• Jeff Sproul

Plan For The Worst And Hope For The Best


People are generally pessimists or optimists. Either way, both of these points of view on life have positive and negative effects. The reality is that a balance between the two is usually the best course of action and realistically emulates our day-to-day lives. Regardless of our efforts and thoughts, throughout our lives we will face both the good and the bad. Therefore, when planning, it is often best to assume the position of a realist versus an optimistic or pessimistic end of the spectrum.

We do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world full of errors, unexpected interruptions, heartache, death, and many other disappointing situations. While unfortunate, this is our reality.

It is not healthy to focus on the negative aspects of life, but ignoring them serves us no good either. Yet we are taught to be the most positive, optimistic people possible… here lies the dilemma!

Having hope does not infer closing our eyes and wishing for a miracle, rather that we will have good fortune and our plans will work out as intended. We assume that the surprises we experience in life will generally be positive, such as being able to retire early or take that trip we always wanted to take because things worked out better than expected. When we use the phrase “hope for the best”, we mean plan for the best; look forward to the best; have an expectation that things are going to work out in our favour. However, when we say “plan for the worst”, it does not mean to plan with a negative outlook. It simply means that we need to be wise in our plans.

Some questions to be asked are, should we be planning for job loss? What if we lose a loved one? What if we need to care for a significant other for a prolonged period of time?

Often we think of using insurance to cover these needs, but what about “self-insuring” our families? We live in a society of spendthrifts, but what if we were to save a significant amount of money on a regular basis to cover these unforeseen issues, and our reward for this would be to become financially secure enough to afford retirement at age 50? Previous generations referred to this as a “rainy day fund”. But hoping for the best is usually more of a fantasy than a plan.

If we are prepared for the worst and a less than ideal event does occur, we would be in a better mindset to deal with the situation without the added stress of the potential financial burden. This would allow us to think more clearly, use our energy in a more positive manner and take the steps necessary from a financial standpoint.

There are a wide variety of products, solutions and strategies that can be employed to “protect” us from various undesired situations. However, the vast majority of them assume something negative will occur at some point.

You will never identify every possible scenario that could affect you negatively, but there are certainly quite a few common ones that can be mitigated fairly easily. Whether it is carrying insurance policies, saving money for unexpected expenses, eating healthily, exercising, or driving carefully, these are all examples of “planning for the worst and hoping for the best”.

The most important part of this entire process is identifying the possible scenarios that you need to plan for, both good and bad, that are applicable to you. From there, the rest is rather easy. Take the time to sit down and complete a wealth plan, keeping in mind that the best course of action is to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”!

#JeffSproul

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