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…]
Happy Birthday SMART Living 365! Yes, it was exactly eight years ago today (April 26th, 2011) that I conceived the idea of creating a blog around the letters S-M-A-R-T. In case you don’t know it, those letters are all part of an acronym that stands for Sustainable-Meaningful-Aware-Responsible & Thankful. At the time I wanted to create something that would help me focus on, and then write about, topics that are very important to me. I didn’t actually write my first post until May and it took me another month to get the site up and running. But, here I am, eight years later.
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…]
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…]
Open any magazine or watch any number of tv commercials and you’ll soon come across an ad that will tempt you with the possibility of looking young and living forever. Anti-aging products make the promise sound within our reach, while technology and the medical industry are spending billions to make it appear possible. But is it true? While none of us wants to admit that we are going to die, how many of us really want to live forever? That provocative question is raised in a new book titled, How to Live Forever—the Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations by Marc Freedman. I was so intrigued by the title that I contacted the author and requested a review copy just so I could discover a new way of looking at this age-old question. [Read more…]
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Leanne Le Cras as my guest blogger while I am traveling. Leanne is one of the bloggers I’ve met online who lives “down under” in Austrailia and I’ve been reading her blog Cresting The Hill for many years now. Leanne consistently writes great blog posts about staying happy and content while going through midlife. But I could tell that a big reason she was so happy is because she and her husband have rightsized their lives. Thank you, Leanne, for filling in for me and sharing some of your SMART and rightsized thoughts with all of us.
Kathy writes a lot about Re-Sizing your life and it resonates strongly with me because that’s how my husband and I have always lived. To begin with, it was from necessity. Then, as we became more stable financially it became a lifestyle choice. We choose every day to live as good stewards of all that we have been given, and I thought I’d share how that has looked over the years.
This summer Thom and I are extremely fortunate to spend several months living close to the beach. The house we rent was built in the 50’s and is quite small. But having the option to walk along the beach every single morning with our dog Kloe running free is worth the added splurge/expense. It occurred to me this morning as I nodded hello to other walkers that each of us looked happier just being outside. Feeling the waves lapping against our ankles and the moist sand below our feet while enjoying the cool breeze off the water made all seem right in the world. So it was no surprise when I learned that spending time in nature is actually the perfect cure for overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD. Yep! While not a formal medical term, the idea of NDD reminded me how each and every one of us needs time experiencing the joy of nature on a regular basis.
Last night my husband Thom and I watched a television show called Billions. It followed a few previous nail-biting episodes where the main characters, Axe, Chuck, and his wife Wendy, stood on what appeared to be an inescapable precipice of disaster. Then, through an unexpected twist, they all managed to escape jail time and return to their former wealth and status with little or no repercussion. While we’d all like that kind of break in our own lives, especially when it comes to our finances, we usually aren’t as lucky. Even more interesting, at least to me, was that after triumphantly returning to his billion-dollar hedge-fund business, Axe looks at Wendy, his financial performance counselor, and says something like, “I thought the high would last longer than it did.” Don’t we all? When it comes down to it, many of the messages we think we know about money don’t pan out. And while I’m certainly no expert, here are a few truths about money that I wish I had known when I was young.
Around ten years ago my husband Thom and I got serious about living a more simple, minimal and rightsized life. But as most of us know, a simple life isn’t like a college degree where once you have it, you hang it on the wall and never think about it again. So, when offered a review copy of the book, Soulful Simplicity—How Living With Less Can Lead To So Much More—I eagerly accepted. The book not only reinforces many of the practices I’ve learned along the way, it also gently shares a number of new and soulful ideas about how living with less truly leads to a life of living so much more. [Read more…]