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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind. A related, and even more popular book, is The Ultimate Guide To Raised Beds.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,

Emily

 

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When it came to Personal Finance 101, what little knowledge I had of it when I was twenty years old was warped. I knew from a lifestyle class I took in high school that budgeting one’s money was important. I learned from my mother that coupon-clipping was extremely important.

But what I also learned from my parents was that money was a thing to be feared, because there was always the danger of not having enough of it. The overarching, critically important aspect of personal finance that I didn’t learn from my parents was how to invest money. Because they didn’t.

In fact, I was made to fear the stock market. And it wasn’t just my parents. When I was in college, an uncle told me that to invest in the stock market was akin to gambling. Which is, of course, a sin.

Though once I began teaching I acquired a financial advisor who helped me sort of get a healthier view of money, it wasn’t until I got married in my mid-thirties that the world of finance and investing truly opened up to me.

During the past fifteen years, I have often wondered how my life might have been different had I known then what I know now about money. I know, at the very least, that if I’d been willing to hustles I could have been financially independent (or near that point) by the time I met the man who was to become my husband.

Yes, by age thirty-five; yes, on a teacher’s salary, plus some extra summer/weekend income.

Whether you’re a young adult, or an older adult who needs a bit of direction and encouragement regarding personal finance so you don’t make – or quit making – the mistakes I did, read on. I hereby present to you the six things I wish I’d known about money and personal finance when I was twenty years old…plus a rather tongue-in-cheek bonus at the end.

#1: Investing isn’t gambling.

Pure investing is a commitment to help a business to grow. If a person is anti-investment, they’re anti-business. They should be growing all of their own food, as well as acquiring the materials for their clothing from nature…and making the clothing themselves. They’re only means of transportation is going to be their legs, and their house – not to mention all the furniture therein – must be made by their own hands by materials they find in nature.

Need I go on? I hope not.

Not having a naturally logical mind, and not having been taught logic in school (not even my several philosophy classes in college!), I couldn’t figure this out when I was twenty.

Not only is investing not gambling, but…

#2: Yeshua puts a stamp of approval on investing.

If you’re not a follower of Yeshua, you won’t care about this one. But many people who call themselves Christians have been led to believe that Yeshua was somehow against wealth. They’ve taken out of context one parable and a saying or two that implied that rich people can’t get to heaven, and completely ignored all the other places where Yeshua spoke positively about money and finance.

And, by the way, the parable of the talents is about money, not about people’s gifts and skills!

If you’ve belonged to certain Christian circles, you know that such teachings have been perverted in their own way by certain church leaders in order to manipulate people to pad their pockets. This, of course, goes against Yeshua’s command to love others, and against many other Bible verses that speak against greed.

However, if you are a Believer and you’ve been taught that investing and wealth-building are inherently evil, you’ve been taught wrong.

Speaking of investing…

#3: There is a way to invest that is both profitable and safe.

While mutual fund investors lost money in the spring of 2020, during the COVID-19 freak-out, my husband and I saw our assets skyrocket. Why? We invest using The Permanent Portfolio strategy. The value of gold soared, and because a quarter of our Permanent Portfolio investments are in gold funds, we did well.

The Ivy Portfolio is another investment strategy that is even safer and better-performing than The Permanent Portfolio. The reason we don’t invest this way is that you’re supposed to rebalance it every month, as opposed to every year for The Permanent Portfolio.

They both existed when I was twenty. Wish I’d known about them. Which leads me to…

#4: It’s better to educate yourself about investing than to rely on financial advisors.

Most financial advisors and planners are in it for the money…and, the most that they can get. So they’re not going to necessarily steer you toward investment options that will hurt their bottom line, even if they’re what will be the best for you in the long run.

It was tougher when I was twenty because there was no Internet. But if I’d known someone like my late stepfather who had begun to invest with T. Rowe Price when he was relatively young, and if I’d known about either of the investment strategies named above, I would have been able to accumulate a lot more money than I did as a single teacher.

Today, taking investing into your own hands is a piece of cake. And you can even eat it, too!

#5: Giving should come from the heart, not out of a sense of guilt.

