Get Rich by Feeling Rich: Focus on What You Have

If you’re reading this, you’re probably better off than the vast majority of people in the world.  It means you have your own computer or smart phone, or at least access to one for use.  About half of the people in the world have smartphones now, and computers much less so.  So there you go, already ahead of half the people on the planet.

In Mexico, where I live, 30% of people make $30,000 MXP or more per month.  That’s about $1700 USD or an annual income of a little over $20,000 USD.  And, given the cost of living in Mexico, that’s a good wage.  Not great, but good.  But 70% of people make less than that.  Some families earn more like $2,500 MXP ($140 USD) per month or even less.

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On Opportunity

I’d like to take a moment to talk about carpe diem.  About seizing the day.  About being ready when you get your shot.  This is one of the reasons that you’re starting to plan and, more importantly, implement your early retirement goals.

To be clear, the kind of wealth we’re working towards is the kind that we nurture for the long run.  Not the kind where we place it all on often mis-guided bets and live by the whim of the stock price, hoping to get more wealthy than we would ever need to be while risking it all without any sense of guiding principles to fall back on.

But that said, even our long-term approach requires taking what feels like a bit of a ‘leap of faith’ here and there.  The difference is, when we do our homework and live by our well-founded principles, what may seem like a ‘leap of faith’ from the outside often seems to be just the logical next step to us.  We find this when we hold the unfounded fear up against our principles and see it for what it is, and then we act as we have been preparing for.

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How to Save: Don’t Go Shopping

Duh.

If you ever think or say to yourself anything like “I’m bored.  I think I’ll go to (INSERT STORE NAME CONTAINING MANY THINGS YOU DON’T NEED),” STOP!!!  This is one of the first things to get under control if you want to start moving towards your financial freedom.  And if you do this, don’t feel bad, almost everyone does.  But everyone else works most of their lives too don’t they?

If you will allow me to describe how my last couple of days played out and how I achieved some of the home improvement goals I wanted to achieve while saving money, even though overall I still spent.

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Think in Gains

I used to smoke.  Like a chimney.  In the grand scheme, it wasn’t for long, maybe 7 years, but there’s no question I was hooked hard.  When you’re amongst it, it’s hard to even imagine a life without it.

And when I finally quit, it was through words rather than prescriptions or substitutes.  Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking reverse-brainwashed me to rethink how I thought about smoking, and quitting smoking.  One of the main premises of the short book is debunking the myth that our collective cultural consciousness promotes, that smoking is enjoyable and that once hooked, those who quit will feel that sense of deprivation forever.  And many do, which is why it is so hard to quit so often.

But Carr suggests that if we see through what is largely a giant marketing campaign, and get real about smoking, we see that by quitting we will gain two of the most important things, health and wealth (which I take to mean financial independence, not an unnecessarily large net worth).  Once you make that switch in a real and meaningful way in your mind, it’s all gravy.  It becomes a game, and once there is a glimmer that the game is winnable, well.  #winning

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Find Your Thing

Now, one thing that we hear about all the time for people who are reaching ‘retirement age’ is how they don’t know what they will do with themselves, and even that they become scared, presumably of the changes coming.  I’ve seen this in my own family.  How ironic it is that we spend our whole lives working away while society holds up the retirement carrot in front of us, yet it seems that quite often it’s not until retirement is imminent that many people start to face the reality of what their days will look like from here on out.  It was always so far away, that many of us had never stopped to ask ourselves what it is we want the most.  What would we do if we could do nothing else?  It’s tragic that we hold up ‘doing nothing’ as the goal for our whole careers only to realize that having nothing to do is actually man’s worst nightmare.

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Don’t Know Your Credit Score? Good

I saw a commercial a few days ago that presented the premise that “thousands of Canadians don’t know their credit score!” as being a very very bad thing for them.

So, why, exactly?  I mean, I’m sitting in front of my computer looking at the debt I’m battling (which is essentially a pseudo-mortgage that will be paid in full within months but more on that soon) before I can begin to meaningfully save.

Of course there is a use for credit.  It’s a crucial part of the economy.  But what would the consequences be for you if you had never used credit, had a bunch of cash and assets stashed, and then for whatever reason that is very hard for me to conceive of besides (MAYBE and with CAREFULLY calculated and employed STRATEGIES) a mortgage, you need to access credit finally?  Well, considering who the banks have a history of lending to in recent decades, I don’t think they’re going to turn their nose up to you.

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On Long Weekends

Happy Long Weekend!

Yay! You get to run around and sit in traffic and wait in lineups and try to do the things you like while everyone else does and potentially come home more stressed and less healthy than when you left.  Not to mention your finances.  Hey, don’t feel bad.  I’d probably be doing the same thing if I weren’t at work!  Look at us.  Work, play, repeat.  Work, play, repeat.  When will we end the cycle and stop trading our time for money so that we can live life on OUR terms!?  And when will the weekend not be this thing we hype up all week while suffering through our days, only to be often disappointed that it didn’t live up to the hype because, well, after all, it’s just another couple of days most of the time.  Well, like I said, I’m planning to be in the position to quit my job by the time I turn 34 (May 2019).  What’s your plan?

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