| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth
Top Money Tips 6 November 2016: Feeling Way Lighter

Top Money Tips 6 November 2016: Feeling Way Lighter

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Ha. Did you think this is about losing weight?

Well, it isn’t. The only thing I’ve done about this one is making up my mind to go to a slimming place next summer. After all, as someone I met on my karate adventures told me, when you want to start this kind of venture people don’t want to work with a ‘fat momma’; they want to work with a fit woman of substance.

Guys, this is about making your life lighter, not only your body.

I’ve been doing this on the quiet.

I’ve been getting rid of property. You’d remember that in 2013 I set out to restructure out net worth by moving away from non-income generating real estate. Since then I’ve:

  • Sold an inherited apartment in Bulgaria;
  • Sold inherited land in Bulgaria; and couple of months ago
  • Sold our apartment in Sofia.

It feels good to have less real estate, particularly when it is a liability rather than asset, and have more liquidity.

If I can have my way, I’d get rid of our house as well. Having less responsibility for the things in life that don’t make income frees me to focus on my run for freedom. (I can’t have my way yet but John may see reason soon. Or he may see unicorns; after all others have done it.)

I’ve been also cleaning out my closet; literally. This time I didn’t take ‘before’ pictures, only ‘after’. I suppose I was too embarrassed of the state of my wardrobe.

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It’s enough to say that I got rid of four sacks of clothes, one sack of shoes and two sacks of any odd rubbish.

This is why, my friend, I feel so much lighter. You can try this as well.

Because of my drive for lighter life, the top money tips blog posts are about either minimising property or possessions. None of us need clutter in our lives, you know.

Renting is Throwing Money Away…Right? [Afford Anything]: you want to decide whether to own or to rent your home? Read this and you may come away with a different point of view.

A bunch of things I did to get out of debt [The Minimalists]: Yes. Sometimes you have to go without. When finished, you want to go without.

Getting rid of just-in-case items: 20 dollars, 20 minutes [The Minimalists]: This is hard for me; just-in-case items give me a sense of security, a sense that I’m prepared. Well, these guys know what they are talking about; so a lot of what went on the rubbish tip today was just-in-case stuff.

Less stuff, more s*x [The Minimalists]: Would you try this?

The 10 most important things to simplify in your life [Becoming Minimalist]: Closest thing to nirvana, if I’ve seen one.

This getting rid of stuff thing feels so good – stuff in the most general sense of the word – that I’ll keep going. You can join me if you wish and we can play the game together.

This is all for now. Enjoy your Sunday night and have a great week ahead. Let’s hope Tuesday will bring less bad news.

Top Money Tips 12 June 2016: We All Need Some Inspiration

Top Money Tips 12 June 2016: We All Need Some Inspiration

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Gosh, this feels good!

My muscles gently tremble with exertion and a calm stillness has engulfed my mind. This is what yoga does to you.

Which brings me to my point: we all need inspiration to get on with our lives.

I have been drifting a bit lately. My body shows the signs of neglect and my mind has been a noisy roundabout of broken thoughts.

I’m experimenting with a three stage process to get me back on track.

One, I stopped talking about finding a good yoga class and just found one. Doing yoga under instruction twice a week feels good; next, I’ll start practicing every morning on my own. This will give me strength, flexibility and focus.

Two, I started swimming to re-gain some fitness without putting stress on my joints.

Three, I’ve started dreaming up some worthy aspirations for myself again (you see, I can’t even say ‘goals’ because I find them so restrictive.) I’ll keep you posted on this one.

Talking inspiration, this week’s top money tips are about that. Because if money underpins the substance of our lives, inspiration is the spicing that gives it its taste.

