Are you someone who plans ahead? Puts something by for a rainy day? Looks after the pennies? Do you hope for the best but plan for the worst? Do you have a back up plan if it all goes pear shaped? I always thought it was a good idea to have a Plan, one that could be adapted if need be, but somehow things never worked out the way I hoped.
My Dad always told me I could have anything I wanted provided I saved for it. Apart from the larger things like a house and a car, I’d pay money regularly into the Building Society until I had enough to go on my shopping spree. These days it’s so much easier to ‘put it on plastic’ and just hope the debt doesn’t run away with you.
Are you planning for retirement? Now there’s a toughie. Do you save religiously and just hope you don’t have to dip into your nest egg if your finances dive or worse, it isn’t held against you when you are looking for work? Are you confident to put money into a retirement fund which promises to give you a good return and hope it doesn’t go belly up? Or are you a bit of a gambler and prepared to take your chances by investing in the stock market? “Planning for your retirement” and the pension figures quoted today quite frankly frighten me. With the government moving the goalposts regarding retirement age, I am doubtful I will ever qualify for a state pension and what meagre savings I had will be long gone.
Planning your life though, now that’s interesting. At school, were you encouraged to take exams to further benefit a chosen career (at mine it was a choice of Teaching or Nursing of which I did neither) , or like me, did you prefer to leave as soon as possible, get out into the working world to earn some money and get a vast amount of experience? Although I have held a variety of ‘number crunching’ and highly responsible positions over the years, I do not have a curly piece of paper to say I can do the jobs I did! Experience doesn’t count in today’s job market, and surprisingly some qualifications of yesteryear don’t seem to either. I was never particularly ambitious or career minded anyway as I envisaged getting married, leaving work to start a family, then staying home to look after them until they were of school age and getting a part time job, just like my Mum actually! Well the family never came along so I worked for a long time.
I fostered teenagers for a while and found it very rewarding, so when we moved, hubby took a job with a school, which neatly covered the holiday periods. However, the new Area Authority didn’t accept that and wanted me to give up my job to look after under 5s. It didn’t matter that I was the major wage earner at the time and not what we wanted, so I was furious to see placements in the local papers shortly after for foster carers in our area for the age group we had originally specified.
We took a camping holiday in Cornwall and planned to meet up with relatives for our second week. It was a nightmare. There was nowhere to pitch our tent so we had to share their trailer version with them and their 2 dogs. We ended up sleeping in the car and left the following day (all very nicely and polite but the relationship faltered) .
In later years, we decided to follow a dream of running a B&B so sold our house and moved away. Our temporary accommodation didn’t work out (not our fault) , and we soon found ourselves on the road. We were very much on our own and after 4 months bought a property we thought would be suitable. We couldn’t have been more wrong, and all our plans (and a lot of money) went for a bucket of chalk.
Hubby is the Planner in our family. He is King of the check lists, and in all fairness, it’s brilliant because we then don’t forget the can opener for our supply of tinned goods. I’m the sort who makes a shopping list and then discover I’ve left it tacked to the notice board at home when I get to the shops. I can prepare and budget, he can organise, so we compliment each other perfectly and work well as a team.
Today, we have ideas, we have possibilities, we have problems and find solutions, we may even have the occasional choice, BUT, the only Plan I have is to take each day as it comes, with the priority being to pay the bills, keep warm, clean, dry and healthy, look after hubby and the dog, not run out of food or toilet rolls, and to generally tick over. In today’s uncertainty, it’s all I can do.