Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The five stages of financial health

Finances is one aspect of laziness that I haven't yet talked much about. It is however tightly woven together with how we manage our lives in general. I mentioned in an early post on this blog that when I'm emotionally unbalanced I tend to make poor financial decisions. Self indulgence becomes easier and more tempting and I come up with all sorts of justifications. When I feel better I tend to be more frugal in my spending. But it goes both ways. When I'm in a good place financially I tend to be more balanced as a person. Keeping a tight rein on my expenses is one way of beating my lazy side and it in turn makes me feel better about myself.

Financial problems on the other hand make me nervous, stressed and emotionally unbalanced, which then in turn increases the amount of poor financial decisions etc. It all turns into a vicious cycle.

So how do we describe our financial situation in a way that helps us determine what to do to better it? Finances are a complicated matter after all.

A short article by Pinyo on describes five "Stages" of financial health along with some advice for how to handle each stage.

Quote from the article:

Last night, I was pondering the subject of cash flow (essentially how money flow through our hands) and about financial well being. I played around with various visualizations that consist of income, expenses, debt, and assets. What I came up with was the 5 stages of financial health below.

I believe that all of us go through these stages at one point in time, although some may never fall into “the debt spiral” or achieve “financial freedom”. Below are the description of each stage and some suggestions on how to improve your finances if you fall into that particular category.

Entire article here

After reviewing the article I concluded that I'm currently transitioning from stage 2 to stage 3. I will probably remain there until the end of summer when going back to school will force me back into stage 2. All the more reason to be frugal now. Money saved now might in turn save me from trouble during the school year.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Clutterers Anonymous

The other day I happened upon a site called Clutterers Anonymous. No I wont be joining any supportgroups just yet. My clutter problem isn't that out of control. It was interesting however to take their 20 question quiz. Here it is, including my answers to them:

  • Do you have more possessions or items in your life than you can handle comfortably?
- No not really
  • Do you find it difficult to dispose of many things, even those you haven't used in years?
- Yes sometimes. I usually have a hard time shaking the feeling that I might need it again in the future.
  • Do you rent storage space to house items you never use?
-Thankfully no. If it was that bad then I would sign up for the support group this instant.
  • Do you spend time looking for things that are hard to find because of all the clutter?
-Disorder makes it hard to find study material I need to go back to.
  • Do you find it easier to drop something than to put it away, or to wedge an object into an overcrowded drawer or closet rather than find space for it?
  • Do you collect things to give to others?
  • Do you bring things into your house without establishing a place for them?
  • Is your clutter causing problems in your relationships?
-No, but that would require a relationship. (For the single females out there I'm single and looking!) still I haven't had clutter ruin anything in the past.
  • Are you embarrassed to have visitors because your home is never presentable?
-Yes. This is a recurring problem for me. Though sometimes I invite people over in order to force myself to deal with the clutter.
  • Do you hesitate sharing about this problem because you are ashamed of your cluttering?
-Well I am writing this blog am I not?
  • Are you constantly doing for others while your own home is out of order?
-Yes and no. Not to a large extent but to a degree I am much more inclined to help someone else then to take care of my own mess.
  • Do you miss deadlines or abandon projects because you can't find the paperwork or material to finish the work?
-No I generally force myself to find what I need and finish on time. At whatever cost.
  • Do you sometimes get buried in details, making projects take much longer than is really necessary?
-Thankfully this is not one of my traits.
  • Do you procrastinate about cleaning up because you believe you must do it perfectly or you won't do it at all?
-To some extent yes.
  • Are you easily side-tracked, moving from one project to another without finishing any of them?
  • Do you have problems with time management and estimating how long it takes to do things?
-Sometimes yes. But it depends on the project.
  • Do you believe there is all the time in the world to clean your house, finish those projects, and read all those piles of old magazines?
-Regretfully yes. I always think I'll have time "later"
  • Do you use distractions to escape from your clutter?
-Yes definitely. I'll frequently kill tons of time at my computer when I need to do things about my clutter.
  • Have you tried to clean up from time to time but find yourself unable to stick with it?
-Not really unable per se, just unwilling.
  • Does the problem appear to be growing?
-No thankfully it is more or less on the same level. Slightly less actually

There, not so bad right? Right? Actually according to the website I would be a prime candidate. So how many of these apply to you? I'll have a poll up this week. Post your score in it an we will see how we are all doing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Relevant links - 2008-05-19

Can you become a creature of new habits? - Learning habits can actually make us more creative. Not learning new habits can cause our existing creativity to atrophy.

Learn an instrument online - A short article suggesting a few ways to learn to play an instrument with the help of the web.

Slate's special issue on procrastionation - Slate magazine deliveres a couple of days worth of articles about procrastionation. Have a look and see what can help you.

Top 10 interview mistakes - Some of these are downright crazy but some can be quite helpful. Make sure you don't ruin your next job interview by making any of these misstakes.