Here I will show you 12 financial things you can control in your financial and investment plan and other things you should let go of.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. — Proverbs 16:9

I played baseball for most of my life growing up. The game taught me many lessons at an early age which became ingrained into my character. A batter has no control over the next pitch. It could be a fastball, some type of off-speed pitch, a ball or strike, etc. The infield may shift left or right and the outfield may move forward or back. But the batter is not defenseless. The batter can choke up on the bat and get closer to the plate with two strikes or sit back and wait for a fastball in a 3–0 count. In other words, the batter is focused on things under his control.

I spent more time than I’d like to admit thinking of a creative name when I started the blog, Controlling Controllables. I tried connecting the name to finances like ‘The Disciplined Investor’ (*yawn*). Nothing clicked until I looked inward and asked myself the question “What do I really want people to know about money?”

There are many things in life out of your control. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan and prepare for the future. Instead of worrying about things you can’t control, focus on the things you can:

Out of your control: The stock market dropping 20% months after your planned retirement date

In your control: Examining your finances ahead of time and constructing your plan with a buffer for various market conditions

Out of your control: Taxes

In your control: Taking advantage of tax diversification by strategically saving into pre-tax, post-tax, and taxable investment accounts

Out of your control: Your car or an appliance breaking, and other unforeseen expenses

In your control: Avoiding the use of debt by building up adequate cash reserves in an emergency fund

Out of your control: Living in a society that flaunts fame and fortune

In your control: Choosing to be content through generosity with your time, God-given abilities, and wealth

Out of your control: Scary market swings

In your control: Building a portfolio in alignment with your risk tolerance

Out of your control: If the government decides to relieve student loan debt you’ve accumulated

In your control: Paying extra on your loan and possibly refinancing at a lower rate

Out of your control: Consistently beating the market

In your control: Using well researched, cost-efficient investments

Out of your control: Things getting more expensive each year

In your control: Investing in an appropriate mix of stocks and bonds to protect your long-term purchasing power

Out of your control: Perfectly predicting what the next 30 plus years will look like

In your control: Seeking wise counsel and building a team of advisors around you

Out of your control: Death

In your control: Ensuring you have the right amount of insurance coverage and an estate plan in place

Out of your control: Perfectly timing the market

In your control: Building a portfolio with asset class diversification

Out of your control: The culture of the world your children and grandchildren grow up in

In your control: Setting aside time focused on instilling family principles and values

Life will inevitably change and detour your predetermined plans. This is why ongoing planning is more important than creating THE plan. So, go out and focus on controlling your controllables!

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