Wealth and haircuts

Well, it was about time I had a haircut but not a fleecing. And that was exactly what I got a week or so ago, or maybe it was two weeks. I certainly don't remember very much now except that it wasn't S from S who's studying for an Engineering degree who fleeced me, but rather B the proprietor of the store who wasn't happy that S was late because not only did others come seeking S, but tried to make appointments for a haircut. "Appointments! What an idiot", B hissed indignantly at me after the fool tried to make one.  From which conversation you can therefore tell that I don't go to fancy-schmancy hair dressing salons, but rather the buzz-cut ones which after buzzing your hair (What number you want?) with a trimmer run a vacuum over your head to get rid of the cut hairs and then plonk a hot towel (sometimes heated up in a microwave, other times with a hot water tap) and rub your scalp vigorously to encourage the blood to rush to your head, and therefore help the hair grow. Personally, I think that all the head rubbing does is to pull out little hairs, but that's only my opinion. What do I know? I only grow the hair what is cut by S or B. I've been told that I should think about using a new Rogaine formulation - some kind of mousse that is apparently more effective than the lotion. There are several reasons against the use of this new formulation. It costs money to apply these things to your noggin daily for the rest of your life, if not successful, you've only handed good money to the company, which could have been used to fund your retirement (more on this later), and if successful, you have to put out more money to get S or B to trim your hair, and what if they decide that the luxuriant growth of hair is too much for their trimmers and tell you to go to a proper grown-up hair dressing establishment at which point, the bill and tips for barbering (in the human sense, not the murine sense) then suddenly triples; and then I'll just never be able to retire because there'll be even more of a cash outlay required to look neat and just so for trips like the one I'm on because I needed to have a head of hair that was short to make being in the tropical sun, heat and humidity comfortable.

In any case, the hair was shorn and I got on a plane at 6am a few days ago and jetted away for a week. And the haircut has worked out well because I'm feeling quite comfortable with the heat, humidity and sun (sorry LH).

One of the things I wanted to do while away was to read the new book by David Chilton, he who was basically the Wealthy Barber; the WB has returned, although personally, I might thought of using the title, "The Wealthier Barber", but perhaps that would have seemed crass since consumer debt has increased drastically since the WB was first published.

I've now read the Wealthy Barber Returns (WBR) and am trying to digest its words of wisdom. There is lots to be aware of and I'll help my digestion by making a list of them here - we'll see how far I get as my memory is not what it used to be.

  • Consumer demand is driven by the incessant advertising that surrounds us, and which creates an impossible vision of what kind of life we should aspire to. The message is designed to make us poor fools desire what we don't have, and worse - to want more even when we get what we initially aspire to. What we have is never enough. 
  • The more insidious message within is that you're not living up to your full potential unless you somehow get what the latest thing on offer is. This leads to a state where you're always looking for the next new shiny thing even when you've already got something shiny in your hands.
  • The equities market is inherently volatile and you're a fool if you think you will be able to time your purchasing and selling to the lows and highs, respectively. The thing to do, apparently, is to to stay a steady course and be clear on your reasons for your trading. I would also add that there isn't much point in having regrets once you've decided and made a purchase or a sale. What's done is done, and never mind whether it's enough or not, because it's never ever enough anyway, or at least that's what the advertisers would have you believe. 
  • Then there were a few chapters in the back about some of the more technical aspects of saving for retirements, and how each financial instrument can be used, but not how they fit into your own retirement goals. In fact, the WBR says that you can't really plan your future because there are too many variables, they importance of each changes with time, not to mention the government's present rules are likely to change too. See, impossible to predict, so really when all is said and done, you can only hold steadfast to some fundamental principles that increase your chances of being in a good position - not too different than the four agreements in my mind.
  • Oh yes, the other thing to do - a bit like the third point - when you're in the equities market, you can't always win, you can't always have the highs. There will be lows. The overall experience cannot consist solely of flashes of brilliance (it would be like living with a strobe light), and it's much more likely that there are grey days but with the grey days, some sunny ones will come along too.

Hmm. I can't seem to think of much more other than the usual, live within your means, save more than you think you should for your retirement, and spending should be guided by two principles - better an experience rather than an object, and count in the units of joy that the purchase brings. See, in this case, it actually works for me when I change my phone almost yearly - something that Dr. C has observed - he has seen the joy units which phones bring me so it's worthwhile for me.

And for the record, this has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with rationalizing a putative purchase of the Nexus 6 - especially since Nexus 5a has been signed for by the good-hearted SB, who has probably
already placed 5a on my kitchen counter.  In fact, this post has been about joy units. Really, it has.