You Do Have Time

It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.

Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!

So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”

You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity. Continue reading “You Do Have Time”

Politics and the Things We Can Control

Last week we talked about the Serenity Prayer and the importance of being able to let go of things that are outside of your control. Today, we’re going to talk about why this is not an excuse for tuning out politics.

It is quite popular in the personal finance community to argue that we should be disengaged from politics. That elections don’t really matter. That we shouldn’t be wasting our time investing in candidates or caring about elections.


This was an especially prevalent topic this past November. The whole world seemed to be hanging on every word out of the candidates’ mouths, and the personal finance blogosphere was having none of it.

Today I want to present a different view.

Elections matter. Government matters. Politics matters. And we need to do the things that are within our power to influence these things to the best of our ability.

Continue reading “Politics and the Things We Can Control”

Make a Plan! (Or Don’t)

Here at Optimize Your Life we’ve talked about the need for more focus in our lives.

One way to achieve that, which we have explored previously, is to avoid multitasking.

But multitasking is not the only force assaulting our focus. One other major distractor is unfinished tasks. Continue reading “Make a Plan! (Or Don’t)”

When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front

Last week we learned that one of the best ways to buy happiness is to spend money on experiences rather than things. Today, I want to explore a trick to squeeze a little extra happiness out of those same purchases.

The trick is paying in advance for as much of your experience as you can.

This helps increase the happiness you get from your experience in a few ways. First, it separates the event itself from the pain of paying. Next, the anticipation and delayed gratification will make you happier. Finally, in looking forward to your experience, the uncertainty of what is to come will bring you some extra happiness, as well. Continue reading “When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front”

Saving Money Better – Recurring Expenses

As a preliminary note: Thank you all for the well-wishes in response to my last post! I had a lovely month out of the country (although everyone everywhere wanted to talk about Trump and the American election). If you’d like to see some pictures from Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Durban, Cape Town, and Barcelona, feel free to check out my wife’s Instagram page. I also have some articles on vacation and travel coming up, in which I will include some photos from the trip.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

I recently wrote about how to save money better. I argued that you should focus first on housing, transportation, food, and taxes. My explanation was that these are the areas where we spend the largest amounts of money, and so they are also the areas where we could save the largest amounts of money. Continue reading “Saving Money Better – Recurring Expenses”

The Ostrich Effect

You may be familiar with the term “burying your head in the sand.”

The image comes from the myth that ostriches avoid danger by sticking their heads in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist.

When we are accused of burying our heads in the sand, it means that we are ignoring bad things in the hopes that they will go away. This is usually not a useful strategy. Continue reading “The Ostrich Effect”

Your Instinctive Thinking Is Losing You Money

Imagine for a moment that you are in the market for a new suit. You find one that you like for $200. A fellow customer then tells you that the same exact suit is on sale across town for only $100. Do you go?

Imagine that you are buying a new car. You’ve done your test drives and made a final decision on which make and model you want. You go to the dealer near your home to find that the car costs $30,000. A salesman sees you eyeing the car and says, “My manager would kill me for saying this, but the dealer on the other side of town has this model for $29,900.” Do you go? Continue reading “Your Instinctive Thinking Is Losing You Money”

Dealing with Disappointment

There has been a lot of ink spilled discussing the results of the recent presidential election here in the States. I’m going to add to it today.

You can relax, though, because I will not be talking about politics directly.

Instead, I want to talk about dealing with loss and disappointment. Continue reading “Dealing with Disappointment”

Why We Have Trouble Making a Change

When faced with a tough decision, most people choose to do nothing.

This is the basis of the Status Quo Bias, first proven in a series of experiments in 1988 out of Harvard. The general idea is that people are emotionally attached to the current state of affairs and are skeptical of any change from that baseline.

This means that we tend to need overwhelming proof to make a change, even when that change would be the better option. Continue reading “Why We Have Trouble Making a Change”