balance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4482/all en-US 6 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending From Blowing Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_christmas_gift_000027797353.jpg" alt="Woman learning to balance holiday spending and debt repayment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays can be stressful, and not just from family or too much junk food. Money is a huge factor, too. In fact, last year, people added an average of $986 to their debt over the holidays.</p> <p>Rather than increasing your debt this holiday season, you can instead balance your spending with your repayment plan. It takes a little work, some creativity, and some juggling, but it's completely within the realm of possibility.</p> <h2>1. Prioritize Minimum Payments</h2> <p>Before you plan any holiday spending, make sure you can at least make the minimum payments on any debt repayment you currently have going.</p> <p>Sure, you want to pay more than the minimum required amount on your debt, even during the holiday season. But you have to balance your priorities. If you value spending on gifts or other holiday items more than paying down debt right now, it's probably okay to take a single month and spend differently than usual. Just make sure that you are ready to get back to your normal payment plan in the next billing cycle.</p> <h2>2. Don't Add More Debt</h2> <p>After you've set aside money for at least the minimum required payments on your debt, make a firm commitment to do whatever you need to do to keep from adding to it over the holidays. That might mean making gifts yourself or buying less than you have in the past.</p> <h2>3. Write it Down</h2> <p>Decide how much you're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-shopping-bonuses">spend for the holidays</a> and how much you want to put towards debt repayment. Then write it down. If you are deciding with a partner, make sure <em>each</em> of you writes it down. Something about the act of putting a goal on paper makes it more real, so it feels like truth and not just possibility. Keep these numbers somewhere where you can look at them before you make any purchases or payments.</p> <h2>4. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Plan out how much you want to spend on each gift. Price out items online first to ballpark amounts. This will help you figure out what is realistic, and you may find that you can't get everything you'd planned on. Having a plan will also help you feel like your goals are achievable, and not just wishful thinking.</p> <h2>5. Creative Gift Giving</h2> <p>If you choose to prioritize debt repayment, or you simply don't have enough money to cover your minimum payments and holiday gifts, get creative. Offer to spend some one-on-one time with someone close to you. Invite them over. Make hot beverages at home, and have a nice, deep conversation.</p> <p>You can also offer to help people. Give someone a housecleaning, do some yard work, offer an evening of babysitting, and more. They will be appreciative, and you will get to give a gift that won't cost very much at all. In fact, sometimes these sorts of gifts are more thoughtful than anything you can buy.</p> <h2>6. Make Gifts Meaningful, Not Massive</h2> <p>Even if you do choose to purchase gifts, go for something meaningful over something expensive. Despite what the commercials want us to believe, a new mobile phone isn't usually a special gift. Instead, choose a smaller gift that will bring to mind a special memory that you share with someone, or that shows how well you know them.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to balance holiday spending with debt repayment? And how will you choose gifting creatively this holiday season?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again">How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management balance bills gifts giving Holidays spending Thu, 10 Dec 2015 16:00:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1618553 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Get Your Life Back Into Balance http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-your-life-back-into-balance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-get-your-life-back-into-balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-5097926-small.jpg" alt="woman on fence" title="woman on fence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us feel like we are overworked, overwhelmed, stressed out, and stretched way too thin. Our to-do lists are never ending and our sense of accomplishment is never satiated. We are, it seems, endlessly searching for a &quot;fix&quot; that just doesn't exist. And it's keeping us from achieving that balance we know we need.</p> <p>But what exactly is balance?</p> <p>Working less and playing more? Having time to devote to personal pursuits or family and friends? Living a balanced life is all those things and more.</p> <p>Finding balance is about finding your center. It's letting go of expectations of what &quot;could be&quot; so that you can fully experience &quot;what is.&quot; It's having your priorities in order, knowing the difference between having it all versus having enough, and seeing the wisdom in choosing the latter so that you can sample a more diversified plate of all that life has to offer.</p> <p>So, let's talk about how to attain it.</p> <h2>1. Learn to Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>We have a tendency to promise more than we can deliver. We agree to projects and deadlines and commitments because to do otherwise somehow makes us a bad person.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's OK to say no. <em>No, I don't want to&hellip; No, that doesn't work for me&hellip; No, I can't make it&hellip; No, not right now.</em> Saying no gives you the freedom to say &quot;yes&quot; to the things you really want to do, the things that actually bring you joy but are always postponed because you're too busy with everything else.</p> <p>You can still be helpful. You can still &quot;pitch in&quot; and be a team player. Just learn how to also say &quot;No.