I’m sure many of you have been taught how to weight the pros and cons when you have a big decision to make. But have you learned how to weight the Risk vs Benefit?
I get that it doesn’t sound much different, but I can promise you it will give you more clarity as you work through larger decisions.
As we age, we make decisions differently. We may not be confident about our abilities to make a decision. You may feel like you are venturing into unfamiliar territory. Or you simply aren’t fond of any of the options, so how do you decide the lesser of evils to go with. I get it…many decisions we make as we age aren’t fun or exciting decisions.
How to make Risk vs Benefit list
Let me walk you through this simple way to change how you think about the next big decision you make.
Regardless of your decision to make, get a piece of paper or open up a blank document on your computer or ipad. At the top, make too columns, one labelled Benefit, the other labelled Risk.
A benefit in the dictionary is listed as ‘an advantage or profit gained from something’ – so what are the benefits if you make that decision.
A risk in the dictionary is listed as ‘a situation involving exposure to danger’ – so what are the real risks of making that decision.
By using these two words – we are getting past our perceived pros and cons, but real benefits and risks, even if we don’t like the answers.
Let me share some recent decisions clients has to make to show you how this could help your situation.
Client Scenario #1
Client 1 lives in an adult bungalow village, but finding it too much to manage and feeling very isolated. Wants to make a move, but not sure if she should move to a senior apartment or into retirement living
Moving to Senior Apartment
- I will enjoy a smaller space to maintain
- I can move to a building that is walking distance to amenties
- There is increased opportunity to meet others
- I can choose a suite with a walk in shower
- I will be saving more money with this option
- I may have to move again if need more care
- I many not make the effort to make friends and still feel isolated
- If I lose my drivers license I will need to arrange transportation for groceries or make a move
Move to Retirement Living
- I will enjoy everything under one roof
- I can receive additional care if I need it in the future
- I can sell my car to reduce my expenses
- I won’t be concerned when I lose my license
- The building offers transportation to dr appointments and outings
- There is social activities to help me meet new people
- I can learn a new hobby
- My money may run out faster
- I will regret giving up my car
This client felt that retirement living gave her more benefits that were valuable to her situation. The risks she felt were easier to take on in retirement living then the risks if she lived in a senior apartment building.
Client Scenario #2
Client #2 isn’t sure about making renovations to their home to prepare to age in place. They want to stay at home, but just not sure about undergoing the costs of doing such significant changes to their home.
- They can live in their home longer
- They can stay in their same neighborhood
- They will remain close to where their grandchildren are
- The costs will be minimal compared to costs of long term care or retirement living
- They have access to a line of credit to cover costs now
- They will use up more of their savings
- They may be forced to move from their home if their health needs change
- They may have to bring in outside help if they have mobility issues
- They may be separated if one needs more help then the other
- They may not have time to make these renovations in the future
This client found that the items on their benefit list were really important to them, more important than the risks they would take if they didn’t do the renovations. They then set out a 5 year plan for moving forward with their renovation plans.
Do you see how this could change the perspective? Are the risks as scary as you made them out to be in your mind? Do the benefits have more significant weight to them now?
In doing this, we take a lot of the emotion out of a decision and are forced to look at facts. Not at what we perceive to be a pro or con. Give it a try, and don’t knock it until you try it for yourself.
Share in the comments below if this has helped you manage a large decision?