The mainstream media is amazing. The stuff they publish. The way they manipulate facts to promote their viewpoints. The New York Times is a good example. Recently, the Times ran an editorial noting that investors are running from stocks and buying bonds. The reason for this, says the Times, is that the stock market has become untrustworthy because it isn’t regulated. They don’t know what they are talking about. They ignore the fact that people went into the market when it was unregulated – precisely because it was unregulated. And the Times apparently never stopped to consider that exiting the market right now just might be a good thing. Fox News is another good example. They are always featuring “news” …

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Downsizing Your Life

Last week in The Palm Beach Letter, Bob Irish wrote a great article on the benefits of reducing one’s expenses as you move into retirement. After a life of accumulating “stuff”, Bob found himself as an empty nester in a big house, with substantial upkeep and overhead. This is what I like to call the “cost of possession”.

Basically there are two tenets of the “cost of possession”

  • Holding title to something doesn’t mean you have absolute control over it
  • Having paid for something doesn’t mean it no longer costs you anything to use it.

I learned these lessons soon after buying my “dream home”. I realized that even after paying off a mortgage of $600,000, I was not in any way financially free. To possess and occupy that house was going to cost me more than $30,000 per year—for as long as I “owned” it.

In an op-ed last month in the NYTimes, entreprenuer Graham Hill, detailed his experiences with the burden of possession and shared some interesting factoids to illustrate the point.

In a study published last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.

Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago.

For Bob, though, it wasn’t as simple as just throwing all his worldly possessions away and joining an Ashram. We develop emotional and behavioral attachments to our “stuff” and sometimes its hard to let go. But if you can do it there are enormous payoffs. Here are some of Bob’s “pro’s of downsizing”:

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5 Skills You Need In Business and Life

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur or CEO, there are 5 skills you need to master: Hiring superstar employees Firing mediocre ones Managing key employees Recognizing which products to launch and which to kill Determining which advertising campaigns will work You need roughly the same skills to succeed in your personal life: Finding friends and associates who will have a positive effect on you Distancing yourself from people who will have a negative effect on you Working consistently to improve the quality of your personal relationships Recognizing which habits and pastimes enrich you, which are wasteful, and which are self-destructive Eliminating the self-destructive habits and pastimes and gradually replacing wasteful ones with enriching ones

Seniors Medicine Cabinet

An old friend of mine recently retired. Finding himself with extra time on his hands he took on the project of renovating his home. Owing to his advancing years, he decided it would be best if he spared no expense when it came to his new medicine cabinet. I think the results came out fantastic. He also developed a foolproof chart, in conjunction with his nutrionist, Dr. Bacchus, for the treating of common senior maladies. Disease Wine Daily dose Allergies Chardonay de Paeuf 1 glass Anemia Graves 4 glass Bronchitis Bourgogne or Bordeaux> ( + sugar and cinnamon ) 3 cups Constipation Anjou blanc electricity . Vouvray 4 glass Coronary arteries Dry Champagne 4 glass Diarrhea Beaujolais Nouveau 4 glass Fever …

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Love Conquers

Graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together.  The Protestant Colonel of Cavalry, JWC of Gorkum married the Catholic damsel JCPH of Aefferden. This “mixed” marriage, at that time (the 19th century), would have given them trouble. The wife wanted to be buried next to her husband, but the difference in their denomination would not allow that. So the Colonel was buried in the Protestant part, against the separation wall and his wife was buried on the Catholic side.  

The Best Cities to Visit: Travel & Leisure versus Me

Criteria: Sites, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, value Best Cities in the World  Travel and  Leisure                  Bangkok Florence Istanbul Cape Town Sidney Rome New York Hong Kong Kyoto Paris My Picks   Rome New York Paris Barcelona Madrid Hong Kong Istanbul Buenos Aires Chicago Cape Town Best Cities in Europe Travel and Leisure                       Florence Istanbul Rome Paris Barcelona Venice Madrid Vienna Seville Siena My Picks Rome Paris Barcelona Madrid Istanbul Aix en Provence Florence Prague Milan Siena Best Cities in North America Travel and Leisure               New York Chicago San Francisco Charleston New Orleans Santa Fe …

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7 Minute Workout

Yesterday, I talked about a few things I do to re-energize myself when my batteries are feeling low. Last month, a NYTimes article pointed to the benefits of high intensity workouts as described in The American College of Sports and Medicine Health and Fitness Journal. It turns out there is a scientific basis for doing short, concentrated exercise, as opposed to longer bouts of medium to low intensity (jogging, 2 hours at the gym looking in the mirror, etc). “There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author …

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