years ago a common interview question was “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” In other words do you have a long term plan or do you just live day by day? And even as hard as it is to see ourselves 5 years down the road in very uncertain times. We still need to have a plan, now more than ever. The uncertainty however makes the planning even more difficult.  With the unstable economy the escalating costs of living we must make some fundamental changes in our live styles. We need a plan.  The first thing we need to do is detail the desired outcome of the plan. If the desired outcome is to become filthy rich, I can’t help you.  If the desired outcome is to become as independent as possible there I may be of some assistance.  The first part of the plan, or year one is the most important step. We need to analyze and isolate all unneeded spending. This is key, we need to train ourselves to do with less. The key is less material items, we can still enjoy a comfortable life in a comfortable home, surrounded by those things that spark pleasure within us. We just have to learn to live with less of them. But the materialism is just a part of the first step. We must also analyze our energy consumption and again train ourselves to use less. The whole goal of year one is to bring the cost of living down to a manageable level. While we are training ourselves to do with less, we also need to find that hidden talent we all have at one thing or another. We then need to hone that talent whatever it is. We hone it and put it to work for us. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t able to quit your day job. The important thing is the time you spend honing your specific talent is less time you would be spending on materialistic things or sitting in front of the TV through another droll sitcom. Once we identified our talents honed our talents, now we put our talents to work. An example of this would be a close friend of mine I’ll call Terry for sake of privacy reasons. After a hitch in the Armed forces terry took a decent paying job as a fork lift driver and worked his way up to materials manager. When he was displaced when the plant closed and moved to China, he was in the same boat as myself. I had already began my five year plan. I told him what Im telling you know, find that one thing you have a talent for and use it. Well it turns out Terry is pretty pretty decent programmer. However since he had never put anything out there he was afraid. Once he overcame that fear we wiped up a free bee website. A online resume if you will. Within a week he gets noticed. Now he is happily plugging away at his key board from his home office. he doesn’t make much maybe $1,200 a month if he’s lucky most months its closer to half that. But he states that he has never been happier in his life. Though Terry is even further along in the plan than I am. The Weasel. But we both found that one hidden talent, and we are putting it to work for yourselves. And we have both trained ourselves to use less and want less.