What am I going to do going forward from this? No, I’m not going to choose another tiny wardrobe and live with the clothes on my back; I’m looking forward to wearing some new clothes and having some diversity in my life. My style has evolved over the year, even without ever changing my outfit, the looks that I liked last year are substantially different from the ones I like now and it will be fun to get a chance to experiment with fashion again.
I’m not going to enact any strict rules on what I can wear or the number of clothes I can own. However, the way I approach material goods has likely changed forever, I’m no longer interested in hoarding fast fashion or filling my drawers and cupboards with cheap trinkets. I’m going to continue downsizing my stuff, carefully considering my purchases, and ideally buying nothing at all.
1. LIVE TWO TO THREE TIMES BELOW YOUR MEANS
Sorry, folks: Simply skipping that $4 latte in the morning ain’t gonna cut it. It takes a much more committed approach where “sacrifices” are viewed in a new light. “It’s amazing when I work through the numbers that some people think manicures, landscapers and maids are a need,” said Michael Chadwick, a certified financial planner and CEO of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, Conn.
2. REDEFINE ‘COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT’
Less spending later constitutes the flip side of less spending now. If you imagine comfy retirement as a vacation home and monthly cruise ship trips, revisit that vision so you don’t have to bleed cash — but can still retire in style. Instead of two homes, for example, why not live in your vacation destination and pocket the principal from selling your primary residence?
3. PAY OFF ALL YOUR DEBT
But contrary to popular belief, there isn’t just one right way to live, or one road to serenity. Our attainment of happiness as humans necessarily derives from our unique circumstances, personalities, and preferences.
To impose this one-size-fits-all consumer happiness model on everyone is a surefire recipe for disappointment. It doesn’t make Mr. FW or me happy and I think it doesn’t make a lot of other folks happy either. The key is to instead discover your passion and then find a way to make that your full-time vocation.
Day 2 (about age 20), Investing! (A whole new world): When I was in college, a girlfriend who was a business major dragged me to an investing seminar. I did not want to go. However, I really enjoyed it and learned a ton. While the course was just the tip of the iceberg, it set me on a course for future financial success.
Day 3 (age 25), College confusion: After high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I liked science, so I studied Biology and Chemistry. As college graduation neared, I realized that I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had medical school grades (straight As baby!!), but I’m not a people person, so being a doctor didn’t appeal to me. For lack of a better idea, I enrolled in pharmacy school.
A couple months ago we were driving to a Strawberry Festival when I pulled up behind this Papa Johns pizza delivery guy. Several dudes I know delivered pizzas for years–it’s a decent job and can easily accompany other full time employment or schooling. But, one thing is certain: it is going to be really hard to make decent money delivering pizzas when those pizzas are being protected by 2.5 tons of Detroit steel (plus the weight of the pizzas) and maybe getting 11 mpg in the city.
Something tells me that this Yukon is precisely the cause of this gentleman’s need to be delivering pizzas in the first place.
With at least fifteen minutes of uninterrupted focus each morning, you can create a plan to climb out of debt, you can practice an effective sales presentation, you can do a short workout or prepare a healthy breakfast and pack a healthy lunch, or you can write 500 words for your book – and in just 120 days would have a full 60,000 word book completed. These minutes add up. They are vital to your success. They are available to all of us, and it must become your rule you use to ruthlessly protect them each morning. You can make this happen by laying down the law and setting the rules for your life. Everything becomes automatic. Success gets closer, faster.
Interested in free online courses? Want to learn more about interest, taxes, stocks, housing and debt?
Khan Academy has several free courses.
Feel free to read through the titles and sign up for one.
Type 1: Grew up lower to middle class, Big Spender now
Ralph: Ralph’s father owned a struggling, small business. One day, the IRS nabbed Ralph’s father and took almost everything away. Ralph’s philosophy is that he needs to spend it all now in case a similar thing happens to him. Despite making well over $100,000 per year, Ralph has claimed bankruptcy.
James grew up near poverty, but now makes huge money as an IT consultant. If he had saved and invested, he’d easily be worth many multiple millions at the age of 45. I’ve never seen anyone who can spend like James though. His philosophy is, “I do what I want and figure out how to pay for it later.” James has timeshares and luxury cars, but I doubt he has much saved.
6. Long commutes can lead to poor sleep, higher cholesterol, and an increased risk of depression.
Commuting more than 10 miles by car can lead to higher blood sugar increased cholesterol, according to a study from the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas. It can also increase your risk of depression, anxiety, and general misery.
But public transit is no picnic, either. One UK study found that people who commute 30 minutes by bus have the lowest levels of life satisfaction, and even cyclists weren’t immune to the ill-effects of long-distance travel.
7. Motivational meetings can depress people.
In order to get workers excited about the company’s mission, employers may host team-building exercises or motivational meetings.
But research has shown that forcing people to feel positive for something they’re unsure about can actually “highlight how unhappy they are” and, ultimately, will make them even more depressed.
8. Recirculated, toxic air clogs your lungs.
The EPA calls it “Sick Building Syndrome.” The air inside a building can be up to 100 times dirtier than outside, and you’re exposed to a variety of unhealthy gases and chemicals.
There are pollutants in the air conditioning, toxic particles, dangerous bacteria and mold all flying around, especially in buildings that aren’t well taken care of.
We all know it’s healthier to “eat clean”—but convenient packaged foods, and weird ingredients seem to lurk everywhere. Just ask Megan Kimble. The Tucson-based food writer spent an entire year avoiding all processed foods, a daunting challenge she chronicles in her new book, Unprocessed ($16, amazon.com).
As a busy grad student living on an annual salary of $16,780, Kimble discovered creative and affordable ways to trade packaged staples for a real-food diet. It wasn’t easy, she told Health: “But I found that once I got going and formed new habits and figured out favorite meals, it became automatic.” That said, she doesn’t recommend going cold turkey. “Start small,” she said. “Try unprocessing one kind of food, see how it feels, and take it from there.”
Below, Kimble shares her eight best tips for eating cleaner.