Posts Tagged ‘Zen’

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What’s Wrong With Failure? (via Magiawen’s Hideout II)

January 8, 2011

Below is posted an excellent commentary on the positive aspects of failure. It can be best described by the following fallacy: “this thing we (often) call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

There is no failure except in no longer trying. -Elbert Hubbard A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing. -George Bernard Shaw If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. -Mary Pickford So anyway. We have all these quotes and adage … Read More

via Magiawen's Hideout II

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Financial Truth and Zen

January 5, 2011

How much time do you spend talking (or arguing) with your partner about money? We have the tendency to view our finances as an external variable and we react to situations  as if they are uncontrollable stresses forced upon us. This is a great fallacy. I have said this many times, that your financial health is simply the result of the effectiveness of your reality, decision making, and planning. We all have dreams and desires, but you cannot go into the casino with 10 dollars and expect to win 10,000. Maybe you’ll win 15 or 20 or maybe you’ll lose it all but don’t expect more than that.  I believe this is the same faulty thinking that affects a lot of Canadians. They outspend themselves out of a desire for a life that they wish they had, but probably (because of their circumstances) cannot afford. There was a time when I was no different. Many years in fact. If your lifestyle dreams do not align with your financial situation you have two choices: adapt your lifestyle dreams (which I consider to be a terrible sacrifice); or adapt your situation.  I agree that somewhere in there is a perfect balance, but the point is that we must learn to be harsh with our realities. It is true that we could all learn a lesson in delaying our satisfaction. I forget who said it but: “if you forgo going to the beach today you will  own the beach later.” Believe me, it doesn’t take much for the financial stresses of our lives to be whisked away. It’s all discipline and goal setting.

From one of my favourite sites, “Financial Zen,” is an article called “How to Get Financial Peace of Mind.” This paycheque-to-paycheque living is a ‘cancer’ to our lives. He starts the article by saying:

“Our finances are one of the things in our lives that stress us out the most. If we’re trying for a stress-free life — with stress-free productivity, working and living environments, waking early, morning routines and the like — then we need to address our finances and find routines that will keep the stress of money to a minimum.”

There are very simple (though our society has become ever incapable of implementing these) solutions. He explains:

“Let’s address these each with some simple solutions:

  • Get out of debt. This is often the first necessary step. But how do you do this? First, monitor your impulse spending urges to stop the bleeding. Use a debt snowball as a plan to get out of debt. Also see: How I save, How to stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and How I ended my affair with the credit card.
  • Pay your bills as soon as they come in. This is one of the easiest ways to eliminate stress over bills. When you get your power bill, write a check, put it in an envelope, and mail it the next day. Or if you bank online (and you should), go to your computer, log in, and send your electronic payment. To do this, you’ll need to develop a bit of a cushion in your bank account, so you always have enough to pay the bills as they come in.
  • Make your payments automatic. I’ve covered this before … it’s an great alternative to the above method. Instead of paying bills as they come in, you can set up automatic payments and automatic savings payments online, so that as soon as your paycheck comes in, your bills get send out and a certain amount is transferred to savings (or investments). Either method works great.
  • Develop a financial security net. This is something you should also do right away. First, if you are married or have any dependents, you should get life insurance right away. Do your research and make sure you’re getting the right policy for your needs. Don’t get whole life insurance — it’s not the smartest investment. Second, look at your other insurance to see if it meets your needs, from auto to homeowners to renters and more. Third, make sure you have a will — this might not seem necessary if you are young, but if you have any dependents, this is a must. Fourth, develop an emergency fund — right away. I know, it’s something that everyone advises, but if you don’t have at least a small emergency fund, you will never have financial peace of mind. Build it up to 3-6 months worth, or whatever you need to feel secure.
  • Review your finances at least weekly. To get a sense of control over your finances, you have to monitor them. Be sure you’re balancing your checkbook at least once a week, to ensure that you don’t have bounced checks or debit transactions. Even if your bills are automatic, you’ll still want to make sure they’re going out. Take the 10-20 minutes every week that’s necessary to look at your budget, your expenses, your income, and make sure you’ve got everything under control. If you’ve got a partner, do this together.
  • Talk about money with your partner. Money can be a huge stressor on a relationship. It’s important that you talk about money on a regular basis in a non-emotional way, as hard as that may sound. It’s crucial, in fact, to the survival of your relationship. You both have to be on the same page, or you will eventually argue and have major crises about your finances. You need to talk about your financial dreams and goals, your spending patterns, your budget, your income, your savings, debt, financial security, bills and the like. If you don’t already do this, it may take awhile in the beginning, and be difficult. But try to do it as a team, and not accuse each other of anything, don’t blame, and try to be positive and constructive. Over time, it will get easier. At the minimum, devote 10-20 minutes each week to reviewing your finances together, reviewing your goals, and making sure that you’re together and seeing eye-to-eye. It will make a major difference in your relationship and in your stress level.”

Doesn’t this sound appealing. Well it is, and it’s not difficult. You just have to make the decision. Life is only the acceptance of decisions and nothing else. The same holds true here.

Thank you to http://zenhabits.net/financial-zen-how-to-get-financial-peace-of-mind/ for the info.

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Busy-ness redefined…

October 12, 2010

You know, I read this article lately called “The End of Busy” (http://zenhabits.net/end-of-busy/). There has been a large movement against the bravado of the all-to-familiar response to the question: “how are you?”  The answer, unfortunately, lies in the quip:  “I’m great, really busy.”  Busy-ness as an ideal state of productivity is actually counter productive. The article calls it “a fool’s game.” Instead, it says that “busy is simply noise, action without meaning, lots of little unimportant things rather than a few important ones.” Can we not transfer this to the theory of investing for the future? I refer you again to my often quoted statistic that shows that: “from 1984 through 2000 the stock market surged by 16% a year. In the same time, however, the average investor in a stock fund earned only about 5%. By pursuing the crowd, investors lost two-thirds of the profits they could have.” Just as in life, this ‘busy-ness” (which if you look at it spelled “business” you will extrapolate a sort of irony), actually erodes two-thirds (in the analogy) of your life through ineffectual, half-finished, and emotional fickleness. It is illogical to believe that you’ve finished what you’ve started if you’ve continued to deviate at points in the interim. Establish the foundation of protection, and grow with the trend that has existed in perpetuity. Through a holding of that space, you will actually earn more.