Crush Debt and Retire Before 40

Editor’s Note: This is pretty much the summation of what I write and why I want to be efficient with all of my resources. If this article interests you feel free to keep up with SimpleEconomist through email, twitter or facebook. Also, this post is meant to be shared so send it to anyone you think might find it interesting.

What is the point? Why be free?
I started my financial journey with this simple question: What do I want to get out of life and how can I use money as a tool to get there? I had to start with this. I had to know why I was so interested in money and why people spend so much of their time thinking about it and trying to earn a little bit of it. I realized that my time is really what is truly important to me. I want to be able to spend time doing things I love, hanging out with my family, and making and building things that are significant. I want to be able to help people without a life full of nagging obligations and needless stress. And I have now learned that money, and surprisingly little, can be the tool to do just that.

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Boracay Island, Philippines

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Automate the Important

What are the things in your life that are important to you? Do you automate the important? Do you have bad habits or things you do subconsciously? What about good habits? Are there things that you do automatically that are good for you? Automation is important. Just ask the government. How many people do you think would save enough money to pay their taxes at the end of the year if they were not forced to take automatic deductions? What the government knows is that by automatically deducting the amount we owe in taxes we will actually have money to pay them (or overpay them and get a refund). Automation is important because it removes a few of the decisions we have to make on a recurring basis. We can decide once and take action then let the good decisions we’ve made continue for years to come.

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Financial Peace is Better Than Financial Independence

Which is more important: Financial Peace or Financial Independence? Are they the same? Almost all finance books are written about making more or spending less. But more often than not, there is a prerequisite goal that needs to be addressed before the others are even necessary. The fundamental assumption financial experts make is that either making more, spending less, or some combination will put you in a better place financially. And much of that is true. But what is missing is often the goal. The goal of most literature is to maximize wealth instead of well being. How many people do you know that become more anxious about money the more they make? I know millionaires who have trouble sleeping at night due to worries about money. I know individuals who have very little money but seem more content than I am with much less. Ironically, I’m sure many wealthy individuals would trade their current situations for a carefree time in college when they had no money but rarely worried about it.

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India: The Beauty and The Mess – A Backpacker’s Adventure

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a 2 part series about our travels through India and the Middle East. Part 1: 40 Things I Learned Backpacking in India. Travel articles will come about 2-3 times a year. In the future I’ll break down the economics of the trip and offer suggestions for individuals looking to see the world without spending millions.

Why go to India?
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This is the question we started with. Why go? There are so many other places in the world. Why India? I think the foremost thoughts that drew our attention were: the uniqueness, the cuisine and the ability to identify with almost 1/3 of the world’s growing population. India is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. And without expectations, it was one of the most unconventional travel experiences that exist to westerners.

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40 Things I Learned Backpacking in India

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 2 part series about our travels through India and the Middle East. Travel articles will come about 2-3 times a year. In the future I’ll break down the economics of the trip and offer suggestions for individuals looking to see the world without spending millions.

Every time I travel I learn something new. Sometimes it is about the country or place I am visiting. But often, it’s about myself. For most of my life, I haven’t been much of a writer but occasionally I’ve taken some time to write my thoughts in the moment. The list you see below was written on the airplane ride home from India after backpacking with my wife and one of my best friends. I’ve curated it over time but some of the rawness and emotion still shines through. India is a majestic place and I was able to make a lot of observations even after traveling for a only few weeks.

40 Things I learned Backpacking in India

  1. Negotiating is exhausting when doing it for prolonged periods
  2. The more members of your group the less walk away power you have in any situation
  3. Pollution is undervalued
  4. Clean air and clean water are under appreciated
  5. Having too much can make you unhappy, not having enough can also make you unhappy Continue reading 40 Things I Learned Backpacking in India

My Favorite Things

I enjoy quality objects. And I prefer to own as little as possible and so I try to scrutinize every single object I own to make sure I am getting full value out of it. When I do buy something I typically take a long time to research what I want and then spend the time to get a really great deal on it.

So why make a list of things I enjoy? I suppose I just want to be like Oprah. Actually, the few things I really enjoy are things that I feel like most readers would also enjoy. You can be assured anything on this list I actually own and would readily purchase again. Not only that, take comfort in the fact that whatever item appears on here has been well researched as something that provides true value. Have you ever taken the time to consider which purchases you have made over the years that have over delivered on their promises? Feel free to let me know in the comments if there are any must have items that you would recommend to all of your friends. Continue reading My Favorite Things