Friday, February 27, 2009

My Personal Prosperity Program

My fiscal goals are specific, yet broad.
My second financial goal is found in the following affirmation: I enjoy living well and prospering, now and in the future.

Remember, according to psycho-cybernetics, an affirmation serves as an instruction to the sub-conscious (the automatic success mechanism). My sub-conscious is now “tuned” to finding a way for me to “live well and prosper, now and in the future.” Not a bad target for me to steer unconsciously towards.

As I think towards the future and retirement, I want to live well. One of my sisters commented recently to my wife as she surveyed our living room, “You guys live within your means.” She meant it as a compliment, and my wife took it as such. (We pretty much “own” our lifestyle rather than rent it.)

We aren’t rich, neither are we poor. We are living well and prospering. We are content. We recognize that there are things we don’t have, but we have enough. We have some luxuries, but we don’t live in luxury. And all that is okay. We are content. (I paid less than $10 in credit card interest last year on my main credit card.)

I’m probably an underachiever financially, because I’ve never made it my aim to be “rich.” I’m not adverse to wealth either, I’ve just never made it a priority. I’ve sought to balance the demands of the present with the possibilities of the future.

As a young man I rarely looked to the future, and as a young father, I was rarely able to look much past a paycheck or two. But we lived well and prospered none-the-less.

Now, as an empty-nester, I look forward to retirement, and I have to decide where to set the bar regarding quality of life. Here’s where I set it: “…live well and prosper, now AND in the future.”

I don’t want to spend my retirement in poverty and want, but I don’t need to spend it in the lap of luxury (or indulgence) either.

I’ve looked at my current budget, and I’ve looked at what income levels I would need to support a lifestyle similar to my current one. I’ve looked at what expenses I could eliminate (like a mortgage and/or a car payment). I’ve worked up some estimates as a reality check.

But there is a limit to what expenses you can cut. Cutting expenses needs to be balanced with maximizing my retirement income streams. Social security, pension, IRAs, personal savings, home equity, (adult children)… these are my “assets.” The picture of my future is fuzzy, but not blank.

I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I know where I’m heading… I enjoy living well and prospering, now and in the future.

I know where I’m heading, I just don’t have the turn-by-turn directions yet. (And I don’t need them.) All I really need is the goal and the next step. Right now, the next step is learning to set the right goals and priorities, and learning to ask the right questions: Like how to balance spending and saving... oh, that's tomorrow's topic!


  1. Don,
    I really respect your financial outlook. I wish I had learned some of these lessons earlier, but now I feel like I'm foregoing a process of un-learning and re-learning.
    It's all a part of life, though.

    Thanks again,

  2. Chase,

    Most of what I write might be called life-coaching, and it involves learning which outlooks are helpful and which are not.

    I wish I'd learned many of these lessons earlier too, but it is what it is.

    Part of my hope in writing, is to help others learn things earlier in life than I did. I like this quote from Gerald Weinberg's Blog: "Dedicated to Helping Smart People be Happy."

    You're a smart guy, because you're purposefully learning and un-learning. I think that puts you in a special group.

    That's another thing I've discovered about blogging, it allows us to build a community of learners who share a world-view. That community becomes an accelerant for growth, improvement, and enjoyment.

    Thanks for commenting and contributing to the community.