Saturday, April 20, 2019

Latest Money Win....

My iPhone charging port recently went bad. After months of coming up with rigged methodologies for charging my phone, I started looking at various options. My least favorite one was a text from my provider offering me $300 off a new phone. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS???? And that’s the DISCOUNT???? My cell phone provider apparently didn’t get the memo that I am a cheapskate and had converted to the FIRE movement since purchasing my last phone from them years ago. And after reading further through their offer, I realized how nice it is to NOT have payments for a phone built into our plan that allows them to keep cell phone users in increasing amounts of debt the longer they stay with the provider as they upgrade their phone to the next big thing every couple of years (and I’m not knocking folks for this, as I am a former victim of this abuse – just know that there is a better way).

In the end, my wife saved the day. Sick of seeing me leaning my phone up against the wall at odd angles with small books or other items sitting on top to allow the charger to connect to the port, she emailed me a Groupon for a refurbished phone for $160.00. The best part was when I took the ‘new’ phone and the old one to a local cell phone store and asked them to transfer the data to my new phone. The very helpful representative offered to buy my old phone for $95.00! This brought my total cost down to $65.00!!!!!

I know a lot of folks need the newest gadgets, but for me, the iPhone 6 works just fine and has more apps than I will likely ever use. Even better, thanks to my wife, I may have found a hack to prevent myself from ever having to spend any real money on a new phone again.

Got any recent money wins you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comment section below….

Monday, April 15, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m Reading:  Side Hustle (still) by Chris Guillebeau...

What I’m Listening ToBigger Pockets Money podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Spring gardens ….

Where I’m succeeding: Finished the Income Tax Module of the UGA Terry College of Business Certified Financial Planner Course ….

Where I’m struggling: Deciding ….

What I’m grateful for: Life and the freedom to live it on my terms ….

Quote that has me thinkingGreat achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” ― Napoleon Hill

What I’m excited about:  Opportunity ….

What I’ve been pondering: How to help more students through my non-profit ….

Saturday, April 13, 2019


My friend, Lenny, has tons of it….

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Amelia Earhart Quote....

“Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace.” – Amelia Earhart

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Another Teddy Quote....

"A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage... For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out." – Theodore Roosevelt 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Week Off Projects...

I decided to use some down time from work to do some spring cleaning and prep for the upcoming gardening season.

“…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. -   Galatians: 6:7

Monday, April 1, 2019

Recent Money Wins....

As the 3 people who actually read this blog know, I am on a short path to early retirement (target date of December 2021). And ever so often, my wife and I look for opportunities to reduce bills and/or increase revenue. Our most recent wins were:

1.     Eliminate Cable/Home Phone: We recently got rid of cable and our home phone, buying fire sticks and switching to Hulu and Netflix. Total savings? We went from what was going to be $243 a month to $125 a month, or a savings of more than $1,400 a year.
2.    Revisit Insurance Policies: Insurance companies have no loyalties. We saved 25% by switching care insurance (and then switching back) and 50% on home insurance.
3.    High Yield Savings and CDs: I personally believe the stock market has a good ways to run still, especially if a trade deal with China happens soon. However, Synchrony Bank makes it very easy to hedge my bets with a 2.25% high yield savings account and a one year 2.8% Certificate of Deposit.

There are other ways to save money and generate additional income, so don’t just take my word for it. The first step is understanding where your money is going and then determining whether your spending is in line with your values. Let me know if I can be of assistance….

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m Reading:  Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau...

What I’m Listening ToMoney Matters podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Kitchen Remodel….

Where I’m succeeding: Finished the Investing Module of the UGA Terry College of Business Certified Financial Planner Course ….

Where I’m struggling: Focusing ….

What I’m grateful for: Family and Friend health ….

Quote that has me thinkingMen are better when their testosterone levels are high. Society is better when our men have high testosterone levels.” ― Chad Howse

What I’m excited about:  My week off ….

What I’ve been pondering: Second quarter push for my non-profit ….

Sunday, March 24, 2019


After several weeks straight of burning the candle at both ends, I took some time yesterday to do some fishing to relax, de-stress and unwind a bit, followed by burning some downed limbs caused by all of the recent rain and wind. Life is good….

Sunday, March 17, 2019

(My) Financial Best Practices....

I was talking to a younger friend at Church this morning about investments and it dawned on me that I hadn’t posted anything in sometime about personal finance, which is likely the most read about subject of late for me.

Disclaimer: Anything shared here is strictly my opinion for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice or direction .…

Some best practices for me personally the past few years (in order) include the following:

·       Budget/Track Net Worth: Before you do anything else, gain an understanding of what your spending habits are and where you are at to begin with. You can’t have a plan until you take stock of where you are currently at. Every Dollar is the tool I have used.

·       Set Short, Mid-term and Long-term Goals: Once you have an idea of what you are spending money on, determine whether expenses align with your values. For me, this automatically led to cutting costs in several areas. Then, set some goals for where you want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years.

·       Eliminate Debt: Before you can build wealth, eliminate the biggest hindrance to being able to do so: debt. Think about investments you can make if you don’t have $100 a month going towards credit cards, $600 a month going towards vehicles or, better yet, $1,600 towards a house payment (my own personal hindrances a few years ago) …

·       Build an Emergency Fund: 3-6 months of basic expenses should be in an account that is easy to get to in the event of a crisis.

·       Live Below Your Means and Invest the Rest: Strive to save/invest 50% of your bring-home pay. Additionally, take advantage of low-cost investment opportunities through online brokerages like Vanguard and Fidelity versus paying someone to manage your money (unless you have a trusted adviser like I do). Compound interest is the one area you cannot make up ground, so I differ with a lot of folks out there who say you have to eliminate debt before starting to invest. Find a happy ground and start the process of creating your future.

·       Minimize Taxes/Fees: Maximize 401ks, IRAs and other vehicles to reduce your taxable income.

·       Maximize Free Money: This includes maxing out employer matches for retirement, high yield savings accounts (look at Synchrony for a 2.25% rate), cash-back credit cards (Fidelity is offering 2% right now), dividend-paying stocks/mutual funds, etc.

·       Increase Knowledge: To paraphrase Warren Buffet: “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” I’ve read more than 25 books the past few years on personal finance and investing, along with being currently enrolled in the U.G.A. Terry College of Business Certified Financial Planner Course to increase my understanding of how to manage my wealth. Do what you can to understand our economy and how to profit from it. This has led to a 37% increase in net worth for me the past 2 years.

·       Protect Assets: Use insurance and safe investments (CDs, bonds, high yield saving accounts, etc.) to hedge against major market downturns while also dollar-cost averaging with your primary accounts.

·       Have Skin in the Game: Once you acquire knowledge, test your own investment philosophy. I currently use Robinhood for my low P/E, low debt, high-dividend, -20% from 52 week high approach to picking stocks.

There are other methodologies for improving your financial standing, but these are the ones that have worked best for me the past few years…

Best of luck…

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Weekly Retrospective.....

What I’m Reading:  University of Berkshire Hathaway: 30 Years of Lessons Learned from Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger at the Annual Shareholders Meeting by Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn...

What I’m Listening ToBigger Pockets Money podcasts…

What I’m Working OnFinancial Planner (CFP) Certification course at UGA Terry College of Business….

Where I’m succeeding: Finishing what I start ….

Where I’m struggling: Posting things that are important to the handful of readers of this blog ….

What I’m grateful for: Finishing the Insurance module (BORING!) and starting on the Investment module of the CFP Course ….

Quote that has me thinking“If you want to separate yourself from 90% of your peers, simply do what you say you are going to do …….” ― Pet Arino

What I’m excited about:  Some new family news 😊  ….

What I’ve been pondering: Being all I can be ….

Monday, March 4, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m Reading:  University of Berkshire Hathaway: 30 Years of Lessons Learned from Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger at the Annual Shareholders Meeting by Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn...

What I’m Listening ToWes Moss Money Matters podcasts…

What I’m Working OnFinancial Planner (CFP) Certification course at UGA Terry College of Business….

Where I’m succeeding: Getting organized ….

