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Go for the 'Reversible Decision' - A Great Way to Leave Financial Regret Behind! By Kathryn Marion

If youre just fresh out of school, you may or may not have had the privilege yet of regretting some of your financial decisions. But the time is coming for everyoneit just seems to go with the territory of growing up and living on your own. One of my goals as the president of Education for Reality is to help you Sidestep the School of Hard Knocks. What that means is that I want to do whatever I can to help you avoid that horrible feeling of regret over past decisionsit can bring you down in so many ways and, in really bad cases, even make you ill. Ive said it in the past (in our Dose of Reality e-newsletter) and Ill say it againyou only get to spend each dollar one timeonce youve spent it, its never coming back to your wallet for you to spend again.

But Ive developed a strategy to help get around that just a bitI call it the reversible decision. Basically what it entails is choosing the option thats comes with the least commitment (the easiest one to get out of or reverse if it doesnt work out, or if your situation is only temporary to begin with).

If youre not certain that youre going to be staying in the same town for at least a few years, dont even think of buying a condo or houserent. The stress and potential for losing money when you end up having to sell a condo or house within just a couple years of buying it can completely derail your money goals.

When choosing a place to rent (or a place to buy, if you know youll be staying put for quite a while), rent or buy the smallest (and least expensive)place that will make you happy...you can always move up later, if you want, but its nearly impossible to move back down if your finances cant handle the rent (or mortgage) payment on the larger place.

If you dont own any furniture when you get your first apartment, and you think you might move to a new town relatively soon, you might even want to rent furnitureit will let you see if you like the style and pieces you chose, then, if your company ends up moving you to a new town (or you choose on your own to move to a new place), you dont have to move the furniture...you can wait til you get settled in a more permanent situation before committing a load of money on furniture youll be living with for many, many years. And, because you'll be buying the furniture after you move, you know it will fit in the space you've got (just imagine spending a bundle on a big, new bedroom set only to find that there's no way it'll fit in your new apartment...now what?).

The same can hold true for a carif you need one now, but are hoping to move to the big city within a year or two and wont need one anymore, lease a car rather than buy one that youll end up having to sell when you move downtown and start riding the subway. And just like with the condo or house, lease the smallest and least expensive vehicle that will do the job for youmove up later once your career and finances are more stable.

This strategy can work with real estate, too. When my family moved from the south side of Denver to the north side, our finances were such that we could hold on to our south-side house and rent it out when we bought the new house on the north side. If things didn't work out in the north, we could move back into our beloved home in the south and rent the one in the north. Do you see how the reversible decision works? If we sold our home on the south side and things didn't work out as we hoped on the north side, then what? There's nowhere to go back to (and homes had appreciated in the south, so we couldn't simply move back to the same size and type of house and keep that same, small mortgage we used to have).

This reversible decision strategy can be used in loads of situations, so when youre faced with a large financial decision, see if you can figure out a reversible option for yourself...and maybe avoid a ton of regret (and lost dollars) later.

# # #

Kathryn Marion is President of Education for Reality. in Erie, Colorado. Her book Success in the 'Real World:' The Graduate's Complete Guide to Making the Most of Your Career (and Your Life!) was released in April '05 in e-book format for its tenth anniversary--it was distributed through schools, colleges, and universities to nearly two million new graduates. Jam-packed with savvy insights and helpful advicem it covers everything from careers to money management to handling personal and even legal matters. Visit http://www.EducationForReality.com and sign up for the free monthly newsletter, Dose of RealityTM--it will give you a 'dose' of advice on your career, your money, and your life each month as well as point you to additional online resources which will help you in these areas--so you don't have to surf the Net (we do it for you!).

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