| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

I know! The title may sound confusing but it actually is also the title of a novel by two Russian science fiction writers – Brothers Strugatsky. It so happens that they are the only science fiction writers I really liked reading; check them out – their books are imaginative, contain equal measures technological and socio-organisational fiction (matching different technological developments with the corresponding social changes and peculiarities) and, best of all, are translated in English (though I read some of them in Bulgarian and some in Russian).

This article, however, is not about science fiction – this was the only title I could think of that allows me to say ‘look, folks, I didn’t keep my schedule’ without actually saying it. I know very well that it is Monday and that the day for the ‘principled money posts’ is Sunday but last night I was so tired  – in a good way – that writing was completely out of the question.

As many of you already know, last Thursday we went to London for a little break. Usually during winter half term we go skiing; we go to Bulgaria and either get a last minute deal from there (read cheap as skiing goes) or borrow a friend’s house (read even cheaper). We all love skiing but only one of us is really good at winter sports – our soon to be twelve years old son. He can ski and he can snowboard; and while he is on the black slopes with a guide his parent, e.g. John and I, go up and down ‘baby’ slopes and try not to cramp his style. Well, he is getting to an age where whatever we do we are an embarrassment to him so we decided to stop worrying about it and enjoy life. I love skiing because it is a great ‘worry saturator’ – while I worry about dying  I have no capacity to worry about anything else.

This year, I put a moratorium on skiing – even being very careful with it, going skiing would have meant another month of debt payments. So, instead we went to London. We went on the HMS Belfast and what an amazing piece of engineering it is – old-fashioned but still fascinating. For the first time I actually realised how hard life in the navy – or on any ship for that matter – used to be. This is the Captain’s Bridge on the HMS Belfast.

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The next day we buried ourselves in the Science Museum; wow! We were there for five hours, until we couldn’t possibly absorb another exhibit and we had hardly seen a third of it properly. Which, of course, called for a nice, restorative and very chilly stroll through Kensington Gardens. This is a view of the Albert Hall – probably the largest if not the best concert hall around – from the Kensington Gardens.

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Good time was had by all; and it was relatively inexpensive since we stayed in a friend’s apartment. We are very fortunate with friends, it seems. But enough about that.

Let me now tell you what excited my curiosity around the blogosphere.

Jason at WorkSaveLive continues with his debt busting series. This week he offered some ace ideas about stopping the cycle of debt. I fully agree with him – to pay off debt one should ensure that they are not getting into more debt be it because the ‘need’ a new car or simply because…well, because we are all human and our big brains play tricks on us all the time. Like the one where we borrow more against our house and think we have paid off our debt!

You may have already read my confession; yep I am a Marxist by intellectual conviction and have socialist leanings by inheritance and upbringing. Hence an article on The First Million is the Hardest really had my interest. It argues the case for the increase of the minimum wage in the US. I was impressed; but I was even more impressed by the way in which it was done by putting up the five most common myths used to argue against and busting these one by one. Go read it: these myths are used anywhere.

Pauline, I am so sorry to hear about your BF’s friend; this is bad but this is/was South America. Some of the countries are stable at the moment but as  Kurt Vonnegut said ‘Taking into account the past, do we have any hope for the future?’. I would like to think we do but what the solution to the multiplicity of socio-economic and cultural problems, I have no idea. I can just feel for you and your BF.

When I read the post on Krantcents where he makes the case against paying off your mortgage I wanted to use an expression The Blogess uses and which, Anglo-Saxon four letter words aside, translates into ‘I wish I wrote this one first; really’. Go read it – this may cause some of you to stop, take a deep breath and stop focusing so single-mindedly on paying off your mortgage. It is good for emotion but rationality tells us otherwise.

Finally, I love this article. My blogging buddy and virtual running partner Average Joe (we have already agreed that he is anything but average) tells the story of ultra running (my dream and please don’t say anything) and the power of ‘big, fat, audacious goals’. You know I would love a post like this, don’t you? Go read it!

Over the last week, The Money Principle was included in six carnivals:

Yakezie Carnival at Abstract Aucklander
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at 20s Finances
Carnival of Financial Planning at Life Insurance By Jeff
Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at The Savvy Scot
Carnival of MoneyPros at Money Reasons
Carnival of Retirement at My Personal Finance Journey

Thank you to all who noticed and noted our articles and a big thanks to all our readers: without your support our blog would be an empty shell.

Finally, for the lovers of the bizarre please have a look at this picture

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What do you think this is?

So long and speak soon!