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Your feelings are your guide. Intuitively, you know how your decisions may impact those around you, which can lead you to jump from one idea to the next in an effort to please others. Does this sound like you?

Fortunately, you can retrain your intuition to make smarter financial decisions. Follow these three steps each time you’re faced with a multivariable financial decision.

Do Your Research

While you like to consider all possibilities, you probably rely on conceptual data. Instead, take a step back and add some structure to your thought process by examining each option in detail, one at a time. For example, are your parents and in-laws asking that you fly home for the holidays, but they live across the country from one another? Research the cost of traveling to both locations, and dig into details like whether your travel dates align with everyone’s schedules.

If you can, shut out the noise. Everyone might have an opinion, but by looking to third-party resources – online or at your bank – you can equip yourself with unbiased data. For major financial decisions, like buying a house or planning for retirement, you may even want to consult an expert. A financial advisor can help you explore options that may make the most sense for your financial situation.

Compare Options

When you’re making a financial decision and considering the impact on others, it’s natural to find it difficult to make a choice that could have a negative effect on your relationships. However, with objective comparison, you can see which of your options makes the most sense.

As you research, create a spreadsheet or list to track the pros and cons of each option. Will buying a house in another neighborhood cause too much disruption for your kindergartener, or is it the right choice in the long run? Will retiring now force you and your spouse to completely change your lifestyle, or do you have enough funds set aside already?

Look beyond the cost of each option to also consider which may cause you to lose out on income-generating opportunities. For example, will traveling to your in-laws cause you to miss extra days of work? Will turning down a job offer to avoid the hassle of moving actually hurt your earnings potential?

Sleep On It

While your imagination surely helps you thrive in many areas of your life, you may be relying too heavily on your feelings when it comes to finances. By taking a day (or two) to sleep on it, you can remove some of the emotion from the situation and look at the decision using more neutral reasoning.

Various studies point to the benefits of sleep when it comes to finances. Lack of sleep can lead to riskier decision-making and, at the very least, sleep may help you remove some of the stress from the decision. Armed with concrete data – and a good night’s sleep – you can make your decision with confidence.

Trying to please everyone at the same time can be difficult. Follow these steps so that you can explain to the group the “why” behind the decision you chose. They may still disagree with it, but if they understand that you took an impartial approach that makes the most sense for you and your financial well-being, well, who can argue with that?

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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