Saturday, May 01, 2010
What Does It Mean to Be Rich?
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 07:00 AM PDT
If you wander by the personal finance section at your local bookstore, one of the first things you’ll notice is that a lot of books use the word “Rich” in the title. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. How to Get Rich. Smart Couples Finish Rich. I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Heck, one of the most popular personal finance blogs out there is named Get Rich Slowly.
Rich. What does it even mean?
I’ve said before that my idea of richness is merely financial independence and a full life. I truly don’t want to have mountains of money – if I did find some way to earn a lot of money, I’d likely give most of it away once I’ve established long-term financial independence for my immediate family. (Trust me, writing isn’t it unless you’re Dan Brown or Stephen King.)
But I’ve put a lot of thought into that question. What does it mean for people who are simply trying to make ends meet?
I asked a big handful of people on Facebook this very question. “How much money does it take to be rich? What would you do with that much money if someone just handed it to you?”
Most of the responses were very consistent with each other.
The amount of money it takes to be “rich” usually equals somewhere around one hundred times what a person has made in the last year (at least, based on what I could estimate that people make). So, someone that makes $20,000 a year would say that two million would make them rich. Someone making $100,000 a year would answer that ten million would make them rich.
What was interesting is the consistency in how they would spend it. Almost all of them mentioned buying material things. Out of the twenty people I asked, only two of them mentioned investing the money at all, although quite a few did mention paying off all of their existing debt. There were lots of mentions of ridiculously expensive cars and several mentions of new houses. A few people said they would quit their jobs.
Mostly, though, they would just spend their riches on a higher grade of the same stuff they already have. They’d buy a better car and a better television and a better house.
Obviously, many of the people I wrote to are perfectly happy with their lives and upgrading material elements of that life would just put icing on the cake.
But if you’re not happy with some aspect of your life, simply doing more of the same thing won’t help. You’ve got to do something different, and that often means completely changing the routine of your life.
If you’re happy with what you have in life, more money is just icing on the cake – a means to secure what you have and buff up certain parts of it.
If you’re unhappy with what you have in life, more money to buy more of the same stuff won’t help at all. Money helps in that it buys you the freedom to make the changes you want.
Having the money to buy that nice item you’re dreaming about won’t bring you happiness. Either you’re already happy with your life or you’re not. Money can, however, put a bit of sugar on the cookie if you’re already happy and allow you to find a new path if you’re not.
In the end, being rich has nothing to do with money. It has to do with being happy with what you have and not desiring more. Being rich is having enough. Some people working minimum wage jobs are rich and some people with millions in the bank are not.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Well....... I was told by someone who didnt know, I guess, that the money I had been getting in Jan would be mine until the court date changes it. This was NOT true. My x was asked today about what he wanted to do with the over payment of $450 and he said I had to pay it back! He could have let it go, he was given the option. Also, child support has gone from $212 a week to $83. and he wants to start seeing the kids again after a year and a half now. They both have busy schedules and my daughter doesnt even want to see him again. She will have no choice in this matter. I will find it hard to pay for gas to get to his house to pick up the kids since he lives 40 minutes away. It has been a very disturbing day for me.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Pick up a pen after every meal
Mindlessly munch on a bag of chips and you could easily polish off the whole thing; write down how much you've eaten and you're more likely to practice portion control. Keeping a food log helps control extra calories in two ways: the combination of plain old reality check (I just ate 30 minutes ago!) and awareness that what you're putting in your mouth will soon be recorded for posterity. In a recent study, people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn't. When they combined it with a moderate diet and exercise plan, they lost an average of 13 pounds in 6 months. Journaling also gives you insight on your eating habits, says Lutes. Do you skip meals? Eat the same during the week as on the weekend? Binge when you're feeling stressed? "Knowing your routine helps you figure out what changes are right for you," she adds.
Skip through the commercials
Get off your duff and move during your favorite TV shows. Skip, dance, go up and down some stairs, run in place—anything that gets your heart rate up so you feel somewhat breathless, says Geralyn Coopersmith, senior national manager at Equinox Fitness. Do it for each 2-minute break (forget the TiVo) during a typical 2-hour TV night and you'll burn an extra 270 calories a day—which can translate to a 28-pound weight loss in a year.
Limit high-fat foods to one per week
Tag the high-fat/high-calorie foods that are typically your favorites (our top five: cookies, candy, ice cream, potato chips, and fries) and gradually downshift. "If you're eating six of these foods a week, try to go down to five," says Lutes. Each week, drop another until you're at no more than one or two; at the same time, add in a good-for-you choice like baby carrots, sautéed broccoli, oranges, and other fresh fruits and veggies.
Sign up for healthy
One recent study from Kaiser Permanente found that people who received weekly e-mails about diet and fitness for 16 weeks substantially increased their levels of physical activity and intake of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables while cutting back on trans and saturated fats.
