It’s Best for me Right Now!: Decision-making to Support the Big Picture

Tina sat in front of me with a huge grin on her face. “I did it!” she exclaimed. “I convinced him to take the kids while I go to Mexico with my girlfriends.” I felt confused. Tina had been talking with me for months about the delicate negotiations between herself and her ex-husband concerning money, time, and resources. I asked Tina, “But what about custody in general? What’s the final agreement?” “Oh who knows,” said Tina. “But at least I can get out of here for a week.” I pushed a bit more, “But Tina, aren’t all of these negotiations expensive?” We’d been working on her financial goal of living within her means, so I was a little confused by her attitude. “Amy, stop worrying. I need a vacation; don’t you get that?”

“My boss finally gets how he can’t push me around anymore,” Jim let out a huge sigh of relief. “I walked into his office and told him that he can’t treat me that way! I will not be working overtime, or doing anything ‘extra’ for him. I’m done.” “But Jim,” I countered, “I thought the overtime was helping you pay for your kid’s college? Plus, don’t you want to move up in the company? I thought that’s why you were taking on more work.” “Whatever, it doesn’t matter. He was treating me badly!”

“We took the plunge and sold our house!” Warren and Betty said. “We knew we could get a bundle for it, so we just sold it!” “Wow!” I said. “Where will you and your kids be living now?” “Oh, we don’t know,” said Warren. “We just knew we had to jump at the chance; this market is incredible!” Betty was looking less enthusiastic as the conversation continued. “Betty,” I asked, “what do you think about all of this?” “The money’s nice, but,” she hesitated, “I’m not sure where we’re going to live, and the kids are freaking out about moving. It’s actually really stressful.”

There are certainly times in life where we need to make snap decisions that improve our present moment. Whether it’s a vacation or less responsibility at work, sometimes it’s the right choice. However most often it’s best to take time, talk to multiple trusted sources to gain insight, and walk through different decision paths to determine which is the best choice for the long-term. For Tina, negotiations wrapped up quickly and she and her ex-husband are on good terms again. However Joseph is now unhappy with his smaller paycheck and limited responsibilities, and Warren and Betty are living at her mother’s house with no house prospects in sight. What decisions are pending in your life, and how can you adjust the process to most benefit your future?