Blindsided: How Not To Be …

Blindsided: How Not To Be …

BlindsidedFor those who’d rather listen, click this link:

Blindsided

Blindsided:  I like this word.  But I never want it to happen to me.

That’s why I sat for hours today, on the deck with my bare feet up on the rail … thinking.

The day was a little grey, not your typical Florida winter day.  Birds sat side-by-side on the power lines that skirt our little lake, making a heck of a racket.  If I closed my eyes, I could pretend for a moment that I was Tippi Hedron in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”  (Do you remember that movie?  A real classic.  Gruesome ending.  But at least she got to hang out in Bodega Bay, California, with then-gorgeous Rod Taylor.  These days he plays roles like Churchill in Tarantino’s movie.)

As the birds cackled, I tried to remember if their presence meant a cold front was coming.  Or a cold front was going.  Grackles, sparrows, starlings and crows.  Noisy buggers.

I went back to thinking about my life, your life and how to be prepared for an uncertain future.

My first thought:  what are the beliefs that we’re absorbing from others around us?  Are we reacting … or over-reacting?  With statistics as “cooked” as they are, and a media that has forgotten its role as journalistic truth-seeker, who knows how good (or bad) the economy really is.

For most, it boils down to a variation on the old saw:  “If your neighbor is without work, it’s an economic downturn.  If you are without work, it’s a recession.  If you and your spouse are without work, it’s a depression.”  So it’s at least still an economic downturn.

But a bad economy has never been a reason to not make money.  In fact, many a fortune has been made during economic turmoil.  What’s needed is to be astute enough to find the unique opportunities.  And they may not be where we think they are.  So where are they?

What revolutions are going on under our noses?  Real revolutions happen without most anyone noticing until they are already over.  So can a likely opportunity be spotted by someone over 40?  50?  60?  For example, using the power of imagination, what knowledge and expertise do I have that can be reshuffled in new ways to build a solid, comfortable future?

And what does that comfortable future look like?  Let’s see, let me imagine a better world that I’d want to live in.  Not the big world out there, but “my world.”  Not crazy stuff.  Just what makes sense to me in my mind’s eye.  What feeds my soul?  What drives me?  What’s fun for me?  Reaching financial certainty doesn’t have to be a drag … or a forced march.  But it does have to be laced with enough emotion to capture my attention … and hold my focus.

So what else has changed?  Well, time used to be our friend.  Over time, our houses were worth more, our equity was greater and we could count on that for part of our retirement.  Money that we put away … grew.  Mutual funds grew.  Now time is no longer our friend.  The interest paid by institutions is ridiculously low and inflation is being artificially capped.  Virtually every market is manipulated in a way that makes it unpredictable.  Nothing is sacred.  So much information, yet no one knows for sure what to do with their money.

All in all, to not be truly future-conscious today is a form of dangerous denial.  And a guarantee that you’ll be blindsided.

Just as I was wrapping up my thoughts, I noticed all the birds had left.  It was eerily still.

Here’s what I came up with as a plan for me, that I think would also be good for you.

My goal:

(1) to have a brutally honest, judgment-free view of what I have and where I stand today;

(2) to have a precise, vibrant picture of what I want my life to look like 5-10-20 years out—one that engenders the emotions I want to feel—and to know what that life will cost; and

(3) to have a clear plan (including the necessary financial and life tools) to start on the path towards that life, with its focus weighted towards the early steps.

Does this sound like something worthwhile for you to do, too?  Let me know in the Comments section below.

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Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers are shared in her tell-it-like-it-is posts and articles. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • cathsj

    Great reminder to plan, and be realistic. Thanks.

  • Another Great POST and Yes Being REAL Honest with Oneselves…

    • Surprising how many women are functioning in a fantasy version of their lives, rather than reality, Carly … 😉

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Thank you Sharon for a good reminder that we should be planning carefully for the future.

  • You are a great wordsmith, Sharon…I was right there with you…and the birds! Of course I know the Hitchcock film, and I enjoyed the reference. Thanks for this though-provoking post.

    • Meryl, it’s hard to be in that noisy cackling of birds and NOT think of the movie … if you’ve ever seen it. 😉 Hope the thoughts the post provided proved useful!

  • Love your point about ‘time’ Sharon. It isn’t our friend and we do have to accept that things aren’t the same when it comes to savings and interests. We need to rethink and act now.
    Thanks Sharon!

    • So many of the guideposts have moved in recent years, Carolyn, so we do need to dig a little deeper to figure out how to keep our savings and investments safe!

  • I truly enjoy your writing. The way you analyze, give advice, and share from your own experience is truly engaging and helpful. Thank you!

    • I’m glad you find value in it, Lorrie! I love having such an efficient platform where I can share what I’ve learned with other women … 😉

  • Thanks for an excellent post Sharon! I love the way you crafted the message of being real with taking control of where you are at and where you are headed with that 3-step plan – very worth while!

    • Glad you found the message worthwhile, Moira. That’s truly my goal!

  • Dear Sharon, my life circumstances continue to shuffle around so your article today propelled me to re-read your article from last January, “How to get what you REALLY want” because you keep me focused on building a strong foundation. As I look back over the past year, I HAVE received everything I really wanted… literally, EVERYTHING! So that makes me realize that I need to bump up my expectations and dare to believe for even bigger things, this year!

    What I love about coming to your blog, Sharon, is that you continue to help us strengthen our foundational mindset about finances and true wealth. The benefit of sticking with you through the years is seeing the small and big steps that I’m making toward financial independence – and happiness.

    • Susan, you do my heart good! I love how you take the pieces of what I write that resonate with you and use them “under your feet” to build your foundation. And then you take your sheer will and vision … and build up your life from there. Brava!

  • It’s nice to have a plan and trying to achieve it. And you are right Sharon there is a dangerous denial, indeed!

    • Denial is dangerous in virtually every situation, Tereza. It’s just doubly so when you’re talking about financial security … or survival!

  • Another excellent post, Sharon. I think about the 70’s and 80’s when I never worried about money,,,,,,,

  • I love this plan, Sharon. Being brutally honest without judgment lets you know exactly where you stand. Then can you really make an honest step-by-step plan forward. Great post and I am going to try your plan!

    • Lisa, the judgment part is usually what trips us up. If we could just figure out how to take our mistakes as learning opportunities … LEARN from them … then let them go!

  • Great post Sharon. I used to have no plan and go where life would take me but now that I have lived a little I know more who I am and what I want out of life. I believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to, just by doing one small thing to reach your goal, every day. It may take time but you will get there.

    • You WILL get there, Pauline, even one small step at a time, as long as you continue headed in one direction. But, you’re right, it sure helps to have a plan!

  • STRATEGY is the word that rushes to mind! You have a strategy. Great post!

    • You’re right, Carl. The key is having a strategy … and following it!

  • MarVeena

    Clarity is a good thing! Thanks for sharing your ideas and process!

    • Denial is so easy, MarVeena! So the more clarity we can bring to the people around us, the better. As you know with your valuable work … 😉