There are many different issues that creep into our lives that make us happy and unhappy. Some we can control and others we just have to deal with. We make the best of it or compromise as best we can. If you have a choice and it will make your life happier. Why not take the action that will make you happier. We are going to focus on what can make us successful from a financial perspective. Focus on 5 ways to a successful life. These are the main items that we have learned over a long career. They have made us better off financially and also contributed to a happier life.
Commuting – use to take me over an hour each way. We all know of people with less commuting time and much more. But the bottom line is that was over 10 hours a week of lost time in my life. Sure I read on the bus, kept up with emails and even caught the odd nap. But bottom line I would rather have walked to work to get my daily exercise, fresh air and spent more time with the family.
Chasing the Market – the market is volatile at best and timing is difficult to match. So how much money did you lose trying to chase the market vs. investing in some blue chip dividend paying stocks. They generated income and let you sit back and enjoy life. Starting early and allowing the investment to build meant that when it came time for retirement, I was able to retire young with enough money to live comfortably!
Cheap Housing – we all or should I say most of us buy the big house. They come with the huge mortgage, high taxes and high utility costs. This money that goes for these things can never be invested and is lost for all time. Sure you should gain on the house as long as you maintain it and live in a good neighborhood. But chances are you will never recover your investment. Live inexpensively and take the savings to enjoy life, save for retirement etc.
House Bound or Experiences – coupled with the above, you can choose to be house bound or live cheaply and have many experiences over your life time. People with experiences are generally happier than those that bought the big house and were house bound.
Work for More than a Paycheck – We need to pay for the basics, a place to live, food, clothing and entertainment. But if your job is not interesting it is going to be a long hard grind over 30 to 35 years. Aim for an interesting job that pays the bills. When it is fun and interesting to go to work, everyone does better and is more successful at what they do!