What to Do When Your Plan Hits the Fan: Strategies for Marathons & Wealth Management

We are in a blog series discussing how strategies for running marathons could help you maximize your wealth in a meaningful way. If you missed Strategy #1 about knowing your why, click here to read that post. If you missed Strategy #2 about contingency plans, please click here to read it.

This blog post is about what to do when your plan hits the fan. You’ve probably heard the sayings about when something “hits the fan.” It’s typically not good! It’s not fun when your financial plan hits the fan, or your marathon training plan hits the fan.

Today, I will give you three ways you could move forward when your plan hits the fan.

We will talk a little about running and finances. I’ll share a couple of times when my plan hit the fan and what I did to help me through that and move forward. The first thing I want to say is if your plan recently hit the fan, if you’re going through a big loss, the loss of a loved one, if you’re grieving the loss of a job or a team at work because you were relocated, or let go for whatever reason, or if you made that decision. You’re grieving the loss, and I want to say my heart goes out to you for that. I feel for you!

Step 1: Grieve the loss

First, a quick story on running. I was out on one of my final peak training runs for the Twin Cities Marathon, where I was supposed to run 22 miles. It was a progressive, fast-finish run. So you start a little bit slower than a marathon pace, then do seven or eight miles at a marathon pace, and then a fast finish.

And it was going awesome. My heart rate was super low. I felt amazing. I had just started into the marathon paces, and I felt great. My heart rate was low, but after about a mile and a half, my right knee started hurting a little bit, and very quickly, it was burning and felt like it was on fire. I started walking, and it hurt, but I think what hurt more than the physical pain was that feeling of, oh my gosh, my marathon training plan and dreams potentially just hit the fan!

I really wanted to qualify for Boston and maybe run a sub-three-hour marathon. That’d be pushing it, but those plans and potentially all the training hours went out the window. And so, I started feeling myself get negative. In reality, I was grieving that loss, and that’s actually step one: grieving your loss, feeling those emotions, and just letting yourself grieve wherever you are and whatever you have lost.

Because if we try to skip that step, sometimes those things can come back up; at least, that was the case for me. So, give yourself some time and space if your plan hits the fan. Get around people you enjoy, people who can support you if you just lost something. And eventually, it’s time to go into step two and turn the corner. For me, I can turn the corner much faster if I’m grateful for what I still have.

Step 2: Be grateful for what you do have

Back to running. Just yesterday, when I was running on the road, I uttered a few swear words that I… probably shouldn’t have said. I was in pain and not sure how much farther I could run. So, I started focusing on what I do have. I took inventory, like, hey, I woke up today. That’s pretty good. I’m alive. I ran 13 miles recently, a little over that, in one of the fastest half-marathons I’ve ever run. Maybe the fastest. And that’s pretty good! I’m still pretty healthy if I can run 13 miles before I have some knee pain due to my IT band. And I have a great wife who’s picking me up on the side of the road, so I don’t have to hobble back home. I have fantastic kids waiting there to have lunch with me and a softball game to go to this afternoon. And very quickly, my mindset changed, and I was feeling a lot better.

What does being grateful look like from a financial standpoint if you go through a major loss (and a lot of people have)? When I went through a divorce, I made some decisions to trade off investment assets, cash, and retirement assets to keep my home, where I base my business. But when I looked at my financial plan projections after that, holy cow, they sucked!

I was one of my worst clients. After some grieving, I had to focus on what I still have. I still have an income. I still have a job working with people that I absolutely love. I am still working with a team that is incredibly loyal, who’s always been there, a team I trust. And…I started being able to reset expectations and say, Hey, now it’s time to update my financial plan. Maybe it’s okay if I have to work if I get to work in a job that I love with people I care about. And so for me, step #2, being grateful for what you have, has really helped when my plan hit the fan, both in running and finances.

Step 3: Update your plan and take action

The third step, and this is probably the most critical, is to update your plan and get after it. That’s where you take action. Technically, it’s two steps in one: update your financial plan and then get after it. Or update your marathon or your training plan and keep moving forward.

Financially, that means this: update your financial plan or get in your financial planner’s office to have them help you. Update your plan, assumptions, and realistic situation for what income you’ll have, what new expenses you’ll have, and what benefits you’ve lost. If you lost a job, maybe it’s matching, perhaps it’s a pension, maybe it’s medical insurance, whatever.

The bottom line is you want to know where you’re at so you can make good decisions and reset expectations. And then, once you have your plan updated, it’s time to get after it! Let’s recap the three things that have really helped me, and I hope they can help you if your plan just hit the fan or if you know somebody else whose plan hit the fan.

#1: Give yourself some time to grieve; give yourself some grace.
#2: Be grateful for what you do have.
#3: Update your plan and get after it.

If you recently had your plan hit the fan or feel stuck financially, whether it’s something with business or income, a layoff, or a divorce, and you’re wondering how to move forward, feel free to reach out. We’d love to connect with you and have an initial consultation to see how we can help. Click here to schedule a no-obligation consultation.