| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

Helsinki1 Good evening, my dear reader. Even with my first sentence, you may have noticed two things:

  • First, this Sunday my post doesn’t begin with ‘The Money Principle’ needs you message; and
  • Two, the golden urn with a ‘P’ to the right has changed and it is saying ‘FINALIST’.

Yes, The Money Principle, with your invaluable help and the consideration given to it by a panel of the leaders in Personal Finance, is finalist for the Plutus Award in two different – well, very different – categories: Best International Blog and Best Kept Secret Blog. In both categories I share this great honour with some good friends and wonderful blogs. Go check the finalists out; these are certainly blogs worth a visit. If I tell you that I am not in this to win, you are not going to believe me. And you’d be right: I never bought into the ‘competing is honour enough’ thing and being somewhat old-fashioned I believe we enter competitions to win. Anything else is a waste of time and energy. Yes, I want to win. But then I look at the names of the other blogs in the two categories and start thinking that being a finalist is honour enough. We’ll see how this one works out on October 17th – I may get a belated birthday present from the people at the Plutus; either way, very excited and pleased that The Money Principle is being recognised. Now let me tell you about few of the posts that made me think these last two weeks. I’ve always abhorred poverty in all its forms: I loathe absolute poverty because it dehumanises people to an incredible degree. And I dislike relative poverty because it creates and maintains inequality not simply of outcome but, more importantly, of opportunities. What I didn’t realise is that poverty really makes people more stupid; according to research reported by The Guardian poverty saps our mental capacity to deal with complex problems and can lower our IQ by as many as 13 points. Think what you wish about IQ tests (and I am not exactly a great fan of them) but this is serious. Question is, why do we all put up with maintaining the status quo when obviously no one benefits from it? And what does this research mean for public policy? Umberto Eco, best known for The Name of the Rose but as often happens with writers of this calibre he has much better books, once said that all children start by worshiping their parents and end up blaming them for all that goes wrong in their lives. He may have been right, but the good news is that there comes a time when you start appreciating your parents again. The Investor published an article on the Monevator that pays tribute to his Dad. Go read it and you’ll know why I wish someone writes something like this about me: it celebrates life rather than bemoaning death. Jeff at SustainableLifeBlog, raises an interesting issue by asking when one should add a line to their budget. Precarious balance, this is; add too many lines and you are where you started (probably in debt). Don’t add any budget lines and you may risk suffocating your life force. This is why mindfulness in any decisions that commit you in a longer run is an absolute must. Martin on StartFreelancingNow published an article empathically calling for not allowing freelancing to destroy our lives. It is about work-life balance and about being busy. As I’ve said before, I have no work-life balance problem simply because I have got to a stage where I have no life (and this is only from my job). As to being busy, yep I am busy. And I am surrounded by other very busy people – all because our civilisation glorifies input (being busy) rather than output (being productive). This is what I’ve been puzzling over for some time now: how to move away from being busy and become really productive. Sam at Frugaling has been juggling this old, hot chestnut going all cash; in fact he just started his ‘all cash diet’. It is rather interesting how this turns out to be inevitably a stretch of the path to financial health.  Oh, and the ‘envelope system’. Even I did a post like this one; and did the deed as well. Not really great long term but very good for developing the discipline of mindfulness. Nothing better than to see green (or red, or whatever the colour of your local currency is) to realise you are spending real money; not simply signing a piece of paper of entering a number in a machine. Even worse, my new card has the sign meaning that I can just swipe it in certain stores – easy to spend. I also came across this vintage Krantcents: thoughtful and thought provoking article about the celebrating our mistakes. Way to go, my friend. And this is what I have been telling my undergraduate students. I reminded them about the Myth of Icarus; told them not to be afraid to fly high, to embrace their humanity and make mistakes – after all we learn nothing from being right, right? After all that, they asked what proportion of the people attending the course get a first; sad, really. Pauline at Reach Financial Independence found that she has ‘grossly over-estimated’ herself. No, not in any of her numerous investments but with her choice of life style. In a nutshell, Pauline has realised that when one looks after animals, one tends to befriend them; and we don’t, as a rule, eat our friends. So, a change of direction is called for it seems (adjustment, probably). And eggs are fine; you can always buy chicken from the butchers. Anna at AndThenWeSaved wrote about their meeting with a wills attorney. Oh, how I remember when we had to do this one. No, in my case it didn’t bring to me the notion of my mortality – we had wills done because I’d already faced it. Probably need to do it again – we didn’t go through ‘What happens if your dementia doesn’t allow you to take decisions’. My answer is ‘Take me to the end of the garden and shoot me’ but obviously can’t tell the lawyer this. Finally, if you are interested in which countries have the highest tax rates you can check it here.  Not surprised to find the UK at number 8; what surprises me is that it is not obvious why we pay such high tax. Okay, The Money Principle has done well in the Plutus but how did we do around the internet? During the last two weeks, the following personal carnivals included our posts: Yakezie Carnival at Wealthnote Carnival of Retirement at Your PF Pro Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at Money Bulldog Lifestyle Carnival at Hurricanes, Panties Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence Aspiring Blogger Fin. Carnival at Aspiring Blogger Carnival of Retirement at FITnancials Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet Carn. of Financial Planning at Save and Conquer Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence Carn of MoneyPros at Evolving Personal Finance Yakezie Carnival at My Personal Finance Journ Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at The Skilled Investor Not bad, uh? Thanks to all our blogging friends for including our articles. This is all for now, my friends. Speak soon.