Many families I work with tell me how helpless they feel when it comes to their finances. They complain about the economy, the week job market, inflation, the devaluation of the dollar, the price of gas, and so on. I'm quick to remind them to STOP focusing on the things they can't control and shift their attention to those things they can.
As an individual American you cannot control the Global Economy in any way! As an individual American, you cannot guide the direction of our National Economy. The one thing you can do as an individual American is control your Personal Economy.
I tell families to focus on how much money they're spending and how they're allocating their assets. In other words, find ways to reduce costs to increase their household's net income. I also challenge them to find ways to increase their revenue (i.e., how much money they make).
In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey introduce the concept of the Circle of Influence (see figure). The Global Economy and our National Economy reside in the Circle of Concern (i.e., things we cannot control but affect us). Covey instructs us to redirect our focus to those things we can control in our lives (i.e., Circle of Influence). Our Personal Economy resides in the Circle of Influence where we can impact how much money we can make, how much money we can put into saving and the ability to reduce our costs.
Now, I am in no way advocating the 'ostrich approach'; stick your head in the sand and pretend the reality of Global or National economies don't exist or matter. What I am advocating, much like Covey, is a shift in 'directed energy' from worrying about what may happen to protecting yourself financially in case anything does happen. In other words, spend your energy on those things you can control and change (i.e., your Personal Economy) and let God (or the Adam Smith's Invisible Hand of the Market) deal with the rest.
Host of 'Life or Debt' on Spike