Transition Literacy-Lesson One
The moment someone learns that that they are about to experience a life event is the moment that person’s transition is triggered. When you think about change or transition, you probably notice that some part of life or some state ends and another eventually begins. We originally saw a three-stage structure of Ending, Passage, and New Normal, but shortly thereafter noticed that the moment someone learns that that they are about to experience a life event is the moment that person’s transition is triggered.
We revised our structure, expanding it to a more realistic four stages, with Anticipation coming first, as an event’s possible meanings and outcomes (and therefore the individual’s expectations) surface along with awareness of the event. With awareness brings future spending and other behaviors that can be destructive, particularly if the event doesn’t materialize ac cording to the story the individual has created in their own mind. Anticipation as the first stage of transition is a revolutionary idea in that, to some, we’re talking about preparing for an event that hasn’t occurred yet. We might not even have a clear estimated time of arrival. But that’s when the story starts in the mind and life of the individual.
Furthermore, waiting for the money to arrive isn’t the time to deal with the new possibilities and responsibilities that accompany it. Why? Because of what we know about humans as they move through transitions. Life gets more complicated and challenging during times of change, yes, but living does too. And by that I mean thinking clearly, making good decisions, functioning well in relationships, and handling yourself socially. Who you are becomes destabilized, and to what degree depends on a variety of factors, including your support system and the expertise of the professionals who guide you. When you wait until your event has occurred to plan for it, you give away an influential interval of time that has the power to positively transform your relationship to your transition and the money that comes with it.
Transitions take years, not months, aren’t always linear, and certainly aren’t following your schedule.
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Your Guide to Financial Independence
Rick Epple, CFP(r)