How to Control Your Finances When the Sky is Falling
As the Dow reaches another all time high it seems like a good time to reflect on the past 12 years. Think about it: five years ago we thought the world was going to end. Today, we have recovered from the second worst market correction since the Great Depression.
Sometime during the past 12 years, everyone, even those with the strongest convictions, questioned the market’s ability to recover. But it always did. So what lessons can we take away from this? I think the message is simple, focus on what can be controlled, not the things that can’t.
Back in November they were predicting dire consequences if we went over the fiscal cliff or hit the debt ceiling. This past Friday the Sequester kicked in and predictions of long lines at the airports and 750,000 layoffs were all over the news. Did anything happen? No! How about Y2K? For a moment there on December 31st, 1999 did you wonder if the world would be the same when you woke up the next morning? To everyone’s surprise the world was exactly how we left it the day before. We waste so much of our valuable time and energy worrying about the things that we just don’t have any influence over.
It’s not possible for us to individually influence world events, the outcome of elections, Mother Nature or the financial markets. So if we have no influence over these areas, why do we spend so much time worrying about them?
On the flip side, we can control things like personal spending, saving and where those savings go. Yet we spend so little of our time focusing on those aspects. I believe those are the areas with the greatest impact on our overall happiness and well being.
I think we need to reassess our priorities and put a renewed focus on the things we can control. It doesn’t make sense to fret over events and circumstances well outside our area of influence. If we instead use that energy in a constructive way to understand and improve what we can control, I think you’re likely to see a great return in your overall happiness and well-being.