How To Easily Make Decisions That Count
Posted by: Joseph Kuo | July 27, 2022
From time to time in our lives, we are faced with having to make a major decision that will affect our lives and futures going forward.
Should I take the promotion or quit and start my own consulting business?
Should we upgrade to a larger house or use the money to fund our child’s college savings?
Where do we want to live in retirement?
Major decisions like these are never easy, and what often makes them more difficult is having to go through a full decision making process from scratch.
However, what if you went into the decision already having a heartfelt sense of what you want and what’s important to you personally? If we had this knowledge in our pocket in advance, we could skip what is often an agonizing first step in the decision process. We could skip having to deliberate over what we wanted out of the situation and jump straight to the meat of the decision.
This method does require that you actually take the time to take a breath, step back, and take a “balcony” view of your life. Taking a high level perspective in this manner helps you gain a clearer view of things and articulate what you want- your goals, values, and priorities.
While this sounds like a great idea, we don’t always get around to carrying it out. We all know it, life gets busy and we get caught up in the loop of our daily routines and regular obligations. It’s not something that we need to do today, so we kick the can down the road.
There are two ways to break out of the loop. One is to just wait until a crisis or a life-altering event interrupts your daily routine. It doesn’t even need to happen to you directly; seeing a friend going through a major health scare, for instance, can force you to pause and think about your own situation. Of course, if the crisis is actually happening to you, stress, emotion, and “startle factor” can cloud your decision if you’re not prepared.
The better way is to decide that empowering yourself to make good decisions is important to you. You can then set aside some time to work out what you need to work out. While you could of course do it with just your spouse/living partner, having an outside thinking partner such as a financial advisor can add an impartial perspective you might not be able to see yourself, as well as the expertise and experience to help you turn your ideas into plans.
My financial planning practice had been open for just a little over a year when I had to go through a divorce. During the divorce process, I had an opportunity to return to the world of corporate finance. Did I want to stick with my still fledgling business, or take a sure source of income during an uncertain time when my financial assets were in limbo and I was not yet sure of the outcome of the divorce proceedings?
A situation like this is already stressful enough, and making a major decision like this one adds even more stress on top. Fortunately, I had worked out in advance that my vision of helping others to achieve financial well being was worth the potential effect on my material lifestyle. I believed strongly in how I could help others and resolved that even if the settlement had turned out badly, I was prepared to endure a hit to my standard of living to see my vision through. So what could have turned out to be a stressful decision in a uncertain time was really not at all.
Good decisions come from being prepared and having good information in advance. If we take this approach to every decision we make, our good decisions will build upon each other and lead to well being. Taking the time to work out your priorities and wants will make the decision process much less stressful when the time comes.