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Don’t Go Gentle Into That Night

I recently was listening to a podcast where a quote was given that struck me.  I have been thinking a lot recently about how predetermined and designed life can be for us unless we wake up and take charge.  The quote was:

It’s called the American dream because you

have to be asleep to believe it.

Wake from your slumber!

The scary thing is if we don’t wake up from this slumber of complacency, our lives are influenced to a point that defies common sense.  It may be extreme sounding, but to be a cog in the machine, to work long hours only to “buy, buy, buy!” it’s like we are merely an engine which we fuel consumerism.  That isn’t to say that to consume, buy or trade is inherently wrong, but to do it with such abandon that the average American has over $15,000 in credit card debt is insane. (source)

dulyposted-live-your-life_quote-610x610Being “awake” is an odd experience when people some call tiny housers crazy for living in a tiny house.  If I were to have no debt of any kind and $10 in my pocket, I’d have more wealth than 25% of Americans combined!  If I have no debt and $15,000, I’d have a higher net worth than about the bottom third of Americans… combined! (source)

We are told debt is normal, that credit cards are normal, that a home loan and a student loans are a “good investment” and people believe it.  I believed it for a time!  I have a Master’s degree and after crunching the numbers, it panned out financially, but that is quickly changing for many people. (source)  A home loan… no thank you.  I have friends who talk about buying a home, with no money down and all I can think of is “I want you to be happy, but I can’t but help question the wisdom of not being able to afford a down payment, but thinking you can afford a house”.

I don’t think it’s my place to say people can’t shop till they drop, have no debt of any kind or they should live in a tiny house.  But I struggle when I see people – particularly friends – taking this predetermined path without giving it serious consideration.  If someone were to be fully aware of things and still decided to proceed, I’d be okay with that, but blindly following the pattern is scary.

tumblr_mzzdbvaN5A1sk4myeo1_1280As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen more and more of my friends get into the grind of adulthood and be miserable in their jobs; luckily I think this is the minority of my friends/acquaintances.  I’ve had friends comment that they now drink more than they used to because it makes the work week a bit more bearable.

I see consumerism as a troublesome band-aid for many folks who are unhappy with some aspect of their life.  Again, I’m not saying no consuming, there are things we need in life, but it shouldn’t be a coping mechanism like it is used today for so many.  I was shocked to find out that I know several people who go to the mall and shop 2-3 times a week!  I think the city where I live, Charlotte, is on the extreme end of this, because I have 6 large malls within a 30 minute drive of my home; there is even tour bus companies here that bring people to our city just to shop!

To not just complain about it all, below are some things that might help determine your own path.

  1. Consider what your goals are in life, then look at why they are your goals, dig deep.
  2. Write a personal mission statement.
  3. Do the math on what debt really means for you.
  4. Ask yourself “if I could do anything right now, what would it be?”
  5. Identify the reason you cannot do number 4 right now… How can you eliminate that?
  6. Consider how resilient your currently are in your situation.  How can you be more resilient?
  7. Identify stressors and potential disrupts, guard against or change to eliminate.

 

To close I thought I’d share this poem, which I used part of in the title.  It’s by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Finally, I’d like to hear your thoughts about this topic. 

Your Turn!

  • How did you “wake up”?
  • How do you help people consider their path?
  • How can we awaken loved ones we care about?

Tiny House Chat – This coming monday

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We had planned on having our tiny house chat last Monday, but our guest had a family emergency and we had to postpone to this coming Monday.    We are going to be talking about building a business in your tiny house, so that you can leave behind your 9 to 5 and live life on your own terms.  We will also be talking about how this is a vehicle for you to follow your passions in life while still earning a living.

We have two amazing guest: Danny Dover and Kacie Erikson

Danny is from Life Listed and has made a living for himself, independent of a location and travels the world while working remotely. He is best know for his journey of pursuing his bucket list.  I recently found his TED Talk and I knew we had to get him for this chat!

Kacie is the perfect guest because that is exactly what her business is AND she’s building a tiny house! Check out her background over at www.ikilledthejoneses.com and her tiny house at www.treadingtiny.com.

 

All the details are here

 

 

How Little Can You Live On?

As of late I have been looking into what it costs me to live the life I lead.  I generally don’t spend a lot of money, a lot less than most of my peers, but I still don’t think where I am at with my spending is good enough.  Then I went over to Early Retirement Extreme where I reread some of their articles and I was very impressed on how little Jacob lives on….  $8,000 a year!

Come this summer I will have a yearly cost of living of $15,000.  Like Jacob, I am single with no kids, which inherently drops my costs significantly.  Here is a general summary of my costs:

  • Cell phone $80
  • Food (grocery and eating out): $350
  • Utilities (power, water, gas, internet): $150
  • Gas:$150
  • Car (savings): $200
  • Spending/Entertainment: $200
  • Insurance (employee portion): $45

Monthly Total: $1175

retirement_jar_custom-e47537ac27aa5cf9b11f4e4732c87e1def232852-s6-c10So obviously I am almost double the cost of Jacob’s spending, but I have elected for some things that he’d label as “luxuries”.  Namely a car, eating out and I also have a much more comprehensive insurance package.  For the things not included: taxes and car insurance, that is where I get the difference between monthly ($1175 x 12 months = $14,100) and yearly of $15k.

For retirement savings, paying off student loans etc I make a lot more than my costs; so right now I focus on double and triple paying my student loans each month.  Once that is gone I will be shifting that focus to building my retirement account.

Part of what ERE points out is if you can drastically minimize your monthly costs, you can retire much earlier than most.  It certainly is a balance of living comfortably vs saving so much that you don’t enjoy it, but I think living comfortably is much less than most people think.

Your Turn!

  • How little can you live on (what does that cover)?
  • What are things you gave up or wish you could give up?

The Average American

A while ago I wrote a post on being “weird” which was a huge hit and you can check it out here.  I was thinking about what it means to be an average American and started researching some of the numbers.  In particular I was thinking about how a typical American would compare to someone who lived in a Tiny House.   Tomorrow I will write a post on what the average Tiny House person is like to compare.

Average-American-Family-Infographic

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It’s A Long Road, But You Aren’t Alone

Recently I have hit a snag in my quest for a Tiny House, recently I have had to take a small hit in income and at the same time, I have decided to get more aggressive with goal setting in my financials.  The ultimate goal for me is to have all of my student loan and my car loan paid off, save to pay cash for my next car and build my house without taking a loan if I can help it.  A tall order for anyone, but for a single income worker just beginning their career in a shaky economy, it is especially hard.

At this point I have significantly cut my spending.  I dropped my cable tv, I have arranged to work at home for part of the time to save gas, and the biggest change is I am now house sitting long term (hoping to continue) which saves me $900 a month.

My student loan has 7 more years left on it, but I am working to double pay by the end of next year and then triple pay after that, this will cut the time to about 2.5-3 years.  But this timeline was longer than I had initially hoped.

In the end it will be worth it, I will have a home and a car that I own outright, no debt hanging over my head, this coupled with a lean lifestyle and all my income going to the bank.  I can’t wait for this journey that I started 3 years ago to finally be realized.  So for those of you on a similar journey, know you don’t tread this path alone, good luck.

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