As we approach the holiday season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the growing list of to-dos. Examples include:
Buying thoughtful gifts
Taking a professional family photo
Mailing holiday cards
Decorating the house
Please sit back for a minute and take stock. Think about the greater purpose behind the holiday bustle – to show our love and appreciation for those around us who make the world a better place. Garbage collectors, postal workers, hairdressers, teachers, friends, and family members are common gift recipients.
Why I’m Thankful This Week
I’m grateful for you. You who:
Read a blog post
Scheduled an initial consultation
Worked with me (or are still working with me) to pursue financial goals
Supported my firm WorthyNest® in the early days
More recently, I’m thankful to those of you who have encouraged me to write a book. Last fall at Tribe conference, God put it on my heart to write a book that would help thousands of families live more intentionally and purposefully. God even blessed me with four individual coaching sessions with Jeff Goins.
BUT … I didn’t get serious about writing the book until we returned from Spain in April 2018. Jeff helped tremendously: working through the idea, title, and book outline. At the beginning of June, I had a solid outline with one-paragraph summaries for each chapter and was committed to finishing the first draft by the end of August. The writing process took longer than anticipated. Time blocking on Google calendar only works well if you stick to the project you have scheduled during a particular time. Writing was often pushed aside to accommodate time-sensitive client activities.
After months of writing, I’m excited to announce that the first draft of my book is complete! It’s like Tim Ferriss’ NYT Bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek but without an emphasis on entrepreneurship. The underlying theme of my book is that you don’t have to be rich (monetarily speaking) to live richly. There are actions you can take now to change your trajectory. And, the book still offers plenty of wealth-building techniques if you’re interested in growing your financial balance sheet.
If you’ve ever yearned to write a book, I wish I could say the process is easy. It’s not. It’s full of frustrations. Writers’ block and imposter’s syndrome show up. People who you thought would be supportive say “you’re doing too much.”
Despite these stumbling blocks, I’m forging ahead. The first draft is in the hands of Book Launchers, and they will assist with the rest of the process … editing, book design, publishing, and promotion. If all goes well, I plan to have the book available to the public by Friday, May 17, 2019.
The book is one big reason I’m thankful this week. Also, this month marks the two-year anniversary of WorthyNest’s official launch. It has truly been a labor of love, and I continue to pour my heart into it. Please let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific blog content ideas or want to be included in the book launch group.
Don’t Build an Emergency Fund
Now that I’ve expressed gratitude, it’s time for something a bit controversial.
Don’t build an emergency fund. Instead, build an opportunity fund.
Unanticipated events can and do happen.
Imagine this. You’ve read all the headlines about artificial intelligence and the threat of robots replacing human jobs. The large corporation for which you’re working is struggling in today’s economic environment. They begin offering early retirement packages to long-time, seasoned employees. That’s not enough. Bit by bit, one person per department is losing his or her job. When your boss asks to see you, you have an awful feeling in your gut. Your intuition is right; you are offered a three-month severance package in exchange for leaving the company quietly and without any legal action.
At first, you may be in disbelief and don’t understand how this happened. You were punctual, had good rapport with coworkers, and presented a can-do attitude. After the initial shock wears off, this is a perfect time to reflect on the things that really matter in life. Is there a different career that better suits your strengths? Do you need additional schooling to prepare for that career change? Or do you have an entrepreneurial itch to scratch? The business idea may have ruminated in your mind for months or years.
An opportunity fund enables you to slowly build that business, return to school for new career training, or interview for positions in other fields. It gives you time, space, and money to design the professional life you have desired.
Let’s take another unexpected occurrence: you and your spouse have been trying to conceive for years. Struggles with infertility create emotional scars. You are contemplating adoption or in-vitro fertilization. Finally, you become pregnant! The joy you feel for that growing baby cannot be measured.
Then, reality sets in. You begin to think about extra expenses associated with baby’s arrival, such as nursery furniture, a car seat, stroller, diapers, and childcare. Luckily, you and your spouse have been intentional about each dollar saved, and you are ready to draw on the opportunity fund. Shifting to a new normal takes time, and you may not have a great idea of expenses post-baby. The opportunity fund provides peace of mind so you can focus on giving your baby the best possible life.
Now, for the last example. If your home’s air conditioner, furnace, or roof is nearing the end of its useful life, draw on your opportunity fund to upgrade to a new one. Systems collapse over time. It is your responsibility as a homeowner to monitor the systems. Reinvesting in a new air conditioner, furnace, or roof not only fixes the problem but also may improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, home improvements are aptly named and not confined to large $10,000+ systems. After ten years of living in a home, you may want to upgrade the floors, finish the basement, or install granite countertops in the kitchen. An opportunity fund alleviates financial stress associated with home improvement projects.
Having an opportunity fund means you are operating from an abundance, rather than scarcity, mindset. And that ties perfectly into gratitude.
There will always be plenty of tragedy and heartache to go around. What if instead of dwelling on the negative you begin to see the limitless possibilities? What is one thing you’re grateful for this holiday season? Please share in the comments below.