Next Generation Planner: December 2020
Kimberlee Davis, CDFA®
Host and Founder, The Fiscal Feminist
There’s no shortage of lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the economic and health adjustments we’re all scrambling to make, a deluge of new challenges yet to be considered still looms around the corner.
As we navigate our way through these rough waters of financial hardships, stress and anxiety, let’s make sure to maintain our sense of control and handle the problems that we are empowered to solve. The best way to do this is by reevaluating our career, focusing on our long-term goals and reflecting inward on our own identity.
From a corporate securities lawyer and an investment banker to an entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom, I’ve reinvented myself many times over. Some changes were for the better, others not so much. I’ve found that the key to making solid transitions is to start them in a quiet place, like the unique setting of the quarantine.
Control Your Sense of Self
With mouths to feed, bills to pay and immune systems to protect, taking stock of the bigger picture might seem like a low priority at the moment, but it shouldn’t be. Ultimately, who we choose to be—either in business, in wealth, in family or spiritually—will determine our paths forward out of this crisis. Amid the chaos and loss of control, our own sense of self is one of the few things we can control. Plus, sheltering in place gives us a unique opportunity to do some personal observation and self-reflection because we’re not losing time in the dash to in-person meetings and children’s soccer practices.
The first question that many of us get stuck on is: where do we start? Having gone through several personal and professional reinventions myself, I’ve found great value in beginning with a deep exploration into my hierarchy of values. This means answering the following important questions:
- What’s important to my emotional development as a person?
- What’s important to my interpersonal relations and social/ethical perspective?
Each two are equally important and must be looked at holistically and practically. We can stand back and look at our lives as they were pre-coronavirus pandemic and examine if we were happy and if our careers and finances survived. In our society, we seem to be perpetually busy, and for many of us, this outbreak has been a hard stop, forcing us to spend time with our loved ones, get comfortable being alone and take a moment to think about the things that really matter.
Having more idle time also allows us to enjoy ordinary activities such as reading, yoga, exercise, painting, listening to music, cooking and reconnecting with our interests. Instead of succumbing to the pressure and uncertainty, embrace the stillness and relearn how to be thoughtful.
Just because the pandemic is tragic—it certainly is—does not mean that it isn’t also a great chance to spend more time together, talk without rushing and determine how we can continue this in a post-pandemic environment. There may be wonderful recalibrations to consider, which never would have been possible during the rat race of the so-called “normal” life we used to know.
Make Changes for a Better Tomorrow
We should all examine the strengths of our relationships and family to gauge how we are surviving as a wife, mother, friend and/or businesswoman. In this state of quiet, what do we value and how do we prioritize it amongst all the other noise?
While contemplating that answer, it is important not to undervalue your career goals. Often, women will assume financial freedom and professional ambition are lower priorities because of societal pressures. Although we are free to choose other values as higher priorities, that doesn’t mean that we have to.
To adjust your career path, take this opportunity to learn new skills and pursue interests that have been on the back burner. The internet is full of how-to videos and video networking/coaching platforms that are just a click away. Use it as a tool for reinvention, not just a vehicle for killing time as we wait for the economy to reopen. Set specific and achievable career goals, taking one step at a time, so as not to get overwhelmed and give up on your strategy in frustration.
Personally, I am rethinking my daily schedule from pre-coronavirus times. I have been taking a four- to five-mile walk at least four times a week, and I am committed to continuing that after we resume our new-normal lives. I am going to make exercise a non-negotiable priority. It clears my mind and gives me a positive attitude.
It is so important that you have good nutrition, get regular sleep, have regular physical exercise, have some down time, nurture your spirit and have some fun with the positive people in your life. Intentional self-care will reap many benefits, and it will increase your energy and sharpen your career focus.
We all should be looking at our lives as a whole and reflecting on what changes we can be making to provide for a better tomorrow. In all our busyness, it’s too easy to lose track of what’s really important. The excuse, “I don’t have time,” is no longer an option. For me it’s health, free time to pursue my interests and family. What is important to you?
Kimberlee Davis is the host of The Fiscal Feminist, a podcast and platform about women and their relationship with money and finances. Her mission is to help women of all ages and wealth levels embrace their responsibility to themselves to achieve solid financial footing in both calm and turbulent times. Kimberlee has more than 25 years of finance experience, most recently as the managing director and partner at The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management firm.