Working after retirement. Graduated from college in debt with no plan of action to pay off my student loans, despite the fearsome interest rates. Forced to foreclose due to lack of funds.

Don’t let the worst financial scenario bring you to the brink of financial ruin.

It’s not too late to become more financially savvy by being aware of where your finances are and taking control of those funds—saving, prioritizing, budgeting, and eliminating what you don’t need.

From maintaining good credit to building a nest egg, staying sane doesn’t have to be hard work, and it can happen at any age.

Savings is the foundation of financial health, as research has shown that unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, can become a hardship if people don’t have access to emergency savings.

“When it comes to saving, the most important thing to do is to just start. Whether it’s $1 a day or a few each month, it’s important to have a plan. Talking to someone with experience can help others see things from a different perspective. One of my favorite conversations with clients is finding out what they’re saving for and helping them figure out how to get there,” said Gail Taylor, community manager for JPMorgan Chase in Detroit.

Participating in Money Talks is a good way to get feedback, advice and suggestions about your approach to saving. Whatever your goal, advice can help you develop skills, create a plan that can be adjusted as you go, and get help and support to achieve it. A great way to start the conversation is to review your budget and savings goals with an expert.

USA Today reports that financial planning doesn’t happen by accident, but rather through well thought out and deliberate steps towards success.

Experts agree. It’s important to review your financial plan periodically to determine if adjustments are needed, especially given the economic and personal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If your circumstances have changed, your financial plan may need to change as well,” the article said.

If a person needs a financial update to achieve this, consider the help of a certified financial planner who can help you set and achieve goals such as:

  • Providing a comfortable retirement.
  • Take advantage of saving and investing opportunities as you age, estimate your retirement expenses, and prepare to have enough money to cover those expenses throughout your life.
  • Buying a house.

For more information, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org to find a CFP professional.

Forbes noted in an article on how to create your worst-case scenario budget that the pandemic has taught people how to plan for an emergency and budget for themselves and their families.

This includes being perfectly clear about your fixed expenses and knowing how to spend a certain amount of money each month, rather than blowing it on fun, out-of-budget items.

Some fixed costs include:

  • Lease/Mortgage
  • Communal services
  • Payment of debt/loan
  • Subscriptions
  • Insurance
  • Health care costs such as co-pays and prescriptions

Additionally, knowing which costs can be eliminated is essential, and weighing flexible spending options is equally important.

The article defines flexible spending as what people have more control over fluctuating expenses such as food, transportation, and shopping. The article adds that exercising self-control in these flexible spending areas will help people learn to reduce or eliminate their spending entirely.

Ascent, a free training platform for female entrepreneurs, echoed similar sentiments, especially for business owners.

When it comes to projecting best-case and worst-case financial scenarios, make financial projections to determine the impact of changes in strategies and tactics to achieve your business goals.

People who want to increase their budget are advised to do so by identifying several scenarios in order to:

  • Plan for expected financial gains or losses.
  • Stay proactive in business decisions.
  • Reduce your risk by planning for the worst case scenario.

“More often than not, business owners plan for several different scenarios: the baseline [or regular] at best and at worst,” Ascent noted. “Your baseline scenario is the average financial outcome that is likely to happen if you don’t make real changes. Your best case scenario is your best financial outcome if everything goes according to plan. Your worst case scenario is the worst possible financial outcome for your business.”

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