Monday, February 27, 2012

Making intelligent financial decisions? Get input

Dear sixtyandsingle.com readers, Below I again share with you the wisdom of Beverly Fogle, a friend and a long-time financial adviser. Beverly shared a panel with me recently at a Women & Money Summit. Here are her thoughts on how to make good financial planning decisions.
Cheers,
Julia
Making financial decisions (if you're on your own) by Beverly Fogle, CFP."One of the biggest challenges of being alone in this world is making financial decisions.  This seems counter-intuitive.  After all, when you only need to consider your own needs and desires, it seems you would be able to make decisions on the basis of your personal needs and preferences. 
But it doesn’t work that way. Not having somebody to talk with about a decision can lead to being frozen in one’s tracks --- inertia taken to the extreme.
Important decisions deserve to be treated with respect.  They deserve serious attention.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the daily minutia of life and never get around to the big decisions or activities that are our real heart’s desires. We make decisions by default.  We’ve all experienced this, entirely too often.  It’s time to reorder our priorities.

We’re all social creatures at heart, and the process of examining and sharing information and options and opinions helps us significantly in examining the trade-offs, so we can then decide what we really want.  Sometimes an important (or even minimally important) decision can require multiple conversations and analyses.  Having several viewpoints and other people’s ideas changes the relative value of each option. Making the decision and following up with a plan to implement that decision becomes a shared joy and a shared risk.
If one doesn’t have a natural partner for this decision-making, enlisting some outside partner or listener to help with the thought process can be highly rewarding.  This can be a friend or neighbor, but it’s helpful if they know something about you and about the situation under consideration.  You might want to enlist your financial planner, your therapist, or even a personal coach to help you through major transitions.

Investing a bit of money for an hour or two of objective professional consultation can be the best money you’ll ever spend.  This is especially true if you’re working on major life decisions and the process brings clarity to your choice of directions.
What is the most important decision facing you today?  Not the most urgent, but the most important.  What will make a difference five or ten years from now?  What information would you like to have before you can make an intelligent decision?  Is that information available to you?  Is it possible to predict outcomes?  What options can you live with - comfortably?  What really is your heart’s desire?  How does that relate to this decision?  These are some of the questions to ask yourself."

For more on decision-making:
"Five Mistakes Married Women Make," click here.
"4 Emotional Decisions to Avoid," click here.
"Men vs. Women: Financial Decision Making," click here.
"Women Step Up to the Financial Challenge," click here.
"Why men and women differ in financial decision-making," click here.
"The Financial Judgement and Decision Making Process of Women," click here.
"Fact Every Woman Should Know about Money," click here.


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