Our goal is to help you achieve financial freedom, and that doesn’t just mean we will help you properly manage and earn more money, we will help you change your attitude towards it. A great way to see life, in general, is through the minimalistic lens. It helps us understand what should truly be valued.
Minimalism is to most of us a necessity. According to CNN, 76% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and since popular culture tells us money is the answer to most of our problems, these Americans will live their lives going after it. Some people work 60 hours a week, live on what little time they have left while trying to manage anxiety, stress, loneliness and depression – so that they can buy what they believe will make their lives better.
As bestselling author Bryant H. McGill puts it:
“The folly of endless consumerism sends us on a wild goose-chase for happiness through materialism. “
When most think about minimalism they imagine people who live on as a little as possible in order to save every cent they get their hands on – this isn’t even close to the truth. Minimalism is, according to pioneers Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fills Millburn, about making room for more of what we truly need. It’s about getting rid of materialism to have time and energy to enjoy our health, our relationships, and our experiences.
Since minimalism is all about making room for more, minimalists attempt to keep only what adds value, and get rid of everything that doesn’t. Most people fill up their houses with things they cherish, but for some reason, never really use. These aren’t adding value, as they are literally just aging in the corner. What adds value depends on your lifestyle: to some it might be a large house and a nice car, while to others it might be a good phone and great kitchenware. It’s up to you to determine what adds value to your life.
Here you can learn from what minimalistic pioneers had to say at Ted Talks:
Adopting minimalism to achieve financial freedom
So how can you start living a minimalistic lifestyle to have time for yourself and those you love, and more money in the bank? The transition isn’t easy, as popular culture tells us materialism is the norm, but on the other side of the road – financial freedom awaits.
Step #1: Start budgeting
Before adopting a minimalistic lifestyle, you need to be in charge of your finances; it’s important to know where your money is going and how you can use it wisely. To do so, you need to set up a budget: we’ve written a step-by-step guide on how to do it. Check it out here.
Step #2: Ask yourself: how might your life be better with less?
The answer to this question will help you understand the benefits of minimalism. It will help you simplify your life and allow you to have time for what you find important. Think about how you can do more with less. The answer could revolve around making your life better with less time spent working, and more time spent exercising or reading, for example, as investing in yourself is always a great idea.
Approx. 90% of rich individuals read educational articles or books more than 30 minutes a day while only 2% of poor individuals do the same.
The principle of living with less should apply to material possessions as well. Examine your possessions, and keep only what truly adds value and sell everything that doesn’t. The money you get can be deposited into your savings account or be used to invest with.
Remember: the goal is to make room for more of what’s important to you. Your health, your family, your friends, and your freedom should be your priorities, and every decision must be geared towards having more time (and money) to invest in your priorities.
Step #3: Take up challenges
Have you ever heard of Project 333? It’s a minimalistic fashion challenge that invites you to use only 33 items or less for 3 months. The challenge will help you be more sustainable and better understand the principles of minimalism by allowing you to determine why you like certain pieces, and why they add value to your wardrobe. Most members on Hacked.com are males, but the same challenge could be applied to us (and it would probably be easier for us!)
A year into the challenge, a participant felt more analytical about new purchases, more versatile, and started to prefer quality over quantity. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:
If you aren’t comfortable starting off with a fashion-related challenge, then we suggest you go with the 30-day challenge. In it, you essentially invite a family member of a friend to join you on your journey and both pick one month. On the first day, both get rid of one thing; on the second, two things, and so forth. Anything goes in this challenge, so you are free to pick any type of items you’d like, as long as you are comfortable and believe you are getting rid of clutter.
To get rid of your stuff, have a yard sale or list your items on an online marketplace like eBay or Craigslist. You will be surprised at how much money you had sitting idle around at home.
Step #3: Question every purchase
Now that you only have what you need, it’s important to keep it that way. Every time you consider making a purchase, think it through and attempt to see how it will fit into your lifestyle. You should question your purchases even when at the check-out counter. Before stepping in line look at your item for 10 seconds and think about the value it will bring: Does it add true value?
You should always consider the long-term benefit of every purchase. Keep in mind that not purchasing anything will mean more disposable income you can use to save or invest.
Step #4: Give back
Embracing minimalism, at first, will help you see how much time and money you were wasting on things that didn’t add any value. You’ll be thankful for the free time, disposable income, and freedom you are going to get but, soon enough, you will get used to it. So how can you keep feeling grateful and maintain inspiration?
Giving back is the answer. Helping those in need is going to help you see how lucky you are even to be able to consider minimalism. It will empower you and help you avoid unnecessary items, and let you see how important and rare financial freedom truly is. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
What are your thoughts on minimalism?
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Buying and Storing Physical Gold in Hong Kong
If you are one of the many people who feel uncertain about the direction of the global economy and stock market, you should be looking for other options to preserve and grow your wealth. Cryptocurrency is obviously one option, but with the high volatility that comes with it, some people may prefer more traditional stores of value. In this article, we will guide you through exactly how you can buy and store physical gold in Hong Kong, widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to buy gold.
