Six Financial Things You Can Do Now That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Bridget Handke, CFP®, CAP®
Apr 18, 2018 12:36:00 PM

Recently at a family reunion, I overheard my niece Brittany explaining to my daughters that she often says, “Thank you Past Brittany!” That got my attention. She went on to describe how she often runs across a situation that is going smoothly for her only because she had prepared for it in the past. She says to herself, “Thank you Past Brittany!”

I loved that phrase so much I adopted it. Since then, I’ve encountered numerous situations in which I’ve said, “Thank you Past Bridget.” Small things like waking up to a hot cup of coffee because I set-up the pot the night before. “Thank you Past Bridget.” Also, for big things, such as readily paying our daughter’s first college tuition bill, which we had started saving when she was 3 years old so the funds were available. “Thank you Past Bridget!”

As a Financial Advisor and Wealth Manager part of my job is to help people think of themselves in different time periods. What will your future self need and want? What is realistic? How can I balance my future self with the needs of my present self?

Below are six “Thank You Past Brittany” moments (aka TYPB from here on out) you could likely encounter along the way.

You built an emergency fund.

We all know people who have been laid off. In fact, seven of my family members have been laid off sometime in their life, including myself. This can be a really big TYPB moment. While unemployment checks help, so does an emergency fund. They can provide us the ability to meet our bills for six months or more, and that can be the difference between a calm, thoughtful job search and a frantic one.

You siphoned some of your regular pay check into a rainy day fund.

That week when your refrigerator, washer and dryer go out at the same time is a week you say, TYPB. That happened to us a month after we moved into our new house. Do yourself a favor and plan for those things we know will happen but just don’t know when.

You purchased life insurance.

Well, you won’t say TYPB unless you can speak from beyond the grave. But your spouse and children might say it on your behalf if you depart too early. I have witnessed these moments with my clients when they realize their families will be okay financially after their spouse dies. They can put their efforts into healing their hearts and not have to worry about how they are going to live.

You set up an estate plan.

This is another one your family members will appreciate. If you have had to deal with your parent’s estates you know what I’m talking about. Create your will, power of attorney and health care directive early. Go the extra step and write up a list of your assets, people to call upon your death and instructions for your loved ones. This is going to be a tough time for your people left behind. This is the last gift you can give them. The TYPB will come from your family.

You funded your retirement accounts.

The day will come when you choose to retire or downsize, or life might choose it for you. Putting money away now, will definitely give you a TYPB moment once you flip the switch from saving to spending money in retirement. In fact, you could have those moments for decades to come.

You got real about your goals and created a financial plan.

Not exactly sure what retirement is going to look like or when you can safely pull the trigger? Not sure if you can change jobs to a less lucrative but more meaningful field? A financial plan can help you visualize your goals and how they are achievable or if they need to be tweaked. Just knowing what it might take for you to have a reasonable chance to achieve your goals can give you more confidence and peace of mind and give you a whole series of TYPB moments. My past self is getting better and better at setting up my future self for success. I’m appreciating my past self so much lately I’m starting to think of her as someone else entirely. Take care of your future by taking action now.

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