It has been said that the only constant thing is change. And it’s true. After a few decades on the planet, anyone with half a brain can see trends emerge, generally slowly, and bear witness to life-altering events that occur in the blink of an eye.
Americans have been blessed: our life-altering events tend to be few and far between: the Great Depression in the 1930s, the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the devastating events of 9/11 in New York City.
The social upheaval, riots, and wars that followed these events make it easy, in hindsight, to see the difference a day can make.
In a few years, the financial crisis of 2007 might join the list of those events. On Main Street, many Americans saw their net worth evaporate by roughly a third, whether they held their assets in the stock market or in real estate. Unemployment skyrocketed. Inflation still runs rampant. Recent college graduates search for jobs while still living at home or moving back in with their parents.
It’s a different world for everybody.
Who handled it with the least pain or worry? Those who were either raised with the values, habits, and priorities of Old Money or those who adopted them prior to the crisis.
If you had a pre-bubble mortgage that you couldn’t really afford and a car payment that bit at your wallet every month and a credit-card lifestyle that took everything you had each month and then some, you could have found yourself in big trouble, and no small amount of worry, when the age of lay-offs and bankruptcies reared its ugly head.
If you lived below your means across the board, saved regularly, and prioritized for the long haul, you may have fared better.
The good news is: if you aren’t living an Old Money life right now, you still have time to change. It’s true, change is constant. The second truth about change is that it’s much easier to change when you can than to change when you must.
So look at your life. Change what you can today. Be ready for those life-altering events tomorrow.