And, I might add, it should be given to people who truly need it. Not to keep the lights on in a huge building or pay the salary of a public motivational-religious speaker.

This is a topic for an entirely different blog post, so I’ll move on.

#6: Money is a tool.

Saving and investing are fantastic habits. But money isn’t meant to be kept under a proverbial mattress out of fear you may not be able to acquire anymore one day. It’s okay to live a little. I didn’t hardly live at all when I was younger. I was a slave to the fear of lack. To me, money was a concept with which to struggle, rather than a tool to improve both my own life and the lives of others.

BONUS: #7: One day, I’ll meet a man who makes twice as much money as I…

…and who has been investing in a 401K – in mutual funds (as opposed to the safe-but-not-very-profitable annuities I invested in until I met him) — ever since he began his career, and my money worries will be over.

Okay, sure. Would’ve been nice to have received that revelation fifteen years before it came to pass. But yes, I’m waxing facetious here, because who of us can predict that kind of future? Or any kind of future? If I had known – and applied – when I was twenty those other six things about money that I know now, I wouldn’t have cared about how much he made.

Dang. I like to think of myself as a non-superficial female, but…dang.

**SIGH.**

I hope these lessons help you on your personal finance journey.

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If you have financial goals, and are constantly finding yourself with leftover month at the end of the money, you are likely going bald from pulling your hair out. Or you suffer from frequent gastrointestinal distress. Or have gotten used to the taste of sand, because that’s where your head is stuck most of the time because it’s easier to pretend all is well than to face the reality of your frustrating situation.

If that’s you, please raise your head back up into the fresh air, shake off the sand, and pay attention to what I’m about to say. Type.

Whatever.

Because I’m going to tell you how you can go from having nothing leftover at the end of every month, to $500, in ninety days or less.

Think about it. Five hundred dollars a month over an entire year can pay off a $6,000 debt. That much invested every month using a strategy that averages an eight percent annual return will produce a nest egg of 175,945.70 after fifteen years.

Sweet, huh?

Now, I don’t know your situation. It may be such that it will take you several months to reach that goal. Or it may be that $500 is, at the moment, a completely unrealistic goal. So I can’t make any guarantees.

But as for that second possibility, what if you had an extra $100 every month to save, pay off debt, or invest? Would that be a life-changer?

The answer is “yes,” no matter who you are, so keep on reading.

Before you do anything else…

Most people, after deciding that they’re going all-in for early retirement or debt freedom, start canceling subscriptions, selling off furniture right and left, and giving their kids to an orphanage before they even have the slightest idea of which expenses are proving an unnecessary burden. While I admire that kind of ambition and willingness to sacrifice, it’s not the wisest first move.

The first thing you need to do is spend a month tracking every single penny that comes into your life and goes out of it. You can use a spreadsheet, an app, or a good old-fashioned notebook. Whichever way you choose, you keep track of all the money that comes into your life, and all the money that goes out of it.

You pick a dime up off the sidewalk? Note that you gained an extra ten cents. You toss a dollar into the hat of the homeless guy on the corner? Note that you lost an extra dollar.

As soon as you make a purchase online, annotate the amount you just spent. Ditto for coming home from making in-store purchases. When you buy gas, write down the amount you spent before you pull out of the service station parking lot.

On payday, note the net amount you received.

Do this for a full four weeks. Then, categorize all the expenditures: food, entertainment, clothing, gas, utilities, and so on. Then ask yourself, was each purchase worth the time it took for you to earn the money to make the purchase? Especially given the fact that you’ve been struggling to meet your financial goals?

You’ll be surprised at how often the answer will be, “No. This totally was not worth it.”

One of two things is going to happen. Either you’ll have this epiphany somewhere in the middle of the first month of tracking your money, or by the end of the second month, you will have discovered that you spent a lot less than you did the first month.

Why? Because after looking at the first month’s expenses and realizing how much money you wasted, you will intentionally reduce your spending the next month. You will start to analyze potential purchases before making them, weighing their long-term value against your financial goals.

And you will decide against many of those purchases.

It could be that by the end of sixty days, you will find that you suddenly and (not really) miraculously have that extra $500 per month. But if not that much, you will almost undoubtedly find that you have much more extra leftover than you believed possible a mere month ago.

