Financially, Here Are Some Things You Can Control & Some You Can’t – Finger Financial Five #49

“Dream with your eyes open.” – T.E. Lawrence

What do John Wooden and the movie “Where the Red Fern Grows” have in common and how does that relate to financial planning? 

Legendary UCLA Basketball coach, John Wooden, talks about this in his book, They Call Me Coach.  He breaks things into two parts, what we can control and what we can’t.  He said, if he is a good practice coach, the games will take care of themselves. 

In the movie, “Where the Red Fern Grows,” there is a scene where the boy is praying for a puppy. The shop owner says to him: “you can pray all you want and nothing will happen unless you meet God halfway.”  The boy starts to save his money to buy the puppies.  

It is our responsibility to do our part, but is our part going to be easy all the time?  No way.  We will catch red lights.  We will go through bear markets.  We may have health or family emergencies.  We may even run into jellyfish during a swim.  

We cannot eliminate all obstacles we come across.  Screaming at them won’t do any good either.  Acceptance and moving on can be the most powerful and the most difficult thing for us to do.  Acceptance is allowing Him to do his half.  Taking our own steps is ours.  

Financially, what we can control (“Our Half”) is:

Interestingly, in his book, Coach Wooden does not mention anything about winning.  His focus is on the process, not the outcome.  When I did the Ironman and was really struggling with the walk, my goal was not the finish line, it was simply running to the next mailbox.  That was my half.  Just keep doing my half and He will take care of the rest.    

We have no control (“His Half”) is:  

  • Market returns
  • Policy on taxation

As to His Half, we can choose fear or faith.  Fear and faith both require us to believe something we can’t see.  We will never know everything.  We can choose how we feel about that unknown.  One frees, the other freezes.  

The choice is ours.  

Example of an unknown I am dealing with right now:  I am going to start a Finger Financial Five podcast.  I have an idea of what I am going to talk about.  I have NO IDEA of how to do anything else.  I just have to take the next step.  Just run to the next mailbox.  Once there, decide the next step.  Stay tuned…

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or CLICK HERE for phone appointment.  

On the lighter side, taking the family to see the band, Counting Crows in Wilmington, NC this week.  Experiences like this are high on the happiness index.  By the way, someone asked me about all the trips and things I do – in other words, do I ever work.  That is funny.  Writing about sitting at my desk for 60 hours a week would be boring for people.  For the curious minds, here is a picture of my desk. 

Hope all is well with you and your family,



Finger Financial Five – 5 points in 5 minutes or less – is to provide you with a weekly shot of useful financial information.  My intention is to share principles, so that you will have more clarity and peace, that help you make better financial decisions.

Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


More Content from Riverbend

Get Your Free Download

Submit the form and a member of our team will email you a copy of the Retirement Ready Checklist. 


Retirement Ready Checklist

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content