Just before the COVID-19 outbreak, I reached out to a financial planner in our Let’s Connect networking group to go over my finances and discuss retirement options. As a 30-something Millennial, I admit that I’ve let some valuable time pass when it comes to making plans for my future.
Planning for retirement edges closer to the forefront of my priorities as I get older. Although I do have some retirement savings, I was not happy with my progress. As an independent contractor, I have to be even more intentional with how I save.
When you’re young, you don’t always focus on the future. We typically live day-to-day and not think too further than the week ahead of us. Yes, as a creative, you don’t necessarily “retire.” I’ll always write and create music, but I do have to be realistic that my body will change over the years and may prevent me from playing as often as I do now. Getting older is a reality we all must face.
“Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance“
My life as a working musician can be physically taxing. I am my own road crew. I pack my gear, set up, play for three hours, break down my equipment, pack it again, drive home and unload into my apartment. A three hour performance turns into a six hour gig easily. I’m not saying this to complain; I enjoy what I do. I commend musicians who have played much longer than me and are still going. Being a creative is a rewarding job that I take pride in. I just need to prepare for some things in life that are inevitable.
I live by the 5 P’s. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. When I was in school, we were taught to come prepared because you never know when there would be a pop quiz. Sometimes life is a pop quiz. You don’t know what to expect when it puts you to the test.
“Sometimes life is a pop quiz. You don’t know what to expect when it puts you to the test.“
When I met with the financial planner, I was advised not to invest all of my savings in case there was an unforeseen emergency. I quietly balked at this advice. The economy was booming and I had a small “rainy day” fund that I could use in case something happened.
The financial planner suggested growing my “rainy day” fund and in the meantime pause my investment plans. “Why is she insisting I do this,” I thought to myself. My goal was to invest. Everything was going great and I had a ton of gigs. “Okay, whatever,” I said to myself.
I soon discovered my financial planner was right. Life can change in an instant. “What goes up must come down,” she said. No one could have predicted the stock market crash, jobs being furloughed, people losing their jobs at record numbers. As of today, over 10 million people have applied for unemployment in March alone. We are in unprecedented times.
I think this experience has got us all thinking about emergency funds and what we can do to protect our families in times like these. I think this pandemic will only make us stronger.
Soon, this will all be over and things will look familiar again. I think a lot of good has already come out of this. We now know what we can live with and without, we are spending precious time with our loved ones, we’re learning patience and some are learning how to properly budget their finances for the first time.
Although it’s hard to see in the moment, we will learn from this and be better because of it. I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish on the other side of this quarantine. Stay safe and be encouraged.