Physical inactivity may increase the risks of certain cancers.
Physical inactivity may contribute to anxiety and depression.
Physical inactivity has been shown to be a risk factor for certain cardiovascular diseases.
People who engage in more physical activity are less likely to develop coronary heart disease.
People who are more active are less likely to be overweight or obese.
Sitting too much may cause a decrease in skeletal muscle mass.
Physical inactivity is linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels
But you already know it…right?
And often when I ask “Why don’t you exercise” the classic answer is I don’t have time! Again and again, the only way to have time is to make it and stick with the schedule . You don’t have time for exercising but easily you can allocate everyday 2 or 3 hours to surfing the net or watching TV!
Exercising must be in your schedule for many reasons:
1) Decrease probability of contracting most diseases 2) Losing Weight 3) Feeling Generally Better 4) Getting Energized 5) Reducing Stress 6) Meditation moment 7) Good way to listen to your preferred music or podcast 8) Great Example for your spouse or kids
Just do it
Schedule a timeframe and a plan and stick with it. Pick whatever sport or exercising you prefer. Personally I like walking, running and fast weight lift for the major muscles (in many Gym they have room dedicated to this Express Circuit where you makes 2 series for about 30 min).
If you never exercising before start small, and increasing over the time.
Take a personal trainer if you really needs a motivation, however on the Internet you can find many blogs of schedule, training and also people in your city hanging around to exercise together.
In my case exercising comes pretty natural because I love doing it.
But what if I absolutely hate exercising?
Here is the bad news: you must do something for your body, that you like it or not. If you absolutely hate physical activities at least walk.
Walking (or running) should be in every training program. Walking at least 30 minutes a day is mandatory to keep the body active; you should never forget this. We are human bodies machines and like every machine we need to keep basic functions and walking is one of them.
Those things are highly addictive like alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
Just look around you people literally glued on their phone if you don’t believe me…
Practice focus: start small, on the daily activities: when you eat don’t watch TV or be on the phone, just eat; when you start an email just don’t do anything else until completion. Let the phone ring (unless it is a very important customer or a real emergency) and check the voice message later.
Commit 10 min of focus on one activity and gradually increase to 15-20-30 minutes. The goal here is to allocate a timeframe for an activity and complete it in the decided timeframe.
Thirty minutes for a report, 30 minutes for emails , 1 hour exercising etc. with no interruption.
By the end of the day the results will be astonishing: the important report completed, the inbox clean and your workout done.
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
Make a favor to yourself: stop complaining,
Right now and forever.
Ok so keep reading…
Complaining is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
If you spend most of your time complaining of something it means you need to change that something.
As simple as that, otherwise you are going nowhere.
Complaining is not changing a situation, it just aggravates it. This because you are putting focus on a negative situation and what you put focus on it expands.
As human beings we need to find solutions to problems, not problems to situations.
Finding the problem is easy, it’s the 5% of the job.
Everyone can step in a situation and find dozens of problem in it.
The value is to bring solutions to problems.
Complaining you are fat will not make you lose weight.
Eating less and moving more will.
Losers find problems to solutions and complain.
Winners find solutions to problems and prosper.
It is up to you to decide on which side you are.
Why people complains?
Most of the people seem stuck in their lives, jobs, marriage, situations, etc. and they complain all the time.
I came up with four main reasons:
Fear of Change
Sense of unworthiness
Because it’s the Easy way
Some people prefer compromising (e.g. a job or partner with few/no satisfactions) rather than disappointing family members.
In some case the compromise can be acceptable (for example not taking a job abroad to stay close to family members).
Basically for two main reasons: not leaving a comfort situation and for reason number three: sense of unworthiness.
Sense of Unworthiness
Often we resist change because we don’t think we are able to achieve things in life (“to be unworthy”).
“I can’t ever do that job!”
“I cannot learn how to sky!”
“Only big bosses can get a VP position”
…you know what I mean.
So instead of trying the take big leap we decide to stay in our condition certain that this is the maximum we can achieve in life.
This behavior comes from of our society that inculcates a strong sense of modesty and negativity.
Having spend my life in different Countries and Continents I was able to experience the strong influence of the society on its people.
Usually the development of a Country depends upon to the degree of positivity and hope of the society.
Many people just don’t grow because they are negative, they don’t believe in themselves because they were thought in that way .
They spend their time complaining and their society is characterized by conflicts.
Conversely, where union and positive attitude are predominant, people are growing, intellectually and economically.
Complaining is easy
Again but why it looks like everyone around us is complaining?
Well, because people are (for some reason) negative and moreover because complaining is easy.
Yes, complaining is the easiest thing in the world.
Think about it, complaining can justify your failures in every situation, job, relationship… in everything.
So, is it easier to wake up and improve the situation (or simply accept it) or just complaining? Complaining it’s your boss, partner, friend, family, the weather, the economy, , etc. fault?
This is exactly why people spend their time complaining. It easy and justify our failures.
That’s why you are going to easily see people complaining about their boss while they take their thirty coffee break instead on working on improving the quality of their job.
If you don’t like a situation work to change it.
Don’t stop until it change.
And it usually works if you are really focus and convinced to change it.
When you don’t like a job or boss simply change it, it easier than you think. You of course will go through a slight disconformable period due to the changing process (disrupting your Comfort Zone) but you will find a solution to a problem.
I know many people are thinking now “You picture it too easy; it’s impossible to find another job”.
I can tell you it easier than you think; I made it several time through my life and now I am happy.
But you really need to face the situation and win the fear of change.
There are billions of jobs, partners, places and situations out there.
Better than what you are experiencing now.
Don’t just sit and complain about your situation stating it’s impossible to change and trying to show the world it’s not your fault for the failure.
We are the only one responsible for our success and failures.
For sure some external factors can influence some situations but only marginally and very temporary.
All the decisions we made are up of us; our jobs, partners, friends, health and wealth.
How to stop Complaining for good in 9 days
Make this exercise, I promise you it will be very illuminating.
Stop complaining for 9 days.
Not only externally but also internally, mentally.
Whenever you feel like complaining just stop, think about something else, tell yourself you will complain later, at the end of the 10 days.
I promise you: after the 10 days you will see the whole world from a different angle and start understanding the negative power of complaining.
And the great power you have inside of you, if you just want to use it.
Again, make a favor to yourself and the whole world stop complaining and aim for the excellence.
I don’t have blocks on what I love, you should have not either.
I can, right now write for hours, days, months.
Maybe not like Hemingway but like me, talking about what I love.
If I have to write about what I love, this comes natural, fluent, because I have tons of things to say..and I want to see all of them.
That’s why the Writer Block simply does not exist.
If you are blocked is because you have nothing to say, you are not interested in the topic.
If you love playing tennis, you will play it. If you are not playing it right now is simply because you don’t like it, not because you don’t have time or your body cannot.
Same for the writing (or speaking)
We should write because we have something to say, not something to fake, to build up to meet our audience, because we need readers.
We do need readers because we do want to be read but, first and foremost, we do need to have a message to convey, to share, to debate.
