A clay heart on black gravel

Is “Do What You Love” Ruining Work?

You might have seen Miya Tokumitsu’s article taking down the “Do What You Love” mantra on Slate this week. It’s the most popular article on the site right now, and quickly making the rounds on social media.

The article — and the nerve it seems to be touching — has given me a lot to think about in the last few days. Admittedly, it’s awkward timing for me: here I am gambling a rather good chunk of time and money to build something I love (and hope my customers will too!) in the local community, and I just started a blog to write in my “spare time” about the business and finance topics I perversely love. Interestingly, many of the people I see sharing the article have taken similar risks, and are working in areas they feel passionate about. What’s going on here?

In my conversations about the piece with friends and loved ones, I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that my argument isn’t with Tokumitsu’s definition of “work,” but her definition of “love”.

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28 Slightly Crazy Frugal Tips

Trying to save money this year? Trying to figure out how to pull it off without driving yourself crazy from deprivation?

We’ve already talked about two types of frugal living — what you can do to save money, but also what you can do to increase your quality of life on a budget.

Read on for practical (and a few insane) tips you can use to put your frugality to the test!  Continue reading

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7 Things To Know Before You Invest

Interested in stock investing? I’m right there with you.

I’m a stock market nerd. My high school economics teacher required his students maintain a fake stock portfolio, and I was instantly hooked. This was in the pre-Web days, so I spent my mornings looking up stock quotes and reading The Motley Fool‘s column in the local newspaper. (Old school!)

Stock investing isn’t a quick path to riches, but it is a nice way to get rich slowly by doing research and making careful decisions.

For me, the most interesting part about investing is the way that owning small slivers of large companies changes the way I engage with the world. I try to invest only in companies that are building the world I want to live in, and whose practices align with my values and aspirations.

Chomping at the bit to get started? Not so fast. To invest safely and sustainably, there are a few things you’ll want to know about your finances first.  Continue reading

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You, Inc.

Whether or not you currently think about it that way, you are an expert in some area of your own life. Maybe you’re considered a subject expert at your job. You might be an amazing disc golf player. Perhaps you know all the ins and outs of urban gardening. It could be your secret knack for singing the right pop song to put your kid to sleep at night. Whatever it is, there is something that you know very well and care about passionately.

Let’s also imagine this: You are already the President and CEO of your own company: You, Inc. Everything you do is part of your current role as President and CEO of your own life. If you have a job, that’s part of your revenue strategy. All of your knowledge, your skills, your passions — that’s part of your company, too. Your job? To unlock the value of your own company to increase your quality of life and build the world you want to live in. (No pressure!)

Assuming all that, what do we know about successful companies?  Continue reading

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Money and Time (Pt. 1)

Put simply, money management is making choices that positively impact your quality of life, for both the short and long term. It’s just as easy (and as hard) as that.

For many of us, quality of life comes down to work/ life balance. Quality of life is about doing work that you love (or at least don’t loathe), and having time to relax, connect with the folks you love, and be who you are away from work.

One way to think about that is to think in terms of time rather than money when making decisions. Continue reading

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The Two Faces of Frugal

I have always been a huge fan of simple, frugal living. Some of that was growing up spending time with frugal grandparents, who taught me Depression-era skills such as backyard gardening, canning, and furniture repair. A lot was also informed by my green, hippie-leaning politics. I was re-using and recycling before either were cool.

I love articles like this one from Mother Earth News that suggest new and better ways to be frugal.

But for a very long time something frustrated me about frugal living. Despite what everyone was telling me about the virtues of tightening my belt, at a certain point you can’t frugal yourself into solvency. If you’re not being paid enough to make ends meet, at a certain point there’s nothing that being “more frugal” can do about that.

It took me a while to realize that there are really two different faces of frugality: frugality to save money, and frugality to increase my quality of life. Those two faces represent very different goals.  Continue reading

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Windfalls Are Not Enough

How much money would you need to consider yourself set for life? A million dollars? Two?

Imagine that money fell into your lap right this minute: you get a gigantic signing bonus at a new job, or see the winning numbers on your lottery ticket. Or maybe you suddenly got tapped for a star position in the NBA. (Could happen!)

Now what?

The sad truth is that getting a huge windfall isn’t enough. You have to keep it, and grow it. Continue reading