A question that my husband Thom and I get every now and then is: “Are you guys independently wealthy or did your parents leave you a bunch of money?” The answer to both of them is “No!” As I’ve written before, both of us grew up in blue-collar households and we’ve been self-employed our entire lives. We’ve never once received financial assistance, unemployment benefits or won the lottery. Regardless of whether it sometimes look like we live the life of leisure, let me assure you, we’ve earned everything we have. It wasn’t always easy, and we made a bunch of mistakes early on, but fortunately, that’s changed. Along the way, we picked up some SMART and frugal practices that helped us hang on to much of the money we make. Now we use our money to do things we enjoy, and support people and projects we believe are worthy. I’m convinced we all have the potential to do the same. [Read more…]
Over the last two weekends, my husband Thom and I rented our personal home out on Airbnb. We’ve used Airbnb when traveling and have stayed in over ten different properties ourselves during the last couple of years. This, however, was the first time we have ever “hosted” strangers in our home. And while doing it twice certainly doesn’t make me an expert, I came up with some advice for anyone who might want to consider it in the future. [Read more…]
A recent article in Money Magazine listed four simple strategies that many millionaires use to get rich. While I have nothing against being wealthy, I believe that finding meaning and purpose, achieving happiness, and discovering our unique rightsized lifestyle is far more important. But interestingly enough, the four tips offered by Money Magazine actually translate into four keys for living SMART 365. So, even though my examples won’t be the same as those shared in the magazine, the similarities are remarkably close. Ultimately, these four lifestyle hacks can help to make each of us more financially secure regardless of our age. Even better, they can lead to a more stress-free and right-sized life at the same time. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy rightsizing. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, because we rightsized our lives some years ago, we can now travel more and in better form than ever before. So, if you’ve always dreamed of traveling more, but never seem to have the time or money, perhaps what you need is to rightsize your next trip.
First, I must recommend that you rightsize your entire life. What do I mean by that? If you are new to this website and unfamiliar with rightsizing, here’s a short definition: Rightsizing is taking the time to focus on what really matters to you and brings you happiness—and at the same time reducing and then eliminating everything that brings you down and sucks the joy out of you. [Read more…]
Cohousing isn’t a new concept. In fact, humans have been coming together in community for thousands of years to survive and thrive. What is new is that these days many of us have grown so independent and disconnected that we’ve forgotten why community is important in the first place. Maybe when we are young, busy, and focused on the needs of one’s immediate family, that isn’t so important. But eventually, if people begin to value experiences, relationships, and good health more than the stuff they accumulate and the accolades they obtain as they age, things start changing. That’s when being a part of a strong and vibrant community starts sounding more and more appealing. It’s also when the idea of cohousing may pop up as a solution. Is it a key to helping people age better? Those who have embraced it say, “Yes!” [Read more…]
Like I mentioned last week, while I’m out of town I’m happy to introduce all of you to another SMART blogger named T.O. Weller (Tracey) who lives in a tiny town north of Toronto, Canada with her husband Kip and sweet dog George. Not only has Tracey become a close friend, she also lives a SMART and rightsized life. Thanks Tracey for allowing me to share another version of rightsizing!
Two incredibly significant events took place one year ago: we embarked on our adventure in the woods, and Kathy and I met on Facebook. (Carl Jung would call it synchronicity: the two events have no causal link, but are meaningfully connected.)
Kathy was working on her latest book—Rightsizing—and as I got to know her work, it dawned on me: we were rightsizing! Not only did her philosophy resonate, but I thought the word itself was a perfect way to describe the ‘what’, the ‘how’, and the ‘why’ of it all. [Read more…]
No matter what our age I believe there is always more to learn. I also think approaching any topic with a beginners mind is an excellent way to set that in motion. So although I’ve been reading and writing quite a bit on the subjects of simple living, sustainability and minimalism since I began this blog five years ago, I know there is certainly more to discover. So when I read that fellow blogger Joshua Becker from his site, Becoming Minimalist finished a new book, it captured my eye. After finishing the book, I wanted to share a few things I found there that could help us all live a more minimal and SMART life. [Read more…]
The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
Last weekend my husband Thom and I drove to Tucson, AZ to visit three thriving cohousing communities. As I wrote about in January, even though the concept of cohousing is still relatively young, it’s appeal is growing as others discover the benefits. Ever since I first heard about them, I recognized how many ways they mimic the advantages I find from rightsizing. After touring all three facilities, it is also evident that they embrace the core values of SMART*. Is cohousing a wave of the future? It likely depends on whether you value community, and if you see them as a path to living your values. [Read more…]
Like millions of other Americans, I first read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz nearly 20 years ago. According to Wikipedia, the book sold over 5 million copies in just the U.S., was a New York Times bestseller for over seven years, and has been translated into 38 languages. Not a bad run for such a small book. But in spite its success, now might be a good time to update those agreements from a SMART perspective. After all, if life is continually changing as Ruiz says, then, “The best path to happiness is learning to change as rapidly as life does.” [Read more…]