It’s been a long year, and I have not been the best at taking care of myself.

I don’t really remember the last time I worked out, and I’m eating a lot of ice cream.

The first thing I noticed was a loss of strength. Before the extra bits started to gather around my ribs, my muscles began to lose their power.

I think that’s also how many of our financial lives may feel.

For those of us who started this pandemic with some assets to draw on, as things progress… we’re watching those accounts atrophy. And with it, not just a number, but also a strength.

Having buffers has been a game changer in my money. By having money set aside I’m able to do things that I never thought of doing before, and it’s not just about being able to buy things.

The strength that I have appreciated in this hard time is the ability to wait. To be patient with my business as it grows. To be experimental, to try things that I’m not sure will work out (without worrying that I’m compromising my ability to eat next month).

And that spins off into two thoughts:

  1. The privilege of a safety net or base amount of cash is a huge leg up, especially for those of us who are self-employed and have variable income. It allows so much more ability to ‘play the long game’ and be patient. It allows us to be bold. It allows us to not fear that one mistake will necessitate major life changes.   

  2. Building that buffer is a priority, no matter what you’re trying to do. It’s really hard to pay off debt, save for a big thing, build a home or business while playing jump rope with zero.

I doubt many of us will feel strong for quite some time.

I know that building a buffer probably seems impossible to lots of people at the moment. It may not be a goal for right now, but when … some day in the future.. you have capacity to think about, it’s a very good step one. It’s what can make you feel strong again (or maybe even for the first time).