7 Habits For Happiness And Success

successOver the years of reading self improvement books, success literature and blogs, biographies of successful people and just general real life experience I’ve found there are many habits that if adopted and sustained, have been proven to lead one down the path to happiness and success. I’ve compiled a few of them here for this post. This is by no means a complete list, and in this ever changing world we live in hopefully, we are learning more about what it takes to be successful and happy in life. The are some of the habits that have worked for me and others and I’m sure they will help you too.


1. Read for at least 30 minutes per day of quality stuff

Daily reading cannot only make you smarter but also healthier. Reading on a regular basis has been proven to lower your stress level and help keep your brain young by slowing cognitive decline. Beyond the mental stimulation you receive there’s also gains in knowledge, vocabulary expansion and memory improvements. You will improve your analytical thinking skills as well as your focus and concentration abilities. And last but not least it’s great entertainment! No one ever said the movie was better than the book!


2. Get At Least 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep Every Night

Getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Studies have shown that people who get adequate sleep live longer on average than those that don’t. Getting the right amount of sleep has shown to spur the creative process and this can lead to numerous benefits. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested loss 56% more fat than those who were sleep deprived. Also if you’re tired all the time you tend to eat more carbs for energy. Getting better sleep helps you to better handle and recover from stress as well as help to control your blood pressure.


3. Try To Take One Step Toward Your Goals Everyday

If you can get into the habit of taking one step – even if it is just planning for your goal or visualizing yourself achieving said goal, you will be one step closer to achieving it in reality. Doing this also keeps your goals in the forefront of your mind allowing you to see opportunities to help you meet them. Keeping your goals in mind will allow your subconscious to get used to them and accept them as reality and soon they will be!


4. Get 3 to 4 Hours Of Exercise Every Week

One of my favorite authors, the late great Stephen Covey, used to use the phrase of “sharping the saw”. He used the analogy of a woodcutter sawing for days and getting less and less productive. Why? Because he never stopped to sharpen the saw. The same is true with our bodies and our mind. If we don’t take time out to exercise and get the accompanying rest and recuperation then we will eventually run our selves in the ground, and become dull and inefficient.


5. Focus More Experiences And Relationships Rather Than Material Possessions

I doubt anyone, on their death bed, ever wished they could have bought that new car or new expensive clothes. Life is made of our experiences and relationships with others – not how many materiel possessions we accumulate. Many people, including myself, would gladly give away most of our material possessions if it meant they can have more time with a deceased relative or friend. Now I’m not saying don’t buy nice things if you can afford it. You work hard for your money and it is part of the reward for your time. And I wouldn’t begrudge anyone that. All I’m saying is when it comes to a choice of spending time with loved ones or taking that trip to a place you’ve never been before, or trying that new restaurant with a significant other – do that, instead of buying the latest gadget. You won’t regret the latter but you might regret the former.


6. Learn To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

By this I mean learn to notice when you have a choice between taking the growth path or the fear path and choose the growth path more often especially when you’re young. This habit is not talking about thrill seeking. What I’m talking about for example is if you’re at a social gathering and you want to meet a certain person and are feeling nervous or anxious about it, learn to look at it as either the growth path or the fear path. Overcome your fear and go talk to that person. A famous hockey player once said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So go ahead and take a shot.


7. Learn To Set Goals And Review Them Regularly

It goes without saying if you don’t know where you’re going you are most likely going to end up someplace you don’t really want to be. To make sure you get where you DO want to be, you need plan and set goals. I like to use the end of year to step back and see where I’m at and to plan my goals for the next year, but really this can be done anytime. You can start by thinking of where you want to be personally, financially and even physically, meaning your health. Just the act of planning and setting goals can give you clarity and focus in what you really want in life. This can can give you peace of mind in that you know what you want in life and it can help you in your decision making because you will naturally make the decision that gets you closer to your goals. It’s also important to review your goals on a regular basis to make sure you are on track and that this goal is still something you want to achieve. Check out this previous post on effective goal setting.


Resources For You:


Share This Post


It’s Time To Start A Side Hustle To Build Multiple Streams Of Income

side hustleWith the job market being as weak as it has been and the stock market gyrating back and forth I was thinking now might be a good time to start thinking about a side hustle and get multiple streams of income going in your favor. By side hustle I mean another way to earn an income other than your regular job. Other sources of income should things turn nasty. Side hustles are also an excellent way to super charge your savings and investments.
Read more

Share This Post


Best Financial Rules Of Thumb

financial_rules_of_thumb4Like most complicated things, it makes it easier to grasp a concept if we can shorten the explanation to just a few sentences or one rule of thumb. Nowhere is this more important and put to good use than in the financial world. Here are some of the best tried and true financial rules of thumb that I know. Like all general explanations there are always caveats and one-offs, but if you follow these rules of thumb to some extent you will go along way to keeping your financial world on solid ground and going down the right path. We’ll go over each rule of thumb, discuss what makes it work in general and list any caveats to keep in mind to make it work for you specifically.