Where I’m struggling: Letting things go ….

What I’m grateful for: Family ….

Quote that has me thinkingYou grow amidst discomfort, you improve and get tougher amidst pain. Ease is the enemy of who you want to become and what you want to do…….” ― Chad Howse

What I’m excited about:  A few potential business ventures I’m looking into, including a shared work space idea ….

What I’ve been pondering: Change ….

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Groucho Marx Quote...

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” – Groucho Marx

Monday, February 25, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m Reading:  The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins...

What I’m Listening ToInvestTalk podcasts…

What I’m Working OnFinancial Planner (CFP) Certification course at UGA Terry College of Business….

Where I’m succeeding: Being content ….

Where I’m struggling: Keeping my plate too full ….

What I’m grateful for: Relationships ….

Quote that has me thinking“We should always be asking ourselves: Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?” -  Epictetus

What I’m excited about:  The next two (2) point (.) seven (7) five (5) ….

What I’ve been pondering: Continuing the momentum with my nonprofit ….

Monday, February 18, 2019

George Bernard Shaw Quote....

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weekly Retrospective ....

What I’m Reading:  General Financial Planning Principles by Keir Educational Resources...

What I’m Listening ToWe Study Billionaires podcasts…

What I’m Working OnCertified Financial Planner (CFP) certification at UGA Terry College of Business….

Where I’m succeeding: Marketing my nonprofit more successfully by establishing contacts and spreading the word to more eligible students ….

What I’m grateful for: Relationships ….

Quote that has me thinkingTrue happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” -  Seneca

What I’m excited about:  Life ….

What I’ve been pondering: Our next RAK group mission ….

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Will Durant (or Aristotle?) Quote....

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then,  is not an act, but a habit.” Will Durant/Aristotle

Sunday, February 3, 2019

RAK Habitat Build...

Our RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) group has gotten off to a solid start in 2019. In January we sponsored a family with groceries, transportation and car seats. For February, we agreed to participate in a Habitat For Humanity build in Atlanta. Thanks to Cox Enterprises for sponsoring the build and RAK member, Lee, for inviting us out. What an awesome time observing a young lady drive the first nail of her home and knowing that her hard work and discipline will be changing her family tree for the better. I also got to go fanboy on Clark Howard: What an awesome, down to earth celebrity. It was a hard day’s work, but to quote Paul afterwards: “This was good for the soul.” Well said, and we look forward to another build in the near future…

Friday, February 1, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt Quote....

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  ― Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Stock Investing Test Run....

After getting out of debt, building an emergency fund and taking advantage of tax-incentive investing (IRA/403b), I started looking at other investment options. Fidelity and Vanguard both make investing easy, with numerous low-fee accounts. After picking some high dividend paying index funds, I also decided to experiment with the stock market. After considerable research, I began investing in individual stocks which meet the following criteria:

·       Low debt ratios: After personally observing the positive impact that eliminating debt has had on me being able to start creating real wealth, I will only invest in companies that follow this same principle.
·       Good cash flow: This principle isn’t really possible without the previous one, as they go hand in hand, but I won’t invest in broke companies, even if they have no debt…
·       Low price to earnings ratio (P/E): I’m looking for companies trading at no more than 15 times their earnings to ensure the opportunity for growth, even though I’m really investing for…
·       High dividends: Let’s face it…another recession is coming, and likely sooner than later. However, dividend paying stocks pay out whether the company goes up in value or not, so if I can get 4+% in dividends from a stable company, I will.
·       Trading at a discount: I’m only buying companies trading at at least a 20% discount from its 52-week high. If all the other principles are met, this final requirement all but ensures a long-term profit.

A big reason for this test is that I plan on shifting the bulk of my retirement portfolio to dividend paying investments when I leave the workforce in a few years and what a better way to test the waters ahead of time….

I decided on the investment platform Robinhood for this test, as they do not charge any fees and are incredibly easy to work with to date, so….

This month, I invested in 3 different companies that met all of the principles listed above and have increased my portfolio by 11.75%. And to be honest, while the gains are nice to see, these investments are more about the dividends. More to follow in the months ahead as my test continues….