Tuesday, May 20, 2008

About Money. Part Two

Learn how to save money.
Always save something out of any money you earn or receive. Saving money is your new mantra, your new religion. Saving should be automatic on your part. If you receive a large sum of money -- an advance on a book, an inheritance, a bonus, you should save 95% of that. Large chunks of money are hard to come by and should be treated with great respect.

Saving money should not be a torture. If it is, you are not doing something right . Perhaps you are living beyond your means, not spending properly, buying badly, allocating poorly. Saving money should be natural and free. Put it away and keep a little bit for your living needs at the time.

Learn how to invest money when you are young. Put your money to work for you. (Instead of you working for it.) Learn the famous "rule of compound interest." If you start saving and investing in your 20's, you will have wealth and peace of mind in your later years. Why struggle to pay for college with actual dollars, when you can save today and let it grow by itself, to the quantity you will need.

I know, it is very hard, when you are in your 20's to discipline yourself and think that you need to save...and that you will ever get "old." But time will fly faster than you ever imagined and you will be grateful for this advice.

Take responsibility for your retirement. Being "old" is hard enough. Who wants to be old and poor? There is nothing worse than being sick and not having money for the doctor. These two scenarios can be avoided with planning and the simple fact of saving a bit of all money that ocmes your way.

Learn how to spend money.
Wisely. You can spend money, or you can spend it well. Spending money should not be frivolous, nor should it be painful. I have a friend who spends every cent she earns and another friend who has buyer's remorse and can't buy a thing without feeling tremendous guilt. You work hard for the money, and money is there to be enjoyed.

Do your homework. See what things cost. Comparison shop. If you don't need something right away, buy it on sale. Ask for "something off." Be a smart consumer. Buy what you need, not what you want. But of course, occasionally you have to splurge. But when you do spend your money, enjoy it.

Money does not bring happiness.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking money will make you happy or that rich people are happy. The rich have the same problems as you and me. All the money in the world can't help my friend whose son has a terrible neurological condition. Another friend has accumulated several million dollars during his lifetime and lives like a miser, never taking vacations, inviting people over to dinner etc.
While money doesn't bring happiness...having enough money can make your life a lot easier. Hence: save!

Money and good taste are entirely unrelated.
Even after all these years I am still surprised when I come in contact with a wealthy person's life and discover, more often than not, how ugly their house is, how badly dressed they are, how boorish their manners. Just because you have money, doesn't mean you know how to live or you spend it on lovely things.

Good taste is what is priceless. Having a good eye or your own personal sense of style lets you live with "champagne taste on a beer budget." I line my garden patio with inexpensive votives that I buy by the ozen at Ikea. My simple, twinkling garden makes everyone feel I'm living luxuriously. It is my personal sense of style that brings wealth into my life. You don't need Gucci, Pucci or Fucci. A trim, toned body dressed in clean, pressed jeans, a nice white shirt and good leather shoes is my idea of perfection.

How to feel like a million(aire).
Feeling rich is far more than just having money. Look at the daily graces in your life. If you enjoy good health, you are truly blessed and rich, because good health, like good taste, is priceless.

Luxury is an attitude. A home made loaf cinnamon swirl bread, still warm from the oven, is luxurious. A vase of fresh wild flowers that I picked myself is luxurious.

It's all about your ability to take pleasure in the details. Cooking a lovely meal for a friend is the most extravagant gift you can imagine. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and an excellent cup of coffee in the morning is what makes me feel rich, taken care of, in control of my world, happy with my life.

You've often heard the cliche that the rich are bored with things, that nothing brings them pleasure because they can have whatever they want. The ability to take pleasure in my things is what makes me feel rich. I never taken anything for granted. Perhaps I don't have expensive cars, antiques, first class flights to Paris...but a cup of tea and a clean house make me feel like a million.

To be continued!

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