As some of you know, my husband Thom and I took a road trip in July. As usual, we were seeking a way to avoid the summer heat in the desert that we call home. As planned, we figured that a road trip to the Pacific Northwest just might be a great solution for part of that time. It was. Not only was the weather spectacular, we also met with family in Seattle, old friends in Kelowna, B.C., as well as a planned meetup with some of my friends who blog. With a little forethought and design we had a wonderful vacation. However, once we returned people continually questioned how it was possible to spend several months both traveling and renting out-of-town houses for over three months, while most people are stuck at home. And remember, we aren’t retired either. Our go-to answer is always, “Because we rightsized our life.” [Read more…]
Do you listen to podcasts? Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kim Acedo on her podcast Me Time Midlife Podcast. I enjoyed our “chat” so much and the opportunity to talk about rightsizing that I decided that this week while traveling I would share the episode with all of you.
I don’t know about you, but it took me a while to get into podcasts. Most of them do take a bit more time to listen to—but they are also very portable when on the move. [Read more…]
Are you a victim of “lifestyle creep?” No matter how good a rightsizer you are, and I tend to think I’m usually pretty good at it, chances are you occasionally find yourself slipping into the creep now and then. I know I do. That’s because in our culture, nearly all of us are continually lulled into slowly but surely living just a little more comfortably, a little more extravagantly, a little more indulgently than in the days, weeks and months before. How does that work?
Slowly over time, any spending that starts out as a splurge—like a $4.50 latte at Starbucks to treat ourselves, a pricey bottle of wine to celebrate, or going out to dinner on a special occasion—can gradually become an almost daily necessity if we make them routine. Those acts are often triggered when we start making a good salary or get a raise. After all, we have the extra money, right? And as that “creep” of spending just a little more than yesterday becomes a new norm, we often find ourselves needing more and more such “rewards” to keep us happy and satisfied. If we aren’t careful, we can reach retirement with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I believe a good cure for the dreaded lifestyle creep is to stay as mindful and focused on rightsizing as possible.
Most of us are uncomfortable talking about our money. I know I usually am. After all, few of us think we have all we could ever need—even the super wealthy. And if we are lucky enough to feel fairly comfortable about it, we don’t usually bring it up because we don’t want to appear insensitive to those who have less. Or maybe worse, we don’t want to jinx what we have. But, is it possible that how we feel about money is directly related to how we feel about life in general and ourselves in particular? In other words, is our relationship to our money happy, affectionate and at peace? Or is it sad, fearful and distrustful? Getting to the heart of those questions is the focus of a new book by Ken Honda titled, Happy Money—The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money. And some of his perspectives may surprise you. [Read more…]
If you opened the SMART Living Blog post email last week you probably noticed it was different. Rather than publish a full article like usual, I decided to take a short trip down to Baja Mexico with Thom and enjoy myself. And while that might not seem radical if you haven’t followed SMART Living 365 for long. But it was actually the first time in over six years that I’ve given myself permission to not post an article. And guess what? The world did not collapse and (thankfully!) you all did not unsubscribe. What it did do was allow to me pause and consider why I have felt so driven to stick to such a strict self-imposed schedule. More importantly, it reminded me that my definition of success and happiness as I enter my third-act of life is the guidepost that I want to follow at the present time. And perhaps my thoughts on this are something all of us can use regardless of our age. [Read more…]
As I mentioned last week, I confess to watching a certain amount of television in my ofttimes. While I tend to avoid reality programing, I do admit that every now and then I flip on HGTV. A few of the shows I’ve seen in the past are, House Hunters, Love It Or List It, and The Property Brothers. Yet even though I realize that these shows are meant as entertainment, I still find my husband Thom and I asking ourselves: “What are those buyers thinking?” Or even worse, “Who can afford that kind of house—and why would they want to?” If you have ever watched one of these shows and reacted like us, you might also wonder if the messages being portrayed are actual “reality” and whether the shows should come with a disclaimer attached. With that in mind, I came up with five SMART disclaimers that I think every program on HGTV should include. [Read more…]
As every writer knows, words matter. But what about the words that come out of our mouths or the words we hear in our heads when someone is talking? Perhaps one of the greatest things we can learn, and teach one another, is how to speak and listen with empathy, kindness and connection. Sound simple? It’s not. In fact, after reading Say What You Mean—A Mindful Approach To Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer, I am convinced that I have much to learn and years to practice. Ultimately it’s SMART to remember that communication, especially the mindful nonviolent kind, is far more than figuring out the right words to say in any given moment. Thankfully there are books like this that offer perspectives and tools to increase our awareness, fulfill our mutual needs, and build relationship.
Some of you might not know that I have been a licensed real estate broker for the last 35 years. While I did sell a number of homes in my time, I am a far better researcher than a salesperson. That’s why I first began writing about real estate, and then eventually created my own writing business from there. And although I have written volumes about that topic over the years, I gradually transitioned into writing about other subjects I enjoy even more. Still, real estate has been very good to my family, many of our friends, and where we hold our primary retirement funds. So it always surprises me when I read so little about the advantages of real estate investment as a great strategy for retirement. Why? Maybe there aren’t enough of us pointing out how real estate investing can be a golden goose for your retirement over stocks and other investments.
In case you haven’t noticed from my writing, I love to travel. Fortunately, Thom does too, and we intend to do as much of it as possible while we are physically able. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. When we were young our work and our finances often took priority. Then we rightsized our lives and most of that changed for the better. But one thing that has always been a concern is what to do with our pets. Kloe, like each of our former dogs, is a big part of our family and adds an incredible amount of good to our lives. But managing her needs with our travel needs can be tricky. Fortunately, we have discovered a great solution. After three very successful experiences, I’m finally ready to recommend this service to everyone who faces a similar challenge with wanting to travel while cherishing a pet. Not only does it cost a fraction of traditional care, I think it provides Kloe with the best attention possible. [Read more…]
Happy New Year! This is my final week away and I’m happy to introduce you to Pat as my guest blogger. Pat is another blogger who writes about and explores many SMART Living ideas that we can all use to create a happier and more meaningful life. She also has a lot of wisdom for those of us entering the “third act” of our lives and readily shares it on her blog Retirement Transition. Thank you, Pat, for filling in for me and for explaining how we can create happiness by design and then put that design into action.
As we enter this New Year, I ask myself, how can I better live my values?
I’ve often said that our life will happen, either by design or by default, and it’s our own responsibility to make it what we want it to be. Personally, I want to design my life at this stage. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this stage of life to look like.
But there is design, the plans and intent–and then the real action, or what you actually do. Sometimes intention does not turn into behavior. At this time of year, that can become very apparent with New Year’s resolutions!
So it’s not just about designing your life, it’s about activating it as well. [Read more…]