Many years ago, I remember seeing an Albert Brooks movie comedy in which the phrase “that’s now thinking” was used to describe someone’s thoughts and actions in dealing with a problem. If you don’t know about Albert Brooks and his incredible comedic mind, look him up.
I’m certain you’ll appreciate the humor even though it may be somewhat dated in the 2021 world. But one thing that isn’t dated is his turning the phrase about “now thinking”. Now thinking was and still is a requirement in your life if you want to solve problems and face up to reality. In fact, now is the time and the method to solve problems, even financial ones that you face.
Why Now Is Always the Best Time
If you were to go back and read through all of my blog posts (close to 700!), you will see repeatedly my saying that “now” is the time to do something about whatever it is I’m writing about that day. It might be about making a real budget or starting your emergency fund or even contributing your first dollar to your retirement fund. But whatever it is, I’m convinced “now” is always the best time to do it. Why is that?
It’s because waiting for a better time often means never—or at best, time lost—and every minute you let problems build up, they get worse. What’s worse, even when you have convinced yourself that they can never really get worse, they can and do without actions and “now” thinking.
The Logical Imperative
Ok, I’m not going to get deeper here than necessary about imperatives. Philosopher Immanuel Kant said that an “imperative” is something that a person must do. For example: if a person wants to stop being thirsty, it is imperative that they drink. Kant said an imperative is “categorical” when it is true at all times, and in all situations.
If you want to study something like that, you can read about Kant and his “Categorical Imperative” that has more to do with ethical convictions than any particular financial problem solving I can write about here. But even though I’m not technically calling in Kant and his philosophical thread to the fore here, I can use his logic driven method or imperative in order to alert you of it and how using it you can help yourself.
Is Getting Back to “Normal” a This-Year Thing?
Every one of us has been affected in some way by this worldwide pandemic. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid actually getting ill, count yourself as lucky. But that is just a part of the havoc that has been COVID-19.
Financially speaking, mostly all of us have felt the pain. There is, however, a difference between those who had a back-up plan to deal with financial hardships and those who didn’t. I don’t care whether you are from Maine or Hawaii or Washington State or Florida, if you were unprepared for a catastrophe economically, you sunk like a stone. People who never ever had to ask for help had to wait in lines for food. The government had to issue stipends to relieve a portion of the suffering. People lost their jobs, homes, and in many cases their lives. It proved that the worst case scenario can actually happen and it did.
But here we are and most of us are now beaming with optimism that 2021 is when we return to “normal”.
“Now Thinking” and 2021
In order to recover from the past year, we must take a cold, hard look at how we dealt with it and what we may need to change to be prepared to deal with this kind of disaster in the future.
Finances may not be everything in life, but they can help save it. You work hard to build your life, find work, own or rent a place to live, have transportation, etc., but you now see how quickly it can all go away when you have little or no safety net. If you never ever thought that having an emergency fund was important before, you need no further evidence, now do you?
It’s a categorical imperative just like water to a thirsty man. Thank you, Immanuel Kant.
I am going to give you a quick, condensed three-step program to get your “normal” back in 2021. It’s simple and blunt and doesn’t require a degree in anything to do. Keep it laminated on an index card in your purse or wallet and refer to it as often as necessary. Here goes:
- Get a job, any job that will pay you that’s legal. As soon as you get it, try to get a better one (all the time). It may mean learning a new skill or networking or just plain being innovative, but earning more is step one to saving more and dealing with financial crises.
- Start saving now, at first a small percentage, but increasing it as soon as you can budget better and prioritize your spending. Separate your needs from wants and deal with it like your life depends on it, because it just might!
- Stop all negative thinking and be positive. You have survived a disaster and now you can move forward, but you must have a plan and take action. Tomorrow is too far away to begin. “Now” is always the best time to start. Think of that every day.
I wouldn’t say any of this if I didn’t believe in it. I don’t get paid for promoting self-reliance and now thinking and I don’t need to in order to say it over and over again. I say it to anyone who will listen: friends, relatives, and enemies, too. The problem is that most people who do hear me don’t actually take any actions.
So ask yourself this: What’s preventing you from building a plan and being prepared for the rest of your life?
Some of us may have a physical or a mental problem and I am aware of that, but I am also aware that help exists for those things and for those who are proactive about it, help can happen. Now thinking even applies to those who need extra help.
What are you doing today to build back normal in your life? Are you prepared to actually do something or are you going to wait for tomorrow or next week or never? It’s all in your hands, isn’t it?