Monday, September 17, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m reading:  The Book of Hosea (Bible), The Power of Broke by Daymond John (just finished) and How to Form a Nonprofit by NOLO

What I’m listening to Money Matters by Wes Moss  podcasts....

What I’m Working On: Me ….

Where I’m succeeding: Getting the ball rolling for my nonprofit ….

What I’m grateful for: Those who love me ….

Quote that has me thinking“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to acheive - the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

What I’m excited aboutThe next three (3) point (.) two (2) ….

What I’ve been pondering: How to best help folks help themselves ….

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 7 Results (week 8 for me)....

Date 20-Jul 27-Jul 3-Aug 10-Aug 17-Aug 24-Aug 30-Aug 8-Sep 15-Sep
Weight 177 173.4 171.6 171.6 171.4 170.8 171.4 170.6 170.2
Waist 35.75 35.13 34.8 34.75 34.75 34.63 34.5 34.25 34


During the past 8 weeks I have had a friendly accountability competition with Mr. 1500 who, while enjoying early retirement, has committed to using some of the extra time he doesn’t have to spend reporting to a ‘job’ to get into better shape. And so far, I am pleased with my results, having shed almost 7 pounds and, more importantly, almost 2 inches off my waist. I had planned on stopping this challenge the end of September to muscle up some for the winter (my winter coat), but I will wait until I am officially under the 34” waist mark before disengaging…..more to follow…

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Favorite Financial Independence Books....



As the handful of readers who subscribe to this blog know, I spent all of 2017 living very frugally in an effort to completely get out of debt and have continued to live below my means and to learn additional financial lifestyle lessons the past 12 months. I also recently joined the F.I.R.E. (financial independence, retire early) community and am looking at retiring the end of 2021 to enjoy side hustles and running the nonprofit I am currently working on.

Earlier this year I responded to an article about being financially responsible on LinkedIn. In this response, I shared several books I’ve read, along with very brief (like a few words brief) summaries of the lessons I took away from each book.   After swapping book referrals with multiple friends recently, I thought I would share those books/thoughts with a wider audience, as well as what I specifically did in response to personally reading each one. I receive no compensation from sharing this list and beware ahead of time that individual readers might take a different message away from each book than I did.

1.     Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey: The gist of his message is to eliminate debt so that you can build wealth. I immediately signed up on Every Dollar to create a budget and track spending, established my debt snowball plan (although mine wasn’t in the exact same order as Dave's), and eliminated all excess spending (except for a mission trip to Honduras right after my son graduated high school – not the ideal graduation trip for most teenagers, I know, but well worth it).
2.    Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan: “Retirement isn’t an age, it’s a financial number” is the hallmark of Mr. Hogan’s message, which I totally bought into. His main message is that you need to be investing at least 15% of your income into retirement, which I have fortunately been doing for some time. However, his website chrishogan360 which includes a retirement calculator shows that it’s never too late to start building your retirement dream.
3.    Unshakeable by Tony Robbins: In his book, Tony focuses on how to maintain the wealth you've worked so hard to build by keeping it out of other's hands (money management fees and government taxes). Thanks to reading this book, I opened very low/zero fee accounts with Fidelity and Vanguard where we now invest a healthy portion of our bring home pay, started an FSA ($840 of tax savings for the year), as well as investing the bulk of my wife’s pre-tax salary into a 403(b) (savings of $2,100 a year).
4.    The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason: I actually wrote a summary of this book on my blog a while back: Richest Man in Babylon Summary, and if I was writing this post based on wealth of overall knowledge instead of order of impact, this book would head up the list. So if you’re looking for the ONE book to read on creating financial independence, this classic written 90 years ago is what I would recommend. Everything contained in every other book was written here, well before the others. “Seek to associate thyself with men and enterprises whose success is established” was my biggest takeaway form this classic, leading me to seek out multiple mentors.
5.    Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: The quote (and main message I got from this book) that continues to echo in my head is: “The poor and the middle-class work for money; the rich have money work for them.” Retirement means I will need money working for me, since my side hustle and nonprofit will be more about value-add and less about income-add, so RDPD resulted in my increasing investments and looking for opportunities to diversify income.
6.    You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think by Wes Moss: A referral by a friend (thanks Dave) a couple of months ago, Mr. Moss really got me thinking about income streams (successful retirements usually have 4 or more streams) and thinking ahead of time about what I actually want to do in a few years when I retire more than a decade ahead of tradition.

There are a ton of great books out there, but this list keeps things simple (which is necessary for a man of limited intelligence like me) and easy to fall back on, as none of these writings are of great length. Feel free to comment and reach out to me with questions. And again, I receive no compensation for these reviews, so know that they really are my favorites.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 6 Results (week 7 for me)....




