12 Get Out of Debt Tips

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to stay away from debt.  Nobody wants to be living in what amounts to economic servitude to another person!

Yes, it’s better to work toward taking care of our true needs first, rather than make someone else rich. Also, we can instead focus on things we want.  Personally, I think that financial freedom is a good goal.  But hey, whatever it is you aspire to, it has to be more fun than spending money on paying down debt!

Along those lines, I’ve already written about how to avoid debt.  There are a number of things we can do with our financial lives that can help us prevent getting into debt in the first place.  When it comes to managing debt, I think that’s the first and best step: not getting into it!

But what if you or someone you know is already in debt?  Januarybe the aforementioned tips for preventing debt can work in the future, but there need to be steps taken today.  To help with that, I’ve assembled with tips on how to get out of debt:

  1. Think about your aspirations for your life.  Realize that it will be hard to achieve many of these while being stuck paying debt, so use this to fuel your motivation.
  2. Know your debt. Fully document all the debt you have – how much you owe, and how your payments are scheduled going forward.
  3. Analyze your expenses.  Knowing how you spend your money can help you understand where you can spend less going forward
  4. Pay off debt based on interest rate.  If you have debt that’s at a high rate, pay it off sooner.
  5. Move to lower interest rate cards.  Don’t make this a habit of course, but it’s one way to take advantage of lower rates to get some short-term benefits.
  6. Negotiate certain bills or rates.  Actually, this could be done other times than when in debt, as some expenses can be lowered by bargaining (potentially even  certain health care bills from what I understand).
  7. Make a budget – and follow it.  Discipline is key.
  8. Eat at home.  It’s generally cheaper, saves money in the short-term and might save money in the long-term in terms of health
  9. Keep healthy.  Speaking of health, it can get expensive to be sick – so do what you can to keep good habits with fitness and sleep, beyond what I mentioned in #8 above.
  10. Make it automatic.  Not everyone will agree with this, but making automatic payments to reduce debt can take out the temptation to spend excessively and limit available funds
  11. Earn side income.  Start a side hustle, it just might provide you with some extra funds that could accelerate the repayment of your debt.
  12. Have a documented plan.  Set a deadline or goal for having your debt paid, and create milestones along the way – and put in writing for yourself in order to keep accountable.

Readers, do you have any thoughts on these tips? Any others to add? What worked for you in terms of paying off debt – if you had any?

How to Make A Financial Comeback

In the world of sports, or even cinema, people or teams often make a comeback.  It’s a great story, when a team is down by many points, but then makes a dramatic comeback to win the game.  In movies, this can take all kinds of forms, such as the bad guys looking like they’re going to take over the city until the good guys miraculously find a way to save the day.

The comeback is a big part of entertainment.

What about our money? I’d say the stakes are a lot higher than in sports or movies, though I suppose one could make the case that life is a game sometimes!

There are times when people get themselves into a financial bind, often through decisions of their own, but sometimes through circumstance and bad luck.   It is what it is.  But it’s possible to make a comeback, as we can observe by reading and hearing stories about people who have paid off significant debt or bounced back from career or business failures.

Along those lines, I thought I’d put together a short list of steps one can take to make money comeback.  Here goes:

1) Be honest with yourself

Minimize excuses! Instead of automatically blaming external factors, look for any and all ways you contributed to the situation.  Diagnose the situation, and figure out exactly what happened.  It’s probably not overly complicated.  It’s a big deal to actually learn from mistakes and apply the learnings, to make sure we don’t get into a situation like that again!

2) Set goals

Let’s say the problem is having massive student loan balances, or perhaps credit card debt.  It might even be something different, such as not having enough savings later in life, or having a big setback financially due to a health issue.  Regardless, once we have figured out the problem, we can determine we would ultimately like to be.

3) Have a comeback plan

Once we know what truly happened, and what are new goals are, it’s time to put together a plan.  This plan should entail specific action steps on how to reach goals.  Along the way, it also helps to have milestones to track progress.

4) Take personal accountability

Reaching success, and making a comeback, will require us to own up to our responsibilities.  Hopefully, if one continues the spirit of being honest with ourselves as in step #1 above, this will carry over to the actual execution of the plan.  We are responsible for our own success, not anyone else or in most cases not external factors as well.

