Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?!

by Kimberly Brown

I was meandering along my middle-ish class, small town life as usual until last month.

While visiting my youngest sister in the town of my youth, I answered a late night video call from my other sister who our mother is visiting across the country, and there’s a solemn request for the two of us to enter a super secret cone of silence for this conversation. Thoughts are screaming through my mind. Is Mother ok? Oh, she is right there but she doesn’t seem herself. What is going on? Did someone here in town DIE?” My eyes reveal the apprehensive nature of my thoughts in the large bathroom mirror in front of us, and I begin to coach myself in the privacy of my own headspace: “Ok, calm down, don’t make assumptions or let anxious thoughts get you wound up. You have to be strong for the others. You don’t know what’s going to be said. Just listen!”

Staring in astonishment and unable to fully believe what we were hearing, there were no words for several very long seconds-which is wildly uncharacteristic for all of us.

I mean, who rehearses a response in case there’s a moment in life when you find out you have an older sister you never knew existed and she’s eager to meet the family?!! There were gasps and tears and hugs and questions, LOTS of questions, but mostly the overwhelming sense of love, connection, and delight!

I share this with you because it is a dazzling moment in a rather exigent season of life that many of us have experienced this last year.

This unsettling climate has many people feeling more uncertain than ever about their future. Some will continue to endure extreme protocols in their workplace, desperately pushing down feelings of fear and anxiety about the impact of exposure on their own family. A good number of people are now rearranging their environment to accommodate working from home for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps it’s just the opposite. Many are realizing a new normal and it is catapulting them onto a profoundly successful path.

We all have the opportunity to hold the space for compassion towards those around us. I believe we are having a crash course in RESILIENCE!

One obvious area we need to be resilient is in our finances.

What would it take to create financial resilience?

Here’s what my husband and I did:

First we learned that our income was a tangible asset that could be insured! Once our income was protected, we took progressive action on our other insurance programs: health, home, auto, and legal. It was important to us that if something were to happen to one of us, the surviving spouse and children would be provided for.

The second thing we developed was a financial game plan based on our financial independence number. For us that meant being willing to take an honest look at our spending habits and creating a budget so we knew where every dollar was going.

Before we learned these things, and if we continued the previous financial plan we were on, we would be in debt for over 100 years! Can you imagine our shock and feelings of defeat? By applying these concepts, we created a path to be debt free in about 12 years -including the mortgage we had just signed as well as some newly acquired medical debt! Knowing that was possible brought hope and a renewed commitment to our finances. Soon we established an emergency fund and began investing $25 per month to fund our retirement (all we could manage at the time), and have increased it since then. It’s been exciting to watch our new plan work!

Are you wondering how you could accomplish all this especially in the wake of this last year?

Here are some actions we took:

Pick up a side gig and use that income to build up your accounts.
Sell items that you aren’t using or don’t want on local websites.
Engage your family in crafts or hand made projects to sell, or doing odd jobs for neighbors.
Donating plasma.
Take advantage of apps that round up your purchases to the nearest dollar/five/ten and then automatically transfer it into your bank savings account!
With this information, and someone to help develop your plan, you can create the financial resilience so you can realize your new normal.

Kimberly lives with her husband of 30 years and their youngest son, enjoys spending time with her children and loving on her grandchildren as often as possible. She resourcefully oversees a community food distribution cooperative. Her family hosted homestay students a few weeks each summer for 12 years through Compass USA, and for three years was an enthusiastic program Coordinator. She and her husband participate and assist in personal and professional development and educational programs nationwide. She offers complimentary financial coaching and analysis. If you’d like to discover your family’s Financial Independence Number and create a plan to achieve financial freedom and resilience for your family, you are invited to reach out to contact Kimberly at kimberlysuebrown@primerica.com or 509-280-5624 between 9 am and 3pm PST.

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