It’s been a week since the US elected a new president and I’m guessing that many of you are nervous about what’s coming next.
I have no idea what the next four years will bring. I certainly hope it’s filled with peace and love and opportunity for everyone, no matter who you voted for and what your current situation is.
What I do know is that no matter what happens, you still have a future to build for yourself and your family. And your financial plan will be a big part of it.
So, what does this election mean for your financial plan? What, if anything, should you be doing now that we’re transitioning to a new President?
Let’s figure it out.
In most cases, nothing
Unless your personal goals have changed, there’s really no need to change your financial plan.
You’re still saving for the same things. You still have the same income and the same expenses. The election results haven’t immediately changed any of that, so the steps needed to reach your goals likely haven’t changed either.
Of course, one change you could decide to make is an increase in support of causes and organizations you believe in. That could be financial support or it could be a commitment of time. See #5 here for a reasonable starting point if you’re not sure where to look: How to Easily be a White Ally to Marginalized Communities.
What about stocks?
One thing a lot of people worry about in a time like this is the stock market. They wonder how a big change like this will affect their investments and what they should do to prepare.
Let me be the first to say that I have no idea what the stock market is going to do. No one does, and anyone who says they do is either misinformed or dishonest.
It’s quite possible that there will be some big ups and downs as we go through this transition. It’s also possible that things will remain relatively stable. I honestly don’t know.
The important thing to remember is that even if there are some big ups and downs, that’s to be expected. The stock market has big swings all the time, and while we never know when they’re going to happen we do know that they’re going to happen eventually.
So don’t panic. Assuming you already have an investment plan in place, there’s likely no reason to change it now. And if you don’t, now is as good a time as any to create one based on sound, fundamental principles, rather than predictions about what will happen over the coming months or years.
If you’re worried about your safety…
On the flip side, I know that some of you feel unsafe right now and are uncertain about your place in this country.
Some of you may not be sure whether you’ll be allowed to stay in the country. Some of you may be wondering whether you’ll continue to be safe in your current situation.
I hear you. I know that the fear is real. None of us know for sure what’s going to happen, but I know that if you feel unsafe or if you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to continue your current way of life, you’d probably like to have some options.
And while money can’t buy you happiness, it can certainly buy you options.
Here are some things you can do to make sure that you have as many options as possible, at least from a financial perspective.
1. Take stock of your current financial situation
There are two big things you’ll want to know.
First, how much money do you have and where is it located? What accounts do you have? How much money is in each one? How accessible is it? This information will help you understand the financial resources you already have.
Second, how much money is currently coming in each month and where is it being spent? Getting a handle on this will help you figure out exactly what your financial needs are and what you may be able to change if necessary.
Mint.com and You Need a Budget are two tools that can help you figure get a handle on your income and expenses. I’m also working on an article that will walk you through this process step-by-step. It will be published next Tuesday, so stay tuned.
2. Save what you can
Money gives you options, so the more you can save right now the more options you’ll have when you want them.
To whatever extent you feel comfortable, consider temporarily cutting back on unnecessary spending and directing that money to a savings account instead.
And if you can, automate this savings so that it happens every month like clockwork, building your freedom fund without you even having to think about it.
3. Consider your options
If things do get bad and you do feel threatened, what are your options? How much money would they require? What are the specific steps you would have to take?
The goal here isn’t to do anything rash or sudden. I would actually caution against that.
The goal is simply to start brainstorming ideas and gathering information you can use later on if necessary. Even a little bit of preparation now could make things a lot easier down the line.
4. Make yourself and others heard
This isn’t really a financial tip, but it’s a powerful message that I think is worth sharing. And by the way, this comes directly from my beautiful wife Casey.
She told me about a strategy that the women in Obama’s White House used to make sure that they were heard. They had noticed that most of Obama’s top advisors were male and that women were often being ignored, so any time a woman spoke up another woman would repeat what she said. Eventually the men took notice, the women started to naturally have a bigger, more respected voice, and everything became a little more equal.
This is something we can all do for each other. When we hear someone say something important, we can repeat their words to make sure that they’re heard.
If enough people are brave enough to do this enough times, we can keep working towards a more equal, opportunity-filled country for everyone.
And that’s bound to be good for your financial future as well!
Please feel free to reach out any time
I know that you may be feeling scared and uncertain about your future, financial or otherwise.
Please know that I’m here to help. If you have any questions, concerns, or anything else you’d like to run by me, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I promise to help in any way that I can.