Adapt, Don’t Just Survive

Why you should avoid financial survival mode

Thanks to two vaccines getting approved, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is in view. However, if you’re still feeling like you’re in financial survival mode, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent study found that 38 percent of Americans think they’ll be in that frame of mind going into next year.

While barely holding on to your finances is better than letting them go completely, being in a survival mode can lead to poor choices. As Marketwatch notes, when you’re just thinking of today, you could make money moves that hurt tomorrow (or next month and next year). Let’s say you’ve been using your credit card more than usual. Suddenly, your budget is out of whack and the payments start piling up. As the balance increases, you start to fall behind. Now, for months down the road, you’re digging yourself out debt that was created in a survival situation. Or, maybe you choose to pull out of the stock market because you’re worried about your investments during this “fight or flight” period. That would be a mistake, as we all know the smartest investment strategy is to stay put for the long haul.

The best way to stop survival mode mistakes is to take small moves forward. Commit to adding a little bit more each month to savings. Revise your budget in such a way that you’ll be less tempted to make rash financial changes. Review your investments and refocus on your long-term goals. Getting out of survival mode requires building positive momentum. Once you get going in the right direction, it’s easier to stay headed that way.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea