Month: September 2013

My Blogroll and References

Perhaps you are wondering how this humble website is able to produce such amazing articles? Ok I’m just kidding! This is just an introduction to a future post about “humility”.

But seriously, what do I read and who do I talk to get over 70 topics posted? After all this is a one man operation, right? But now, truth be told – indirectly, this isn’t actually a one man operation. It’s rather a conglomeration of ideas gleaned from so many sources:

The People:

Wife and Daughter are big contributors – they give me topics and then I get all cross-eyed with intense effort while I struggle to put words together.

Sisters in law – two of them are major supporters which I of course find to be a confidence builder. Hint: They are not here in the U.S. of A.

Friend of my Daughter – His posting at Facebook more than doubled my readership. You’ll find his site down below. If you buy something from his site, I have to disclose that I am not getting paid a commission at all.

People I’d rather not be around with – These are the people who are in my book – obnoxious or “entitled”. I observed what not to emulate, and promptly publish about them in the Character category of this post.

The Websites:

Apart from the obvious searching in Google or Yahoo or Wikipedia, these are some of the websites that I peruse regularly. I used to read a lot more, but some of them turned into a commercial filled website which turned me off, so here’s the ones that I still pay attention to:

www.earlyretirementextreme.com  – his posts about frugality are legendary.

www.mrmoneymustache.com – his posts about frugality with a little luxury are essential. 

www.smartpassiveincome.com – I know this guy since his high school days. He’s probably the highest earning web guy from several websites he owns.

www.simplicityclothing.com – I own several shirts from this site. Since I preach simplicity,  I strongly support his clothing line.

www.amazingfacts.com – This site highly influences most of my posts here about character, money, relationships and health. You can spend months on this site and you’ll never run out of things to read or video to watch or podcasts to listen to. The also have an app for iPhones and Android phones.

Lastly – but most importantly – the Holy Bible. This book contains all the necessary guidance for a good life. Did you know that the US Navy commissioned research on what fish are edible to eat? This happened during World War II because many  war ships sunk and their Sailors are out floating at sea for days waiting for rescue. The survivors needed to know which sea creatures they can eat. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (in 1940s currency), they found out that fish with scales are the ones that are best to eat. They could have saved that money by reading the Bible. Here’s a tip: Pray first and ask for divine guidance before you read it because it is designed to confuse you if you are not genuinely seeking the truth.

So my secret is out. Have fun going to those websites. But please don’t forget to keep coming back here.Smile

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Walk for Health and Fitness

The simplest, most minimalistic way of doing physical exercise is walking. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and you are set. You may wear any clothing, including suits or evening dress. Walking is one of the best, if not the best – form of exercise.

When I was in the early stages of my rehab after my open heart surgery, one of the things that I had to do first within 12 hours of the operation was walk. The nurse wanted me to walk a long hallway but seeing that I look still weary, weak and dizzy she settled on having me walk toward to a chair four feet away. A few hours later I started my first walk. That walk was only around a hallway which anyone could probably walk about 20 times around before getting tired. I had to stop at the halfway point and again a few yards before my room in the ICU. Being unable to walk that much confirmed to me that my health and fitness just hit bottom after years of enjoying relatively good fitness.

Many people engage in walking. It’s not as glorious as running a marathon or even running a 5K. It’s not as equipment-biased as other sports. Triathletes look resplendent in their tri outfits while mounting their $10,000 bikes wearing their aerodynamic helmets which make you wonder if they just landed from a far off planet outside the Milky Way. Body builders in the gym show off gleaming muscles while drinking electrolytes and snacking on protein bars, and then get home unable to open their refrigerator because they have a bad back. Compared to the above, walking looks like the most boring and lacks the zing to inspire you to exercise.

Walking is a lot simpler. You don’t need specialized equipment. Buying a bicycle these days will give you a headache trying to determine if you want flat bars or road bars; two or three chainrings? 8, 9, 10 or 11 cogs which translates further to 16, 18, 20 or 22 gears. Do you want steel, titanium, carbon fiber or aluminum frame? If steel, do you want 4130 chromoly, Dedaccai or Reynolds tubing? I barely scratched the surface when it comes to frame materials alone. By the time you consider all the possibilities, you probably could have walked across Oregon already.

