I've been earning a living since the Bronze Age (circa 1973), without ever holding a day job. Over the decades I've had my share of money struggles, but I found my way around them and am now, at 65, in the best financial shape of my life.
Here are seven lessons that helped me arrive where I am today.
In 2005, my husband and I bought an old house in the center of Guanajuato, Mexico. I wrote a post about it for Get Rich Slowly at the time.
The benefits -- some of which we didn't foresee when we bought the house -- are many: having a stable investment during economic uncertainty in the U.S, especially the 2008 downturn; a potential future home if I'm widowed; enhanced fitness simply by walking everywhere; a community of both Mexican and expat friends to broaden our outlooks; and access to a world of home-exchange opportunities as a result of having an attractive home in a beautiful city.
As a middle-aged fitness junkie, I'm always interested in what motivates people to get in shape. Typically, folks say they want to lose weight, tone their bodies, and slow the aging process. But there's another major reason to get fit that I rarely hear discussed — saving money. Fitness alone doesn't guarantee reduced health care costs, of course, but it sure increases the odds. In my case, although I grew up overweight and out-of-shape, around the age of twenty I started becoming active, and now, at sixty, I'm finding that years of accumulated fitness are — literally — money in the bank.
Over the last few years I've started to see more and more of my peers spending money — lots of money — fixing their health. They are not necessarily in terrible shape, but few of them are as active as I am. They suffer from knee problems. Back problems. Shoulder problems. Digestive problems. Prostrate problems. Osteoporosis. Insomnia. Arthritis. Diabetes. Memory loss. Cancer.
Looking for help, they invest in prescription drugs, medications, hormones, supplements, complicated tests, scans, chiropractor visits, podiatrist visits, procedures, body replacements, surgeries, chemo and radiation. Not to mention expensive health care insurance.