Where to find an extra $500

**Stop eating on the run/at restaurants.

Your average fast food breakfast costs around six dollars. To make the same meal at home costs under two dollars. That’s a savings of $120 over a period of thirty days.

Depending on where and what you eat, lunch out can cost anywhere from five to fifteen dollars. Let’s stick on the cheaper side and say seven. More than likely, you can prepare a meal that is just as satisfying, and much healthier, at home for under three dollars.

That’s another $120 saved over a thirty-day period.

**Subscriptions.

If you pay for cable but find yourself frequently thinking, “There’s nothing to watch,” then I just have one question: Why?

Cancel it and subscribe to Netflix. Or, if you have Netflix, do you think you could do with watching whatever you can find on YouTube, and maybe once a week pay for a movie via Amazon, instead?

Speaking of Amazon, do you need to pay for Prime membership. I mean, really? How important is it for you to reach your financial goals?

Magazine subscriptions are, by and large, a waste of money, not to mention being bad for the environment.

Let’s say you find $30 worth of subscriptions you decide to eliminate from  your life. That plus replacing at least one meal out per day with a homemade meal makes you $150 richer every month.

**Your car payment.

A lot of people have a monthly car payment that is at least fifty percent more than it needs to be. One reason is that parents refuse to teach their children how to be able to sit next to each other in a car without causing World War Three, so they “have to” have a van. Or an SUV.

If you can downsize your vehicle so that you’re paying $300 per month instead of $400, that’s another $100 in your pocket.

We’re halfway there now, at $250.

**Change your insurance.

You definitely want to stick with well-known insurance companies for car and home. But you may be able to save fifty dollars or more per month by switching to a different company. Or, by asking your insurance agent to increase the deductible.

We’re up to $300 extra every month.

**Move. Or, refinance your mortgage.

If interest rates have gone down since you bought your house, refinancing may save you a nice chunk of monthly change. If you’re an apartment dweller, can you downsize or find another building or complex that’s less expensive yet still in a neighborhood as nice as where you currently live?

That may be your final $200 per month to get you the extra $500. If not, here are

A few more money-saving/making ideas

  • Look for coupons for everything you want to buy. If one exists, use it.
  • Take advantage of local grocery store double/triple coupon savings day.
  • Buy rice, beans, nuts, and seeds in bulk from your local health food store (if you have one), rather than pre-packaged.
  • Use an app that helps you to save money with online purchases.
  • Sell items at garage sales, fix them up, and resell them for a profit on Craigslist.
  • Rent something. A room in your house. Your SUV. Your chipper-shredder.
  • Freelance your online skills – graphic design, video editing, writing articles – on sites like Hire My Mom (if you’re a mom!), Fiverr, and Upwork.
  • Fire your weekly housecleaner and do the cleaning yourself.
  • Learn to garden cheaply from this gardener’s YouTube channel, and grow your own greens and summer vegetables.
  • Listen to free podcasts instead of purchasing audiobooks.
  • Use your local library for reading material (including those magazine subscriptions you just ditched!).
  • Shop around for a less expensive Internet/phone plan.
  • Work as an Uber/Lyft driver in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Listen to all the episodes of the Side Hustle Nation podcast and see if any of them spark any ideas for you to earn some extra cash in your spare time.

The long and the short of it

Okay, so maybe I got lazy on that last one. But there are so many ways to save money, and so many side hustles ideas out there, that I couldn’t possibly think of them all, and wouldn’t want to type them all out in any case.

But I hope this article has inspired and motivated you to take action to get your finances under control so that you can come to the place where money is your slave, and not vice-versa.

For all the basics you need in order to journey more quickly toward financial freedom, even early financial independence, read my book, Hatching The Nest Egg.

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Thanks to the hard work of many scientists, we now know a lot more about how to promote good health than we did thirty years ago. Thanks to a lot of reading and experimenting on myself, I now know a lot more about my personal health needs than I did thirty years ago.

When I was twenty.

Some of the knowledge was available back then, but not widely. Some of it was only known in part.

If I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of physical discomfort and pain, and not suffered from mental illness.

