Column: Gain some control over your life


Feeling like you have some control over your life is vital for life happiness.

Control is not always easy. It takes planning, sacrifice, work and good fortune.

Lots of things can happen in life that will shake the earth beneath our feet. Illness, weather disaster, a bad accident and stupid mistakes. We are all vulnerable to any and all of these.

Considering anything can happen in life and chances are it will, we can all still make an effort to be in control of our daily lives.

First, know who you are, and build on who you are. There is only one you, and there will never be another like you. Chances are you may have become a clone. You started out as an original but became someone else. You may have redesigned your life to be accepted by a certain workforce, group, religious entity, fraternity, sorority or political party mindset. This works for a while, but you won't be very happy because it requires more work to not be you than it takes to just be you. This doesn't mean that you can't be a better you. We all can and should strive to be better, smarter and the best we can be.

Next, you have to work. Yes, we have to work. It's essential to life security. The person who can work and wants to work will feel better and sleep better. There are all kinds of work, and not every kind of work is for everyone. Discover what kind of work you enjoy and can do, and learn to do it as well as you can. Working will give you a feeling of well-being. Millions of people in America can't work for various reasons. Disability happens; millions are handicapped by various health related issues.

Our country helps millions with Social Security disability and Medicare. At least with these government assistance programs people have something on which to survive. Keep in mind that a disability income is never a ticket to prosperity. What you can afford will be very limited. However, I do know people who have done well investing in the stock market even on a limited disability income and have done amazingly well financially. Keep in mind if you are going to make a house or car payment it requires a serious income and a paying job. Try to lock into a job that you enjoy and can do.

Third, save money and stay out of debt as much as possible. Buy a house you can afford and save some money every month in an IRA or 401k or whatever is available to you. Research index funds and consider buying some stock in an index fund as you can. Index fund fees are typically cheaper. I'm not a stock advisor, so do your own investigating. A school teacher friend bought index fund stocks every month for years and ended up with over a million dollars in stock by her retirement. Money isn't everything, but you'll sleep better if you know you can buy groceries tomorrow and can pay your utility bills.

Finally, take a few minutes every morning and at the end of the day to be grateful. Give God thanks for all and anything you have, and ask him to give you strength, wisdom and peace for the day or throughout the night.

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