Money is not an inert force. It has an uncanny ability to affect our emotions, our behaviour; it changes our plans, and it also has a knack of just disappearing out the window sometimes, never leaving quite enough for us to do what we want. But, like a dogs and children, money responds well to a firm hand, and that’s where you come in. It’s time to take control of your money, and in doing so, take control of your own financial future.
Everything You Need to KNOW
1. YOU are in Control
This is the obvious place to start. And of course, this is either a statement of intent, one of those positive affirmations you’re supposed to do in the mornings to set the day off right. OR, it’s a statement of fact, you ARE in control.
Really, it’s a bit of both. You are in control of your money; the question is are you exercising that control to the very best of your ability? I wonder what your answer to that is. I know that for me the answer is no. Yes, that’s right folks – I am not the perfect example of financial prudence and practice.
Another mantra which I’ve been known to spout is that no-one is more invested, more interested in your financial health and wellbeing than you. You are your own number, and that’s who you should look out for – yourself. Your family, your friends – every one of them if push came to shove would likely put their own financial wellbeing before anyone else’s and so should you.
You may come from a background of giving, which leads you to be very generous towards the people and causes you care about. While that’s a good thing, you need to think of yourself first, because otherwise you’re a liability.
How much more effectively can you give if your own financial house is in order? So even if looking after number one sounds selfish, with that perspective it really isn’t. You really are in control of your own future, even if it doesn’t feel like that now.
2. Complaining is for Losers
Not only is it annoying, but complaining is blaming external factors for whatever our present predicament might be. If it’s really something you can’t control, like a flood, then fair enough, but otherwise it’s pointless.
Complaining can make us feel good but it gets us nowhere. One of the reasons we complain is because it’s easy, whereas sometimes taking action is hard. But far better to use the energy spent on whining about circumstances on something constructive, like making a change to move us towards our goals, or at least a little bit from the current predicament, whatever that might be.
One of my heroes, Gary Vaynerchuk has some great lines about this subject, such as: “You are 100% in charge of your life; stop complaining.”
Don’t waste time and energy complaining. Life may have dealt you a really, REALLY sucky hand, but as any card player will tell you, how you play the hand you’re dealt is often just as important as the luck of the draw.
3. Control is a Sign of Maturity
I never, ever let my 15-year-old daughter Kate drive my car. As well as being illegal, it would be a monumentally stupid idea. Why? Because she’s not ready. Becoming a competent driver takes a combination of teachability, humility, and experience.
Control over your finance is a function of similar contributing factors. We need to learn how money works, and we also need to put into practice what we learn, starting small at first but then applying the lessons learned to bigger and bigger decisions over time.
We will make mistakes, but the way we deal with them, applying the lessons learned and moving forward determined not to make them again, is another sign of our increasing money maturity. I really don’t think this process ever really ends. I don’t know about you, but even at the ripe old age of 43, I still find myself doing and saying stupid things; things I should know better than to say and do.
You hold the key to your own financial success, no-one else. Too many lottery winners don’t exercise control and end up bankrupt. They had the biggest leg-up imaginable, but still messed it up. Don't let that be you.