How to be happy

how to be happyI’m going to deviate a little from my usual financial theme here and tackles a different topic, something that has been on mind as of late. Happiness. It is something that we all seek, but few of us find. And if we do find it, it’s a fleeting feeling that’s hard to catch and even harder to keep.

Yes, there are drugs for that, but I’m talking about a natural high that will have you going to sleep with a smile and waking up with excitement.

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Living Expenses

Living expenses

Living Expenses:

If you’re not tracking your monthly expenses, start now. Otherwise, this exercise is pointless, because how can you assess your living expenses if you don’t know what they are! Using a budgeting app rather than a napkin, you can continuously monitor your expenses and quickly analyse your spending habits to see where you can make cuts. Chances are, you can make cuts everywhere or almost everywhere.

Personally, I use Mint.com and their mobile app, which has a fantastic dashboard allowing you to see your monthly budget, all of your accounts and your total net worth at a glance.

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Housing costs

Housing Costs

Housing costs

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions an average person would make in their lifetime. There is a lot to consider, so I’ve decided to structure this post to follow a chronological order of housing challenges following a young college grad from graduation to retirement. Obviously, this won’t fit everyone’s situation, but at least it will give us a blueprint for a discussion and we’ll be able to tackle the important issues along the way.

We’ll take a look at housing costs calculations. We’ll discuss buying vs renting,  how much money to put down when you buy, and how to calculate how much you can afford to pay. We’ll also take a look at whether and when to pay down your mortgage ahead of time and more. The age brackets below are completely arbitrary and serve only as a way to frame the discussion.

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Paying for College

Paying for College

student loansNot everyone needs to go to college. Plain and simple. Plenty of successful people found their way to happiness, success, and wealth without college education. And plenty of college educated people never found their way.

Nowadays, in my humble opinion, college education is devalued and overpriced. However, the traditional dogma instilled in us from a young age is that you absolutely have to go to college to be successful.

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Success

vacation (1)Success Defined:

What do successful people do differently? In fact, what makes one successful? Or better yet, what is “success”?

Let’s start with the dictionary definitions of the word “success”:

  1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
  2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

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Lifetime Wealth

Human lifespan

The maximum (recorded) life span for humans has increased from 103 in 1798 to 110 years in 1898, 115 years in 1986, and 122.45 years (Wikipedia). Some scientists believe that the first person to live to 150 years is alive today! Human life expectancy in US is ~ 80 years (Wikipedia) and growing. Keep in mind though that life expectancy is an average that includes infant mortality, death from disease, violent deaths, etc. The point I’m trying to make is that there is a good chance that you will be around for a while and with a little know-how, some planning, and a lot of discipline you can have a very comfortable, even luxurious life thus achieving a Lifetime Wealth

Lifetime Wealth

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Definition of Wealth

Definition of WealthDefinition of Wealth

First, let’s talk about what wealth is and what it means to be “wealthy”. Dictionary definition of wealth is – “an abundance of valuable possessions or money”.  Dictionary definition of “abundance”- “is a very large quantity of something”. So putting the two together – wealth is a very large quantity of possessions or money.  But just how much is a “large quantity” and in what context?

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