Contrast may come in many different forms. It could very well be through experiencing a toxic work environment that allows you to realize that you'd be happier elsewhere. You may no longer be happy with where you live, and dream of experiencing something else. Regardless of the source of your contrast, the fact remains that experiencing it at all has given birth to your desires, and that is an incredible gift that you deserve to realize.
When the contrast highlights for us that which we truly want, our finances do not need to be the obstacle keeping us from realizing those desires. Another gift the contrast has given us is the gift of affording us the opportunity to step back and reevaluate our security. Perhaps you have been receiving your sense of security from the paycheck that's tied to the toxic job you no longer want or a second job from which you're longing to be free.. Maybe your security has been tied to a double income, hefty savings account, or something else that has situationally gone away. If we don't carefully guard ourselves against it these things can lead to scarcity mindset, an ailment that very quickly becomes a roadblock on your path to the life you desire.
So, what can you do? One of the greatest answers comes from ourselves when we simply step back and allow ourselves to imagine our lives in their most aligned state. What does it look like? What are we doing? Who are we with? From this aligned state, with a clear image in our minds we can pan back and ask ourselves to reevaluate our security in a number of categories by simply asking ourselves: What makes me feel powerful and secure? What move feels aligned and as though it will lead me onto the path toward that which I desire? What action can I take that feels truly inspired?
Quite frankly this is one of the categories that make me feel the most secure and is one of the first stops along my mental checklist of things that create a feeling of financial security. "How much money do I need in order to feel truly secure?" As I ask this question of myself, I find an awareness of the so-called experts' opinions, some of which state 3-6 months' worth of expenses is ideal. Others tout a larger 6-8 months or more. I've even heard suggested as much as a year; and even 3 years for retirees (the idea with that one is that you'd have enough to survive a market downturn without having to take losses on your portfolio). While this knowledge is power in its own way, there's nothing more powerful than tuning into my own inner guidance and asking it what makes me feel truly secure. How much money do I need to have in a fully liquid format in order to make my next move or simply step forward in creating for myself the life that I truly want to be living?
There's something to be said for owing very little to others. When I say this, I am not only referring to debt, but also to monthly bills in general. We oftentimes find ourselves signed up for a ton of seemingly small reoccurring bills under the guise of their minuscule size. However, these things all add up and if there are cuts that can be made that will create savings each and every month, that's huge. It also creates security in that you are required to earn less money to support your life each month. When you trade time for money, having to trade less of it is also huge. If you're anything like me, the future I dream about is one that is rich in the currency of time.
When you look at your desired future, and what needs to happen to move in that direction, does it make sense to dial your retirement savings either up or down? Maybe you want to start your own business in a few years, but in the meantime still plan to be at your full-time job. Perhaps you'd feel really secure if you really loaded up your retirement accounts while you were still there, in case of a temporary income drop at the time of your transition. Alternately, maybe you've been maxing out a retirement account, and have run the numbers, learning that you are absolutely on track and would feel more secure to see a bit more of your paycheck to allot to a different purpose. Perhaps in that case, you'd dial it down a bit.
Perhaps you feel really great about your budget, liquid savings, and retirement savings, but the one thing that would really make you feel powerful to be able to reach out and grab the life you want would be to build up more nonretirement-oriented investments. Bridge investing is when you make investments that can be utilized at any time; meaning you don't have to wait for retirement. The reason it's called "bridge investing" is because this is income that can serve as a bridge to retirement, meaning you are able to draw on these investments as sources of income prior to traditional retirement age. This allows you to leave your retirement accounts alone while providing you with some flexibility in terms of supplemental income. If your soul's desire involves you leaving behind the traditional workforce by way of retirement, semi-retirement, or for another reason, bridge investing might empower you to go for it!
Mortgage Payoff Plan
Maybe the life you long to live is one of maximum flexibility and freedom of time, and you would feel the most powerful if you could slash your expense drastically by eliminating your mortgage. Perhaps you've been sitting in a 30-year fixed, with 25 years to go, but don't really want to be on the hook that long. It's really very easy to automate the process of paying extra each month. You simply have to decide to do so. Using an online calculator, play around with early repayment options and decide how much to commit to on a monthly basis. Having the roof over your head free and clear could propel you very quickly into the future of your dreams.
Life is full of oddities, twists, and turns. If we can recognize these moments as the contrast that sheds light on the lives we long for, we give ourselves the opportunity to prepare the path forward as we march ourselves confidently toward it. After all, our money's purpose is to facilitate our ability to live our best lives in the safest and most secure way possible.