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Stuck on these two videos - what talent !!

September 8th, 2011 at 10:50 pm

http://youtu.be/2dnp6N9jsLo

and

http://youtu.be/Fn0oozlCjRo

Sorry - I'm not great with computers - don't know how to embed them ! (if that's the term !)

Night-out Irresponsibilities & New Plan

April 18th, 2011 at 09:28 pm

So was out last Saturday with a friend and got very very drunk. Ended having my money and cell-phone stolen. All my own fault - for getting that drunk in the first place.

So yesterday, of course - the guilt set in - about losing the money - a week's take-home pay. Then I thought, well it could be worse, no-one died or got hurt. I realized that perhaps I view life too much in terms of dollar and cent.

My mini-breakthrough was that "money is only a some-time accompaniment of wealth".

In my mind, if you are alive - you are already wealthy. A beating heart, healthy lungs, a functioning stomach, clean air, clean water and of course food are all things that we mightn't think of as assets, but without them - we will not survive.

So I'm taking off my financial strait-jacket and am ditching my myriad savings goals etc. I am going to enjoy my life.

New Financial plan:

1. 25% of Take-home pay to Cash Savings.
2. 10% of Take-home pay to Retirement.
3. 65% everything else including F U N.

I am debt-free and intend to remain that way. But I just want to let go of my financial targets/identity for a while and just breathe. Live paycheque-to-paycheque BUT have no debt and be saving as outlined above.

Sufficient unto the day is the worry of it.

Swopping one False God for another ?

March 13th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

So we're all agreed here that:

1. Buying "stuff" unnecessarily only harms your financial future but also does nothing for your long-term happiness.

2. Debt should be avoided if at all possible.

3. Live below your means and you'll generally be ok.

Since I've become debt-free, I've acquired a new long-term Goal - to be Financial Independent - that is to say to not have to work for a living - to be able to live off the interests of my investments.

Given that my total financial worth (including retirement fund) at the moment is about 19,000 - that day is a LONG way away.

But today I've been wondering - isn't squirrelling away most of one's money now - postponement of living ? Do I want to be a rich 65 year old and to look back on 33 years of self-enforced deprivation ? What is the point ?

Isn't accumulation of 500,000 in a Savings account another type of "stuff". Yes it's more beneficial stuff but still the point is the same. I'm saying to myself "my life will be so much better and I will be free when I have X amount in the bank".

I don't know - recently I've came to believe again that this moment is all there is. The Future is only THIS moment later on - if you follow me.

I'm come across a bible quotation that doesn't receive much attention - probably mainly because it isn't guilt-ridden or prohibitive !!

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," MAT 6:34.

What do you think ?

I know Monkey Mama believes in striking a balance between now and then. But shouldn't NOW be primary as it is all there is and all there will ever be.

I'm not saying spend every cent you have now, I'm just saying denying the present moment in favour of a super-duper future is denying life itself.

Sorry if I'm rambling again ! :-)

An omen of Recovery

February 22nd, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I transferred a small pension plan (only about 1500 euro) to a new policy in March 2008.

Ever since then it has been dropping in value - however today it is back at the value it was in March 2008.

Is this a sign that things are getting back on track in the Stock Market very broadly pension fund speaking ?

I know that the nature of the Stock Market is not slow and steady growth - but rather sharp changes in the short term which smooth out over the long term - after all, that's how traders make money - buying and selling in short periods of time.

I dunno - I think it's at least encouraging that perhaps the current rot has stopped in pension funds and they're back to 2008 levels.

My Own Credit Card Provider

January 30th, 2011 at 05:42 pm

Have a Wedding come up in September where I will be a Groomsman and I was thinking to myself: Maybe I should get a Credit Card just in case I need money urgently ?

Then I thought I was mad for thinking that. CCs can be a real pain and can be such a temptation to spend unnecessarily.

Also - the Irish Government charges a 30 euro annual tax just for having a CC.

So have decided to set up an Internet savings account with a Bank and save 2000 euro in it (over the next year or two) and just, well, leave there as kind of a CC facility to myself.

If I'm ever stuck for money urgently, I just log in online and transfer money to my checking account. I will then "repay" the money when I can minus the usual CC interest.

Also the Internet savings account pays 3% interest so I'll be earning 60 euro interest annually instead of paying 30 euro tax to the Irish Gov annually.

Thank you Blogging friends for opening my mind to this way of looking at things !

Happy Sunday to All :-)

Giving percentage down.

January 3rd, 2011 at 02:22 pm

Happy New Year to all.

The only major change in my January 2011 budget is a drop in my Giving from 10% to 6.9%. I feel kinda bad about this but still 6.9% is not bad.

I made this decision as my non-food spending per month budget was running at about 200 per month while my Giving budget was running at 180 per month. So I felt too squeezed and I didn't want to decrease my monthly savings contributions.

I feel like I have gone to Confession to confess a Sin ! lol Catholic guilt and all ! :-)

Just checking In !

November 21st, 2010 at 08:21 pm

I am a pretty frequent lurker here but don't really have anything important to post financially so I don't really.