A message that ignites something in your readers, that makes them think, wish to be better, or simply create a small revolution inside their soul.
We discussed about it.
How to save them, to invest them…to reach financial independence (if this is what you want)
Retire from you bad and evil boss…uh uh poor you…
And what you are going to do with all that saved time ?
Listen, if money is the only thing you are looking for and blogging is what you think is the solution you should stop write now writing and reading the tons of blogs bragging they make hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
Yes you can make money blogging.
You must have some good message to convey (otherwise why should I read you
You must have some fundamental on how to market you blog
You must have sincere interest on other similar blog and interact with them
You must put the work…real work
You can get a job to flip burgers and be sure you can make more $$$-hour.
Excluding some exception of very first comers (but with very strong valuable messages like Steve, very hard workers (100+h/week like Michelle) , mediocre blogs who were able to get visibility on top 10 blogs worldwide (too many unfortunately) not many bloggers make tons of money.
Just write what you really believe in.
What you would like to talk for hours, days…
What you would like others to listen.
From suggestion on investing in mutual fund, to how to build a giant castle made of Play Doh.
It doesn’t matter the topic.
As long you write about what you love and convey a valuable message.
Enlighten other people with your gifts. your achievements, your energy.
Open their eyes like many other blogs, books, magazines, websites, people opened yours and mine and changed us forever.
How many of you are still following that fantastic 500 calories a day diet no fat, carbs, sugar nothing…?
How many of you already lost tons of Kg, stones, lb etc etc?
Ok…we are talking now…
Why diets are not working
I am not a dietologist or an expert in the field.
What I can tell based on my experience is that I tried many diets, I am in a pretty good shape (normal weight BMI even thought I was lightly overweight for a couple of years) and I read a lot of books, articles, whatever on the losing weight topic coming to 3 conclusions:
1) Diets say everything and its contrary.
Eat low carbs….no low fat…no low sugar…skip lunch…I mean dinner…no beer only wine…I mean only red wine…pasta yes…pasta no…mediterrean diet is great…wait but bread is not good…only white rice diet…the nutrition pyramid is the mantra to follow…well but so many carbs etc.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many theories and buzzs around losing weight?
1) Food packaging, transportation, fertilizer, infrastructures, real estate, (btw do you know that the real business of Mc Donalds is Real Estate and not burgers)??? , commercials etc.
2) Health care related to food. Abuse of food generated diseases…diseases generated trillions of money to treat them.
3) Gyms. Most of the people going to Gym is there to lose weight. No fat on our waist no big dollars in Gym owners.
4) Dietary Supplements for weight management: zillions of dollars spent every year in those products (I wonder with which results…)
2) Relying only on Calories Balance is wrong
How many times did you hear the following equation ?
Calories In = Calories Out + Exercise + Weight Gain
It seems simple…making sense.
Eat less, move more and you control the weight.
This is only a part of the equation.
This because not every calorie is the same.
Or better…not every calorie has the same effect on your body:
e.g. a calorie you get eating an almond is processed differently by your body vs a calorie you get from carbs like bread)
Additionally reducing Calories In has a direct impact on Calories Out because our body has the natural tendency to reduce the Calories used (Calories Out) in case it starts receiving less Calories In (it’s a natural process of avoiding starvation and death).
Again, I cannot say Dr. Fung Theories are the Undeniable Truth but they do give a different interesting prospective on diet, food, diabetes and some common mistakes.
I personally used some suggestions like Intermittent fasting and I got benefits both from general feelings (e.g. more energy, less bloated) and losing weight (2-3% of my original weight..again I was not particularly overweight when I started).
2) There is too much emphasis on exercise and not enough on resting.
Exercising seems the panacea for losing weight.
I have a bad news…it’s not.
It might help but it is not.
In one hour run (that I am pretty sure you don’t do it daily) you are going to burn around 600-700 Calories.
Half an hour and it drops to 300-350 Calories.
Considering now the total budget of 2000 Calories for someone who tries to control his weight.
Three hundreds calories are 15% of the total. (20% if he is on a 1500 Daily Calories budget).
Or…do you know how many calories there are in one pizza?
Roughly 820 calories (yes you would need to run for 1h 15min to burn it).
Drink two beers (230 Calories) or a couple of glass of wine and you just drank your run.
Watch out I am not saying you don’t have to exercise.
You must on the contrary because exercising have tons of benefits.
I am just saying that the contribution of exercising on losing weight is much less than you think unless you run very long distances (marathons or ultramarathons (I can tell you based on my experience that when you run 50-60 miles per weeks (90-100Km) you definitely lose weight).
What about resting (sleeping)?
Everyone associate sleeping as a synonymous of laziness.
Executives shows their budget of productivities claiming that they sleep only 4 hours per nights!
Sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function and glucose metabolism and sleep loss has been shown to result in metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite. Recent epidemiological and laboratory evidence confirm previous findings of an association between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity.
Below is quick look at the Professor and his theories on other benefits of sleeping (and the damage of lack of it).
So what now?
Losing weight is a complex equation that involves:
What we eat,
How much we eat,
How much we sleep,
How much we exercise,
When we eat.
Society is pushing toward an exaggerate diet mostly based on highly processed carbs with the results of an epidemic of obesity.
Conversely (especially in the USA) we see people eating low fat diets , new gyms popping up everywhere, many people panting trying to reach the 10,000 steps on their brand new bracelet but we see those same people severely overweight and dying of hearth attack or developing diabetes 2 in their 40s.
There is something wrong here…and usually when you cannot find a logic answer to a solution just follow the money*…
Did you follow the money?
Here are my suggestions:
Watch out the Calories In-Out balance (I personally use and love the App MyFitnessPal (free with some Premium features) . This is one important step but not everything.
Drastically reduce carbs like bread, pasta rice etc. and highly processed food.
Eliminate white sugar as much as possible
Exercise seriously (at least 1h 5 times of weeks of aerobic activity)
Try some intermittent fasting to regulate the insulin in your body (e.g. 16:8 or more aggressive Warrior Diet).
Read Read Read. Try to get some exposure to books, article, researches from independent and entitled professionals. The mantra here is Do not follow the money.
Track your weight daily: where you focus results appears…Don’t forget to track your weight for one month and discover you are 10 lbs (5Kg) heavier.
If you can eat at home. Not only you will save a lot of money and learn something fun but you will drastically reduce the processed food you ingest and improve the quality of the ingredients.
*Let me ask you…what is the food with highest content of Vitamin C in the world…the Orange right…? That’s what most of the people think but it’s not true…have you ever wondered why?
Not very active but I am not very surprised since:
1) Traffic is still too limited
2) Most of My blog posts doesn’t really leave a lot of room to comments, questions
3) I think people prefer to comment on twitter, facebook etc instead of directly on the blog
I am not surprised the Blogger Dilemma reached the top spot since with the proliferation of the blogs more and more people are somehow disappointed and disillusioned from the lower than expected traffic in their blogs. The post brings back on the basics: i.e. creating value. The post in second place very likely had several visitors trying to understand what the blog was about. I have to say I was not surprised of the post in third position since most of my readers seems attracted by topics such retirement, where to live and they are from the U.S.A.
