BY JASON M. MORLEY
Although I am young (not by my choice of words), I am quickly learning what works and what doesn't. I am learning these lessons in life as well as handling money and financial success. Take for instance my 2 year old daughter. They way she acts most of the time makes me think that by around the same time next year, she will be moved out and on with her life. I have never met another child (although I am sure her counter part is coming; my wife is 7 months pregnant), that can control my life as much as she does. Not my Mother, Father or any girlfriend I have ever dreamed of, has controlled me so much and so WELL.
She can easily get me to get her something to eat, drink, buy everything and make me laugh or cry on a dime. Now I know you are saying that she is only 2 and needs me to do all these things, but I would say those who doubt me, spend 5 minutes with her and you will soon realize she is just like her father. I am not sure that is a good thing. This is the same 2 year old who can open up the freezer without a chair or help, (and I do mean the freezer on top of the refrigerator, not these easy side by sides) or any other of the many physical and mental feats she seems to display each and everyday. The more I think about how she can control me, is the same reason certain people succeed, and others almost always fail.
It comes down to one principal: Control what you can control, and control it well.
This simple statement in my opinion can be the difference between winning and losing in life and financial success. My fault with my daughter is not that she can control me, it is that I let her control me. No 2 year old should be telling an adult what to do or who gets what and when. This is the same control we have over our lives and never seem to use it or replicate it for those of us who believe we can control most things in our life.
The winner's in financial success have the control to save every month, pay bills on time and put off purchases they cannot afford. This is something that all most all of us know, but don't have the control to do it. Myself included.
So what can be done to gain that control? Taking little baby steps to control your life will do more for you than any specific advice I can write in this column and will pay dividends in every aspect of your daily life.
Here are a few steps to get you started.
1. Assess your life in terms of a mirror. Look into that mirror and ask yourself, do I control the money the same way I control my kids? Am I the one at the shopping center with 3 kids running around aimlessly and at the same time spending with no attention? Usually if you do one thing a certain way, you will do the other just the same. It is very hard for us to compartmentalize our lives and be good with one thing (having our kids behave) and be good with another (spending money we don't have).
2. Think of the things you feel that you do well and have proof to show for it. Look into why you think you are good it and you will find an underlying principle of how you have succeeded in the area. For instance, when I was in middle school, I play the cello. I am not sure why, and hate myself for not playing it now, but I was always pretty decent at playing. Was it because I loved classical music or because I was meant to be cellist? I highly doubt it. It is because everyday in middle school I practice for an hour with orchestra. Plus a personalized lesson with the schools music teacher once a week. If you practice something that much, and don't smash the cello with the music stand, you are bound to become at least a decent player. And a decent player will always have a crowd around them as they play.
3. Don't listen, Watch. Watch the others around you that have succeeded. Look at the people who paid for their child to go to school without loans. Or the family who doesn't drive the nicest car and mows their own lawn. I know for a fact, these folks are onto something, and it isn't a fluke. They are sacrificing Saturday morning to mow or the head turning car, to make the future calmer or more peaceful with the security of success. Maybe you should too. Myself included.
Jason M. Morley, CPA/PFS, CFP is founding principal of Morley Financial Planning, a Fee-Only financial planning and Registered Investment Advisory firm headquartered on Long Island in Suffolk County New York. The firm specializes in providing financial planning and investment advice to people from all walks of life. For more information you can contact Jason at 631-454-9444 or visit his Web site at