Behind the Scenes

A lot of blogs are centered on people’s personal journeys.

They are chronicling some aspect of their life or using personal anecdotes to help teach lessons. They talk about themselves and give you a behind-the-scenes view of their finances or their decision-making or whatever other topics they cover.

That’s not generally how I write.

I understand the appeal and it seems like a great way to build a devoted following, but it isn’t my thing. They say you should write what you want to read, and I don’t really want to read about me.

I also don’t feel like my story is necessarily all that helpful to many people. I am a lawyer, but I don’t make much money for a lawyer, while at the same time making more than most non-lawyers. I have a huge amount of student loan debt, but I am participating in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, so the normal debt payoff stories don’t apply. I am pursuing financial independence, but at a leisurely pace. My financial story feels a bit too disjointed to be all that useful to anyone.

Once in a while, though, I get meta and chronicle my thoughts on this blog, my personal situation, and relevant goals going forward. That’s going to be the case in today’s post. Continue reading “Behind the Scenes”

What’s Next?

2018 was an experimental year for the blog. We spent each month exploring a different theme along the path to living a better life.

It was an informative and helpful project for me and I hope it was for you as well. I’m proud of the content I created.

I was able to (mostly) keep up with a twice a week schedule despite adding a newborn in January and a new job in August. This project helped me keep a focus on self-improvement at a time when it would have been easy to let go.

But with the end of 2018 and this experiment, it’s time to decide what’s next.

Continue reading “What’s Next?”

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”

FinCon and a New Direction

I recently travelled out to Dallas for FinCon.

FinCon is an annual gathering of folks that write and podcast about money. It’s four days of panels, talks, workshops, networking, and parties.

It was a lot of fun. I met some Internet friends in real life for the first time and I made a bunch of new friends. I learned a lot of new things, talked to a lot of great people, and drank a lot of free drinks.

Photo courtesy of Route to Retire

Continue reading “FinCon and a New Direction”

On Quitting and Time Management

I debated quitting this blog recently.

When I started writing last summer, I put some rules in place. I assumed that there would be some valleys, and I didn’t want to give up when things got tough.

First, I agreed that I would write for at least a year before I reassessed. That year isn’t up until July.

A few months in, I also signed up to attend FinCon (the annual financial writer/blogger/podcaster convention) in 2017. FinCon isn’t until the end of October, so I figured I would push through until at least then to meet and learn from some of the great people that I’ve connected with in this community.

I took both of those steps before the election. Continue reading “On Quitting and Time Management”

A Short Travel Break

Hello, friends!

I will be taking a quick break from the blogosphere while I travel for the next few weeks. Because I need to work on my time management, I do not have a backlog of articles to schedule to go live while I am out of the country. I am working on being better in 2017!

I am not one for taking pictures, but if you would like to follow along with our adventures in South Africa and Spain, please check out my wife’s Instagram account. She is a photographer and will surely be sharing some fun photos along the way. Continue reading “A Short Travel Break”

I Want to Know What You Want to Know!

Hello, friends!

I recently set up a contact page for this site. The main reason that I did this is to solicit ideas of what you want to learn.

When I created this site, I envisioned an ongoing conversation between myself and you all on ways that we can learn more about ourselves, our brains, and our finances in order to lead happier lives. Continue reading “I Want to Know What You Want to Know!”


“You don’t have to live the way other people expect you to.”

– Chris Guillebeau

Most of us go through life living it like the people around us. There’s no real shame in that. Most people do it. But I’ve found that by taking a little extra time up front to learn, we can tweak our thoughts and actions to become wealthier, more productive, and, most importantly, happier. You can’t live like everyone else and expect to achieve better results.  And it’s not that hard to learn how to optimize your life.

I wanted to create a space to share what I have learned so far and what I plan to learn in the future.  I hope that the lessons I’ve learned will help you and, selfishly, I hope that sparking conversation here will help me learn more too.

In learning to optimize our lives, we will pull from a diverse range of disciplines. In optimizing our money, we will look to the obvious choices of personal finance and investing, but we will also spend time with behavioral economics and charitable giving through effective altruism.

In optimizing our happiness we will look to the worlds of positive psychology and philosophy.

We will also look to psychology and the study of cognitive biases to better understand the way we think. If we can understand how our brains react in different situations we can correct our natural flaws and optimize our decision making and productivity.

By learning more about ourselves and our surroundings, we can become the best possible versions of ourselves.

I hope that you are as excited about this endeavor as I am, and I thank you in advance for coming along for the journey and joining in the conversation as we travel together on the path to a richer, better, and happier life.

(P.S. – If there is anything in particular that you are interested in learning more about, feel free to drop it in the comments or shoot me an email. I’m always looking for new things to learn and new ways to optimize.)