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4: Make a Plan

The Power of No

a sign with the word no on it

Life’s transitions occur in many forms and come about any time – sometimes when we are least prepared for them. The decisions you make throughout a transition can have lasting impacts, so it’s important to take time to weigh consequences before making a final decision.

The problem is, often a lot of pressure, stress and chaos surrounds major events. How you and those who depend on you fare depends on your decision-making habits.

  1. Make sure you ask all your questions (even if you don’t get all the answers). Seek help from knowledgeable experts such as doctors, lawyers and financial advisors. Don’t be afraid to get second and third opinions.
  2. Make space for your decisions. Find a quiet place to reflect on the situation, who it affects and what you want to achieve.
  3. Listen to yourself first. Others will want to give you advice, and it may be helpful. But your belief system, your values and your priorities need to drive your decisions. SAM’s LifeValues quiz can help you reconnect with your values for financial decision-making.
  4. Put your needs and those of your dependents ahead of others. Remember, you need to be your own advocate in times of change.
  5. Keep your eye on the big picture. Refer to your list of deal breakers, must haves and nice to haves. Don’t get caught up in smaller details in the nice to haves category.
  6. Recognize if and when you need to take action. Sometimes taking no action at all is the best way to handle a situation. Getting caught up in drama is easy, but doing nothing may be best if the situation really doesn’t carry major consequences for you or those who depend on you.

Saying No

Saying no can make you feel guilty, but saying yes to requests that don’t align to your values and financial priorities can lead to feeling obligated, resentful or even distrustful. It’s OK to say no to someone who thinks he or she is trying to help you. If you don’t need or want the help, no is a good answer. Developing your skills is important for those occasions when “no” either buys you time or is simply the correct answer.

Enhance your “no” skills by:

  • Realizing that you have a right to set comfortable boundaries for yourself.
  • Making the requestor feel heard by explaining truthfully why you are saying no. You don’t have to apologize for how you feel.
  • Repeating your “no” if it isn’t heard the first time.
  • Realizing that “no” is a clear and precise answer, whereas phrases like “let me think about it” is ambiguous.
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