Reduce Stressful Decision-Making

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

My brain short-circuited today at Subway. Did I want tuna, or turkey, or veggies, or chicken? I’m sure you know the feeling. Your head spins with what-ifs and doubt and anxiety until you can’t think at all. And this was only a lunch sandwich!

Moving into finance, decisions can be extremely stressful – and rightfully so. While it is true that you can’t buy happiness, doubtlessly, where, how, and when you invest your money will have a huge impact on your future. Taking a wrong turn can cost you your dream home, or chain you to your office chair for another couple of years. So what’s the secret to worrying less?

First of all, accept the old words of wisdom “embrace change, because it’s inevitable”. Not only does your life situation change continuously, but so does the economy, the business world, and the laws and regulations that affect personal finance. If the thought of spending hours every week staying up to date with all these changes makes you sweat – don’t worry about it, just find someone who can do it for you. Politicians all rely on trusted experts for decision-making, and so do most successful business people. A financial advisor could be the solution for you, or a friend or family member with a flair for all things financial. You can appoint anyone you want, as long as you feel comfortable and trusting this person takes stressful financial decision-making off your shoulders.

Another tool that can be of great help is the good old-fashioned gut feeling. Your intuition is always there for you – and it is always right. If you learn to filter out noise and really listen to it, there is no better advisor. And when you act from a point of clarity, results are never far behind.

Should all this fail, there’s always what if/so what if-thinking. Whenever a what-if keeps you up at night, turn it around and instead ask yourself “so what if?” Most of the time, you will find that the worst-case scenario isn’t so scary after all.

No scarier than a sleepless night, anyway.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Provide a Safety Net for Your Family

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I spent last night in bed with the latest Eckhart Tolle book and, not surprisingly, it got me thinking about the ever-changing nature of the universe. From Sartre to the Dalai Lama – this is one of the few things on which all the wise men agree. No matter how much we wish it would, nothing remains the same forever, and especially not our life situations. We get promoted, lose jobs, relocate, marry and get divorced, have children, and lose relatives. As though this weren’t enough to keep us up at night, all these things affect our finances. While the following four actions most likely aren’t enough to make you the next Buddha, they may very well add an hour or two to your shuteye.

1. Leave some equity in your house. That way, if you (or someone in your family) run into difficulties, you can always free up cash by upping your mortgage. But as nothing is more frightening than drowning in debt, save this option for emergencies only.

2. Keep a credit card you don’t use, for code reds only. As you may have noticed, when you don’t use a card, the issuing bank tends to up your limit to tempt you to use it. You can, but only when you have no other choice.

3. Keep a financial “cushion” – enough money to get you through six months without a job. No matter how secure your current employment feels, there is always an element of uncertainty. Put this money to work for you so it doesn’t get eaten up by inflation, but make sure it’s in liquid investments only so you can access it quickly and easily, should disaster strike.

4. Diversify your portfolio. While some investment risks are impossible to insure against, keeping your money in a variety of securities, industries and countries will certainly dilute many of them.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.