Nearly all of us have heard this Yiddish proverb, usually when our perfectly planned evening/party/workday or what-have-you has gone to pot and a well-meaning friend is trying to comfort us. Disappointments are a part of life, but one of the most stinging types of let-down is the financial disappointment, the feeling of defeat that comes from constructing a perfect financial plan, only to have it fouled up by an unexpected vet bill or a flat tire.
But there are ways to cope with financial disappointments so that a setback doesn’t send you spiraling into a fiscal abyss:
Keep the setback in perspective
So you’re plugging along with your accelerated debt repayment plan, when your transmission goes out. This is a major disappointment, because you could have put that $3,000 on your credit card. But it won’t be your financial undoing if you view the setback as temporary. Sure, you’ll have to push pause on your debt payoff plan for a few months, but then you’ll be right back at it. What’s a few months in the grand scheme of your financial life?
Find the positive
Let’s say you’re doing really well with saving up an emergency fund when your dog dives into your leftover Christmas chocolate, landing him in the doggie hospital and you with a $500 bill. Of course, you have to dig into your emergency fund to pay for it. It stinks that you’ve experienced a $500 setback, but look at the positive: at least you have the $500, which means you don’t have to rely on credit cards to cover this unexpected expense. Putting a positive spin on your financial disappointment is a sure-fire way to get back in the savings saddle.
Don’t misconstrue the setback as a “sign” that there’s no point in trying to turn your finances around
When you’re in the first stages of trying to improve your finances, it’s easy to look at your first financial setback and think: “see, there’s no use even trying!” Don’t fall into this trap. A financial disappointment is just that – a disappointment, not a signal that your finances are irreparably doomed.
Try to see the humor
Making silly mistakes – like leaving your headlights on overnight and killing your car battery, for example – is part of being human. Pay the $150 to replace the battery, take a moment to laugh at yourself a little, then get back to your financial plan. Beating yourself up over every costly slip up will eventually backfire – you’ll begin to resent your newfound financial responsibility instead of embracing it. So keep a sense of humor about your foibles – it’ll keep you moving forward.
The bottom line: disappointments are inevitable on the path to a healthy financial future, so pick yourself up, put the setback behind you, and keep working towards your financial goals. If you do, you’ll get to financial independence eventually – no matter how many bumps you encounter along the way!
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