As readers of the website might know, I am an avid enthusiast and follower of the FI/RE movement (e.g., Financial Independence, Retire Early). If you want to read more about that, I suggest starting with this article here and follow it up with more of my favorites here.
There has been a complimentary theory that has started to revolutionize charitable giving that many FI/RE proponents have endorsed that is called Effective Altruism. The gist of Effective Altruism is that if you truly believe all lives are equal then you should focus your giving towards having the most impact with regards to saving lives. Oftentimes, this means donating towards health-related organizations that operate in under-developed countries as each donated dollar tends to go farther in those places.
The person most associated with the movement is popular philosopher Peter Singer. He’s written several books about the subject and put on a pretty convincing TED talk which you can watch below:
Singer has also set-up a website at https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/ that encourages people to pledge towards Effective Altruism and highlights charities that tend to provide the most benefit for the donated dollar. My wife and I chose to donate our funds towards the Fistula Foundation, but you can take a look at other suggested charities here.
If you have the means, I highly encourage doing your own research about effective altruism (that includes reading-up on some of the nay-sayers as well) and come to your own conclusions on how and where to give.
I haven’t really talked about it much on this site, but I am a strong proponent of the idea of Financial Independence and the notion of retiring early (and by retirement, I don’t necessarily mean sitting on the beach sipping Mai Tai’s all day — more of an idea that you can choose what you want to do and not be beholden to “the man” for a paycheck).
Anyways, one of the most popular of the Financial Independence websites around is Mr. Money Mustache — a part-financial, part-self-help site of Longmont, Colorado resident Pete Adeney (you can read the story of his path to retirement in his early 30s from his post here). Mr. Money Mustache’s tone is definitely direct and to-the-point, but his message is clear and easily understandable to all: spend less than you earn (preferably by large margins), religiously avoid debt (with the possible exception of a mortgage), and save whatever the surplus is in investments which pay a return that will, eventually, cover your modest expenses. Oh yeah, and ditch you car and ride your bike to most places.
I’ve been reading his blog for a few years now — starting from the very beginning of his 400+ posts — and just this past week, I finally got all caught up. Oftentimes, I found myself e-mailing particularly useful posts to myself, amassing a library of about 40 of my favorite reads. They detail topics ranging from discussions on expenses, explanations of investment strategies, and storytelling of poignant life lessons. Below are links to my favorites, categorized by theme.
Free Yourself From Having to Buy People Gifts
Giving Experiences Rather than Things
Great Ideas for (Nearly) Free Toys for Kids
Psychological Effect of New Things
On the Reduction of Cleaning
Changing Mobile Phone Service Plans
AWD Does Not Make You Safer
Culling Possessions and Selling Them Online
Sunk Cost Effect: How If You Wouldn’t Buy It, Sell It
Home Purchase and Improvement
How to Buy a House
How to Sell Your House
The Power of Not Having a Mortgage
On the Use of Air Conditioning
Getting Started with Carpentry
The Efficiency and Savings of Having a Metal Roof
Tracking Price to Expense Ratios
Ways to Get Into Retirement Accounts Penalty-Free
Explanation of Managed Payout Funds
Thoughts on Market Cycles with Links to jlcollinsnh Stock Series
Handy Tool to View Market Returns Over Time
Calculating Your Net Worth and Savings Rate
Creative Ways of Giving Money
The Value of Hard Work
Becoming an Efficient Person
To Achieve Greatness, You Must First Acknowledge that you Suck
Thoughts on How Amazing Current Life Is
If Everyone Followed Financial Independence Principles
The Power of a Reducing your News Consumption
Your Circles of Concern and Control
Why We are Irrational Consumers
Life is Not a Contest
Having Kids: Do Whatever Is Right for You
Getting Your Brain Back, Post-Retirement
What MMM is Teaching His Kid About Money
How Your 20s is the Best Time to Develop Financial Independence Habits
Thoughts on Education
2016 Talk at the World Domination Summit
Money and Confidence are Interchangeable
I know these are a lot of posts, but it’s only a sliver of what you can find on the site. By far, the most helpful ones to consider are the Life Lessons. Becoming Financial Independent is a rewarding journey that allows you to focus in on what really is important to you. For me, time spent with my daughter and wife are leaps and bounds more valuable than time spent in the office: why shouldn’t I try my hardest now to make that an actuality? A by-product of striving for a low consumption life also has the added effect of being great for the world, both from a moral and ecological perspective. Anyways, just some things to consider when evaluating your life and what you want to accomplish with your short time spent on Earth!