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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): What's It Like on the Other Side?

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's It Like on the Other Side?

For most of my life, I have been solidly middle-class. With human nature being as it is...downright nosy....we often wonder what it's like on the other side. If we are cash poor, we want to know what it's like to live the high life and what it's like to drop a few thousand dollars on dinner. If we are rich, at least by American standards, we still have an urge to want to see what it's like to have next to nothing in our society. How do those people survive and go on? We don't want to be in their situation...but we still want to get a feel of what it's like without getting our hands dirty. So, how do you get to be a fly on the wall and run with the experience?

You knew I was going to start talking about books, didn't you? I personally don't have an experience with either side, just what I have read. If you're like me and like to read about everything that's ever been written, you may have already seen these. If not, see below. I mean no disrespect here by commenting and mentioning these gems...just trying to broaden peoples' horizons. For the most part, these books are not "how to" but a snapshot into the lives of others. If you can think of any other books out there that follow along this thread, please mention them in the comments.

Reading List for the those who consider themselves not "up to par" with the Joneses:

Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella
Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella by David Shalleck and Erol Munuz. Before I read this book, I had to make sure I had a full tummy. I suggest you do the same! This first class chef spent a summer, sailing around the Mediterranean on a multi-million dollar yacht for a very upper class Italian couple. He was their chef and in the book, he takes us through all his trials and tribulations and demanding menus! Ah, the high life it was...even for him as an employee!

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Most know about this book. You won't find the ritz and glitz in here, just simple stories from everyday people who made millions and live like they didn't. Still, an insightful and favorite book that will motivate you to want to join its ranks.

Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose
Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton, Merle Ginsberg, and Jeff Vespa. I know this book is bottom-of-the-barrel and not worth the paper it's written on...but still, it is a peek into the life of a super rich girl who won't have to work to earn a dime the rest of her life, and that's why I'm including it here.

Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich
Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank. Richistan is definitely about all the new found "haves" and not the "have-nots" in our country. I am dumbfounded at the amount of money these people give out who are detailed in this book. Talk about a blow to your ego! I think I need to try to get into one of the elite butler schools mentioned in the book.

All the Money in the World: How the Forbes 400 Make--and Spend--Their Fortunes
All the Money in the World: How the Forbes 400 Make--and Spend--Their Fortunes by Peter W. Bernstein and Annalyn Swan. I read Richistan before I read this one. I thought it would have stories more along that line. Well, you do have to wade through tons of charts and statistics, but there is a little bit of meat on this bone, with a peek into the lives of the ueber rich. If you thought the Richistan folks threw money around, wait til you read about the Forbes 400 crowd! My God in heaven!

Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions
Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions by Edward Ugel. Ever wonder what it's like to win the lottery? I tinkered with whether to put this book under the "have" or the "have nots" category, 'cause most of the folks in the book ended up losing their millions, to the point of being miserable the rest of their lives. The guy who wrote this book used to work for a company that would give lottery winners lump sum millions instead of their usual lottery payments. Nowadays, most lotteries give winners the lump sum choice, so many of these companies are out of business now. But nonetheless, you realize that just having money without the education and "know how" can quickly slip through your fingers and be gone before you know it. Read about the nonsense these folks spent their money on and how it changed most of their lives for the worse.


Reading List for those who have everything but want to see what the "have nots" are doing:

My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style
My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style by Jerry Newman. I had a whole new sense of what it must be like working behind the counter in fast food. Even though this book focuses mostly on managers and what they do wrong (and sometimes right), it still glazed the surface of what it must be like, surviving on a fast food paycheck. It also made me reconsider my attitude and demeanor when I order my next Happy Meal.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. An absolutely heart wrenching story of what it's like to be on the bottom, scraping by on a pocketful of tips. This lady didn't even have a place to stay or her own bank account...something I never thought would be possible in America. This'll also make you think twice the next time you visit your local greasy spoon.

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard. If you can get through the cussing, find out what it's like to start with nothing but $25. Follow this homeless man's journey, trying to chase an American dream. Yes, the book is a bit flawed, cause the guy is pretty educated and has the education to help himself and is only doing this temporarily for the book, but still...it's a look through the looking glass into poverty and what some may see as hopelessness and others see as opportunity come knockin'.


The Working Poor: Invisible in America
The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler. Read stories about those who are at the very bottom of our economic ladder. The one highlight of this book? The author does give some ideas of what our government can do to make these ranks smaller. You can be sure my sons read this book before they gently get nudged out of the nest.

Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform
Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform by Sharon Hays. What is it like living on welfare? Why is it so difficult to get off welfare? Share insights into the lives of those caught in the vicious cycle of a state-sponsored leg up or do you call it a hand-out?



Have you read any books along these lines lately? Anything to add on the books mentioned above? Feel free to post a review!

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1 Comments:

Blogger tootie said...

I read "The Millionaire Next Door," and I really enjoyed it.

The profiles of the millionaires are surprising because most of them lead very plain, frugal lifestyles. Not the glamour that you would expect.

It's an inspiring and interesting book, and I recommend it.

March 7, 2008 at 8:27 PM  

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