5) Be persistent and tenacious

Along the way, there might be ups and downs.  Just like when someone is trying to get in shape, but breaks down for a week and skips workouts and eats junk.  Well, that might interrupt the progress that have made during the month prior, but it doesn’t have to cause the person to give up hope. Rather, it helps to just learn how to tough it out, deal with the setbacks, and continue on your path to success.

I think the same concept can apply to our finances.  We have to make it habit to make the right choices, but also a habit to show the resolve to bounce back from a mistake or setback here and there.  After all, if we are trying to make a comeback in the first place, we should be able to deal with smaller setbacks along the way!

Readers, have you (or anyone you know) ever had to make a financial comeback? Any thoughts on these steps above? Any others to add?

 

Important Expenses For Which We Need to Save

Who in the world doesn’t like to save money? Well, I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t, since many people love to spend like money is going out of style.  However, many of us who enjoy personal finance truly see the value in saving. In fact, many of us enjoy saving money!

When it comes to saving money, I think that there are some expenses that come to mind quite easily and others that don’t really get taken as seriously as they should.  Here are two examples of each of these types of future expenses we need to save for:

Obvious but Very Important Savings Needs

Retirement

Think about what your current lifestyle is like.  Do you like it? Or, would you really like to be able to afford more?

Well, just to afford the current type of lifestyle, we would need to have a similar level of cash flow.  For example, a couple spending $5,000 per month would need to have that much cash flow in retirement to cover this standard of living.

To get that kind of cash flow strictly from interest income, one would likely need a decent amount of principal.  At $60,000 per year annualized based on the monthly amount just described, with super low rates, the amount of principal needed would be a few million dollars.  Not exactly a small amount!

Most people in this country don’t retire with this kind of money on hand, and pensions seem to be going by the wayside.  With local and state governments potentially at risk for bankruptcy like we’ve already seen in one major city, do we want to counting on pensions anyway?

People can’t work forever, so it’s essential to save as much as possible for retirement.

College

The reality is that many people pay for their own education long after they received it! So, paying for another person’s education isn’t exactly something people are then ready to save for.

You know, kids do grow up fast.  So even though your own student loans January be paid off after hard work, it’s important to start saving for your own kids.  College is increasing at astronomical rates it seems, and yes – it’s important and not optional like a generation ago.   Why put kids in a difficult position of having stress over paying off loans?

Of course, one’s own retirement shouldn’t be put on the shelf for college.  It’s hard to borrow for retirement, while it’s possible to do so for college.

Overlooked Savings Needs

Gaps in Unemployment or Periods of Underemployment

When younger, it seems logical to think that we will progress up the ladder and see continual increases.  Januarybe at some point raises would at worst keep pace with inflation, right?

No, that’s not really right.  People do cap out at some point in their careers, as not everyone can reach the top.  At some point, people get expensive.  The might mean being let go, or working for less than we might think we are worth.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t all be optimistic, because we should! Reach for the stars! But also remember that we just don’t know what exactly will happen. What I’m suggesting is that we should plan for the unexpected, and be prepared in case things don’t follow our best case scenario.

Medical Expenses

As we age, we sure don’t get healthier! Think about it, people seem to get all kinds of ailments and chronic conditions as they get older.  Some people probably fare better than others, but most people deal with one thing or another.  In some cases, these can be expensive issues.

Also, there probably aren’t too many people that find medical costs to be getting less expensive.  Best to save as much as we can for these such costs!

Readers, do you prioritize each of these savings needs? Is there one or more that you feel like you don’t pay much attention to?

Two Very Different Reasons People Use Credit Cards: Which Applies to You?

Summer is a time for vacations, and for getting away to enjoy the nice weather.  It’s not always possible for everyone though, of course.   Sometimes work can get in the way, kids activities could take priority, or in many cases financial considerations.

The latter was a topic of a conversation I overheard just recently.  First of all, I wasn’t being nosy, nor was I snooping.  These people were having a very loud conversation, and it was almost impossible to ignore them as they were near me during lunch!

So they were talking out summer vacations, and one guy brought up a trip to Europe with his family.  As in, his parents – though he was clearly a grown-up working on his own. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all, as I think it’s cool.  But they weren’t paying for it, and that’s what he was clarifying to the other guy who was teasing him about living off his parents.

