When things are going well, it can be really easy to buy into your own invincibility.
You can’t possibly lose your job. You’re dominating in the workplace and taking care of everything that can be asked of you. Your performance numbers are incredible.
You can’t possibly get sick. You feel great and your health has always been excellent.
You can’t possibly have to worry about extra family costs. You don’t have a child and don’t plan to have one any time soon.
You can’t possibly have to worry about transportation. Your car is as solid as a rock and it starts every time.
Once you start believing such things, it becomes really easy to take financial shortcuts.
If nothing can possibly go wrong, what’s the point of having a cash emergency fund? I’ll just invest it in stocks instead. If something were to happen, I could just use my credit card. It’ll be fine.
If nothing can possibly go wrong, what’s the point of being conservative with my investments? I’ll throw everything into the stock market and score giant returns. Why would I ever put my money into cash or bonds? Everything will be fine.
If nothing can possibly go wrong, what’s the point of saving for retirement? I’m dominating so much at work that I’m going to be making a mint in a few years. My future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades. I’m going to earn so much in the next few years that I don’t need to worry about retirement. Everything will be fine.
A belief that everything will be fine gives you an excuse to spend far more than you should, to go into debt, and to make countless other mistakes.
Here’s the problem: eventually, everything won’t be fine.
You’re going to eventually hit a speed bump at work. You’re going to eventually have a health problem. You’re going to eventually get hit with a bit of identity theft. You’re going to eventually have the transmission fail in your car. You’re going to eventually have to make an emergency trip for an ill relative. You’re going to eventually see your career trajectory go in an awkward direction.
When that happens, your sense of invincibility will bite you. Hard. You’ll find yourself in a situation where you need that emergency fund and credit just won’t work. You’ll find yourself needing that retirement savings. You’ll find yourself wishing all of your money wasn’t in the stock market.
You are not invincible. If you act like you are, the moment your invincibility fails, lots of other things will collapse, too.
Need proof? Look around you at the other people in your life. Are they invincible? If you’re like almost anyone in the world, it doesn’t take much for you to look around at other people in your life and see career misfires, health crises, unexpected children and child health problems, and countless other difficulties.
Those things will happen to you. Right now, when things are going so well, you have an amazing chance to make sure that you’re safe when things inevitably crash. You can build an emergency fund. You can save for retirement. You can get rid of your debts.
That way, when you meet your Kryptonite, it isn’t the end of the world. You’ll have the resources you need to pick things up and keep moving forward.
You aren’t invincible. No one is.