Who controls your money?

The powers is pulling your money to them

I really want a MacBook Pro. But not any, I want the most expensive one. In my career, I normally get to play with the best hardware, but this is not one that I can get on the work account. But me wantz it.

It sometimes feels like we cannot escape the cycle of spending: we want it. We get it. We are broke. We get a salary. We want something. We get it – and so on.

On the other hand, you also get these personal finance bloggers who claim that they have control over their money. But do we really have full control over it or do we acquiesce to unimportant goodies and stuff that adds no value to our lives? 

Who has the money control?

Let’s ask this differently: do we tell ourselves:

“Well, I have been wanting this …. for so long”

“Well, my family has trusted Shushan with their retirement savings, so surely she will look after us”

We often relent control of our lives and our money to other parties which should have no right to violate us. Think about it- would you allow a total stranger into your house that quasi-owns your TV and car? The fact is when we make debt, this is exactly what we’re doing – we’re effectively giving control to companies of our living standards and our lives.

I want to add a word of cautious opinion here. I do believe in good debt and bad debt: good debt is where someone else pays for it, whereas bad debt you need to pay for it. I suggest to be careful, as often good debt looks like bad debt – and I have burnt my fingers badly on this! Make sure the debt doesn’t control you. You must control it.

Debt control

We often spend that extra money on eating out, that iPhone we really want and other doodads. These things end up costing us more money than what it’s worth. In the process, we move our money from our control and into the pockets of big corporates – and into the pockets of their investors. 

In many (not so extreme) cases that money is converted into debt and we need to pay a small fortune to settle our little plastic card. In wise classic words we “are in the slaves of the debtor” as we’re working only to satisfy their unquenching thirst for our money and what they can make from it. 

To what extent are we willing to sacrifice our lives and our money for things we don’t really believe in?

This is exactly what we’re doing when we make debt.

Taking control of debt control

Though not easy, it’s truly doable to take control of your debt and your bad decisions.  The first step in moving forward and growing beyond your current situation is being honest about your situation and taking an audit of the current reality. Once you know what’s going on, you’re able to start making small adjustments to behaviour and spending. 

If this is you, I suggest upskill yourself and learn all you can to make good decisions. Surround yourself with people more knowledgeable and grow. Start putting an action plan together.

Small steps will make a big difference!

Investment control

Depending on your financial situation, you might have some investments or even consider investing. You have a choice here about how much of a control freak you are. 

As for me – I am a total control freak and don’t trust people with my money easily – I worked hard for it! 

The non-control freak

You might be willing to part with your money easily and to give your money away for others to invest without your fully understanding the investment vehicles – and this is okay! No one – not even your financial advisor – has a full understanding of all the financial products that they sell. 

If you use a broker or invest in the stock market, make sure you have also done your homework. I am for these type of calculated risks where people work out the risk and the reward and not treat it like a magic slot machine. 

If you enjoy investing and giving a big level of control of your money over to your financial adviser, real estate broker (REITs), bank or other, here are some things to consider:

  • Knowledge is power – learn about your investments and know the market that you’re investing in
  • Diversify – it’s the closest to a free lunch that you will get

The control freak

Others, like myself, enjoy being hands-on and having full control over their investments. The reason is simple – it’s the way some people are wired. They want to know the details about what’s happening and why their money was spent the way it was. 

These type of people check their investments every day and want to make sure all is still on the winning path. This causes those type of people to freak out emotionally on the rollercoaster called the stock market or the bitcoin investment. 

If you identify as the control freak, it’s more likely than not that you are a specialist of sorts. Use this to your advantage and make investments into the area that you know best. Always have an open mind and listen to opinions of others. Sometimes they have some wise words too!

I don't have money nor control

I recently spoke to my life coach who told me this story: One of his clients’ partner died. She had enough money to survive for a year and was anxious about what she will be doing when it all dries up. With angst, she woke up one evening, and decided – well f*** it, let’s start that business I have been too scared to start.

The moral of the story for me is this – it’s so much more about us having control over our minds than having the physical capital (money) right now.

Self money control

It happens by times that we are flat broke. Really, it does! Yet, this does not change the reality. I love the quote by Robert Kiyosaki who famously said: “Don’t say I cannot afford it. Say how can I afford it?”. 

Who should I allow into my money control?

The big question is are you okay with the level of risk. Would you be okay if you have a Steinhoff or 1929 crash of Wall Street scenario and your broker freezes all the accounts? What would happen if the property market crashed and cannot sell your property?

 This might not seem like control, but the fact is that you need to decide how liquid you want your assets. You need to decide how much do you want to control and safeguard your assets. 

Conclusion

It’s really so easy to blame other people for our spending habits and our money doing – yet finally, we will need to sleep in the bed that we made for ourselves. 

In conclusion, here’s the take-home:

  • You are in control of your debt – you have choices to grow and overcome it.
  • The control resides with you not spending your money on doodads.
  • You decide what to invest in and if you want to invest in anything.
  • You can decide how much control you want of your investments – You could opt for a hands-on approach or for trusting people’s knowledge in their field.
 Happy investing!
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