Then the guy paying for his trip said that it will take him a few months to pay off his credit card after the trip, based on what he expected the trip to cost.  This was meant to reinforce to the other person that hey, he was paying for the trip on his own!

Now, what jumps out at me about something like this is not who is paying for a trip.  Rather, it’s the use of a credit card as a way to afford a trip.  In this case, it would mean paying in “installments” over a few months.  Really, this meant that the guy was using his credit card to buy something he couldn’t pay for up front.

I found that interesting, because I wonder how many other people look at credit cards that way?  I don’t view that as the purpose of a credit card.  Instead, I find the purpose of a credit card to be convenience!

Think about those two possible uses for a credit card.  They’re very different.

Purpose #1:  Delaying payment for something you want to buy now, so you can pay later when you have the money to do so.

Purpose #2:  Avoiding dealing with cash, simply because credit cards are convenient – and in no way to delay payment due to lack of funds.

Really, I have never used a credit card in order to buy something that I couldn’t afford today.  That’s like using a credit card as a quick loan vehicle.  Rather, I just use credit cards instead of cash because it’s simply more convenient.  No dealing with carrying coins, constantly going to an ATM, etc.  Simply swipe the card and forget about it! Not to mention that you can get rewards.

Obviously, I pay the bills right away and never carry a balance.  As in, pay in full and incur zero interest.

In this case, simply use the cards for purpose #2 – convenience.  For that, credit cards are great, and so much better than dealing with cash!

I’m curious about what you think of when you use credit cards.

Readers, what do you see as being the main purpose of credit cards for you?  Delaying payment until later, or convenience?

Saving Documents Online

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be interested in keeping backups of important information or files.  Rather than just assume everything will be okay, I want to be prepared in case I lose things.  Anything can happen.

Not that long ago, I had an experience where I got a bit too comfortable with infrequent backups, and I got burned a bit.  What happened is that my hard drive on my machine basically crashed.  It wasn’t that old of a computer, and I figured I could use it for another year or so, but it wasn’t to be.  So, I spent some money buying a new computer more quickly than I had planned.  Much like trying not to upgrade your phone too often in order to save money over  the long run, I take the same approach with computers.

In this case, besides the money, there was the small issue of some documents no longer being accessible.  I saved most important things on my hard drive, so not having access to it created some problems in that I basically lost some documents as well as updates to others.

I would periodically copy key files to a flash drive, every so often.  Januarybe every month.  But I ended up losing roughly 2 months worth of documents in this case.  Ouch!

There was nothing lost that will cost me money or extreme inconvenience, since I did have older backups like I said.   However, it could have been worse.  If I had lost something critical, it could have been painful.

What I’m doing now is backing up more frequently and in different places.  The flash drive is fine, but I’ve also burned a disk with data, as another form of storage.  More importantly, I’ve started saving things in the cloud.

What I’m using now is Dropbox.  It’s something that’s so easy to use, that there is no excuse for not at least exploring it or similar solutions.  Once I signed up, all I really need to do to save my files is click an upload icon, hit a choose files button, then select a file from my computer to be saved.  That’s it, and it takes very little time.  Plus, there is currently a free option with a set amount of storage – this is what I use.

All of this reminds me of a guy I know in college who lost an important paper he was writing.  He lost the disk (yes, disk….was years ago), and thus lost 8 hours of work.  It was due the next morning and he let out a loud scream with more than a few expletives.  It was kind of funny to some of us because of who he was, but not one of those things you can laugh at too much in front of the person.  I think this was what got me to realize the need to save and create backups!

Readers, how do you save backups of important files and documents.  Do you use the cloud at all? Have you ever lost anything due to not saving backups?

How to Avoid Debt

For some reason, tons of people find themselves in debt for whatever reason.  Once incurred, this debt can prevent people from building wealth and reaching bigger life goals they want for themselves.

In some situations, debt is simply unavoidable.  Many people have no choice but to incur some debt to get by.  However, I think many if not most people get into debt when they really didn’t have to do so in the first place.  At least, not to the extent that they do.

Here are 5 tips on how people can avoid going into debt in the first place:

1) Be very careful when selecting a college and taking on student loans

Now, for many people student loans are a necessary part of going to college.  I’ll maintain that an undergraduate degree is simply a requirement for many things these days and is probably what a high school degree was a generation ago.  So given that a person really needs one (and should consider graduate school as well), it’s important to go to a school that will provide you with the education and marketability you need to make money and build a career.

