Passed Over for a Promotion…and Happy About It

As I said when I started this site, I want to be very open, honest and transparent with you about my life and financial situation. That’s because I want you to be comfortable here, and view this as a place you can share without fear of judgment or scorn. In that spirit, I want to talk about a recent “setback” that happened to me at my day job. I put “setback” in quotes because to me, I don’t really view it as a setback. Let me elaborate. Back in August I was asked by the chief of staff of the government agency in which I work to interview for a major promotion. Without getting into details, the job would have put me in a supervisory position and responsible for approximately 200 people. I would be responsible for a budget well into the millions. I would also technically have become a public figure, open to lawsuits and also responsible for the actions of my employees. It would have come with a 50% pay raise, and I would have been making a significant amount of money. I knew the job was available, but I purposefully did not apply. I’m not sure why, … Read more

Lifestyle Design: What is It? Part One

A lot of people ask me “what is lifestyle design?” To them, it sounds weird. Almost cultish. This is a strange comparison because lifestyle designers usually succeed by painting the mainstream as cultish and slavish. Lifestyle design has been around for a long time, since the age of Aristotle and Socrates, and probably long before them. In its most basic form, lifestyle design is about making conscious choices to better your life. Because everyone has varying definitions of what a better life means, there are gurus and self-help artists for every range of demographic and interest. Lifestyle design is usually focused on our wants, after our basic needs of food, water, clothing and shelter have been meant. It is the exploration of idle time, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed that we desire a life of idle time. That’s what makes lifestyle design so fun. It’s a way to say Fuck You to the Establishment, the tastemakers who tell you what to wear, and where to go on vacation, and even worse, tell you that you must work 50 hours per week for 40 years before you can join the elite club of the retired. And the most insidious thing about … Read more

The Best Investment for 2012 is YOU

A lot of people are wondering what the best investment will be for 2012. If you are afraid of uncertainty and want a guaranteed return, then the best investment you can make is investing in yourself. I’m no economic expert, but with what is going on in Europe with the Euro crisis, and our own unsustainable levels of debt in the United States, I cannot envision a scenario where 2012 is a good year to invest in equities. We are not going to suddenly find a way to pay off our national debt. We will likely see the US dollar become stronger, which will weaken our export markets, leading to deflation and the devaluation of our currency. So what do I mean by investing in ourselves? The easiest way to do this is paying off your debt. If you have $20,000 in credit card debt at 10% interest, paying off that is a guaranteed to earn you 10%. It is highly unlikely that you could put that money somewhere else that will earn you more than that. This is because debt is like a negative investment. It makes no sense to be piddling your money into an IRA earning 5% … Read more

How to be Immediately Successful

No matter what new endeavor you are undertaking, whether it’s starting a business or trying to get out of debt, there’s only one way to be immediately successful. Before I go on, I must clarify. There are actually two ways to be immediately successful. One if them involves a “lighting strikes twice” stroke of luck that instantly solves your problem or allows you to immediately accomplish your goal. Let’s pretend you woke up today and said “I want to get out of debt.” You drive straight to the gas station and immediately purchase a scratch off ticket that nets you $75,000. Problem solved. You were immediately successful. But we all know that this never happens, and we shouldn’t count on it happening to us. So why is it important to succeed immediately? I’m not really sure, perhaps it feels good? And failure feels bad. But what if we could redefine success, and do it in a way that helps us accomplish our goals? Well, good news is: we can. Here’s how. Let’s take getting out of debt for an example, since we already have our lottery ticket analogy. The key to being successful immediately is to consider yourself a student for … Read more

How to Save for Christmas Presents

With Christmas just around the corner, I am reminded about the yearly struggle that is the credit card bills of December and January. If not properly planned for, Christmas shopping can derail your family budget at a time when it is so easy to fall off the wagon. But with proper planning, you can take steps to make sure next Christmas does not catch you off guard. So what is the best way to save for Christmas presents? I suppose the most logical answer is “monthly.” This way you are spreading the pain of Christmas spending through the entire year, allowing you to stick to your budget during the holiday season. This creates a good feeling as you start the new year knowing that you were able to stick to your plan. Consider using an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account. For my family, I use SmartyPig, which is a fun way to create individual savings goals which operate as subaccounts to your SmartyPig account. If you use a service like this, you can put away $100 bucks per month (or more, or less), and have that money available as you enter the month of December. Even better, SmartyPig … Read more

On HubPages and Lifestyle Design

Writing at HubPages.com has become more enjoyable than I thought, which is why I have devoted 100% of my efforts to getting a good amount of articles posted. At this point, I am nowhere near a passive income stream that is worth mentioning. Maybe enough to buy some breath mints. Some of my latest writing has been on social commentary, like my post on why I hate Facebook. I’ve also discussed the Albert Pujols age controversy, which is timely because he is currently in talks with a few different teams. I also discussed why people shop at thrift stores, and thrift shopping, and confessed my addiction. But lately, I’ve been reading a lot more from my favorite lifestyle designers, and this has committed me to the cause of helping you change your life for the better. If you are willing to take the ultimate step of actually living your life for you, a lot of walls and barriers will be broken down. You quickly realize that the rules are being written by those who profit from them. Why the hell do you think that retirement advisers say you need $2million in the bank when you retire? To sell you retirement … Read more

How to Get Out of Debt – The Debt Warfare Approach

If you make a good income and are fed up with being in debt, and sinking deeper each month, then it’s time to get serious. Every day in debt is a day longer before retirement. Time is what you are ultimately giving up, which has more value than any fiat currency. Paying off your debts and making tough sacrifices is the only way to reclaim your time. Don’t work a day longer than you have to.Here is how I have paid off, and am still paying off, debts.   Combine Finances – If you are a newly married couple and are wondering if you should combine finances, my advice is to do it. It took my wife and I a few years to do this, mainly because we were both independent and proud people who felt they could take care of their own bills and payments.   The mistake we made is not seeing our debt as our debt. Once we combined finances, we combined forces. It also gave us a sense of being in it together. This is critical to the Married with Debt strategy. As long as one partner is not on the plan, your efforts and dreams of financial … Read more