Holistic Personal Finance (eBOOK)


HOLISTIC PERSONAL FINANCE. EBOOK. BOOK THREE IN THE MS BLAELOCK’S BOOKS SERIES OF PRACTICAL SELF-HELP BOOKS. Advice on managing wealth usually means sacrificing things that make life worth living. Holistic Personal Finance shows you how to manage your money according to the life you want. Or get it free with any Holistic Personal Finance merchandise.


Tired of hearing you’ll never be wealthy unless you sacrifice all the things that make you feel wealthy?

Ever notice how managing money always seems to mean cutting back on small daily pleasures like lattes and lunches? Alexandria Blaelock explains that true wealth involves more than money – you can enjoy things that make you happy while creating a prosperous future tomorrow.

Borrowing techniques from business, Alexandria reveals how:

  • A meaningful vision of your future is the missing link.
  • Planning and managing spending brings your dreams to life.
  • Sharing what you have can make the world a better place.

Plus, you’ll discover:

  • How to connect with your past and future selves.
  • The comforts of risk management.
  • What to look for in a lon-term romantic partner.

Stop worrying about how to pay for your life – relax and enjoy it.

Also available in paper and hardback.

For signed copies and bulk orders, please contact orders@bluemerebooks.com.

Introduction 1
PART ONE: Plan Your Dinner Party 7
Budget 9
Guests 13
Theme 27
Food 31
Drinks 39
Other Needs 55
PART TWO: Prepare For Your Dinner Party 65
3 – 4 Weeks Before 67
1 – 2 Weeks Before 77
The Day Before 89
The Day 93
The Day After 105
APPENDIX A: Notes for Dinner Guests 107
APPENDIX B: What Alexandria Does 119
APPENDIX C: Our Italian Themed Dinner Party 123
Glossary 137
Bibliography 139
Index 141
Author’s Note 144
About the Author 145


When it comes to finance, you are usually offered either/or options. You either seek to gather massive amounts of money (to the exclusion of all else), or you don’t (and are therefore crazy).

Which is fair enough, since finance is all about the money.

But money is just bits of paper, plastic or moulded metal. Its value comes from the time you spend in places you don’t want to be, doing things you don’t want to do, that you swap for the things you need like food and shelter. And the things you want, like chocolate or the latest smartphone.

It’s just the medium of labour exchange.

Once, the only labour you could sell was your brawn; your physical ability to lift and carry heavy objects, but in modern times it’s more likely that you’ll sell your brain power. The business of selling your brain is time consuming and often leaves you buying someone else’s brawn for the tasks you no longer have the time to do yourself.

But wealth, on the other hand, is more than money. It’s an abundance of something (e.g., a wealth of experience). In fact, in the Middle Ages, wealth meant happiness (from the root word weal, meaning well-being).

These days, you’re more likely to feel the lack of time or health (physical or mental) than money. So, when it comes to a long, full, and happy life, you need to manage these other aspects of wealth too, not just the money.

The relationship between time, money, and health can be demonstrated in a triangle (see Figure 1: Labour Exchange).

At almost any point of your life, your ability to get stuff done is limited by the time, money, or state of physical and health available to you.

Labour Exchange

Figure 1: Labour Exchange

You can see that the arrow marks a point on the Time/Health axis. If your employer cuts your hours, but you want the same income, you have to choose whether to find additional hours elsewhere.

Working longer hours comes at a cost to your health, so you have to decide how much health you are willing to sacrifice for that income.

On the other hand, preserving your heath gives you less money but more time for activities that make you happy.

Maintaining your free time, leads to less income but potentially better health.

That’s not to say it’s an either/or proposition.

In reality, you move your arrows across all three axes according to the way your life unfolds.

For example, you decide to save money by cleaning your second-floor windows yourself, but you risk falling and injuring yourself.

Or you spend too much money on new clothes no one will see because you only wear them to watch television.