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Let Go of Guilt</h2> <p>And while we're on the subject of saying &quot;no,&quot; let's look at one of the reasons we often say &quot;yes&quot; &mdash; guilt. Guilt is a nasty emotion. Even the tiniest dose can cause us to agree to do all sorts of things we don't really want to do, because we imagine some unspoken obligation. And then when we can't accomplish everything on our list, or we don't perform up to our highest standards, guilt steps in again to point out what a failure we truly are.</p> <p>But let's be honest. No one, not even the most organized, efficient task-master can do everything with total perfection, all the time. And once we stop beating ourselves up for being less than perfect, we can start to relax and appreciate all the good things in life.</p> <h2>3. Release the Need to Overachieve</h2> <p>Of course, saying yes to others isn't the only obstacle to a balanced life. Sometimes, that pressure to succeed comes from within.</p> <p>When I was 14, I mapped out my first official Life Plan. I was going to be a lawyer, a doctor, a scientist, and a teacher. I also planned to get married, have five kids, and write a couple of bestsellers that would produce royalties for years to come. And while enjoying all this success, I would master the guitar, martial arts, and at least two or three foreign languages while growing and selling organic vegetables from my 200-acre farm.</p> <p>Okay, so I'm a little overly ambitious, but it wasn't &quot;having&quot; the lofty goals that was the problem. It was the feeling that I had to achieve all of them within a certain time frame. The more time that passed, the more I felt I was falling behind.</p> <p>The result was a schedule that was constantly filled with &quot;stuff,&quot; from classes at my community college to extra projects at work to a multitude of hobbies that I couldn't possibly do all at once. I stayed in a constant state of overextension and sure enough, I eventually burned out.</p> <p>The moral of this story? Never stop reaching for the stars, but be content to collect them one at a time.</p> <h2>4. Stop Multitasking</h2> <p>Author Gary Keller (&quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1885167776/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1885167776&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MKLY7RDPLBQILCLQ">The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results</a>&quot;) wrote, &quot;Juggling is an illusion... In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession... It is actually task switching.&quot;</p> <p>That's essentially what we're doing when we're multitasking &mdash; juggling several tasks at once. I used to think that my ability to multitask was an asset, especially given my tendency to overachieve. At any given time, I feel like I have 90 different thoughts running through my head, and I can think those 90 different thoughts while simultaneously performing three additional tasks.</p> <p>But I've come to realize that it was actually slowing me down and making life harder than it really needs to be. Instead of really focusing on the &quot;One Thing&quot; that I need to do, I get distracted and end up doing pieces of several things, leaving me exhausted at the end of the day but not really feeling that I've gotten anything accomplished.</p> <h2>5. Let &quot;Good&quot; Be Good Enough</h2> <p>When I design a website, it's not unusual for my clients to have a list of edits and tweaks they want to make once they've seen the finished product. And that's to be expected. But sometimes, those edits and tweaks lead to more edits and tweaks, which then sparks completely new ideas and approaches for the design.</p> <p>And that too, is to be expected. They want the site to be perfect, after all. They want it to be as big and amazing as the vision in their head. But at some point they have to say &quot;good is good enough&quot; and launch, otherwise that website will never get off the ground.</p> <p>That doesn't mean they can't go back and make changes down the road. They just need to accept that the &quot;perfection&quot; they seek may never be realized; that there will always be edits and tweaks, no matter how much time and effort we put in. It's just the nature of the beast and the sooner they let go of the need for perfection, the sooner they can start to enjoy what they've created.</p> <p>The same is true with all the other aspects of your life. If you're waiting for perfection, you're going to be waiting a long time. Sometimes, you have to let good be good enough, so that you can move on to something else.</p> <h2>6. Meditate</h2> <p>I've mentioned meditation in previous posts, but I'll do it again here because it's an essential component to a balanced life. Meditation not only quiets the mind, it also encourages focus, increases your creativity, improves your stress levels and, according to Harvard researchers, meditation switches specific disease-fighting genes into the &quot;ON&quot; position.</p> <p>In short, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/harvard-yoga-scientists-find-proof-of-meditation-benefit.html">meditation is good for ALL of you</a>&hellip; body, mind and soul.</p> <h2>7. Choose</h2> <p>This last one might seem obvious, but of all the tips I've listed here, it's the one we forget the most.</p> <p>If your life seems out of balance, if you don't feel your days are everything they should be, then you have to choose to make them better.</p> <p>Yes, you may have obligations and responsibilities, you may have financial challenges or credit problems or other obstacles that keep you from traveling the world and living like a king. But that doesn't mean you can't still consciously choose to be happy, that you can't decide to do things that bring you joy and give you the balance you need. Quite the contrary, you're the only one who <em>can</em> make that kind of change and until you do, your life will continue to be out of balance.</p> <p>Steve Jobs once said, &quot;I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.&quot;</p> <p>That's a question we should all be asking and making adjustments to ensure our answer is frequently &quot;Yes.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you keep yourself balanced? