Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All I Need Is...

I wrote a new post over at postmodernize.com, be sure to check it out.  This is a new writing project/blog I'm involved in. The other writers seem to be more inspired by Lacan and Existentialism rather than Stoicism, but those perspectives interest me as well; at least when I can understand them.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Starting an Education Fund

This textbook will cost $5,000 in 2030

Estimated Planning Time: 2 hours
Materials: Budget
Project Difficulty: Hard

Once you have an emergency fund, you are fully funding your retirement, and you have paid off all of your non-mortgage debt you might want to consider opening an education investment account.  I realize I might have lost a majority of the population with those conditions, so the first step is understanding why those conditions are applicable and why you might start saving for college before meeting them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Planning for Retirement

My idea of a yacht
Estimated Planning Time: 1 hour
Materials: Results from Creating a Budget, Employee retirement plan materials (if any)
Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Retirement means something different to me than merely staying home from work, watching TV, taking cruises, or playing golf.  All of those things might be fun, but to me the benefit of retirement (or even better, financial independence) is the ability to contribute in whatever way I am called to without concerning myself with the monetary rewards.  Readers of MrMoneyMustache or EarlyRetirementExtreme might find this definition familiar.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And...we're back!

Emerging from the depths
Well after a few months I finally got my friend to help out with my technical issues and now my domain name actually works.  Look for some new posts very shortly, I've been using the time to think and read and it's time for me to work out the ideas in my writing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's in a Cname?

A rose by any other cname would smell as sweet
Sorry for the delay on new posts, I'm working to switch over to www.FrugalStoic.com and my technical staff is working around the clock (probably on his day job, I'm trying to get on his calendar).  Also, I never anticipated so many redditors would still be visiting my link.  I still get about 20 hits a day from that one post and it is now about 3 weeks old.  I will have to see if there is anything I can do to redirect that as part of this process, or otherwise leave this link up.  My computer skills are limited to google searches and so far my efforts have been frustrating, or perhaps better thought of as a nice test of my patience.

Anyway, all of this is to say, if you bookmark me please make it www.FrugalStoic.com, since everything should be moved over there soon (right now it redirects here).  I will also be posting the content I've been working on.  Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dealing with Debt

When pruning shears won't cut it
Estimated Planning Time: 1 hour
Materials: Results from Creating a Balance Sheet, Tracking Your Spending, and Creating a Budget
Project Difficulty: Easy

I have to admit up front that my personal experience with consumer debt is limited. Through a combination of upbringing and circumstance, I have never had any debt other than a mortgage. I have, however, spent a lot of time thinking about how I avoided it while others did not, so I hope I can add something to the subject.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Updating Insurance Coverage

Do you have end of civilization coverage?
Estimated time: 2 hours
Materials: insurance records
Project difficulty: medium to difficult

If you are following along with my introductory 10-part money primer, you just finished calculating your emergency fund. Something to consider when calculating your emergency fund are your insurance deductibles. Now that you have your insurance documents out, why not go over them to see if you still have the right types and amounts of coverage?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Emergency Fund

When that silver lining appears tarnished
Estimated Calculation Time: 30 minutes
Materials: Results from Creating a Budget, Personal Balance Sheet and Insurance documents
Project Difficulty: It depends

I was talking to a good friend of mine about personal finance and he admitted that his credit card was his emergency fund. Now, this friend is a very intelligent and insightful guy and after I picked my jaw off the floor I explained why his arrangement is a bad idea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Creating a Budget

How do you stack up?

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Materials: Results from Tracking Your Spending
Project Difficulty: It depends

Imagine your financial life like a road trip. Your balance sheet is like taking inventory of everything you currently have along with you. Tracking your spending is like taking note of the landmarks that you pass along the way. Your budget is your road map, and without it, you might end up in the ditch or over a cliff. Its okay if you take the long way a few times or get a little off track, but without using a budget, how are you even going to know that’s the case?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tracking Your Spending

Where does it all go?
Estimated time: 1-2 hours
Materials: financial records, computer/financial program optional
Project difficulty: easy

Now that you have your personal balance sheet, we need to see how you got here and where you are going.  The only way to do that is to somehow track your money – primarily your expenses.  Remember not to let yourself be carried away with shame, guilt, or fear.  There is nothing you can do about the past and you won't be able to change the present unless you let go of those negative emotions and feel good about the progress you are making now.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Creating a Personal Balance Sheet

Count your (nest) eggs
Estimated time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Materials: financial records
Project difficulty: easy

The personal balance sheet gives you a snapshot of what you own and owe, and the difference is your net worth.  If you feel yourself avoiding complete knowledge of your finances, try to change your perspective.  Your situation is not "bad" no matter how dire. Good and bad only come into play with what you do now.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Play Ball - 10 Steps to Frugality

A ballpark estimate
In my last post, money was thought of as a ball in a game.  That is to say, money itself is not important, only the skill with which you interact with money within the rules and in coordination with other players.  Think of the following list, then, as the first basic drills to be a good ball player with money.  There should be no shame in your current situation, just as there is no shame when you learn new techniques in a sport.  That is not to say that it won't be hard at points, change and growth always come at a price.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Not Whether You Win or Lose...

These gents knew how to have a ball
I enjoy watching football - both American football and soccer (though only the world cup for the latter).  During the game both sides strive to have possession of the ball and move it to the correct side of the field in order to score the most points.  They must follow certain rules, and referees make sure that the rules are enforced as equally as possible.  The ball is very important for 90 minutes or 4 quarters, the focus of the players and, in some cases, millions of spectators; but what happens to it before and after the game?* 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Choosing a Philosophy of Life

Adrift at sea but on solid rock
How should one go about choosing a philosophy of life?  What are the criteria and how can we measure the different approaches to living the best life possible?  The first step is deciding between virtue and pleasure.  Here I find an interesting paradox, in seeking pleasure one would typically be virtuous (it feels good to do good) and in seeking virtue one would generally find the highest form of pleasure.  Where should we place our emphasis?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Have a Philosophy of Life?

Everything's coming up chrysanthemums
What is the meaning of life, besides something to do with the number 42?  Who am I and why am I here?  The ancient Greeks thought about these things and about 2,500 years ago several philosophical schools came up with one answer and multiple ways of understanding it.  Their answer was that we are meant to live the best life possible, experiencing "eudaimonia" often translated as happiness or human flourishing.

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