| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth


Not me!

Not me!

Yes, my friends, this is about three colours of mastery. Last Sunday was my karate grading and I had to miss it because I was in Krakow. Because waiting for three months when I am ready would have been much more than I could content with, my master decided that I’ll have my grading on my own, in front of the whole class, last Wednesday.

So, there I was standing and everyone’s eyes on me doing basic forms one and basic form three. I love the forms; they calm you down and you have to be completely focused and present. Otherwise you get it wrong and the power of the movement becomes this limp attempt at choreography.

This done, I had to do the one step sparring and wrist grips with my master who happens to be fifth dan black belt. Oh dear, talking pressure. Anyway, by the end of all this I have managed to make several mistakes: my grading performance was not one of my better ones.

After that I stayed for the second training session; it was mainly sparring. For my sins, in the five months I’ve been doing karate I’ve managed to become the favourite sparring partner of several black belts – they say that I don’t run away but I fight.

Last Wednesday I fought but…my grading mistakes were weighing on my mind. In karate, or even in a street fight as I remember, you lose your concentration and you get hit. By the end of the session I had taken quite a few accidental blows that I would usually block. All good fun; as I say I may have been ‘black and blue’ but you should have seen the black belts as well.

Oh, and now I am orange belt in Soo Bahk Do karate.

As to the ‘stand up and fight’ attitude it is a habit of a life time spanning most areas of my life.

Now let me tell you about some of the blog articles I’ve enjoyed reading during the last week.

Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents asked an interesting and contentious questions about the choice between keeping an emergency fund or paying off debt. I find this one fascination because it tangles different aspects of our lives. For instance, is we tap into our feelings and longing for security keeping a rather large emergency fund will win. But reason should tell us that the debt in many cases is the emergency and that a modest emergency fund suffices. We have gone to a ‘dam system’ where spare cash goes into an intermediary account (emergency fund) and then is moved to investments – this way we maintain a constant level of cash for emergencies. This level is calculated for our circumstances though.

Are retirement savings are frustrating or gratifying? I don’t know how you feel about it but I think it can be both – it is gratifying when one sees their retirement savings grow or at least keep their value. But when inflation, low interest rates and weak stock market performance bite it can get pretty frustrating. We know: one of the pension funds we’ve been building has been doing absolutely nothing for about twenty years. Which makes me reconsider the whole ‘retirement savings’ thing. There probably is a better way.

My faithful readers may have noticed that I have a lot of completely useless knowledge; I tend to collect facts that may be entertaining but have no other use. Naturally, when I saw an article about the body parts that celebrities have insured on the Frugal Guru Guide I was there, attention at full sharpness. Oh my! Madonna probably has spent on her breasts more than the $2 million they are insured for. And wtf is the matter with Tom Jones’ chest hair? Ha, got you there; if you want to know more go read the post.

Now, this one is easy. What to know how to make extra money? Go and read the summary of post on that on Barbara Friedberg’s site. Wealth of information there (pun intended).

Today is Father’s Day after all; and it doesn’t matter what I think about the commercialisation of our relationships – from love between couples to the love of our children – I have to recognise it. Particularly when there is real gem of a post on Len Penzo: nine money tips every dad should teach his children. Read it even if it is the only thing you read today!

I love it when one a personal finance blog there is something that goes against established wisdom. Everywhere we hear how we should invest in retirement and the earlier the better. Well, on the Money Crashers there is a post discussing seven legitimate reasons to delay retirement saving. Even more pleasingly investing in one’s career and education are two of the reasons mentioned.

Mr. Money Mustache published an article arguing that cycling is the safest for of transportation. A well researched article as usual; and as usual it is brimming with passion. Well, it may be safe statistically but I can still get killed – competing for the cycling lanes with double-decker buses is as far away from my idea of safety and fun as…well, very far. Also, in the Netherlands cyclists are the most dangerous form of transportation on the roads; and pavements…

Mochimac gets back to this old chestnut and asks why are people happiest when they earn $75,000 per year (about £50,000). Great posts and I suspect the answer is in the last point: happiness is a matter of comparison and the self reported ‘state of mind’ will tend to be reported mostly at the mean (or average earnings). Though there are exceptions and these are the people we have to pay attention to. But whenever the matter of happiness arises I remember my Danish PhD student who told me that the Danes may be the happiest nation on the planet but it is because the suicides cannot fill in the questionnaire.

Now, how has The Money Principle been doing?

During the last week we were included in the following personal finance carnivals:

Carnival of MoneyPros at This That and the MBA
Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at Master the Art of Saving
Carnival of Financial Planning at Money Soldiers
Yakezie Carnival at See Debt Run

Also, just in case you haven’t noticed, TMP has mover 90 places up on the Money Crashers Top PF Blogs; ok, I know that a lot of this is because of this unstable Compete Ranking thing but still feels good.

Let me get back to the useless knowledge I was telling you about. For some time now I have been wondering how much strippers earn. It is not because I am considering a career change – a bit late for this option – but because I know that drug dealers, academics and bloggers have one thing in common: they all work for below minimum wage for a long time and then very few get to the ‘rich pickings. Now I know (don’t ask):

An average stripper makes between $23 (£14) and $61 (£39) per hour.

This is all for today and will speak soon.

photo credit: Flavio~ via photopin cc