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Counting On Tomorrow

by Don Current on March 2, 2011

Waiting for the mail

photo courtesy Theis Kofoed Hjorth

Have you ever gone out and bought something knowing that very shortly you were going to be getting a check that would cover the cost? Maybe a tax return check or a bonus from your employer? That’s never a wise financial move.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds for us. What happens if you suddenly find out there was an error in your taxes and now you’re not getting that check? What if your water heater goes out the day your bonus check arrives and you’ve already bought that new big screen?

It’s okay to PLAN what you are going to do with that check before it arrives. In fact, I highly encourage it. You should ALWAYS have a plan for your money, otherwise it tends to get spent unwisely, and you end up wondering what happened to it. Just don’t enact that plan until you’ve got the money in your hands, or in your bank account.

The same is true for longer term situations. Let’s say you’re expecting a big inheritance from your grandmother when she passes. Does that make it wise to not count on that and not plan for your retirement or the kids’ college? Of course not. You need to provide for yourself. Never count on others for that. Who knows what could happen. What are you going to do when Grandma runs off to Las Vegas and marries someone half her age who now has rights to “your” inheritance?

The old adage “don’t count your chickens before their hatched” is just as true today as it has always been. It even applies to your money.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, Brother Don! Well said. Too many people take risks with their money by making a plan in their head, then executing the plan before the right pieces are in place. Good advice.

    • Don Current

      Timing is a VERY important piece of the planning process!

  • Brett Traudt

    Well put Don! I am always so excited about getting my tax returns and this year made the mistake that you mention. I haven’t filed my tax returns yet, but had already forecasted what my wife and I were going to get back. I did the biggest no no you could possibly do and dipped into the emergency fund! That wasn’t a smart move. I thought it would be ok…. and it will be when I do get my tax returns back and replace the money, but in the meantime…. I have felt guilty and there has been this big weight on my shoulders.

  • Don Current

    Yeah, that’s a big no-no alright. On the bright side, at least you do have an emergency fund in place! That in itself can be a temptation too though, can’t it?