The Price We Pay For Money

I’m at a crossroads. I’m at the point where I am trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. The last few days reality has been knocking at the door. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it is the realization that our second baby is coming in a few weeks. Or maybe it is the fact that finishing my PhD is in sight and I’m starting the process for prospecting employment and casually interviewing different companies around town. Either way, for some reason, it has started to sink in that my life will look a lot different in the next two years and it is time to start planning for the change.

hard workI remember when I decided that I wanted to get married. Ms. SE and I had been dating for several years and I remember thinking that she might be the ‘the one’. While I wasn’t ready to get married, I knew that she would need plenty of time to prepare for the wedding and we would likely get married the summer after we both graduated. Counting backwards from our possible wedding plans, it didn’t take long for me to figure out I needed to start looking for a ring and begin the process. That is when it hit home. The reality of what was about to happen started well before the actual life changing event. And that is pretty close to where I sit today. Trying to plan the rest of my life. Continue reading The Price We Pay For Money

Practical Minimalism

What is minimalism? Is it counting the number of items you possess, owning a house with no decorations, or living in a tiny home? Not for me. Sure, those are options, but I prefer to think of minimalism in the broad sense of removing all the distractions, clutter, and non-important commitments in our lives so we can focus our attention on the things that truly matter. Practical Minimalism is the notion of understanding the elements of minimalism that can be usefully applied to reduce stress, develop physical/mental clarity, and fundamentally to makes our lives better.

backpackConceptually, minimalism is about having less of something. The first thought is often about our stuff, but realistically, a minimalistic lifestyle often exhibits itself by helping an individual remove the detrimental distractions to life. Removing stress, bad habits, debt, addictions, and clutter pave the way for clarity and focus in life. By removing negative things in our life we actually add to our overall satisfaction.

My forray into minimalism actually started with my stuff. I’ve had a tendency to collect things dating back to when I was a small child. The first time I backpacked in Europe the seed was planted. I lived in a large house throughout college and always kept my closets and storage areas packed with things. However, just by living out of a backpack for a short period, it finally clicked that having only the necessary can actually be freeing and mentally relaxing. The idea of practical minimalism slowly began to creep into other areas of my life. Continue reading Practical Minimalism

When The Financial Gurus Are Wrong (For You)

I enjoy the Gurus. I enjoy seeing popular media personalities talk about life, living the dream, and hearing their personal views on finance. I’ve read all of their books, listened to their shows, taught some of their classes, and enjoyed almost all of it. More often than not, the general advice they give is pretty good. Or at least, much better than the population of their followers. Most people would benefit from following the baby steps, getting out of debt, or riding a bike. But are all the gurus right for you?

suzeThe great part is everyone has their guru. In the financial community, it’s Buffett, Dave, Suze, C. Howard or even Mr. Money Mustache. They are all in the big game of trying to get financial information to us in entertaining and occasionally educational ways. They build audiences, platforms, and have followers that most small time authors or bloggers only dream about. And they are pretty good. But, are they good for you? Is it even possible for one person to give accurate advice for everyone in the world?

The trouble with gurus is that they have to ascribe a one size fits all approach. To really build a platform, one needs consistency and quotability. It is more important to have a uniform message than to try and navigate all the unique situations that arise in real life. Continue reading When The Financial Gurus Are Wrong (For You)

The Future of Simple Economist

Money, Life, Friends, Food and Nola- That’s FinCon14. I spent some time last month attending a conference centered around financial writing, blogging, and financial media (#FinCon14). Conferences are typically pretty boring but this was one of the best. It was a pretty neat conference that had an interesting mix of fresh faces and fascinating people I’ve only mildly interacted with online. It can be a little awkward when you meet an author for the first time. Especially when you have read a lot of their work and often many of the personal details they have shared about their story. However, I found the experience to be quite entertaining and I came away with a better understanding of the group of authors who write in the financial blogging space.

Back-to-the-FutureOne of the highlights was taking a few minutes to sit down with Phillip (PT Money) and Pete (Mr. Money Mustache) for a one-on-one brainstorming session for Simple Economist. It was a neat opportunity to speak frankly with two very successful bloggers, but also a great session to think and dream about the future of this blog. The simplest question was the hardest to answer: “What is the point of all your writing?” Or maybe it was: “Who are you writing to?”. I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks brainstorming about the future of this site. The great news is that we don’t need to have all the answers upfront to participate in the blogging ride. I’ve also learned you are always making “progress” if you are enjoying the process. Continue reading The Future of Simple Economist