By Amanda Morrall
1) Why financial reporting sucks
Bless his frugal soul, Mr. Money Moustache has a robust go at financial writers, advisors and economists for omitting to include in their figures, theories, books and spreadsheets on wealth accumulation the importance of finding non material success and happiness first before targeting prescribed rates of returns or high salaried soul sucking jobs that leave you feeling hollow even if rich.
It's a chicken or egg argument where the egg is your pre financial planning.
Obviously MMM has yet to read my book otherwise he would have exempted me from his attack. What's your address Moustache, I'll send you a copy?
Here's an excerpt from his blog but better by far to read the entire post.
But the assumption by financial advisers these days is that consumption is just a personal choice, all of it is reasonable and none is ridiculous, and more is naturally better if you can afford it. Frugal people are written up as mildly entertaining oddities – “Wow, things sure work out well for them – too bad you can’t do that in real life”.
These aren’t really personal choices, they are fundamental financial rights and wrongs, which should be considered just as core to good financial advice as “don’t use lottery tickets and casinos as your investment vehicle”. If you converted this financial advice into medical advice, you’d have doctors advising patients to start missing sleep so they can spend 50 hours per week running on a treadmill – just because they happen to like eating 5 gallons of ice cream and a deep-dish pizza every day. Nobody would dare mention the pizza and ice cream, because that would be “preachy”, or promoting “scrimping and saving only to live a deprived lifestyle”.
A more useful type of financial advice? First get your shit together (develop a life where you can live happily on any amount), then from the vantage point of financial maturity, you can decide if you want to go on to become Mr. or Mrs. Fancy pants by branching out into some extreme form of extreme consumer connoisseur specialty like 250-horsepower vehicles or 5-star hotel hopping.
To do it the other way around is just to create a lifetime of unnecessary monetary stress – which is bad advice
2) Debunking the American dream
The following posted on a website called the Goodmenproject.com (don't ask me how I came to be a follower) is a perfect companion piece to the one above as it describes one man's falling out with materialism and the recognition that the American Dream is also built on faulty, or at best, thin assumptions.
3) Effective altruism
In my book (chapter 10 to be precise) I also explore this theme of material excess and look other factors identified as having a more enduring effect on well-being. A think tank in the UK called the Centre for Well-being, which has done ample research in this area identified five factors that contribute most strongly to well-being: social connections and relationships, physical activity, self awareness, a dedication to lifelong learning and growth, and giving.
On this fifth point, giving, the following is a brilliant TED talk from Peter Singer on the why and how of effective altruism.
4) A bigger better you
And more on how to be a bigger better version of yourself here from Steve Tobak writing for Inc.com. (Note, the second time I went to open the link it came with a warning on Malware so be advised. Hate to be blamed for an expensive computer meltdown.)
Because I wouldn't want to short link you today, here's an alternative link from a financial blogger also writing on the work/life balance theme and the importance of living and not just planning for life.
He enjoins readers to start ticking off items from their bucket list, instead of waiting for the perfect moment that never materialise. Now where did I put that list?
5) New rules of workplace engagement
As most of you regular readers know, I left the security of a full-time job behind me in 2013 and took a big leap into the world of self employment combining freelance journalism with freelancing yoga instruction.
Instead of waiting for the perfect dream job to come along, which was never going to happen, I decided to make it happen for myself.
This major change hasn't been without its own challenges and Amanda Inc. is still work in progress however the flexibility and freedom it's afforded me has been the best gift to myself ever. I'm hardly a pioneer in this area.
According to this piece from smallbiztrends, workplace freedom is no longer a-head-in-the-clouds foolish aspiration but a working-from-the i-cloud reality that Millennials in particular are coming to view as the new norm.
Like what you've read? You'll enjoy the book better. Here's how to order a copy of Amanda's book Money Matters: Get your Life and $ Sorted. The book is also available in ebook format as well via Amazon and is replete with hyper links to help you get your finances in order.