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Maintain Financial Security for Well-Being During Hard Times

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Originally Published In Naples Daily News︱ May 14, 2020︱ Interview of Jill Ciccarelli Rapps CFP® by Blue Zones Project SWFL Director of Marketing and Communications, Sebastian Saitta

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When it comes to well-being, financial security plays a major role. In fact, financial well-being is one of five common elements along with physical, career, social, and community that people need to thrive in their lives according to the Gallup well-being index. With COVID-19 making headlines and many witnessing and personally experiencing the financial fallout, it is normal to feel worried and uncertain.

As you should make every effort to stay physically and mentally healthy during trying times, it’s critically important to maintain financial health as they can often be interrelated. Having a solid grip on financial well-being can better prepare you for what life may throw your way.

“What is important during tough times like COVID-19 is that it tests your financial health,” says Jill Rapps, CFP, Financial Advisor at Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. “This is a time to learn about what you may do differently or what worked well.”

While your financial well-being or overall financial situation is unique to you, there are key factors to keep in mind to help maintain a positive status.  Jill shares these tips:

  1. Start saving money early and on a systematic basis. Be sure to “pay yourself first” by saving a portion of every dollar that comes your way.
  2. Never spend more than you make. The key ingredient is to understand what it takes to cover your essential expenses, and then what you may have leftover, after you save a portion, use to purchase discretionary items.
  3. Document your expenses. Running your finances is like running a business. Your results should be documented so that you can review them several times throughout the year and make any necessary modifications
  4. Know where you are before you can understand where you need to go. It’s important to document your assets and liabilities (balance sheet) in a way that you can measure your progress, again at least once a year.  These two exercises are essential for being able to make good financial decisions.
  5. Have a “rainy day” fund. This can be used for one-time expenses that come up unplanned, i.e. your daughter needs help for a move, or, give yourself permission that it may be used to supplement your income as we are going through a challenging time like COVID-19.
  6. Build financial “staying power”. This is important so you can not only sustain your family and yourself but also thrive through a challenging time by being able to focus on opportunities.
  7. Take the emotions out of investing. This sounds easy but our basic human tendency is to run from fear – sell low and buy high which of course is the opposite of what you should do if you are a good investor.

Just like physical exercise, forming financial habits that you can stick with is key to creating positive outcomes in the long run. “Good financial habits must work well for you,” says Jill. “If we are forced to do something that doesn’t fit our personality it probably will not become a habit, it may look more like our New Year’s Eve resolutions – not sticking!”

Jill recommends designing what you want your financial health to look like, and then develop a pathway that works with your lifestyle.  For example, some people love detail and will work with specific software to document all their expenses and make sure everything balances to the penny, while others just put away money in “goal” buckets and whatever is leftover they can spend. “Either way they can both work to meet financial goals but working with a financial advisor can help as part of their job is to create a pathway for you to succeed financially, keep you on track and help you implement,” says Jill.

Often, the right questions you ask yourself are key to revealing the right steps to take to achieve financial well-being. Jill notes that this is an excellent time to slow down and recommends asking yourself what kind of financial future will be most impactful for you.  If you are not financially stable during this time, ask yourself what you need so that next time you will be more stable. How should your money align with your deepest values?  What is the highest and best use for your money? 

“This challenging time will be a time we will remember,” says Jill. “It will have a lasting effect on all our lives and in different ways, and we can learn from this time and decide how it will make an impact on our financial choices. Sometimes our best plans don’t work the way we thought they would so stay nimble, stay flexible, and have the ability to welcome change when it knocks at your door. We have to remember that this too shall pass.”

FREE FINANCIAL WELL-BEING WEBINAR – Looking for financial guidance during COVID-19? We have partnered with Ciccarelli Advisory Services to present complimentary webinars on simple yet effective ways to help you and your family during this challenging time. These webinars are separated by topic so you can choose which one relates best to your current situation. You will also have an opportunity for live Q&A to answer your most pressing questions. To register, click on the links below.

Tuesday, May 19th, 5:30 pm
Feeling financially “squeezed”? Reduced income? Lost job? Learn about tools and resources to get you back on track!

https://bit.ly/2zcCTxj

Thursday, May 21st, 10:00 am
Retired and concerned about your income and investments during this challenging time?

https://bit.ly/2z9SSfV

Wednesday, May 27th, 5:30 pm
Are you an individual or small business owner looking to uncover new financial opportunities?

https://bit.ly/3c6dZOA

Investment advisory services offered through Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser independent of FSC Securities Corporation.  Securities and additional investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment adviser. 9601 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL. 239-262-6577.

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