As a philosopher, I see the fundamental goal of life as increasing happiness and decreasing unhappiness. I don’t mean happiness in the sense of a good mood, but the feeling of well-being that comes from enjoying a life you think is worth living.

Ancient Philosophers called this “flourishing”; an awareness of growing and developing, reaching to become something more than you were before. It might be “serving your country”, “making glorious art” or something else. And the resulting feeling may be satisfaction, pleasure or similar.

It’s not the money that makes you happy, but if you’ve the time and health to enjoy it, having some in the bank means you don’t have to worry.

You have the opportunity to choose a fuller and happier life by focusing on what’s important to you; the activities you pursue and the people you share them with.

Like your five morning minutes standing on the rug, you bought on honeymoon, drinking coffee from the mug you made at pottery class watching your kids play in the garden you planted out yourself.

Maybe your cat is purring in the sunshine on a window sill nearby, and you can hear your partner singing in the shower.

Your knowledge of what’s important to you guides your spending from big events like getting married or booking a trip to the small purchases like magazines and chocolate bars.

You may have heard the expression “a means to an end” or perhaps a debate about whether “the end justified the means”.

The end is the result you want, and the means the way you get there.

So, if you want to visit the Eiffel Tower, the tower is your end, and your means will probably be a combination of walking, driving and flying.

The means/ends debate comes from the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804). He argued that people are valuable because they are people (an end in themselves), not tools (the means).

When you choose to spend money, you spend it on good and services that increase your happiness. Which is a roundabout way of explaining that while many people think money is the end (happiness), it’s actually the means to happiness.

Let’s think about your Paris trip one more time.

You have to plan how you are going to get there. If you’re flying, you have to examine your options based on what’s important to you; flight duration, arrival time, legroom and so on.

You could call these your values; they guide your choices (means) towards your goal (end).

Which brings up another issue. The word “value” has become an expression of both means and end. It’s a bit confusing, so let’s take your home as an example.

The house you own is valuable; it increases your net worth, you can borrow against it, and you can put more money into it to increase its value (means).

But you don’t buy a house just to store value; you want a secure and stable home to bring up your children, a comfortable place to enjoy your leisure time or its proximity to restaurants and nightlife (ends).

You don’t value the house for itself, you “value” it as a home, for the lifestyle it provides.

It’s a means to your end.

You can see we need another word to describe our values.

Fortunately for us, the Ancient Philosophers are once more on hand to help out with the concept of “Virtue”.

While Virtue has grown a veneer of morality (good/bad or right/wrong), its original meaning was to develop excellence of character.

Our Ancient Philosophers believed developing excellence in beauty was just as virtuous as developing excellence in building houses.

It was the effort of devoting your lifetime to becoming something more that was important.

Some people, and particularly businesses, use values to guide their goals and work. That seems reasonable, but so often the values are nebulous concepts like “respect”, “integrity”, “teamwork” and “accountability”.

These concepts often come with definitions that limit their applicability, and that’s reasonable too, because value is a fixed point.

Any Realtor can give you a “value” for your house, but you won’t know what it’s worth until you sell it.

Nor will you know what “respect” really means until you’re in a position to challenge that business, for example, trying to get a refund for your Paris plane tickets.

Ancient Virtues, on the other hand, are works in progress.

You get to define both your means and ends knowing they’re movable and each is a step towards something bigger.

Coming back to your money, you need to develop virtues to guide your choices (means) across your lifetime.

Before you put this book down and walk away, think about how you got here, and you’ll see that you’re already doing this, though not consciously.

If you believe education is important, you’ve got some qualifications. Or, if you think life experience is important, you’ve probably travelled and done interesting things in other cities or countries. If your family is important, you’ve made choices about where to live and what work to do.

This book just guides you to think more deeply about your choices.

Still with me?

I’m assuming spending money is not bringing you happiness. It may be you’re spending too much, or not thinking about what’s important while you are spending it.

I’m sure you can give me reasons (excuses), but if you have a money problem, chances are it comes from spending more than you get.