Walk 5 minutes more every day
In Lutes's pilot study, increasing daily activity levels by just a few minutes at a time helped participants lose weight. Eventually, your goal should be to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day (burning off about 120 extra calories daily, or 12 1/2 pounds a year), but it doesn't have to be all at once.
Some simple ways to get moving:
* Walk around the perimeter of the grocery store at least once before heading toward the items you need.
* Move in place whenever you're talking on the phone.
* Go through or around the entire shopping mall instead of parking near the store you need.
* Take a walk around the block at lunch and after dinner.
Strength-train in mini-bursts
Basic body-weight exercises like squats and push-ups are a simple way to build more metabolism-revving muscle in minutes, and research shows they're just as effective as hitting the gym. "Your muscles don't know the difference between working against your body's own resistance and on a fancy piece of equipment," says Wayne Westcott, fitness research director at Quincy College. "The one rule to follow is that each exercise should fatigue your muscles within 60 to 90 seconds."
Try this mini-workout: Do 10 reps each of knee push-ups, squats, crunches, lunges, and chair dips. Then gradually increase the number of reps it takes for your muscles to feel fully fatigued.
Climb 3 extra flights of stairs daily
Have a choice between riding and climbing? Including 2 to 3 minutes of stair climbing per day—covering about three to five floors—can burn enough calories to eliminate the average American's annual weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds a year. It's also good for more than just your waistline: Men who climbed more than 70 flights of stairs a week had 18% lower mortality rates than those who climbed fewer than 20 flights a week, according to one Harvard study. Start with just a couple of flights a day; if you're already a dedicated climber, aim to add three more flights to your daily trek.
Take a pedometer wherever you go
Just as you wouldn't leave home without your cell phone, make a pedometer a must-have accessory. Research shows pedometer users take nearly 2,500 more steps a day (over 1 mile, or about 100 calories) than nonusers. Over a year, that's enough to burn off about 10 pounds.
Brown-bag it at least once a week
You'll save thousands of calories (not to mention hundreds of dollars) over the course of a year. Consider this: A premade chicken Caesar wrap from a chain restaurant has 610 calories, more than 40% of which come from fat, as well as 1,440 mg of sodium (more than half the recommended daily amount). Make your own with presliced deli chicken breast on whole wheat bread with light mayo and romaine lettuce for about 230 calories. You'll cut almost 400 calories and about 520 mg of sodium, which leaves room for a side salad and could still add up to a 28-pound weight loss after a year. "When you make and eat your own food, you not only control the quality and portion sizes but also reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and fat that you're consuming, which can be significantly higher in restaurant fare," says Ashley Koff, RD, a nutrition consultant based in Los Angeles.
Obey the 1-mile rule during errands
Americans use their cars for two-thirds of all trips that are less than 1 mile and 89% of all trips that are 1 to 2 miles, yet each additional hour you spend driving is associated with a 6% increase in obesity. Burn calories instead of gas by following this rule: If your errands are less than 1 mile away, vow to walk them at a brisk pace instead of driving. Or park where you can run several errands within a mile instead of moving your car each time. Walk every day and you'll be 13 to 17 pounds lighter next year.
Take 10 minutes to eat a treat
Try this strategy to permanently reduce cravings: Portion out one serving of your favorite treat, taking a minute to smell it, look at it, and think about it. Take one small bite. Chew slowly, moving it around your mouth and focusing on the texture and taste, then swallow. Ask yourself whether you want another bite or if that satisfied you. If you still want more, repeat, this time chewing the food 20 times. Continue this eating exercise for as long as you want or until you finish the serving (it should take about 10 minutes). "When you take the time to slow down and be more mindful of what something really tastes like, you'll feel more satisfied," says Lutes. "Many of our participants told us that after a while, they didn't enjoy the treat as much as they thought they would, or they were content after just a couple of bites and were better able to stop eating when they were satisfied."
Eat fruit -- don't drink it
Skip juice and eat the whole fruit instead. You'll not only get more heart-healthy fiber in your diet (3.5 g for a small apple versus 0.5 g in a glass of juice), you'll also stay satisfied longer. Research shows that fiber aside, liquid carbohydrates just aren't as filling as solids. "When you chew a food, you generate more saliva, which in turn carries a message to the brain that your gut needs to get ready for digestion," explains Koff. "That mechanism is turned off when you drink, so the body doesn't register that it's full as quickly." Plus there are the extra calories—45% more if you're drinking that juice rather than eating the whole apple, which can add 4 more pounds to your weight by year's end.
