Life as you know has a way of pushing, prodding and then pulling us around. It will unexpectedly throw us curve balls including our job uncertainties, twists in our dreams, our health and our finances because of the fluctuating economy.
Then add the impact which the media has on influencing our decisions along with the multitude of distractions which steers our every day existence. All of these factors waver us in different directions making it extremely difficult to have any sense of control.
So it’s no wonder that we surround ourselves with our most comfortable habits, beliefs and rituals which insulates and hopefully protects us from total alienation. Money however is the one key essential element of our lives which we’re always constantly wanting to completely control.
There are many who dread the monthly arrival of the credit card statement. We’re also constantly being hounded by investment opportunities advising us where we should and shouldn’t be placing our hard earned cash.
Then there are those set monetary obligations such as; groceries, mortgage, rent, utilities, car payments, vacations, and they in return turning into arguments or hard decisions on how much to save vs how much to spend.
It can get extremely overwhelming as money, and primarily the lack of it, is the biggest stress point in our lives, this even for the most financially responsible or the strongest willed. Having complete control appears like it’s impossibly elusive.
But it may not be as hopeless as it appears. The trick to all this is knowing and determining what you’re able to control, and what you’re not able to control. Knowing and then acknowledging what your options are, and then reducing your valuable time to things which are controllable.
What You Can’t Control In Your Life
• The financial markets, even for the most astute traders. The stock market or the currency markets are just an unpredictable moving target. You just cannot control the markets, not now or ever!
• You cannot control what the media says. You can’t control the news or how they choose to report it, or what’s emphasized. Keep in mind that whatever you read, whatever you hear on TV or radio is presented for entertainment purposes first.
• You cannot control what others say or do. Not your boss, your friends or family, your neighbor. They will do or say whatever they choose or spend what they spend. They will spread gossip about you behind your back, or they may think they know a lot more than you, but most likely don’t.
• You cannot control the economy, locally or globally, as it’s a constantly moving entity which changes, grows, diminishes and contracts at will.
What You Can Control In Your Life
• You can control the amount that you spend, thus the debt that you accumulate. Short-term impulsive mistakes can easily become long-term financial problems if you don’t carefully monitor and control your spending.
• You can control your fixed as well as discretionary spending. You can dictate absolute control over your cash outflow. All of your outgoing fixed expenses covering your structural and essential costs, such as your rent or mortgage and the taxes that you pay.
Purchasing a house which is more expensive or more than you can afford brings larger long term fixed costs, which includes a bigger mortgage, higher insurance and taxes, higher maintenance and utility costs.
You need to monitor and control your discretionary spending based on a calculated overall strategy of building wealth and then being able to separate your actual needs from what you want.
• You can control how much you save and how you invest. There are those who earn $75,000 a year and don’t have a dime in savings. You need to follow a simple rule which states you “pay yourself first.”
This way, then you’re able to exert control over your money. So by creating an easy and consistent habit of saving your money by investing it wisely, you’re then taking an active step towards your future financial well-being. Participating in a company retirement savings plan can usually accomplish this, as will setting up an automatic investment program with your bank on a monthly basis.
• You can control your attitude. Your attitude may be the best and the most important place where you can start. Controlling your attitude by ignoring all of the unwanted “noise” around you, while remaining as focused as possible on your long-term objectives by performing short-term strategies.
For instance, the stock market may currently be down, however, they will not be down forever. If you’ve decided to add an active retirement plan each pay period, then you’re purchasing at a lower cost which should increase the chances of it succeeding in the future.
If you suddenly stop investing because of how dismal the markets are, or because of the poor economic reports which you can’t control, then you’re decreasing your changes for any sustained long-term success.
Controlling The Controllable
We as beings are able to reason, think and then process information. We believe that we have the ability of making good sound decisions. If you assess all of your financial decisions that you’ve made over the last five years, how many of them were actually good ones. How many didn’t quite work out the way that you expected it to.
In order to take solid control over your Finances, you need to create the division between what you’re able to control and what’s completely out of your hands.
Ultimately, all of your beliefs, habits and your behaviors when it comes to your money should result in favorable financial well-being and not focusing on what you cannot control.