May 162016
 

The Enemy of Success is Delusion

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Author and public speaker Steve Siebold has helped many people with their careers. His clients include Fortune 500 companies and his books are considered by many to be the gold standard in the field of psychological performance training. One important distinction that Steve notices between the middle class and the wealthy is in how they think.

“The average person believes they are far more competent at what they do for a living than they actually are. Many people believe they are overworked and underpaid, but this is rarely true. In a free market economy we are normally getting paid very close to what we’re worth.” ~Steve

I happen to agree. An employer probably wont pay someone $30/hour if the labor is only worth $20/hour. Workers are replaceable. If a company consistently overpays its employees then it won’t stay in business for very long, assuming all other market conditions being equal. The employee can make the same choice. If a pharmacist is being paid $20/hour but believes he is worth $30/hour then he is free to offer his professional services to another company. Since the labor market is based on supply and demand, it’s important to consider both sides when thinking about compensation.

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Aug 142015
 

Time – A Nonrenewable Resource

Is $700,000 enough to last you for an entire lifetime? Imagine you were given $700,000 and can spend it any way you like. The catch is you can’t invest or make any more money for the rest of your life. If you were forced into such a scenario would you spend your days differently?

Everyone already experiences this in the form of time. Most people are given about 700,000 hours in this world, plus or minus maybe 5% depending on gender, class, and geography. I’ve already used up about 250,000 hours of mine. That was valuable time I can never get back.

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We are all humbled by time. Wealth is the ability to fully experience all that life has to offer. Money will only get us so far, but the rest is up to our internal discourse about how to spend our time. It doesn’t matter if we’re financially rich or poor. Everyone is ultimately limited by that 700,000 hours. Time is the ultimate equalizer.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Gandalf

The important thing is to enjoy the things you’re doing right now. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. 🙂 Unless you enjoy attaching all your watches together to make a belt. Then that would be a waist of time. 😀

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Apr 012014
 

Move to Vancouver to Enjoy a Low Cost of Living

Sometimes it may feel like we’re constantly being gouged by the world around us. 😕

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But if we adapt to our surroundings we should be able to live the lifestyle we want on a relatively modest income 🙂 Luckily I live in what is arguably one of the most affordable cities in the world – Vancouver, B.C. Canada. 😀 I currently make more than $3,000 a month from my 2 jobs combined, but if we exclude my consumer/investment debt-related expenses for the moment, my total cost of living each month is less than $1,500. Here’s the cost of living breakdown.

Housing related $800
Food $150
Hydro+Internet+phone $100
Transportation $150
Miscellaneous $200

This budget doesn’t feel restrictive because it’s so darn cheap to live here 😀

I don’t even try to be thrifty. Things are just naturally cheap in Vancouver. As I’ll explain below, there is probably no other major city in Canada or the U.S. where I can buy the same degree of security, freedom, opportunity, and general quality of life as I have today, for just $1,500 a month.

Affordable Housing

Trying to pay for a roof over our heads in large cities like San Francisco or New York City (where the average rent is over $3,000/month.) can be financially challenging. 😕 But not in Vancouver! With interest rates so low my monthly mortgage payment on my 2 bedroom apartment is only about $800/month. 😀

There are lots of cheap options for renters too. Here’s a one bedroom apartment recently listed. It’s only $875 per month . It’s located near public transportation, restaurants, and other services, as indicated by the high Walk Score. Statistics Canada suggests that living in a high walk score neighborhood promotes a healthier lifestyle and decreases the chance of obesity.14-04-marpoleproperty vancouver affordable city

Here is another 1 bedroom suite I found on craigslist recently for just $675 a month.

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I hear 1 bedroom suites in Calgary and Toronto (outside city centers) normally rent between $1,000 to $1,200 a month. Phew. I’m glad I don’t live in those expensive cities.

Cheap Food

Eating well can be quite costly. But food is so cheap in Vancouver. I can usually buy 2 full bags of fresh fruit and vegetables for about $10 at discount produce markets. I’ve posted receipts for proof.

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I can buy staples like milk, bread, and eggs at the local Walmart for $7.50. I think that’s very reasonable. (click image to enlarge)

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Restaurant food and other prepared dishes are cheap too. 🙂 At Yamato Sushi in downtown for example, I can get a 22 piece assorted sushi combo including soup for just $5.95! How are they still in business? 😯

Food courts and bakeries across Metro Vancouver usually drop their prices a lot before they close for the day. 🙂 Often $4 can buy 2 full take-out boxes of food that can last me a full day lol.

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Supermarkets like Loblaws and its franchises (Superstore, t&t, etc)  will often mark down their pre-packaged foods in stages starting in the late afternoon. Each hour or so lower priced stickers would be applied.

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This is the perfect opportunity for busy people like myself, who may not always have time to cook, to conveniently grab something cheap and easy for dinner. 🙂

Safeway will sometimes have special deals like the following which includes a pizza, ice cream, and soda, all for just $6.

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If you want to be really frugal, I’ve done some research that suggests it’s even possible to survive in Vancouver without spending any money on food whatsoever. This can be done by taking advantage of free food events that happen every day around the city.

 

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