This year my wife gave me one of the coolest presents I think I’ve received in a really long time. It sits on my desk at work and it fills my soul with happiness and joy on a daily basis. It’s a picture frame of my lovely wife zoomed in on her face and it shows her relaxed smile with Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head set as the background, honestly it is my favorite picture of her and it was taken last month when we vacationed in Hawaii. Across each side of the rectangular picture frame reads what I consider to be mantras. I don’t know if she got it custom made but each of the statements might as well be family mottos for us.
So I’d like to unpack each of these mottos and how I’m applying them to my life. The first I want to cover is, “Live Simply.” I couldn’t think of a better mantra to have in my life, especially when it comes to my personal finances. My creed at the top of this blog touches on this. We live comfortably in a cheap apartment. I have no credit cards and use cash for all purchases I make. We plan out what we expect to make before every month begins and we follow through on our plan.
Many years ago when we began our assault on debt we cut our living expenses to right around $22,000 a year. We cut cable, phone and paying retail for just about anything. I have been debt free for almost 4 years now and this year we have just started to lift our annual cost of living expenses.
When it comes to investments and insurance, I like to keep it painfully simple. I don’t use tricks or gimmicks or get rich quick theories. I invest in 4 types of mutual funds with proven track records and hold them forever. J I keep investments and insurance separate, and buy insurance products based on how much risk I’m willing to take and use high deductibles to lower my premiums.
So without smoke and mirrors to chase what do I do with my free time? Simply put I put energy and focus into areas of my life that I want to excel in. First is my marriage: I have been reading as many relationship books as I can get my hands on, my wife and I see a couples counselor and soon I will be seeing a counselor individually to unpack the baggage I have carried around all of my life. I also try to stay connected spiritually to God. Admittedly I’m not a perfect person (very far from it) and don’t pray or read my Bible everyday but I am trying. I am trying to be a great witness and be a beacon with how I live my life so that living below my means, slowing building wealth and being “religious” seems attractive to you. J
I don’t have an ipod, ipad, kindle or a smart phone. I have not owned a car for 10 years and have loved every minute of it. So in my humble opinion, living a simple life really isn’t about being simple. It’s really about focusing on what’s most important day in and day out. With less noise and fewer distractions, I’ve found that living simply is simply the best - the best way to discover what’s important in life, the best way to build character and the best way to be the best version of yourself.