Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist

If you write, read, or even dip your toe into the financial independence space, then you’ve read Our Next Life. In only a few years of existence, Tanja Hester’s blog has rocketed from a brand-new site to Rockstar Finance mainstay to 2018 Blog of the Year. Tanja has become a major community builder in the personal finance space and has launched a podcast (with plans for another) and hosted her own conference.

On top of all that, she has a new book coming out today! The book is Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. I’ve read it, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

As a note: Tanja is a friend, I’ve been reading her work for a long time, and she sent me a copy of the book. I make no claims of being unbiased. 🙂 That said, I fully believe and stand by everything set forth below.

Continue reading “Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist”

Happiness is Other People

Today we’re continuing our recap of 2018 by reviewing what we learned in September.

We had already made a few jaunts into happiness by this point. We learned about the science of happiness, the intersection of money and happiness, and the philosophy of happiness.

In September we built on this base by exploring how our relationships impact our happiness. Continue reading “Happiness is Other People”

The Philosophy of Happiness

We’ve already reviewed a couple of months focused on happiness.

First, we looked at the science of happiness. Then we dove into the intersection of money and happiness.

Both of these journeys took us deep into the world of studies and statistics. But not all of happiness can be summed up in numbers.

While I tend to favor statistics and studies, sometimes it is worth venturing into more abstract territory. That is what we did in July when we explored happiness through the lens of philosophy. Continue reading “The Philosophy of Happiness”

How to Buy Happiness

Our year end recap continues today with the articles published in May.

After learning about life planning, personal finance basics, and time management and productivity, we started exploring the world of happiness.

Following our introduction to happiness in April, we went on to spend the month of May diving into the intersection of money and happiness. Continue reading “How to Buy Happiness”

How to Be Happier

For the last couple weeks we’ve been revisiting the themes that we’ve spent 2018 exploring.

We have already reviewed what we learned about life planning, personal finance basics, and time management and productivity.

Today we’re getting into the good stuff. Today we learn about happiness. Continue reading “How to Be Happier”

Why We Need to Talk About Politics

We’re spending 2018 around here learning how to live a better life.

Each month, we’re diving into a different theme to learn as much as we can about how to improve ourselves in that area and use what we learn to live a happier, wealthier, and more productive life.

So far, we have focused mainly on happiness and finances, with a side of health and productivity.

This month I want to go into an area that most people view as entirely separate from self-improvement: politics.

Before diving into anything specific, though, I think I should first explain why politics and policy matters, why we should talk about it more, and how it impacts our lives. Continue reading “Why We Need to Talk About Politics”

Better Life – Third Quarter Update

2018 is a year of self-improvement.

I’m spending each month exploring a different area of life and figuring out how best to improve and optimize.

As of the last quarterly update we had covered life planning, personal finance basics, time management, the science of happiness, money and happiness, and health.

Since then, we’ve added philosophy and happiness, investing and the economy, and relationships.

Let’s check in for the third quarter update. Continue reading “Better Life – Third Quarter Update”

Forgiving Others to Help Yourself

Today will be the last post focusing on happiness and relationships for the month, as we’ll wrap up the month with a quarterly recap. But don’t worry, we’ll make it an interesting one!

After exploring the power of relationships generally, some specific relationships, and a couple of broader concepts, I want to wrap up the topic of happiness and relationships by zooming out for one last concept.

For that we will dive into the topic of forgiveness. Continue reading “Forgiving Others to Help Yourself”

The Surprising Power of Community

During our September dive into relationships and happiness we’ve learned that strong relationships make us happier.

We also know that helping others makes us happy.

This makes sense to the extent that helping people we know strengthens our relationships with them.

One of the mysteries, though, is why helping strangers makes us happier. It doesn’t strengthen our relationships, because we may never see those people again or we may be doing our good deeds anonymously. In the case of some charities we may not even be able to identify the specific people that we are helping. And yet, we still are happier.

One possible solution is that helping others, even others that we don’t know, makes us feel like part of a larger community. Continue reading “The Surprising Power of Community”

Staying Happy in the Social Media Era

If we’re exploring the role of relationships in happiness, we need to look into social comparison.

It’s great that relationships make us happier, but what if our friends are more successful? Or less successful? What impact does it have when we see photos of other people’s cool vacation and new houses?

How does our mindset and happiness change based on comparison to the people around us? Or the people we see on social media?

And how can we be happy in an age when everyone shares everything online?

Let’s find out! Continue reading “Staying Happy in the Social Media Era”