There is a blog that I heard about here called "earlyretirementextreme" that I also frequent regularly. The guy who writes it is so refreshing and intelligent.

Anyway, in one of his many thought-provoking posts he points out that most of us have a decision to make during our lives. Now I don't think many people ACTUALLY think seriously about this and make an independent decision - I think most people just go with the flow.

The decision is: Money or Heartbeats ?

To use my own situation as an example. I'm debt-free since earlier this year. I save money every month - a good percentage of my take-home pay with I'm happy with. Every month my Net Worth creeps up slowly but steadily. Fine.

However I have to work in a job (and I know I'm lucky to have a job at all) that is slowly, discreetly and insiduously sucking the life out of me. It tries to shrink my world-view to just that company and the crap that goes inside it.

Which is more important ? Meeting savings targets or making the most of every single heartbeat I have. Heartbeats are limited. I only have a fixed allocation of them. And I'm not obsessed with being a millionaire or anything. But I do want to feel alive... jumping out of an airplane alive... to feel that I lived the best life I could.

At the moment, I feel like I'm not on the same planet as living the best life I could ... but at the same time, every month I'm adding a good amount to my Financial Assets through this nice comfortable soul-destroying job.

Although I have been distancing myself from my sense of self and not taking things personally/seriously at work so that helps.

But I just feel like I'm exchanging TOO many heartbeats for the euros I'm accumulating.

Sorry if I seem whiney and self-centred. Maybe I am just that and neep to cop myself on !!! :-)

Possibly buying some seeds...

September 6th, 2010 at 09:18 pm

1. The Intelligent Investor by Mr Graham.

To educate me on share buying.

2. An 8 evening (3 hrs each) Scriptwriting course I am starting tomorrow night.

To show me the script-writing craft and hopefully set some creative fire bombs going off in my mind. To meet some kindred souls...

I'd call both items quality spending. Am looking forward to the course ! :-)

Becoming detached from Myself in parts.

August 22nd, 2010 at 09:12 pm

Emm.. This may be a slightly weird post... but I guess that is no surprise to anyone who read my previous ones ! lol

The only Financial idea I have to share is my Debt-Free Budget version 3.

Take-home pay (100%)
less Giving (10%)

Leaves 90%.

This 90% is then split in two.

45% to Savings. 45% to Spending including all expenses.

This Budget leaves me with not a LOT of discretionary spending money but with enough maybe. I'm not a Spender by nature and don't generally look for fulfillment that way. This is a new budget plan so we'll see how it goes.

Anyways the more substantial point is that I don't feel an emotional connection to my finances anymore. Or much Ambition. Up to recently I've had a secret desire to build up a large Savings account to build a buffer/cash cushion or whatever.

But now... I don't really care how much money I have in the future as long as I have enough. Now "enough" is of course subjective. To me, it means being able to pay the bills and live a fulfilled life (which, for me, has nothing to do with Porsches or 5-bedroom houses).

I dunno.. I guess I've been watching a lot of Eckhart Tolle and Krishnamurti videos on Youtube and I think I've began to become a tiny bit dislodged from my idea of myself. Not in a mentally unstable way I might add !! Just that I'm no longer the perpetually single little person with little money working in a factory desiring to meet an attractive female, travel the world and make/write some great films or documentaries.

The real me is bigger that all that. And the real you. The real essence of us all, I think, is that we are all expressions of Life exploring or playing with itself. We are all flowers that grow on this round ball in space we call Earth. It's the same Life Force that holds Pluto in it's orbit at the edge of our solar system, that causes a Rose to flower, that powers the whole Universe that is at the centre of all creatures on this planet of which we are one.

I've recently being feeling a lot less detached from other people in that I've realised that our Awareness is the same. The Consciousness behind our thinking minds is basically the same for all humans. The only difference between people is the outer frilly clothes of the Ego, habits, education, culture etc. So I share the same Consciousness with Monica Bellucci, Bill Gates and the homeless guy on the Street. It's just that we're packaged in different bodies and have had a different journey in life - but fundamentally we're all the same variety of flower.

So now I only plan this month's budget and that's it. Financially that's all I can do. I don't want to put Life on hold, squirreling away my money and Life energy for a luxurious retirement at 65. Look at Kris Kristofferson - still touring at 74 !! I think the thing is to do something you'll never want to retire from as opposed to exchanging life, time, youth and good health now for a supposedly great life starting at 65.

Dunno what my point is really. Sorry. Saw an Indian guy on Youtube say that to be really free, you have to give up Desires (or plans for future pleasure) and even give up the Desire to be Free itself. Freedom and Bliss await us now in this Moment. All we have to do is come up for air from repetitive non-important mental merry-go-rounds in our heads.

Emm.. Easier said than done. But apparently you don't have to spend 20 years meditating under a tree to find bliss, you just have to quieten your Mind enough to let Life (and it's plan for you) to flow through you.

The End. Sorry for the rambling and Thanks to anyone who has made it this far ! :-)

Update

July 15th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

My script idea wasn't picked for a Pitching Award at a regional film festival.... ah well... yesterday I signed up for a short evening course on Screen-writing... I'm looking forward to it.