But though, thanks to the Internet,  knowledge about how to be healthy is much more easily available, you still may be in the dark about some stark truths because of the mainstream media that is constantly pushing processed foods and synthetic medication. Having a heart to help all who are willing to receive it to live a more abundant life, I decided to compile a list of those things which I wish I’d known about health, back when I was twenty years old.

#1. Women need to be intentional about exercising their core.

In elementary school P.E., I learned the rules of team sports (but mostly that I hated them). In junior high (that’s what middle school was called when I was a kid) P.E., I sort of learned a little gymnastics and ballroom dancing. Up until then, I didn’t hate running, but my P.E. teacher taught me to hate it.

Of all the what must have been hundreds of hours spent in P.E. class during my school years, I never learned the absolute most critical aspect of fitness: that if I, as a woman, didn’t want to develop chronic back problems, I either needed to go through a ten- to fifteen-minute core workout every day, or resolve never to lift or move anything that weighed an ounce over twenty pounds.

As you might guess, I knew nothing of the importance of maintaining a strong core, and I lifted and moved plenty of objects that were way too heavy for my weak core muscles.

As a result, at age thirty-five, I spent my wedding day and our week-long honeymoon in Maui in pain.

#2. Diet and nutrition are everything when it comes to having energy, and staving off illness and disease.

I won’t detail that now, because in the near future I plan to write an entire post entitled, “[X] Things I Wish I’d Known About Diet And Nutrition When I Was Twenty.”

Suffice to say that I could have been more productive in my younger years had I known then what I know now about what makes for healthy eating, and the truth about nutrition.

It would have also kept me from living on the edge of insanity half the time because of the anxiety-induced anger and depression, not to mention the Premenstrual Dystrophic Disorder (P.M.D.D.) which I don’t think was even a recognized mental illness until sometime in the last decade.

#3. There’s such a thing as a Highly Sensitive Person, and I am one.

Being an Empath, I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). My physical senses and my emotions are touchier than average. I have a sensitive digestive system.

For years I would occasionally cry out, “I hate my digestive system!” I would wonder if there was something wrong with me that I seemed to react to trauma, tragedy, and injustice – which I wasn’t experiencing personally – more acutely than the people around me.

You may ask what this has to do with health. Highly Sensitive People, especially when they don’t know that’s a thing and they are one, experience more stress than others because of our strong emotional responses which we can’t help.

#4. People need people.

This is a tough one. I want to write that I’ve burned a lot of bridges in my life. But much of it stems from being an HSP. Because of that, I have a hard time trusting people because I get hurt easily, and once someone hurts me, my M.O. is to withdraw from the relationship to protect myself.

But even if they have done nothing to hurt me, if they’re giving any sort of clues that they disagree with my beliefs or disapprove of any choices I’ve made, I’ll back away before they have a chance to out-and-out hurt me.

If only I’d known way back when that there are ways for HSPs to put invisible guards around their psyches so that people’s potentially painful differences won’t sting. Or at least, not sting as nearly as much as they might.

If only I’d known, I would have that big support network that the experts say is critical to living a long, healthy, and happy life.

#5. I should always follow my gut instinct.

I had a niggling it wouldn’t be smart to agree to go out with a smoker who said he could quit at any time, and who called himself a pagan, and who spent most of the piddly amount of money he made on booze.

Beginning at around ten in the morning.

And that’s just the biggest, most memorable time when I didn’t follow my gut instinct, and it led to either emotional pain or stress I wouldn’t have had to deal with if only I had had the wisdom to follow it.

#6. You can alleviate symptoms with natural remedies.

I was fifteen or sixteen when I figured out that my body had gotten used to the over-the-counter cold medicine I’d been taking like candy. It wasn’t working anymore. So I decided that from then on, I would just let illnesses take their course.

My mother having been an Registered Nurse for most of her life, she’d been brainwashed trained to believe that modern medicine was the cure for all ills. So I never learned about herbal tinctures, homeopathic medicine, or other natural remedies. And the inception of the largest essential oil company (that I know of), Young Living, was three years away from my twentieth birthday.

Of course, if I’d had my diet and nutrition dialed in correctly, I would have been able to avoid many of the symptoms of ill health, from colds to menstrual cramps to whooping cough, that I suffered for the next twenty years.

