FEATURE —If you are like many people, you wake up some days torn between exuberant optimism about the future and pessimistic dread of what lies ahead.
As 2020 slowly shrinks in the rearview, you may be feeling unprepared to deal with the onslaught of political, financial and social changes coming your way. You may be thinking that you will never have enough resources to take care of your needs if and when you leave the workforce.
If you feel trapped in the “upside-down” and uncertain of how to move forward, you are not alone. Mexican intellectuals called this feeling “zozobra,” a term coined at the beginning of the 20th century to describe an unsettling state of anxiety. This anxiety can leave a person feeling isolated, confused and at odds with the world.
Philosopher Emilio Urango observed that zozobra causes ordinary people to feel “torn and wounded.” Zozobra can also hamper a person’s inability to make crucial decisions, especially decisions involving money and future life goals, such as retirement.
There is some good news, though. You can make several adjustments to pull yourself out of this disorienting state and regain control of your life. You can do some things if you want to move forward with your life in a more positive and meaningful way.
Stay informed, but don’t overconsume media
While it’s essential to stay on top of current events, you also don’t want to tap into negative currents that modern media generates. Seek out authentic, reliable sources of verifiable information. Be especially wary of financial media, which tends to be full of sensationalism and fear-inducing predictions. You should limit your exposure to both digital and television media.
Partner with a trustworthy team of financial experts
Your financial planning team can have a huge impact when it comes to alleviating anxiety. Choose a team of professionals who are committed to putting your needs ahead of their own and who can devise plans oriented around your values, goals and risk tolerance. Be sure that your team includes people who can help you grow and protect your wealth at every stage of your life.
Monitor, evaluate and balance your portfolio regularly
Again, seek the counsel of your financial team. They can help you ensure your portfolio is correctly aligned with your current situation and balanced to meet future expectations. For example, most people over 65 probably should not have much, if any, of their savings exposed to market risk. Also, a high proportion of retirees and pre-retirees are paying more in tax than is necessary. Talk to your financial advisory team about repositioning assets and finding overlooked tax savings.
Save as much money as possible
Keep a financial diary detailing your spending. Locate areas where you may be overpaying for necessities or purchasing items you don’t want or need. Look for discount programs you may qualify for, such as lowered utility rates for seniors and low-income persons. Use the money you save to fund life insurance, annuities, or medical and emergency funds. Seeing your savings grow has a profoundly positive effect on your mental well-being.
Improve your financial literacy
The pandemic means you may have more time on your hands. Fill that time by reading personal finance books, articles, blogs and digital magazines. Listen to podcasts that provide actionable strategies for coping with the economic downturn, planning for retirement or asset protection and estate planning.
Above all, realize that feeling anxiety and stress about money is perfectly normal during chaotic times.
The key to overcoming zozobra is to pursue your goal of creating a better financial future, regardless of what goes on around you.
Now is the ideal time to regain your feeling of being in control of your financial destiny by becoming more aware, active and forward-thinking. Building a team of trusted, like-minded financial professionals will help you come out on the other side of the chaos well-adjusted, positive and prosperous.
Copyright © Lyle Boss, all rights reserved.