Why My Twitter Profile Picture Looks Like Carlotta Vance

I chose Marie Dressler for my Twitter profile photo in homage to her character, Carlotta Vance, from the classic 1933 film, “Dinner at Eight.”

Carlotta is a woman who once had fame and fortune, who knew what it was like to live in luxury. But in the movie, she is no longer young and beautiful, no longer pursued by men who want to woo her with furs and diamonds. In fact, as her career wanes, she finally reaches the point where, as she tells her dear friend Oliver Jordan, “I haven’t got a sou!” Yet she faces life with courage, concern for others, and as you see in the clip above, a sense of humor.

The character of Carlotta is a role model for me. Over the last decade or so, the lousy economy has dealt my family some hard blows. We lost a business and had to sell our family home. Our income is nowhere near what it once was.

It’s often tempting to feel sorry for myself, and sometimes I do. But most of the time, I want to be like Carlotta. I want to face the future with a sense of hope and charity.

In that spirit, I wrote Downsizing Your Life for Freedom, Flexibility & Financial Peace. It’s had a good response, and I’m grateful. Now I’m writing another book related to it that I hope will also help and encourage others.

Times are challenging for many people these days. I want to help others by sharing what my family has learned, and by telling everyone that being proactive about change, especially change you didn’t ask for, is the best way to get through hard times and keep enjoying your life.

Off-Grid Dwellings Could Be On-Grid, Too

Off the grid dwellings seem to be a big thing these days. I’d like to see inexpensive flat-pack homes become a fad in areas near pricey cities, so that working people have more affordable housing options. What good is it to slave away all day to earn barely enough money to live near your work? People are getting stressed out by this lifestyle. If you can’t or won’t move to the more affordable sticks and learn to live on a lower income (and I’m not dissing that! It’s what we did), then wouldn’t you jump on a small, affordable place of your own near work?

How to Live Economically in Retirement

How encouraging this video is to those of us who won’t be retiring on a huge pension. Note how relaxed this man is and how he ended up doing this: sounds like it was for the joy of it, not because he’s financially limited. I love how he emphasizes the convenience of living like this. After all, a lack of housework, fewer things to repair and lower costs are all benefits of this way of living. What a great video!



Van Dwellers on the Rise

In typical Daily Mail fashion, this article about a gathering of van dwellers includes a misleading headline and quite a few photos.

The insinuation is that a bunch of hippies that live in their vans formed a town in Oregon recently. The reality is that this was a weekend gathering, not the creation of permanent parking spots for a large number of people who live in their RVs.

That said, an increasing number of people in the U.S. are finding that they prefer living in a van or RV to spending their lives on the merry-go-round of working full-time for stagnating wages while trying to afford increasingly unaffordable housing. Some young people have decided that’s not the life they want, while some older people can no longer make the math work, especially if they can only find part-time jobs in their forced semi-retirement.

The result is a large and growing number of people who live in their vans. Some of them may have been at this gathering, but according to a couple of commenters on the article, many of those who were at this event just like to camp in their RVs on the weekends, and enjoy getting together with others who feel the same way.

Regardless, an increasing number of people have given up on renting or buying housing, and are living in their vans full-time. Some of these vans are quite nice; others not so much. Anyone who decides to do this will have to downsize by giving up most of their possessions after choosing which few are essential to daily living. This trend is no accident; until stagnating wages go up, bloated housing costs go down, or (ideally) both things happen, we will continue to see an increase in van dwellers.