Sunday, May 25, 2014

Commencement Address

As we just graduated our senior class and sent them off into the world, a few parting words of advice and personal finance tips:

1.  Stay true to your values.  Roy Disney, Walt's brother said "When values are clear, decisions are easy."  Keep refining and defining your values, for they should guide your decision in the future.

2.  Go forth in your life with passion.  Stay true to your values and whatever you do, do it with passion and energy.  We all will have parts of our jobs that we do not like, but need to get done.  Use your passion and energy even when you have to "shovel out the stables."  It will make it more fun and just maybe a little more enjoyable.

3.  Love what you do and do what you love.  It may take you 5, 10, 20 or 50 years to find your true calling in life, but enjoy the journey.  You will learn something in everything you do, but may not realize it until you look back on your life.  Your life's journey has a purpose and the journey is the way to learn and discover your purpose.

4.  ALWAYS pay yourself first. Make sure you put enough in your 401-k to get your employer’s entire match.  You are responsible for your own retirement, so start early and maximize your contributions.

5.  Don't buy things you cannot afford.  It is tempting to rent a nice apartment and fill it with nice furniture....all purchased on credit, but do not give into this temptation.  Save and pay cash for the things you want and need.  You are used to living on very little as a college student.  Keep that going for a few more years and save for the things you want and PAY CASH, not credit.

6.  Remember to give back and be thankful.  It took a village to get you through college: your family, friends, teachers, professors, co-works.  Keep them in mind as you do good with your education.  Perhaps you will influence others to go to college and graduate.  Always give back to others.

7.  Keep in balance with your saving, spending, investing and giving.  Only you can control what you do with your money.  Live life fully and enjoy the relationships you make, but keep everything in balance.  Don't sacrifice friendships for career or your career for friendships, and don't sacrifice your savings and investment plans for immediate gratification.  Life is short so enjoy it as you keep your balancing point.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Personal Finance and Passion

My passion is farming and people and writing and creating. This month, we ventured into a dream of mine; starting the Walker Homestead CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Bob will remind me that this is a business and we need to be making money at it. And I remind him that this is a passion and we need to be having fun with it; creating, experimenting, and sharing the goods and trials with our new extended CSA family. That in itself has a lot of value, and I would argue much more than a pile of money for which to select an investment option.
Yes, I could make much more on an hourly basis, exercising some of my other learned skills, but I earn so to keep me and my family secure and happy and so that so I can do things I want to do. Starting up a CSA -planning the events, sharing ideas between members, creating the gardens and the orchards and working with hens, thinking about milk goats (and maybe a few piglets) is joyful. And at the same time, we are earning money and reducing some of our tax liabilities.
Which speaks to the principle: If you find an occupation that you love, you will never have to ‘work’ a day of your life. It is graduation time. Good luck to all seniors in pursuit of your passion.