Road signs warn us of what is ahead and also if it is necessary to change direction. When on a journey, it is important to pay attention to the signs. Here are some common road signs and what they may mean on the personal finance journey:
No U-Turn: A U-turn refers to doing a 180 degrees and reverse the direction of travel. That is NOT ALLOWED. Once you have started on this financial journey, their may be twists, turns and detours, but there is no going back! Find an accountability partner so you both can encourage one another along the way
Stop: When approaching an intersection (financial decision), come to a complete stop and look both ways. When the path is clear, you may continue. For example, after building a modest emergency savings fund, you may come to the build bigger emergency fund or pay off debt intersection. Stop. Look both ways, and when the path is clear (you’ve made up your mind based on research and doing what works for you)…then proceed.
Yield: Sometimes a full stop is not required, but you’ll need to slow down and take a look before proceeding. As you continue on your financial journey, you’ll come across some of these yield signs. Coming to a complete halt isn’t always necessary but you’ll want to slow down and take a look. For example: Where should I place my emergency savings fund? What is the best investment strategy for retirement? Should I hurry to pay off my student loans? Slow down and weigh your options but don’t stop saving/investing!
Sharp Turn Ahead: On this lifetime journey it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter a turn or two. It can be dangerous to take a turn too fast. Slow down, gather your bearings, and watch out for obstructions that might be around the bend. Proceed, but pay close attention. Examples of turns on your finance journey: marriage, childbirth, and change in employment status.
Hospital \ Emergency Services: If you find yourself in need of assistance go in the direction that will get you the help you need. For example, financial counseling can be found at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Rest Stop Ahead: The journey is long. You’ll need to maintain a steady pace to endure. Use rest stops to relax, reenergize, and gather your bearings. Once you feel refreshed, continue on the journey. I’ve witness people try to attack debt with such zeal, but without rest, they become weary and give up. As you reach milestones and markers in your financial journey, it is OK to treat yourself. Celebrating the small victories will give you the endurance to continue.
What about you?
Have you seen any of the signs above on your financial journey? Are there other signs that haven’t been mentioned?
What about this one? I’d love to hear your creative ideas for what the sign below could mean on a finance journey!