However, life isn’t perfect, and even the most conscientious of health nuts struggle with symptoms sometimes. On those occasions, it’s nice to be able to take something to facilitate the body’s healing, or naturally relieve pain while it’s healing, etc.

#7. Those bumps on the joints of my big toes are going to get bigger unless I do something about it.

Of course, I did nothing about it. I didn’t know about bunions until the left toe was starting to overlap with the next one. I ended up having surgery to remove the left bunion, and only then did someone tell me about a book that taught me that if only I had improved my posture and learned to straighten my feet when I walked years ago, the bunions might not have gotten bigger.

However, I’m not sure anyone knew much about bunions back then except that women who wore high heels were more apt to get them.

I wore high heels once. For a play. When I was around thirty years old.

I only recently discovered that my high arches have been a major contributing factor as well, and that wearing orthotics that include metatarsal support is essential to keep my one remaining bunion from growing.

#8. Rinsing teeth after every meal or snack cuts down on cavities. A lot.

Growing up, there were always sweets available to eat between meals, and lunch and supper were both served with dessert. My parents did not push my siblings and I to brush our teeth, and at the time, no one realized that simply rinsing one’s teeth with water gets a good bit of the food off that would otherwise entice the hungry bacteria.

Did I mention my mouth is full of mercury fillings?

There’s probably more, but…

That’s all I can think of for now in the realm of general health. The one good thing that’s come out of all my experiences: I’ve been able to pass on all these tidbits of wisdom to my son. I hope it will help make life a bit easier for him.

And for you, too. 🙂

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Are you suffering from a terminal disease? Autoimmune disease? Do you have some other chronic health condition that makes life difficult? What about a mental illness?

If you believe everything you hear from mainstream media and most physicians (including psychiatrists), you think that your problem is genetic. Or an inevitable result of aging. Or just an unlucky stroke of fate.

And you also believe that medication is the only way to solve your problem.

I don’t mean to offend, but you (and your doctor) are wrong.

The truth

Your health problem is not a result of a deficiency in medication.

You heard me. Medicine is a bandage that attempts to cover up symptoms. It never resolves the root of the problem. Because…

Your health problem is not a result of a deficiency in medication.

Except in rare cases and cases of congenital deformities, there’s a ninety percent chance your health problem has come from a combination of a deficiency in proper diet and nutrition, and stress.

Your problem is only ten to fifteen percent genetic. The rest of it? Lifestyle. And a huge part of that is diet and nutrition.

Yes, even if you’re over the age of sixty. Granted, once you hit forty fewer and fewer of your cells reproduce correctly, and over time that leads to more aches and pains, wrinkled and sagging skin, and thinning hair. But the process shouldn’t necessarily lead to obvious health problems. No, not even dementia.

And even those inevitable signs of aging can be slowed if you’re eating right and getting enough nutrition.

“But aren’t doctors supposed to be SMART??”

Intelligence isn’t the issue. Training is.

While all the science and knowledge of the human body required in the making of a physician give doctors a leg up on most people when it comes to the inner workings of the body, they receive very little education about nutrition during their eight years in medical school.

They receive, as far as I can tell, no education about how critical proper diet and nutrition are to prevent disease, and help the body to heal disease.

Instead, they are taught about how man-made medications can alleviate symptoms. And that if medications don’t work, the last resort is surgery.

Are you ready to take control?

I can’t guarantee that if you start eating more fruits and vegetables, ditch processed sweets and flour-based products, reduce your meat consumption, start ensuring that you’re getting at least 200% of all the recommended daily values of vitamins and minerals, and lower your stress levels, that your health condition will improve.

And, whatever actions you take as a result of reading this post, the consequences are yours and yours alone to bear. I’m just trying to encourage a paradigm shift, not dole out medical advice or promise any cures.

However, chances are high that if you decide to take massive and radical action to change your lifestyle, it will have at least some positive impact on your health.

Because your condition of ill health, whether it be physical or mental, is not a result of a medication deficiency.

If you want a doctor who understands this, and wants to help you get to the root of the problem, find one who is certified in Functional Medicine.

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