Maybe it’s an odd British attitude or maybe it’s just me getting a little bit older, but given a chance I hear a lot of people moaning about anything and everything.
The weather is a prime example. It’s generally either too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, too dry or too something else. But as the Norwegians say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
I don’t like people moaning, I’d prefer them to do something about it instead. You can’t control the weather but you can control how you adapt to its changes.
Being a financial planner I often hear that the economy is doomed, or it’s doing too well, that you can’t trust the government, that pensions are rubbish, that the property market is about to implode and so on and so forth.
All this makes me think of the following sketch by American financial planner Carl Richards:
Take the weather again. Of course it matters, but you can’t control it. If you’re outside you can only wear the right clothes.
What about the economy, interest rates, the stock market or the housing market? Of course they matter too, but again you can’t control them. The stock market may well fall, but just like the sun eventually shines after rain, give it time and it will recover.
I think you should focus on those things you can control. From a financial point I would say these are:
- Your behaviour, e.g. have a plan and sticking to it no matter what
- How much you earn, spend, save, invest and borrow
- The degree of investment risk you take
- The investment charges you incur
- The taxes you pay along the way
If the world of finance makes you feel like a victim, without a guiding hand you will probably lose. But if you realise that your own behaviour is the decisive factor in your financial success, you will feel and be very much in control of your own destiny.