As a saver, I have a personal interest in higher interest rates: I earn more. But as a conservationist and environmentalist, I know that low rates enable a certain kind of long-term thinking. Now, while rates are at generational lows, circumstances are perfect for thinking long-term.
About twenty-five years ago (as an example of long-term thinking), I had a whimsical investment idea: Buy some cheap land and plant hardwood trees. The trees wouldn't be ready to harvest for 100 years or so, but it would have been a cheap investment with (eventually) a fairly large payoff.
It takes a certain perspective to make such a long-term investment. I call it a whimsical idea because I'd never have been able to enjoy the financial return. I was already in my mid-20s at the time. Even if I'd selected the hardwoods for quick maturity, they wouldn't have been ready until I was well into my 90s.
A bon vivant is a person who lives well — someone who enjoys the best things in life, especially with regard to food and drink. The stereotypical bon vivant is someone who can afford the best (or has generous friends), but that's not the only way. You can be a bon vivant on a budget.
What is "the best" anyway? Your own tastes play the biggest role, but the tastes of family and friends have a strong influence. To a lesser extent, so do the tastes of opinion leaders, celebrities, experts, and others — even fictional characters. Because of this, appreciating the finer things in life makes you vulnerable to serious "keeping up with the Joneses" issues.
There are a lot of ways to fight this.
I spent many years working for various companies that, like most businesses, were more or less dysfunctional. They were places where priorities constantly shifted, where every day brought a new emergency, and where managers and peers might show up at any time with something urgent that needed my attention.
When I became a full-time writer, I discovered that I needed different ways to manage my time than the ones that had worked when I was an employee. Interestingly, the different ways that seem to work best for me aren't new at all — they're the old classic tools of time management.
Getting things done
The hot concept in time-management these past few years has been Getting Things Done. It's a significant departure from the old ways of time management, where you made to-do lists for each day and then blocked out time on your schedule to do each of the things you wanted to get done.