Hope you're having a great Sorted Money Week so far (3–9 September), which this year is all about how to "Weather Life's Storms".
You'd expect anyone moving from sunny Southern California to windswept Wellington to feel the meteorological equivalent of a slap in the face. It was just that.
Over there (when it's not burning) there are typically only a couple of weeks of rain for the entire year. The "devil winds" come off the desert inland and parch the entire place.
In Wellington, thanks to a more southerly variety, it's been known to rain upwards. And more often sideways. Sometimes it feels like those working in the capital would be better dressed in wetsuits than business suits. The weather doesn't disappoint!
But who cares? I have seen more sporting folks than ever doing their thing there, running and biking in the worst of it. When you talk to a Wellingtonian, they might easily praise the fresh, alive feeling you get walking in a gale.
They've learnt to lean in.
Financial weather can get wild as well
Our money lives can be an adventure at times, particularly because of the unexpected things that can happen to anyone. Just living brings risks.
Happily there are a number of things we can do. Different risks require different responses. For example:
• Unexpected expenses – these are best taken care of through a savings buffer, some kinds of insurance, and simply planning ahead.
• Job disruptions – bumpy incomes, redundancies or changes in the labour market can be ridden out by increasing our core skills, lifelong learning, and strengthening our relationships with family and our community.
• Interest-rate changes, market drops – here the strategy of spreading your risk ("diversification") is key: investing in a wide range of assets, industries and locations, and keeping the amount of debt you're carrying under a certain threshold.
• Accidents, natural disasters, long-term illness – these are the things that wills, enduring powers of attorney and various insurance products are made for.
Not sure where to start? One way is to cover your people, your money, your stuff (in that order).
That won't happen to me … will it?
I've often kicked myself for coming across situations and thinking "that will never happen to me", only to experience that very thing later on.
You can see how this sort of thinking might be hardwired into us, otherwise we'd all go around in a debilitating, fearful state believing that just about everything in the realm of possibility will befall us – which isn't true either.
Actually, we often experience remarkably similar things, just in a variety of ways and at different times. So at some stage, any of this "wild weather" can potentially happen to you.
It's worth planning for. When life gets as wild as the weather can be, may we all be able to lean in.
Much like Wellingtonians, we'll breathe better in a gale. The air quality is far superior to the L.A. smog.
This Money Week make it your goal to build more resilience into your finances for the money storms that can happen – so you can lean in.
- Get Sorted is written by Sorted's resident blogger, Tom Hartmann (@TomHartmannNZ). Check out the guides and tools from Sorted – brought to you by the Commission for Financial Capability – at sorted.org.nz.