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Since embarking on my new journey in Dallas and currently working a part-time job, I have been living at a slower pace and really having a chance to enjoy life and all it has to offer. I have been exploring my new city, getting to know and enjoy my new co-workers (whom most of them are just like me, taking a part-time job as they transition into a different phase in their lives), and re-reading a lot of my favorite business and personal development books. Through re-reading 'The 4 Hour Workweek', I came across the story of 'The Tourist and the Mexican Fisherman'. This story resonated even more with me the second time around because of my current life circumstance. Most people have come across this story, in one version or another, but I thought I would re-print it on my blog because it has so much semblance in my life at the moment......

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."


My New Life....

I am now officially a resident of Dallas, Texas...well, Irving, Texas to be exact.

To make a long story short, I was miserable in Little Rock, Arkansas. Don't get me wrong, it's a great city with some of the greatest people I've ever met. However, I am just not a small city kind of girl. I moved to Little Rock, after Hurricane Katrina and initially, everything was great because it was new. But, over time as I got to know more and more about the city, the more I learned that the choice of my locale was a mistake. I realized that when you move, as a single adult, to a city where everyone gets married straight out of high school, and definately no later than straight out of college, to their high school or college sweethearts that another relocation is imminent--that is unless I wanted to die alone.

To make matters worse, I was in a job that caused me to dread going to work. I was employed at a local college as a Program Director for a program that prepared high school students for higher education. The program involved a summer residential component that allowed the students to simulate college life for 6 weeks. The job involved exceptionally long hours in the summer, as I was required to be on campus with the students until 10pm when they would report to their dorm rooms for final roll call for the night. Additionally, working with teenagers, while can be rewarding, involves taking a lot of teenage attitude and back talk. Add in the fact that the program was federally funding, which means the salary was not exactly anything to write home about.

I decided that I would have to leave Little Rock, and just like when I desired to leave New Orleans, the prospects for an out of of town job candidate was slim. So, I decided that I would probably have to leave my job to relocate. I could only imagine the flack I would receive for leaving a job in this economy. But given the fact the program is never guaranteed to be funded past the current grant cycles, the state of the federal deficit has forced the future cuts of approximately 300 programs nationwide, and my college was strugggling through re-accredidation issues, I figured my decision to leave was not a huge risk. As a result, I got busy with the business of saving a year's salary.

The current fiscal year for the program ended on August 31st and I gave a month resignation with August 27th being my last day on the job. When I put in my resignation, my plan was to rent my house, move to Dallas and stay in an extended stay hotel until I found temporary employment. Well, a random search on Craigslist under "Education" jobs landed me an interview for a Program Delivery Specialist to target elementary schools in Dallas. The interview was scheduled for the day before my last day at work (perfect timing, I know.) The interview was on a Thursday and my last day on the job the following day on a Friday. Since I had such great luck with the job search on Craigslist, I decided to do a housing search just to see. Low and behold, I found a studio apartment that was being advertised by a student who was moving back home and needed someone to take over his lease. It turns out the rent would would be cheaper than the extended stay hotel.

So, I drove to Dallas early Thursday morning (a 4.5 hour drive from Little Rock) for the interview, waited until the tenant got off from work and looked at the apartment, then drove back home--all in the same day. I got back home after 11pm, then attended my last day of work the next day. Then I went on a one week vacation to San Diego...ahhhh. While on vacation, I got the call that I had gotten the job!!

So, while everyone thought I was crazy for leaving a job in the state of the economy, I followed my heart because I knew I could not stay in a life that was not working for me any longer--especially for a job that was not guranteed anyway. Although the job is part-time, I'm OK with this because: 1. I was burned out from the previous job and need a little break; 2. My low consumption and debt-free lifestyle allows me to be able to pay my minimum bills from the salary; 3. I have no pride and would have taken any job to pay the bills, if need be; 4. As long as the job is in education, I am still doing what I love.

So, that's the story of my new life and also why I have been absent from the blog. I still do not have my internet set up and am typing from the complex's resident business center, which also explains why the post have no picture. As a result, my posts may be a little scarce until the end of the month, so bear with me.

Oh, and so far, so good in Dallas....I start my new job today at 2pm. Wish me luck....

I'm back from my marvelous vacation feeling well rested and renewed. I may post some pictures of the awesomeness that was San of the beach, the beautiful view from my hotel, the wonderful reggae band I saw at Wave House on the beach.... But, now that the vacay is over...

I returned home to find out that a co-worker and great man, died from a heart attack while he slept. On last Thursday, September 9th, I found out that a former co-worker and friend, whose 65th b-day party I had just attended two weeks ago, had died of a massive stroke. These deaths shook me because I had just seen the people and they seemed to be the picture of health. It made me realize just how true the statement is, "here today, gone tomorrow." It also made me hyper aware of the fact that life should be lived to the fullest because we never know which day will be our last.

In my humble opinion, death, while sad, serves as a wake up call to the living. For me, it was a reminder that we are SUPPOSED to be living and enjoying life, not merely existing. These deaths made me grateful for the times I had known these great men, one of which was like a father figure. Also, it made me grateful for the life that I have chosen which embraces financial freedom and minimalism. From my standpoint, these life decisions are allowing me to live more fully and freely because I am not bogged down by debt or worry about not having time to truly enjoy life because I have too many things to care for or pay for.