Saw a great film at the festival called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. You should check it out if you see it.

No major news on the financial front. I'm moving to day shift in my job on Monday week which will mean less money but will mean a better social life. As I'm debt-free, I ok with losing the shift premium.

Oh... and I camped in the city where the festival was - 11 euro a night whereas a hotel could be anything from 80 to 150 a night. Even a hostel would be 18 euro at least.

All good ! :-)

How best to disregard Habitual Self-Doubt ?

June 13th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

So there is a small Film Festival happening in a City near me next month.

I went on the website and there is a Pitching competition that goes like this:

* You send your 500 word story idea on one page.
* All ideas are looked at by a panel.
* The best 5 are invited to pitch their idea.
* They take turns talking about their idea in public for about 10 mins in front of the panel.
* The panel picks a winner and gives them 3000 euro to help them write the full-length script.

It cost 30 euro to submit an idea. I presumed it would have been free to submit but, hey, it's not.

Anyway, I know that the idea of selling my idea in PUBLIC in competition with the other 4 best ideas is WAY WAY WAY outside my comfort zone.

But my idea would have to picked first. I have 4/5 of the film in my head and wrote down disjointedly so putting the 500 words together will not be a big labour.

But my pitiful little mind is throwing up things like "What are you thinking ? You'll never win" etc etc... Anyone who lack confidence in any area will know what I mean.

I KNOW that that little voice is a mental distortion and I should just ignore it but the thing is the little voice is very devious, deceptive and believable !!

Anyone any tips on shutting it up !! :-)

The deadline for submission of Idea is next Friday so I'm going to post it off on Wednesday to make sure it get's there.

Wish me Luck !! :-)

I'm just feeling like.. unworthy or something...

Hitting target for Giving

June 9th, 2010 at 01:50 pm

Under my new budget post-debt-freedom, all I could squeeze was 5.5% for Giving.

Was talking to my Aunty in America who's having a rough time of it recently and have decided to send her over 4.5% monthly to bring the Giving total up to the target 10%.

That feels quite substantial.

On one hand, I think "That's as much as I'm putting away into my retirement account - i.e. too much. Think what I could get if I invested it or added it to my spending money".

On the other hand, I think:

* I'm either going to give to others or I'm not. Waiting until I'm Financially Independent to give (i.e. have no money worries) may mean I never give because when can you have too much Independence ? And there will always be SOMEthing to spend money on (for example, I might say to myself that new TV really is a necessity for now - I deserve it).

* There is no future, there is only Now. When 1st January 2015 (for example) comes, it will be still be Now. Future is a useful mental concept for making plans/appointments etc but it is nothing but a mental concept i.e. you can't build your life on it. Give now or don't give.

* How will I feel if my Aunty isn't around in the future and I knew I didn't help her in her time of need ?

* I'm hoping, selfishly, that Giving will give me a feeling of wealth i.e. I've giving a substantial amount of my income away, therefore I'm ok financially. I can live without X amount per month - I have all the money I need. (Want is a different matter ! lol).

* Karma. Putting back into the World what you get out of it. Trusting in life. Focusing on relationships rather than dollar and cents etc.

Yeah... so there it is. I guess I'm arrived into a place of financial comfortableness if that's a word. I havn't got a lot in Western World terms but I have more than I need for Now which is more than most people in the World have when you think about it.

My First Festival Season !

May 30th, 2010 at 09:51 pm

So after buying my tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag I'm now going to put them to good use !

I'm already got a ticket to a 3 day Music, Body and Soul Festival in September - but that seems like quite a bit away yet...

So today I saw an ad for a Summer Solstice Festival happening over the weekend of 19/20 June in a neighbouring County. It sounds fantastic:

"The Body & Soul Gathering is not a gig, it's an experience. It's about reminding ourselves of the great musicians, story tellers, performers and artists that walk among us. It's about reconnecting with our culture and each other. It's about meeting with like minded people, progressive thinkers, healers, even a few kooky creatives. It's about feeling alive, inspired, excited by life. It's also about reminding ourselves what there's no time like the present to have a bit of good old fashioned fun!

In keeping with the ancient tradition, the weekend will draw to an end with a fire ceremony in tribute to the festival theme: Phoenix Rising. Marking endings and new beginnings, death and new life and the continuous cycle of change. Festival goers can create their own lanterns in an "illuminati workshop tent" and participate in the closing ceremony. "

I'm already 80% sold on going - I might buy the ticket tonight.

I'm looking forward to camping out in the countryside and meeting people with different takes on life - that's what really interests me !

Anyone feeling me ? :

May 27th, 2010 at 12:25 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfgU4iQr8PU

Love the lyrics and music - which is the whole thing really ! :-)

Debt-Free Budget in Practice

May 24th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

So here it is:

Rent/Bills: 22%
Retirement: 10%
Car Fund: 8.3%
Internet: 1.6%
Food: 4.4%
Long-Term Cash: 32%
Giving: 5.5%
Phone: 1.4%
Spending: 14.7%

I also use 8% of my Gross Annual Pay to buy Shares in my Employer to avoid paying Income Tax - I have to hold them for 3 years before I can sell. This 8% isn't included in the percentages above as they relate to my monthly take-home pay.