In late November I started the Twitter account linked to this blog and I am having a blast to read all the interesting comments and post of my fellow bloggers out there. In few weeks I was able to reach over 100 followers (20% in my opinion are only real followers). I also opened a Facebook account linked to this blog but I do really think blog + Twitter is enough so far as main communication channel.
WHAT IN 2019
1) Publish every Saturday no matter what 2) Start some experiments in monetizing the blog 3) Extend to other social channel (e.g. Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest) 4) Being published by some media 5) Reach 10K Visitors/mo 20K Visits/mo
While always (trying to) create some value for you.
I found that people are trapped in their habits (often bad) due to the most two dangerous status in the world…
They are comfortable.
Ironically comfortably enough is the main goal for many people.
A roof on the head, enough food in the refrigerator, a nice tv, car and sofa.
What do you want more then right?
Well if you are one of my fellow readers you want more right? (otherwise you would be (again) comfortably browsing the tv on your couch instead of browsing blogs on personal development).
Let me state it straight….most people love to be comfortable…9 to 5 until 65 and ending their life in a nursery home…and I am happy for them.
But we are not one of them, we want to live our life differently…on the edge. Experiencing different things…suffering now to move to another dimension later…to get financial independence to be more free.
That’s where the excitement start.
Living in a Comfort Zone.
Life is made of different comfort zones.
We go through them all our life.
When we reach a comfort zone it’s… well “comfortable”; the things around us are familiar, we know how things works, we have no fear.
When we stably reached a comfort zone and we are (again X2) too comfortable it’s sign we need to move to another one and not just adopt small changes in our lives (like Forbes suggests).
Because if you are too comfortable you are not growing.
Moving to the next comfort zone and growing is often painful…so we try to escape changes as adult.
A baby at some point will need to start walking.
He will fall and hurt himself (the pain) but the price is worth it…he will walk (the growth) because the curiosity is much bigger than the pain.
The same when we leave elementary school to middle school, the separation is painful, the environment is new but again we are growing!
And interesting enough in most of the cases (if not the totality) nobody regrets the change.
But later in life changing becomes more and more difficult because changes can be more drastic, not necessary needed and without a safety net.
Or very simply because as adults, we are more scared.
Typical examples are changing your job or leaving your home town; for someone it just seems impossible.
Leaving a secure job for starting a business, or the simple act of stop smoking.
When we decide not to change it’s in that precise moment that we stop growing, we stop speaking about the future; we speak only in present and past tense.
And we convince ourselves that we cannot do otherwise; “I would like doing that but… ”
The “Yeah but…” ; finding excuses to remain in the actual state.
How many times we had told ourselves: “I would do it but“:
I am too old I am too young I am too poor I am too sick My parents are too old or sick My wife has a good job My kids go to school and cannot change I don’t have time etc. etc.
Men need to grow, always, otherwise they must be dying.
The Turning Point
What trigger a change ; what is the revelation, the “Ah moment“, the turning point?
In every instant of our life we are the sum of all the experiences accumulated since we were born.
We think differently of what we were used to 10 years ago and will think in 10 year.
What we can understand now was unconceivable 10 years ago and in 10 years from now we will have a different understanding.
Someone call it wisdom.
I call it the turning point.
In my life different events triggered deep changes in my life and prospective; start living abroad, losing a parent, leaving difficult situations and people behind are some turning points of my life.
I start loving me more , taking more care about my self, saving money, believing I deserve more that I thought.
Hadn’t I never took critical steps (e.g. leaving certain situations or habits) my life would surely be on a different path, for sure worst.
It took courage to leave the comfort zone and luckily some events happened so fast and so concentrated to accelerate the processes.
But again I took the first step.
In our life we always know when it’s time to change; if we don’t it’s because we lie to ourselves (the “Yeah…but…“) or we created a thick layer around our micro world that make us blind.
I firmly believe our life should be on a path of continuous improvement; the changes can be small, microscopic (there is no need to leave your job or hometown if this is really what you love to do) but they must be there.
But then, why so many people are not happy around us? Why they complain about their job, misfortune, money, everything else?
Because they stop growing and being negative is the easiest path of accepting (or justifying ) their situation.
Every time someone complains with me about how unhappy is in a “changeable” situation (marriage, job, hometown) I candidly ask “Why don’t you change?” (and usually the answer is “Yeah…but“)
Every time someone asks me how I am doing my typically answer is “Great!” and I strongly mean it. Of course someday I am tired, sick and in a not perfect mood but it’s what inside of me that makes me feel great.
The feeling great comes from the love and passion to move ahead, to the next step.
I am falling and failing all the time and I will fall and fail some more.
We already talked about it no much more to discuss about it: stolen by the screen time.
2) Give honest appreciation to people.
Think deeply about people around you. think about their actions, how many good things they do at work, as parents, in the aspects of sports, arts , volunteering.
Don’t just give a fake like on their post in the social media.
People understand how fake you are.
Write instead a real message where you express your appreciation.
3) Be interested in what they do.
Stop being self centered.
Stop your arrogance.
Stop talking about you all day long.
The bad news?
People are not s interested in you.
People are interested in them…like you are interested in you.
Try to be instead sincerely interested in what other people do, in their interests, passion, love.
You will find a different and fantastic world.
The real world.
The world of people.
Of passions, stories, emotions.
And you will grow with it instead to remain your small me, confined in your micro world made of selfishness.
In the blogosphere there are 90%+ people absolutely self-centered, interested only that you read them and click on their ads, arrogantly thinking they, and only they, have something to tell you and you have to just listen because they think they are cool.
Be gentle and sincere.
Don’t be like them, you are better than them.
4) Stop complaining or criticizing.
The last think we want is someone popping in our lives telling us how badly we are doing our role of employee, son, father, friend etc.
Why so many people criticize then?
Because they think they are superior.
They want to control and humiliate other people to change them or just to validate their points of view because they feel insecure.
Be humble instead, never criticize, even thought you might have a valid point during an argument with somebody.
People don’t listen and if they do without empathy.
Very likely you don’t neither.
We are too busy to think exclusively about ourselves that we don’t simply care about what other people have to say.
Simply because we don’t care about people.
Nobody don’t care about anybody.
And this behavior got worst and worst with the advent of the screen.
Before kids were playing in the streets and in the fields.
They were climbing the trees and creating real relationships and friendship scratching their knees playing football or soccer.
Today the only thing they do is playing on their phones.
You see them sitting, without talking, immersed in their screens, isolated from everything.’
They don’t care to have friends.
All they want is the pixels on the screens.
They have no interest to listen to you, they have no interested to listen to anybody.
Stop this craziness right now
Put the phone down and start talking and listening to the hearth of other people.
They will do the same with you
That’s what you need, not another fake like on an horrible picture you posted on your social
Nobody cares about it. In the same way you didn’t care about the last like you gave to somebody.
Let’s get all real, the world need us, right now.
