On September 11th, 2012 an automated text message from the mayor of Santa Clara, Utah warned that the dam above my house was about to break. I raced home but before arriving received a call from my neighbor. He was normally quite a jokester but there was no joking in his voice when he said that a wall of water had just crashed through my house. “You don’t want to see this.” he said. And he was right.
Water is an unpredictable thing. The flood had come barreling down the street, crossed a field, and crashed through our French doors filling our house with over three feet of mud. It was as if the flood had singled us out for destruction. As bad as it looked, we had no idea it would take 18 months and over $200,000 to repair our property. As Launa and I surveyed the terrible scene I said, “What are we going to do?” She responded, “Start shoveling.”
We learned from our own personal 9/11 that sometimes bad things just happen. Despite all your best efforts, you can’t always predict or prevent disaster. I have helped many people through personal financial disasters in their lives. Job losses, medical emergencies, divorce, criminal activity, national economic collapse and many other unexpected disasters can put a real squeeze on family finances. There are things that can be done to prepare, but there is never a guarantee that your preparation will be enough. Life doesn’t really offer many real guarantees. I have seen people do everything seemingly right and still find themselves looking at a flooded life wondering if they will ever recover.
The thing to remember about proper financial preparation is that it’s like living a healthy lifestyle. You may eat properly and exercise daily your whole life, and still wind up with a heart attack before age 60. That’s just the way life is. But those first 60 years would have been much more enjoyable for having lived so well. In similar fashion, being financially responsible is not just about hoping to retire comfortably in your old age, but about living better in your younger years. It’s about having more peace and less stress in your life today, even if all your efforts can’t guarantee what might happen tomorrow. Doing what’s right today brings its own reward right now, and will also make whatever comes tomorrow easier to handle.
I may be a little sentimental but I still have several shovels in my hangar covered with Santa Clara red mud. I keep them as a reminder that despite our best efforts, disasters can still happen. They also remind me that our preparation before the flood made the disaster much more bearable. We can’t stop the floods of life from coming, but we can live better until they do, and get through them easier if we are prepared. Financially speaking, doing what is right today is always a good idea.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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