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A billionaire’s perspective on working: a three day work week?…

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AJ: Irrefutable fact: Carlos Slim knows things about making money. His estimated net worth at $83 billion pretty much speaks for itself, and it makes him one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. Carlos Slim has an interesting take on the future of the working people – 3 day work weeks that span 11 hours each up until age 75. In our house we call an 11 hour day a Monday, or a Tuesday, or a Wednesday, take your pick, but 11 hour days aren’t something that gains attention in our household. I couldn’t physically do my job in 3 11-hour workdays currently, but maybe if I had until I was 75 it’d be a whole different story.

Live life at every stage
So what of it? Carlos thinks that life should be lived at every age and at every stage as though you’d earned the beauty of retirement day in and day out. I LOVE the idea of shorter work weeks, but my shorter work week would be 4 12-hour days, not 3 11-hour days, and I’m betting I’d still wind up working some evenings and weekends. I don’t think I’m special or unique, I think that’s just become more the standard of what we’re all accustomed to working in order to get our jobs done. Our generation is waiting longer to start families, is climbing the professional ladder faster than the previous generation and is working in a fully connected universe, so it’s impossible to imagine a world in which we work less than we do today, but maybe Slim’s onto something.

KJ: This is one of the daily conundrums of saving money. How much do you want to sacrifice or withhold consumption today only for some uncertain point in time in the future? Why push yourself so hard today and miss out on all the together time, family time, travel, whatever suits your fancy in the meantime? If there’s one thing we can glean from Carlos’ perspective now it’s that life is about balance – across all ages and stages and to not just continuously push for a brighter future. Relax, and learn to enjoy the scenery along the way!

75 isn’t so old
KJ:Standards of living have continued to rise over the last 30+ years, making the new 75 much more cozy than the previous generation’s life at age 75. And if that’s the case, maybe we won’t have all that much reservation to working to age 75, 80, 85. It all just depends on WHAT we are doing at that point and finding something along the way that we really enjoy that we could see ourselves doing for decades.

AJ: Slim votes for machines and services working 24 hours a day and people enjoying life more and spending more time in training. It’s truly revolutionary thinking and other richy rich people don’t love Carlos for his perspective which is why I find it so interesting.

Fascinatingly, the 5 day, 40 hour work week has only been in existence since 1938. I literally have jewelry that’s older than that. So is it really all that strange to think that we could be in a remarkably different working environment 20 years from now? I would love to see what a difference that kind of thinking would have on the quality of life for future generations.

What would three days of work change for you?
How would that change your overall quality of life?
What would you do with the extra time each week?

Read more about Carlos Slim’s perspectives from CNN Money on his work week thoughts from July 2014, and Carlos’ thoughts on a three day work week from October 2014.

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When was the last time you reassessed your budget?

Man And Tap Water With U.S. Dollar Banknotes
KJ: Sometimes, it seems like money pours out of the bank account, so what better time to see if your current plan is really what is right for you at this stage in your life? It’s easy to keep coasting as is, but address it before it really gets out of hand, so you don’t keep saying, “it will get better” or “this is temporary.” How many times have you heard yourself speak those words only to realize that your “temporary” had actually become your new normal? What better time than now to take a step back from your regular budget and assess if your budget and goals you have set for you and your family are realistic? Life happens, life is always changing and I have built SO many spreadsheets over the years with projection after projection of how much we need to save for different goals we have. It never ceases to amaze me how much things can change over even short periods of time like six months or a year.

An appliance breaks and you suddenly need to replace it. A windfall comes your way from the lotto (er, not quite, but wishful thinking, right?). The budgeting and goal-setting process should be fluid with lots of feedback loops. Something changes (unexpectedly or expectedly), so it’s time to work on a new plan and reassess. Did your expenses creep up and now you have a higher emergency fund need (the double-edged sword of expenses where the more you spend, the more you need to save for your emergency fund for that 3-6 months living expense goal)? Yet, the less ability you have TO save to that goal by nature of spending more…sheesh…enough to make your head spin sometimes!

Here are a couple of trigger events for when you might consider adopting a new budget.

Did you reset your budget if you had a change in income?
Maybe you got a raise that allows you just a little more wiggle room each month or maybe quite the opposite happened – you got a pay cut. Sometimes you can’t plan around either one of these, particularly if your company goes through some tough times. While other times the pay cut may be voluntary, through one person deciding to stay home for the family, reducing hours to allow for more home/family/vacation time, etc.

A change in income is most certainly a great time to look at your budget, and in most instances, is best if you reassess your budget BEFORE you take that leap, as is the case in a voluntary change of circumstances.

Have you continued to find it difficult to meet your budget each month? Did you need to reset your budget because it wasn’t realistic?
Maybe your expenses just aren’t all that realistic. Budgeting is about forecasting what you think your expenses will be, and at times that means you’re just flat out wrong. You could be way over budget or way under budget in certain areas.

