About once a week, I’ll get an email from a reader along the lines of this recent one from Leo:
I don’t know how to invest. I don’t know what to invest in. So I keep putting it off because I’m worried about messing it up. It’s ridiculous that this is all so complicated.
A while back, I wrote in detail about the longest night of my life, the night when I realized that I needed to change my financial situation. That night, the best answer didn’t come from me. It came from my infant son. When I looked at him, I knew I had to make some sort of change or else I wouldn’t be able to give him the wonderful future he deserved.
In short, he became my inspiration.
We only have a limited amount of time on this wonderful Earth, and there are almost countless people around the globe who have far fewer opportunities for a pleasant life than we have. Thus, it’s natural for most people to eventually come to the conclusion that it’s quite important to share the wealth we’ve earned by sharing the resources we have with those that are less privileged in life. If we have an excess of resources while another person doesn’t have enough resources, it makes sense to share those resources.
As I write this, Iowa is suffering through incredibly disastrous flooding. Levees have been breached in Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids is nearly underwater. If you want to see how bad things are right now, the best place to watch is KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, which has had amazing coverage of the events around here. Even worse, the water is flowing downstream, breaking levees all throughout Iowa and Illinois, and likely causing flooding of countless homes over the next week and a half.
Whenever I read personal finance books and articles, I often see the term “financial independence” bandied about. To some, it merely means not relying on a parent or other loved one to help pay the bills. For others, it means freedom from all debt. For yet others, it means freedom from having to work for income.
These are all apt definitions of financial independence, perfectly applicable to different points in life and each useful as a goal for some people. Let’s take a look.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a long conversation with a reader I’ll call Jenny. Jenny has one big thing she loves to splurge on in her life - she likes to take long weekend trips about once every three months, leaving on a Thursday night and getting back late on Monday. Those are her “vacations,” and she goes all over the place on them. She’s been to just about every major European city, much of South America, almost everywhere in the United States that one could even conceive of going, and so on.
Over the last two years, I’ve reviewed in detail more than a hundred (actually approaching two hundred) personal finance and personal productivity books on The Simple Dollar - for more than a year, I reviewed two a week. Over that time, many readers have asked me what I’m doing with all of those books. Some came from the library, a few were review copies, and some were gifts, but surely I had to be building up quite a library, right?