Time is Money (Or… Money is Time)

How do you receive money?

For the most part, people receive money by spending time on a business or in their job. Thus, a certain amount of time spent translates into a certain amount of money.

In all considerations of money matters we must think about its relation to time first.

Besides doing work worth doing, or work that they enjoy, I imagine people want to do work where they are paid more. Sometimes one priority outweighs the other, but in all cases it is nice to receive more money for your time.

Forgive me for stating some things which might be obvious, but let me form the whole of this discussion…

To receive more money for your time you have to do something different then what you are already doing or any combination of things.

The first thing that comes to mind is efficiency. Unfortunately many jobs are paid on an hourly basis, not a productivity basis. But if your business or job pay is productivity based then becoming more efficient can help a lot.

Efficiency basically boils down to doing the same thing in a smaller amount of time. And improving your efficiency usually involves looking at the details of your work. Ask yourself, “What little improvements can I make that turn into big improvements over time?” If you can find a way to save just ten minutes of your day by increasing your efficiency you can earn yourself an extra week of vacation a year!

For those that want to see the math…

Most people work a 40 hour work week. And they work at least 50 weeks or 250 days out of the year. 250 days times 10 minutes a day equals 2,500 minutes or roughly 41.6 hours saved through efficiency.

You can think of it this way too. If you had an extra 40 hours what would you do with it? That extra efficiency can be worth a lot of money.

For instance, you could possibly spend that time doing something that you would otherwise hire someone to do. Or you could spend that time shopping around for better deals. Possibly saving thousands of dollars on a house or vehicle purchase!

Time is money no doubt.

There are two ways to have your time equal more money. You can decide where to spend your time. Is option A better than option B? And you can improve what you are already doing with your time. Get better at doing option A or option B.

One of the best examples of this is in earning a college degree…

Engineering majors tend to earn more then English Literature majors. Option A is better then Option B.

If you are already an engineer then you also have the option to get better at it. Through further training, a master’s degree, or just sheer experience over time…

Either way you look at it, time is money… The better you spend your time, and the more time you spend, the more money you make. I guess that is why we talk about “spending” money the same way we talk about “spending” time.

Money can buy you time as well. Unfortunately you often have to spend your time first to get the money to buy back your time later.

This is the concept behind retirement…

You are putting extra money into a retirement account now to buy time later. Specifically you are buying time where you don’t have to work and earn money in your later years. Many people are now realizing that they did not put enough into their retirements accounts to purchase the non-working time in their later years.

Specifically, it is hard to estimate how much you need in later years because inflation erodes away the value of your money. Again, time is money. It could be worth more or less in the future depending on factors such as inflation and your investment return.

A lot of personal finance blogs are centered around this one topic because there is so much to discuss and because it is so unpredictable. But that doesn’t stop people from making suggestions. ;-)

Again, time is money. The more you think about how you value your time in terms of money, the better able you will be at managing your money.

Originally posted 2011-03-12 20:10:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Personal Finance Tagged , , |

My Sense of Entitlement

You know, I just had to write one more post before education week. I apologize ahead of time to my international readers because this will mostly be a U.S. centric post, but I do believe it will have some good points you can use. So read on…

In America, we have this saying that many people, especially the younger generations, have a sense of entitlement about them. Meaning that they believe that society owes them something. Or that they are entitled to certain things in life. Our very own Declaration of Independence even states that, “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.

It is a cultural thing that can serve to be good or bad. It certainly breeds a certain independence and entreprenuerial spirit in us. It also breeds in us an idea that we don’t necessarily have to work hard for the things are want in life.

In my own humble opinion, it is a spell that needs broken. Granted, not everyone lives with this idea in their heads, but many do. Often it takes some hard knocks in the school of life for people to start loosing this illusion that they have about the way the world is.

The obvious problems that this illusion creates is a society in which one thinks they can have or do anything. This leads to a certain amount of destructive behavior. It also causes many individuals to become confused about what they are meant to do with their life.

Well, if I can do anything in this life, then what in the world should I do?

The answer proves illusive. Many people live their entire lives without ever answering the question…

I think that we need to help younger generations discover the answer to this question. How you might ask?