Oh, and it will important to pay off student loan debt too.  Really, to a large degree this is determined by both the ability of the person to build that career through employment, as well as the cost of the education itself.  Finding that balance between cost and payoff is important in assessing the value of the education.

Hopefully, parents are financially literate themselves and can help.   Otherwise, it’s up to a young person to make a wise decision on the choice of school.  This plays a role in avoiding long-term debt and setting the foundation for a sound financial life.

2) Don’t worry about keeping up with the spending patterns of others

It’s a well worn saying, referring to worrying about what others have and do as “keeping up with the Joneses“.  Well, there is no need to do so.  Just because somebody else has a better home, better car, better clothes, and better vacations doesn’t make that person more successful or happier.  That same person January not be saving much money and might actually be financing much of this life.  Yes, with debt.

On the other hand, the person living a much more modest lifestyle might be avoiding debt and saving more money.  Also, it’s a better way to get to financial freedom.  It’s not like living a more modest life is a tradeoff, giving up a better life.  Rather, it’s living a life that one has earned versus a life one hasn’t earned.

3) Know how you’re spending your money

To really understand your spending habits, it helps to track expenses.  There are plenty of money management systems out there, with a slew of websites and apps out there to help you.  Or, you could simply use a good old fashioned spreadsheet.  Either way, it’s a good idea to understand your spending habits so you can see where your money is actually going.

4) Make sure your income exceeds your expenses

This isn’t always possible for everybody in every possible situation.  There are times in life where this can be tough to do.  However, we need to get past those times as quickly as possible.   Figuring out the difference between what we truly need and what we want is vital to making this happen.  Not to mention, it’s critical to wealth building!

5) Imagine not being able to retire

Yes, this is the case with many people.  Unfortunately, very few people can work very late into life no matter what they think.  The longer someone is in debt, the later in life that a nest egg can actually be built.  It takes time and the power of compounding to really build net worth.

Wouldn’t it be much easier to have chance to have an easier time later in life.  Being older and not able to retire doesn’t seem like a fun way to spend those years, when we have less energy to being with!

Readers, what do you think about these ways to avoid debt? Do you see these as being helpful guidelines and motivation to bypass debt and focus on solvency and building wealth instead?  I know there are other tips people might have – please feel free to share 

Making Your Money Your Employee

Each of us wears different hats through our life, including each day.  We January be a spouse, parent, kid, sibling, friend, neighbor, customer, and other roles as well.

I’ve been giving some thought to the notion that most of us also play the role of employee.  Now, reaching financial freedom sounds great, in that we might not be reliant on others paying us wages in order for us to financial survive.  Until that day arrives, many of us act as employees that work for other people.

Just as our employers get value out of us, having a full-time employee to help out with making our lives profitable could be really helpful!  Especially when that employee can be trusted, and won’t talk back to us, and will always be loyal.  Don’t worry, there is no undue pressure on the employee; after all, it’s not even a person.

It’s our money!

Yes, you can get your money to work for you.  Most of us probably do already, in one way or another.  If we have a 401(k), or other investments, our money is at work.

Money makes more money for us.   To the extent that we have more of it, we can use it to make even more for us.  The earlier in life we start to make money, the bigger the impact compounding can have on increasing our wealth.  Ultimately, it means that our money works for us.

I think there are 2 broad tracks that we can take:

Track 1: We work for our money for many years

  • Get a job, and make money
  • Make enough money to pay our bills and hopefully set something aside
  • Work as long as our mind and body allow, or as long as we’re employable, in order to pay our bills and get by
  • When we can’t work any more, we live on whatever modest savings we have and then get help from others

Track 2: We work for our money and also let our money work for us

  • Get a job, and make money (same as Track 1)
  • Make more money than we spend, deliberately making saving as much as possible a priority as early in life as possible
  • Keep working and saving, concurrently investing the savings to earn a rate of return that exceeds inflation as we let our money work for us
  • Stop working when we and our money have worked hard enough to build enough wealth for us to comfortably live on
  • Enjoy the rest of our lives with financial freedom and time to focus on what we enjoy

Januarybe it’s a matter of viewing money as a teammate, rather than an employee :)

Anyway, the bottom line is that the sooner we start saving and investing money, and the greater the amount we do this with, the less we have to work. When thinking about types of income, it means that we can focus on investment and passive income instead of employment income.