So pretty happy with it overall. The only one I feel a bit guilty about is the 5.5% Giving - I had previously said I wanted to give 10% - but 5.5% is a good start. I only have 14.7% to use on discretionary items which is not a lot - but we'll see how we get on.

Every week I work now, I know that 50% of my money is going to my long-term Financial stability - with an additional 8% going to running current car/buying next car.

Also I'm going to try putting 50% of any additional monies I get (e.g. Overtime, Tax Refunds) into Long-Term Cash and 50% in Discretionary Spending/Slush Fund.

I would like to have 50,000 euro in Long-Term Cash by the time I'm 35 - for a reason I'll go into another time - 4 years to achieve that - will see how that goes ! :-)



Back from Vacation

May 23rd, 2010 at 04:15 pm

Positive: Had a Great Time.

Negative: Spent more (a good bit more) than I had planned. Drank too much on one or two occasions. Acted like a jerk once.

Positive: Learned (again - but hey I'm Irish !!) that a lot of alcohol does nothing good for me - a little bit or nothing is best for me. My overspending may not hit my Cash Savings.

Basically I have 3 forms of Cash Savings:

1. 500 euro in my Checking account that I keep as sort of a personal overdraft to myself.
2. A Slush Fund - this is money that is destined to be spent at some stage - upcoming vacations, computer stuff, anything and everything really.
3. Long-Term Cash Savings. These are not to be touched and are for the long-haul. Except for buying assets - like a house - after I have "enough" cash in the Bank to feel safe.

My current situation (after vacation) is that my Slush Fund is gone but I may still have that 500 euro in my checking account. What I do is at the end of the month, I look back through the month's online bank statement and see if the balance dipped beneath 500 at any point. If it did, then I need to top up the checking account from the other 2 Cash Savings account.

Good News is that I don't think I'll need to touch the 600 Euro in my Long-Term Cash account - the buffer might still be there - just a luck thing with the days my pay-days fall on - and a bank error being refunded to my account.

Oh and yeah, I've realized I can be a jerk given a certain amount of alcohol which is knowledge I hope to integrate into my behavour in the future.

But yeah... Vacations are cool !! At the moment, am watching Michael Moore's Sicko - the French get 5 paid vacation weeks a year !! As well as Free Healthcare, Free Nannies and many other goodies... Ah.. maybe I need to brush up on my language skills !! lol

State of Play

May 9th, 2010 at 12:08 am

Recent Purchases: Tent, Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Mat. I bought new good quality ones that I hope I'll still be using in 20 years time. It was weird seeing the Tent (Marmot) coming with a Lifetime Guarantee - you don't see many of them these days !

These items were sort of a Debt-free present to myself - a practical present in that I expect them to pay for themselves many times over.

Anyways.. I've created a Slush fund. This is for Cash that is destined to be spent at some point in the future - it can also act as a first line of defense in an Emergency.

I have a Cash Savings Account that I don't want to touch - that I want to build up into a sizable amount - to be part of my Financial Independence toolbox. I mean before I start buying shares/funds I want to have a significant Cash cushion.

The Slush fund is where any money that is not spent in my monthly budget or Overtime etc etc goes and sits until I want to buy something or in case of emergencies.... This slush fund will be outside of my budget and so will be guilt-free spending... although there will be many competing potential uses for the money - I will have many inner debates on how much to keep in it & what to spend it on.

Currently I've 500 euro in it but that is earmarked for spending money for a week in Spain starting next Saturday. Life is Good. I may not even spend all the 500 - we'll see.

I also have about 600 euro in my Checking account acting as a buffer but I'm going to forget I even have that - I mean it's just to prevent me from going overdrawn at any point. I earn no interest on it but, on the other hand, it protects me from Bank charges for going unintentionally overdrawn.

I havn't been posting much recently. I've mostly just been reading the odd post here and there. I've become a bit detached from my finances in that now I don't think they add an iota to who I am as a human being. I sort of consider them as a working dog who I have to take care of, train and point in the right direction - but recently my sense of self has changed.

This quote from Eckhart Tolle TV points to how I'm feeling:

"The universe has conspired to put you here. The totality of all the molecules and atoms that are floating around the universe, some of them temporarily gathering together and manifesting what looks like a person. They were forged in the furnace of stars and in this amazing way it's all coming together; the totality of life has suddenly put you here. Everything is connected to everything else, it's all timeless."

Oh.. and I want to refocus on my Screenplay - it's bugging me from within - like a puppy scratching to get out of a cage.

Debt-Free !!!!!!!!!

April 28th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Took money from my Cash Savings, went into my Bank and paid off my Personal Loan - the last debt I have - I don't owe anybody anything - well apart from monthly payments like mobile phone and Internet but they're not really debt in that I can cancel if I wish.

So... yes... DEBT FREE !!!!!!!!

