Now what the heck is the connection between driving our cars and “driving” our financial vehicles? Hang in there.
Allow me to return to the idea of driving as a “second nature” activity. Think about it for a moment. All of us, even as “non-professional drivers,” follow simple steps as we prepare to leave home in our cars. Something like this: You go into the garage, put your keys in the ignition, back out, and go. You are not consciously thinking about using the accelerator on the right or the brake on the left. You don’t have to think about slowing down for oncoming cars, stopping at each light, or turning on your signal when you want to turn. You just drive and assume a safe journey. Never a problem! Right? I don’t think so.
We’re driving along and we see “Right Lane Close—2 Miles Ahead.” We either move over to the left or we are “cheaters” and fly down the right lane hoping some Good Samaritan will let us in at the end of the merging lane. They mostly do (often to the dismay of other cussing drivers). Or, we might see, “Construction Zone Ahead, Slow Down, Speed Limit 40 MPH.” We may not test that sign too much because it also reads, “Let Them Work … Let Them Live—Fine $ 500.” That gets our attention!
Other things we “non-professional drivers might encounter: A school bus stops and puts out the stop sign; a dog runs across the road; you hit a squirrel; a bird flies into your windshield; a salt truck blows salt onto your shiny hood, and up ahead, a seat belt checkpoint comes into view. WHEW! These are but a few of the challenges we all face during the course of our “normal” driving routine. We don’t get rattled; we just work within the system and continue our journey.
In my case, the worst impediment is the speed bump. Why? First, often I don’t see a speed bump until it’s too late, and when I hit it, it scares the you-know-what out of me! Second, I might see the speed bump but not believe that it is as high as it really is. It’s such an annoying “thump” and awful sound as my car and I become airborne for a moment. It must be the shock effect. It knocks me out of my comfort zone. I either complain or kick myself for not paying attention. I then drive on without thinking of or anticipating the next bump.
Now, isn’t that how we respond to challenges in our financial lives sometimes? The unexpected speed bumps rock us, yet we forget about each event and fail to prepare ourselves mentally for the next one. We’re not perfect. We want to be optimistic and not dwell on future problems. That’s the way we are supposed to respond.
Consider the “lowly” but so important speed bumps in life: what they are—just small obstacles to slow us down; what they are NOT designed to do to us—they should NOT wreck our cars and throw us into a ditch; and finally, what they are supposed to do—be a warning and a reminder that there may be more obstacles ahead.
Speed bumps in life are annoying sometimes, but they are important for a variety of reasons. They get our attention and let us know that we need to stay on our toes, watch out, and concentrate on the task at hand. They are not supposed to cripple us, make us live in fear, or totally derail us from our paths. But how we respond to these occasional annoyances in our financial lives becomes critically important: ignoring some could wipe us out financially! That’s why it’s important develop a relationship with a professional financial advisor (kind of like a professional “driver” for our financial lives). He or she can help you evaluate those occasional speed bumps in the economy, suggest strategies, offer objective solutions for whatever your financial goals are, and keep your “car” running smoothly down the road. Take advantage of your Safe Money Places™ Agent. If you sense or hit a bump in the road, give him or her a call. That’s why they’re here.
So, put your keys in the ignition, back out of the garage, put the car in gear, and proceed. There will be many more speed bumps in our financial lives. Recognize them for what they are, and you will arrive at your appointment safely and on time.
Hey! I gotta drive! I’m late for an appointment!