Archives for September 2017

What I learned from my dad about simplicity and minimalism

My Dad was a minimalist. 

This truth and awareness came to me hard and fast. The impact profound.

I even spoke it out loud — My dad was a minimalist!

And, with a chuckle, I said, “Well, I’ll be damned.” No wonder tidying up, organizing, clutter clearing, and minimalism comes so naturally and favorably to me. No wonder my preference for simplicity is such a deeply held belief.

My dad lived and valued minimalism. Quality over quantity. Value over compulsory consumption. People over things. Experiences over ownership.

He preferred living with less … less stuff, less clutter, less debt and less stress.

He lived his life in alignment with those beliefs and in turn, he emulated and taught his children the same.

He (and my mom) paid cash for everything. Only a few times in their married lives did they go into debt — for a mortgage and years ago, for a car. And, even then, it was fairly short term and well within their ability to pay it. 

Not ever for credit card debt.

They valued travel and seeing the world, over ownership and maintenance of things. They retired young. Dad’s tenuous health motivated them to simplify their lives even more, lower their cost of living, and open up to the freedom to do what they most valued.

Dad often said to me, when we talked of owning a home, Most Americans do not truly own their homes. All you have to do is stop paying your mortgage and see who REALLY owns it!” This wisdom is more true these days than ever before and has always stuck with me.

AND, as of late, I have begun to question my own reasons for having a mortgage.

I have spent many years striving to get ahead, buying bigger and better homes, moving up the corporate ladder, making more money, and accumulating more stuff. All these things seemed important and worthwhile when I attained them.

However, as is true for us all, life has shifted for me. Many life events, some quite painful to experience, have moved me to a new place in life. It has cleared the way for me to have a life with LESS.

Less stuff. Less discontent. Less maintenance. Less work. Less clutter. Less debt. AND, less stress.

The inner urging has been strong for many years — to have a life with LESS.

And, as said by Ryan Nicodemus in the documentary entitled Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things (Netflix) …

Now, imagine a life with MORE … more time. more meaningful relationships. More growth. More contentment.”

More of what you value in life.

I, for one, am ready, open and prepared for that. 

How about you?

 

Oh no! My credit file has been compromised – what do I do now?

Oh no! My credit file has been compromised!

Now what?
(9 minutes)

That’s the shocking news we consumers received from Equifax only a few short days ago. In fact, 143 million U.S. based users had their information compromised.

As if this news was not upsetting enough, then we find out it took Equifax more than a month to disclose the fact that they had been hacked.

According to their disclosure, attackers reportedly exploited a vulnerability on Equifax’s website to steal names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 people and certain dispute documents, with personal identifying information, were also accessed.

So, what do we do now, you may ask?

On the news you may have heard that enrolling in a credit monitoring program is a good protection and answer. In general, that’s not a bad idea. However, in my opinion this approach is totally inadequate. (In my video, I share my reasoning on this and other safeguards to put into place.)

Let me leave you with two considerations … Go directly to all your creditors and place alerts on all your credit cards, especially infrequently used ones. That way if someone fraudulently uses your cards, your creditor will stop it before it happens, notifying you before the transaction is allowed.

And, finally, the steps and safeguards suggested are all ones you needed to do anyway. Let this compromise remind you to safeguard your good name, not just after a scam, hack, or fraudulent use of your sacred, personal information, but as part of your regular financial upkeep and maintenance.