Do or do not do. There is no try, young Skywalker. Start now.
I write because that is what I was born to do. I can’t stop writing. But I’ll admit, sometimes it’s awful tough to get started. Some days I need a little extra push to get going. We all do. But once you get that ball of momentum rolling down the hill, it’s tough to stop.
Even the most hard-core marathon runner often struggles with the first few steps on a cold November morning. However, the same runner knows full well the Boston Marathon is only a few short months away and so they stop trying and simply do.
Spain — In last few years (and despite the economic downturn), Spain has become one of the premier places to teach English. There are plenty of jobs, the government has an active program for attracting teachers, and your visa means you can freely travel around Europe. There are also many opportunities to teach private lessons on the side. You don’t get many benefits (or high pay compared to Asia or the Middle East), but the pay is still enough to live off of.
Finding happiness isn’t simple as stating the obvious: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll—or whatever the short-term equivalent might be—won’t bring you happiness. Hopefully, most of us either know this intuitively or have figured it out without too much damage.
And it’s not as easy to find as some might say, for ultimately happiness is a combination of many things: current state of being, progress toward long-term goals, social environment, family history, and possibly other factors that are hard to identify.
Number 6: Stick close to home.
This one is debated a lot. Some of the very best deals these days are in cities like Detroit. However, if you live in Oklahoma, trying to buy right and manage a rental property in a city far away is probably not the right path. Later maybe, but not for your first.
You want to invest if possible in your city so that you can drive by your investment a couple of times a month just to see how the exterior looks. It’s also kind of nice to see your investment sitting there, unlike shares of stock sitting in your broker’s safe or on a computer somewhere. You also can check out repairs and major issues and shop for the best service to correct problems. Then you can check quality before paying the bill.
Sticking to a budget is more than just keeping your spending under control. Yes, that’s important, but unexpected financial pitfalls can completely blindside you and wreck your budget, too. These fall under three basic categories.
Financial writer Trea Branch rounds up three general pitfalls that can wreck your budget. Here they are, along with a few tips for managing:
6. PAY WITH CASH
“To help prevent going over your budget, especially when shopping at a mall or store, use cash,” said Daniel Fayette in his one-minute money tip. If your bank account balance tends to get too close for comfort to $0 each month, this is a smart trick to keep your spending on track.
“Having to actually take money out of your wallet or purse helps remind you how much you’re really spending instead of just seeing a number in a bank account go down,” Fayette said. “You can even set a cash limit on your spending by only carrying the max amount of cash you want to spend for the trip.”
#1 ~ Identify Your Personal Negative Beliefs
Write down the most common negative comments you think and speak about yourself or your situation?
“I’m no good at (blank).”
“I’m ugly, fat, stupid.”
“I can’t articulate.”
“I’m so insecure.”
“I’m afraid of (blank).”
“People disrespect me.”
“I can’t think clearly.”
Keeping finances on track
After two years, we are $235,000 wealthier than when I left my job. Around $120,000 of that net worth boost came from Mrs. Root of Good’s salary since she continued working even after we reached financial independence (more on that decision below).
The other $100,000+ of net worth growth came from investment gains in excess of our annual spending. In other words, even if Mrs. RoG didn’t work at all these past two years, we would still be $100,000 richer today than when I quit working. That’s the true test of how well our early retirement financial plan worked these past two years.
As I write this, we just suffered through one of the worst weeks in recent stock market history. Our net worth dropped almost $100,000 over the past two weeks. Are we worried? Not yet. I don’t think we will run out of money in early retirement, so these fluctuations, while volatile, aren’t that scary.
Of course, there is always a Black Sheep in any fraternity. Take Chopin, my favorite composer. He was a late riser and composed in the afternoons, relying on bursts of creativity. While he did not follow a rigid schedule, he came up with many of his ideas while walking. It was said that once an idea was in Chopin’s head, he worked like a maniac, sometimes shutting himself off in a room for entire days. Perhaps that contributed to his death at the age of 39.
Fruitful walks were a common element amongst the best-known composers and authors in history. But there is one secret weapon of productivity that is still more important than taking an afternoon stroll outside.
This tool, one that is available to everyone, is called Magic Time. It is the period during the day when you are three to five times more productive, effective, and focused than at any other point in the day.
hat Frugality Can Do For You
Through talking with and learning from all of you, I’ve gleaned that no matter what precise path you’re on in life, the universal truth is that–without fail–frugality gives you options. The only demographic this doesn’t ring true for are the billionaires of the world–after all, they can pretty much afford to do anything. But for the rest of us, there’s a limit to our spending capabilities. And it’s alarmingly easy to fritter that spending away on seemingly innocuous things like lunches out at work, new cars, manicures, haircuts, and the list goes on…
Our culture makes it ridiculously accessible to spend money and unsurprisingly, it’s the default mode for most folks. Conversely, not spending takes more effort but yields the benefit of putting you in a position of power. Instead of being ruled by your money, you’re fully in control of it. I, myself, prefer to be in charge of most things in my life (Mr. FW can attest to this… ) and so the thought of letting my money dictate what I can do is abhorrent. Yes, indeed, I’m the dictator of my money. It’s not a democracy around here.
I firmly believe we’re all on our own unique journeys and I advocate the philosophy that there’s no one right way to execute your financial decisions or set your spending and saving targets. But there is no denying that frugality makes life easier. Full stop.
What Frugality Will Do For The Frugalwoods
Frugality will enable Mr. FW and I to reach financial independence by age 33. For quick reference, financial independence (commonly abbreviated as FI) means you have enough money saved that you can live indefinitely off the passive proceeds of those funds. For an average family earning a typical middle-class income, frugality is the most important component of becoming financially independent.