Originally published by the Ontario Securities Commission on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.
Adapted with permission.

Whether it’s a job loss, a significant decline on your investments, or a large, unexpected expense, everyone faces financial setbacks. If it happens to you, saving money may be the last thing on your mind. These steps can help get you back on track—and back to saving money— more quickly.

1. Look at your current finances

Look at what you own and what you owe. Are you behind on paying your bills? Do you have a lot of high-interest debt? Do you have enough savings to get you through this financial setback? If you need help figuring things out, consider professional advice.

2. Review your financial goals

Think about what you would like to do in one year, five years, 10 years or more. Try to be as specific as possible. When you’re facing a setback, some of your financial goals may have to change. Still, it will be easier to get your finances back on track when you know what you’re saving for.

Use this financial goals worksheet to help you sort out your goals and read Get SMART to achieve your financial goals to put the steps in place to achieve them.

3. Review your budget

Just as you’ll want to revisit your financial goals, you’ll want to revisit your budget too. Having a realistic budget and sticking to it will help you get back on track.

Use this worksheet to record your budget.

4. Review your retirement plan

Depending on your age, you may have time to make up any losses that could affect your retirement plan. If you’re in your 50s or 60s, you may face some difficult choices, including:

  • working longer, so you’ll have more time to save and more time for your investments to recover,

  • cutting back your spending, so you can save more in the years leading up to retirement, or

  • retiring as planned and learning to live on less.

Use the Prioritizer Calculator from CNN Money to help you rank your financial goals and give you a focus for your savings plan.

5. Take action

Use this calculator to see how even small amounts of money saved add up over time.

To find a Certified Financial Planner® professional in your area that will help guide you financially, use our Find Your Planner tool.

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For more on taking control of your finances, read Take back control of your cash flow, Your 30-day anti-budget: An exercise in awareness and 3 ways a CFP® professional can help untangle your finances.

Visit GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca to access more content and tools from the Ontario Securities Commission.