Managing Finances: Not to Decide IS to Decide

Sep 30th, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Some days are for staying in bed! This may be one of them. Of course, I am being facetious. That, in the face of crisis, is the worst thing a person can do. To yield to the possibility of creeping depression, emotional and economic, is just not smart. Rather, it is prudent to get up and take action. William James, in “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” tells of the person who lolls in bed, feeling the warmth and comfort of the coverlets and enjoying the soothing distraction of sleep. But then, he says,one begins contemplating the things of the day and slowly, but very surely one is struck with “hollo, I must get up.” And so one rises to the challenges of the day.

This is one of those days. This is a day for evaluation and considerable thought. This is a day for making some decisions, not in haste, but deliberately, prudently and emphatically. Harvey Cox, theologian of the 60’s era, declared ‘not to decide is to decide!” So, if anxious about the state of affairs and the shaky economy, it is time to do more than watch and wait. You may decide to do nothing, to remain with your financial situation as it is, but at least you will have chosen that path with forethought.

To do so, consider the following:

$Panic is not a healthy motivation for decision making. Stampeding oneself into a ‘chicken little’ state of mind is surely counterproductive. Choosing irrationally will have its own sad consequences. This is the moment when pulling together one’s problem solving abilities and partners is called for. This is the moment to get out of bed and get on with the day, facing whatever comes. This is the day to quell the temptation to depression. This is the day to slay the dragon!

$So, get up, move on and take some action. Revive the spirit of taking charge of your own life and its conditions. Do not allow circumstances to be in charge. Look out for your self interest today, but without anger, ordinarily a counter productive emotion.

$Carpe diem! Seize the day. Be in charge of your affairs. Identify those whose judgment you trust. Evaluate the short and long term dynamics of your choices. Be prepared to live with the results of your decision.

$Include your family in the process. Don’t leave them in the dark. They are anxious too.

$Keep a record of your telephone conversations with your broker or whomever you choose .

$Once you have managed to structure your position in a way with which you are comfortable, go on to other things. Do not dwell on this situation constantly.

$However, review the situation, in so far as it affects you, on a daily basis. Keep informed and aware of the dynamics affecting you.

These are not ordinary times. We may never see ordinary times again. Wishing things to be different won’t make it so. Stay in charge of your life, and its implications, so long as you can. And, if you can’t, trust those in whom you hold the boldest confidence.

Remember, this is a ripple not tsunami!

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