Saturday, November 7, 2015

Future Direction

It looks like most of my financial goals will be achieved in the next couple of months.  The first will be the mortgage: there is now only one payment left.  Other goals are likely to be completed shortly thereafter.  This means it will soon be time for action.

I've made decisions about many of the life direction issues that have taken me so long to untangle in my mind.  I finally have a tentative 2016 game plan for work, for leisure, for finances, for family, and even for how to end this blog properly.  In short, it's about how to change the trajectory of my life while I'm still in my late 40's.  I shall write about these ideas over the next few months as time permits.

Most of you are likely to be surprised by the details, and so I urge you in advance to keep an open mind.

Friday, October 30, 2015


I am the sea on a moonless night
Calling, falling, slipping tides
I am the leaky, dripping pipes
The endless, aching drops of light

I am the raindrop falling down
Always longing for the deeper ground
I am the broken, breaking seas
Even my blood finds ways to bleed

- Switchfoot, Restless

Some days I am content, happy with my life, and grateful for my blessings. Other days I am unbelievably restless.  Today is one of those days.

Of course, one of the key insights of life is to be content with the things you cannot control, but to use discontent to drive positive change in areas where you can.  While I have certainly made many mistakes, I have generally approached life from that perspective.  But lately, I have struggled tremendously to find the boundaries between what I can change and what I cannot.  Often it's just so unclear which things we can truly influence and change, and which things we cannot.

Sorry, everyone: there is no pithy connection to personal finance in this post.  Sometimes I have only questions and no answers.  As it should be.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Don't Bide Your Time

In the summer when the rain begins
Better hurry, don't bide your time
Better get all your winter things
Better gather, don't bide your time

Keane, Russian Farmer's Song

This has been a difficult and chaotic year, which has reinforced in my mind the importance of putting your finances on autopilot through processes and automation.  The saving, the investing, the giving - these should all be effortless.  The fact that these sorts of things glided along this year for me is an acknowledgement that things had been set up properly.

More recently, I've been able to get back to active pursuits in various areas.  Mainly this involves setting medium and long term goals and executing them.  I cannot stress enough how important this is to one's overall quality of life.  Study after study in all walks of life - athletics, business, health, relationships, etc. - all show the same thing: the chance of success is dramatically increased by setting goals and writing them down.  For any particular endeavor, only about 10%-20% of people have specific goals, and only about 1%-2% actually write them down.  Yet the high achievers almost all come from that small group.

I would also suggest monitoring your goals regularly to see if anything needs adjustment.  The way you plan and execute may need to be different for certain tasks or for certain times of life.  For example, lately I have noticed that I have been efficiently completing medium sized goals left and right, but my long term goals are mostly stalled.  Since the completion of long term goals is nothing more than breaking them down into medium size goals and executing those smaller goals, then clearly the problem is that my long term goals have not been broken down properly.  I am currently in the process of fixing this issue.

Remember that without goals you will be largely directionless.  This makes you vulnerable to wind up simply as a tool that someone else will use to fulfill their goals.  So either way, you will probably be working toward someone's goals.  Wouldn't you rather it be yours?