Bars, coins, or jewelry?
If you are buying gold as a pure investment, it is always a good idea to buy your gold as close to the gold spot price as you can get. For gold jewelry, there is always a big premium added on top of the gold spot rate to pay for the design, brand, marketing, etc. Traditional gold coins also carry a premium for their fancy design of up to 7% over the spot market value of the gold.
The best way to buy gold for investment purposes is gold bars, big or small, depending on your budget. Generally, the larger gold bar you buy, the lower the premium over the spot price will be.
Where can I buy gold bars in Hong Kong?
I personally consider Hong Kong to be the best location for buying physical gold. It is first of all a nice city to visit if you haven’t been there, prices are low, and the staff you deal with generally speak English.
As you walk down the streets in Hong Kong, you will see gold and jewelry shops on almost every corner. Competition is fierce, and the buy/sell spread on the physical metal is therefore among the smallest you can find anywhere in the world.
In addition to very tight spreads, Hong Kong has no sales tax on gold (or anything else for that matter), keeping the prices you pay as close to the read market rate as possible. And let’s not forget that it is also an excellent place to store your gold once you have purchased it.
While gold smiths and jewelry shops in Hong Kong generally offer much better spreads than in other countries, it is still important that you make sure you don’t pay more than you need to. It is generally recommended to stick to the well-known and reputable shops. Some of the more reputable jewelry shops in Hong Kong are:
- Chow Tai Fook – mostly bars with fancy design available at higher premiums
- Luk Fook – similar to the above
- Chow Sang Sang – cheapest among the jewelry shops, see the list of their up to date buy/sell prices for gold
While these jewelry shops are the easiest and best known places to buy gold in Hong Kong, the most cost effective way is actually to go straight to the bank. In Hong Kong, several banks actually let you buy gold bars and coins directly over the counter, at least at their main branch in the city. The ones that are most often recommended are:
- Hang Seng Bank: Go to their main branch at Des Veoux Rd in Central where they will let you buy physical gold, see the list of their up to date buy/sell prices for gold.
- Bank of China’s main Hong Kong branch in Central also sell physical gold over the counter at good prices.
For a full list of the banks that offer this services, as well as their prices, take a look here.
How should I store my gold?
When it comes to gold storage, there are again many options available. For smaller quantities, you may choose to store your gold in your home. If you happen to have a high quality safe, it may even be totally fine to store larger quantities of gold in your home.
For most of us, however, it is preferred to store gold and other precious metals in a safe location other than your house or apartment. You could choose to bring it back to your home country to keep in in a safety deposit box in your bank, but keep in mind that you may be liable to pay import duties on gold purchased overseas when you bring it across international borders. Each country has different rules pertaining to gold specifically, so make sure to check this first if you want to bring it home with you.
My preferred option however, is to store the gold safely offshore at designated gold storage facilities. Note that this should in most cases not be the same place as you bought the gold, due to risks of default, segregation of your gold from the shop’s own gold, etc. An exception to this would obviously be if you buy your gold in a bank and store it in a safety deposit box in the same bank. In that case you know that your gold is safe and kept separate from other people or the bank’s own gold.
Designated gold storage facilities in Hong Kong will usually charge you about US$75 per year to rent a safety deposit box. Another common way to price it is as a share of your asset value, for example 0.72% of asset value per year.
There is no doubt that Hong Kong, perhaps together with Singapore and Dubai, is one of the best places in the world both to buy and store gold. If this is something you have been thinking about, I recommend taking a trip to check it out for yourself. After all, Hong Kong is a great city that is worth a trip regardless of whether you choose to buy gold there or not. And as we’ve written about previously, why not open a company and bank account while you are there?
Featured image from Valcambi.com
Total Mindfuck or Nirvana: Our Imaginary Phenomenon
I love to read good books that can increase my level of understanding. I’m now reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. A truly mind-altering book that confirms many of my own beliefs (unfortunately?) and that just gave me more respect for Steve Job (see video below)
Steve Jobs and Yuval Noah Harari are my “gods”. Everything that you see around yourself is made by man. It’s either political systems, values, human rights, the monetary system, religion or even news. As Harari explains, humans can only work in a group that is no larger than 150 people. We do not have the capacity to live in a larger group before things start to unravel. That’s why we all lived in small groups for the most of our history. Homo Sapiens evolved from other ape-like species 150 000 years ago. For 70 000 years ago we entered into a cognitive revolution that made us able to communicate and be creative, to create tools that helped us conquer the world (and kill off the Neanderthals). It’s only 12 000 years ago since we moved from foreaging to farming, where we gradually gathered together in larger groups and started to create imaginary systems to control the population. Our predecessors also had imaginary beliefs, like religion, but not the extensive systems we now see today. Religion was one of the core systems that made us able to find a common goal and live together in larger groups.