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-your-life-back-into-balance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-protect-your-personal-time-from-work-and-be-happier">9 Ways to Protect Your Personal Time From Work and Be Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now">The Happiness Habits: 7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now">9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating — NOW!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprisingly-simple-ways-to-motivate-yourself">6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity balance happiness productivity work-life balance Tue, 13 May 2014 08:36:45 +0000 Kate Luther 1139069 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Balance Multiple Jobs Without Losing Your Mind http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balance-multiple-jobs-without-losing-your-mind <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-balance-multiple-jobs-without-losing-your-mind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-4363009-small.jpg" alt="jobs" title="jobs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on balancing multiple jobs, better ways to invest your tax refund money, and saving on your home entertainment system upgrade.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/how-can-i-balance-multiple-jobs-without-losing-my-mind-506383398">How Can I Balance Multiple Jobs Without Losing My Mind?</a> &mdash; To balance multiple jobs without losing your sanity, pursue work that builds your career. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://onecentatatime.com/10-best-top-ways-to-invest-tax-refund-money/">Better Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund Money</a> &mdash; Consider using your tax refund money to start your own business or give your house a makeover. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/save-on-your-home-entertainment-system-upgrade/">Save On Your Home Entertainment System Upgrade</a> &mdash; Save money when upgrading your home entertainment system by purchasing a refurbished system. [Sweating the Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/05/10-things-you-should-write-in-your-productivity-journal/">10 Things You Should Write in Your Productivity Journal</a> &mdash; Use a productivity journal to write down your memories and the things you wouldn't say. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/05/6-powerful-tips-to-help-you-strengthen.html">6 Powerful Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Focus and Achieve Your Goals</a> &mdash; Strengthen your focus and achieve your goals by learning how to delegate. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2013/05/15/advantages-of-taking-college-classes-over-the-summer/">Advantages of Taking College Classes Over The Summer</a> &mdash; One of the advantages of taking college classes over the summer is you pay a lower cost. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/3-simple-ways-to-save-money-lawn-care-this-summer/">3 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Lawn Care This Summer</a> &mdash; Doing your own lawn care can help you save money this summer. [Narrow Bridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Graduation-Cap-Ideas-30500137">6 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Graduation Cap</a> &mdash; Decorate your graduation cap to thank your mom, dad, and of course coffee! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/12-ways-to-have-fun-while-in-the-hospital">12 Ways for Your Child to Have Fun During a Hospital Stay</a> &mdash; Use board games and decorate to help your child have fun during a hospital stay. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/05/14/9-unconventional-ways-to-let-go/">9 Unconventional Ways to Let Go</a> &mdash; To let go and move on with your life, write down your troubles and torch them. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balance-multiple-jobs-without-losing-your-mind">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-side-jobs-for-book-lovers">6 Great Side Jobs for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-as-an-ebook-writer">Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-retirement-jobs">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-68-best-ways-to-make-money-that-are-actually-fun">Flashback Friday: 68 Best Ways to Make Money That Are Actually Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income balance best money tips jobs multiple jobs Thu, 16 May 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 974116 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Balancing Love and Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4274605855_af963614af_z.jpg" alt="money heart" title="money heart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="190" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on tips for balancing love and money, saving big on winter utilities, and how to start an IRA.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Money-Issues-Relationship-2945202">10 Tips for Balancing Love and Money</a> &mdash; When balancing love and money, it is important to make a joint spending plan. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/save-on-winter-utilities-with-these-universal-tips/">18 tips to save big on winter utilities</a> &mdash; To save big on winter utilities, repair water leaks on faucets and toilets and open your drapes on sunny days. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/how-to-start-ira-or-roth-ira/">How to Start an IRA (or Roth IRA)</a> &mdash; When deciding where to open an IRA or Roth IRA, take into consideration the trading fees of any brokerage you are considering [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/07/07feb12c.cfm?slider#.URkxpIXxJl8">Saving 20k as a 20 Something</a> &mdash; Save more money in your 20s by opting to eat out for lunch instead of dinner when meeting with friends for food. [The Dollar Stretcher]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/states-with-no-income-tax/">States With No Income Tax</a> &mdash; Are you sick of paying income taxes? Consider moving to Florida or Washington. [Generation X Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/20-cheap-and-fun-date-ideas/">20 Cheap and Fun Date Ideas</a> &mdash; Need a cheap yet fun date idea? Go to the driving range or go stargazing. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/retirement-planning-in-your-40s/">Retirement Planning in Your 40s - Making Retirement a Priority</a> &mdash; If you need to make up for lost time when it comes to retirement planning, try to hold onto your cars for longer than you normally do. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/run-your-business-more-efficiently/">3 Strategies to Run Your Freelance Business More Efficiently</a> &mdash; To run your freelance business more efficiently, take advantage of your resources. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id17808-18-personal-finance-facts-you-didnt-know-about-us-presidents.html">18 Personal Finance Facts You Didn't Know About US Presidents</a> &mdash; Did you know the President gets $19,000 to spend on entertainment each year? [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/21-valentines-day-crafts-for-kids">21 Valentine's Day Crafts for Kids of All Ages</a> &mdash; This Valentine's Day, have your kids make love rocks or marshmallow love bugs. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-things-that-money-just-cant-buy">The things that money just can&#039;t buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle balance balancing best money tips love money Tue, 12 Feb 2013 10:48:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 967797 at http://www.wisebread.com Finding Balance: How to Practice Moderation http://www.wisebread.com/finding-balance-how-to-practice-moderation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/finding-balance-how-to-practice-moderation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6063386541_81db776efa_z.jpg" alt="holding cake" title="holding cake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've been taking these exercise classes recently that I think are the most &quot;LA&quot; thing I've done since moving here &mdash; they build long, lean muscles through low-impact ballet techniques (thank you, LivingSocial). Recently, this fitness company has been trying to push a cleanse. I'm not here to debate the plusses and minuses of cleansing, but I would like to tell you about the line they keep pitching with &mdash; &quot;Want to eliminate sugar cravings once and for all?&quot;</p> <p>Uh, no!</p> <p>OK, eliminating the <em>craving</em> for sugar isn't a bad thing. I'll admit, when I eat less sugar, I don't crave it as much (or what satisfies my craving is generally much less sweet). And I certainly feel better when I'm eating things like fresh fruits and vegetables instead of big ol' slices of cake.</p> <p>But, on the flip side, I love <em>everything</em> about dessert, from making it to eating it. Rather than eliminating sugar from my diet, I'd much rather only eat sweets occasionally &mdash; and when I do, enjoy them instead of feeling guilty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself Right Now</a>)</p> <p>Often, when we read about self-help techniques &mdash; whether they're for finance, fitness, or something else &mdash; the stories that rise to the top are the extreme ones. It makes sense. When people are able to stick to extreme changes, their results are also often extreme. So we celebrate the people who drop 100 pounds or eliminate all discretionary spending. But following the same methods can be incredibly difficult; while all work and no play isn't likely to make you quite as crazy as the guy in &quot;The Shining,&quot; it can make you give up on your goals entirely.</p> <p>I'm not saying that extreme plans can't be followed, or that they won't produce great results. But I am saying that they are usually not long-term solutions. Rather, a combination of balance, forming new habits, and mindfulness are the keys to long-term success. Here are some suggestions to try when practicing moderation.</p> <h3>1. Don't Have a &quot;Cheat Day&quot;</h3> <p>Somehow I ended up with subscriptions to multiple women's fitness magazines (don't ask). One of the ideas I see repeated over and over is the cheat day &mdash; &quot;A day when I can eat anything I want!&quot;</p> <p>My problem isn't with the day as much as the mindset. If you have to cheat from your normal routine, what does that say about how much you enjoy the other six days of your week?</p> <p>Allowing yourself indulgences is definitely a great way to practice moderation and stay on track for your goals, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/delayed-gratification-and-the-secret-to-will-power">delaying gratification</a> has all sorts of benefits, from saving you money (if you decide later that you don't actually want what you were thinking of purchasing) to increasing the enjoyment of your indulgence when you get it. But instead of having a cheat day, try thinking positively about your actions as a whole.</p> <p>Take a two-pronged approach to attacking your goal. First, focus on the end result, and remember that most worthwhile things in life take effort. Then, find ways to enjoy and celebrate the <em>process</em> &mdash; whether you're trying out new healthy ingredients, going hiking with someone you love talking to, or organizing a challenge with your friends to see who can come up with the best free night of fun. Then, when you do treat yourself to something, it's just icing on the cake.</p> <h3>2. Enjoy Things That Are Meant to Be Enjoyed</h3> <p>Speaking of thinking positively...I can't tell you how many times I've eaten too much of a delicious dinner, only to complain about my weight between forkfuls. Or purchased drinks and had a great time with friends, only to start fretting about my bank account.</p> <p>Own your decisions. If you're indulging in something, enjoy the heck out of it. There's little point in treating yourself to something you &quot;like&quot; if you're going to spend your time whining about it.&nbsp;Remember, there is always time for worry in the future.</p> <h3>3. Moderate Your Moderation</h3> <p>When writing this article, I came upon a HuffPo piece about &quot;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/everything-in-moderation_n_953804.html">The 'Everything in&nbsp;Moderation' Myth</a>.