Note: I am not a home-owner so I don't have a mortgage. I am happily renting a room. I don't WANT to buy a house - in that it's not something that I feel will make me happy, excite me etc etc. Also I'm not 100% certain where I will be living in the next 3, 4 or 5 years and I really cherish my independence and freedom.

So my salary is totally mine at last. My effort is mine.

My Debt-Free Budget looks as follows:

32% into secure Cash Savings (Target 50,000).
10% into Retirement Account for the tax relief.
8% into Shares of my Employer (don't pay Income Tax).

50% - everything else - rent, bills, food, holidays, buying anything and everything. I'm going to put any overtime or any other money that comes my way into this "Spending" side of the budget so that I can treat myself from time to time. Life is for living right ? :-)

But of my basic Work Salary, 50% is to Savings of some sort and 50% is to Spending which I'm pretty happy with as a Single person on an average industrial income.

I feel like I've arrived at the Start Line of the Marathon as opposed to having finished at - as Financial Independence is still a long way away - but at least I'm heading in the right direction !! :-)

Words from a Cheap Flip-Card Calendar:

April 4th, 2010 at 01:50 am

"Love Life and Life will Love you back"

I read these words about 10 days ago and still havn't fully processed them yet..... so simple, so powerful and so true.

I am a Whale, a Neutron and Risen from the Dead :-)

March 15th, 2010 at 12:18 am

Travelled to Sligo in the West of Ireland today.

Climbed a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean - which has the 4500 year old tomb of Queen Meabh (an ancient Irish Queen) on it. AMAZING views - heavenly. The landscape hasn't changed (apart from buildings) since Meabh looked upon it.

Then gave 2 lovely American girls (one of them was cute as hell :-) ) a lift into town. Never got their names or where in America they were from - had a nice friendly conversation though - one of those sweet things that happen.

Then went for a Seaweed bath - my second one - a great experience - I went over the alloted 50 mins - but they didn't mind coz it wasn't busy at the time.

Cost - 25 euro.

Value = priceless as a life.

Whale

While in the Iron bath with my ears beneath the water, I could hear my pulse like a steam train turned down low -always there and strong. I thought of this as my personal timer - counting every second - as it always does - even when, most of the time, I can't hear it.
My tummy rumbled. Now I probably wouldn't have heard it if my ears weren't in the water - but they were and the sound it made underneath the water in the Iron tub sounded exactly like a Whale ! I did what whales do for a second.

Neutron

Then I thought about what I am basically. I am not this body - as is evident to anyone who has ever seen a corpse (e.g. at a funeral). Once death happens, the "spirit" leaves and all that is left is flesh and bones. This body will eventually return to the soil and enrich that soil as a source of nutrients. What this body is is a collection of atoms. Which will change over time from one compound to another. But even atoms are alive. Why ? Because they have Consciousness and Awareness. The Protons and Electrons in an atom are acutely aware of each other and thus acutely alive - responding to one another. What isn't responsive in an atom (at least to my limited knowledge) ? Neutrons - they are neutral. They just sit there observing so to speak what the Protons/Electrons are doing but not engaging in that dance.

So my Spirit is like a neutron - ever present, indestructible, eternal, not engaged in the dance of form yet at the same time always being right at the heart of form. There are neutrons in everything ! Yet I've never seen a neutron and will never probably.

At our level of Consciousness in the Animal Kingdom, my spirit is the indestructible awareness which leases me the space in which my mind exists - it observes my repetitive mental dialogue (the Voice in my head which I wrongly think is me) and my ego (my sense of self based on my past) without judgement and just accepts them as is. All power comes from that Spirit/Awareness. When I die, that Awareness will continue on into another form - whether that be soil, a worm, a rabbit or a cow.

What possibilities there are in this World for this bag of flesh and bones if I always acted from my background eternal Spirit and not from my Mental Dialogue or Ego ????? Endless I imagine.

Risen from the Dead.

Then I emptied the bath - with guilt for been in so long and with sadness at having to leave. And I was struck by the following:

I could stretch out fully in the bath with my feet resting on the vertical bit underneath the taps. My head and shoulders were slightly elevated on the opposite "slopey" side and I realised that at that moment, the empty bath was exactly like a coffin - sometime in the next 70 years (when the timer that is my heart stops ticking), there is no surer thing that I am going to be stretched out in this fashion - only then it will be in a coffin. So I crossed my hands, closed my eyes, quietened my mind, and just tried to be aware without thought or judging. This is the essence of me. Then I opened my eyes, turned my head and, in my mind, say "I love you" to all those who love me - and even those who don't love me - we are all part of the same universal Spirit.

Then I got out thoroughly relaxed and at peace and went to buy Mother's Day presents for probably the greatest love of my Egoic life at this point.

Just a special day.



Money as Ego

March 8th, 2010 at 02:01 am

So had a delicious hot bath last night - maybe a 90 min soak :-) It's beginning to become a Saturday night habit of mine...

Anyways have been giving attention to quieting my mind and turning off the constant mental chatter that normally fills my head.

I feel like I'm making progress. Last night, in the bath, I had a sort of minor transcendental moment while reading a poem called Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth.