Be a linchpin not a cog. (thanks Seth)
Especially for preteen and teenagers the brain goes through major changes and the impacts of the screen is devastating on attention disorders (if you have a kid you can experience it everyday), emotions and personality, creativity, self-confidence, learning and social skills and sports.
In 2010, researchers found that kids who logged more than two hours a day in front of a computer or TV screens had a higher chance of psychological difficulties on a standard questionnaire.
4. Highly addictive
Do you notice how addict you are on checking continuously your phone, email, wearable etc.?
It’s call addiction.
Every year trillions of dollars are invested in R&D of screen makers to keep you glued on their device.
User Experience is called, I call it addiction.. and a nasty one.
5. Pathetic: Losing human relations
There are no restaurants where I don’t see pathetic couple or group of friends not talking and just glued to their phone.
That’s sad…and as said pathetic.
Text and drive anyone?
Or text and walking…(now forbidden in some countries finally!)
We spend hours doing stupid and useless stuff on the phone, not looking for the cure of cancer.
We need to stop and right now.
How to reduce the screen time
Decide right now the screen time that is absolutely essential.
In my opinion that’s teh max you should allocate:
Facebook: 5 minutes
Twitter: 5 minutes
LinkedIn: 10 minutes
Instagram: 5 minutes
Personal E-mail: 10 minutes
Mindless Browsing: 5 Minutes
News Reading: 10 Minutes
Financial, Economy: 15 Minutes
Blogging (amateur…otherwise is considering job): 20 minutes
Others (Redditt, Pinterest etc.): 15 minutes
Total: 1h – 40m per day.
This should be your max screen time per day.
Be very clear on when you will use your screen time (e.g. Instagram only immediately after dinner or never) and STICK to the plan.
Here we are…2019…it really seems yesterday when 2018 started…
Exactly…time goes by too fast…and too fast we committed goals only to faster forget them…
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way The time is gone, the song ishttps://youtu.be/JwYX52BP2Sk over, Thought I’d something more to say.
The Trinity study and others of its kind have been sharply criticized, e.g. by Scott et al. (2008), not on their data or conclusions, but on what they see as an irrational and economically inefficient withdrawal strategy: “This rule and its variants finance a constant, non-volatile spending plan using a risky, volatile investment strategy. As a result, retirees accumulate unspent surpluses when markets outperform and face spending shortfalls when markets underperform.” Laurence Kotlikoff, advocate of the consumption smoothing theory of retirement planning, is even less kind to the 4% rule, saying that it “has no connection to economics…. economic theory says you need to adjust your spending based on the portfolio of assets you’re holding. If you invest aggressively, you need to spend defensively. Notice that the 4 percent rule has no connection to the other rule—to target 85 percent of your preretirement income. The whole thing is made up out of the blue.”
I become nervous…
Four percent might work…or maybe not…
My rule of the thumb is pretty simply.
Align the percentage with the net return of dividend from Index Fund (as of today below 2%).
Because it is safe.
Because no matter what my capital is untouched and I have a good margin.
I am not an economist.
For the same reason why we all should invest in something more predictable with index funds tracking the total market and not try to invest in single stocks, we need to play with our money and life with a very ample margin.
Think with your head.
Be safe, even if this means retire few years later.
No, you don’t need that iron and plastic box sitting in your garage or parked (maybe far) somewhere in the street for seven reasons. I am going to show you 7 reasons why you don’t need a car…and if you really need it how to spend 10 times less than today.
Let’s turn on the engine.
The Country with Highest Car density is USA (are you surprised?) with 910 cars every 1000 people. In second place there is Italy with a density of 625.
On average the cost of a car in the USA in 2018 is roughly $35,000 (there is a nice post of Financial Samurai on the cost of cars in the USA you can find here) .
Expensive…isn’t it? Let’s go deeper….expensive vs what?
How much a family is making in the USA, Italy or Spain per year?
Americans makes roughly $60,000 per year (before taxes…let’s say $45,000 after taxes) and (on average) spend $35,000 for a new car. Keep in mind these figures are averages…but they give a clear indications on the impact of owning a car.
Average Car Cost
Average Salary after Tax
Car Cost vs Annual Net Salary
The impact is devastating: Americans spend on average three quarters of their annual salaries on purchasing a car. For Italians one year of salary is not enough…!
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency Transportation?, the transportation sector generates the largest share (nearly 28.5 percent in 2016) of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel.
Additionally the dependence of fossil fuel created the (often negative) political dependence on the Country producing it. But you already know it…right?
You Simply don’t use it
How long do you think you use your car? 30% of the time? 20%?
What about 4%?
An interesting report found out that in Britain the average car is parked at home for 80% of the time, parked elsewhere for 16% of the time and is only on the move for 4% of the time.
4%…think about it…you spend tons of money for something you use only 4%.
Owning a car is one of the main negative think fro your finalce, heath and sanity. If you can’t really give up the metal box consider these alternatives:
Buy a use one: purchasing a second hand car can drop the cost of your car up to 40%, especially if you can find good quality used car (like in the USA)
Keep the car longer: don’t fall in the lures of owning the latest brand new car…for one hour pleasure you will have years of regrets. Buy a decent quality second hand car and keep it at least 10 years (yes I said 10…modern car can last in pretty good conditions more than 20 years)
Analyze the Alternatives Unless you live in a very remote area there are many alternatives to car: public transportations, biking, Uber (even thought for Uber the Risks of accidents are still there), walking!
You decide to buy and use a car. Acknowledge that…and avoid it if you can…
Joe was lucky…his parents paid for his college in a middle end university and for his used car (now ten years old).
John is very happy with his salary…a lot of money…
HR mentioned him about something called 401K and the importance of contribute to it…the company match..and the fact he is supposed not to touch it before 60 years….
Naaaahh this 401K is really complicated and looks useless and risky…then touching the money only when I will be 60 years old and very likely dead…? No Way!
So Joe starts his single life…
Mhhh…the new apartments downtown Denver look very nice…$2,000 maybe a little expensive but…hey they are walking distance from all the cool bar an d restaurants of the area and you know I don’t want to move to a single family in the suburbs..I will do when I will be 40 years old and with two kids!
Bills (Electricity, Gas, Water, Misc) $150/mo
Joe is seldom at home, but when he’s there he wants to forget how cold is Colorado…!!! Luckily apart of electric bills he doesn’t spend much more on other utilities.
The 2015 Nissan look very old and crappy. I cannot leave in this suburb with this car and go out for a date with it…
Since now Joe is working credit is easy…so…what’s best than buying a new car especially now that there is a fantastic offer in the BWM dealer?
Put some gas, parking and Insurance…roughly $1,000/mo…no bad right?
Eating out $1,800/mo
Joe never cooked at home and his parents never thought him.
Anyhow there are so many restaurants downstairs for a quick dinner, Starbucks for breakfast and a great selection of salad bars around the office for a healthy lunch!
12$ Breakfast 18$ Lunch 30$ Dinner…not so bad!
Food Groceries $500/mo
Joe has no time and he doesn’t cook so he doesn’t need much food.
The upscale groceries store is just walking distance from his apartment
and hey..so many organic products!!!
