This is the introduction post in a new lifestyle blog. Some of the posts will be financial, some not. Many will have a philosophical theme. It’s just the way I roll.
Meet the independent penguin. Like all the penguins floating in the sea (of my imagination) he lives on a patch of solid stuff and is surrounded by cold water. Some of the penguins live on rafts, some on air mattresses, some have big areas to play, some have small. They will be the subjects of future posts. This post is about the independent penguin.
The independent penguin lives on an iceberg (as you see). That means when the sea is rough he isn’t tossed like the penguins living on light platforms. If an unexpected event such as a collision takes out a good chunk of his living area, he won’t be inconvenienced much – the iceberg floats and the level above the water will adjust to nearly the previous level. Similarly, if there is good fortune and the level of ice increases the new ice will be distributed above and below the water. The iceberg is self-maintained (unlike a raft or inflatable) to let the penguin enjoy his life.
You see, when the penguins look out at the other penguins in the ocean, all they see is the patch that each penguin lives on above the water. The key to the independent penguin life is that mass that is invisible to the others.
Most of you have probably caught the analogy to our financial life. But for the sake of completeness it is spelled out below.
The ocean is the uncertainty of financial life. Being dry is good (above water, breathing easy, unencumbered, etc) and being wet is bad (being underwater, drowning in debt, sinking feeling, needing a rescue, etc.). The living area above the water is the stuff that people can see (house, car, watch, clothes, private school tuition, TV, etc., etc.). The area below the water is net assets (all assets minus all debts.) The iceberg is a distribution of assets to aspire to maintain in order to have an independent life. The iceberg is different for every penguin, since each one has individual needs and wants and desires.
The penguin is me. And you. And everyone who seeks an independent life.