Principled Money Posts #37: Happy Mother’s Day edition
Today is Mother’s Day in the UK and we are making a bit of an occasion of it. Which, as the more observant amongst you may be quick to point out, goes against my nature for two reasons. First, I am a mother and proud of it (hey, after all I did go through an IVF to have the one of the three sons who is biologically mine) but the role of ‘mother’ is a relatively small part of my identity. In fact, when our son was about four years old and used the kind of argument that goes ‘…ah, but Jack’s mum makes/does…’ my response was inevitably ‘…well, you have a mum that is not worse than Jack’s mum; she is just different’. Second, I would much rather celebrate/mark 8th of March which is International Women’s Day and has a very clear political meaning – not just another excuse for rampant consumerism.
So, why are we celebrating today? Because we decided that life is too short to miss different occasions to get together with family and have some fun – a nice meal, nice wine, a chat about life, love and everything else. All sons are here, watching football (soccer for my American readers) and it is lucky that Manchester United is two goals up on Chelsea (my household is overwhelmingly ManU and they don’t like Chelsea very much; I have absolutely no idea what this is about and why they are doing it – different values, I suppose).
Good thing is though, that deciding that we’ll invite sons over today made me look up the origins of Mother’s Day. At first, I thought that this is another illustration of the British gift for deflecting political tension – let the masses celebrate something else instead of good, old politically charged holidays (we don’t mark International Labour Day, for instance, but have a…wait for it…Bank Holiday in May). How wrong I was. Mather’s Day initially had very little to do with mothers – in the 16th century it was the day when people went back to worship in their ‘mother’ church and was referred to as ‘a-mothering’. Later it became an occasion to give house servants a day off to visit their ‘mother’ church which was usually where their families were; so they were also visiting their mothers.
In time, we forgot about the church and remembered the presents to mothers; which is a good thing because otherwise I wouldn’t have received a wonderful card telling me so much (but I am not going to go all mushy on you) and a little, sweet pendant. I love you too son(s)! Oh, and the most amazing computer animation card from one of the advertiser I work with from time to time – thank you!
Now, I would like to move on before John has started calling me for dinner .
I know that we have to learn about investing and fast but there is something that puts me off; I try to read about it and it is all…well, it is all Greek to me as the Brits say (except that I suspect I know more Greek than investing). This is partly why I love an article by my friend Average Joe where he tells us how he learned to avoid bone-headed financial moves. Loved the story and his colleague was right – when we see obesity pandemic coming accounting for human nature we should bet on pharmaceuticals rather than exercise equipment. And the message is clear: invest in the now!
I love learning about new things: and as it happens with me learning is more important than what I learn. This is why I am like a repository for useless knowledge; except some of it comes really handy very unexpectedly. This week I learned something I had not heard about but may turn out to be important: bitcoins. There is a beginners guide on The First Million is the Hardest so you may wish to pop-around there and have a look.
It has been a long time now since Pauline from Reach Financial Independence has surprised me: I expect quality from her. This week, however, she exceeded even my already very high expectations. Go read her post ‘Buy my method, not my lifestyle’! And, Pauline, I am with you on this one: allowing the possibility for things to happen leads to epic achievement. One needs focus and method; I know, I’ve tried and keep applying this approach. Btw, I could live with you – one thing that disappointed me about Guatemala is the coffee; not great fan, I am afraid.
It takes a great deal of mastery to learn from your problems and share with your readers so others can benefit from your experience and reflections. Miss T has it! Yep, a satisfying life is about balance! I often joke that I have no problem with life-work balance since work has become my life. Thanks, for reminding me that this is just a joke (and probably not a very good one) and remembering how to have fun is the next step I need to take.
Last year I marked International Women’s Day on The Money Principle with an article on how men and women are different in issue of personal finance. This year, 101 Centavos did it so much better by telling us the stories of several remarkable women. Inspirational and a reminder that my middle class concerns with being politically correct and not upsetting my colleagues are terribly over-rated – there are still women with serious problems and not only in Somalia.
Hardly a week passes when we don’t read about another shooting in the US; and I do accept that media is looking for this stuff – it does sell papers. But still too much shooting. And could one of my readers in the US please tell me why are you so keen on the constitutional right to carry weapons? Then again Americans are also very keen on their constitutional right to happiness when we Europeans try to be a bit less miserable. Anyhow, there is an article on the Money Crashers that makes some suggestions regarding mass shootings prevention – worth a read though it is very unlikely that these measures will work; too many guns and too much pressure.
Among all my talents, one that stands out is taking things apart and analysing them to death. Usually in the midst of this things get really complex and messy. Lately, however, I have been consciously simplifying – complex is confusing and it often fails. This is probably why Paula Pant’s article about the ‘anti-budget‘ really resonated with me. It is simple really – you save 20% and spend 80%; what you spend the 80% on matters little – it can be sweets and CDs or wholesome food. If you really feel adventurous, and if you income allows it, you can try to shift the ratio towards the larger number, e.g. save 30%, 40% or even more. Simplicity itself – and not much to argue about.
And how is The Money principle doing?
Well, in the last week we were included in the following carnivals:
We have even better news. According to Happier, The Money Principle is the second best frugality blog in the UK. Also, we are tenth amongst the hundred personal finance blogs to follow in 2013 collated by Coupon Audit. We are very happy and humbled; may these be a sign of the thing to come .
John is calling for dinner so…this all for now, my friends. Till next time!