When we moved to our existing house after having lived in a town home previously that had residents on either side, we weren’t quiet sure what to budget for the cost of electricity for a single family home let alone what the lawn watering costs were going to be. Fortunately, we WAY over budgeted for those expenses assuming a worst case scenario increase in costs, and we have been pleasantly surprised that our bills weren’t quite as high as we thought they would be – even in the cold of the winter or the heat of the summer. What this has meant though is we often take the “under” on this area and reassign to other areas that need increases for those one-off items like birthdays, pet food every few months, etc. Maybe it’s time to give up some of the “over” in this category and permanently reassign to somewhere else once and for all.

The other component of this too is your costs may rise. Gas prices may shoot up, your electricity contract renews – yet the only options now are more expensive, your insurance costs go up, the costs of your regular groceries go up. Any of this sound familiar? Don’t just assume you have to immediately increase your total budget though – as it may be an opportunity to cut back elsewhere to keep your expenses in check. Gas prices rising may simply mean being more creative in the kitchen and eating out one to two less meals a month.

AJ For me, reassessing the budget feels like a massive undertaking. I’m awesome at maintenance and upkeep, but change is a major speed bump in my budgeting world. For my tracking purposes the last year has been a major challenge. When we bought our first house (the town house) we had major buckets and few fixed expenses with no maintenance or updates to make, so there was more breathing room in our budget. We used to regularly save more than planned in a year because we just didn’t need to spend it. These days our unexpecteds in life seem to cost a whole lot more and sometimes they don’t fit quite as nicely into my monthly plans. However, when we sat down to talk about whether we needed to increase our budgets in some areas to allow for increased expenses, we ultimately decided that these overages were temporary and we’re budgeted appropriately for the foreseeable future, so I get to rest easy and continue resisting change – at least until next month!

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When was the last time you reassessed your budget? is copyrighted by TheSimpleMoneyBlog.com without consent to republish.

Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. We feel strongly about only recommending products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to you, our readers. Read more about our commitment to providing quality product recommendations.

Adapting to a better life

Change Ahead Sign Refers To A Different And Changing FutureAJ: I don’t often read Oprah’s magazine, but I read the September 2014 issue and felt a strong connection to a point she drove home in her final thoughts. From her article entitled Best Advice Taking Care of Yourself she writes:

    “We live in a state of constant change. Whether or not we’re paying attention, the process is always happening. Even people who can’t see it in themselves witness change daily in their children or in others around them.

    Life is about recalibrating. About continually asking yourself: What do I have to do to get where I need to be? How do I create the life I want?

    …We have to make ourselves over daily, consistently, in order to keep moving forward. We are not meant to stagnate.

    If change is the one thing you can be sure of, the goal is to figure out how you can use that certainty to your advantage, to modify, transfigure, refashion, and transform your day-to-day being.”

My first reaction was “that’s SO true!” I do feel like I’m in a constant state of change and evolution, and I feel like if I’m not daily asking myself where I’m going I’m already behind. Rarely do we take the opportunity to just be. In such a forward-focused, fast-paced world it often seems impossible to take enough time to slow down and recenter. I very much live in the moment, but the future is never far from the forefront of my thoughts. The place I most often seek balance is in that constant battle of living life fully and saving for our future. Surely you can’t do both with equal finesse, right?

Maybe not. Taking the time to live AND enjoy AND spend are equally important to the constant pace of saving and planning. Planning for retirement isn’t just a marathon, it’s a freaking triathlon, and it’s not sustainable to never reap the fruits of your labors. Sometimes you just have to spend more than you planned, you have to take an unplanned, unbudgeted-for vacation because if you don’t you’re going to quit your job and live in a box on the side of the road. Give yourself room to make decisions without constantly living in fear of the long-term repercussions.

KJ: When you’re in the thick of whatever it is – be it a project, your job, chores, saving for a goal – it’s very easy to lose sight of the end goal by getting caught up in the day-to-day. Whether you are intending to change or not, it’s something that just sort of happens and it’s seldom something within your control. But you can control how you react and process the new information. Your goals may shift at any point – your kid wants an expensive camp, private school where their friends are going, your job prospects may suddenly change and your retirement goal gets pushed back just a little, a sudden windfall suddenly brings some of your goals to the forefront. Look at the change as a way to see if you’re still on track, but don’t lose sight of what you’re doing today. It really is a balance between the here and now and the uncertain future, but don’t be afraid to live a little. Just don’t use it as an excuse for always saying you’ll get to it “tomorrow.”

AJ: Drink the extra glass of wine, buy the piece of art, take the extra day off. It will all still be there tomorrow changing as quickly as it always does.

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Adapting to a better life is copyrighted by TheSimpleMoneyBlog.com without consent to republish.

Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. We feel strongly about only recommending products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to you, our readers. Read more about our commitment to providing quality product recommendations.

Are you working like the job you want to get paid for?

3D Business Man Going UpstairsKJ: This post is dedicated to those of you who are career climbers in your organization – do you get paid for the job that you do now or do you work like the job you want to get paid for? It’s quite the philosophical question when it comes to your job for the people you hire (if you manage people) and for your outlook on your own career. They’re vastly different points of view. One implies that you get paid for anything and everything you do. The other implies that you prove yourself of sorts to be able to get paid for the job you ultimately want and for a job well done.