500$/mo in so healthy products (too bad so many are thrown away because Joe is too busy and he forgets the expiration date)
Mhhhh all that food and 8 hours sitting in front of the computer is manifesting big time on Joe belly…time to Gym..!
There is a cool Gym downtown…the price…a steal…all you can go open 24h and with swimming pool only $99/mo…!
TV – Internet $150/mo
When Joe come back he needs some relax..so what better than a 80″ 4K TV (5000K$) with a nice Internet + TV Cable + Netflix package for only $150/mo?
Joe has many friends right? So the unlimited data package at $70/mo is a must for his video call and social network…hey there are more expensive one…you know?
Furniture $30,000 (one time)
Having lived with his parents Joe doesn’t own practically anything…
and he has a 1200 square feet to fill now..!
Surely he doesn’t want cheap IKEA furniture in his posh apartment…besides he just discovered that in Boulder downtown there is a cool and trendy furniture store that import directly from Italy.
Wow…he has practically to buy everything…total expense $30,000…but it’s one in a lifetime!
Social Live $2,000/mo
Denver it’s so cool….! He cannot resist his clubbing, bar hopping and restaurant before Thursday (sometimes even on Wednesday)…
I really cannot go to work and in the club with the Ninja T-shirt I was using in the college…I need to dress like a young professional man now…Time to invest in my look!
Being a software engineer at XWZ tech Inc is very stressing!
Joe really needs to take a break from the cold of Colorado during his weeks off.. what’s better than hopping on a plane to Mexico or Hawaii…? $3000 really well spent!
Outdoor life Sky $1000 (one time)
Joe live in Colorado…he must learn how to sky…!
And so many people in the office go….
Here he’s with a brand new unlimited seasonal pass for only $999 (it was $1200…what a deal!)
Outdoor life Golf $50/mo
Well…with so many sunny days, great golf courses and many Managers and Directors playing in the company Joe must play golf during summer…poor Joe…with all the hours spent in the cubicle he really needs some fresh air
Health Care/Insurance $200/mo
Joe’s workplace offers a great Health Care package with only $150/mo from Joe pockets. Add a couple of visits for cold and small stuff (Joe is so young!) and the total cost is very limited.
The first year is gone…what a year!
Let’s crunch some numbers
Joe had great 5 years as single guy in Denver.
The job was doing great…now he finally reached the six-figure milestone!
He also found a nice girlfriend and got engaged…thus the sweet single life is getting to an end soon.
Expenses wise he’s still doing the same life…just cutting off golf (too boring) and social life since he found a stable partner.
The good news is that Joe parents gave Joe (only child) their second home and he sold it for $250K thus so far no need of credit card debts.
Life is great for Joe!
Joe gets married and two kids enlighten his family life!
Joe also get promoted as Director of Engineering in a new high-tech company close to Boulder and his salary and benefits dramatically increased.
Also the health care expenses increased with two kids in the family.
Kids also added day care expenses to the balance even though Joe’s wife is not working.
And of course a bigger family requires…a bigger house and cars ! (and vacation budget).
Luckily the social life expenses almost dropped to zero….
Here we are…
Here it is Joe at 40 years old with some money in his bank….almost $25K…!
Joe feels almost rich with that amount available…now he can afford that vacation in Europe with the new 100″ TV or why not a boat or a new car.
$25K are a lot of money…isn’t ? Especially when almost of his peers are into deep debts…!
Of course Joe doesn’t want to hear about investing…he knows people talk a lot about Dow Jones, S&P, mutual funds…too complicated and surely a scam.
In any case Joe already made a great investment with the house…is not real estate the best investment around?
Kids are growing.. both are in High School now.
Joe got another promotion as Vice President of Engineer in a start up….those are the peak years of making money.
He’s happy because when he turns 50 years old he reaches 45K$ in saving (all of them in his checking account since he’s still not trusting the traps of investing!)
Also all expenses increased: Food (two big boys are always hungry!), Health care, Mortgage, Property Tax, Car Payments, Bills, Clothes etc but likely Joe is making great money…so no problems!
College years for the kids…both in an affordable one so the expenses are limited to $4K/mo per kid…all included (no bad right?).
Health care expenses are going up…Joe and his wife are both in their 50 and co-payments and dentists expenses increased and the kids are still on their insurances plan.
Joe started again with golf thinking about retirement…
Economically the situation started deteriorating…not only Joe spent all the saving but now he has almost $400K debts at 7% average in college loans and on a couple of credit card.
Joe and wife don’t think downsizing from a big house (now empty since the kids left) and luxurious European care is a wise move.
After all they are affluent middle class right?
Joe was caught in a sudden layoff due to economical crisis and, as usual, the highest paid are the first to go.
He stay almost one year out of workforce and he found a job as Manager R&D with a substantial pay cut.
Luckily the kids are practically out of college and all almost all the expenses of Health care are for him and his wife.
Unfortunately their expensive lifestyle is costing more than Joe salary…roughly $50K are going into credit card debts per year to compensate the expenses.
It will go better now with kids out of college!
Joe job is stable and kids finally are paying some of the college loan back.
Great news…no more mortgage and Joe finally decided to buy a slightly less expensive car.
All the other expenses are going down as well apart the health care since they both went under a couple of surgeries and therapies.
They were able to save more than $100K in five years…not enough to finish to pay the debts…
Between Social Security and Companies pensions is bringing home $50K before taxes.
As we know Joe never believed in investing or 401K so the $50K before taxes is all they have.
Kids kept giving the money back for the students loans but in 2070 they repaid everything and now they have their own family to take care of.
Joe and wife are roughly more than half million dollars in debts.
2070… and the future
So what now…?
Joe and his wife now are forced to downsize the house and giving up the expensive cars.
Doing so they are able to reduce their debt to $300K in 2072.
Too big anyhow the debt (at 12.5% interest on 5 different credit cards and one home equity) to be repaid.
Joe and wife will likely die poor in some hospice giving as gift the debts to the kids.
This is no fantasy
Every year thousands of people end up like Joe and his wife; despite making a great salary while young and having his parents paying his college.
Every years people cannot realize they are spending more than what they make and that they need to save money for the future.
This is no fantasy…this is the sad typical middle class life.
Ok…let’s start with the definition (thanks Wikipedia)
…that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. When this was recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer be “in the red”, instead taking in the year’s profits…
So…what’s the link of Black Friday with big sales and the push you to spend…?
Just another day created to make you waste your hard-earned money (like Christmas, Valentine day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Teacher’s day, Your Neighbor day (last one I made it up but I am pretty sure they will invent it soon).
The word today is:
RESIST RESIST RESIST!
Why? 5 Reasons…
1 You save 20% to spend 30% more
Black Friday is a big, fat bait.
Attracted by the 90% off Laptop (that most of the time gets sold in 5 minutes) you enter in the store (online or offline) and…voila…you exited with ten objects that you absolutely didn’t need it but you bought them just because they were 40% off…! (tell me the truth…how many memory cards or disk dusting in your drawer do you have…?).
