Change: We all hate it but without it our lives would be pretty boring. It’s the stuff of dreams and the stuff of nightmares. Presidential platforms have been built around it and support groups have been built upon it. I’ve been on this earth now for 35 years and it’s amazing what staple markets have changed dramatically just in that short time. Look at this list.
- Cell Phones – Anyone remember pay phones?. Exactly. Even the cell phone industry itself has gone through major changes just in the last half of 2015.
- Printed Maps & GPS – Rand McNally had to drastically change it’s business model when GPS become publicly available. Who needs a second person with a huge map book when you can see it in front of you all the time and it talks to you? Even as Darth Vader if you wish. Not that long ago however cell phone navigation apps have even edged out GPS. Chauffer companies don’t even allow their drivers to use GPS units and insist they use apps like Google Maps because they are more accurate! Who needs to buy something your phone already does?
- Newspapers & Magazines – Two more struggling industries whose decline has been brought on by the proliferation of the internet.
- Home Phone – Unless you are a first responder or live in the boonies, this dinosaur of utilities is so useless that companies like AT&T are pricing it unreasonably and then bundling it with internet and cable because they know no one wants it and then calling it “savings”.
- Cable – The market is demanding a change and the cable company is having to scramble to remain profitable. In the age of Netflix and piracy they truly have to adapt or die.
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So how can we be flexible with our finances and avoid becoming obsolete or wasting our money? Here’s 3 tips you can use to navigate the ever-changing consumer market.
There is no greater thing you can do other than being open to learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured all out you are a failure waiting to happen. Educate yourself, read books, listen to podcasts, but most importantly be open to opinions and ideas about money you haven’t considered before. Here’s a tip though: Take your advice from those who are successful, not your broke uncle. When you do fail, fail forward and learn from the experience.
Be flexible. Don’t be so rigid in one system or way of thinking that you can’t roll with the punches when the time comes. Routine can be good but it can also become an obstacle that can keep you from going to the next level. Plan to be spontaneous sometimes. Make room for it and then when change comes you’ll have even more experience and knowledge with which to navigate it.
Something bad is going to happen. It’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”. Statistically, you will have a significant financial event every 7 to 10 years. Be prepared for it by having an emergency fund. If you’re still in debt aside from your house get $1000 in the bank ASAP! If you’re debt free except a primary mortgage than make that puppy 3 to 6 months of living expenses. When change comes that you weren’t prepared for, you’ll have a safety net waiting to catch you.
Embrace the change. It’s coming whether you want to admit it or not. Will you be ready to adapt or die?
Question: What area of life did change catch you off guard and what did you learn from it? Share your story in the comments below.