To be honest, the answer is found on the path that the individual walks. That we can not help with.

However, we can tell our own stories about how we found meaning in life. Hear enough of other people’s stories and eventually you will take bits of meaning from theirs and piece together your own.

I also believe that there really are some things that are universally meaningful. Your family and culture play a big part. So does your environment.

In the end though, it is your choices who determine who you are. Looking at your past decisions enables me to determine who you are and what is meaningful to you. If you forsake family and culture to move to a foreign land, I can tell you that adventure and seeking your own way are more meaningful than tradition. But I can also tell you that at any point you can choose to change your mind in the future…

Like I said before, free will is one of the scariest and most amazing things about life. The cool thing about your life is that you get to choose what you do with it. It’s a gift!

And like I said before, I really do have all the answers to all of life’s questions, except for the ones where the answer is, “It depends”. It just so happens that most of them have that answer. ;-)

So about your sense of entitlement? Throw it out the window. It doesn’t serve you very well.

What are we entitled to? Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, we have the freedom to choose how we will pursue happiness (or contentment, or whatever else) in this lifetime. And that’s about it!

This week was really fun and set the groundwork for education week. Maybe you are still scratching your head about how the posts this week deal with education. Well subscribe using the link below and check back next week to find out! ;-)

Originally posted 2009-01-09 14:59:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Personal Development Tagged |

Well What Did You Expect?

How many times have you heard that question?

Usually it is after a pretty disappointing situation. Where you expected something better than what happened.

I got hit with the idea for this article when I was driving in my car pondering the one two punch I received from Penelope over at The Brazen Careerist and JD over at Get Rich Slowly.

Penelope was talking about how happiness is often dependent on our level of self-discipline. How we need to find easy “entry points” to get back in the zone. And how more control over our lives brings us an increased level of happiness.

JD started off with a book review and ended with some insightful thoughts of his own. He stated that he always thought having more stuff would make him happier. However, over time he found out that he could actually be happier with less.

In my life, I have always been an “efficient” person. I always loved finding ways to do more with less. My unhappiness came about because I loved to be in control, and was always sad when things didn’t go my way.

I was and am still competitive. I like to win. No, I really like to win! In fact, I expect to win. And more often than not I do.

This may seem prideful, and it is to a certain degree, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I go after things that I want more than most people.

In other “positive psychology” studies it has been mentioned that happiness is mostly a mindset, and has little to do with external things. In fact, they are starting to make the argument that we have a base line level of happiness that is hard to change at all. It may fluctuate up and down based on events and circumstances, but it always returns to a certain level.

Back to my unhappiness about not being in control…

Some things you have control of in this life, and the main thing you have control of is you. You can’t control people, you can’t really control nature, and you can’t control the future. You can act upon all those things, but you can’t always control things with absolute certainty.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me unhappy sometimes. I want to be in control. I want to make things go my way. Alas, they certainly don’t always go my way…

Expect less, achieve more?

I think there is something to be said for not expecting to win, but to try anyhow and see what happens. If you know you are doing your best, how much does the outcome matter? How much can it matter? You did your best right?

The same goes for your expectations of other people. Sure, expect them to do their best. If they fail, you can be their encourager for next time. If they win, you can say you knew they had it in them all along. Just don’t hold unreasonable expectations of people. Don’t expect yourself or others to win all the time. And certainly don’t expect them to lose…

Just expect the best in everyone, including yourself. I think that is the real key that will help us all be happier people in the long run!

Originally posted 2009-07-26 14:56:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Personal Development Tagged , |

How To Keep People From Manipulating You

Here’s a quick link to Marc and Angel’s 12 Devious Tricks People Use to Manipulate You.

I hate being manipulated. And this isn’t just about how to avoid salespeople. It’s about how you can deal with your friends and family, and other close ones from manipulating you for selfish purposes.

Sometimes people don’t even realize what they are doing. They are simply doing what is natural, which is trying to get their own way.

To keep yourself from being manipulated it is important to just stay aware of what is happening. And politely and respectfully say no. It is simple as that, but like all things, sometimes hard in practice.

