Use this model to help you make difficult decisions.
Derek Brainard, Derek Brainard, AFC® is a champion for financial fitness and creator of www.level1life.com — a holistic health and wellness site where readers can find focus.
Use The RON Model to tackle life’s tough calls.
Do you ever feel like your time is dictated by someone else’s agenda? Like companies, parents, friends, or societal pressures are making your decisions for you. Do you feel out of control in the way you answer the following questions:
What diet modifications should I make to optimize health?
Should I buy, lease, or pay cash for a car?
What exercise program should I use?
Which broker should I go with for my investments? How do I know which mutual funds are best?
How much should I be saving for retirement?
Should I home-school my kids or use private/public school systems?
These are all questions we face in adulthood. It is all too easy to pop one of these questions in Google and try out the first response, but following someone else’s prescription may not always work best for you. You may find through trial and error that you are back where you started and more frustrated than ever. Why not have a process of making decisions that cuts down on wasted time and energy? Introducing: The RON Model™. Read these four steps of decision making and use the RON model shown below to streamline your efforts!
Identify your true needs: Retirement by itself is not the need. You must clarify what you mean by retirement and build out specific goals from there (e.g. amount needed in 401k, IRAs, or real estate to produce desired annual income when coupled with social security and other income streams). Identify your true needs in each focus factor category (faith, family, fitness, food, finance, fun) and write them in the needs circle of the RON model. (Draw a separate RON model for each Focus Factor)
Assess your ability to meet the need: If your dietary needs call for prepping food for 3–4 hours one day a week, do you have that time available to commit? Does your income support the monthly contributions you need to make to save for your next car? If you discover you need more resources to fulfill a need, brainstorm ways to increase income, reduce expenses, free up time to cook or spend with family or in prayer. Inventory your current resources before proceeding to the next step. Write them in the “resources” circle of your RON model.
Gather information: Spend a lot of time in this step. There is so much information out there, it can be daunting to attempt to break it down in ways you understand it, but this is necessary before you spend your valuable time and money. In finance we say “don’t buy something you don’t understand.” The same thing goes for food, fitness, faith, etc…Spend the time to gather the options, talk to experts, talk to people who have been there before. Utilize multiple credible sources online, read books. Don’t take health advice from unhealthy people. Don’t take financial advice from broke people. Weigh pros and cons of each option — using a T-chart to compare advantages and disadvantages of each option is a great method. Write options in the “Options” circle of your RON model.
Match your resources, options, and needs: It’s all about RON (resources, options, and needs). Now it’s time to make your decision. Look at your RON diagram you’ve put together and determine in what ways your resources, options, and needs intersect. You’ve taken the time and done your due diligence. Now it’s time to decide and execute. Be confident in your decision, be joyful, be enthusiastic! You didn’t stumble into this one, it’s all yours. Own it.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS