Archive for May, 2009

Saving for a Kayak

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

kayakSaving Discover Card points that is.  The plan is simple…every time I accumulate $40 cash back bonus, I buy a $50 L.L. Bean gift card from Discover.  If I have the patience to save the full amount, I’ll save 20% off a great kayak.  I’m also watching Craigslist so we’ll see what comes first.

What creative things are you doing to save money?

Financial Independence

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

adirondack jakeMy friend Paul recently asked me to define Financial Independence.  I gave Paul my short version and promised to expand in an upcoming blog post.  Here we go…

To me financial independence is when you have enough money coming from sources other than your job to support your desired lifestyle.  You can live “independent” of your day job paycheck.  You may love what you do and choose to go to work anyway, but knowing that you don’t have to will free you from the stress and worries that the paycheck to paycheck employee often feels.  Your monthly bills may be paid by dividends from stocks that you’ve invested in, rental income from real estate that you own, or distributions from a small business that you own.  The important thing is that the sources of income don’t require your day to day involvement to continue paying you.  The freedom that comes from investment income is freedom of time.  You have complete freedom to choose how you spend the limited resource called time.

I haven’t arrived at full independence yet, but I’m working toward it…how about you?

Book Review Tuesday: Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Outliers image

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  The basic premise is that a series of fortuitous circumstances rather than amazing talent enabled the Beatles, Bill Gates, hockey stars, and others to reach high levels of success.  Gladwell believes that high levels of excellence require at least 10,000 hours of practice.  So far, so good.  Then Gladwell explained that unique opportunities were the reason those hours were available to the successful.  The case studies made very interesting reading, but didn’t help the kids at home who weren’t born in a certain month!

Ready, Set…

Aside from the 10,000 hour rule, I was disappointed by the lack of actionable points in Outliers.  I believe the subtitle should have been A Story of Success or Parts of Stories of Success rather than The Story of Success.  Gladwell seems to attribute the source of success largely to luck.  Kind of a downer to those of us not terribly lucky yet no less desirous of our own level of success.

What if?

While I enjoy stories like Susan Boyle, who just “needed a chance”, it seems that many success stories I hear and read about are of people who pushed through countless obstacles and made their own luck.  The stars did not just one day align for them.  What if we all have opportunities throughout our lifetimes that we are unprepared for or do not recognize that could move us closer to success?  Also, what could December-born children do to make it to the NHL?