On the flip side, are you guilty of using these techniques to manipulate people around you? One can only hope people use this knowledge for good and not evil…

Thoughts?

Originally posted 2011-06-13 22:55:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Personal Development Tagged , |

The Personal Development Challenge Series

Here I am going to take 52 weeks out of the year to talk about personal development and how we can improve our lives by improving the ways we think, act, and feel.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Financial Planning for the Financially Inept: Choosing the Right Advisor

*This is a guest post by Alex Fayle of Someday Syndrome.

After reading Jeremy’s post on being your own financial advisor (http://www.insightwriter.com/2008/12/10/why-best-investment-advisor/), I had to laugh. I might have been good at mathematics in high school, but I sucked at applying it. There’s no way I could ever be my own financial advisor. Not only do I not understand it, but it bores the crap out me.

In the comments to that post, I mentioned that I learned just enough to know what to look for in a financial advisor and then pick one who would do all the work for me. So, for those of you who are the same boat as me, here’s my story and what I did to find myself the perfect financial advisor.

When my former employer started offering me retirement contributions instead of a pension, I went to my bank where a friend worked and she set me up with a mix of funds. Being a good friend from high school, I trusted her and let her do her thing.

Then my bank merged with another one and my funds got transferred over, going from a mix of about 6 different types of funds to about fifteen. Over the next few years I consistently lost money, but being a big-time procrastinator at that point of my life, I didn’t do anything about it.

When I left the 9-5 world and started my own business, I joined a networking group where I met Rachelle Allen. As we spent time in the group together, I learned more about financial planning from Rachelle. She told us to look for in an advisor – and slowly it sunk in that I should really do something about the money I was wasting in my bank’s mixed up funds.

I learned that it starts with knowing your investment personality. For me, investments are for retirement. I have a long-term view. I don’t care what my investments might be doing now, six months from now or even 5 years from now. All I care about is that in 25 years when I want to retire, they’re going to provide me with another 35 years of decent living (yes, my family’s very long lived and we need to plan for living to at least 100).

So, I knew I needed someone who could take care of my investments over the long-term and would be interested in the future of my money, not what he or she could get out of me in the moment.

Over the year that I got to know Rachelle before deciding to work with her, this is what I learned was important to me:

Trust trumps all. Think about the Madoff fraud scandal. This man was supposed to know what he was doing and he was supposed to have his clients’ interests at heart. I wonder, however, how many of his clients knew him personally. Before I started working with Rachelle, I got to know her on a professional and personal level. I knew that her values matched my own and that I could trust her with my money.

Certification matters. In many industries being certified doesn’t matter, but to me, financial planning is one place where the advisor needs to know what’s what and to understand the language of finances. And the best way to show that knowledge is with certification. In Canada, the most respected designation in the industry is the Certified Financial Planners’ (CFP) designation. It has a three year minimum experience requirement, a strict code of ethics, and a series of three exams. When I started with Rachelle, she had already started working towards her CFP and will be writing the final exam in June 2009.

Who pays the advisor? This one actually one of my first questions to Rachelle: “If I go with you, do you make money off my investments, or do I have to pay you a fee each time you do something for me?” She explained that there are normally three income models for financial advisors:

  • Commission – This is traditionally the most common way financial advisors are compensated.  When you purchase a product or investment, a certain percentage goes directly to the advisor.
  • Flat Fee – Some advisors will charge an hourly rate or may charge a flat fee for creating a financial plan.
  • Fee Based on Assets – Some advisors will charge an annual fee that is based on a percentage of assets.

Then she told me about a fourth way, how her company, Investors Group, does it. She never charges commission, flat fee or a fee based on assets. Investors Group compensates her directly when new clients join her practice.  In addition, the company compensates her for servicing and growing her clients’ assets. In other words, she has a stake in the well-being of the funds and so wants them to grow, without any cost to the client.

That was enough for me. Here I had someone I liked and trusted, whose values and ideas about life matched my own. She was dedicated to ongoing learning and being the best she could be in her profession, and her earnings although tied to the value of my investments didn’t come directly out of my money.

I couldn’t ask for more!

