What Now? Dealing with Windfalls and the Perils of Uncertainty

Our guest blogger for the month of April is Kaycee Krebs, CFP® with Brighton Jones.

It is essential for us as a community to be aware of how our emotions in the various phases of grief and loss, affect our life circumstances. Please let me know of your Ahas from this article and/or
your personal experience with managing a windfall in the midst of loss and transitions at: facebook.com/joywithgeorgena. Thank you.

What Now? Dealing with Windfalls and the Perils of Uncertainty

By Kaycee Krebs

Life affords no guarantees save for unpredictability. Change happens, planned or unplanned. The uncertainty inherent in such a reality, however, doesn’t leave you powerless to reinvent your

circumstances for the better.

By some estimates, the average adult makes thousands of decisions each day. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat to the words we speak, we subject our mind to a steady barrage of choice

and stimuli. Those internal considerations and external trade-offs are simply part of everyday life.

Now imagine the same dynamic playing out amidst the pain and unease that accompany a sudden loss or transition. What’s more, the normal pressure of decision-making is compounded by the

significant financial questions that arise in those moments when your emotional guard is most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, the experience of countless individuals grappling with jarring life events illustrates both the complexity and the fragility of the human psyche. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 70 percent of people who receive windfalls manage to deplete the funds within a few years. Contrary to what some may suspect, these aren’t people giving in to the temptation of frivolous spending. In fact, periods marked by grief, high stress, or unforeseen change inflict mental and physical consequences that erode our discipline and impair our judgment. Susan Bradley, co-founder of the Sudden Money Institute, has identified the phenomenon as “transition fatigue.” Upending patterns, relationships, and expectations renders us ill-prepared to make important decisions, especially ones with long-term financial impact.

The path forward begins with patience—major life events like windfalls require far more adjustment than most people realize. No matter whether the windfall is the result of positive or

negative circumstances, everyone must go through a grief process because they are shedding a former life and starting anew. Recovery isn’t a smooth, linear story, and it can take three to seven

years to overcome feelings of loss, confusion, and fear. Simply acknowledging the struggle and the time necessary to restore your peace of mind is the first step in a long journey.

Although it may be impossible to envision at the time, the transition brought on by a windfall is an opportunity for personal reinvention and rebirth. The ability to forge a new identity in the face of

change is the key to living a richer life.

Kaycee Krebs, CFP ® is an advisor with Brighton Jones, a wealth management and financial services firm with offices in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Scottsdale, and Washington, D.C. Learn more at https://www.brightonjones.com/

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