March 6, 2018
Financial Stability is Like Bouncing on a Trampoline
Financial Stability is like bouncing on a trampoline - that doesn't sound very encouraging, does it? We have seen enough YouTube videos of children and adults losing control and flying off a backyard setup. In every case someone seems to be having a great time until their bounce angle gets a little off kilter. Away they go onto the ground or into a bush or something that looks painful.
Well, that is the analogy I am going with for this brief post. Everything is fine, until it's not. We have things under control, until suddenly we don't. Our sense of financial stability is important to our sense of a satisfying retirement, but sometimes things stop working as well as they did before. We go flying off in an unexpected detour.
I'm pretty sure most of the folks who use trampolines for fun and exercise are confident in their ability to bounce up and down without a problem. I've tried it myself a few times (in my younger years) and never had a mishap.
Virtually all of us have made enough successful financial plans to be able to retire, maybe not in the grand style we once envisioned, but retired nevertheless. We have gotten on the trampoline and have things under control.
An unexpected gust of wind, a slight shift in your balance, a momentary lack of focus is all it takes; off you go toward the padded edge. Most of the time, there is no damage, just an embarrassed smile or laugh. If we are talking about a financial pratfall, the consequences might be a little more lasting but rarely land someone in the financial intensive care unit.
Except for a truly epic disasters, trampoliners do the same thing: they get right back up and start again. The loss of balance, the ungainly fall on their rear end, even the bounce that takes them all the way off the contraption, do not end the experience.
Long term financial stability requires the same response. The loss of some money, the bad investment choice, the feeling of panic when the stock market does something scary, should not throw you totally off your retirement plan.
Just like someone on a trampoline, you must get back on. You must shake off the setback, figure out what when wrong, and try to not repeat that mistake.