Readers, do you ever think about how to make your money work for you instead of having you work for it?

Is Retirement the End of the Line?

When you retire, you enter a whole new chapter of your life that is fresh and new, and hopefully calm. However, if you don’t plan for your retirement correctly, you could end up spending more money than anticipated and with someone who is no longer working, expenses will eat up your savings and soon you could be left with nothing and have to go back to work. To ensure that you won’t meet this kind of fate, consider these five things to take care of before you check out.

How to pass the time

Any hobby you have once you retire is going to cost money, so be prepared to be spending when you retire. It’s not like you can magically afford everything, in fact, practically the opposite. Even as a retiree, you should practice the frugal lifestyle to make what money you have last and valuable. It might be a good idea to open an account to fund your future hobby.

DIY Projects

Many folks as they get older look around their house and think of renovation projects. What can they fix or improve? What will give their space more value? What many people don’t consider is the money rather than the time. Sure, when retired, you have all the time in the world to do whatever you wish—but do you have the cash? Take care of these renovations now while you’re making an income to replace what you spend and manage your money accordingly.

Fix the Debt

Do you have any debts still hanging around? You’re going to want to get rid of them for the same reason you January have to get rid of your house. You can’t handle paying off credit card debt without the proper finances, and even if you’ve been saving money for years, it can be depleted quicker than you thought if you need to pay off a debt. You January require some credit counseling to help you with this, and there are plenty of groups that do just that.

Paying Off the Mortgage

Some people like to keep their house when they retire, and that’s perfectly fine if you have the personal finances for it. Why not if you can pay off the mortgage and live somewhere you’ve been comfortable for albeit the last few decades? When your retirement starts to get closer, you should do what you can to pay off your mortgage, otherwise you January want to sell your house instead of getting stuck with a mortgage bill when you have no income.

Automobile

Like all technology, machinery becomes obsolete and often breaks down for good after a certain duration of time. Some computers last two years and others for four or more. There are cars built to last, and there are some that won’t even make it across the country. With this in mind, you should take a look at your car and give some serious consideration about keeping it after retirement. It January need a tune-up or some replacement parts to keep it running for a few more years, or it could be completely unsalvageable. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure your car is reliable.

Preparation for your retirement is the key to enjoying it. If you start early, you can have plenty of money for nearly everything that you’ll do once you’re out of work. So keep your personal finances in check and start saving money now

Are You Ever Surprised at How Non-Tech Savvy Some People Seem?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re someone who at a minimum is willing to embrace advances in technology and products that have been launched in recent years.  Or, at least you’re willing to embrace the knowledge that such things actually exist and have some value.

Recently, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a few years.  We met over dinner, where he brought his girlfriend of the last 6 months.  It was the first time I had met her, and she seemed nice.  I’ll preface the rest of this this by saying he is a great guy, and has been a really good friend for a quite a number of years.  We don’t live all that close to one another, so it’s not easy to coordinate schedules to meet up all that frequently, but we keep in touch every few weeks.  These days, that means texts at those intervals, with calls less frequently – like every few months.

Explaining LinkedIn

After a while, he and I ended up getting into a discussion about some people we knew from a circle of friends many years ago.  His girlfriend was nice about this little diversion he and I had down memory lane, as we joked good-naturedly about a few past friends.  Then, he mentioned that one of the guys he actually wanted to try to reach out to, just to catch up and reconnect.  So, the first thing I suggested was LinkedIn.

His face had a blank look.  He asked me what I said, and I repeated “LinkedIn.  Why don’t you try to connect with him  on LinkedIn?”

Again, a blank look. Then, his eyebrows furrowed, and he asked, “what’s that?”

Then it was my turn to have a blank look.  I thought that he couldn’t possibly be serious.  I asked him if was joking, and he said no.

“WOW!” I thought, without saying it.

His girlfriend then chimed in, trying to bail my friend out, saying that she didn’t know about it either.

I was floored.  How can you not be on LinkedIn? Okay, Januarybe I can see that, actually.  But to have not ever heard of it? Really?

Yes, really.  They hadn’t heard of it.