Here we go:

  • From life sentence to White House guest [CNN Money]: an incredibly powerful and inspirational story. My favourite bit? Someone said that this guy is ‘a dreamer who can execute’. Here we have it: the deepest secret to success.
  • Happiness is the only logical pursuit [Mr Money Mustache]: Mr Money Mustache is making some very interesting points here though I’m not sure that he need Maslow for that. I’d also add that happiness comes from leaving this world a better place than we found it.
  • The simple habits that make you feel invincible [Afford Anything]: Well, you feel that you’ve been in a bit of a black hole recently – a bit like me – read this. Than do it! You’d be surprised how much it helps.
  • Investing in Broadway: hoe we actually made money [CNN Money]: Even wanted to spruce up your investments? This is a way to go. Or you could invest in movies.
  • How one man makes a living off stocks [MrEverydayDollar.com]: You’d be justified to be sceptical considering how markets have been doing lately. It is true though: Saul Rosenthal (you can find him on the Motley Fool) lives off stock and has done for some time now. I believe the secret is the following: what is important is not how the markets are doing but how your portfolio is doing.

These are the five top money tips articles for this edition and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Have a great week!

photo credit: arrivederci italia via photopin (license)

Top Money Tips 1 May 2016: Labour Day and Easter Edition

Top Money Tips 1 May 2016: Labour Day and Easter Edition

Okay. I was going to say Happy Easter to all my readers and friends but realised that this will sound really weird.

Yet it is true. Today is the Christian Orthodox Easter.

Thinking about it, celebrating Labour Day on a personal finance blog may appear somewhat weird as well. You know me well enough though to know that I’ve never been keen on capitalism without dignity for all and rampant greed.

Caught up between Easter and Labour Day, I decided to pay homage to both.

Happy Easter, friends, and may this year yield good returns on your investments.

Easter eggs 2016 v1

As to Labour Day, it is important to recognise the long struggle for rights, dignity and fair pay for fair work. The lines of this struggle shift forward and back; we gain a bit and lose some. There is a long way to go, and there is a long way to go where women’s rights are concerned.

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Now, without further delay, let me reveal the five articles on personal finance that I’ve selected as worthy of being the top money tips.

I’m off to do some cooking and speak again soon.

Top Money Tips 6 December 2015: if you are not enough without money you won’t be enough with it

Top Money Tips 6 December 2015: if you are not enough without money you won’t be enough with it

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Do you worry about money?

Okay, let me try this one again. Do you worry about paying off the mortgage? About how much you spent on this pair of shoes you haven’t even worn yet? How to keep your bank account in the black till the next pay-day? About getting/keeping a job? Do you toss and turn in bed early in the morning, worrying about you investments (pension)?

Told you so.

It’s probably fair to say that most of us spend most of our time worrying about money.

I used to worry about money as well. Now I don’t and one day soon I’ll probably tell you why I suddenly stopped being concerned.

For now, I’ll tell you about five top money tips articles that may help you stop worrying about money. After all, worry doesn’t usually make the situation better; if anything it makes it much, much worse.

Here they are.

These are the five top money tips articles this week.

Hope you had a great weekend and speak soon.

Top Money Tips 22 November 2015: No, I’m Not a Heartless B*tch

Top Money Tips 22 November 2015: No, I’m Not a Heartless B*tch

take charge of your emotions

Last night, Suzi the Dog and I were having a great time in the kitchen. She was begging for treats and I was just about to give up and give her some.

Then the doorbell rang and all hell broke loose. Lovely Suzy the Dog transformed into the Hound of Baskerville and I was rushing around looking for a lead to put on her.

Eventually I open the door a crack (who know what Suzy would to) and saw a young man standing there; a young man carrying a bag full of small household goods (cleaning stuff and such) whom I’ve never seen before.

“Sorry, we don’t buy at the door” – I said.

“You are not going to give a young man a chance?” – he said.

“Sorry” – I said and closed the door.

“Heartless” – he said. “Absolutely heartless. When I think only how much your house is worth.”

Now, it may be that he said something else but I didn’t hear him. All I could think about is ‘heartless’ being hurled at me because I followed one of the few rules John and I follow with religious zeal – we never buy stuff at the door.

Why we refuse to do it?

Because we don’t see door to door selling of semi-useless stuff we can buy at the nearest shop – and most established households keep a supply of anyway – as any kind of opportunity for the young people who do it. In fact, I see it as a senseless exploitation, a pretend work scheme and an ill concealed form of begging.

