Is your lifestyle flexible? If you needed to make changes, would you be able to? Many of us underrate the idea of flexibility in lifestyle. But when you really stop to think about it, it becomes clear that flexibility really is a big deal.
How Much Flexibility Do You Have in Your Finances?
One of the most important aspects of flexibility is the amount you have in your financial situation. We like living in a smaller house because it provides us with a certain amount of financial flexibility. Our mortgage is a relatively small portion of our income, so if our income is cut, the situation doesn’t become immediately dire.
Another way to add flexibility to your finances is to build an emergency fund. This can provide you with financial options in the event of a setback, whether it’s a relatively small difficulty, like needing the car repaired, or a large issue, like a medical problem. An emergency fund can be one way to reduce the impact of money problems on your finances.
How Flexible is Your Income?
Where are you at with income flexibility? While you don’t need to quit your day job, it can be a good idea to develop a side hustle, or engage in some other activity to diversify your income. Build up your assets so that you have more to rely on than a single source of revenue.
You can also view your income flexibility in terms of your human capital. What skills do you have, and how can they be used to translate to another career field? It’s a good idea to consider what you will do if you need to, especially since the job market is so volatile right now.
Are Your Financial Resources Claimed by Obligations?
Another aspect of financial flexibility includes your obligations. When you have a high amount of debt, your financial resources are claimed. The more debt you have, the fewer choices you have with your income. You can’t use your income as you would like when it’s claimed by debt obligations.
Pay down your high interest debt, and you will have more of your own money at your disposal, and more flexibility in what you do with your financial resources.
What are Your Lifestyle Preferences?
Take a few minutes to consider your lifestyle preferences. How flexible do you like them to be? And have you created a situation in which you are able to accomplish what you would like?
I like my freelance work situation because it affords me a great deal of flexibility. For the most part, I set my own hours. If I want to go on an outing with my son on Thursday afternoon, I can shift some of my work load to Saturday morning. I can work in the morning, or in the evening. I can also work from anywhere, which gives us the flexibility to live where we want when my husband finds a job as a full-time university instructor.
Also, consider what you would if your income were cut, and you had to make lifestyle changes. Do you live a wasteful lifestyle that would be hard to downsize if you had to? Or have you developed a level of contentment that isn’t too dependent on material possessions?
Think about what’s important to you, and whether or not it your inflexibility could lead to disappointment and difficulties during setbacks. While it’s fun to have nice things, sometimes we need to have the flexibility to let them go if circumstances call for it.
How Well Do You Adapt to Change?
There are times when it’s important to be able to adapt to change. Often, circumstances beyond our control introduce challenging situations. While it’s probably not your fault that you have a debilitating illness, or that you got laid off, you still need to choose how you will respond.
Do you have the ability to make changes to your lifestyle and finances? Do you have the adaptability to find new solutions to your problems? Can your family pull together and keep moving forward? Think about how you can make your situation — financial, physical, and emotional — more flexible so that you are ready to deal with the realities of life.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.