I have had many jobs over my life. Soccer ref, basketball ref, phone book delivery guy, machine operator, concession stand worker, concession stand manager (look out promotion!), building test equipment for hospitals, designing overhead electrification systems for trains, designing high-speed package handlers, engineering lift assist equipment. A lot of these jobs were great and I certainly didn’t hate any of them. However, the only job I ever loved was working at the UNCC Fitness Center. That’s right the energetic personal greeter slash student ID card swiper. That was my jam for three years during college.
One of the main keys to happiness is making progress in the most important areas of your life. There is no end point that will make you permanently happy. In order to stay happy we have to keep climbing the staircase and never go stagnant. This means we need to spend a lot less time comparing ourselves to those with “perfect” lives and instead start focusing on improving ours.
I believe traveling is, hands down, the biggest obstacle to a healthy life. Staying fit while traveling takes discipline, planning, and hard work. Traveling takes you out of your routine and makes it extremely difficult to stick to a diet and get your workouts in. Hotel gyms suck, fast food is abundant and who doesn’t like a few drinks at the end of a long day? I typically spend 6-8 weeks a year on the road visiting customers, working trade shows and attending classes. Over the years, I have figured out what works for staying fit while enjoying the city I’m visiting. I am just returning from a long week in Las Vegas where I was working a trade show and I was able to lose weight and hit all my workouts. Not an easy task in Sin City.
A cash budget means that you make all of your purchases with cash and never use a credit card. This is a method commonly touted by financial gurus such as Dave Ramsey. He calls it the “envelope system”. You may have even heard of some of the studies showing the money-saving benefits of using only cash. I was a big Dave Ramsey fan when I first started working “in the real world” and took all of his advice. I tried going to all cash but found the system impractical, at best. Continue reading
Free will is simply our ability to choose the actions that we take. Free will is a human characteristic and touches on so many distinctly human things. Morality, laws, sin, religion, politics, guilt, punishment, and reward are all tied to the concept of free will. Most of the articles I write are about making better choices. I have written about how to lose weight, pay off student loans, get stronger, choose the right major, etc which all rely on free will.
However, a few months ago I saw a video by Sam Harris talking about the concept of free will. In the video, Sam argues that free will is just an illusion and that our entire lives are predetermined. This got me thinking and I quickly found myself going down a rabbit hole of researching this concept. I even read Sam’s short book on the topic, Free Will, which further clarifies his views. This idea was both new to me and disturbing to me. I actually didn’t sleep well for a few nights because I was spending hours researching and thinking about this idea. Is it possible that I have no ability to choose what my next action will be?
We are now half way through the year so it is time for another New Year’s Resolution Update. My original goals are here and my first quarter progress is here. As always there have been some wins and loses but I’m learning and still pushing the ball forward. Without further introduction let us begin.
About 6 weeks ago, I finished my squat everyday and bench everyday program. Since then, I have spent some time focusing on my dips. I have been rotating them in and out with the bench press as one of my main lifts. Last week, I did 18 reps with a 35lb kettlebell and this week, I was determined to get 19 reps. I hopped up to the bar and started to grind them out. 17, 18, argh, crazy face, 19. They weren’t pretty but I got them. One rep better than last week and I felt good about my incremental progress. Then, as I was putting the kettlebell back, my brain started working and I realized I had just used the 53lb bell by mistake. What!? So I had just done 50% more weight for more reps than I did last week? How did I do that? The past few weeks I have struggled to add one rep. Was I just having a great day?
First Guest Post!
Very excited to be featured over at My Strategic Dollar, Lance’s personal finance blog. I was asked if I would do a post about why I always pay cash for cars. I happily accepted as I think car payments are a trap that people jump into along with their first job and usually never get out of.
In the post, I lay out why I disagree with financing a car, even if you have a low-interest rate. I explain why leveraging debt earns you very little or nothing, I explain how the risk vs reward just isn’t logical, and I show you how to avoid ever having car payments.
I will be sure to check in regularly to respond to any comments and criticism as I know people love their car payments.
I wrote an earlier post about Why I’m Chasing FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) and in it, I said that my definition of FIRE is when my investable assets are equal to 20 times my annual expenses. 20 times your annual expenses means you would have a 5% withdrawal rate in retirement. This statement goes against conventional wisdom so I rightly got a few comments about being more conservative. Most people recommend a withdrawal rate of 3-4% which is 25-33X expenses. So why am I going against the flow on this one and going with a 5% withdrawal?
It’s graduation season! I was recently reminded of this because I unintentionally planned my golf/beach weekend during “senior beach week”. This is the time of year when all the high school kids head to the beach for a week to celebrate their graduation. For kids on the east coast, that means Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (I’m not sure if “senior beach week” is really a thing all over the country, or not.)
Anyway, I was only there for one night but that still led to some interesting interactions with some rather intoxicated kids. It seems that everyone goes to college but no one has a clue why or what they will study. I did attempt to ask some thought-provoking questions such as “why that school” and was met with blank stares and “because my friends are going there”. I considered putting together a powerpoint for the kids on “making good life choices” but decided against it. Just not sure it was the right environment. 😉