Read more

Share This Post


Time For A Financial Checkup

financial checkupWith all the market volatility and the Dow swinging between 500 point gains and declines I’ve found the best way to calm my financial nerves is to sit down and give myself a financial checkup to make sure my financial house is in order. Once you go over your financials and make sure your base is firm you can be fairly confident that you can weather most outcomes be they bull or bear. You need to start with the basics like – do I have enough cash if this is more than just a bull market correction or the beginnings of something more bear like? Then you need to see that you are saving enough for your future and retirement in whatever form that takes. So let’s get started.

Read more

Share This Post


10 Books You Should Read For Personal Finance

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting started you can never have too much information and advice. In this post we have some of the best reviewed and highly recommended investment books ever written. With names like Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett and John Bogle – how could you go wrong? Add some of the wisdom of the ages to your financial library.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) (Collins Business Essentials)  by Benjamin Graham
This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions…

The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham’s original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today’s market, draws parallels between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles.

Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett (Security Analysis Prior Editions)  by Benjamin Graham
First published in 1934, Security Analysis is one of the most influential financial books ever written. Selling more than one million copies through five editions, it has provided generations of investors with the timeless value investing philosophy and techniques of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd.

As relevant today as when they first appeared nearly 75 years ago, the teachings of Benjamin Graham, “the father of value investing,” have withstood the test of time across a wide diversity of market conditions, countries, and asset classes.

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings  by Philip Fisher
Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today’s financiers and investors, but are also regarded by many as gospel. This book is invaluable reading and has been since it was first published in 1958. The updated paperback retains the investment wisdom of the original edition and includes the perspectives of the author’s son Ken Fisher, an investment guru in his own right.
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Tim Geithner
As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner helped the United States navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, from boom to bust to rescue to recovery. In a candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, he takes readers behind the scenes of the crisis, explaining the hard choices and politically unpalatable decisions he made to repair a broken financial system and prevent the collapse of the Main Street economy. This is the inside story of how a small group of policy makers—in a thick fog of uncertainty, with unimaginably high stakes—helped avoid a second depression but lost the American people doing it. Stress Test is also a valuable guide to how governments can better manage financial crises, because this one won’t be the last.
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Third Edition by Warren Buffet
By arranging Buffett’s lengthy writings thematically, Cunningham’s classic clarifies all the principles of Buffett’s philosophy of business and investing.
Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch
They called him Neutron Jack. They called him the world’s toughest boss. And then Fortune called him ‘The Manager of the Century.’ In his twenty-year career at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. In this remarkable autobiography-a classic business book and runaway New York Times bestseller now updated with a new afterword by the author-Jack Welch takes us on the rough-and-tumble ride that has been his remarkable life. From his working-class childhood to his early days in G.E. Plastics to his life at the top of the world’s most successful company, Welch tells his intensely personal story with his well-known fire and candor. And although it chronicles billion-dollar deals and high-stakes corporate standoffs, Jack is ultimately a story about people-from a man who based his career on demanding only the best from others and from himself
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William Thorndike Jr.
In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty—in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. In The Outsiders, you’ll learn the traits and methods—striking for their consistency and relentless rationality—that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance.
The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation by John Bogle
Recommended Reading by Warren Buffet in his March 2013 Letter to Shareholders How speculation has come to dominate investment a hard-hitting look from the creator of the first index fund. Over the course of his sixty-year career in the mutual fund industry, Vanguard Group founder John C. Bogle has witnessed a massive shift in the culture of the financial sector. The prudent, value-adding culture of long-term investment has been crowded out by an aggressive, value-destroying culture of short-term speculation. Mr. Bogle has not been merely an eye-witness to these changes, but one of the financial sector s most active participants. In The Clash of the Cultures, he urges a return to the common sense principles of long-term investing.
Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. John Brooks’s insightful reportage is so full of personality and critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm, or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history repeats itself.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Eleventh Edition)by Burton G. Malkiel

A Random Walk Down Wall Street has long been established as the first book to purchase when starting a portfolio. In addition to covering the full range of investment opportunities, the book features new material on the Great Recession and the global credit crisis as well as increased focus on the long-term potential of emerging markets.

Share This Post


Optimizing Your Post Retirement Drawdown Plan

nesteggMuch debate has gone on in the personal finance community about the optimal amount you can withdraw from your nest egg in retirement so you don’t run out of money too soon. This is also applicable to you lucky folks who have been able to save well and retire early (or at least quit your day job).

The rule of thumb use to be 5%. Meaning you could safely take out 5% of your nest egg yearly without depleting your principle too fast or not at all over time. Lately investment gurus have been knocking that down to 4% which I believe is a pretty good idea given the current economy.

With that in mind I’ve come across a good plan of action to make your nest egg last as long as possible. Not sure where this originally came from but its sounds great to me.

Read more

Share This Post