Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reading the signs - Detour

Detour signs are so annoying! Don’t you agree? When you have traveled a road many times and all of a sudden a detour sign pops up it is very disconcerting. A detour sign can even make a person late for work which is a double insult to those of us who time everything to the last minute and are already lucky just to make it to work on time. It doesn’t seem to bother the early birds as much because they take the alternate route and are still early! What’s that about? Seems kind of like showing off. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a detour only to find that the alternate route is not marked clearly and I either end up getting lost or taking a detour from the detour. Annoying.

Despite whatever emotional response and inconvenience we may have to a detour sign they are usually there for our protection. Even if we can’t see it there is work being done and if we do not heed the detour sign we can get ourselves or others in trouble. Some reasons I have known for detours are:

  • Accident ahead
  • Road Construction
  • Power line in the road
  • Bridge out
  • Tree in the road
  • Water or mud over the road
  • Workers in roadway

All of these things are circumstances that are out of our control and we want to avoid.  In most cases once the work is complete we can get back to our normal routine.

The same thing can happen with our finances. Circumstances that come up may cause us to need to take a detour temporarily or permanently. We all have difficulty when our routine is disrupted or have unexpected changes to our plans but to ignore the detour sign can bring added peril and delay.

Look at the list above again. How can these things translate into financial situations? Maybe an accident ahead could be a friend or family member whose life is interrupted by illness. Maybe bridge out could be the manufacturing plant you work for closing down. Power line in the road is credit card interest being increased. These may be silly examples but we can treat the detour sign with annoyance or appreciation as we realize that something is going on here that needs to be cleaned up, repaired, or avoided.

What detour signs are you facing right now? Are you making the necessary adjustments or are you attempting to ignore them and drive through anyway thinking that perseverance is your best alternative.

One time I was on a small road and saw a detour sign. Absolutely nothing looked out of the ordinary and there were no workers present and no sign of any work being done. I looked and looked and finally decided that they must have forgotten their sign and slowly drove on through. When I arrived at the entry gate of where I was headed the gate guard asked me if there wasn’t a sign. I told her yes but there was no construction. She told me that they were working under the road on the water culverts and that all supporting dirt and gravel had been dug out. The blacktop was supported by nothing and hung over the air. Had my vehicle been any heavier my car might have dropped right down. Talk about sick to my stomach and thankful for angels!

Are there financial detour signs you’ve been ignoring? It could be:

  • A letter in the mailbox
  • The newspaper
  • A gut feeling
  • Signs that your profession may become obsolete due to new technology or legislation
  • An employment check
  • Underutilized skills or talents
  • Frequent overdrafts from the bank
  • Anger, fighting, or worrying about money
  • A feeling you need to start your own business

Any of these may be indications that a financial detour sign may have been put in the road ahead. A detour may cause a short delay or divert the route permanently. Often we have little or no control over the change but nonetheless we need to make adjustments or we will be stuck. Just as traffic signs are used to warn us of the changes ahead so too financial detour signs can show us a new direction if we are aware and heed what they are saying.

Photos from google search

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