Part of improving your financial life is learning to live with money. That may be a strange thing to think about. But having resources, and using them wisely, is a skill all its own. If you’ve done the hard work of eliminating debt, living frugally, saving, and investing, you’re going to find that you gradually begin to have more money to spare than you’ve ever had in your life. This isn’t the time to stop saving and investing. But it is the time to make sure that you are using your newfound financial freedom (small as it is) as well as possible. There’s a lot I could say on this topic, but I’m going to limit myself to the subject of using your healthy financial state to prepare for worst-case scenarios. The thing about worst-case scenarios is that they eventually happen. Here’s how I’ve learned to prepare for them as my net-worth has increased.
- Health – I’m the kind of guy who went years without seeing a doctor or dentist after college. I’m still out of the habit. Many of you can relate. In the past year, I’ve made it a priority to find a doctor that I like, someone who I can communicate with easily, someone who I can keep in touch with for years to come. If I were to get sick or injured, I would know exactly who to call. Now that I don’t have to worry about being able to afford a co-pay, I can make regular checkups and care a part of my life. The same goes with dental care, something I let slide for a number of years.
I’ve also been able to eat and exercise better than I did ten years ago. It’s a privilege to be able to afford a quality fitness facility and the occasional class. But if you can afford it, this is a great way to invest in your health over the long term. Of course, you don’t need money to be healthy, nor should health become a constant obsession. But I don’t think it’s wrong to try to improve your fitness along with your finances.
- Legal – Chances are you’ll need a good lawyer in your lifetime. The first time will likely be a time of great stress in your life, so it’s important to have a good lawyer before you need one, just like it is with a good doctor. If you need a lawyer for any reason (traffic violation, tax problem, PPI claims, injury, liability issue, medical malpractice), you’ll be glad that you have a lawyer to call with whom you have a good working relationship. As in the case of PPI above, a qualified lawyer could help you navigate the difficulty of a class action lawsuit, something you probably won’t have the time or resources to do yourself.
- Financial – Savings and diversified investments are the obvious way to prepare for the future. Paying off your house and acquiring new skills sets to increase earning potential are other ways.
Having more money than you’re used to is a really nice thing. As your financial situation improves, it’s vital to prepare for the worst, to make sure that an unforeseen event doesn’t derail you. If you make preparation part of your daily life, you’re probably going to make it through the tough times just fine.