It's main theme is that our true essence is at one with nature. And that once we realize that, we can call on that union with nature to sustain us even while in the middle of a city/crisis.

Our thoughts do not supply any happiness for the most part - most are concerned with worry or fear of some sort - or of avoiding future bad events.

I love the idea that we are not born INTO this world (i.e. come from somewhere else) but we are born OF this world - like a wave that comes out of the ocean and that will return to the ocean.

Given that money is either:

1. Pieces of paper that we all agree to subscribe value to.. as opposed to candy wrappers.

2. Electronic numbers in a Bank Account that have no basis in reality outside the Bank's computer system.

3. A status symbol - a way of differentiating one human being from another.

Doesn't money and financial planning just take us away from our true selves and away from the present moment ? Isn't our Divine Nature that is inherent in all living things our biggest asset ? I mean, when we start retirement plans and take on mortgages, are we just taking up our share in The Western World Incorporated and turning a blind eye to the joy of living - just living ?

Yes... if I lose my job, I would like to have a big Emergency Fund... but even if I didn't - you know what - it wouldn't be the end of the world - why not ? Because at least I'm not a soldier in Irag dying before my time or a man watching his children suffer in Haiti.

Money has become so personalised that it is almost part of who I am.

Money seems to be a favourite tool of the Ego. "When I have a million euro, I'll be so free and happy" so attention is took away from this moment (that will never be repeated) to some future moment (when I've a million euro) that may never happen.

Oh... I'm just tired of living in financial clothes that are too small for me, with the hope that all this under-spending will yield financial "liberty" some day.

I mean money is not evil in and of itself. But the time spent thinking about it takes away from this second right here right now that when I'm 90 years old on life support I won't be able to "buy back" with all the Tea in China.

Sorry if I'm rambling.. just trying to clear my mind a bit... :-)

Pension Bizness

March 4th, 2010 at 02:04 pm

Retirement Ramblings:

As things stand I'm likely going to have 3 sources of Retirement Income:

1. The Irish State Pension. Today this is roughly 200 a week.

2. My Employer Pension. This is dependent on Length of Service and Final Salary. And of course on the Scheme still be solvent in 35 years (which is not guaranteed). As I don't intend to spend a long time in my current job, I don't expect a lot from this pension if anything - maybe 20 euro a week at tops.

3. My Personal Pension/s. This is basically the money I put away out of my take-home pay towards Retirement. This will hopefully be my biggest Retirement Asset. Who knows what it will be worth in 35 years time (will depend on how much I earn in the future and investment growth) but I'm hoping a nice nest egg.

I worked in Britain for 7 months a few years ago and I recently received a letter from the British Government saying I'm entitled to 4/30ths of the British State Pension. And I can pay money each year for 26 more years to get the full pension. In today's money I'll have to pay roughly 400 pounds a year for 26 years in order to get say 90 pound a week pension on Retirement.

So 400 X 26 = 10400 in order to receive an annual pension of 90 x 52 = 4600. Pretty Sweet ! An awesome investment !

So I'm planning to make the additional payments all going well ! I hope the British Government don't change their rules on non-resident non-British people claiming British pensions - seems VERY generous to me ! (If I am understanding it correctly)

Slap in Face or Night of Passion ?

March 2nd, 2010 at 01:23 am

To relate this idea to finances - background - I'm a single male who desires to share physical pleasure with a woman I find attractive from time to time (once a week would be awesome... given that the distance between my seduction "successes" would from a scientific point of view probably be best measured in Geological Time).

Sex is important to me. Currently it resides in the realm of concept/fantasy. But recently I have become aware of how I "overthink" myself out of action in many areas of my life - including finding a lover. I want to stop thinking so much. And enjoy my body and allow my body to be enjoyed by others also. I am an animal-lover (that sounds so wrong in this context but you know what I mean !) and envy the way in which dogs (for example) sleep when they want to sleep, eat when they want to eat, drink what they want to drink and attempt to mount an attractive female when they want to... you know... there is something so honest and natural in it that it is beautiful.

They are playing out their minor (to the Universe) but major (to them) roles in the Greater Scheme of Things. Without Shame, Embarrassment or Guilt.

Why posting this on a Finance blog ?

Money I have spent in pursuit of a Sex Life:

1. Clothes.
2. Pick-up books (lost faith in these).
3. Drinks for women (have stopped doing this a long time ago).
4. Gone to Bars/Clubs thousands of times hoping to interact with attractive women.

Money I don't want to spend to attract sex:

1. Mortgage to jointly own a home with my lover in order to hold onto her.
2. Fancy gifts to hold onto a woman who I may feel (egotistically) unworthy of. Objectively I know all humans are equal worth-wise.
3. Paying for Dinner Dates when I'm more interested in getting the Lady into bed than finding out what she is really like.
4. Travelling to places like South America/Russia where I would be hoping that my European citizenship and relative economic superiority would allow me attract really hot girls who wouldn't pay attention to me in my home country.

You get the gist. Us men (some of us) can spend an awful lot of money in pursuit of a sex-life. Yes - in that department a lot of us are one-trick result-orientated self-serving ponies. We're designed so perhaps.

