Mastering the Art of Recovery

Have you ever recovered from something—an illness, a loss, a fumble, a failure? What did it take to regain your strength, your equilibrium? What helped? Who helped? Was the result a stronger you, or an adequate compromise? 
 
Recovery is all around us these days it seems. The economy is recovering. The people of Japan are recovering. Each one of us likely knows someone in our circle who is recovering from a devastating illness, the death of a loved one, or perhaps the pain of job loss or divorce. 
 
In my view, recovery is the immediate aftermath of catastrophe. I like that definition, because of its immediacy, and its logic.  Disaster is often uncontrollable. Recovery, on the other hand, is usually firmly within our control.
 
That’s what makes disaster devastating and recovery remarkable: control. We are thrown into recovery just as soon as we become aware that disaster has happened. We slide into recovery, when we have inkling that disaster is imminent. Best case, however, happens when we can plan for disaster recovery and execute it with precision.
 
For many, it’s difficult to consider the possibility of imminent loss on a catastrophic scale here in Canada. But if you were challenged to, what would come to mind? Debt and taxes that could erode purchasing power of future generations? The price of oil and volatile currencies that could make heating a home or travelling to work cost prohibitive? The tsunami of baby boomers that will flow into a health care system that today can’t handle much more? 
 
Perhaps you are already taking things into your own hands by saving more for the future.
 
That’s an important first step: recognition that recovery plans are required when we lose, or can’t rely on, the environment we have become accustomed to.   
 
These are also the issues that make government budget processes real and elections so fascinating. To me, it’s less about today than about tomorrow. I like to judge the leadership team on the quality of the Plan for the Future. I look for a team has at least two of them: first, a well designed Plan A which anticipates the journey from vision to executed results in the straightest possible line, mitigating risks along the way. Plan B, however is equally important. It’s our best defense, if and when required.
 
It’s Your Money. Your Life. Are you asking your potential new leadership team about Plan A and Plan B? Now’s the time.
 
Evelyn Jacks is President of the national financial education institute, Knowledge Bureau and best-selling author of 46 books on tax preparation, planning and wealth management, including Essential Tax Facts 2011.

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