When we speak about procrastinating about financial matters, it so holds true that left to themselves, things turn from bad to worse. So, you have a mutual fund or a direct equity portfolio which stinks, or for that matter a bunch of ULIP or traditional policies that you have read all over the blogs & media that they are bad, but still you put it under the carpet. Why? Because you do not want to face the FEAR that yes, you made a mistake. As I read somewhere, it is proven that the pain of making the wrong investment is much more than the joy of making the right one. So, given that our brains are hardwired to avoid pain, you run away & do not face the facts.
No, in this post, I am not talking about the obvious financial costs of this delay. That is what deep down the investor is very aware but because the fear of facing the reality is so empowering, he/she does not want to do about it. What I wish to bring to reader’s notice is the often neglected costs pertaining to your physical and emotional health.
Extreme cases of procrastination which you know can seriously jeopardise your financial well being can create a lot of anxiety and will not allow you to settle your mind. So, you might be lazing out on a Sunday with kids & the moment you recollect about the financial issue, emotions of anxiety rise in you & you just lose your present moment focus & go into the future. So, right at that moment, your kid just brings your attention back by touching or shouting at you, and you say oh! Sorry beta I was just lost in thought. Again, as it develops, the most common implication is loss of sleep. Imagine a big loan on your head & you’ve just lost your job, its a given that you’ll not be able to sleep like a log.
Now, continuously long periods say over a year or a couple of years of this anxiety phase WILL start showing on your body as well. You may start gaining weight for no reason. Your immunity is reduced & you start catching cold/cough/fever on a more frequent basis.
AND it does not apply only to financial issues. You face a bad atmosphere at work and have a crazy boss who is set to make your life miserable. You are facing issues with your husband/mother-in-law. You are 2 brothers who live together but cannot see eye to eye on anything. And so on.
Now, let’s come to what is the solution. In such situations, people rely on their past experiences and limited knowledge & think that there is NO OPTION & they have to live with what is there. THIS IS WRONG. A prime example is traditional insurance policies. You can easily make such policies “paid up” if you have paid the premium for 3 years & get out of the pit that the agent created for you.
Secondly, focus on your CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. When you sit down & face your problem, there are 2 things: one which you can do and one which you have no control on. So, for insurance policies, I can make it paid up & divert further premiums into good diversified mutual funds. But what about fixed maturity plans or closed ended mutual funds where my money is locked: I can’t do much there. I will have to wait till the lock in gets over. So, this knowledge of circle of influence lets you take focussed action.
But, the bottomline is: YOU need to wake up & face the fear head on. NOBODY ELSE WILL DO IT FOR YOU. First, sit in a comfortable place, pick up a dedicated couple of hours where no-one can disturb you, open your laptop, and OPEN THAT DAMN EXCEL. The very fact that you’ve done is 50% of work. Now, find out where you’re going right and where you’re going wrong. If you can do it yourself, great. BUT if you are not capable of doing that, be wise accept your limitation. Seek a professional….be it a lawyer or a CA or an investment advisor. Yes, it’s a difficult thing finding the right & trusted one. But it is you who are stuck here. Do not let that selection delay the problem resolution process. Get some quick references of professionals in your area, do some basic due diligence checks, & for God’s sake, hire one! When you meet the professional, keep your emotions under control & let him/her clearly know your pain areas & expectations from the professional. In the meanwhile, if you think that the professional is not the best one, do not rest & keep your search going. In parallel, increase your knowledge by searching articles on Google & reading those. DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL IT IS CLOSED.
Trust me, facing the issue head on will take the whole load of anxiety off your head. The problem may not go & will take more time, but just the fact that you are doing something about it will bring you a LOT of relief.
And then there are things where you completely have no control in this present moment (yes, you thought in depth about options and all), in that case, solution is: Sit in a comfortable place, take a deep breath in….and breath out…– And I am serious here!!:)