Denali Northern Expenditure

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Be an amateur and an expert

Why You Should Be An Amateur AND An Expert

On Monday, I made a case for not swimming alone, but finding people passionate about your subject and swimming with them. You’ll notice I did not use the word “expert.” When you’re seeking out someone with that passion, you want them to be both an amateur AND an expert.

“Amateur” Definition (Oxford English Dictionary):

1. One who loves or is fond of, one who has a taste for anything.
2.  a. One who cultivates anything as a pastime, as distinguished from one who prosecutes it professionally; hence, sometimes used disparagingly, as = dabbler, or superficial student or worker. b. Often prefixed (in apposition) to another designation, as amateur painter, amateur gardener.
3.a. Hence attrib. almost adj. Done by amateurs. Cf. amateur gardener with amateur gardening.
b. Used disparagingly. Cf. sense 2.

Following this list of definitions, “amateur” both means someone with such a passion about a subject, it goes beyond everyday interest as well as someone that “dabbles” instead of seriously studying.

“Amateur” comes from the Latin “Amatore” meaning “Lover of.”

Do not swim alone

Do Not Swim Alone, Swim with Swimmers

When I was working in the office last month, I stayed in a nearby hotel and made myself go swimming each evening after work to get some exercise and relax. Each evening I was the only one in the pool. The last night (that’s right, I blatantly ignored them for four days), I read the posted rules for the pool. The last one read simply: DO NOT SWIM ALONE.

My first thought? Oh no! I’m going to die in here and no one will even know! Second thought: That’s ridiculous. I’m an adult and a competent swimmer. Third thought: I think I feel a metaphor coming on…

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I love a good metaphor whether it comes from watching some fishermen or straight out of a fortune cookie. And here was a brilliant one, right on the wall of the hotel pool.

The Metaphor:

Many Roads, One View

Many Paths, One View

There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but only one view.

This was my fortune cookie from a catered work lunch a couple weeks ago. This one simple idea has so many facets. Here are a few things I’ve realized:

Everyone’s Path is Different

We continue to harp on how personal finance is personal, but it’s true. There is relativity in finances as well. You and I may have the same numbers, but that does not mean we are the same. You will go your path and I will go mine. Some of us are starting on opposite sides of the mountain. Are some paths easier? Yes. Are any of the paths wrong? No! If your path is going up, you’re heading in the right direction!

Problems with Pareto Principle and Outsourcing

Problems with the Pareto Principle and Outsourcing

If you’ve read enough about how to become rich, you’ve probably encountered two concepts:

  1. Pareto Principle – 20% of the input is responsible for 80% of the output. In personal finance, people tout focusing on only doing that 20% responsible for the most return. That leads to principle number 2:
  2. Outsourcing – For the parts of the 80% of the job that are still necessary, you outsource them.

Let me start by stating that I agree that the Pareto Principle is real and outsourcing can be useful in some regards. Let me also state that I agree that while frugality has limits, income potential does not. I agree that everyone is capable of earning more and the amount is potentially limitless.

What are you proud of?

What Are You Proud Of?

Last week, I was singing along with Katy Perry’s Roarand with the Olympics coming up, I started really thinking about what gets me going. I’m all for singing “Dancing through the fire. ‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!” at the top of my lungs. Now I’m watching the Olympics (obsessively) and it’s clear that to be an Olympian, that is your life. You eat, breathe, train, strategize, and compete. You break your leg? Get back out there! Your team needs you! You give yourself a concussion? Shake it off! You can still win yourself a medal! These people are passionate. They found their thing and now they’re doing it.

What about the rest of us?

Does comfort stunt growth?

Does Comfort Stunt Growth?

Remember Nick over at The Money Mine? The one who just wrote that awesome Roth IRA Challenge post about money tips for couples? Last week, he issued a challenge:

For those of you who have already taken control of their finances and decided to pursue Financial Independence or to Retire Early, what was your trigger? What gave you the initial motivation to get your finances in order and have a long term financial goal?

In June of 2015 Mr.T’s company started threatening layoffs in earnest. In that moment, we reflected back on our year of unemployment. Though we hated the stress of being unemployed with a new baby and we really didn’t love freeloading my parents’ beach house because we felt like we had failed at independence, we missed those days. We missed raising our baby together. We missed the creative projects we pursued. We missed the freedom of time and location we enjoyed. 

Drafting a Will

Decisions to Make Before Drafting a Will

Our three-week trip away from our children forced Mr. T and I to finally kick into gear and make a legal will (you know, because planes falling out of the sky are actually a thing these days!). We always knew we needed one, but it seemed so daunting! Well, guys, we did it. It is done. And now I’m here to help you through doing the same thing. Obviously, I’m no lawyer or financial advisor, so don’t go around thinking this is legal or financial advice. I’m just here to help you with the first step: thinking through most of the things you’ll need to consider before drafting your own will.

Two months ago, Mr. T and I said: “We leave in a month. We need a basic will, an advanced health directive, and a legal power of attorney. Where do we start?” This, my friends, is the list of where you should start. Today, we will take you through the large list of decisions that need to be made before you’re even ready to start the documents! Ready? Here we go:

Its not a marathon

Financial Independence is Not a Marathon

What’s with “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint”?

Everyone uses the phrase: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” as inspiration for anything that’s hard. I’ve also heard it used for the path to financial independence a number of times. Look! Here’s the first listed google image of the phrase:

Kaleidoscope

Designing Our Kaleidoscope

Last month, Harmony over at Creating My Kaleidoscope, offered a challenge to design your own Kaleidoscope. In short, the challenge is to discuss what you see when you look at your future through your kaleidoscope and how you’ll get there. Since I’m a planner and a schemer, I love this idea, but I also love the imagery she’s created. There is a big difference between a telescope and a kaleidoscope. The telescope allows us to see things that are far away close up. Through the telescope, we can see details as if we were right there. Through the kaleidoscope, you see something that isn’t really there. Most kaleidoscopes show just color and shape and when you turn it, those colors and shapes dance and change and create something that wasn’t there before. In some kaleidoscopes, you can actually see what is on the other end of it, but through a distorted, fragmented lens. You might be able to see a face. Sometimes 30 images of the same face. And sometimes, when you turn it, the face disappears completely.

Little feet

The 4-Year Potential

Two weeks ago, we did some recalculations and came up with three potential plans. The two plans that would allow us both money AND freedom would take significantly longer than four years. The really lofty goal date on our blog is 2022, which is 6 years away. So what’s the big deal with 4 years? As the school year wraps up, the temporary state of Penny’s childhood is weighing heavy on my mind. In 4 years, Penny will be done with elementary school. Based strictly on our calculations, by the end of May 2020, we expect to find ourselves with a paid-off house and $321,000 in investments. Those numbers won’t get us close to financial independence. And freedom in that plan would mean continuing on our current path for the next four years and then just quitting to be irresponsible for a bit! But looking back on our historical 4-year accomplishments, in all likelihood, stagnation isn’t an option.

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