Stop the Fear, Take Action
(page 3 of 3)
Use This Time to Your Advantage
senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship
“In the Bible, the Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is lived in seasons. Recession is like the coming of winter, a season of scarcity and a shortage of financial fruit.
But even if the economy is dormant, it doesn’t mean that our lives need to be polarized. Farmers know that winter has its own purpose: a time to repair broken tools, maintain equipment and grease the tractors. Likewise, a recession reminds us that there are relationships that might need some deepening, mending that needs to be done and accounts to be put in order.
In times of plenty, we tend to lose sight of what matters the most: marriage, family, friendships, health, and faith. Without these, money alone would lose its value. I often remind people of the futility of having a billion dollars in gold, three mansions, or five swimming pools, if you had to live alone on an island, isolated from people for the rest of your life. Prosperity only makes sense in the context of healthy relationships.
During times like these, convert what would otherwise be a worrisome period into a season that will cause us to be even more fruitful when the sun begins to shine again."
Nurture Your Relationships
Jeffrie L. Wagner
licensed marriage and family therapist and president of the Hawaii Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
“When things get tough, we, as human beings, and especially men, tend to isolate ourselves. We say things like, ‘Leave me alone, I need to figure this out.’ But that’s when depression and anxiety and all of the things that you don’t want to happen come into play.
Instead, communicate when there’s been a job loss or there are concerns that may affect the family. Spouses should come together with their children and extended family members to brainstorm ideas on how to work things out. Middle-school and older children will already understand that something is happening, so bring them into the conversation and decision-making.
During these times, also take the opportunity to rebuild the basic infrastructure that allows your family members to interact with each other. Have dinner at home together at least a couple of times a week. Go to the beach, go camping, hiking, surfing, whatever it is that your family enjoys. It’s about returning to old-fashioned family values.”
Keep Love and Romance Alive
Martha “Marti” Barham
psychologist and sex therapist
“Sit down with your partner and each of you write down the five qualities that you find most important in a positive relationship, such as commitment, friendship, love, intimacy, or more time together, and define exactly what each thing means to you.
By doing this, it helps you to be really aware of what the other person holds important and significant; it opens up communication, which is important both in and out of the bedroom. Couples begin to realize what can be useful to their partner at this time.
When there’s a mutual problem, the trick is not to blame each other for the mess you’re in, rather use the energy to come up with a solution for how you’re going to address it together.
If there’s fighting in the kitchen, there’s going to be fighting in the bedroom. Intimacy and sexual expression is free; it should be fun and if you are allowing problems outside of the bedroom to interfere, you are not going to have pleasure that is available to you.”
Take a Fresh Look at Investments
financial planner, Golden Years Retirement Specialists
“If you are planning for retirement, now is the time to revisit your old plan in light of the extraordinary global changes. You may have made assumptions that are unrealistic. Sit down with your financial adviser and reevaluate so that you will end up in a better place in the months and years ahead. Look at when you will retire, where you will retire, how much you will have when you retire—all of these questions need answers.
More immediately, in times like these, you may find yourself in need of cash and you may have to sell something that you never thought you would, such as real estate, or stocks and bonds. Selling an investment can be a better option than depleting your retirement fund because withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax. Before you sell, calculate your taxable gain and make sure you consider tax-saving strategies. These are unusual transactions, and it may be smart to talk to your CPA about advantageous ways to structure the sale.
Refinance your home. Mortgage rates are lower than they’ve been in years. Refinancing now will mean you pay much less every month for the entire term of the loan. Do it soon, appraisers are busy and it may take weeks to get an appointment.
Also, take control and protect what you have. Otherwise, the loss resulting from your death or disability will be even worse than the loss you have recently experienced. Get your affairs in order so that your family doesn’t have to pay all of the taxes and professional fees to sort out your mess. Protect your legacy or you may not have one.”