2 You can find better deals
Make an experiment…just check the price of a product during the Black Friday Sale…the regular price when it’s not on sale and track the price during following 6-8 months after Black Friday.
You will be surprised…
If you don’t want to wait just read this study from NerdWallet:
In a NerdWallet analysis of 27 Black Friday advertisements, 25 retailers listed at least one product for the exact same price in 2014 as in their 2013 Black Friday ad. That means 93% of retailers are repeating Black Friday products—and prices—from year to year.
3 You are going to buy old stuff
Yes..yes…the brand new TV is 80% off but very likely they have only 2 in stock!
The rest of the items are older items (usually the previous year) that will be on sale anyway.
4 Black Friday Day last more than one month
Already in the end of October we start seeing the Black Friday month deals…then the Black Friday day deals… then the Black Friday day deals…then the Cyber Monday deals…then…the Christmas period sale…then the New Year day sale…
If everything is always on sale every time…where is the deal?
I personally love my job…with 20$M I might decide to do it for free (or almost) part-time and as freelance (thus removing any kind of obligations).
Conversely if you would run away from your job only due to the money you are in trouble.
Working represents 60% (even more) of your waking time and 90% of your thinking time.
8 hours sleeping – 9 hours working – 1-2 hours getting ready and commuting to/from your job
What’s left? 5-6 hours where you will likely relax from the stress of your job?
It makes no sense.
Especially in these years where the opportunities of picking up a job that might excite you abundant thanks to internet or the globalization.
So what? Put the work on it…
You might be a digital nomad, move to another country to cover a position where your skills or knowledge of the market are needed (think about USA or European companies with branches in Asia for examples), be a blogger, going in the digital music, video industry and other tons of jobs.
The stereotype of 9-5 until 65 white collar in a office is not the mainstream anymore and less and less for the blue collar as well.
You can pick a job that you really love, more than ever.
But (and this is a huge BUT) you must put the work into it.
You must be obsessed by it.
You must think bigger than having as unique goals to buy a house and a car ten times more expensive than what you really need just to keep up with the Joneses.
Waking up in the morning ready to jump from the bed just to do it.
Otherwise winning those 20M$ is the only option and let me tell you that the chances are pretty slim.
Now the second part of the question…the most difficult
Retire to do what…?
I am hearing you less now….some weak and general statements like………
To golf more
To sleep more
To spend more time with my family
To play an instrument
So…if the reasons above are so strong to make you consider to quit your job and changing radically your life…why don’t you dedicate more time to them while you work…?
If playing golf is such a burning desire…why you are not more efficient with your time (e.g cutting internet/social media/TV time) to satisfy that burning desire?
Same for the rest…
If you are not spending time to do the things you think you like it’s only because there is not a burning desire behind them.
Instead you decided to waste your life watching a screen instead of living it
You just want to retire from something to…become lazy!
Wasting time in front a screen is your burning desire…
Let me repeat….
Wasting time in front a screen is your (only) burning desire…
Because you do it day in-day out for hours and hours and you are never bored doing that…
Indeed with the advent of the smart phones and tablets we are not bored anymore because we have anyhow always something to do…watching our phone!
Help me…! What should I do then?
Shut down all the distractions and ask yourself what you really like
The goal here is to really understand your passion once you remove the screen time…(use phone app or other tools to track it)
You used to like golf, swimming, playing guitar, bla bla before the screens came in the picture… right?
Reignite again your passion
Start practice again what you use to love.
Set a schedule calendar for it and do it
Enroll in some tournament, competition, to set a measurable goal and a target.
It would be strange in the beginning but you will rediscover the desire…
Act on the big dream
Leaving in Europe opening a small business was your dream and 9-5 escape ?
Start planning it.
Plan a trip THIS YEAR, discover how to buy/rent a place over there…if that’s the place you really like…start thinking about the business.
You decided to invest your time reading this blog instead of watching TV or mindlessly browsing your phone…so you are committed to change, clever, energetic.
You can do it…no doubt about it…start now
Few points and actions.
We make it complicated but it’s not.
We just lost sight of what we are and what we love
Understand that the world out there wants every second of our attention to MONETIZE it…
Don’t fall in the trap, you are more clever than who wants to suck your money and life
Do you live in a fantastic place…or in a ugly one (or a so-so if you are lucky)?
Let me set it straight: there are no reasons to live in an ugly place that you hate….not even a So-So one.
No fantastic jobs, schools, family, the dogs…nothing.
No reasons you waste your live in a ugly place.
Keep reading and let’s move to your dream place…
The reasons why most of the people live in horrible places (and you might be one of them) are three (or better two and half)
REASON #1: Their job
Have you ever noticed that most of the jobs are concentrating in horrible and/or super expensive places?
Think about it…wherever you are…think about how many people live in horrible metropolis in the USA, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
I personally visited dozen of these metropolis. People commuting 2-3 hours EVERY DAY, often for a miserable salary, doing a miserable job.
Living in a place where everybody is there only to work, so super expensive, especially the real estate, two-three sometimes five times more expensive than in other beautiful places.
Why is this happening?
Why, excluding some few exceptions, our society cannot offer us a good balance work-life?
Simply speaking because such balance does not exist, unless we create it (!).
If we live in a nice place we will be attracted by the “nice” things of the place (e.g. beaches, mountains, social life. night life etc.) that will drag away time from working…and our society doesn’t want that…correct?
They want to tie us up with a six figures mortgage/students loan for 30 years, two or three expensive cars, credit card debts so we are forced to show up every single day in the office.
Making enough money that we may feel it’s not worth it to leave our job but that are not enough to leave it (I love the way Chazz Palminteri explains it in A Bronx tale).
That’s why if you are in this situation you have to more than ever cut the costs and invest to reach asap financial independence
REASON #2: Because they think it is normal
Most of people think it is normal to live in an ugly place working 12 hours a day Again the society…go to school…get good grades…get a job…pay your bills…get a 30 years mortgage…die…
Where is the having fun, growing as person, enjoy a sunset, follow a passion, just THINK ?
Open your eyes my friend…wasting your life in a crappy place doing something you hate IS NOT NORMAL
We have only one life and that’s not suffering that we are supposed to spend it.
REASON #2.5: Because of the family
I call this the second and half reason.
Why not the third?
Because it might have sense to live in a so-so place if you were born there and so you find it pleasant (i.e. you don’t know any better). Or maybe your family lives there and the love for them is big enough to forget about the place you live.
Anyhow…watch out and don’t find it as an excuse to justify your inertia.
You know well what you like and what you don’t …don’t make the mistake to live a life in a perennial state of denial. I have seen too many people literally wasting their existence pretending to be happy and sadly dying after a miserable life.
Don’t be one of them.
Let’s take some actions.
So where do you want to live…and why?
In my view the best place should have the following characteristics
With accessible and cheap good health care
With amazingly good weather
With great food With beautiful scenery
With decent balance of business, academic opportunities
Not extremely far from loved ones (family, friends?)
People and foreign language friendly
Though isn’t it?
According to this list few places have all or most of these characteristics.