Find a virtual workout pal
You know exercising with a friend makes you more accountable (nobody wants to leave a pal stranded on a street corner at 6 AM). But your workouts don't always have to be done face to face. "Even just checking in with a friend or peer on the phone or via text or e-mail can help keep you on track," says Lutes. Her study discovered that women who had some form of social support, either through in-person counseling or an online chat group, lost more than 15 pounds over a 9-month period, dropping about 500 calories from their daily diet and walking about a mile more each day than from their starting point.
Brush immediately after dinner
New research shows that nighttime munching can lead to excessive weight gain, even if you're not consuming more calories over the course of the day, since you won't be burning them off once you hit the sack. Stymie the temptation to snack by brushing your teeth, flossing, or using mouthwash after eating; the mint flavor is a natural craving reducer, says Elise Zied, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips.
Drink your coffee the old school way
A regular cup with a dash of milk and even a little sugar has hundreds of fewer calories then the blended drinks, which are practically dessert in a cup. One recent study of about 3,000 purchases from 115 restaurant chains in New York City found that while servings of brewed coffee or tea averaged about 63 calories (including milk and sugar), the fancier drinks averaged nearly 4 times more, with 239 calories, which can translate to an 18-pound gain over a year.
Prevent weight gain with sleep
Make a point of turning in earlier and you'll see the difference in your waistline within a week. One recent study found that even just a few nights of sleep deprivation can lead to almost immediate weight gain. Australian researchers asked participants to sleep about 10 hours a night for 2 days, followed by 5 hours of sleep restriction and 4 nights of recovery. After the 11 days, the sleep-deprived group gained almost 3 pounds, compared with a well-rested control group.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Healthy Habits and Resolutions - Success Tips For Handling Temptation & Helping You Reach Your Goal
Written by Linda Luke
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 14:08
It's the time of year where we think of new beginnings and many of you will make resolutions to change a habit or achieve a new goal. Even with the best of intentions it can be difficult to keep your commitment when you are tempted or challenged. Here are some ideas for handling those moments when temptation comes your way.
1. Interrupt your thoughts: It is important to pull yourself back into the reality you want to create. Methods can be as simple as snapping a rubber band on your wrist, calling for support, counting, or taking a walk.
2. Focus on the end result: Remind yourself why the goal is so important and how it will feel once you achieve it. Picture success in your mind and really get into the feeling of it.
3. Create reminders: Write a letter to yourself, journal, or use another creative outlet to help you re-focus. Post notes, intentions, or pictures around your home or office. Keep something in your pocket to remind you of why this goal is really important to you. Use things that evoke feelings as they will be more powerful.
4. Have a support system in place: Arrange support so that you have someone to call when the going gets rough. Set up accountability and report daily either to the world online or to an accountability partner.
5. Pain vs. Pleasure: We are designed to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Associate pain with giving in to temptation. Think about how you will feel afterward. Associate pleasure with your end result. Imagine how each choice will feel later and move toward the pleasure of reaching your goal.
6. Focus on the positive: Keep your eyes on the prize. Your mind thinks in pictures and doesn't understand words like don't. When you think about what you don't want, your mind pulls up the picture and thinks that must be what you want because it is what you are focusing on. It will then work very hard to make it happen. Let your mind work for you in a positive way.
7. Replace your habit: Sometimes it is difficult to let go of one behavior without filling the void with something else. This is why smokers may take up chewing gum or alcoholics may develop other addictions. Choose something healthy to become your new habit and fill the void.
8. Be prepared with proactive behaviors: Create a list of things you can do when challenged in the moment and keep it on hand. Some examples of proactive behaviors are:
a. Take a deep breath
b. Go for a walk
c. Call for support
d. Leave the area
e. Sing a song
f. Read the letter you wrote to yourself
9. Success partner(s): Studies show that it is easier to succeed if you are going through the process with someone else. Look for someone with a similar goal to partner up with. If you want to exercise, it might be an exercise buddy. Life Coaches or support groups are also good options.
10. Acknowledge yourself daily: Notice your successes along the way, no matter how small, and tell yourself how proud you are of the progress you made. Catch yourself doing things right.
11. Eliminate negative language: Pay attention to your thoughts and words. Eliminate words like should, can't, hard, or other negatives and restate what you are trying to say in a positive way.
12. Inspire yourself: Read books and surround yourself with things that will keep you excited about your goal and believing in the possibility of success. Connect with God and ask for assistance.
13. Nurture yourself: If you are putting out extra effort to achieve a goal or eliminating something from your life, find a way to nurture and express love for yourself. It may be a bath, massage, or treating yourself to something you enjoy.
14. Reward: Many people are motivated by having a big reward at the end. Trips, wardrobes, or new toys often work well. Make it something you can get excited about.
15. Track your progress visually: Use a graph, calendar, or other way to visually see your progress. Use it to get motivated about reaching the end goal.
Being prepared and using these tools can make a big difference in getting the results you want with less stress along the way. Get ready. Get set. Go!
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