LITTLE ROCK – Taking the lead in your own finances instead of just going with the flow is key to good money management, said Laura Connerly, instructor-family resource management for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

LITTLE ROCK – Taking the lead in your own finances instead of just going with the flow is key to good money management, said Laura Connerly, instructor-family resource management for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Do you feel in control of your future, or is your future in the hands of fate? Your perception affects your reality, financially,” she said.

Connerly discussed a person’s locus of control, or LOC. “Locus of control refers to your view of how your actions impact life,” she said.

Internal LOC people feel in control, and masters of their own destinies. External LOC people, on the other hand, feel like life events are based on luck, fate or on the actions of other people.

And internal LOC people are better with money management, said Connerly.

“They’re more successful in their efforts to improve money management practices and increase wealth,” she said. “But that’s no reason for external LOC people to despair.”

Some tips for internalizing that financial LOC:

• Search the Internet and take an online survey on your LOC. Finding out which type of LOC you have will help you determine where to begin.

• Make a list of any external forces you blame for poor financial management. For example, do you blame a busy job for lack of time? Do you blame your family for not teaching you how to manage money properly?

• Now make a list of positive and negative events that happen over your life over the next month. Examine how your decisions and actions affected the outcome.

• Set small, easy-to-reach goals and focus on your own efforts to achieve them. Remember to attribute success to your actions and celebrate your achievements.

Examples of small starting goals might be to save $50 a month in $1 increments each day; increasing payments to pay off a small debt quickly; or catching up on filing and organizing your financial records, said Connerly.

“You’ve got the power. Now take charge,” she said.

Benjamin Waldrum is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.