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The 3 “F”s of Change

By November 6, 2014Advice, Business

Change“If you are miserable NOW, but not willing to change, you’ve got a problem”

One of the reasons why many people seem to be stuck in their present situation is that they are unable to face change. There is no doubt that in order to improve our circumstances, be it in our business or our personal finances, we need to make changes, and if we are unhappy doing so, we are stuck with what we’ve got.

I believe there are three main reasons why change reluctance exists

1. FearThe worst financial decision you can make
Fear of the unknown, fear of making a decision, fear that the changes we make will worsen our situation, not improve it. Confidence to consider alternatives, evaluate likely outcomes and make a decision to ACT is a skill which must be learned. The alternative is to let things happen, rather than make them happen, and this leads to the worst decision of all, deciding not to decide. This level of confidence can be enhanced by enlisting the assistance of experts in whatever field it is that you are bothered about, and is all about supporting your own thought processes with objective evaluation of your circumstances, together with (if you choose the right adviser) a recommendation as to what you should do. (In another piece, I explored some of the reasons why people fear advice)

2. Familiarity
comfy chairLets face it, some people are happy being miserable. The familiarity of where we are today financially (provided we are not going hungry) is very comfortable. We know what is going to happen tomorrow, because it happened yesterday, but what about the day after that, or ten years from now? In my work as a financial adviser, I meet many people who will assert with the greatest degree of honesty, that they “don’t live an extravagant lifestyle”, and find themselves unable to make any change to improve their situation. This comes from people with 6 figure salaries or those whose income is significantly less than that. What I have found over the years is that there is nearly always SOMETHING these people can do in a financial sense now, to make the situation better into the future.

3. Future
Many people live in the “now”, and have difficulty in thinkingtardis beyond Friday much less the longer term future. In a lot of ways, this is an attitude that persists from our first days in the workforce, when long term was indeed Friday, and really long term was our next holiday. Back then we had 100% disposable income, no commitments, and no one else relying on us. We had complete freedom to enjoy NOW, and enjoy it we did for all it was worth, but most of us have already had our circumstances change (some had it changed for them). As we move on in life, we no longer have this level of freedom, and we need to start thinking about tomorrow When trying to encourage people to think beyond now, I often find myself asking the question “What If”. What if we don’t take the steps now that we need to take to ensure the safety of  our future, and in particular that of our loved ones. What if not thinking about tomorrow means that when tomorrow comes, you’re not ready or prepared. It’s a bit like living in the Blue Mountains without a bushfire plan. Some of these events are unexpected, and we are taken by surprise. Many though, are predictable, we know they are coming, and yet because they are coming in the future, well beyond Friday, we try to ignore them.

The three F’s of change prevent us from taking action to change. In order to improve our lot, we must, before someone else makes the changes for us. We may not like change, we may not know how to go about making change, we may be afraid of change, but change we must. We must change Time for Change - Ornate Clockunless we are already happy with where we are and where we are going. Some people are in this happy place, but no doubt they had to make changes at some point in order to get there.

When change happens to you, not because of you, the outcome may not be what you want. So when you are ready to make some changes you have won the first internal battle. If you need help with deciding what changes you need to make (the next battle), I’d love to be part of that and fight alongside you.

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