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“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

 

A FREE download is available now: Leo Babauta has written a free ebook called “THRIVING ON LESS: Simplifying in a Tough Economy“. I’ve just downloaded it and plan on checking it out later today.

 

Thriving on Less: Simplifying in a Tough Economy (pdf format)

 

From the introduction:

The recent economic recession has a lot of people worried, about their jobs, their businesses, their homes and their bills. When your income is dropping or in jeopardy and you still have a mountain of bills to pay, things can get pretty scary.

However, tough economic times do not have to be a time of struggles! If you look for the opportunity in the middle of difficulty, as Mr. Einstein suggested, then tough economic times become an opportunity to transform your life.

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I’m currently reading Your Money or Your Life. It’s one of those books which seems to have been raved about on many of the blogs I frequent. Based on the title, I figured it was just another book about how to make or save more money. I just finished the preface last night and I’m pleased to see that it’s so much more. It looks to be about balancing our thoughts on money with how we live our lives. It’s just what I need right now.

I’ll admit that I have some financial hangups. I grew up in a family which only just made ends meet, so as a child I always felt stressed about money. I started working at the age of 12 and by 15 I was working three jobs in addition to going to school. I was a diligent saver and started investing in the share market at 16. At 23 I decided I was going to be a millionaire by 40, and for the last 8 years that was the financial goal I was focused on. I bought a lot of property before the boom in 2000, my net worth was growing steadily and I was on track to reach my goal quite easily.

The financial crisis of 2008 brought this dream crashing to the ground. I lost a lot in the stock market crash. It’s almost too painful to think about how much, but on paper it’s a loss of somewhere between $150,000 – $250,000 (Yes I’ve been sticking my head in the sand). That wouldn’t be so bad, but I was highly leveraged into those shares and I still have a huge loan costing me a lot of interest for assets which are devaluing daily.

So, being the type of person who is willing to learn a lesson and move on, I’m choosing to see this whole mess as an opportunity to re-evaluate my goals and thoughts on money. Some points I’ve read in this book really resonate with me, in particular the definitions outlined below.

  • Financial Intelligence: Being able to step back from your assumptions and your emotions about money and observe them objectively.
  • Financial Integrity: Learning the true impact of your earning and spending, both on your immediate family and on the planet. It is knowing what is enough money and material goods to keep you at the peak of fulfillment – and what is just excess and clutter.
  • Financial Independence: Having enough income sufficient for your basic needs and comforts from a source other than paid employment.

All this time I think I’ve been focused on being Financially Independent without really giving it any deeper thought about what it meant for the rest of my life. I was driving myself into the ground, making myself stressed, working in a job that at times made me feel like I was dying a slow death. Why? I guess that’s what I need to work out.

I’m excited to think that over the next year I’m going to re-evaluate my relationship with money and re-design my life to incorporate more elements which align with my values.

Photo by: Cati Kaoe

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January Reading

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Am I crazy? I’m now a member of three face-to-face bookclubs. Two of them read a book per month, but thankfully the third is a book every two months. Here’s what I have to read by early-February:

I hope they’re good, because I’m going to have to get stuck into them to have them all finished in time.

simple mom book clubI’m also planning on reading along with Simple Mom’s Sound Mind Bookclub. I’m not a mother yet, but I’m sure I will be one day and surely it’s not exclusive 🙂

I’m always looking for new and interesting books and a number of the ones on their list I had planned to read this year anyway. I’m looking forward to getting started on the first book, Your Money or Your Life.

I’ve just opened an Amazon Store so if you are looking to buy any of these books, please check out my store and buy them through there. All proceeds I received from the referral will go to a worthwhile charity.

Photo by: ciro@tokyo

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I truly love to read. It’s the one thing that features in my memories from every stage of my life.

  • My father teaching me about the Solar System from the age of five and the quantity of books I collected about the Universe from a very young age. 
  • My mother reading to me every night before bed – Arnie the Darling Starling, The World of Christopher Robin and The Velveteen Rabbit
  • The weekly visit to the school library with my second grade class and being taught how to carefully turn the pages by the long-standing librarian.
  • Devouring every book in the house throughout my teenage years, often appearing rude when I couldn’t even put my book down for Christmas lunch.
  • A trip to a cafe and browsing a second hand bookstore becoming my favourite outing.
  • Attending any book-club that would fit into my schedule. 
  • Producing a mega list of all the books I want to read before I die. It’s currently about 700 books (and growing) and at my current rate I’ll need to live well past 100 to finish them all.

I have books in pretty much every room of the house, and usually have more than one on the go at a time. I like to read non-fiction in the lounge room and a novel before bed. I have reference books and photography books lining the shelves in the study. When I have children I hope they become avid readers. I can’t imagine a better or more accessible way to learn about the world.

Photo by: dhammza

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November Reading

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Photo by: Joseph Robertson

I love reading, always have. Lately I’ve almost become impatient with my reading because I have so many great books I want to get through and only limited time to devote to my longest-standing hobby.

Here’s the reading I have planned for November…

The two novels are for two separate bookclubs I participate in. I love nothing better than to be able to discuss the books I read. I wish I could talk to someone after I finish every book, but the chances of finding someone reading the same books are very remote.

I also like to have a self-improvement book on the go at all times. At the moment it’s Wishcraft. So far it’s fabulous. I’m not rushing it, but am diligently doing all the exercises throughout. It’s been enlightening. I’ll be sure to post a review when I’m done.

The final book I’d like to finish this month is Affluenza. This is a truly eye-opening look at the consumerism epidemic sweeping the developed world. I will most definitely be sharing my thoughts on it when I’m done.

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