This is usually around the point in January that many New Year’s resolutions start to crumble. But making any at all seemed unnecessary for many of us at the start of 2021, when our lives were and still are one great collective act of self-control. It feels like we should postpone our resolutions until a later date. In many ways it’s as if the future itself has been postponed and we’re left frustrated because we can’t set ourselves the usual targets and goals for the year ahead.
The key word here is ‘postponed’. Because while the impact of the pandemic will leave lasting and irreversible changes, we will return to something resembling a more normal routine at some stage in 2021. When this happens, many of us will be keen, in all areas of our lives, to hit the ground running. It makes sense for us to use the spare time and energy we have now to ensure we are in a position to do just that.
With that in mind, now is the perfect opportunity to take a proper look at your financial situation. Use the time to dig out those pension statements, assess your investment portfolio, get a handle on what you’re spending and saving. (Progeny team member, Emily Marland, recently offered her tips for taking control of your finances which are a great place to start.)
You might even be pleasantly surprised. Goodness knows that this last year has presented us with so few opportunities to actually spend any money. You may find you have built up more disposable income than you expected – to save and invest now, or to spend when the time comes.
As well as the peace of mind it provides, ticking a job like this off your list while you’ve got the time means it’s one less thing you’ll have to think about when life gets back to normal and there will suddenly be plenty of far more attractive options competing for your attention.
The pandemic has reminded us why good financial planning is so important, and why we believe so passionately in its power. It’s designed to look after us in our hour of need, to help soften the impact of some of life’s unpleasant, but in some cases inevitable, events like illness, redundancy or bereavement. It can also be the engine that allows us to achieve our greatest ambitions and aspirations, the tool that enables us to live our best life.
This past year we have not been able to do this. All of life has been on pause. Meetings with family and friends have been frozen, holidays put on hold, performances postponed, concerts quietened, sport played solemnly and silently behind closed doors. However, this period will pass and all these opportunities will still be waiting for us when we’re ready to resume.
Time to reflect
I’ve spoken many times recently about how the current circumstances provide an opportunity to press the reset button in our industry or our professional lives. A chance to change things that were no longer fit for purpose and press on with new positives. We also have a broader responsibility than this.
The tragic reality of this pandemic is that many of us will have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues to this virus. It has taken and continues to take a terrible toll on our families and communities. I believe we owe it to these people to think carefully about how we choose to return to normal life and how we want to live our lives going forward.
We’ve learned about the power of our communities, our strength in adversity and our human ingenuity in the face of a global threat. And we’ve learned just how much we value our relationships, our human contact and the lives we have built for ourselves and our families.
As we wait for the vaccine to bring the spread of the virus under control let’s use this time to reflect on the resolutions that will help enshrine these lessons for the future. Being ready, when the time comes, to live our lives again is the best way to move forward and the most fitting way to honour those we have lost.