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…]
This week SMART Living 365 introduces you to Lynne Spreen as our last guest blogger before returning from our trip. I am a friend as well as a reader of Lynne’s blog Any Shiny Thing. On her blog, Lynne often writes about positive aging and other SMART ideas that I find valuable. Thank you, Lynne, for filling in and sharing these great ideas.
In 2007, a billboard in my town advertised a new housing tract that featured two master bedroom suites, available in their biggest model. It sticks in my memory because I was appalled. Who would buy a house with two master suites?
This was just before the Great Recession, a period of real estate excess when people were buying way too much house and, in some cases, flipping homes like pancakes. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 is delighted to introduce you to Janis Heppell as our guest blogger while I am traveling. I have been reading Janis’ blog Retirementlly Challenged for a couple of years and believe her perspective on rightsizing is something many of you will appreciate. Thank you, Janis, for filling in with SMART thoughts while I’m traveling.
When my husband and I bought our home almost 25 years ago, retirement was a distant dream. We had been preparing for it most of our working lives, but we still had quite a few years before we’d be in the position to take the plunge. We chose our home based on its general location and the particular neighborhood, not on its suitability after we left the work-world.
Now that we are retired, how our home functions in our day-to-day lives has supplanted our concern with work commutes. [Read more…]
Did you know there are several unique locations in the world where people typically live to be over 100 years old? Not only do the majority of the residents live past 100, they also remain physically active, mentally sharp, and are remarkably free from common diseases. Best of all they rate themselves happy. Called Blue Zones, these regions offer one of the most intriguing formulas for a long, healthy and vibrant life. Surely it’s SMART to explore the identifiable traits found in several Blue Zones to see how they might help us all create our own zone no matter where we live? [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I began living a more simple and sustainable life over ten years ago. In the beginning, the practice felt a bit awkward and required our conscious focus and intention to make the necessary changes. Gradually our actions became fluid and felt more natural. Most excuses and resistance simply faded away. Finally, after all these years I believe that our path to simple living is so deeply ingrained in us that it has become a habit that adds value to our lives every single day. Are we experts? Not hardly. But if we can do it, anyone can. So what if you’re just starting on the journey? My advice is to make the practice a habit as quickly as possible.
Here are three critical steps I believe are necessary: [Read more…]
Recently I watched a new documentary entitled Coming Of Age In Aging America. I expected the focus of the film to be similar to much of the other information I read almost daily on the Internet. Sure the movie covers a few of those common themes prevalent in the positive aging message. But more importantly, the major focus is a deep inquiry into the sustainability of how most of us view the overall life-progression or life-course of all Americans as we age. What do they mean by that? And why do I believe it is important for all of us to begin to rethink the current model of aging and retirement that most of us unconsciously hold as sacred? [Read more…]
Last night Thom and I attended a Jack Johnson concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl and this morning I woke up with a fun hangover. First, if you don’t know who Jack Johnson is and you love music, you need to look him up. Second, if you haven’t experienced a fun hangover in a while, maybe it’s time you indulged. After all, it’s SMART to occasionally push our boundaries and get out of our comfort zones. Doing something unexpected, out of the ordinary, and especially fun every now and then is a sure prescription for ongoing happiness and good health. [Read more…]
Thom and I are fortunate to be able to spend a month every summer in the coastal community of Ventura, California. As some of you know, where we live the majority of the year the temperature during the summer fluctuates between 110 and 120 degrees. Meanwhile, at the beach, we are able to relish the cool coastal breezes without air-conditioning. 2017 was our 7th year of escaping the heat, yet we constantly hear people say, “Oh, I sure wish we could do that.” Or, “ I’d give anything to do that.” But the truth is, most of those who could do it, won’t. That’s because in many cases they are attached to a big house and often a big lifestyle that keeps them stuck even when they say they’d prefer otherwise. With that in mind, I came up with ten reasons why we all might want to reconsider owning a too-big house, and instead embrace a more rightsized life. [Read more…]
A big topic in my age group is retirement. About half of my friends are looking forward to it while the other half are already there. As for Thom and I, we see ourselves standing with a foot on both sides. We aren’t retired, but neither are we chained to our work. What makes us different from others hoping to retire soon is that we’ve embraced what I call rightsizing. Rightsizing is a process that any of us can do to come into greater alignment with our most cherished values and goals. On a practical level, rightsizing points to actions we can make at any age that will help before, and especially after, a person retires.
In case you are wondering, I am not a financial advisor. Most retirement “planning” comes from people who would like to manage your finances. That approach tends to put the focus on how much money you make, how much money saved, and how much you need in the future to maintain your current lifestyle. Rightsizing, on the other end, downplays money and instead puts the focus on what is most rewarding in your life.