&quot; The article's title, however, is more attention-grabbing than accurate. Rather, the piece is more about how people &quot;rationalize eating anything as long as they keep below their daily calorie limit &mdash; or put in extra time at the gym.&quot;</p> <p>Moderation doesn't mean you should have anything and everything; it means that you're choosing to enjoy things that bring you pleasure. Again, this is an issue of mindfulness. Split that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">delicious slice of cake</a> with a friend. Get one killer new dress instead of four decent ones. Moderation isn't a free-for-all excuse, it's a way to appreciate things.</p> <h3>4. Remember That Life Is Long</h3> <p>Go overboard? Don't beat yourself up over slip-ups. Our lives are the result of several decisions and habits that take place over years and years. Vow to do better next time.</p> <h3>5. Listen to How You Feel</h3> <p>If you <em>are</em> complaining constantly about your weight, or your budget, or something else, don't just keep complaining &mdash; take action! Your life will not change if you do not change it. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-a-better-relationship-with-money-make-plans">Make a concrete plan</a> for how you're going to improve your life &mdash; one that sets goals and deadlines, but also has some flexibility, so you're more likely to stick to it long-term. Because, well, everything in moderation, right?</p> <p><em>Do you practice moderation? What are your favorite techniques? Share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-balance-how-to-practice-moderation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials">Learn All the Frugal Skills You Need With These 9 Great Video Tutorials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands">5 Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Luxury Brands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Personal Development balance dieting spending freeze treating yourself Fri, 29 Jun 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Meg Favreau 936945 at http://www.wisebread.com Youth and Money: Finding the Frugal Balance http://www.wisebread.com/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/603139197_af9798439b_z.jpg" alt="young woman with a bandaid" title="young woman with a bandaid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At a relatively young age, there are several decisions you must make that will set you on a certain path for the rest of your life. If that&rsquo;s not daunting enough, add money to the equation &mdash; the frugal habits you learn (or don&rsquo;t learn) now can affect the security of your finances well into your retirement years. &ldquo;But I&rsquo;m young, I&rsquo;ll worry about that later,&rdquo; you might try to argue. Unfortunately, refusing a financial education now can produce disastrous results.</p> <p>So if you don&rsquo;t want to be broke at age 65 but you want to enjoy your youth while you still have it, how do you strike a balance between work and play? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-student-discounts">The Big List of Student Discounts</a>)</p> <h2>Stay Ahead of the Pack</h2> <p>Math isn&rsquo;t as useless as many students make it out to be. It may not be a fascinating school subject, but in regards to financial matters, it&rsquo;s one of the most important subjects you&rsquo;ll ever study. Many colleges and universities offer basic personal finance classes, but since they&rsquo;re generally not required for non-economics majors, many people choose to pass on them.</p> <p>To give yourself an edge over your peers, <em>take this class.</em> Read up on the subject if there are no classes in your area. Wise Bread&rsquo;s archives are overflowing with helpful articles on nearly every aspect of personal finance imaginable, so inform yourself as much as you can on the subject. This knowledge, if applied in real life, ought to provide you a secure financial future while a few of your peers live paycheck-to-paycheck for the duration of their working lives.</p> <h2>Focus Less on &ldquo;Stuff&quot;</h2> <p>As a wise fictional character named Tyler Durden once said, &ldquo;The things you own end up owning you.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now, <em>Fight Club</em> may not be the best source of information when it comes to personal finance matters, but there is truth in the above statement. With each passing generation, we seem to become more and more focused on acquiring as much &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; as possible. Why? Because technology is improving, prices are declining (relatively speaking), and our culture is washed in advertisements and a &ldquo;keeping up with the Joneses&rdquo; mentality.</p> <p>In this never-ending pursuit for more things, impulsive spending problems are common. Perhaps the credit card debt crises affecting millions of people around the world could be blamed on this mindset, but regardless of the core reason for our spending problems, one lesson stands out &mdash; exercising restraint when it comes to buying something (even food items) is enormously beneficial to your finances. The younger you learn how to separate the needs from the wants (and make your purchases accordingly), the better off you&rsquo;ll be long-term.</p> <h2>Balance Is Key</h2> <p>Enjoy life now or later? Does it have to be a choice between the two? Sometimes it seems that way &mdash; when you&rsquo;re young and the world is at your fingertips, it&rsquo;s natural to want to live it up as much as possible before nuisances such as rent, bills, and a nine to five job come into the picture. The problem? Lack of money. Then there are your golden years, when you&rsquo;re done with working. You're probably funded by Social Security at this point (and a 401(k) or IRA if you planned well), and the world is, once again, at your fingertips. The problem? Your body and level of energy simply aren&rsquo;t what they used to be.