Sustaining The Good Life

Lifestyle Philosophy For Financial Independence and Environmental Sustainability

Eric Fromm’s “To Have or To Be?”

Last week I read a fascinating book by Eric Fromm, To Have or To Be? (Bloomsbury Revelations). In this book, written in 1976, famous psychologist and social critic Eric Fromm provides a deeply critical assessment of modern Western, and particularly US, society.  He blends biblical, Buddhist, Enlightment, Marxist, and contemporary psychoanalytical philosophies to suggest that…

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Stop Paying High Investment Fees in your 401(k) or Brokerage Account!

If you are out of debt and on the path to financial independence, you are likely involved in investing in some type of mutual fund, perhaps through your work 401(k) program.  Mutual funds can be a great way to invest in a diversified way, which can minimize your risk of loss to some extent.  However,…

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Read this before you buy a bike: affordable road and commuter biking

Biking is a big part of my life.  I bike for fitness, recreation, and transportation all over my city.  I bike at least 1,000 commuting miles a year, and I commute throughout the year except in the coldest polar vortex weather.  When your bike is your “car” and your recreation, it is important to have…

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Bansky, Chomsky, and Lifestyle Consumption

I’m “reading” a photo book of Bansky graffiti right now, and it’s very intriguing content.  For those who may be unfamiliar, Banksy is a graffiti artist from the UK with a serious lefty, anti-establishment bent.  One of his “pieces” that hit home for me was this: This reminded me a famous quote from the book…

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Grateful to live in the 21st century developed world

Lately I’ve been thinking about how absurdly affluent our society is at this time in human development.  There is still a lot of work to be done to extend this level of material security to the rest of the world, but I think many people lose sight of how far our species has come in…

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What is your burn rate and is it resilient?

In the start-up world, or the business world in general, one of the critical questions for investors is “what is your burn rate?”  This can refer to how much of the cash funding a start-up uses in a year, or how many shares of stock the company is granting to employees per year.  Basically, burn…

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Becoming rich or retiring early are not good life goals

I know a number of people who want to be “rich,” or perhaps “affluent aspirational” is a better way to phrase it. They want to project the outward persona of having wealth and being upper class, which can take the form of cars, clothing, jewlry, watches, housing, or other ways of projecting status (e.g., organizational…

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Absolute versus relative wealth in a capitalist society

I’ve been debating and discussing inequality with an economist friend over the past few months.  We’ve covered a lot of ground in our discussions, including national versus global inequality, absolute purchasing power, and the need for incentives to innovate.  This morning, I read the following Q&A in my Quora feed, and I thought it was…

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Radical Personal Finance: Live From a Position of Fuck You

I recently watched the movie “The Gambler,” with Mark Walberg.  I didn’t really like the movie in general, but I loved one particular scene.  In the scene below, a loan shark played by John Goodman says to Walberg’s gambling addict character, “I’ve seen you up half a million before.”  Walberg replies, “I’ve been up $2.5M…

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Retire By 40 With A Few Life Hacks

I trust that the majority of young adult Americans who read this post  have grown up with or currently live the typical suburban or exurban lifestyle that I did.  By this I mean fairly large houses (at least 2,000 square feet), parents who drive 15+ miles to work, and ultimate dependence on the car or…

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