The code of Hammurabi is one of the oldest “code of conduct” that is known, dating back to 1754 years BC:
It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a seven and a half foot stone stele and consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (lex talionis) as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man or woman.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
All laws, all religions, all politics have been created to manipulate and control our inherent DNA. We would not be able to “thrive” the way we do now in larger groups without it. One could argue that we were happier before we started to gather in larger groups (cities). But mankind would not have evolved without it.
We are all tied up to what Harari explains as “Prison Walls”. The objective phenomenon exists independent of human’s consciousness and beliefs. Radioactivity is harmful for people. That’s a fact. A subjective phenomenon is something that exists depending of a single mind’s belief and consciousness. It can disappear or change over time. E.g. I believe that a pink elephant will come and save us all within ten years. This might change if I start to believe in something else or die. The intersubjective phenomenon is something that exists in our network of communication which connects individual subjective consciousness. If one individual die, the intersubjective phenomenon (Christianity or Islam) will not disappear. However, if everyone within the network changed their mind or died, the intersubjective phenomenon would change or disappear.
Why am I writing this post? I think it’s important that you know that everything we do is created by people, for people (or the elite). The monetary system is no different. It was created to control the economic growth and position of a few people, companies or nations. Everything can be changed if enough people start to believe in something else. Cryptocurrencies could be such a shift that might change our monetary system.
Remember, you are free. Do whatever you want, don’t be restrained to people that lived on this planet for hundreds or thousands of years ago. They didn’t know what you do now.
Maybe our true goal as human kind is to reach singularity and relieve ourselves from human restraints.
Bitcoin Developer Jimmy Song Bought Bitcoin at $30: It is a Sound Investment and Money
In an interview with Valentin Schmid of The Epoch Times, Bitcoin developer and Paxos Principal Architect Jimmy Song offered his insights into the advantages and merits of bitcoin as money, a store of value, long-term investment, and a safe haven asset.
According to Song, one of the most important aspects of bitcoin as sound money is its unique monetary policy. Unlike most assets and reserve currencies which can be manipulated and controlled, bitcoin’s maximum supply will always remain at 21 million. Because bitcoin has a fixed supply limit and demand towards bitcoin from casual investors, institutional and retail traders are always increasing at an exponential rate, logically and mathematically, the value and price of bitcoin have to increase.
Song admitted that he was first exposed to bitcoin and a new asset class in cryptocurrencies when the price of bitcoin broke the $1 mark. But, Song purchased his first bitcoin when it was valued at $30. Today, despite the recent major price correction of bitcoin caused by the Chinese government’s nationwide ban on local bitcoin exchange, bitcoin price remains above $3,600. For Song, that is a 120-fold return on a long-term investment.
“You’re not going to be able to inflate it in any way. Bitcoin is sound money because there is a fixed supply limit and demand is always increasing. That creates a really good investment, at least from my perspective, and so I bought some at around $30. I do wish I bought a lot more but everybody in Bitcoin does,” explained Song.
Hence, as many prominent and early investors in bitcoin including Tone Vays, WhalePanda, and Tuur Demeester explained, the most stable, secure, and smart method of trading bitcoin is trade less, hold longer, and do not overreact to short-term volatility.
But, apart from its limited supply, there are various aspects of bitcoin which provide the digital currency value. In a study, JP Vergne, a professor at Ivey Business School, discovered that the best indicator of the short-term price development of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, is developer activity around it. Vergne wrote:
We found that the best predictor of a cryptocurrency’s exchange rate is the amount of developer activity around it.
Bitcoin is a decentralized financial network and a peer-to-peer protocol in nature. Thus, it is immutable to attacks and operates on top of a transparent ledger. But, bitcoin’s decentralization also makes it difficult to reach consensus. It is challenging for developers to integrate innovative software such as Segregated Witness (SegWit), the BItcoin Core development team’s scaling and transaction malleability solution because almost everyone within the network including miners, node operators and developers have to agree to it.
Song reaffirmed a similar point to Vergne. During the interview, he explained that active developer activity around bitcoin which provides the network security value ultimately drive the bitcoin price upwards and provides it with fundamental value.
“Things like the Bitcoin software just aren’t smart enough to handle stuff like that. It has to be people that actually fix it and that’s what I think gives Bitcoin a lot of security value — because you have all these people watching it and not just like computer software that’s running on its own. It’s developers, it’s the people that are actually checking the code or watching the network figuring out low probability scenarios and how to immunize against those. That’s what gives it value. That’s what gives us security. That’s what makes it a great store of value,” said Song.
Bitcoin is still a $60 billion financial network. Many respected financial analysts including RT’s Max Keiser and Wall Street analyst Tom Lee believe bitcoin could evolve into a multi-trillion dollar financial network in the upcoming years, given that conditions are met and developer activity around it remains vibrant.
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