Today I have learned something new, ok, some of you may have guessed it before me, but, for me an "ah ha" moment.

"There are some smart cookies out there. I am not one of them." You can guess which is the Ah-ha on your own.

Sitting in Dallas, TX, at the 5 Star Conference, listening to panelist speak on the subject of Figuring Out FinReg, I am painfully aware of which club I am a member of.  The discussion is based on the new laws being passed or worked on right now, that will define the financial rules going forward.

Which side you take is really not the message here, but that the average American, like me, will not "get it".  Sitting here hearing rather political neutral summations, I think we have a financial octopus that probably would be better declared a centipede, except they are not scary enough.

So, what's "Mr & Mrs. J. Average" to do?

Protect yourselves from the damages that others can inflict on you. Whether new laws, bank demands, or credit merchants, move to a place where savings become important part of your monthly expenditures, take advantage of ways to lower monthly costs, long-term planning to ensure you have the best opportunity to have a future.  Wow. That was me, not the brainee's that spoke today.

So, how do we, who have no Master's in Government Double Speak, do these 3 simple tasks?

 1- Look at your income. Cut all nonessentials. Ouch, I know, but the subject here is  survival. Does cable TV really equal survival? Or Starbucks? Ouch, that one got me too! Is the Beemer really the best deal for you? Did you really make more money because YOU owned it? Did the trade in values payoff better than owning a car for 7-8 years with half that time having no payment? Get the picture? Remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper?  One stored, one bought Beemers.  Winter is coming.

 2- With today's incredibly low mortgage rates, lowered home values and continuance of tax shelters, most can ‘own’ cheaper than rent, and here is the little bitty secret you probably do not know. As a renter, on month 361 you will have a payment! Whoa! Too simple to give much value or thought too but really, don't you plan on living???  So, you handled that secret so good so here is the next point.  Rent in 1980 for a 3br home was $395-410. Today, $1000-1090.  What will it be in 2040?  Oh yeah, and your mortgage payment was locked-in in 2010, and remained unchanged. 

 3- Set a clear picture, with rewards built in, that will guide your future spending/savings plan. You are not the 20-somethings any longer and it won't get any easier the older you get. Proof: look at how many 60-somethings are praying the social security system doesn't fail.  Don't grow up to be one of them.

Ok, back to the class, what did these 4 high-ranking government/banking fellows conclude? That they can't agree on the solution! Surprised? 

Place responsibility for the future where you can impact your hands.

And, remember to vote.