The whole USA is out, some places in Asia can be ok, same for Central and Latin America, many European places definitively are good candidates.
Wait a second…USA is out!?
Should we all move to Europe, Central and Latin America or Asia (!)
Listen…I traveled and lived in three different continents and ten different countries …and the answer is YES….
The ol’ USA…the American dream doesn’t make the list…
USA is (or can be) an opportunity…not a destination.
Good to stay there to reach financial independence because the average salaries are higher than the rest of the world and the opportunities abundant…but after you have enough money it’s better you run away from it and very quickly afterward.
Why I say that?
Try to live in the USA without a job and get sick or even with a job and getting SERIOUSLY sick….
No insurance, no health care coverage…you are totally ruined…you might lose everything in a hearth beat for a medical bill and die sad and poor..so no way…bye bye USA at least until the system will be less screwed..
Europe is a great alternative, great food, culture, generally good weather, free and averagely good quality healthcare, cheap flights, relatively short drives to travel within the old continent, mostly secure, great education facilities, very affordable education (free until high school and generally 2-6,000E per year top university (a fraction of the USA one)…with some few exclusions).
Basically a great alternative to that nice beach in Costa Rica (or Mexico, or Thailand, or… you name it) that can be relaxing to recover decades of 9 to 5 cubicle slavery but pretty boring after one week.
Step out from your mental limitations for a moment….the world doesn’t end 20 miles from your home.
There are much better place to live than where you are right now and taking our stuff and leave will be much less traumatic than you think.
Let me tell you my personal case:
after 1 weeks most of your friends and acquaintances will have forgotten you
after 1 months most of your relatives will do the same
after 2-3 months YOU will start doing the same and stop missing your favorite food, church, sport team, bar etc and will replace with new ones
Besides (and this is a big BESIDES) with all technology and social networks (Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, instagram, wechat, messenger, LINE and other dozens) you will be in constant contact with your friends and relatives, even more than when you were at home
(I am not kidding…I have more contacts with my friends thousand of miles away than they have with other friends who live few meters away from them).
So…let’s pick the best place in the world
If you are in your 20’s and close to jump in the workforce please take a minute to reflect
Do you really want to spend the rest of of your life in a cubicle in the same place where you where born?
Just make the jump, take that flight, cut the umbilical cord, try that start up on the other side of the world…don’t look for safety…you will have time to look for safety.
Run away from ugly and boring place Pick the place of your dream and go…even jobless
If you are in your 30’s-40s capitalize on your skills, you will have great potentialities and possibilities to move out, ideally with a great contract. Don’t underestimate yourself, that’s the age you can give your kids a great exposure worldwide, don’t limit them to one place, one city, one country even thought you think your country is the best of the world there is still time to go back there.
forget about the 90% of the goals not achieved the year just past and making another list of goals very likely identical to the one of the previous year or of the previous 5-10 years
One typical list might look like
1) Losing weight 2) Eat more vegetables 3) Exercising more 4) Walk more 5) Complain less 6) Change job 7) Cleaning more often the house 8) Making more money 9) Call more often your mother 10) Write a book 11) Start a blog 12) Learn how to play an instrument 13) etc etc
If you are an advanced goal setter you list can even look like this one:
1) Losing weigh: drop to XXXlb or YY Kg by end of the year 2) Eat vegetables at least 3 times a week 3) Exercising more: run/bike/swim at least 3 times a week for more than one hour 4) Walk XXXXX steps everyday 5) Stop complain 6) Change job by May 15 and move to a higher pay/job title one 7) Cleaning the whole house 2 times a week 8) Making XXXXX$ per year 9) Call your mother 3 times a week 10) Write a book about cooking by May 31 11) Start a blog by Jan 31 12) Learn how to play guitar good enough to play 1h a day every day 13) etc etc
Look at your goal list now…
If you are reading a blog on personal improvement like this one I am sure you have one
Are the same goals over and over in the list year after year?
You might also tried to break the yearly goal in monthly goal or weekly goal…maybe using the thousand of books and manual written out there that should have shown you the infalliblemethod to reach your goals.
Maybe now you feel stupid or uncapable and every December 31 sadly you set the same goal being sure that this time will be the one you will achieve them! (and stopping following up on your goal on January 2!)
Don’t worry we all go throught that,,,you are not alone
The reason why you don’t reach what you call goals that you write on the list is that you don’t really…desperately…badly want them and you don’t feel the urgency to reach them.
Let me repeat it:
The reason why you don’t reach what you call goals that you write on the list is that you don’t really…desperately…badly want them and you don’t feel the urgency to reach them.
Think about the things you wanted and achieved in life vs the one you think you want but not achieved yet.
What are the main differences?
The actions you took.
Plain, simple but so difficult to grasp.
Let’s go deeper
Why you achieved those things…? What’s so special with them?
Very likely because of social conditioning.
You got a diploma or a degree or a driver license because the society is pushing you to do so…there are schools for that right?
Very likely you do some sport not to have a too devastated body.
What about the goal to play decent piano, golf, guitar?
To start that blog?
Not done yet right…? No time…you are too busy right?
What about the dream to create something for yourself? To be a small entrepreneur?
is it more easy to stay in the cushy corporate world where your boss is telling you what to do, right?
Now you know the answers…maybe you can watch a funny but profound Ted talk on why we don’t reach our goals and…why we achieve something… (watch it…short and worth it!)
The bad news?
Everything is up to you
there is no blog, no book, no seminar that will make you take the first action
The action is in your head.
You can decide Right now if take the action or do something else, go back to work or browsing the web just to waste you time
The society wants to make you believe you are not mortal.
To keep you spending, consuming and avoid the big questions:
What’s my real purpose in life? What I really want to be and have?
Billions of people wasted their life without having achieved anything they wanted.
Numbly they let other people designed their future, because they never know what they wanted for their future.
I will teach you a small but powerful secret to decide your future, to get back in control of your life.
Firstly: What do you want?
You need to know what you want and how to reach it….you need a compass and you governing the ship of your life.
Without compass and drive you are like a boat without anyone governing it…a boat that is going where the waves and currents (that very often are your family or bosses or society) are bringing it….eventually crashing against some rocks.
You need a roadmap to be in the driver seat of your life even thought is more easy to seat in the passenger’s one and let someone else driving.
The starting point of the spiral is when you were born then when you went to school…5 years…ten years…the university…then when you start working..write what you did until today…and put a mark and label it NOW.
The ending point of the spiral is the day you will die (sorry for the bad news you will as well)….put an age….70…90…100..be realistic …write DEATH on it
Now write from the mark NOW to the mark DEATH what you expect to do in your life…write it into the details…visualize the targets…where you want to be…with whom…doing what…
Stop whatever you are doing and come back when this exercise is over…it has to take at least 30 minutes….it’s important…very likely the most important exercise of your life
Do you have still time? Very likely yes…
Or maybe not
How do you know?
What the spiral is telling you?
Is it a straight line with no changes or excitement to the grave?
A 9-5 until 65y, a gold watch as retirement gift, getting old, slow and then sick and die?
