No. 337

A few weeks ago I got a wonderful letter from a reader who works for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. This gentleman is an instructor in the state fire and emergency training academy and he wanted permission to use some of my columns, all or part, in his program. I was delighted to grant his request because most the ideas I share here are not original and if they will help someone do a better job, that is my heart’s desire. You would not believe the number of people who have written to me to say they clip many of my columns and save them in a file, put them on the refrigerator, bulletin board, read them in a Sunday School class or send them to friends and family all over the world.
At this point I would like to take a moment and broaden the scope. Most of my columns contain a central idea, a principle, a concept or a story that is intended to benefit you, the reader, in some way. In reality, these ideas are worthless unless they are applied in a way that will help you or those with whom you share them. Since we are all unique individuals with our own set of personal problems and opportunities, here is my offer. I will share the information and hopefully you will not only read but also feel what I am trying to say, then you make the application. Fair enough? Thanks!! I’m honored to have the opportunity to do this.
Here is the concept for this edition and I would like to begin with this question. Who controls your economic destiny? If you said, “I do” you are exactly right because ultimately our own personal choices will determine our success or failure in this important area of life. Now, the word “ultimately” refers to the long term answer, but on the short term it’s a little more complicated. Quite often our economic status is controlled by government policies, tax rates, interest rates, upturns and downturns in the economy, import-export quotas, balance of trade and a whole host of other things.
Now, allow me to get to the meat of the coconut by sharing a thought that may benefit you. Once we make a decision or commitment that we believe to be in our best interests to have financial security, it is very frustrating and often disastrous when we lose control and someone else changes the rules. Here is an example of what I am saying. I have a good friend who is in the Ag lending business. He represents a large national bank and he has spent a good deal of time and energy recruiting agents, conducting meetings and traveling across several states contacting individuals who need an Ag loan.
To make a long story short, this industry is controlled by the federal government. My friend submitted a large number of loans that should have been approved under existing policy, but after the fact, the Fed changed the rules. The loans were not approved, which meant no income for him or his agents. My friend is financially secure but here was a case of where “on the short term” the federal government was controlling his economic destiny.
Now, back to the obvious question. Who is controlling your economic destiny? The fact that my friend is financially secure means that he has made wise decisions in the past, but how about those 500 hourly wage people who worked for a large national company here in our community and were laid off a few weeks before Christmas. What is the answer? The answer for each of us is to save and invest a good portion of our income during good times that will tide us over during bad times. This way we have a greater say in who controls our economic destiny. A while back a reader wrote to me and said that I needed to do a column about “compound interest” because it’s the best way for any of us to achieve financial security. He’s right you know!! God bless America. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)