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This is a situation we find ourselves in when we are in extreme change and under stress.  Our ability to think is significantly reduced.  We might think we’re OK but when we look back on these times in our lives we’re almost always working well under our capabilities.

The technical term for this state is cognitive impairment.  This means that we can’t think very well.  When our world is upside down we probably shouldn’t think at all.

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Unfortunately, most times we just don’t have that option.  If our world is upside down it’s because something has happened.  We might be going through a divorce, a loved one might have just died, or we’ve completed the sale of our company.  All of these will force us to stop thinking clearly.

When your world is upside down you need to call a time out.  It’s almost impossible to stop your world when it’s spinning out of control.  At the very least we should take some time and decide what decisions we have to make versus decisions that can be put off.

Any decision that can be put off should be put off.  This includes financial decisions.  There might be some people around you who want you to make financial decisions but when you’re not thinking well is not the time to make those decisions.  Instead only make decisions that must be made.

Don’t make any major decisions.  Some people think it takes several years before one has regained their equilibrium when a loved one has died.  Let’s at least pretend that for a year you’ll be thinking at less than optimum levels and during this year just say no to major decisions.  They likely will be there a year from when you’ve made some adjustments to your new situation.

Find someone you can trust.  I believe this is most important.  Before an event occurs find someone you can trust.  Have this person be your go to person if your world falls apart.  Discuss what you’re thinking about and let them help you decide what decisions must be made versus those that can be put off.

Hopefully that someone is a person who has had some training in working with people in high stress situations.  I believe having outside advice when things get tough is always a good thing, especially if you can trust that person.

This means that as part of your life disaster plan you should have identified who your go to person is going to be.  Talk with them about filling that role with you.  This person might be a professional advisor or it could just be a good friend.

Have you thought about your own personal upside down world plan?  If not, you should.

Josh Patrick

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: cognitive impairment, transition planning, disaster plans

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