Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Here in the Midwest, we’re in the middle of the winter cold. Which I’m cool with, as it’s totally seasonal and not bitterly cold. This time of year, it can get below zero around here, so temps in the 30’s seem just fine for now. Those of you in warmer climates probably think that people in the Midwest, North, or East are all a bit nuts, which may be partially true. It’s just something you get used to.
We all get used to our situations, and it becomes our own version of “normal”. 30 degrees in January is normal here in Chicago, but it’s crazy for someone in Los Angeles. I have known some folks that have lived much of their lives in cold weather, then went to warm weather climates, and couldn’t imagine going back. Their version of normal had changed.
Well, even though I’m not moving, I can see the lesson here. With respect to personal finance, our version of normal is often based on what we know and have experienced. If what you have done to date has not resulted in the kind of financial situation that you are wanting, then it’s time to rethink what “normal” should mean. For some, normal means living paycheck to paycheck and not prioritizing savings. For others, normal might mean saving 30% of income.
As the new year has started, I’m thinking about this topic a bit more. Sometimes it takes doing things that might not seem normal (there’s that word again!), in order to accomplish things that you haven’t been able to do before.
- Is normal working at a 9-5 job, saving 10% of income, and hoping for social security – or is it focusing on obtaining multiple streams of income and saving more?
- Is normal taking out a 30-year mortgage for a home, as many people do, or is it minimizing the mortgage you take on, paying as much as you can in cash, and focusing on being debt-free and financially independent?
Things to ponder as we’re starting a new year…..
I would like to thank everyone for being a part of Squirrelers! The blog started back in March 2010, but has grown quite a bit in the last 10 months. Hard to imagine that we haven’t even been around for a year yet! As I type this, this is the 141st post, and we’re almost at 1,800 comments.
Anyway, just wanted to say thank you to everyone – whether you’re a subscriber (if not, please do!), commenter, or lurker. We’re only beginning here, and I’m excited to continue discussions with you about personal finance topics in 2011, including some tips as well as good money-related stories which can inform, maybe entertain, and help you squirrel away your money to grow your wealth and live well!
Also, I want to pass on that there are two new carnivals that are being launched, both from the Yakezie Network of fantastic blogs:
- Totally Money Blog Carnival – run by Crystal of Budgeting in The Fun Stuff .
- Carnival of Seasonal Finance - run by Suba of Wealth Informatics.
Check out these two sites to learn more about the new carnivals that are about to launch. I’m looking forward to seeing them both!
Recommended Reading from the Personal Finance Blogosphere
This year has started out really strong, with a lot of really good articles. Here are 12 that I recommend reading:
- Intimidated by the Mistakes of the Past, at The Simple Dollar. There is wisdom here that we should all pay attention to, about letting go of things from the past that may be holding us back today. The past is just that, past. We can learn from it, and make our present and future better.
- A Weight Loss Tip to Die For, at Financial Samurai. Gets you thinking about the relative abundance most of us have compared to many in the world. Let’s be thankful, instead of overindulgent to the point of hurting ourselves!
- SEP IRA: Have Side Income? Save for Retirement, at Well Heeled Blog. There are other ways to practice tax-deferred savings for retirement than a 401(k), and this option provides some real advantages that might be worth looking into for many.
- Diagnose Your Financial Health – Do an Annual Wealth Checkup, at Wealth Informatics. This is a very comprehensive look at how one can take stock to determine personal financial fitness.
- Why Should Successful Corporate Employees Not Start a Side Business?, at Easy Extra Money Online. Thinking of things in terms of eliminating the middleman (you) and capturing some margin is interesting fodder for those looking for income streams.
- Setting the Course for the Impossible, at Watson, Inc. Reflective yet inspirational, this is reading that will get you thinking about your goals. I really enjoyed this piece.
- New Year’s Resolutions – The 5 S’s, at Everyday Tips and Thoughts. This reflects her personal resolutions that are very well stated and can be considered by all, written as part of the “Coffee Talk” blogger writing experiment conducted by First Gen American.
- My Secrets to Successful New Year’s Resolutions, at Krantcents. Good tips on how to turn your resolutions into success.
- Truly Inspirational – $600,000 Raised on a Street Corner, at Finance Fox. Touching story about how someone with his own serious disabilities is working hard to help the lives of others.
- IRA Contribution Limits for Both Roth and Traditional, at KNS Financial. Simple yet timely recap of contribution limits for 2010 and 2011
- MozRank: Drop that Zero and Get With the Hero, at Buck Inspire. Any post from a personal finance blog that quotes Vanilla Ice is going to get a second look. This one speaks to website ranking issues facing bloggers.
- Auction Strategies, at 101 Centavos. Have you ever participated in an auction? I have not, which made this piece quite interesting to read.