But does it have to be so ?

Especially when we are no longer expected to be the main Provider/Bread-winner ?

You see I don't really want a relationship. I want a sex-life. I don't want to lead a woman into thinking I want a relationship when I don't.

What is my point ?

I just read a blog of a former Call Girl (Belle du Jour) who has a best Male Friend who successfully operates a policy of telling a girl he has just met in a public place that he is more into having sex with her than marrying her (paraphrasing). Apparently he is very successful with this approach. What do you think ?

Should I stop seeing a sex-life as the end result of successfully passing the 3 month on-the-job-dating-screening-out-the-players-role-play that a lot of women seem to want to put men through and just go up to an attractive women and let her know that I find her attractive, tell her I'm interested in her physically and hope she's interested ?

Help !

I know it is SO true that you have to love yourself before anyone else loves you. For me I am more comfortable/content with myself than I have ever been in my life. A massive amount of self-love (resulting in attracting love) isn't the goal for me - a half-regular sex-life is.

I know my enlightenment as a human being is a far bigger experience than enjoying physical pleasure with a woman from time-to-time but I just want to dance that dance and enjoy myself that way.

Thoughts please ? Should I just act and react to what my body is telling me when I see a beautiful woman or should I continue to talk myself out of doing anything (she'd never be interested in me/ she probably has better things to think about at the moment/I couldn't afford to date a girl like that)?






Where I'm at..

February 23rd, 2010 at 02:35 pm

So been having a mini-slow-burn awakening of sorts over the last few weeks...

Have realised that 95% of my mental dialogue is repetitive, trivial, unproductive and uncreative.

I've realised this primarily by finding Eckhart Tolle on the web...

I've spent way too much time playing around with finances in my head... projecting myself forward into the future financially etc. In other words, making my daily life now subserviant to some far-off concept of Financial Independence/Retirement from Day-Job.

I've been letting the glorious moments of the present day past by without notice because I've been blinkered by the idea that having 100,000 in savings (for example) will make my life complete.

So have made a few small changes:

I was planning to be debt-free by next April. The only debt I have is a Bank Loan. The current balance is 4442 euro and the last monthly payment is due to be made in October 2010. I've decided to let the Bank Loan run it's course until Oct 2010.

I've taken 1000 out of my Cash-Savings and put it into my checking account as a buffer/overdraft to myself. I won't include this 1000 in any Net Worth-type calculations - it will be there as a buffer to save me from going overdrawn if anything unforeseen happens.

I'm not going to think of my car as an asset. Mainly because it depreciates every month and I don't like having assets that go down in value monthly. Also while it does give me a lot of freedom to travel, it costs me money as opposed to giving me money.

I've separated my Retirement Savings from my Bank Savings and Shares. Mainly because my Retirement Savings can't be accessed now/won't provide me an income for many years to come - so I don't want to think of them as assets until the day they start giving me an income. I'll keep contributing to them to avail of the tax-break.

Targets - I'm doing away with them. My life will not undergo a major transformation when my savings reach 20,000, 50,000 or 100,000 - and a lot of things unfinancial in nature will happen along the way - I could find a partner, have children, move abroad, change job etc etc These life-experience things will enrich my life far more than reaching a certain financial target.

I'm not saying I'm going to throw caution to the wind financially - I'm not. I'm just going to live my money life month to month. My current monthly budget will my primary financial thought process - as long as I am spending/saving this month's income according to my best interests, there really is nothing more I can do.

All the habitual playing around with numbers/worrying about numbers will not add an iota to life.

Bits n Pieces

February 11th, 2010 at 11:21 am

So hopefully... all going well.. I'll be debt-free this time next month !! It is kinda excited in an intellectual sense but I don't feel it emotionally yet...

I was debating with myself recently whether I should just let my loan run its course until October this year instead of paying it off next month but I decided to stick to my debt-free target of April 2010.

Incurred a 15 euro referral fee from my Bank - yesterday - not nice ! But my own fault. I usually have anywhere from 500 to 1000 euro in my bank account so I expected there to be enough there to meet my Brother's birthday present and a pre-emptive debt-free gift I bought myself - BUT my loan repayment went out at the same time so I was overdrawn for a day and the Bank charged my 15 euro for the privilege. My own fault - but I've become used to having that buffer in my Bank account so I've stopped worrying about not having enough money for purchases of less than 500. Live and Learn !

Also - my Bank which is a really good bank from a customer service point of view and which also pays 5% interest on money in my checking account is closing !! Bummer.

2 choices now. A bank that pays 2% interest on checking account but with bad customer service and queues OR a quieter bank with less queues and better customer service but no credit interest - I've decided to with the no interest bank as I value helpful friendly staff which this bank has.

The debt-free gift I bought myself is a week on holiday with my family. I didn't really want to go from a financial point of view as it will stretch my budget at the time when I am paying off the last of my debt. But I thought I will honour my family and spend quality time with them and also it will be a reward for becoming debt-free (which is a major thing for me).

This Guy is Amazing !

January 17th, 2010 at 12:35 am

I hear my mind calling him a modern day Buddha... but he is not... he's (just) a human being alive in 2010 like the rest of us.