</p> <p>The key to solving both aforementioned problems is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">find a balance in your life</a>. Don&rsquo;t waste away your youth by overworking in hopes of an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trading-work-for-never-ending-weekends-how-to-retire-early">early retirement</a>. Of course, you also don&rsquo;t want to get into the habit of spending everything you make, or you&rsquo;re going to have nothing when it comes time to retire.</p> <p>Balance comes from informing yourself about personal finance, knowing when to back off on saving, and knowing when to splurge a little and enjoy your youth while you still have it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/balancing-living-in-the-now-with-planning-for-the-future">Balancing Living in the Now With Planning for the Future</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-independence-is-more-than-just-a-number">Financial Independence Is More Than Just a Number</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living">A Beginner’s Guide to Frugal Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/im-financially-free-now-what">I&#039;m Financially Free. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Retirement balance beginning frugality impulsive spending Tue, 01 May 2012 10:00:18 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 926053 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Bring Your Life in Balance http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-bring-your-life-in-balance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-bring-your-life-in-balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/542055417_bbdcda26f3_z-1.jpg" alt="Bring Your Life in Balance" title="Bring Your Life in Balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on bringing your life into balance, finishing what you start, and money saving tips for the holidays.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/7-powerful-actions/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ChangeYourThoughts+%28Change+your+thoughts%29">7 Powerful Actions to Bring Your Life in Balance Today</a> &mdash; Bring balance into your life by listening to the people around you. [Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/11/29/finish-what-you-start/">Finish What You Start</a> &mdash; Make sure you finish what you start by figuring out how to track your progress. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bucksomeboomer.com/money-saving-tips-for-the-holidays/">Money saving tips for the holidays</a> &mdash; Save mone this holiday season by buying in bulk. [Bucksome Boomer]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2011/11/five-retirement-surprises.html">Five Retirement Surprises</a> &mdash; When you retire, it helps to keep a routine. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mint.com/blog/how-to/holiday-tipping-guide-2011-112011/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyMint+%28Mint+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">Holiday Tipping Guide: 2011</a> &mdash; This holiday season, remember to tip your gardener the cost of one visit. [MintLife Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-gift-ideas-for-the-person-on-your-list-who-has-everything">Parenting Squad Holiday Guide: 10 Gift Ideas for the Person Who Has Everything!</a> &mdash; If you are shopping for someone who seems to have everything, consider getting them a gift card to their favorite restaurant. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Holiday-Finance-Career-Tips-6421346">7 Savvy Tasks to Do in December</a> &mdash; This December, remember to plan for upcoming expenses. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.themillionairenurse.com/2011/12/01/9-money-saving-reasons-to-garden/">9 Money Saving Reasons To Garden!</a> &mdash; One benefit of gardening is that you can sell your extra fruits and veggies at the local farmers market. [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getdebthelp.org/5-reasons-not-to-apply-for-store-cards/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Getdebthelporg+%28Getdebthelp.org%29">5 Reasons Not to Apply for Store Cards</a> &mdash; Don't sign up for store credit cards. They don't always have the best terms. [GetDebtHelp.org]</p> <p><a href="http://www.financiallypoor.com/guest-post/8-ways-to-reduce-your-gasoline-consumption/">8 Ways to Reduce your Gasoline Consumption</a> &mdash; Reduce your gasoline consumption by making sure your tires are properly inflated. [Financially Poor]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2011/11/money-go-round-carnival" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">Money Go Round Carnival</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;"> &mdash; Be sure to check out the Money Go Round Carnival, published on Sunday!</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2011/11/podcast-bryan-j-busch-interviews-james-roberts-author-of-shiny-objects">Consumerism Commentary Podcast</a> &mdash; Also, tune into the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. This week, Bryan J Busch will be interviewing the author of Shiny Objects, James Roberts. You won't want to miss it!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-bring-your-life-in-balance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-balance-how-to-practice-moderation">Finding Balance: How to Practice Moderation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-your-life-back-into-balance">7 Ways to Get Your Life Back Into Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise">5 Apps That Pay You To Exercise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development balance best money tips Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:01:31 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 807572 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: Work Less, Live More http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-work-less-live-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-work-less-live-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/work-less-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of Work Less, Live More" title="Cover of Work Less, Live More" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="124" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1413307051?