The Resolution 2019: Wrap-up

In 2018, I posted monthly about my spending tracking. After feeling like it had become too much the focus of my blog, I moved away from it in 2019, although I continued to track spending (along with virtually everything else quantifiable in my life as I do). But with 2019 having come to a close already, I figured I should at least share how my spending went, and how I hope to continue to make strides forward in 2020. Below is another instalment of The Resolution 2019: Wrap-up. Better late than never? I hope so.

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FIRE on a Rainy Day

A few weeks ago I was at home in Mexico for a late-season rain. I’ve been adding a new level and unit onto my small home in Baja California Sur. Although I expected the construction to be completed sometime in October, the finishing touches continued to drag on. This meant that with my two pre-existing units starting to be occupied by short-term renters for the ‘tourist season’, I was scrambling a bit for a place to stay. This was made all the more urgent by the forecast tropical storm set to fall during the days that I would be ‘homeless’. I reached out to a friend of mine who has a property nearby with four living quarters that he rents on Air BnB, and as it turned out he had some space during those days.

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The Happiness Index

For what’s money without happiness?

Or hard times without the people you love?

-J. Cole, Love Yourz

No, this is not a discussion of some hip new ETF that I have found. Instead, I wanted to bring to your attention some recent research that may change the way we quantify happiness, which has all sorts of implications, even for you and your own Freedom goals.

The #FIRE community was borne out of a call-to-action to the middle class to reconsider the things they value most and to come to terms with the fact that a rich life was measurable by so much more than simply money. Bloggers like Mr. Money Mustache and Early Retirement Extreme preached logical frugality, simple indulgence, mindful and constant skill development and a consideration of the impact our actions have on others and the planet itself. It was a call to wake up from our sleep-walk towards endless economic growth at all costs no matter how unhappy and unhealthy it makes us and to re-direct our resources in order to allow ourselves to become the master of our own domains again.

A lot of this sentiment still exists within the community, but in some corners – and perhaps in those that overlap somewhat with the more traditional world of Personal Finance – it has simply become a collection of affluent middle class people telling stories of how well their ETFs and Index Funds have been performing (during the best 10 years in history for such investments mind you) and then reporting their net worth to each other on a monthly basis. A lot of it is hardly meaningful, and seems to have let go of the ‘why’ of it all. I see very few to zero ‘Charitable Givings’ or ‘Ecological Impact’ reports provided to summarize their social and natural capital gains or losses alongside their ‘Net Worth Update’ articles reporting their financial capital.

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