Well, let’s begin. What a time of uncertainty, upheaval. A change to my routine. All of the things that, as human beings, we’re not very well equipped to deal with. I’m writing this on a sunny late afternoon, where I would ordinarily be pottering at home, maybe doing some gardening, possibly painting my bathroom. All of those activities for me would be normal, but because there is an air of enforced isolation, they feel quite difficult to manage and maintain.
And I feel a little bit adrift, even though I already work from home, as does my husband, so for us to be home for much of the day and carry on our normal working life is entirely possible. It isn’t a change to our routine.
And yet it still feels rather different.
So, I’ve been reflecting what I might be able to offer the outside world, whilst we are all holed up waiting for this to pass. I think the only thing to offer is my feelings and how I’m coping and potentially give other people a chance to find strategies of their own.
I’m a planner. It’s a part of my personality. I like to have a plan, without a plan I feel a little uncertain and unsettled.
It also suits my professional life! I am by my very job title a planner, a financial planner. So, what I am going to offer is an insight into how people can use some time, this ‘extra’ time, to look at the too difficult drawer.
I joke often that my job is to prise open clients’ ‘too difficult drawers’ and to spill the contents all over my desk, and allow me to build them into manageable workable piles of information; that which is obsolete; that which is really important and must be looked at; and those which are somewhere in the middle, they need attention, but could possibly wait for a rainy day.
That metaphorical rainy day is now (despite the weather taunting our isolated selves with some long-awaited sunshine) – it is time for a spring clean. We’ve all got a little bit more time on our hands. We’ve all got to slow down to look at the things within our own houses that might need that attention. For me, desperately, that’s DIY and having tackled the bathroom I shall embark on a new painting project, no doubt.
But, for many people that too difficult drawer is home admin, it is paperwork, it’s pensions, it’s bills, maybe credit cards, loans. Things that we tuck away, because if they’re not seen, we don’t have to dwell on them.
So, I have attached to this blog my budgeting sheet. My way of making sure that each month, my own books balance and that what I’m bringing in versus what I’m sending out are broadly aligned and allow some space for savings, frivolities even, holidays certainly. Once all of this is done, we’re all going to want to escape somewhere different.
Maybe this is a chance for people bring all their financial information into one place, to make it visible and understandable. And having done that, if it is still troubling you, to seek help, seek advice to seek guidance from friends, from loved ones, from family, or from professionals. But a good place to start is just to understand where you are right now. And then we can look at taking baby steps, or giant leaps to improve things.
If anyone does have any questions or need any help with where to get started, I would really welcome a chat. Feel free to give me a call/email/Zoom/Skype (or any other form of electronic communication I can find a quick tutorial on to help me learn the basics!)
I can help with anything from budgeting advice, savings and pension planning (how much should I save/ where should I save it/ the investment market scares me, help me make sense of it), protection for our families were the worst to befall us – a sobering thought in times like this that the worst case scenario is one where we cannot earn but still have the bills to pay.
Most importantly though, I help you understand your options, my motto will always be “Educate, Empower, Advise”, I want you all to understand your position, know your options and have the confidence to make those important financial decisions.
We all have our weak points, my goal, my version of the ‘too difficult drawer’ is IT skills and whilst I am keeping my social distance and have a little extra time on my hands, I shall be acquiring new skills – who knows, the next blog could be a vlog…..