Now you know how I feel about it.

And no, I’m not a heartless b*tch. Because if this young man rang the door bell and asked whether he could clean the leaves in the garden or walk Suzi the Dog couple of mornings a week he would have made £20-£30 there and then (cash in hand as well).

What is the difference?

Selling cleaning products at the door makes everyone feel awkward because it contributed no value to my life. So, the young man feels awkward because he knows what he is doing is useless; I feel under pressure to buy things I don’t really need and can buy cheaper at the shops; and Suzi…well, Suzy will always see an intruder.

Offering to clear the leaves in the garden, on the other hand, contributes enormous value to my life. I hate doing it but I like my garden clean; so, I really don’t mind paying someone to do it. Heck, I’ve been looking for someone to do it so I could pay them.

Oh, and how much my house is worth has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I buy useless stuff from young man who want a chance.

So there!

Do you think I was heartless? Would you buy stuff you don’t need and want at the door?

Now, let me tell you about the five top money tips blogs I’ve selected for you.

Before You Grumble About Not Having Enough Time, Check if You Have These 8 Time Wasting Habits [LifeHacker]: You know that time of money, right? Wasting time is actually even worse than that: when you waste your time you can’t make the money that ultimately will buy you more time.

Seven Financial Red Flags in a Relationship [ListenMoneyMatters]: Listen, this really matters. Most problems in relationships are about money. Learn to spot the warning signs early and talk about it.

The Secret to Building Wealth (That Actually Works but No One Wants to Hear) [FinancialMentor]: I’ll say only one thing here: it is not what you think.

US Gender Pay Gap is Getting Worse [CNN Money]: okay, you just will have to read this one. It is not better in France and the UK.

How I Paid Off $157,000 in Debt in 3 Years [GoBankingRates]: Yes, this is our story on GoBankingRates. Still, if you need ideas and motivation it may be worth to have a look.

Finally, I have a bonus for you: particularly for my readers in the US. Our friends at The Penny Hoarder just opened a new part of their site that is dedicated to sharing Black Friday deals. They are also launching a live around the clock blog for 48 hours (starting on 25 November and closing on 27 November). Check them out!

This is all for now, friends. Speak soon.

Top Money Tips 15 November 2015: a difficult financial decision has been reached

Top Money Tips 15 November 2015: a difficult financial decision has been reached

Sofia

I’m writing this sitting in a bed in which I’ve slept only once (last night), in an apartment I saw only last night. John is downstairs buying breakfast and everything is less than familiar.

We are in Sofia and friends have put us up. Why, you may ask, if they have an apartment in Sofia?

Because we cannot stay in our apartment at the moment; some building work has been done on it and it still looks, and feels as a building site.

Deciding what to do with the apartment in Sofia is the main reason John and I nipped here yesterday.

We bought it in 1997 for £20,000 because my niece was studying in Sofia, we still had family here and I wanted to keep a link to my mother country.

Now, my niece is a successful market researcher in the UK, her family (including my sister) is there with her and my parents passed away.

We ended up with apartment in Sofia that has been empty for a year (it was rented out for very small rent for about a year) and on which we still pay the bills, tax and any maintenance.

When we arrived yesterday, we had arranged to meet an interior designer to discuss re-designing and decorating the apartment. By the end of the conversation, I’ve become convinced that this is not the way to go; and this only confirmed my gut feeling.

To cut a long story short, we’ve decided to sell the apartment and have a meeting with the interior designer to decide what, and how much, need to be done so that it sells well. In any case we can expect to at least triple our money.

Why this was a difficult decision despite it obviously being the right one?

Because of emotional attachment. We bought this apartment as a statement of belonging; selling it will be stating a break with my background.

So, we may use the money (and some more) to build a chalet in the mountains, near a top skiing resort. We’ll see about that.

Do you think we did the right thing?

Now, let me tell you about the top money tips articles I’ve selected for you.

This is it for today, my friends. Now we have people to see, apartment to sell.

You enjoy the rest of the weekend and will speak soon.

photo credit: Sofia, Kempinsky via photopin (license)