As I am writing this, the S&P 500 has just entered bear market territory. While this can sound intimidating, the simple definition of a bear market is just the assets (in this case the S&P 500) being 20% lower than it was at its most recent high. While bear markets can occur for a number of reasons, the 40-year high inflation we are experiencing is widely considered a leading cause. With these situations happening to us, it is essential to take control of what you can do to shape your life and your goals to accomplish your dreams. If you don’t, you are essentially a “plastic bag drifting through the wind” to quote Ms. Katy Perry, and nobody wants that.
This need to take control of our lives spans beyond the financial aspect of our lives, but I will limit it to such at this time. So, what are some common things that you cannot control? Real estate prices, price of gas, the government (federal, state, etc.), and other people. These consumables (including taxes) make up most of our monthly expenses. By changing what we spend money on, we are actually changing our behaviors. Changing our behavior and thus forming habits is one of the greatest capabilities we have as humans. So, let’s make sure we are forming good, healthy financial habits.
While we are in this time of economic uncertainty, let’s focus on taking control of our attitude and behavior in order to ensure our financial lives are not thrown more off track than necessary.. The most beneficial behavior one can make is delaying immediate gratification in order to reap large rewards down the road. This could look like forgoing the second drink at happy hour in order to stay within budget or waiting until next month to buy that blouse you have your eye on. Making these active choices to delay gratification will help you stay closer to budget – even in inflationary times – and help change your financial trajectory well into the future. By investing these savings, you can earn 10x, 100x their price.
Ensuring a good positive attitude is essential in these times as well. Don’t beat yourself up for going over budget by $10 this month due to the rising gas prices, learn from the mistake and adjust next month. Don’t give into the situation, saying it’s impossible to save with everything rising in price so you give up trying to save anything because it’s simply “impossible.” Being firm but forgiving with yourself is key. And if you find it too hard to hold yourself accountable, email me ([email protected]) and I will do it for you.
In times of uncertainty, focus on taking control of your life not letting your life take control of you. This simple phrase can have a profound impact on all parts of your life. When you are faced with financial uncertainty, take action to change your behavior and habits to sustain yourself and impress upon yourself an attitude of resolve to ensure you are in control. Actions stem from habits, make them good ones.