The Real Goal . . . Happiness

You wouldn’t think I’d need a reminder of this but I did. I was listening to the Choose FI Podcast this weekend. They were interviewing Todd Tresidder who writes at FinancialMentor.com. He was talking about different paths to financial independence and said something like “really it’s all about happiness, what makes you happy”.

People achieve Financial Independence (FI) in many ways. The loudest message is that reaching financial independence takes frugality, and in many cases fairly extreme frugality. Every decision is weighed against the financial impact. All spending must be a hack of some sort.

Some of us are hard wired to be optimizers and hackers. We love finding the best deal, spending hours to save tens or hundreds of dollars. And if this describes you, all I can say is bless you. I have a few of you on my speed dial. If I need to know where to get the best deal on a [fill in the blank], I call you.

And I’ve written about my frugality and some of my hacks. Because I reached financial independence by keeping my spending low in spite of increases in my salary. Growing that gap between what you earn and what you spend is essential if you want to hit your ambitious financial goals. Continue reading “The Real Goal . . . Happiness”

You Only Get One

This time of year, I like to reflect on my life. I think about my good fortune and share some of it with others through our donations. I think about what I’d like to add to or subtract from my life. And though I don’t like to make resolutions, I do like to make plans.

Because we only get this one beautiful life and I don’t want to waste it. Some of us will get many years and some of us will get far too few. But no matter the number of years we receive in this, our one beautiful life, we all want to thrive.

Thriving for me probably won’t look like thriving for you–we’ll each have our own definition or vision of what thriving looks like.

I have several visions that help define thrive for me. Continue reading “You Only Get One”

Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions?

I’m kind of jealous of people who can make a New Year’s resolution and stick with it. Resolutions don’t work for me. In the past, my resolutions have typically been about starting an exercise program or losing weight. By the end of January, little progress was made and little thought was being given to whatever resolution I had set. So now I don’t bother to make resolutions.

Want to know the best resolution ever made?  Mr. Ms. Liz walked into his office one January 2nd over 30 years ago and his colleague and good friend asked if he had made any resolutions. He replied that he was going to “find himself a woman” that year. I walked in that office 24 days later.  Resolution achieved!

So I love a good “resolution” though I no longer make them myself. I do use the excuse of the New Year to set my financial goals. I guess I could call that a resolution right? As you learned last week, I finalize my full year budget on New Year’s Day. Continue reading “Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions?”

Speed and Attitude

We had a little adventure in the desert last Tuesday.  Really no adventure is little in the desert with all those cactus and other pricklies.

We were riding our mountain bikes and got stuck on a trail with tire sucking gravel and ended up walking our bikes.  Mr. Ms. Liz saw what I now think was a game trail off to the left and thought it would be a great idea to follow that.  The goal being to find a trail better suited for our bikes.

Half an hour later, he greeted me with a “Ta Da” because we had, finally, found a better trail.  But getting there sucked.  I was bleeding from a scratch in my leg, my shoulder was wonky, I was NOT happy.

Mr. loves these adventures, I do not.  Yet I continue to follow him . . .

Whilst we were on this adventure, the constant refrain that was running through my head was:

What can I control?  Speed and Attitude. Continue reading “Speed and Attitude”

What Would Someone Who [insert your dream here] Do?

We’ve all seen the bracelets and bumper stickers that say WWJD?  What Would Jesus Do?

What if we filtered our decisions through a What Would statement?

What would someone who wants to travel the world do?
What would someone who wants to retire early do?
What would someone who wants to kill it at work do?
What would someone who wants a great marriage do?
What would someone who wants to lose a few pounds do?
What would someone who is paying off $10,000 of debt do?

I think we’d make better decisions. Continue reading “What Would Someone Who [insert your dream here] Do?”

Make The Hard Choices

I just watched a TED talk by Tim Ferriss.  It is well worth 13 minutes of your time to watch the entire talk but one thing he said struck me:

“Easy choices, hard life
Hard choices, easy life”

Jerzy Gregorek as told to Tim Ferriss

This statement is true in so many areas of our lives but, I believe, particularly true when thinking about our finances.

Buying something on credit–easy
Paying for your past rather than saving for your future–hard

Learning new skills and making ourselves more valuable at work–hard
Taking home a bigger paycheck–easy

Aligning your spending with your values–hard
Having money for the things that matter most–easy

You get it.  Think about what you’re struggling with, what choices can you make that will turn that struggle into something that is easy?

My life is astonishingly easy right now.  I don’t worry about money.  I only set my alarm for fun things.  I’m meeting new people and enjoying new activities.  The decisions I’m struggling with fall squarely in the category of first world problems.

But my easy life was built on a foundation of hard choices–saving rather than spending, working rather than playing.

The choice is yours–make it a hard one.

Pick Your Path and Don’t Stray

I read an amazing post by Kitty at BitchesGetRiches last night.  She walked through her reasoning behind buying $25 wedding rings.  She compared them to the $1,900 rings she and her partner really wanted and explained why they decided on the $25 rings.

They decided on the $25 rings because she and her partner had, years earlier, talked about their dreams.  She wanted the pony her parents never got her and she wanted to live in a house with secret passages.

Buying $1,900 rings didn’t help her get the pony. . . or the house. Continue reading “Pick Your Path and Don’t Stray”

The Power Of One Word

I just got back from a mountain bike ride.  It’s one I do regularly because it is a good lung buster that helps me get in shape.  But I haven’t ridden this trail in six months.  Our desert trails are much flatter and I’ve only been back at altitude for a week.  So it felt really hard.  I got to the top without taking any breaks–though I felt like I might puke.

I know exercise is good for my body and my brain.  But getting out and exercising regularly doesn’t come easy for me.  And I’m especially bad at making myself do the hard stuff like I did today.

I was tempted to put my foot down, take a break and get my breathing under control. Continue reading “The Power Of One Word”

What Is Weighing You Down?

I wrote this a couple months ago–I wish we had 10″ of snow today, that would be super fun.  I woke up this morning thinking about what was weighing me down and decided to put this out into the world.

We were blanketed by 10″ of snow today.  We live 30 minutes from world class ski areas but are in a banana belt where we get much less snow and big storms like this are not that common.  After shoveling the driveway, we grabbed some friends and went cross country skiing on our local golf course.

It was warm and the snow was wet; it was sticking to the middle part of my ski.  It’s pretty hard to glide on a ski when you have a heavy lump of snow underfoot.

This is how life is.  In life, we can’t get where we want when something is weighing us down.  I came up with several ways to get rid of the snow.  Each sort of worked but none worked great. Continue reading “What Is Weighing You Down?”

Turn A Treat Back Into A Treat

When something is scarce, we value it more.

Our water was shut off the other day so a leak could be fixed in front of our desert home.  Fortunately, Mr. Ms. Liz saw the plumbers coming and filled a bucket with water.  I can wash my hands in about 4 ounces of water when water is scarce.  When water isn’t scarce, it takes at least four times that much.

I love sweets–chocolate, sour sugary, chewy caramel–all of them.  My Mom was a dental hygienist and didn’t want sugar on our teeth so there were no sweets in my home; even the table sugar was hidden.  This turned me into a great sweet sleuth (with only one cavity) but also made me enjoy every morsel of any sweet.  Each year, my brother and I were given the Russell Stover four pack chocolates in our Christmas stockings.  I remember stretching those four chocolates out over the day, paying close attention to each bite and each flavor.  Last night I ate four blueberry/dark chocolate squares almost without a thought. Continue reading “Turn A Treat Back Into A Treat”