With Thanksgiving behind us, those living in the U.S. can expect to be swamped with messages of consumerism for the next 34 days. In fact, Black Friday, which many retailers have named as the most heavily shopped day of the year, is today. If you are anything like me, even with the best of intentions it’s easy to be mesmerized by the glamor of things being advertised everywhere—even when we know better. But rather than give in to the impulse, I instead decided to sit down and write out a few simple, but important, ways I want to stay rightsized over the coming holiday season. If you could use some help with your resolve, please check out my list and add some of your own suggestions in the comments below. [Read more…]
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…]
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.
My husband Thom and I have been real estate brokers and investors for over 35 years. And while I’ve been mainly writing about the subject for most of those years, Thom has actively been a specialized commercial broker. Even better, we’ve used our knowledge and background to manage our own purchases and investments. Then about seven years ago we began switching our thoughts about real estate ownership; what it means and what it can do. That’s when we started gradually rightsizing our lives. Lately, it occurred to me that while I often take what we’ve learned through the years for granted, it might benefit others to see it through our eyes. In fact, in many ways real estate is a perfect mirror for a rightsized life. [Read more…]
Several weeks ago my husband Thom began reading a blog post offered to him from LinkedIn. It started out with a catchy title but quickly slipped into a bad rerun of something from the Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous. You may remember that TV show from the 1990s when everyone was hell-bent on buying big expensive everythings no matter what the cost. Even worse than the implication that you should own extravagant and expensive cars, the author suggests that you lease rather than buy. After all, when leasing you can start driving a more expensive car than you can actually afford. Perhaps even worse, in true 1990s speak he then started selling us all on attending his seminar and paying the large entrance fee where he would share his “wealth secrets” with all of us. [Read more…]
A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [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…]
I am very pleased to announce that my latest book is now published and available in either print or as an ebook on Amazon. Titled Rightsizing * A SMART Living Guide to Reinventing Retirement, this book is the second in what I hope will continue to be a series. What is Rightsizing? Simply put, rightsizing is the conscious choice to create a life and a lifestyle that more sustainably aligns with your unique Self in the best possible way at every stage. This small volume compiles the best of what I’ve written on the subject here on SMART Living 365 along with some bonus ideas that presents them in a way I think most readers will appreciate. The good thing about rightsizing your life is that it doesn’t matter what your age or situation. Although many reach retirement before finally making it happen, rightsizing can benefit everyone and leads to more happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind than ever before regardless of circumstances. Of course, just like most things that are desirable, it comes at a price. Here is a list of the most common obstacles that keep many of us from choosing a rightsized life. [Read more…]
One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restricted than I felt necessary. Yet now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself. [Read more…]