I read every afternoon while listening to Burt Bacharach's greatest hits and Louis Armstrong (when I had control of the CD player) and Sting's latest CD (when my partner did). I occasionally checked on how the market and our stocks were doing. On Tuesday evening, I placed a buy order for a stock I've been watching for a year, and after my Wednesday morning latte, I checked my account to see that it went through. (It did.)
I knew that when I got back to work on Monday, my co-workers would ask me about what I did. I'd tell them that I went skiing. And I'd describe my downhill experiences from Tuesday: lots of powder under a brilliant blue sky on a windless 30-degree day. But that's not what I'm going to remember most about my week off. I'll be thinking about three of the books I read over the course of five lazy afternoons: Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter; The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason; and The Joys of Not Working by Ernie J. Zelinski.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad emphasizes three things: the need to constantly increase your "financial IQ" by learning about investing and money management; the importance of learning the difference between an asset and a liability -- which sounds simple until you apply the concept to buying a home; and how wealth comes by building assets as opposed to paying off liabilities. The Richest Man in Babylon is a good companion to Rich Dad, Poor Dad as it teaches lessons on money management. Its primary point is the need to "pay yourself first" by saving 10 percent of your income. And finally, The Joy of Not Working shows how little money you actually need to live, as the author puts it, the "life of Riley."
The books were inspirational and entertaining. And they reinforced some of the personal finance habits I've cultivated over the past three years. Going forward, I'll continue to apply the lessons of the first two books so I can implement the advice offered in the third.
The bottom line for me is that I want to have the option sooner, rather than later, of spending as many of my winter mornings as I'd like sipping lattes and going downhill skiing.