Honestly, it is hard, and seemingly almost impossible to prepare for the unexpected. Whether it is a sudden illness that befalls you, loss of your job or an emergency repair at your house. But while you cannot possibly foretell the future, you have the power to mold it into what you desire. When it comes to your future, you are like a potter and your life like a lump of clay in your hands. How great your life turns out will depend on the decisions you make and how much time and effort you invest in your future. With finances however, this is easier said and done.

To help you get your future in line, below are some tips to guide you.

Plan ahead

They say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Which is all true when you consider the grand scheme of things. Nothing, aside from miracles come easy and even those, you in one way or another have to have paid dearly (not necessarily financially) to acquire.

Emergencies cannot be foretold. But you can be prepared for when they happen, if they happen. That said, make a point of setting aside finances sufficient to take through3-6 months of need. Say when you lose your job or you need to cater to medical expenses.

It might cost you right now but literally save the day when you need it.

Maximise your spouse’s resources

Let’s assume you have been laid off. Your pay check stops coming through and you in turn stop making contributions towards your retirement plan. If you are married and have the financial flexibility, your spouse should up their contribution towards the retirement plan or even make contributions to the IRA on your behalf. The moment you get a new job and are back on your feet, you can devote a larger share of your money to the retirement and IRA contributions to try and catch up. This will help you not fall behind in those times when life is dishing out to you lemons.

Avoid cashing out retirement plans

Losing your job might be a big blow to your financial plans and goals. It is probably the hardest thing you and your retirement accounts will have to weather. In such a situation, you will have lost your steady pay check at the end of the month and you will not have access to the automatic salary deferrals and contributions from your company as well.

During this time, and this might be a bitter pill to swallow, cashing out your retirement accounts may be the worst thing you could possibly do. Why? Well, you will be paying early withdrawal penalties and also missing out on the future you had laid out. If you really need the money, work with your emergency fund first.