Changing Direction

By Gary Foreman

Have you ever changed your mind? It's something that we generally don't like to do. Even the phrase sounds negative. It seems to emphasize that your prior decision wasn't a good one. But that's not really fair. Maybe a more accurate description would be that you changed direction.

Often we find that after we make a decision we learn new facts. Information that should cause us to reevaluate the decision we've made.

For many of us that's difficult. We don't like to think that we might have made a mistake. In fact, in changing our minds we have to acknowledge that mistake and admit that there could be a better solution.

That's a problem for us. It causes us to stay with prior decisions well past the time when we should be brave enough to make a new, different decision. We tend to waste time and money on something we know isn't working.

Let's look at some of the areas where it could be wise to reconsider some of our decisions.

Do you review your investment and retirement accounts regularly? Not every investment performs the way you expected. Even the best choose some clinkers. It's tempting to overlook them. Just kind of skip over them when you look at your statement.

Staying with bad investments can cost you time and money. Even if they're not worth much. Admitting the mistake will allow you to free up time and money that can be used to choose another investment. One that could have more potential that what you're currently holding.

Do you assume that you will always have credit card balances? Maybe that has been true in the past. It could be that you've carried a balance ever since you were a teenager with your first credit card. So it only seems natural that you will always carry a balance. But, if that's the only reason for your belief, perhaps you need to consider additional information.

Why not look at what you would need to do to pay off the balance? You can use this calculator to determine what it will take to pay it off . For illustration add $100 to the monthly payment and see what happens.

Don't forget to think about the interest that you won't be paying any more. That's often a good motivator.

Some folks tend to keep a lot of stuff around. People who live with clutter often just assume that it's a fact of life for them. Something that cannot be changed. But have you ever taken the time to calculate how much it costs you?

If you need to keep a storage place, it could be costing you quite a bit. Just $50 a month adds $600 to your annual budget. And, how often have you been unable to find something that you know you own and end up buying another? Maybe when you recognize how much clutter is costing, you'll want to simplify your life.

Our careers are another area where we often follow a straight path regardless of new information. As long as we're collecting a check, we don't take the time to reevaluate our position. But in most job fields things are changing. What was true ten years ago is not true today.

Take some time to evaluate what could affect your job. How solid is your company? Are they clearly profitable? Does the future look promising for them? Then take a look at your profession. Is technology making big changes to your job? Will your employer need as many people to perform the task in the future? Could your job be combined with another?

If you think that your job could be in jeopardy, take steps now to make yourself more employable. Don't wait until you're laid off to get additional job training. Start now while you have time. There's less pressure looking for a job or taking classes when you're not on unemployment.

What about your lifestyle? How we live says a lot about what we think of ourselves. And, once we reach adulthood we generally don't expect to change much. But, life always throws us some curves. What we expect doesn't always happen. Those changes may make it advantageous to reconsider our plans.

Your reexamination may lead you to make some changes. Changes that could reduce your expenses or free up some money for more enjoyable pursuits. Don't be surprised if you open up a whole new world.

Awhile back I saw a statistic on some of the best corporate managers. People who were known for making good decisions. You might think that they were right a large majority of the time. You'd be wrong. The decisions they made were only right 53% of the time.

That means that nearly half of the time they were wrong. But, they did have one advantage. They were quick to acknowledge those mistakes and change direction. Putting themselves back on the path to success. There's no reason that you and I can't do the same thing.

Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar website and newsletters. This article originally appeared here. Click here for information on whether you need a financial planner.