But he has insight - AMAZING insight. He has touched me. 3 videos at about 18 mins each:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EpZ43Yjk-k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBe1kFcj8r8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EjlPvcgtiM

A point he made about a lot of people believing that the future is more important than the present/giving more precedence to the future than to the present has prompted me to re-examine my budget to see if I'm short-changing the present for some far-off concept of the future/retirement...

Just a thought :-)

One-handed typing

January 1st, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Fell on ice today - we're having the coldest spell in Ireland in nearly the last 30 years - it's going to be minus 10 celsius tonight which is very very unusual.
Anyways my right wrist had a dull ache after the fall - now (8 hours later) it is throbbing - go figure ! Hope it's better tomorrow !

My latest financial musings concern my debt-free budget in April: Should I fully fund my Emergency/Opportunity fund first and then invest in the Stock Market or should I do both at once ?

If I do both at once, I can invest in ETFs sooner rather than later and give them that extra year to grow (magic of compound growth).

If I throw all my resources at the Opportunity fund it will obviously be funded sooner - I'm aiming to save 15,000 in a high-interest secure Deposit account.

My knowledge of the Stock Market is not satisfactory and if I build up Deposit account first, then I will have a year or so to learn before I start buying the ETFs.

I was thinking about seeing a Financial Advisor but I've read several poor reviews of these guys and a lot of people recommending educating yourself and making your own decisions.

What do you think ?

Best way to enter Stock Market ?

December 30th, 2009 at 04:51 am

So will be debt-free by next April - all going well !

Have started playing around with my debt-free budget. Next April I'm going to have two new sources of income:

1. The money that used to be my debt repayments.
2. The money that I'll have saved on rent as I'll be sharing as opposed to living alone.

I'm thinking about splitting this new income roughly equally among 3 areas:

Opportunity/Emergency Fund, Retirement and the Stock Market.

As regards the Stock Market, I don't know an awful lot about it so don't want to get into stock-picking etc...

There's an Irish company that offers low-cost index-linked funds - some that interest me include European, US, Clean Technology and Chinese Index-linked Funds. The only fees are an Annual Management Charge of 1 or 1.5% depending on the Fund.

I saw Warren Buffett on Youtube recommending Index-linked funds to the average guy on the street.

Great - who better to listen to ? :-)

THEN.. I heard Suze Orman saying ETFs are a better way to go than Index-linked Funds. I think ETFs may be cheaper.

THEN.. I'm interested to a lesser extent in Funds that invest directly in areas that sound good to me like Water, Renewable Energy etc etc.. But I realise there's a risk in investing based on morals as opposed to how good or bad the underlying companies are commercially..

That's why I'm leaning towards Index-linked Funds or ETFs...

Just can't decide which - any suggestions ? :-)

Thanks

Met Net Worth Unofficial Goal Surprise !

December 22nd, 2009 at 01:08 pm

Inspired by Ceejay74, I tallied up my December 09 Net Worth.

Now I wasn't going to bother doing a December Net Worth and leave it to January as I've been stupid with my money at times this month and have had to take 776 back out of my savings to keep me from going overdrawn.

But I did it anyway... and it's up !! 10880 in fact ! So I've broken the 10,000 barrier for the first time in my life ! :-)

My retirement savings and shares in my employer's company were both up very significantly... I presume there must be a stock market bounce going on at the moment.

I've settled on depreciating my car by 100 euro a month so in 4 yrs it will be at zero (but still being driven by me hopefully !).

When I totted it up, I couldn't help feeling "Well, it would be 11,500 if I didn't take that 776 out "... but I'm still very happy - thanks to the stock market tho... which I realise could be down next month.. Ah well... Cest la Vie !

By the way, my unofficial Net Worth Goal is to increase it by 10,000 every year until I'm 40. So 20,000 by December 2010, 30,000 by December 2011.. etc etc

It's unofficial cause I've kinda given up on having financial goals - I like the idea of just doing the right things financially and lifestyle-wise and not punishing myself for small trip-ups... as long as I'm heading in the right direction... but it IS useful to have a target to aim for... God - I can be really contradictory !! lol

Accommodation Decision

December 17th, 2009 at 03:32 pm

Currently renting a 2 bed apt for 500 a month. Living alone. The extra bedroom is for storage/guests etc.

Lease runs out in March 2010.

Landlord is willing to give me a new 12 month lease from January 2010 for 450 a month.

However, if I was to share a house with other people, I can rent a room in a house for 200 a month.... some are even advertised for 185 a month.

I'm still hoping, despite this month being a self-inflicted financial disaster, to be debt-free by next April.

My goal from next April will be to build a 10,000 euro Opportunity/Emergency Fund. Now if I was to share a house then I could contribute 250 to 300 euro MORE to this goal every month. Which is a lot of money.

Now sharing has it's own advantages/disadvantages. Advantages include it's probably more social etc. Disadvantage is you might not get on with every one in the house. I also might find it hard to get quiet time to work on the screenplays I want to work on... I am distracted easily..

So what do you think ?


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