And now that I live outside Canada, the trust and intimate knowledge of the Canadian market is even more important. When the news spouted on and on about the economic downturn, I sent off an email saying: “Do I have to worry?” And Rachelle’s immediate response was “No, you’re in this for the long-term. But I will keep an eye on things and let you know if we need to reshuffle.” And because of my high level of trust for her and because of her strict adherence to being an ethical advisor, that was all I needed to calm any financial fears.

This type of financial planning is not for everyone, however. I doubt Jeremy with his interest in finance would ever want to go this route. But for someone like me who falls asleep at the mention of mutual funds, bond markets and… whatever they’re called, Rachelle was a gift from the gods.

* * *

Alex Fayle, of Someday Syndrome (http://www.somedaysyndrome.com), is a former procrastinator who uses his visionary ability to uncover hidden patterns and help people break the procrastination obstacle so they can finally find freedom and start living the life they desire.

Rachelle Allen is a Financial Consultant for Investors Group in Toronto, Ontario, who works with all types of people, not just those who find finances boring. You can find out more about her and Investors Group at http://www.investorsgroup.com/consult/rachelle.allen/english/default.htm

Originally posted 2008-12-26 01:49:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Personal Finance Tagged , |

Best Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes

Yep, Ive been a big slacker when it comes to writing on here. Almost another year has gone by since Ive written anything. This whole year has been a big focus on selling my house in Colorado, traveling all over the US, and moving back to Pennsylvania. Obviously my focus on this website has suffered with all my life events going on.

With that being said I want to set a little goal of writing at least once a month, even if its just posting someone else’s article like I am doing today. I have to stay in the practice. And make sure my WordPress is up to date!

Anyhow, I will write a lot more about health here soon. My next book to read is Dr. Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain”. I listened to a podcast by Robb Wolf and in that podcast Dr. Perlmutter made a very strong statement. He literally said carbohydrates are shrinking our brains and causing Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Very interesting indeed!

Here is a post from the Simple Dollar that I wanted to keep out in the open as I look for more recipes to add to my repertoire. Enjoy!

Best Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes

Posted in Blogging, Diet & Exercise, Personal Health

Top 10 Favorite Posts of the Past 5 Years

Insight Writer has finally reached its five year anniversary. That makes me pretty happy. I slowed down my writing a lot in the past year for various reasons and so I don’t necessarily have a top 10 for the past year. But this is even better because I get to list my favorite posts instead and why I like them. If you are interested here are the past four years worth of Top 10’s…

2008-2009
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012

Jeremy’s Top 10 Favorite Posts:

1. How To Overcome Our 3 Biggest Enemies in Life – I’m not listing these in any order but this is definitely one of my top three favorites. I like it because it was one of my first posts back in October 2008 and it definitely helped to define what this blog would become. I wrote about topics all over the board before I finally narrowed it down to the three I focus on today which are health, wealth, and happiness.

2. 9 Easy Ways to Get A Life – This is another early post that helped define what I was trying to make Insight Writer into. I was also trying to copy the more successful blogs by adding photos and making lists. I quickly tired of searching for the appropriate photos and only made lists when it seemed appropriate for clarity not long after that. It took a couple months but I finally settled into my own writing style.

3. What we all know about health, but don’t do. – Snarky title, simple and straight to the point, well received, and gave my website a lot of traffic. Also had a great concept that you need to go read about. ;-) I love this one because it was a strong idea that came together really well and people loved it.

4. Do You Think You Are Always Right? – I had a very personal reason for writing this one and it illustrates perhaps what I do best, which is make people think. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

5. How To Give Great Hugs & Handshakes – I like this one because it is just old fashioned wisdom that we need to be reminded of sometimes. It’s not your normal article you find on the internet either and I do like it for that uniqueness.

6. How To Live Like You Were Dying – This just might be another top 3 post. I have a hard time ranking these but this one easily stands out above the rest. It has it all. It’s really personal, it hits home for a lot of people, and I believe it has a lot of wisdom in it even as my older self reads it now.

