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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.
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 ! :-)
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.
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 :-)
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 ! :-)
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 !!! :-)
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 ! :-)
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%)
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 ! :-)
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 ! :-)
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...
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.