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HOW TO MAKE GOOD FINANCIAL DECISIONS WHEN EVERYTHING IS UP IN THE AIR

The feelings that accompany major life transitions encompass the spectrum of emotion from fear, anxiety, overwhelm, and resignation, to relief, euphoria, and hope.  It’s not necessarily the actual emotion that makes decisions more difficult, it’s the intensity of emotion and number of concurrent emotions, coupled with the popular coping mechanism of avoidance.

When it comes to decisions around money, the emotional challenges of transition often warp logic and reason, and distort your innate inner wisdom.

Sometimes we avoid decisions  until our options are narrowed, thereby allowing fate or providence to decide for us. Things you would never agree to at 100% operating capacity suddenly seem like the holy grail of answers, or perhaps the least-worst of a disappointing list of options.

Yet, there is time to take pause in this cycle, without getting stuck.

How do you make sound financial decisions when everything is up in the air?

I’d be oversimplifying if I said it was easy or that you could do it with three streamlined steps. The best way to make sound financial decisions, suited to your long-term priorities, is to lean on your advisors (Financial Planner, Money Coach, Accountant, etc.). But what if you don’t have those advisors in place? Bringing any of them on board is a major financial decision within itself, and beyond the scope of this particular article.

There is a way to digest these overwhelming emotions.

I’m a strong believer in “trusting your gut,” yet this can lead to impulsive decisions:  you can “feel” completely ready to decide, yet be missing key information that would change your course.

The way to balance impulsivity is to pause, and examine if your gut feeling truly aligns with your values, and whether the costs of the decision are balanced by the expected benefits.

I am also surrounded by lovely analytical minds belonging to women who take a logical approach to decision making, perhaps making lists of pros vs. cons, amassing pages of diligent research and notes. And yet, when emotions are running the show, these same women are stalled in their tracks, unable to land on a definite decision, thinking just a little more information will help them finally decide.

The way to balance over-analysis is to break the desire for more data by utilizing a physical strategy like exercise, gardening, swimming, release rituals, Emotional Freedom Technique, massage, walking in nature, a hot bath, etc.

Bringing your attention back into your body will counter the feeling of immobility by getting you moving, literally. Each time you find yourself mired by indecision, utilize one of your strategies for getting out of your head, and look only as far as the very next actionable step.

So, got all that committed to memory? (Memory: another casualty of the emotional upheaval of transition) No? That’s okay because I’ve created a decision tree to walk you through the strategies outlined here, including a list of Get Out-Of-Your-Head Strategies, and a worksheet to clarify your top 5 values. It’s colorful, so you can print it out and keep it handy to help you answer the question:

Are you ready to make this major financial decision?

TU Lunaria Strategies to get out of your head 

Luna Jaffe
Luna Jaffe
Luna Jaffe is founder/CEO of Lunaria Financial and author of the award-winning book Wild Money: A Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom. Learn more at www.lunariafinancial.com
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Showing 2 comments
  • Autumn
    Reply

    I love this! Thank you for posting it. I’m a sucker for flowcharts anyway, and one that is especially gentle is especially welcome.

    • Holly Smith-Berry
      Holly Smith-Berry
      Reply

      Thanks, Autumn. I am passing your comment on to Luna Jaffe, the author. Luna is an amazing artist and financial advisor.
      We so appreciate your feedback! Holly

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