Plan Like a Pessimist. Live Like an Optimist
Very often people go through life believing everything is always going to be great. In their world, crap doesn’t happen. No one loses jobs. No one gets sick. No one dies. It’s la-la-la, and off to the mall we go because we’s gots money and they’s shoppin’ to be done.
Sadly, there’s a very real possibility that crap will happen. According to the Society of Actuaries and the national Centre of Health Statistics and Transactions (big title… must mean their know their stuff, eh?) every year one in eight people become disabled. And at age 35, the claim incidence is three times greater for women than for men.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2008 over half a million people died of cancer. Never mind all the people diagnosed who watched their income shrivel as they coped with their treatments. And while The Big C is the thing we are most fear, the incidences of death by heart disease are higher; 1 in 5 (compared to 1 in 7 for cancer).
Here are some more:
Stroke Lifetime Odds: 1 in 24
Motor Vehicle Accident Lifetime Odds: 1 in 84
Suicide Lifetime Odds: 1 in 119
Falling Lifetime Odds: 1 in 218
Firearm Assault Lifetime Odds: 1 in 314
Pedestrian Accident Lifetime Odds: 1 in 626
Drowning Lifetime Odds: 1 in 1,008
Motorcycle Accident Lifetime Odds: 1 in 1,020
If you know that crap can happen then you should take the steps to ensure that if it does you and your family are adequately protected. Just worrying about the anvil falling on your head is a waste of energy; using that image to motivate you to plan for the worst – to plan like a pessimist – means you can stop worrying because you’ve done all you can. You’ve got your safety net. Time to have fun!
Every step you take, from building an emergency fund, to buying enough insurance, from saving money for the future to executing a well thought-out estate plan, gets you closer a place where you don’t have to worry.
If it’s been a while since you looked over your financial life, today’s the day to make your checklist and get busy putting your Pessimist’s Plan into place so you can forget about the yuckies and live like an optimist:
1. Check credit report; fix errors
2. Review savings goals; chart progress.
3. Establish/review emergency fund goals; chart progress.
4. Review life, health, disability insurance coverage; supplement if necessary.
5. Update resumé. Plan for your next job review.
6. Review your estate plan: wills and powers of attorney, along with guardianship designations for your children.
7. Review Debt Free plan; chart progress
8. Set a new goal for increasing your financial knowledge. The more you understand about how money works, the less you have to worry about it.
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, you need only do a periodic review to see that you’re still on track. Semi-annually, or each time there’s a significant change in your circumstances, you can go over your checklist and make sure everything is still ticketiboo. Or you can make the changes you need to put things back in order.
Then you can forget about worrying. You’ve done all that you should, and worrying isn’t going to make a scrap of difference. Get busy being happy.