Sunday, June 17, 2018

2017 Financial Retrospective....



I started down the path of F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) at the beginning of 2017 after years of only halfway committing to this lifestyle. Fortunately, after spending our first several married years in the military accumulating debt, we immediately started setting aside a portion of our pay after entering the civilian world, which gave us a leg up on retirement, despite continuing down the normal American path of consumer debt. So, this past year, with our oldest having graduated nursing school and our youngest graduating high school, my wife and I decided to go all out for 12 months to eliminate all our debt and set ourselves up for a better future. And we made it, house and all, in only 10-1/2 months. Additionally, we continued to make our regular investments, dramatically increasing contributions the last month of the year thanks to having no debt at that time. The full breakdown (100%) of our net worth increase (28% overall) in 2017 follows:

·       Main retirement account: 48% (it was a good year for the stock market)
·       Debt elimination (house and all): 36%
·       Personal/company investment contributions: 17%
·       Home value: 7%
·       Personal savings: -8%

Full disclosure: Part of our commitment to getting out of debt meant that we cashed in all of our (non-retirement) savings except for $1,000 and threw it at our debt last January. And while we made up the majority of that by the end of the year, we still ended up a tad short.

While 2018 has started off a bit slower due to the stock market being shaky, prepaying insurance (great discounts for doing so) and paying for a wedding, living without debt opens the door for huge increases in savings/investments, along with opportunities to find tax shelters for our money (FSA for the family and 403 (b) for the wife).

See previous posts on what we did to accomplish this goal, as well as asking any questions you might have.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Marcus Aurelius Quote....


Thanks, Kadar….




“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not truth.” – Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weekly Retrospective.....



What I’m reading:  The 10 Pillars of Wealth: The Mindset of the World’s Richest People by Alex Becker

What I’m listening to:  We Study Billionaires podcasts....

Where I’m failingNon-profit planning …. still ….

Where I’m succeeding: Leading ….

What I’m grateful for: Friends ….

Quote that has me thinkingAbove all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

What I’m excited aboutMe and Lenny getting back in the homeless biz …. It was fun hanging out together today and seeing opportunities to serve …

What I’ve been pondering: The next four (4) point (.) five (5) ….


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Continuous Improvement Blog...



Everyone please check out and subscribe to my friend and (long distance) co-worker Kieran Lenahan’s blog on everything near and dear to my heart; including self-improvement, reading, team-building and helping those less fortunate. His blog and writing are also way better than mine….

https://kieranlenahan.com/


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Jan-May Financial Update...



After starting off the year poorly due to pre-paying insurance and a stupid tax, we’ve done considerably better with regards to sticking to our budget and are almost spot on approaching the midway point.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Alternative Workouts....



My buddy, Ragnar (not his real name), from my old Army days is an expert at finding alternative workouts while living Life@Sea....



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Intermittent Fasting – Week 8 Update....



Yesterday marked the end of 8 weeks of intermittent fasting for me. Essentially, I only eat between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM and eat mainly protein and fat, which, over time, allows your body to start burning fat instead of glucose for energy. Some results of this experiment follow:

Pros:

·       I lost 11 pounds overall (at least 7 of which was fat), 2 inches off my waist and 3% body fat during the first 4 weeks. During the second 4 weeks, I added back 2 pounds (muscle) while decreasing my stomach measurement by another ¼”.
·       Sleep and energy levels improved dramatically after the first week (eliminating carbs results in brain fog and flu-like symptoms the first week). I noticed on the handful of days where I cheated (late night trips to the fridge, sleep sucked…full disclosure)
·       I gained ½” in my shoulders and maintained muscle mass in my arms and back while losing fat (see first bullet point)

Cons:

·       The first week was ROUGH. Make sure to drink a lot of water to offset the ‘carb-flu’ and brain fog as your body converts from carbs to fat for fuel.
·       Cheating has a domino effect, especially the further you get into the diet. Sugar is incredibly addictive and that one piece of cake at my grandmother’s 88th birthday celebration caused me to crave chocolate and sweets more than ever. Find a semi-alternative food instead of sugar if you just have to eat something besides protein and fat every now and then.
·       My panels on a recent doctor’s visit 6 weeks into eating this way reflected that my blood is slightly acidic; basically, I’m drinking too much coffee and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. I’m going to look for more plant-based proteins to add to my diet to offset this, as well as cut down on the caffeine.

To be completely transparent here, I’ve not done well the past week or so, as late-night zombie walks to the fridge have knocked me out of ‘keto’ and prevented me from continuing to make further gains. And as much as this has been negated by an increase in weight training and added muscle, this lack of discipline has decreased the amount of freedom I have to eat during my 8-4 window each day. And so I end up creating a vicious cycle of not eating enough during the day to offset late-night binges, causing me to be hungry again later….

No more excuses. Back to the plan…..

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Downed Tree....











My wife called me at the gym this morning at 6 AM to tell me a tree had fallen across our fence. So this evening after work, me and my chainsaw decided the tree could go….

