Things are going well. You've been working at your job for a while, and you've got things down. Your finances are are in order too. In fact, things are mostly set to automatic, and you're enjoying the ride. Welcome to the comfort zone. You may be in trouble.
The folks at financial blog The Simple Dollar point out that settling into a comfort zone is an easy thing to do, the path of least resistance. The trouble is that being in the comfort zone brings a feeling of permanence, that those good times will just last and last. And when life throws you a curve, you may not be as prepared as you'd like.
There's also an opportunity cost to being in the comfort zone:
If you're just coasting with your career, you might never see opportunities for a great promotion at work or a new job opportunity that could put you in a great place. The same is true with finances — if you're just coasting, you might not be ready to take advantage of something when it comes along.
So, what can you do about it? You worked hard, after all. Don't you deserve a little bit of comfort? Absolutely, you do. All you have to do is be careful that comfort doesn't turn into complacency.
One tactic [to avoid complacency] is to make preparing for change part of our ordinary life routine. For example, part of your ordinary professional routine should be to keep your resume fresh through educational opportunities and taking on professional challenges in the workplace. Part of your ordinary financial routine should be improving your financial state month over month and seeking out new ways to ramp up the improvement. This should be normal behaviour.
Another tactic you can use is to envision what disasters might befall you and what you'd do about them — emergency preparedness drills, if you will. But the real key to making these tactics work is making them part of your routine.
Avoiding the Comfort Zone [The Simple Dollar]