Why wouldn’t you get paid for the job that you do?
Sure, that sounds reasonable, right? I mean, come on! Under what scenario would someone not get paid for the job that they are doing? I bet if you asked your friends, though, each one could come up with a list of 5-10 things that they do each week that’s not a core part of their job description or “what they get paid for.”

AJ: I loathe people who say “that isn’t my job.” Keeping your job is your job, right, so how can anything you’re asked to do NOT be your job? Be known as a do-er and what you’re doing now probably won’t be all you’re doing for very long because do-ers get noticed!

KJ: So, how do you transition to a philosophy wherein you work for the job that you want to get paid for? Here are a few ways to re-frame your perspective and expectations.

Understand you’re not where you want to end up
The current job you have is likely to be a lower point (pay or responsibility – they don’t always go hand-in-hand!) than where you will be in 10-15 years. If you’re a driven person, then the career and role you hold today is likely to be but a low man on the totem pole for what you want out of your career.

Prove your worth to the people around you
Volunteer for tasks, projects, or assignments. Don’t just sit idly by and assume that someone is going to hand a better position or increased pay to you on a silver platter when the time is right and you’re perfectly ready. Sometimes you have to take a little risk and step out of your comfort zone when the right opportunity comes along. There’s a lot to be said for someone who takes action and steps up when no one is asking.

Prove your worth to the people outside of your office
Whether it’s directly related to your line of work or through your favorite volunteer organization, try to go the extra mile in showing your value and commitment to the overall team – wherever that may be. Most things these days have little to do with the individual themselves, but more so on the progress of the overall team.

Prove your worth to the people inside your office
If your team members are floundering, then find a way to help motivate them to step up their game. Sometimes just a little notice of encouragement goes a long way to really building the morale of your team, so you can feed off one another’s drive and successes to make your organization better. Keep in mind that the whole of the organization can be greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Be professional
You never know when an opportunity will arise and knock on your door, so being professional in all your encounters will work wonders for the doors of opportunity that will open along the way.

    Do you get paid for what you do?
    Do you work like it’s the job that you want?
    What motivates you to push yourself just a little further to take initiative?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Are you working like the job you want to get paid for? is copyrighted by TheSimpleMoneyBlog.com without consent to republish.

Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. We feel strongly about only recommending products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to you, our readers. Read more about our commitment to providing quality product recommendations.

10 signs that your budget needs a makeover

Hand Holding Dollar
AJ & KJ: Here are our 10 signs that your budget needs a makeover:

1) The words “I’ve never made a budget” come out of your mouth
WHAT!? Okay, so forgive my shock and awe, but this is a no brainer. Never made a budget = never been aware of your true expenses. Get to cracking and check out a lot of the simple and free options out there for starters to see how to create a budget.

2) You say things like “I don’t know what I spend per month on [xyz]…”
If you don’t have a clue what you spend in a given month in any particular area, that’s typically an indication that your budget is a leaky faucet. Time to get out Quicken or Mint.com and run the numbers to see what you’re spending. It can be a good chance to find an area to trim where you didn’t realize you were over spending!

3) Your budget contains more categories than you can count
Simplify categories to show your primary fixed items (or relatively fixed items when it comes to insurance, utilities, etc.) and create as few categories as you can on the discretionary items so you can more easily see the total dollars you’re working with on a month-by-month basis.

4) You don’t “close out” the month
This is a must for us and should be on the list for all budgeters. Make sure you true-up your expenses for the month, so you can identify what (if anything) can hopefully be swept into your savings accounts! Don’t fall into the trap of spending right at the end of the month thinking you’ve earned it only to come apart at the last minute.

5) Your budgets are too idealistic
Yeah, that’s right. Sometimes you can create a goal that is too aggressive for even you. Create budget amounts that are both realistic and attainable.

6) You don’t pay yourself first
Priority numero uno is to pay yourself first! Have some of your savings come off the top through programs like payroll deduct or automatic monthly transfers, so you don’t have it to spend regularly.

7) You don’t have any room to save
Blasphemous! No matter how good of a budgeter you are, there are always ways to trim a little to make sure you are saving to meet your goals. If that’s not one of the highest priorities in your budget, then think again, and get back to the drawing board!

8) Roth IRAs are non-existent
Especially for you young savers out there, if your budget doesn’t include some savings to Roth accounts (via Roth IRA or Roth 401(k)), then you should reconsider and reevaluate your options. Roths can be a great tool for those young savers at heart!

9) You don’t plan for upcoming expenses
Make a list before each month and update it as irregular expenses come up. Maybe this month you need to buy dog food or pay for an insurance policy or have a lot of gifts to give. Keep track of it and plan ahead, so it doesn’t surprise you at the last minute!

10) And lastly, you don’t budget with financial goals
No. no. no. Why save if you don’t know why you are saving or what target you’re saving for? Get a plan in place so you can stick to it and know what you are aiming for!

Just starting out? Check out our budget quick start guide to learn what you can do to get on track!

Image courtesy of ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

10 signs that your budget needs a makeover is copyrighted by TheSimpleMoneyBlog.com without consent to republish.

Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. We feel strongly about only recommending products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to you, our readers. Read more about our commitment to providing quality product recommendations.

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