Sorry for the delayed update. I’ve been on the road a lot the past few weeks, so this comes a day late. As I’ve reported previously, me and Mr. 1500 , who was featured in a recent NY Times article on the F.I.R.E. movement I have joined, have a mini (just me and him) accountability group going on to track our weight and stomach measurements due to both of us not liking the way our guts were starting to look. And I’m happy to report that I’m continuing to make progress. This past week's improvements were mainly the result of getting back to intermittent fasting several days each week, which really helps with sleep as well as workout recoveries. More to follow….

Monday, September 3, 2018

Credit Card Trial Update....




Back on July 30, I posted that I was going to trial using a credit card for the cash back benefits. See HERE ....

And I was quite nervous, being that I had spent quite some time getting out of debt and avowing to NEVER run up credit again..


However, during this trial, I’ve racked up more than $100 in cash, or $125 in travel dollars (to be redeemed for hotels, flights, etc.). And I’m also closing in on a $500 cash-back reward, all for just spending $4,000 within 90 days.

And best of all….I’ve not paid a PENNY of interest, instead paying off my account each time it hits $1,000.

More to follow….

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Life@Sea Training Update...



My old Army buddy continuing to shatter all excuses I have for getting after it everyday…

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 5 Results (week 6 for me)....


Following is my weekly accountability update with Mr. 1500 . 

This past week has been solid from a workout and diet perspective. I moved back to the intermittent fasting methodology of eating due to recurring issues with insomnia that impact my life in other ways, which has improved my sleep and mood tremendously the past few days. I also altered my workout routine in order to work around longstanding injuries. And while my weight crept up a little bit this week, there are two factors I remind myself to keep in mind: 1. My waist measurement continues its downward trend; and, 2. I’m weighing in a day early this week due to commitments early tomorrow morning. So, chances are, I’d still see gains on that end as well. Regardless, I’m not going for less overall weight, as this tends to effect muscle retention as well as making me look older, but less body fat, which I believe I am accomplishing with my current approach.

More to follow….

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Weekly Retrospective ....



What I’m reading:  The Book of Isaiah (Bible) and The Six Sigma Way Team Field Book: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams ….

What I’m listening to:  Bigger Pockets Money podcasts.... Mindy Jensen is the best at what she does  ....

What I’m struggling with: Me ….

Where I’m succeeding: Sticking to the plan ….

What I’m grateful for: Family ….

Quote that has me thinking“The only journey is the one within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

What I’m excited aboutThe next three (3) point (.) three (3) ….

What I’ve been pondering: Next steps for my non-profit ….


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Life@Sea Workout...



My longtime friend getting after it while traversing the eastern seaboard via ship. If he can ensure that he gets his workouts in, I certainly have no excuse….

"Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, August 24, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 4 Results (week 5 for me)....



Today is my week 5 update of my accountability challenge with Mr. 1500. I’m not going to say much, but I feel like I am on to something this past week. Specifically, I like the way my back and arms are looking but am unimpressed with my stomach progress. No excuses, though, and more to follow.



Date
07/20
07/27
08/03
08/10
08/17
08/24
Lbs.       
177
173.4
171.6
171.6
171.4
170.8
Waist 
35.75"
35.13"
34.75"
34.75"
34.75"

34.63"

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....




What I’m reading:  The Book of Daniel (Bible) and The Six Sigma Way Team Field Book: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams ….

What I’m listening to:  We Study Billionaires (T.I.P) podcasts....

What I’m working on: In general: Me…. More specifically: Reorganizing my basement and leaning out more ….

Where I’m succeedingFinishing what I start ….

What I’m grateful forAn example of a life well lived ….

Quote that has me thinking“If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the north or to the south, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” – Ecclesiastes 11:3-4

What I’m excited aboutI finally filed the paperwork for my scholarship non-profit …. Interested in seeing how this evolves …

What I’ve been ponderingLegacy ….


Friday, August 17, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 3 Results (week 4 for me)....




This past week was considerably better for me with regards to my eating discipline. I’ve maintained improvements from the first week over the past three weeks. However, I’ve not made the necessary adjustments to my workout routine (to be honest, I’ve barely worked out at all, proving the theory that 80% of your build is based on diet) and so progress has been nil. Time to pull out an old exercise tool I haven’t seen in a while thanks to my body composition accountability partner, Mr. 1500 over at https://www.1500days.com/ and get to work….

Sunday, August 12, 2018

See You Soon....

















I’ve been fortunate in my life to have a handful of mentors to help guide me with their words, but more importantly, their actions. The first, and most impactful, was my Grandmother, Lillie-Mae Norman Lang. She passed yesterday after 88 years on this earth; a servant to her family, her community and her God. Words do her life no justice, but I thank her for displaying what a life well lived looks like, along with allowing me the honor of publishing her memoirs and sharing with me a strong and powerful lineage that I will strive to uphold and pass down to my own offspring.