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1413307051">Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement</a> by Bob Clyatt.</p> <p>Early retirement is a topic I've always been interested in.&nbsp; The particular version of it that this book deals with--living well on less money, as a means to getting by without having to work at a regular job--is not only interesting, it's the life I'm living.&nbsp; Allowing for the fact that it's aimed right at my own personal sweet spot, I liked it even better than I expected.&nbsp; It reads like the author started following me around a year ago, figured out exactly what questions I needed answered, then carefully and thoughtfully wrote a book to answer them. &nbsp;</p> <p>The book is aimed at people interested in &quot;semi-retirement,&quot; by which he means people who want to (or have to) work less, but who aren't in a position to (or don't care to) stop working altogether.&nbsp; There are an increasing number of people in that situation:</p> <ul> <li>people who are burned out on their old careers</li> <li>people whose skills no longer match the job market</li> <li>people who want to spend more time with their families</li> <li>people who want to focus on interests (art, music, writing) that don't pay enough to support them</li> </ul> <p>About half the book is about money, because for most people, money is the limiting factor in making the sort of lifestyle choices the book is talking about. &nbsp;</p> <p>There's a chapter on frugality (which is necessary before semi-retirement, to free up cash for saving and investing, and then necessary after semi-retirement, to make that modest portfolio last).&nbsp; It's got some good information on how to include less-than-annual expenses (like major home repairs, replacing a car, and so on) in your planning.</p> <p>There's a chapter on investing, with a focus on asset allocation and setting up a portfolio that will earn a good return without too much volatility.&nbsp; It starts with basics, like low-cost index funds, then expands on it just a bit (adding investments whose values aren't strongly correlated with those, to help stabilize your portfolio's value).</p> <p>There's a really good chapter on figuring out how much of your investment portfolio you can safely spend each year.&nbsp; It covers a lot of the same information I cover in my article on <a href="/how-much-do-you-need-to-retire-how-much-can-you-spend">How much you can spend in retirement</a>, and ends up in about the same place, but he's got an interesting twist that I think is really valuable.</p> <p>Others who have looked at this have concluded that you can probably spend about 4% of your capital the first year, and then increase the amount you spend each year by enough to keep you even with inflation--and expect that the return on your investments will add up to enough to maintain your portfolio indefinitely.</p> <p>There are several negatives with this strategy.&nbsp; If you have a bit of good luck in the market--especially good luck early--your portfolio might grow quite substantially.&nbsp; In that case, just growing your spending to match inflation might seem a little meager.&nbsp; On the other hand, if you have some serious bad luck in the market, continuing to take the inflation-adjusted draw could burn through your capital very quickly.</p> <p>The intuitive solution is to go ahead and step up your withdrawals in good years, while cutting back slightly in bad years.&nbsp; (Cutting back drastically might be even better, but most semi-retirees are already living frugally enough that it might not be practical to cut back to just 4% of a portfolio that was sharply reduced after a severe downturn in the market.)</p> <p>What Clyatt has done is put some numbers to that intuitive solution.&nbsp; He proposes that you feel free to spend 4% of your portfolio each year:</p> <ul> <li>In a good year, you get the full benefit of your portfolio growth. &nbsp;</li> <li>In a so-so year your 4% might just barely (or not quite) match inflation, but a semi-retiree can probably deal with that.</li> <li>In a poor year, your 4% might shrink so much as to produce an actual decline in the amount of money you can spend.&nbsp; In that case, Clyatt says, you can go ahead and spend 95% of what you spent last year, putting a floor under the amount your available cash can shrink from one year to the next.</li> </ul> <p>And here's where Clyatt provides some real value.&nbsp; That 95% value isn't arbitrary.&nbsp; He tested it.&nbsp; If you'd started following this strategy for any 40-year period since 1927, you'd not only <strong>not</strong> have run out of money, your portfolio would have at least maintained its value.&nbsp; Over 10, 20, and 30 year periods you'd sometimes see a decline in value, but no instance when the portfolio ran dry.</p> <p>For me, just that analysis is worth the price of the book.&nbsp; The stuff on taxes is just a bonus.</p> <p>The rest of the book is about other aspects of being a semi-retiree.&nbsp; There's stuff on finding the right work--meaningful, remunerative, and not as stressful as the full-time work you're semi-retiring from.&nbsp; There's stuff on dealing with no longer being part of the work-a-day world.&nbsp; There's stuff for couples, if one or both of you is suddenly spending a lot more time at home.</p> <p>It's worth comparing this book to Timothy Ferriss's <a href="/book-review-the-4-hour-workweek">The 4-Hour Workweek</a>.&nbsp; The &quot;work less&quot; theme runs through both of them, but Ferriss focuses on making a bit of money from something other than a regular job, and then on convincing your regular employer to let you turn your regular job into one where you don't need to show up all day every day.&nbsp; Clyatt doesn't have anything about that second&nbsp; part (dealing with your boss), and a different focus on the first (work that's meaningful and low-stress, rather than maximum return for minimum hours).</p> <p>I've also previously reviewed <a href="/book-review-retire-on-less-than-you-think">Retire on Less Than You Think</a>.&nbsp; It's a good book, but it's focus is largely on how a retiree can live cheaply without much loss in standard of living--and I was a little underwhelmed by the insight that you can retire on less money through the magic of spending less.