will grow faster and I can reach that blissful place (of financial security) sooner. Yay! 🙂
This is how I aim to do it…….
(a) Set my budget for a ‘comfortable’ lifestyle.
(b) Track my spending diligently.
(c) Ruthlessly cut every unnecessary expense from my budget
(d) Look out for discounts, bulk specials, and controlled use of card points.
(e) Aim for a simpler lifestyle.
(f) Live frugally
7. Take Control Of My Health
(a) Keeping healthy will keep medical costs down and be easier on the budget
(b) Healthy eating requires more home cooked meals and this is easier on the budget
(c) Walking more will increase my exercise and keep me fitter and healthier and will also decrease transport costs.
8. Prioritise The Use of Spare Money
This will be the aim of a ‘Comfortable’ Lifestyle which I will outline in my next post.
_____________ _______________ _________________ __________________
This is the eighth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.
2. My own needs
3. My basic needs
4. My health – diet
5. My health – exercise
6. My Home
7. My finances # 1 Sinking
8. My finances # 2 Survive
Image courtesy of [CoolDesign]: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I did the financial cut right away, I took away everything and anything that was not absolutely necessary to survive. Luckely my daughters are still so young that they didn’t see it as me depriving them of anything. But it did the trick, after a year and a half, I’m in such a much better financial state and it feels great. I’ve been able to add a few things back in, to be honest the only thing I’ve splurged on is traveling, it’s been so good for me that it has been worth the money.
Good luck with sticking to your budget and I’m sure that you will also find unexpected ways to save. Even cutting a little thing out, if it is something that you do regularly, makes a huge impact. Especially if you can cut a few of them out.
You go girl! I think you will love the taste of your own cooking and get more energy by walking and generally feel a whole whack better! Also, living with less is in many ways more. I don’t need a lot of stuff naturally so I’m lucky in that but it does feel good to put money away in savings or for travel or whatever!
My ex-husband was the lover of ‘stuff’ and one of the positives about the separation is that now I can choose myself how the money is spent.
I do agree that sometimes less is more and now I can Iive by that if I want to. .
So happy for you – remember to treat yourself every now and then though! ❤
Ah yes….watch for the next 2 posts
As a single lady myself, for example, when I go Christmas shopping or when it’s my birthday, I calculate what I would have spent on a spouse and spend it on myself!
I will remember that one 🙂
Do it – you’re worth it!
There is a tremendous sense of freedom that comes with being in control rather than feeling at the mercy of our situation. Here’s to living more simply and being debt-free. How awesome will that continue to be for you.
Thanks. Yes, once you look past the catastrophe and see the freedom of choice, it is quite empowering.
Thanks for your positive comment.
This advice is great for anyone looking ahead to retirement – I admire the way you attack your situation and plan – you are so right about the need to face your situation before you can resolve it.
That is true. And once you face it, the world of choices opens up that was not there before. Thanks for your kind comments.
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I can so identify with this. Spent ages in the beginning making 5-year-plans that were totally rubbish, because things turned out totally different :-D. However, being debt-free was also my no 1 priority, and I remember the wonderful feeling as I received the document certifying that my mortgage wasredeemed. I felt redeemed myself!
Yes, I know all about those five year plans. I can’t pull myself out of this feeling of my life being in some sort of transition, marking time until i begin to live it properly ie the way I want. Not knowing exactly what my final financial position will be does not help. However, knowing that I CAN live on what will be my probable (much reduced) income is a weight off my mind.
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