Or there is something exciting inside…a new job, place to live, kids, learning something, moving to some beaches in Ecuador or Europe and sipping cocktails until Ms. Death arrive (you can have your last cocktail with her actually).
What’s this roadmap telling you ?
I am telling you my secret.
When I first made this exercise several years ago I thought “whatever, let’s waste 30 min (actually i think i spent less than 10 minutes) of my life on this”, I completed and forgot it in some notebook.
One day, many years later (12-13 I guess) the same notebook ended up in my hands.
To my surprise most of the things I planned/envision really happened!
Not all of them but most.
Never sub estimate the power of visualization
We become what we plan in our mind, and to me this happened also well before the Spiral exercise.
I was very clear not only on what i wanted but on ehat i will become of me
i had no doubts of what i will become that to me it was perfectly normal to picture me in my actual life
everything happened effortless, without any need of driving it
That’s why fake goals simply do not work.
Writing a Running a marathon goal on your 20XX list will never be accomplished if you are not really convinced of running a marathon is what you really want… but it’s on your list just because you think it must be there
Be the architect of your life
Your life from birth to death is already programmed and designed in your brain and the architect is you and only you.
Let me repeat:
Your life from birth to death is already programmed and designed in your brain and the architect is you and only you.
You can do anything you set your mind to, man (ok…this one I stole from Eminem… 🙂 )
Saving enough money so that the passive income generated will cover all your expenses
We already talked about saving…what about passive income?
Passive income is the ultimate goal and dream….a vehicle that generates money 24/7 no matter what we do (sleep, golf, watching TV) thus the name passive.
Being paid to do what you like, no boss, no alarm in the morning, no customers…no bad right?
Now the question is how to build this vehicle, this mountain that will generate that lazy flow of money
Let’ s look again at our options…
While it’s good to have cash it can only lose value in time due to inflation.
Keep max 3 months of living expenses in cash and put it in some high yield checking or saving account that you can access instantly.
Safest passive investment and because of it with the lowest return, barely matching inflation. You can make a little more money with municipal bond or bond fund with a little extra risk.
Despite the low return bond should be an important portion of the invested portfolio; the closer you are to retirement the highest the portion you should keep in bonds since it’s better during retirement not to have all portfolio allocated in stocks because a recession can eat up a big portion of your stocks portfolio and you might not have the time to recoup it.
In the USA the Bond yield typically track the interest rate of the period and the longer the maturity the higher the yield (unless the economy is closer to a recession and the yield curve is flat or inverted)
Investing in a CD insures that you will get your capital back plus the promised yield at the maturity
If on Jan 01 2010 I invest $10,000 in a 1 year CD offering an yield of 2% on Jan01 2011 I will get $10,200 (the initial $10,000 plus $200 (2% of $10,000))
Stocks Mutual Funds There are thousands Stocks Mutual Funds over there, most of them too complex to understand or designed in a fancy way to attract you and charge you expensive fees.
Forget about the products your banker is trying to sell you and go for low cost (<0.05%…even better 0 now from Fidelity) index fund that tracks the major index (like S&P 500 or FTSE).
Depending on where you live, check with your bank or financial services provider and go for it.
Again watch out the fund fee…you must select a fund with less than 0.05% fee per year (basically for $10000 invested you pay $5 year).
If you are an absolute beginner my suggestion is to invest 80% in a passive managed low cost index fund that track total market stock (USA or European) and the remaining 20% in an as well a passive managed low cost index fund that tracks the total market bond (USA or European).
If you have some form of pension tax deferred (like 401k in the USA) where your employer matches your salary contribution (1-5% typically) maximize this first, than maximize IRAs and only after invest in taxable accounts
Never ever underestimate tax and fee…they can wipe out your return or even worst making it negative.
The Las Vegas for stock pickers.
I have to admit, I sometimes picked some single stocks, allured by the name or the buzz around it.
You are not a stock expert and very likely (excluding Warren Buffet there are none around).
Why? Because you don’t have all the information about a company to be sure your investment is solid. One legal problem with the company you invested or government changes some rules and your stock can lose 20-30% in one day Have you ever imagined 20-30 years that company like Kodak or Nokia (add stock graph) could disappear? N(stock chart) I didn’t so who place all your money there lost everything.
To use a dramatization Think about on investing in a single stock like betting on one number in a roulette…big win if the stock soars but also high risk of lose everything.
Think about investing in the stock market through index fund on regularly betting some money on the red in a casino where red is slightly more frequent than black or zero
You will surely face temporally lose but on average and on long time you will make some money (chart stock s7p or dow)
It can be a good, bad or disastrous investment.
To minimize risks:
Rule#1: Location Location Location
Even thought it’s not certain, buying in downtown New York or San Francisco or in front a prestigious campus means buying a property with some intrinsic value.
Same for an oceanfront property or one close to a prestigious landmark (an apartment with a perennial obstructed view on the Eiffel tower).
I understand few people can afford this properties, foe the rest of us just do your due diligence, look for places with a healthy job market, universities, landscapes.
Look for unique features , be sure the competition around you is limited (e.g., no more buildings are allowed) .
Talk with trusted realtors, ask for data on comparable sales in the area and average rental (and average vacancies as well)
Study study study
One rule of the thumb says you should get 1% month of the property value per year in order to have positive cash flow (e.g. $2000 per month if your purchase price has been $200,000).
I find that nowadays getting 1% is very hard unless you were fortunate enough to get an excellent deal on the property or investing in some rural Midwest property during an economical expansion (but watch out at what might happen during an economical downturn to those properties).
In mature areas I find that 0.55-0.65% are more common rates during the first 5y of ownership with gradual increases.
Anyhow Real Estate when well purchased, financed and maintained can be a great investment in the long term and a good edge against the inflation since both the rentals and the values on average growth with the inflation.
Besides, based on where you have the property you can have great tax deductions increasing your ROI.
Peer to Peer Lending
A relatively new investment.
There are two kind of lending through an intermediary (usually a company with a website)
You basically act as a bank, landing money to privates (or small companies) for disparate investments from buying a car to invest in a multi-million dollars projects.
Of course the higher the risk the higher the return
Based on the country you reside you can also have detailed information about the borrower such as his credit history and based on this information the intermediary will fix the interest rate to charge him.
You can thus decide to lend money to high quality borrowers (who wants to keep that status to be able to access cheap credit) but a low interest rate or the opposite (to high risk borrowers thus charging higher interest rate)
Up to you…I personally prefer go for a mix to minimize my risks but at the same time getting some more return vs Treasury bond or other means of investment.
Still Confused? Don’t have to! Keep it simple
That’s all… and believe me it’s not so complicated like our banks or “financial advisors” want us to believe.
Don’t think investing is for Wall street gurus and complicated and the only way is to buy useless and very expensive managed mutual funds from the “financial advisors” with lower return vs the market.
Don’t overlook the importance to invest some money and time to maximize tax return, or to avoid to buy everything full price.
Believe that many people reach financial independence simply saving more money and investing wisely the difference.
Believe that there is an alternative life vs living paycheck by paycheck out there if you just want to chose it.