&nbsp; (If you--or perhaps your spouse--needs to internalize that message, it's a great book.)</p> <p>If you've already got that part down, then <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1413307051?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1413307051">Work Less, Live More</a> may be a better choice for you.&nbsp; It doesn't skimp on the frugal living part, but it assumes you can figure a lot of that stuff out for yourself.&nbsp; (It does have a good section on health insurance for early retirees.)&nbsp; If you've ready to deal with the details of being a semi-retiree--or planning to be one--this is a great book.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-work-less-live-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-retire-on-less-than-you-think">Book review: Retire on Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-cash-rich-retirement">Book review: Cash-Rich Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-reinventing-collapse">Book review: Reinventing Collapse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-ragnars-guide-to-the-underground-economy">Book Review: Ragnar&#039;s Guide to the Underground Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need">Book review: The Only Investment Guide You&#039;ll Ever Need</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Career and Income Retirement balance book review books frugality retire retirees review Tue, 22 Apr 2008 13:12:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 2031 at http://www.wisebread.com How to be happy http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-be-happy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sailboat-cabo.jpg" alt="Sailboat near Cabo San Lucas" title="Sailboat near Cabo San Lucas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of happiness (and unhappiness) comes from within. But there are other things that matter a lot: relationships, doing important work, living your life according to your values, having a spiritual aspect to your life.</p> <p>Lynnae at <a href="http://beingfrugal.net">BeingFrugal.net</a> posted today on &quot;<a href="http://beingfrugal.net/2007/09/06/what-do-you-need-to-be-happy/">What do you need to be happy?</a>&quot;:</p> <blockquote><p>If I learn to find joy in family, friends, and my relationship with God, stuff doesn’t matter. Sure, nice things might add convenience or a momentary spender’s high to my life, but in the end they don’t really bring happiness. True happiness comes from within.  </p> </blockquote> <p>She&#39;s hit the nail on the head as far as stuff goes. But there&#39;s a complex relationship between the happiness that comes from within and the joy that people find in family, friends, and their spiritual life.</p> <p>Part of being happy is simply brain chemicals--the fact that antidepressants work proves that. (The book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0140266712?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0140266712"><cite>Listening to Prozac</cite></a> has a fascinating exploration of the implications.) Part of being happy is simply part of each individual&#39;s makeup--studies of people who have suffered a loss show that most people return to a baseline level of happiness, even after a blow as severe as a crippling injury or learning they have a terminal illness. But those other things that Lynnae mentioned are also important, and I&#39;m not sure it&#39;s helpful to think of things like friendship or family as coming from within. </p> <p>Having a strong network of relationships--friends and family--is probably the most important factor in determining how happy you are. Having some sort of spiritual aspect to your life helps as well--having a connection with something larger than yourself can give meaning to all aspects of your life. But even that&#39;s not the end of the story.</p> <p>Another important part of being happy is living your life in accordance with your own values. Perhaps to Lynnae that&#39;s implicit in her relationship with God, but I&#39;m not sure it&#39;s always so simple. Even people of great faith (perhaps especially people of great faith) struggle to live according to their values. It&#39;s hard to be happy when you know you&#39;re falling short. Whether or not your actions reflect your values is something that you know inside you, but the actions affect the world, and whenever that&#39;s true, the line between inside and outside becomes fuzzy. </p> <p>Finally, I want to mention work. A lot of people work at something for which they lack passion--or even actively dislike. This is no good way to be happy. In fact, I&#39;d say it was impossible to be fully happy unless your work: </p> <ul> <li>uses your core talents, </li> <li> either helps people or produces something of value, and</li> <li>is respected by your peers.</li> </ul> <p>Since it&#39;s also important to provide for your family, a lot of people try to balance these things by having a &quot;day job&quot; purely to earn a paycheck, and having something else that they think of as their true work. Everyone knows that&#39;s a tough balancing act to manage. I&#39;ve done enough of that in my own life (and undertook to change only when I was virtually forced to), that I don&#39;t feel entirely comfortable counseling people to do otherwise. But if you go that route, do it with your eyes open. It&#39;s much better if your work and your day job can be one in the same. </p> <p>Happiness comes from within, but those other things--relationships, important work, living your values, and a spiritual connection--connect what&#39;s within to what&#39;s without, and you can&#39;t be happy without them. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-three-f-rule-can-lead-you-to-happiness">The Three F Rule Can Lead You to Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-when-to-walk-away-financial-planning-for-an-unknown-ending">Knowing When to Walk Away: Financial Planning for an Unknown Ending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Lifestyle balance happiness life work Fri, 07 Sep 2007 00:27:59 +0000 Philip Brewer 1116 at http://www.wisebread.com