Monday, April 16, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #19 : The Smaller Meaning of Life

The larger meaning of life are questions relating to what you re are and how you fit in into the Grand Scheme of the Universe. These are questions that are hard to answer and require a lot of introspection.

The smaller meaning of life is a lot easier to attain because all you need is to understand your goals and ambitions.

The book talks about research done on children. Those kids who consider money as something indispensable had a higher income later in life and are generally happier than those who did not value money as much. Of course, those who valued money but did not achieve material success later in life are the most miserable of them all.

The surface advice from the book is that goals matter. Popular self-help supports the idea of SMART goals.

Scott Adams takes goals one step further and asks the questions of what kinds of personal systems can be built towards attaining personal success as opposed to following simply goals. Habits and rituals are more effective than goals.

So I guess a more complete picture is to first know what your ambition is followed by your goals, and then to find out how to build a system or series of habits to achieve your ambitions.

My goal right now is to offset my mortgage with my margin account. To do that, I have to save about $4,000 a month on an allowance of $800. This means really skimping on on the use of my dividends every quarter.

To do that, I developed two systems :

a) Fish soup once a day. As Maxwell road hawker center soup serves fish soup that is well above average, I get a healthy meal that keeps my blood sugar low at a mere $6 a day. Somehow good healthy diets can drive overall savings since I spend less time at restaurants.

b) Book moratorium on the poor dividend months. Every January, April, July and October, I stop buying e-books and RPGs so that I can use the library more and select only those that I can read in that quarter.

As we speak, my margin account is getting close to $480,000 in size which generates about $24,000 a year. This is not a small achievement as I had no earned income building up this margin account and I was able to  keep my core portfolio generating income that  I can feed my entire family with.  As my margin account is full of higher quality REITs, yield accretive moves should be able to tip me over to be able to offset mortgage payments hopefully by October 2018.

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