7. Rethinking My Blog – I almost feel that this should be listed separately, but I’m listing it here anyhow because it is important. This post marks a big turn in how I felt about my blog and how it was helping people in general. Right after this I started my Personal Finance Challenge and my Better Health Challenge. The whole entire goal was to write small articles that could eventually be made into book chapters. And I wrote 52 of them for each week of the year, and as a personal writing challenge to myself. This is a landmark post for me and that is why it is one of my favorites.

8. The Best Morning Exercise Routine – I have to give some credit to this one particular post because it got me almost half of all my traffic for a long time. Somehow a lot of people linked to it, and Google ranked me high for search terms similar to the title. Because of this I started learning more about “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) and specifically tried to get another page ranked. The article I worked on was called the Best Weight Lifting Routine and it came in second for most visited page on Insight Writer. I proved that I could effectively do SEO and dropped it all together after that because it is tedious boring work and my web traffic was growing regardless of it. But like all things you have to keep working at it to make it work in the long run. In any case, these two articles are really helpful for people who want to get started working out, but don’t know how. I hope they have helped a lot of people over the years.

9. Money is NOT the Answer – I’ll finish the top 10 with my favorite personal finance article, which is this one, and one of my favorites from the unfinished better health challenge. If you learn one and only one thing about money and from my personal finance challenge it is that money doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Money isn’t even real, it just represents something else. It represents work, the value of your product or service, and how much people are willing to pay for it. That is it. Some people work really hard and make no money, and others work very little and make a ton of money. Most of the world’s problems and your own personal problems don’t require much if any money to solve. Another one to think about.

10. What Exactly is Health? – One of my strongest held beliefs is that a problem well defined is a problem well solved. Most of the reason we can’t solve our problems is because we haven’t defined them well enough yet. This matters more in health then practically anything else. A doctor that can’t define, or diagnose, your problem, can’t really fix your problem either. Modern medicine mostly serves to treat the symptom rather then the underlying cause. Define the cause well enough and you should be able to fix it. As with my example with personal finance this is the one and only thing you really need to learn about health, and perhaps life in general. Define the problem well, and the cure is close at hand.

After five years of writing I have written 337 posts, and those posts have received almost 2,000 comments on them. All told I have had over 200,000 pageviews. It seems like a big number, but is still relatively small when you consider the amount of pages people are viewing everyday on the internet.

My hope is that all this writing practice turns into writing a few awesome books that will really help positively change people’s lives. I know books have changed my own life, and I always figured I would be a published author one day. Writing takes a lot more work then you realize which is probably why a lot of people hated it in school. I loved it because I always had a knack for writing, probably because I read so much.

At the end of the day, I just hope I can pass on some of the knowledge I gained that has so drastically improved my life. I read far and wide, including some stuff people would never read, and that is why I try to write in a simple format and enough to the point that people can take something away from it.

So here is to the past 5 years and I hope the next 5 years is even better!

Posted in Blogging, Diet & Exercise, Personal Development, Personal Finance, Personal Health, Top Content Tagged |

We Are A Pile Of Microorganisms

The spelling of that word even looks weird. Microorganisms. These are all the tiny little creatures living on and inside of us. There are ten times as many microorganism cells as there are human cells in our body. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

The real question is how all these little guys affect us. And the answer is in more ways then we can imagine!

The next few articles will talk about how microorganisms affect us both in a positive and negative way, and how we can use them to improve our health. This will kind of be a mini-series within the larger Better Health Challenge.

This article is just to get you to realize that these microorganisms affect everything! They primarily work in the digestive system of our bodies to help digest food and that is where the fun begins. From that point, just by slightly changing the overall environment of the gut we can start having all kinds of issues. Hormonal imbalances, insomnia, infections, weight gain, weight loss, energy levels, mood swings, chronic disease, etc. If something good or bad is happening to us these microorganisms almost certainly play a role in it.

Current science is discovering that the overall microbial environment in your body may play a larger role then even genetics in what kind of diseases you develop, including the big ones, cancer and heart disease.

There are many things you can do to help improve your overall health that involve the little critters in your body. Something as simple as eating yogurt helps favorably improve the environment in your gut by promoting growth of beneficial bacteria. And something as simple as using antibacterial soap on a regular basis can actually leave you more susceptible to things such as the common cold.

