Transitions are a part of life. Some are joyful, such as weddings, births, graduations. Others, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, are painful.
Each change in our lives brings us a new challenge and decisions that can affect us for years to come, especially financial decisions. That’s why it’s important to understand how we make decisions during difficult times.
First, realize that it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. Our brains function differently under stress. Fear and anxiety impair the rational, decision making part of our brain, so that we may be operating in a “fight or flight” mode. This may show up as delayed decision making (flight mode), rushing through decisions, or a combination of the two.
Second, know that not every decision must be made today. Prioritize. If you’ve lost your job, it is important that you scale back expenditures immediately. Cancel the services and subscriptions that aren’t necessary. Apply for unemployment quickly. But deciding to move is probably a decision that is better left for a slightly later date.
The underlying theme here is don’t make an important decision at the same time you are trying to process a major stressor in your life.
So what do we do? Breathe. A few deep breaths help calm and focus. This sounds deceptively simple, but doing this 3 to 5 times a day can reduce your stress level significantly.
The next step is to talk with trusted advisors who can help you navigate through the transition. These may include your attorney, your financial advisor, an accountant, a counselor, and friends.
It may be wise to bring those you rely upon together in one meeting. This will streamline communication in many ways – you will only have to convey your wishes once, you won’t have to be responsible for passing messages between your advisors, and everyone should leave with a common understanding.
As individuals, we only go through these transitions a few times in life. As financial advisors, we walk this path with people daily. Along with your other advisors, we help you develop a plan for handling the decisions. That’s what we are here for.
Securities & Advisory Services offered through VSR Financial Services, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor and Member FINRA/SIPC. Seasons Financial Group is Independent of VSR.