And this is because you think about money as if it’s separate from you. But it’s as much a part of you as the brain that chooses (or not) how to spend it, and the hand that passes it over – it’s the life you exchanged for it.

Most people offering financial advice tell you to either earn more or spend less. If you just stop buying takeout coffee every day, you will save hundreds of dollars by the end of the year!

All very well, but there are a thousand things I’d rather give up first. If you were to tell me to stop buying coffee, I’d ignore you, and you would see me at the Café Parisien ordering caffé latte as the Titanic sank beneath me.

Of course, I’d only have access to the First-Class café because everyone else would be abandoning ship.

The Cost of Living is a calculation each jurisdiction makes about how much it costs to maintain a given standard of living. If you examine the list of goods your government uses for its price surveys, you’ll find it includes some products you use but not others.

Your cost of living isn’t the rational, objective thing your government collates, but a subjective interpretation of your thoughts and feelings about what you need for a happy life.

Your necessity is someone else’s luxury, both of you choosing the standard of living that best meets your needs for food, pleasant surroundings, and aspirations.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to pick a priority area to indulge in, while reducing your spend in other areas to compensate? If you enjoy take out coffee, buy and enjoy it guilt-free, but don’t (for example) buy another electronic tablet as well.

Your priorities change as your life changes. At some point the latest fashions will be your most important thing, at another paying off your student debt, saving for a house deposit, or saving towards your retirement.

And this is another key point; you need to plan to make these things happen.

By the time you stop paid work, you’ll need enough savings to generate an income that meets your cost of living.

Plus, you’ll need to know how to fill the 168 weekly hours you won’t be working or commuting.

That could be retirement at 65, but you might be financially independent sooner – it’s just a matter of focus and scale.

It’s going to take the rest of your life to develop the skills and habits you’ll need for a comfortable and secure retirement.

Managing your investments and living within the income they provide. Opening your credit card statements, balancing your cheque account, and maintaining a balanced stock portfolio. Sharing with those less fortunate, and enjoying a show or nice restaurant as well.

You will create the life you want – you can have it all, but not at the same time.

Managing wealth over your lifetime is more about handling your fear of not having enough than it is about the money.

It’s controlling your expectations and protecting your wealth so you can live comfortably for the rest of your life.

Managing your money ensures you will always have enough regardless of stock market crashes, inheritances, or job losses.

When you manage your time, you can spend it on the activities that make you happy.

And when you manage your health, you can enjoy your time and money to its fullest extent.


I’ve invented some families, to guide us through the wealth management cycle. You can check the appendices any time you want to refresh your memory.

The Baker Family

Emily Baker is a single woman in her mid-twenties. She lives at home with her parents but pays them board. She continues to perform her childhood chores, does her own laundry, and eats the meals her mother prepares. She has a college degree and an entry-level job in a big company.

The Smith Family

Bob and Amanda Smith are married, have two children (Daniel 8, Lisa 6), and a dog named Toby. They live in a mortgaged house in the suburbs. Bob commutes to the city, and Amanda takes care of the house and children. Now that both children are at school, she volunteers at their school.

The Butcher Family

Ash and Jo are an older couple who’ve been in a committed relationship for 25 years. They live together in an inner-city apartment with their cats Tiger and Shadow. They both work long hours in upper-management jobs, so they eat out most of the time.

By the way, I’m using the term “partner” to denote husbands, wives, de facto and same-sex spouses. I also use legal and accounting terminology (explained in the glossary).

My one exception is that Accountants use the term “account” for different spending categories. To avoid confusion, I’m using the term “department”. I also think it neatly captures the specialisation of activities while calling to mind the stores you could be spending your money in.

Seeing as you’re not looking at a print book, you don’t need to worry so much about dog-eared pages or split spines.
But, we know you’re probably going to read in the bathroom, or while you’re eating lunch… So, just from a phone/tablet hygiene and safety point of view, please wash your hands, and don’t drop the phone! Might be an idea to clean the screen now and again as well.

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