I know that the time between now and when we meet again will pass like the blink of an eye, and that there is a huge celebration reunion going on in heaven, but the current pain I feel in my heart is very real.

I will see you soon, Grand-Momma….I will see you soon.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 2 Results (week 3 for me)....















Today is my planned weigh in/measurement date with my accountability partner for this endeavor, Mr. 1500 over at https://www.1500days.com/ 

This past week resulted in zero gains after solid movement the previous 2 weeks. And, if I were honest, it was actually worse, because I lost some of my previous gains the first half of the week, making the second half more painful than necessary. I could make the excuse that I drove 2,100 miles over 3 days and was limited to fast foods during that time, but to quote Jocko Willink: ‘Discipline Equals Freedom’ and because I lacked discipline, I suffered to make up for it. I’ve discovered that when I truly put effort into something, I am successful. The majority of times in life where I have failed have been due to either poor planning or a lack of effort. This was one of those times.

Enough talk….

Friday, August 3, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 1 Results (week 2 for me)....



As I mentioned recently, I am currently tracking gains from reengaging in intermittent fasting. I started back almost 2 weeks ago but will track progress today and then next Thursday on a weekly basis. My friend over at https://www.1500days.com/ is also tracking his progress as we help hold each other accountable, so please head over to his blog (much better than my random ramblings) and check him out when he posts his results later.

To date I am down almost 6 pounds and an inch off my waist. Additionally, I’ve lost no muscle from my arms or shoulders (according to the tape measurer).

More to follow….

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Breakfast of Champions....



Like a boxer ahead of a match he’s trained hard for, I look forward to tomorrow’s weigh in with Mr. 1500 at https://www.1500days.com/ after a shoulder/delt workout and hearty breakfast consisting of protein shake and cold bacon….

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New Goal, New Challenge and Some Morning Motivation….


I’m setting a goal of losing an inch on my stomach during August without losing any muscle mass. I’ll be taking new measurements every Friday….

My challenge is less of a challenge, per se, and more about men holding each other accountable. In this case, my accountability partner is Mr. 1500 from the website https://www.1500days.com/   who will also be reporting his progress.

And here’s my morning motivation, a still frame from my ole Army buddy, Ragnar, getting after it in a boxing workout while traversing the eastern seaboard…. If he can regularly hit his workouts at sea, I have no excuse….


On that note, heading downstairs to do a lat workout….

Monday, July 30, 2018

Credit Card Trial....



I recently became the 4th (out of 4) victim of debit card fraud in my immediate family. And I get that that it’s a huge racket; but I cannot understand how someone can somehow walk in a store and use my debit card without the pin number hundreds of miles from home. But I digress….

My wife recently mentioned that one of the things she wants to do more in the future is travel. Hmmm, I thought: “Is there maybe a way to kill two birds with one stone here?”

Starting August 1, we will use credit cards to make all of our non-cash purchase (utilities, groceries, eating out, etc.). Chase has a card that will give us 50,000 reward points (equal to $600 in travel purchases or $500 cash back) for charging $4,000 in 90 days (or something like that) as well as cash back on all expenditures after that.

And yes, after a year of spending every cent (except for $1,000 of our savings) we had to eliminate all debt, a credit card scares me. I actually had a dream last night where I forgot to pay the bill and we somehow ran up more debt than our home is worth, while also spending the rest of our money traveling. I woke up in a panic…. However, the pros seem to outweigh the cons in this scenario, so we will give it a shot for the remainder of this year and see how it ends up.

More to follow….

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....




What I’m reading:  The Book of Psalms (Holy Bible) and The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams


What I’m listening to:  Choose F.I. podcasts....

What I’m working on: Always having something to work on ….

Where I’m succeeding: Morning routine ….

What I’m grateful forLife ….

Quote that has me thinkingPeople are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time, they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.” – Seneca

What I’m excited aboutOpportunities ….

What I’ve been pondering: Digital hiatus ….

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Back At It - Week 1 IF (sorta) Update....





















Back in April I started an 8-week journey that allowed me to lose several pounds of body fat while gaining muscle and improving sleep and energy levels. I was able to accomplish this through intermittent fasting (eating only between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM) and the Keto diet (high fat/moderate protein/low carbs).

However, during the 2 months since, vacations and traveling with work (excuses, excuses) have resulted in me losing some (but not all) of those gains.

On Monday of this week, I started back on this journey, but with a twist…I allowed myself to cheat each evening if I was hungry, but only with good food (healthy fats, proteins, dark chocolate).

The results the past week were a ¾” inch decrease in my stomach measurement and a 4-pound decrease in body weight. I’ve also measured my body fat percentage, but it has fluctuated based on hydration levels so I’m not sure how accurate it is in the short-term.

More to follow….

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ragnar....


My Army buddy from back in the day still getting his unconventional workouts in while at sea.....






Monday, July 23, 2018