……and my sincere tribute to all personal finance and self improvement bloggers.
The review of the year as it ends and to make plans for the year ahead is a regular activity, almost a tradition for many people.
Some look back at the year that is ending with satisfaction and content, others with regrets.
Not all years of people’s past are the same. During some of the years, changes would have been, shall we say, incremental, but essentially, more of the same. Some other years would have had significant changes happening in comparison with the year before.
These changes result in people also changing. Events and issues are seen from a completely different perspective. Previously inconsequential issues suddenly become important. And previously serious issues are thrown aside. Some old friends are literally discarded, and new friendships and peer groups and formed.
The person “has changed”.
I term these years of significant changes as years of paradigm shifts. The year I married my wife, the year we had our first child, Along, the year, our second daughter, Aja, had a near tragic accident resulting in my wife agreeing to stop working and becoming a full time mother and Family Chief. The year I found my switch.
These, and some others, were years of paradigm shifts for me.
2007 was such a year.
It was the year I discovered personal finance and self development blogs.
Now, why do I place this “discovery” so reverently on a pedestal?
Please hear me out.
It was in sometime in May or June 07, I think, that I googled “Passive Income”, looking for the elusive get rich scheme, that I discovered the Simple Dollar, the very first pf blog that I have ever read. I liked the story, and then dug into his well catalogued archives. I was murmuring, “Hey, I should do that! I never thought of that! This will save me money!…..etc., etc. I was hooked.
And it was also clear, despite all the efforts of my past, that I was a pf Neanderthal.
I saw references and links to other sites and followed them, and again enjoyed the posts. All the while, learning, absorbing and getting more and more motivated. In the short space of time between May and now, about 7 months, I have made more positive changes in my life than in perhaps the past ten years put together.
These are some of the specific changes.
1. Embracing better habits
Getting up early, meditating, doing some spiritual duties and exercising has been an unmet goal for almost as long as I have made goals. And that is for a mighty long time. Now, I am very happy to say that wakey, wakey time for the past month or so has been between 5 and 5.30 am.
2. Putting my financial house in better order
I use the term “better”, since even this “improved” state is still far short of the sought for “targeted state”.
– My family’s health insurance has been rejigged and is in much better shape now.
– I have checked my debt levels, and decided that I am too good a description of a walking time bomb. We have put up one of our assets for sale. Once this sale goes through, our debt levels should be close to negligible. If the sale does not happen, I know exactly where to look for advice on what I can do to make it happen.
(The first approach I wanted to do was to refinance. We turned down the loan when we realized the loan documents were not what the financier promised in the advertisements.)
– We have calculated for the first time, expected returns on a piece of agricultural land that we have. We found it to be a little too low and are now working on improving them.
– For the first time, since we got married, we did our family budget. We also have great “how to” guides to pare the budget down.
– A lot more targeted effort is being put into educating our children in personal finance.
– I have for about the first time in my life, been unemotional and calm in reviewing my investments in these times of market turmoil.
And I do believe that I now have the resources to help me work smarter towards bringing my finances to an ideal state.
3. Cleaning the dust off my “dreams” and beginning to work on making them a reality. For this, I have to thank:-
The blogs that have talked about “early retirement”, the preparations leading to this and the issues to look out for before and after “retiring”.
The blogs that have advocated living our passions.
The blogs that have talked about awakening the hidden entrepreneur in us, and listed piles and piles of ideas on what could be done.
4. More positive outlook to life
The blogs have also given guides on how to better approach the world. How to handle down days, How to handle down people. How to handle rejections. How to handle negativity.
5. More audacious goals for 2008
With this new found confidence, the goals for 2008 have been stretched. By my standards, really stretched. And you know what, I am pretty sure, I shall hit them, as the focus is so much sharper now.
Other than the one mention of the Simple Dollar, I have refrained from naming any other specific blog here, as I feel a mention in this one post will not do justice to any one of them. Not for what they have done for me. I plan to express my thanks to specific blogs in this blog from time to time.
My previous sources of motivation used to be books. However, after the initial rush of adrenalin, and the self made promises of doing this and that, Mr. Negative would get up and say, “Enough”. Bringing me to “Go, without collecting the $200”
Even reading daily affirmations has not had the effect of the blogs.
Somehow the Blogs are different. There is a daily dose of motivation. Daily doses of encouragement. Gentle pushes and nudges. Hey, why don’t you try this? Why not try this approach? This has been my experience with this ……etc.
And not forgetting the fact that that the writer is another lady or man, with experiences not too different from mine.
To those of my friends and family circle, who have yet to embrace blogs, I am now somewhat of a semi evangelist. I forward them posts that I feel may be of use to them.
I ask them to treat the blogs as their peer groups, listening to them as we would listen to a friend. Not necessarily as an expert, but just like another guy or girl who has walked the path before.
Read, listen, absorb, learn, enjoy, and finally do what your mind tells you is right and reasonable. After all, we are the only ones responsible for our own selves.
And to all the pf and self improvement bloggers out there, I, salute you and express my gratitude. For the positive changes you have created in me, my wife and children also thank you.
May you all continue to share your experiences, your feelings and your thoughts on how to make the world a better place, one reader at a time.
And be assured that if the need ever arises, I shall step forward and testify that each and every one of you have “Paid it Forward”.
Have a great 2008!