For most of us, the start of a new year is the signal of a new beginning and an opportunity to start fresh in different areas of our lives. I heard someone on NPR say that it is not just the new year, but also at the start of a new month, a new week and even on days off that we take the opportunity to reflect on our lives and set goals for the future.
My resolution has been the same for the past few years: to slow down and remember to appreciate every day. We really have no idea what the future holds, so it is important to find that balance between preparing for the future and living for today. Here are some cases I saw in 2015 which re-inforce this:
I met a woman in her 60’s. She told me how her mother said there was no need to save when she was younger because she planned on leaving her a sizable inheritance. The mother is now in her 90’s and has paid an astronomical amount on end of life care (medical needs, home aids, etc). There is no inheritance to speak of and the daughter is not able to retire anytime soon.
An otherwise healthy person in their 60’s died of a heart attack. She was a meticulous planner and saver and expected to have another 30 years ahead of her.
A man in his 50’s was laid off and unable to find a job, essentially pushing him into early retirement which his portfolio cannot sustain. He is working to develop new skills and / or to start a business that can help offset some of his expenses. It is not where he planned to be, but he is having fun with the new challenge.
One couple tried for baby #3 and ended up with twins! They are very thankful and feel blessed, but they are now dealing with the reality of how 4 children is different financially than 3. Priorities are shifting and they are taking one day at a time.
A young woman developed symptoms of a chronic condition that will be putting her on disability. Thankfully, she has insurance, but her income obviously won’t be as much as her full-time salary.