More

It seems that we’re constantly in search for more. More money, more time, more freedom, more happiness.

I’m actually looking for my space on my computer, prompting this post.

And I started thinking about all that I already have. And it’s a lot. I think we accumulate a lot of stuff. Would I like more time? Sure, but I could be using the time I have a little better.

More money. Absolutely! But I don’t need to be spending the money I do have on things that aren’t enriching my life.

We often focus so much on the more, we neglect the why. And if you’re not appreciating what you currently have, then do you really need more of it?

Week’s Highlights

Some of the things that caught my interest this week.

If you’re thinking about how you’ll make it to retirement, here are six suggestions from NBC’s Kelsey Butler in January of last year. I’ve been thinking about retirement accounts a lot over the past couple of months, having blown through three of them over ten years.

The Tim Ferriss podcast with my hands-down favorite author Neil Gaiman. I first read Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek last spring (listened to the audiobook, twice in a row on several trips across Florida). Gaiman’s Neverwhere I read as a high-schooler, and that was my first introduction to the author. I’ve since read just about everything he’s written, including the Sandman series (straight through and then with the annotated editions from Leslie Klinger), American GodsStardust, and The Graveyard Book, to name a few.

If you have an Aubible subscription, get Sam Shepard’s True West, the West End production featuring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow) & Johnny Flynn. It’s a free download for subscribers (up to two Audible originals each month), and it’s really good.

Unroll.me. I was slow to get this one, but it really works! I’ve gone from a couple hundred emails a day down to less than 30. I’ve still got some clearing out to do, especially across multiple email addresses. but thus far, this has been an amazing help. Plus, its single daily email with previews of each email you’ve rolled (not unsubscribed but not individually let in) gives me one place to see if there’s anything there that I need.

 

April Reading

Books Bought:

  • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
  • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
  • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

Books Read:

  • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
  • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

Hide your stash

Focusing on personal money is a stressful prospect. Seeing the rises and falls, the balance changing, seemingly out of your control, can imbue a feeling of powerlessness. That’s why the best investors and gamblers view their pools of available money as resource, not expendable cash.

The adage among drug dealers is to never use your own stash. The same can be said for the money that you pay yourself first – savings, retirement, major expense fund… Be careful that you’re not using the resource that you set aside for your self – for your future.

That’s your stash. Don’t use it.

Consider the email

Emails are no longer tools of communication. What began as a seemingly efficient way to relay information has become a crutch and a weight, both relied upon and holding us back at the same time. What could be said of medications, alcohol, or other substances that provide temporary relief but not a permanent fix, so do does email simply enable our addictions to instant gratification and-over abundant information stimuli.

One suggestion for taming the email beast is from Joshua Harris, as reported by Money:

Unsubscribe, then just check email once a day.

The first step to managing your inbox is to get rid of any emails you don’t need. Unroll.Me shows you everything you are subscribed to and lets you unsubscribe to anything you don’t want with one click. Then use a batched approach to archive, delete, or respond.

I check email once a day. I do it after lunch so I can complete critical tasks in the morning. Then I turn off auto-fetch on my apps so I don’t get notified when new emails come in. If you have an iPhone, you can request notifications just for important emails so you’re alerted of anything high priority.

Work emergencies or time-sensitive items should be communicated to you through Slack or similar communication software. That will reduce your anxiety and prevent you from checking email compulsively like I used to. Joshua Harris, founder of Agency Growth Secrets; teaches entrepreneurs how to start, grow, and scale marketing agencies that help businesses grow

Adulting 101

Had drinks with my friends following a birthday dinner the other night. I think there are things that you talk with lifelong friends about that you don’t talk to anyone else about. At least, not to the fullest extent.

  • I shared some issues I was having in my personal life, both emotionally and with a relationship.
  • We spoke about issues relating to money, and homeownership.
  • We talked about working, and having a business.

There are classes in school that teach so many facts and stats, but where are the principles of adulthood? Where do you learn how to file taxes, or make a budget? Where do they get off saying that student debt is okay, when really it’s the largest portion of debt now in the United States, and it places American students with outstanding debt on uneven footing.

Out of our discussion, we came to the conclusion that schools should have an actual class, and that life lessons in those classes become progressively more challenging each year. Budgeting, taxes, investing, business ownership vs. being employed, college vs. trade school.

No tests would be necessary, but each student must annually present on what they’ve learned, what they hope to accomplish, and a career path that interests them. Not an elective, like home economics or shop, but an actual dedicated curriculum spot for every student.

That is Adulting 101.