Several weeks ago my husband Thom began reading a blog post offered to him from LinkedIn. It started out with a catchy title but quickly slipped into a bad rerun of something from the Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous. You may remember that TV show from the 1990s when everyone was hell-bent on buying big expensive everythings no matter what the cost. Even worse than the implication that you should own extravagant and expensive cars, the author suggests that you lease rather than buy. After all, when leasing you can start driving a more expensive car than you can actually afford. Perhaps even worse, in true 1990s speak he then started selling us all on attending his seminar and paying the large entrance fee where he would share his “wealth secrets” with all of us. [Read more…]
A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [Read more…]
Last weekend my husband Thom and I attended a lecture by a young man named Timber Hawkeye. By his own definition, Timber is a religion-less Buddhist with a mission to awaken, enlighten, enrich and inspire. Not only does he offer a refreshing and practical approach to spirituality, he also talks repeatedly about creating a more simplified life. On the drive home, Thom and I began talking about how these two philosophies share a few things in common. From there, we came up with the Four Noble Truths of Minimalism as a way to remind and connect with the core principles behind a more simple, practical and grounded life. [Read more…]
Cohousing isn’t a new concept. In fact, humans have been coming together in community for thousands of years to survive and thrive. What is new is that these days many of us have grown so independent and disconnected that we’ve forgotten why community is important in the first place. Maybe when we are young, busy, and focused on the needs of one’s immediate family, that isn’t so important. But eventually, if people begin to value experiences, relationships, and good health more than the stuff they accumulate and the accolades they obtain as they age, things start changing. That’s when being a part of a strong and vibrant community starts sounding more and more appealing. It’s also when the idea of cohousing may pop up as a solution. Is it a key to helping people age better? Those who have embraced it say, “Yes!” [Read more…]
For the next couple of weeks I will be out of town and I’m happy to introduce all of you to another SMART blogger named Lizzie Lau. Liz is a part-time resident of La Quinta, CA when she’s not traveling the world with her daughter. From the moment we met, I knew she was living a rightsized life. This post about “pura vida” says it all. Thanks Liz for allowing me to share another version of rightsizing!
Costa Rica has always been especially alluring to me. There is something about it that makes me want to go there and hang out. It’s on my bucket list, and ideally I’d love to take my daughter there for an extended visit to help her learn Spanish. It’s not just the beautiful scenery, beaches, cloud forests, hammocks and ocean breeze that call to me. It’s the vibe, the Pura Vida.
No matter what our age I believe there is always more to learn. I also think approaching any topic with a beginners mind is an excellent way to set that in motion. So although I’ve been reading and writing quite a bit on the subjects of simple living, sustainability and minimalism since I began this blog five years ago, I know there is certainly more to discover. So when I read that fellow blogger Joshua Becker from his site, Becoming Minimalist finished a new book, it captured my eye. After finishing the book, I wanted to share a few things I found there that could help us all live a more minimal and SMART life. [Read more…]
The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
Last weekend my husband Thom and I drove to Tucson, AZ to visit three thriving cohousing communities. As I wrote about in January, even though the concept of cohousing is still relatively young, it’s appeal is growing as others discover the benefits. Ever since I first heard about them, I recognized how many ways they mimic the advantages I find from rightsizing. After touring all three facilities, it is also evident that they embrace the core values of SMART*. Is cohousing a wave of the future? It likely depends on whether you value community, and if you see them as a path to living your values. [Read more…]
Have you spent much time thinking about where you’ll be living in 10 or 15 years? Probably not. While many of us say we want to live long, active and happy lives, it’s easy to avoid thinking about what that will mean. Few of us want to consider where we will live, who we will live with, and how our days will unfold when we, for whatever reason, can no longer do what we do now. Even with our aversion to following the example of our deteriorating parents as they languish in nursing homes or assisted care facilities, we tend to avoid the conversation. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Co-housing or intentional communities offer baby boomers another option to rightsize their home, increase the quality of their lives, and age-in-place. And a good time to start talking about it is today. [Read more…]
One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restricted than I felt necessary. Yet now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself. [Read more…]