Into every person’s life a little rain must fall. For most of us, that rain isn’t always a welcome experience.
A car that suddenly dies on the side of the road, a washing machine that quits washing, a lost job, a broken arm or even a more serious tragedy, it seems we can’t quite fully know the forecast of life’s big and little hiccups.
However, there are principles that can guide every experience. Because the worst thing we can do in the midst of a financial challenge is make a rash or unthinking decision and land ourselves in even more trouble.
Take a deep breath
There is nothing like unexpected experiences to cause our hearts (and by extension our wallets) go into full on freak-out mode. When trouble arrives, do yourself a favor and pause. Don’t make a rash decision or rush into a purchase. Don’t borrow more money. Try to wait at least 24 hours to make a decision.
Unless you break an arm. Don’t wait to get it set.
In most scenarios, you can afford to wait for a short period of time before you make a decision. This brief period will allow some clarity on the situation allowing you to make a decision with your reason instead of your reactions.
Seek out wise counsel
I am so thankful that there are people who are much smarter than I am. I’m also grateful for those who have had more life experience than I have had. In times of crisis, it’s always prudent to gain from their wisdom. Whether it’s a trusted friend or a family member or even a guru or expert opinion that you can find through books or the Internet, you need to seek out someone who has faced the same dilemma or trial and see how they handled the predicament.
There is truly nothing new under the sun, and you can gain both concrete actionable steps and calming focus for your particular problem when you seek out counsel.
You don’t have to do exactly what they say, but weighing bothexperience and advice might give you a more stable course of action. A word to the wise: Sometimes, it’s difficult to find the voices you need to hear. Often, those who speak the loudest know the least. So be sure you know the validity of your source and the reliability of their recommendations.
In some situations, you can truly wait as long as a month before making a decision about a replacement. Obviously, in medical situations, this might not be a choice you can afford to make. However especially when it comes to items such as small appliances, take a 30-day period of time before you replace the item. Just because you owned a particular device in the past, it doesn’t mean you need one in the future.
I’ve done this before with items such as toasters and even a microwave. In the case of the microwave, we decided that it wasn’t a necessity (believe it or not, people lived without them for hundreds of years). We never replaced it. But we would have never known that we could function without it if we ran out and purchased a new one immediately.
Taking a set period of time to make a decision allowed us to realize we could get along without and work around not having one.
Chart your own path
More than once you probably heard your mother quip, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too?” Even though we grit our teeth, we know her words to be true. We don’t have to do everything that everyone else does.
Sometimes financial crisis gives us the opportunity to take a step back and redefine our priorities. Just because everyone else has more than one vehicle, it doesn’t mean that you need one. Just because everyone else gets a car loan, it doesn’t mean you have to have one.
Determine now before trouble arrives that you will not just go with the flow. Decide now that you will weigh your options, take the time necessary and find a valuable adviser. You don’t have to be like everyone else. In fact, it might just be better if you aren’t.
When the rain begins to fall, pull out these umbrella principles to protect you from making a poor choice. You might be caught a little bit off guard, but you won’t be caught in a trap.