Simple Advice

I recently came across a powerful piece of information. It set out a template for personal financial planning and it went as follows:

  • 50% of income (max) on living expenses
  • 40% of income on savings, investments, and essential debt
  • 10% of income (max) on whatever you want

I know that there is as much personal financial advice out there as there are stars in the sky, but this particular advice resonated with me. It is so simple to understand.


(Simple to understand ≠ easy to do)


Your Unique Life is a Choice

Mainstream culture perpetuates the idea that each individual is unique. At the same time, society seems to frown upon individuals expressing their uniqueness (check your Twitter feed).

To have lasting inner peace, you must live a life that is true to your unique values, unique gifts and idiosyncrasies – your unique life. Yet, the more unique a life you live, the more of your self that you are, the more society (some people in society) will project negativity towards you. In the end, each individual, whether they know it or not, makes a choice, and bears the cost of their choice.

Either you do not experience lasting inner peace, or you experience the disdain of society.


Taking Responsibility is Hard

Why is it so difficult to take responsibility for things, events, occurrences in your life?

Here are two possible reasons:

  1. Taking responsibility requires you to take ownership for your part or contribution to the thing, event, or occurrence. Do you know what the opposite of taking responsibility is? Being a victim. When you are a victim you can say “I am fat because of my genes” but when you take responsibility you have to say “I am fat because of my food choices, and my lifestyle”. The victim says that “I am in poor financial health because the capitalist economic system prevents me from being paid a higher salary” while the person who takes responsibility says that “I am in poor financial health because I live above my means, and lack the discipline to work hard on my idea for long enough until it becomes successful”. Taking ownership is hard.
  2. Taking responsibility is not a one-time action. It is an ongoing decision you have to make. Anyone can decide to take responsibility when they are feeling motivated. But very few people have the discipline and the motivation to continuously make the difficult choice of taking responsibility. Doing something hard once is easy. Doing something hard every day is hard.

Fortunately, these two factors are within the control of every individual.