I happen to think it’s worth being on it and having a profile, and even wrote a post about tips on using LinkedIn for your career.  It’s at least worth having knowledge of!  But, as I thought about it, he doesn’t work in business.  In his line of work, very different from mine, it January not be altogether standard to deal with LinkedIn in any way.  Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here, as he’s always been a person who’s very aware of things and keeps up with what’s going on in the world.

The next few minutes were spent talking about how the site worked, what value it has, etc.

Explaining the Value of a Smartphone

The conversation then proceeded to me showing them LinkedIn on my phone.  As you might recall, I recently wrote about smartphone addiction, so I’m aware of going overboard in using phones.  Don’t worry, this wasn’t one of those times :)

Anyway, as I showed it to them, I mentioned that there was even an app for it.  Then, my friend launched into this spiel about how he doesn’t want a smartphone as he really likes the flip phone he has.  In fact, it’s his second time with that model of phone – the exact same model, that is.  He liked it so much, he bought it again when the original phone died.

In a way, I felt like congratulating him.  He hasn’t succumbed to the crazy of smartphones, even though he could probably afford one.  But, when combined with the lack of awareness of LinkedIn and its existence, it just seemed so….1990′s.

I know, that might not sound fair.  Like I said, he’s been a really good friend to me, so I don’t think less of him for this.  It’s just startling to see someone I know just be unaffected by recent changes in networking and technology.

Readers, this gets me wondering if you’ve encountered people – including some you might know well – who simply have a gap in their knowledge of technology.  Or, perhaps they simply choose not to embrace new things.

 

 

 

Benefits of Using Public Transporation

Is public transportation cheaper than driving? Beyond just cost, is it a better alternative?

Of course, this is something that’s a matter of opinion.  I’ve had experience with both types of commutes, throughout my working years.  Also, I’ve had various difficulties of commutes.

Such as:

  • Driving 5 minutes
  • Driving 30 minutes
  • Driving 90 minutes (no fun)
  • Taking a 40 minute train, then walking 30 minutes or taking a bus
  • Taking a 60 minute train, then walking 10 minutes

Clearly, driving just 5 minutes was amazing.  The thing is, it was my first job out of school, and I didn’t really know any different.  I just saw it as a normal job, and equated the commute to the amount of time I had to spend getting to college or high school in the previous years.  It took me having a longer commute to fully appreciate how good I had it with that first position.  At least, in terms of distance for driving.

Once I had the opportunity to take public transportation, I had a new perspective.  I liked it!  It sure beat having to drive each day.

Now, I would most definitely choose a very short drive over a long train ride.  Time is valuable! However, most other things being equal, one can see a lot of benefits to public transportation.   Here are 5:

1) Spend less on gas.  With the high cost of filling up your car with gas, it can be very expensive to have a long commute.  Driving isn’t cheap! A 30 mile commute, might cost somewhere in the range of $10 round trip.  A train fare, for example, might be comparable or less.

2) Cause less wear and tear on your car.  These are additional “expenses” that we don’t really notice because we don’t see additional cash outlay right away.  However, they add up. The more mileage a person puts on his or her car, the more quickly it depreciates.  For example, a car with 50,000 miles is worth more than a car with 100,000 miles, everything else being equal.  Not much is depreciating when you take public transportation.

3) Less stress.  Let’s face it, we’re really making major life and death decisions on the road when traveling at high speeds.  We also come into contact with enough drivers out there that we eventually cross paths with a few really bad ones here and there.  All that can add subtle stress on the mind and body.  If you take public transportation, you can just sit back and chillax! That allows your own energy to be used on more productive things.

4) A chance to get things done.  So, I mentioned that public transport helps facilitate less stress.  Well, if you want to get some work or other things done, you could do so on public transportation.  You can’t send emails in the car, and you certainly can’t tweet and drive! Not safe.  On a train or bus, this is no problem.  You can be more productive, which can be more profitable.

5) Better for the environment.  Fewer cars on the road helps keep the air cleaner, right?  There is something to be said for knowing that you’re helping do your part, in our own little corner of the world, to help the greater good.

Another thing I’ve liked about public transportation is the reliability of coming and going at specific times, based on a schedule.  Of course, there is a flipside to that, in terms of losing some flexibility. But keeping on schedule probably helps us stay focused on getting things done.  You won’t linger at work for that extra 10 or 15 minutes if you’re risking making your train or bus!

Readers, what are your thoughts about public transportation as an alternative to driving?