Long, long ago — before Get Rich Slowly was even a gleam in my eye — I was a fan of Wendell Berry and folks like him, including Gene Logsdon, “the contrary farmer”. In fact, I have a copy of Logsdon’s The Contrary Farmer here on the shelf beside me. It survived my recent purge of financial books (about which more next week). Well, turns out Logsdon has a blog called The Contrary Farmer now.
My friend Craig recently forwarded Logsdon’s rant that we should all stay home and make some real money. He writes: “The farming and gardening way of life offers the opportunity to save a lot of money just by staying home. And you won’t have to pay a cent of income taxes on it either.”
Logsdon is arguing that we spend less (and have opportunities to make money) when our attention is directed inward, at our families and homes and gardens. But when we turn our gaze outward, even if it’s just for a quick trip to store, we drain money from our bank accounts (and, thus, time from our lives). This is a fascinating contrast to my current state of mind. It’s food for thought.
Logsdon isn’t the only financial writing I’ve enjoyed lately around the web. Here are some other pieces I’ve liked:
First, Five Cent Nickel recently asked, “Does early retirement make you live longer?” Nickel stumbled upon a study [PDF] that concluded “for every year one works beyond age 55, one loses two years of life span on average.” If you retire at age 50, you’re likely to live to 86. If you retire at age 65, statistics show you’ll live to only 67. Obviously, these numbers are only statistics and there’ll be lots of anecdotal instances to contradict the numbers. (Plus, it’s silly to play the “extreme statistics” game — “If I retire at nineteen, I’ll live to be 120!”) Never mind — this is a falsehood that has been around for years, apparently.
Lately, I’ve been consumed with the idea of living in a home with less Stuff. GRS reader Megan knows me pretty well, I think; she sent me a link to an Apartment Therapy article about one man’s furniture-free life. I’m not ready to go that far, but I admire this photographer’s ability to see what is and what is not important in his life, and to construct a home around this knowledge.
I’ve written many times before about the financial struggles of athletes, celebrities, and others who find quick wealth. A GRS reader names C. Rivers sent me another story on the subject. National Public Radio recently featured a story explaining why for some athletes, financial success is short-lived. From the story: “Most very wealthy people, be they CEOs, entrepreneurs or financial professionals, deal with finances as a major component of their jobs. But athletes and other entertainers can acquire great wealth without having a clue about money.”
Finally, I liked this observation from Jonathan Fields: Everyone wants better; no one wants change. “Everyone wants to own the result,” Fields writes, “but nobody wants to own the process.” In other words, people are eager to have the good stuff in life, but they’re not willing to put in the effort required to actually achieve it. This reminds me of my own rant about the importance of action not words.
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This article is about Spare Change
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