Mining Time

This guy struck me as a quick-buck artist when I first heard about his book. Virtual assistants, avoiding jobs, automating work – they all struck me as fine in theory…or for a handful of people who could sell books about how to not work.

In other words, he created a job for which there was basically only one opening.

Being in the middle of my own time out, I have been thinking that there might be something to these ideas. In contrast to my current gig, at which I work something around sixty or seventy hours a week, the thought of spending a fraction of that for the same income is enormously appealing. The question is whether it’s practical.

In fact, this blog and my philosophy is all about making better use of our time and brains. It is possible, and not just in the obvious ways like writing bestselling books or gambling on the gee-gees. Kidding.

Yes. Mining our time intelligently is our way forward. Now because that requires a complete shift of thinking, doing so overnight would be foolish. Planning ahead, easing ones-self into the new way of creating wealth is the smart way.

In a couple of years I might write the Three-Hour Work Week.

Simplicity, Clarice.

December 29

Freedom and money create the ability to chose. Or, as an ex-girlfriend once explained to me, money gives one the option to say “no”. To almost anything.

It’s a counter-intuitive idea. We normally associate the attraction of wealth with increasing choice, with opening up possibilities. That’s true in an abstract way, but the act of making a choice implies un-choosing something. We cannot in fact choose everything, so an affirmative action has a consequence that precludes something else.

If I choose skiing in Montana this weekend, I choose not to snorkel off St Lucia. Or I can forgo any of the fancy stuff and stay at home with a book.

The reason to have money, to avail ourselves of the freedom it provides, is to allow the absolute best choices. Sometimes that means simply saying “no”. And if you are yet to have wealth, making the best choices open to you is part of the pathway there.

Or, as my photo of the day shows, saying “yes” to a short-pour double-shot latte.

Interest Rates

Interest Rates

We’re all bad at placing ourselves in the timeline of history.

I, for instance, was born in 1962, 17 years after the end of World War II. To give that some perspective, I was actually born closer to the end of WW I than to the present day – ie: I was born 44 years after the end of the Great War, but I am currently 52 years old.

Okay, that’s probably a little esoteric, but here’s something important: You can see from the chart above that US long-term interest rates have been on a declining path for more than a quarter of a century. Since I was twenty, in fact. The telling part about that is the historical oddity of the height from which they are declining. The high interest rates of the late seventies and early eighties are a statistical aberration, less the rule than the exception.

The red line is US long term rates, the dotted line is the median for the period.

Put another way, low interest rates are a much more likely bet from now on. If we think about interest rates as a proxy for the supply of, and demand for money, the cost of money will stay around about where it is. The price of borrowing won’t change much.

The important corollary of that nugget is that if you are a lender – otherwise called a saver – you won’t be getting much in the way of interest for a while. That’s why I think that we shall all need to focus clearly on new income streams away from simply saving money…although that will remain important.