Control & Influence

As some of my readers may have noticed, there are a number of articles on here that at first blush do not seem to relate to finances.  This is one of them, but it very well may be one of the most important articles on the site.

Do I have your attention?


In life there are items that you can control: when you wake up in the morning, how much you spend, etc. These are actions that you can take and though you may not enjoy the consequences or the costs associated with doing them, it is unlikely that someone is holding a gun to your head to prevent you in your efforts.

There are items that you can influence: how much you may pay in taxes or people’s perception of you as someone who is responsible or arrogant, etc. These are items over which you do not fully control but which you may be able to adjust either positively or negatively.

There are many items over which you neither have control or influence. Do not worry about these. It would be a waste of your time to do so.

Now as it relates to finances, you can largely control how much you spend. This has a huge impact on your ability to save.  You cannot necessarily control your income, though you can control your actions which will influence it greatly. If you do not have a job with a salary that you like, you can ask for a raise, look for a new job or an additional job or start your own business. This is not to say that these items are not without risks.

You can influence how much you will pay in taxes both now and later on not only by deciding how much you want to make, but also by where you put your investments. You can also influence how much your investments grow by looking at items such as allocation and fees. You can influence whether or not there will be enough money to take care of loved ones if you pass away.

Most people to whom I talk want to have greater control over their destiny and their finances. I always tell them that control of one’s destiny financially begins with control of oneself and expenses first. Greater control almost always leads to greater influence. Clients that focus on making proper actions that they can control will usually extend their influence. It is through this process that one can seek to have complete freedom and independence.

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