It is my hope that everyone lives life to the fullest and realizes that our time here on earth is short and we should spend it with the people we love, doing things we love.

I've been missing in action while preparing for and vacationing in sunny San Diego. I will be back shortly and will try to get a few posts in before I get too busy. My life is gonna be really busy and hectic during the month of September; which is all the more reason I better enjoy this vacation!

The True Cost of Debt

"The Great Recession is exposing people." This is a comment I read on a blog post about celebrities who were in debt. The comment was posted by a reader who was referring to the fact that before the Great Recession, celebrities were living high off the hog on borrowed money. Since, the recession, however, a lot of people's credit, including celebrities, is limited and, therefore, they are exposed; exposed for being a poser with a financed lifestyle. But, it's not just celebrities who are living a rented lifestyle.

Before the recession, a lot of people's emergency fund was their credit cards. The fallout from the credit crisis and its subsequent limitations on credit access, has caused a lot of people to question the true cost of debt. The true cost of consumer debt is almost always negative. Some of the negative consequences of debt are:


Debt is stressful because, most times, the amount of debt that one carries feels overwhelming. And despite making payments towards the debt, high interest rates make it appear as if no progress is being made. Additionally, when debt was used to secure depreciating assets, it is not uncommon for one to owe more than what the item is worth. Debt can become a crippling condition that can leave the debtor feeling enslaved and depressed.

Missed Opportunities

How many times have we heard, or even said ourselves, the phrase, "I would take advantage of this opportunity, if I only had the money." How many times has there been a great deal on a great vacation that you would have taken if you had only saved, in advance, and had the money when the deal was available? How many times have you known you needed to start saving for a new car, but didn't because you didn't have the money to spare? Then, low and behold, you see a great deal on a car right as your clunker has kicked the bucket. How many times would you have loved to allow your kid to join the sports league or go to that summer camp, if only you had the money. For many people, missed opportunities are a source of stress and regret brought on by debt.

Marital Problems

It is well documented that money issues are the number one cause of divorce in America. But even for those couples who don't end up in divorce court, how many arguments has debt or poor spending habits caused? How much stronger would your marriage be if you had the money to have a date night, at least, once a month?

Loss of Income

Since the recession and its negative affect on many people's credit, it's more common than ever for employers to run credit checks on employment candidates. Issues such as low credit scores can cause an otherwise viable candidate to lose a job to a candidate whose only edge was a favorable credit rating. The lost of a new employment position is a double blow when the new job would have come with a higher salary, which would have alloted more descretionary income that could have been applied to debt repayment.

Prolonged Retirement Date

Too many people don't take into account how debt will affect their retirement plans until it's too late. Despite the fact that some future retirees may have enough money to afford their life's necessities during retirement, they fail to take into account how much of their fixed income would be consumed by debt repayment. Oftentimes, by the time the person nearing retirement finally analyzes their entire financial situation, their only recourse is to extend their retirement date until they have eliminated all or most of their debt.

These are just a few of the ways debt cost debtor. It's been said time and time again, but the saying still holds true--debt, is in fact, a form of slavery.

Money can buy material goods. Lots of money can buy lots of material goods. Material things aside, we've all heard the sayings before, 'Money can't buy love'; 'Money can't buy happiness.' While I agree with these sentiments, there are a few non-material things that money can buy.

It's not a coincidence that I started this list with the trait of confidence. I realize listing confidence as something money can buy is a bit controversial. There are a lot of people who will say money can't buy confidence because there are a lot of rich people with low self-esteem who only use money to compensate for their lack of confidence. However, when I speak of confidence I mainly mean the confidence to take risks. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? If we all were born with silver spoons in our mouths, most of us would have at least attempted to follow our dreams and not followed the path of the straight and narrow because it was the safe thing to do, with minimal risk of failure.

Additionally, I know there are rich people with low self esteem, but, seriously, money does give some people confidence to the point of arrogance; two examples: Kanye West and Donald Trump. Who do they think they're fooling? The vast majority of their confidence/arrogance comes from the millions sitting in their bank accounts.

Having options is a wonderful, liberating thing. Having options means never being stuck--stuck in a bad marriage, stuck in a city you hate, stuck in a job you hate. Money affords its owner the opportunity to choose from a variety of alternatives that could possibly make his life more enjoyable or fulfilling. And if the first option is not a success, money offers him the opportunity to make a different choice and experience a different outcome.

Having enough money to fully fund emergency savings gives one the security of knowing that whatever crisis life throws at you--loss of job, expensive car repairs, unexpected tax bill--you have the financial means to weather the temporary storm. Having adequate emergency savings also means having the security of knowing that in the case of an unforeseen expense, you won't have to possibly swollow your pride and request loans from friends or family. Most people don't like the feeling of being a slave to their lender, especially when they have to see that lender across the dinner table for the annual Thanksgiving family gathering.

Peace of Mind

Money offers peace of mind in knowing that you don't have to live paycheck to paycheck and knowing you have the financial means to provide for life's necessecities, with a little to spare for fun and entertainment also. Money affords a clear mind and a calmer sense of being. Additionally, if the money you have was earned through hard work and sound financial planning, you can have peace of mind that you are passing down the same financial principles to your children.

I don't know about you, but I like these things that money can buy. Can you think of any other non-material things money can buy?