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By in Personal Finance | 3 comments

Categories: personal finance, life

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”  Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu the great philosopher was definitely talking about important life concepts; but I don’t think he was referring to investing or the internet. Yet his timeless words hold lessons perfectly applicable for living, personal finance, and working, today.

MAIN TOPIC: IE Cannot Display the Webpage

It all started when I got the dreaded message, “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage,” as I went to connect to the internet. At that point, I was quite calm; as I was sure it was a temporary problem and would resolve itself. So I did what any internet savvy personal finance blogger would do, I went to an internet coffee shop with my laptop. So far, so good. Convinced that when I returned everything would be back to normal. Well, you guessed it, when I returned, everything was not back to normal. In fact, it was worse, I couldn’t get FIOS TV service on any television or internet on any computer in the house.

THIS WAS GETTING SERIOUS. I realized that I had a problem. I checked the router, and all the appropriate lights were on. CHECK. OK, it’s not the router. Next, I call the provider virtual technician and go through the myriad of “diagnostics.” They failed.

NEXT, I talk to a representative. After an hour of trying one thing after another, I finally convinced the technician, that the flashing light next to the “REPLACE BATTERY” indicator suggested that the battery probably needed to be replaced. So after a bit more cajoling, he agreed to schedule a rep to come to the house and replace the battery: IN FOUR DAYS!!!!

My job requires the use of the internet as does practically everything else I do. So I made a choice, I could either curl up in bed for 4 days, or COPE.

I DECIDED TO USE MY GRIT AND DETERMINATION and make it work! After all, it’s not the end of the world.

The next internet free day, I decided I must head out to the closest wireless hook up as soon as possible.

But then, I had a revelation and before I left the house; I asked myself, “Is there was any work I can do without the internet?” I came up with quite a few activities that didn’t necessitate access to the internet; I didn’t HAVE to go on-line to prepare for the MBA class I’m teaching on Investing & Portfolio Management, my job also didn’t need 100% internet access, and neither does blogging.

 I made the decision to work “OFF LINE” for a while and see what happened.

After this brave experiment, I discovered that:

  1. I don’t need the internet to write or proof an article for my blog.
  2. I don’t need the internet to read some of my work-related investment materials.
  3. I don’t need the internet to prepare PowerPoint slides for the MBA class I’m teaching.

In fact, it is amazing how productive I was without the distraction of running to the internet for this or that.

Don’t spread this around, but the internet can sometimes be quite distracting!

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Life without Internet Service

Here’s the personal finance application of my bout into the primitive world without the internet.  SIMPLICITY, in personal finance, money management, & life in general is wonderful. A few well placed index funds for investments; a savings and checking account for emergencies and regular expenses is all one really needs. Place money regularly in your savings and investment accounts, and they will grow. Compounding  takes care of the rest.

In life, cutting out distractions and unnecessary activities increases productivity and life satisfaction. My lack of connectivity forced me to simplify. I could not distract myself with the internet for every perceived “on-line” need. This time spent working off-line allowed me to accomplish some important work without the distraction of the internet. I got more done in less time and felt more relaxed!

Legitimately, I still needed to make some airline arrangements, and get resources for my job and class from the internet, but those activities could wait a few days.  It’s amazing the single focus I had working INTERNET FREE!

Try it sometime and let me know how it works out.


Get a notebook, label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and store it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.

 Work off-line for an hour or two, and see how it impacts your productivity.



  1. Sometimes, simple is beautiful. The internet offers a million distractions, and we can get so wrapped up with reading this or doing that that we forget to sit back and absorb it all.


    May 23, 2010

  2. Kevin, So well put. Every other minute I remind myself to “smell the roses.” Thanks for contributing!
    Best regards, Barb


    May 23, 2010

  3. @Pebble-It was kind of uplifting to internet free for a few days.


    November 9, 2011


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