The theme of this site isn’t about random hacks, regardless of how cool they may seem, but rather hacking your health, wealth, tech, and wisdom to design the lifestyle you want. Health, entrepreneurship, technology, and wisdom are tools that can get you there.
So, the real purpose of it all is to help you (and myself) design the lifestyle of your dreams.
So far, I’m not 100% of the way there in achieving the lifestyle I want, but it’s the journey that often makes us appreciate the destination even more. We’ll see what works, what doesn’t and what I learn along the way. And I’ll share that journey with you in hopes that you achieve your goals and dreams.
Let me be your guinea pig!
On to The Lifestyle Design Report…
Many of us who live in the U.S. and Europe celebrated Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza) and New Year’s, myself being no exception (we celebrate Christmas; I’ve never met anyone who celebrates Kwanza, so if you do hit me up, love to know more about it). Last time, I mentioned that I may grab a few more long weekends and I did. For Christmas, I took the Friday before and the Monday after off. January first was a Sunday, so like most people I grabbed a 3-day weekend taking the 2nd also.
The next long weekend I can think of right now would be Memorial Day weekend. Ugh, why can’t we have 3 or 4 day weekends every week?
Here’s the good news: once we get free we can! If that’s what we want to do.
Personally, I think I’m going to start doing that once I get a few sources of income on (mostly) autopilot.
Aside from the hustle of the Holidays (which was fun), December was a pretty quiet month. That’s one reason I combined December and January.
Here are some of the lifestyle design highlights for the two months…
I’ve been talking about refinancing my mortgage for a few months now. Man, was it a lot of work and did it suck up hours of my time.
For sure it did. The only bad part is that it fell through and did not work.
In December, the house was appraised, as is required to refinance.
The appraisal came back in early January and it came back lower than was expected.
I had another appraisal done back in July of 2015 to open a HELOC (home equity line of credit) for a business I was planning to start. I don’t believe I’ve talked about that business much, but that appraisal came back $5,000 higher than the newer one. And the market had increased or at least remained stable during the 1.5 years in between the old and new one.
After reading the appraisal, it was also found that the new appraisal had the square footage listed several hundred square feet less than county records (and 2015 appraisal).
I appealed and submitted an appraisal reconsideration form citing those two reasons and few others.
And I waited.
Finally, I got a response, but it was not the one I was hoping. The appraiser was sticking to her guns and would not budge, even though the square footage on her report was wrong!
This was bad news because I now had less equity in my home, at least from the perspective of this loan, than the lender and I thought. Because of this, I would have to bring a lot more money to closing than originally planned.
I asked the loan officer if there was anything we could do. Perhaps we could get a second appraisal? The first one cost me $435, but I was willing to give it another shot if need be.
Unfortunately the law dictates that there be a waiting period of a few months in between appraisals. By that time, my low rate would have vanished. I was SOL and out of $435. There was nothing we could do if I wasn’t willing to drain my savings to bring that extra money to closing.
The refi would have saved my about $100 month, and the payback (to pay back the money taken from savings) would have taken almost 7 years. I decided it just wasn’t worth it.
Rest assured that if rates fall again, I’ll be giving this another shot. But for now, it is what it is.
Lifestyle design impact: Saving an additional $100+ per month for the same house would have been nice and would have freed some funds up for other purposes. For example, I’m going to be shopping for a car sometime this summer or early fall. I haven’t had a car payment since 2003, so the extra money could have went to that. Also, part of the wealth equation is controlling what you spend. The less you spend the more you keep (a no-brainer, huh?). The more you keep the more you can save and invest.
The Power of Suggestion
In early December, I bought a book titled Change Your Life in 7 Days by Paul McKenna. It comes with a CD and a DVD. The DVD has 7 very short videos of Paul talking you through some visualization exercises.
The book itself and especially the CD are the gems.
The disc has sort of a meditation/self-hypnosis audio recording on it. The audio suggests you listen to it in a place where you can relax without distraction. You’ll also need a bit of time and some level of commitment — the audio lasts almost half an hour.
The first thing I did was rip the audio from the CD and convert it into mp3 format. This is easy to do using Windows Media Player or a host of other programs. I then transferred that file to my phone so I could listen to it with my LG Tone Pro Bluetooth headset or the phone’s speaker.
My CD player is packed away somewhere, and it’s much more convenient to be able to take the audio with me wherever I want, so this worked out well.
I’ve been listening to the recording every day without fail since then and am happy to report positive results.
Usually, I’ll pull the curtains in my bedroom shut, then lay on the bed as I listen to it. Sometimes I’ll fall asleep but usually wake up right after it ends. I also listen to it again as I fall asleep for the night.
I feel more positive, confident and am less angry than I was before I started listening to it. I’m also more motivated.
I plan to continue this and re-read the book. The book has some valuable exercises in it, but it’s easy to forget them after only reading it once.
As things evolve with this I’ll keep you guys posted. Meanwhile, it’s time for my re-programming session J
Lifestyle design impact: It’s no secret that being more positive, even in the face of adversity, can help you succeed. The same goes for developing more confidence and patience. People that exhibit positivity and are helpful are more likely to get help from those that may be a bit farther along. Getting help from others can often open up a speedway to success, if the relationship is maintained properly. And I’m likely to feel better overall.
Niche Site Update
Last time we checked in, I mentioned that I was working on another niche site. The results have been very encouraging.
I have a Twitter profile for the site which usually gets a ton of interaction (likes, retweets, etc.). I use Twitter to drive traffic back to the blog since I now have almost 800 followers.
I’ve also conducted a survey (started in early Aug, 2016) where I leave people the option to give me their email address. Almost 90 people have since taken the survey making the results more statistically valid. I’ve also convinced 47 people to voluntarily leave me their email address, even without offering a bribe in return.
On January 9th, 2017 I started a Facebook group for the niche. Less than a month later I’m at almost 200 members. First, I seeded the group with about 28 friends that I thought would possibly be interested in the topic. Then, I posted about it on a similar group (with permission) and Tweeted about it.
I am now offering new members a free gift (a.k.a. bribe) in exchange for their email address. I now have about 75 email addresses I can use to promote things that can make me money in the future. Of course, you can’t just send all promotions without any real content, but I’m building a list slowly and steadily.
I’m not quite ready to disclose exactly what the niche is yet though as it’s still new. I’m also still trying to find a way to monetize it. As usual, as things progress I’ll keep you posted.
Lifestyle design impact: Not only am I passionate about the topic of my new site, many other people are also. Using something you’re passionate about to produce income is a win-win for you. You win because you enjoy it and you win because you’re making money. There’s not a lot of people out there that I’ve seen monetizing this niche, though there are plenty of other sites, forums, groups, etc. dedicated to it. This shows that people are interested and that my competition is low. If done correctly, this could be a good source of passive income.
That concludes this Lifestyle Design report.
Until next time, go out there and get the lifestyle you want!
P.S. If you’d like some help designing a freedom lifestyle, feel free to request to join my free Facebook group Life Hacker’s Mastermind.