This topic deserves quite a few articles to cover, but as for now I found a fun little video created by NPR that helps illustrate this idea…

This is our 39th challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…

Posted in Diet & Exercise, Personal Health Tagged |

You Still Need a Calorie Deficit

You know what I am talking about. The old rule that you need to burn more calories then you eat. It seems that a lot of health advice has gotten away from this general principal because of the latest research coming out that shows how creating a calorie deficit doesn’t necessary help you lose fat, and even more importantly, it can be downright unhealthy.

While this may be true we shouldn’t necessarily throw this idea away all together. Weight Watchers certainly has their success stories so there must be something to calorie counting even if it doesn’t work for everyone.

And that’s just it. Not everything works for everyone. One of my goals when I first started writing about health and created the Better Health Challenge was to try and boil everything down into the simplest of terms and exercises and have it work for everyone. A tried and true method that would work for everyone. I quickly learned that certain things don’t work for certain people. Calorie counting for one, works for some people, and not others.

I have a certain way of thinking about calorie counting that doesn’t necessarily ask you to count calories, but before I explain that I wanted to restate some of the principals that pretty much apply to everyone.

1. You should desire to lose fat, not weight – I can’t restate this enough. Every health writer or scientist knows that the goal should always be to lose excess fat, and not necessarily overall body weight. Losing 10 pounds of fat, and gaining 10 pounds of muscle will make you look drastically different, and you will feel better and perform better too.

2. Calorie counting can easily lead to obsession – Plenty of people start calorie counting and become obsessed with it. It becomes its own goal. And people tend to feel much more in control when they do it, even when things are out of control. This is the biggest argument against calorie counting and it makes a lot of sense. Too many people go down this path.

3. We burn more calories at rest then we do exercising – Think about it. In a 24 hour day how much do you exercise and how much do you rest? Some of the most intense exercises only burn 300-500 calories an hour. In a given day though, even at rest, you will burn around 2000 calories depending on your height, weight, sex, etc. Exercise isn’t really going to help you create a big deficit, especially when you consider that working out that hard makes you really hungry! Then you just eat more to compensate for burning all those calories. There is more to the story…

But we still have to create a calorie deficit. This may seem counter-intuitive, but follow along. We exercise not necessarily to create a calorie deficit, but to activate the hormones in our body that burn fat!

Different exercises stimulate our hormones in different ways, but just about any moderate exercise is better then no exercise. Running marathons may seem like a great way to lose weight, but they are a huge time sink and you often end up with bad knees or other problems because of it.

I am a big fan of weight lifting because I can get huge benefits from it for only an hour or two of working out a week. Weight lifting stimulates all the right hormones to help you lose fat, and as a bonus weight lifting also stimulates hormones that help you build stronger bones.

Just plain old walking has huge benefits too. Walking for a decent distance or for a certain time stimulates all the hormones that running does, plus it is much more relaxing and saves you from any joint problems down the road.

That is the calories out part of the equation, but what about the calories in part of the equation?

This one is super simple and I hope you agree. Just make sure you have a high level of protein and fiber in your diet!

Protein helps you feel full much better than carbohydrates and fat do. It also helps you maintain muscle mass. And with more muscle mass comes the increased ability to burn calories.

Fiber also helps you feel and really aids in digestion. It slows food digestion down which has two benefits. The first one is that fiber helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. When we eat foods that we digest very rapidly it spikes our blood sugar which in turn spikes insulin. Insulin is the primary hormone that causes our bodies to store fat. If we include plenty of fiber in our diet then we shouldn’t have to worry to much about that. Also since fiber slows our digestion it also enables us to absorb more nutrients then we normally would be able to from our food.

So there you go. A whole article about calorie counting without a single bit of math involved. If you simply add weight lifting and walking to your exercise routine, and focus on increasing your protein and fiber intake (mainly by eating more meat and veggies), most of the reasons we calorie count should take care of themselves. You might not see much weight loss, but you should start to see a shrinking waist line, and ultimately a loss of fat, and a gain in muscle that makes you look and feel awesome!

This is our 38th challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…

Posted in Diet & Exercise, Personal Health Tagged , , , |