I ordered a bunch of books online and I’ve been reading them before bed. Which is new for me, because instead of going from 0 to 60 (when I wake up) and 60 to 0 (when I look at my computer, stop working, shut it down, then immediately swan dive into bed), I’ve been trying to go from 60 to 45 to 15 to 0.
I really enjoy my work, but the downside is that I can get caught up in it pretty quickly. There’s always something to write, something to do, or a new project to brainstorm. But in an effort to balance things out, I stop doing any sort of work or around-the-house puttering 30 minutes before bedtime. I get ready for bed and turn on some music and reach for my stack of reading material on my nightstand
It seems a little weird to be sitting up in bed, paging through a catalog while listening to Gungor or whatever, but it’s surprisingly soothing. I’m not thinking about work, I’m not reading email, I’m not checking our budget, I’m not texting anyone — I’m just looking at pretty photos and hanging out and unwinding. Or I’ll play something instrumental and read from whatever book’s on my nightstand. I’m at the tail end of All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth by Laura Vanderkam. (I’m a big fan of her other books, 168 Hours and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.)
It’s definitely out-of-the-box as far as personal finance books go, and I’ve been enjoying reading it. One great question she points out: why are finance gurus giving people ways to trim down their food budgets, when housing and transportation take up the biggest pieces of that monthly budget pie? Or.. instead of worrying how you’re going to fund retirement when you’re 65, what if you found a career that you really loved so you’re not counting down the days until you’re done? I’m simplifying it, but I think most of the chapters are great and totally worth the read.
Anyway, I was poking around on the money section of her blog to see if she expounded on any of her thoughts from her book since it’s been a couple of years since it was published, and I read a post where she linked to another post that asked “What would you do if your income doubled?”
Grumpy Rumblings is a joint blog written by Nicole and Maggie, and one of them has a husband whose income suddenly doubled last year due to a job change (to a job that he loves, no less). It’s a fascinating question, and one worth a good daydream or two for anyone at any income level, I think.
I sat and thought about if my income (as opposed to Jack’s) immediately doubled, which one of my work tasks would I drop? And ultimately, I realized I enjoy everything I do. I certainly might outsource more – if not just work tasks, certainly housekeeping tasks/errands, so I could spend my time doing what I love — spending time with my family and friends, working, taking yoga classes — instead of spending time, you know… running errands and cleaning things. But I think even if my income doubled, I’d be forcing myself to stop working at some point during the day. Might upgrade my bedsheets or something. ;)
Then, of course, earning more means the ability to give more, to spend more, to save more. Would you move? Pay off debt? Immediately start padding 401Ks and Roth IRAs and 529s for your kids (an oft neglected line item in many budgets, a complete non-option for many Americans)? Throw money at Sallie Mae and hope she leaves you alone? Eat better? Give more? Hire someone to come wash, fold, dry, and put away laundry twice a week? Move to a safer neighborhood? Do all of your furniture shopping at Room & Board? Move to a gated community? Pay off debt? Fill up an emergency fund? Visit a new continent every year? Have more children? Adopt a puppy? Write a check to your favorite NGOs on your birthday every year? Buy your mom something? Upgrade your vehicles?
Would you be happier? Did that daydream morph into daydreaming about how you could double your income?
Looking forward to the comments; always great discussion to be found. “The comments are better than your blog posts!” Yeah? Thanks, Mom.