Do you remember all the specialized exercise equipment in the past? Well, surprise! They are still around! And no, I am not getting paid to advertise them.

-The Bullworker, which has been around since 1962. It’s two spring loaded tubes with hand grips at the end and two elastic bands running parallel to the tubes.

-Nordictrack – used to mimic skiing while in a stationary location. You’ll miss the soft snow and fantastic winter landscape but at least you are working out.

-Thighmaster – these simple exercise equipment sold more than 10 million units.

-Treadmills – I’ve often wondered why we need treadmill when there’s hundreds of miles of open road and trails from anywhere we live? Maybe we’re too soft to walk in the cold or rain?

All the above bring back nostalgic memories even though they are still available today. Which furthers emphasizes the point that walking is really a very easy way to gain fitness. When I walked several hours a day (with rests in between of course) while I was in New York City, my muscles really started responding by growing stronger. I used to do separate physical therapy because my leg muscles atrophied after the operation. After those long walks, my legs got a lot stronger than even before the operation. Walking definitely works.

You may walk before dawn, early in the morning, early evening, late afternoon, or even during noon time after lunch break. You may walk all bundled up in anti-freeze clothes during winter or tank tops and shorts in summertime. You may walk your dog with you (leash it so it won’t bother anyone). You may walk for 15 minute or more than 3 hours at a time. There was a movie about a group of war prisoners that escaped a frozen Russian prison in the far North, walked through Mongolia, China, Nepal and India. The possibilities are endless.

All you need is a decent pair of shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Financial Independence?

Dozens of blogs around the internet preaches financial independence. You can check it out later. I won’t give you the links on another post because you might go to these websites now and ignore my site.  There are a lot of books written about it with a few more coming out almost every month. How come?

People learned a lot from the Great Recession that started around 2008 . A lot of people got their finances crushed by this economic downturn. Unemployment now is still bad, no matter what the news say. There are a lot of underemployed people – who have college education but working entry-level manual labor type jobs. In the meantime, they have more than $100,000 in college loans to pay.

Some people switched to a more modest lifestyle. Thousands switched to the frugal lifestyle espoused by some of these websites. People finally started saving money – knowing full well that if they lose their job – their unemployment benefits won’t last a long time.

But why do we need financial independence?

Let’s go straight down to the benefits:

-You gain a sense of financial freedom. Not too many people have this. Show me a guy that earns a million a year and I’ll tell you if he has financial independence by looking at his monthly expenses. Many people earn a lot but they spend a lot too.

-You gain a lot of free time to do the productive things that you really enjoy. Time is the real wealth – much more precious than gold because time is irretrievable.

-Financial Independence usually means you have no debt. All debtors are basically slaves to creditors. No getting around to that fact. For example, if you don’t pay your home mortgage, you will lose that house to the lender in no time.

-Financially independent people only acquire debt because they have an investment that pays them more than double the amount of the interest that they are paying on the debt.  Let’s say you bought some doodads on wholesale prices using your credit card at 10% annual rate. Then you sold those items at 30-50% profit. This is a good example on the proper use of debt.  Make sure first that what you bought will sell Laughing

-Financial Independence also doesn’t mean that you lay in bed all day. Or go in long vacations without doing anything productive. In fact, financially independent people tend to be productive and creative because they have a lot of time to think and analyze things.

-You put yourself in a position to better help others. It’s a win-win situation when you help others that genuinely needs help. You both enhance your well-being.

-You remove the anxiety of the daily commute to a work that you hate. Daily commutes by car in traffic is not conducive to good health.

-You are no longer under the emotional ups and downs of your bosses. Don’t we all have bosses that makes wrong decisions? If we are our own boss, then we can make better decisions, right?

-You have taken control of your finances and now lives frugally habitually. Having money saved is not an excuse to spend with abandon anytime. Your money won’t last a lifetime that way.

-You are not a slave to consumer debt anymore. No one can take away your car, your home, or any of your possessions because they’re all paid for.

-You’re free to go pursue the dream job that you’ve always wanted. You wanted to be an artist? Go for it! You have the time and the resources to do it!

How do you gain financial independence? Lots of studying (no less than 3,000 hours) and implementation  of what you studied. I started a “How to Get Rich Slowly” series. Now in the next posts, we will have a series on Growing Wealth. “Wealth” sounds better than “Rich”.

 

 

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