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Satchel Paige Quote....



“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”Satchel Paige

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m reading:  The 10 Pillars of Wealth: The Mindset of the World’s Richest People by Alex Becker

What I’m listening to:  Bigger Pockets Money Show....check out the latest podcast featuring Tony Gayden …. dude’s story is amazing!

Where I’m failingNon-profit planning …. still…

Where I’m succeeding: Cleared a bunch of brush and small trees on my property, along with starting another brick walkway ….

What I’m grateful for: Renewed appreciation for/from others ….

Quote that has me thinkingI’d rather die like a man than live like a coward.” – Tupac Shakur

What I’m excited aboutLife – every day is a gift ….

What I’ve been pondering: This weekend …. thinking of those who fought and died for us always makes me melancholy, but appreciative of their sacrifice. I also lost my father on this day when I wasn’t much more than a kid, so my mind always goes back to memories of him and time lost ….

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Chad Howse Quote....


“You have to understand that there is no satisfaction in life, there is no mountain-top, there is only the climb……Give yourself permission to chase more while being grateful for what you have, who you're with, where you are, and what you're doing. Life isn't so black and white that you have to be meek or wealthy, at peace or ambitious.” – Chad Howse

Friday, May 25, 2018

Warren Buffett Investment Tips....


"When a person with money meets a person with experience, the one with experience ends up with the money and the one with money leaves with experience." – Warren Buffett

As many of you know, I’m a huge Warren Buffett fan. Here’s some pointers of his from over the years:

  • Diversification isn’t always a good idea…Buffett says that diversification is for people who don't know much about investing. An experienced investor should choose stocks on a long-term basis and should have faith in his/her investments.
  • Invest in yourself first: Warren Buffett says that the best investment one can make is in his/her own abilities. Most people are not going to make most of their money from the stock market. They're going to make it from their careers. So put yourself first.
  • Trust yourself to be a successful investor: To be successful, you need to overcome that fear and not pay attention to what others are telling you. Accumulate knowledge and make investment decisions on your own to stand separate from the crowd and be a winner.
  • Only make investments that you understand: Buffet says that before he invests in the stock of a company, he has to first understand how the company makes money and the main drivers that impact its industry in no more than 10 minutes. If he's not able to understand it in 10 minutes, he moves on to evaluate another company on this basis.
  • Make sure you choose the right news to focus on: Buffett believes in the 99-1 rule. Most investors take actions based on 1% of the financial news they consume. Doing so, they quickly sell their stocks whenever bad news comes up - e.g. a company's revenues have fallen by 10%. If the company in this particular example has been in business for, say, 100 years, then Buffett says that it's definitely capable of withstanding such events. In other words, people often tend to overreact.
  • Buying a stock of a company is buying part of a business: When you buy a stock, you're not just buying a piece of paper or a ticker symbol. Buying the stock of a company is buying an ownership stake in a BUSINESS – So KNOW that BUSINESS….
  • Learn from your mistakes and move on: Buffett advises keeping a record of the mistakes you've made so that you know what went wrong and make sure you don't repeat them again. He also says that you should share these lessons with your children and grandchildren so that they know what mistakes not to commit. 
  • Don’t be a day trader: According to Buffett, the secret to getting a better return on investment is to buy a stock and forget about it. He believes in having a buy-and-hold mentality and insists on holding stocks for decades.There are two principles behind this: (1) if you buy a stock for less than it's true worth, the stock's price will eventually converge with it's intrinsic value; and (2) if you buy a wonderful business, the value of that business will compound and increase exponentially the longer you hold on to it. So, the patient investor will ultimately be rewarded if they hold on to their stocks for a longer time. For Buffet, time is the friend of a wonderful business.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ruth Porat Quotes....



Stick to your true north – build greatness for the long term. – Ruth Porat

If you continue to plow ahead in something that is OK, you will miss the opportunity to do something that is great.  Ruth Porat

Workout Tips...



I was recently interviewed for an article in Garage Gym Magazine…


Since then, I’ve been asked for workout advice. Some very basic, but very easy ideas to implement include the following:

·       Start out slow (and only after being cleared by your doctor): It’s amazing what just some daily walking can do for your health and physique, especially when combined with some dietary changes.
·       Be consistent: Do something physically demanding every single day, even if it doesn’t require a trip to the gym.
·       Switch it up: If training with weights, you only need to train a body part one day a week to gain muscle. Switch it up and add some walking, jump rope, or body weight exercises on off days.
·       Sprint: Nothing rips me up like short, hard runs.
·       Row your boat: Rowing is another great exercise that both tones and adds muscle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May North Georgia Garden Tips...




From the UGA Extension website…
  • Make third plantings of vegetables mentioned for April (snap beans, corn, squash, lima beans).
  • Control grass and weeds; they compete for moisture and fertilizer.
  • Locate mulching materials for such crops as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Irish potatoes, okra and lima beans. Apply before dry spells occur but after plants are well established (usually by blooming time).
  • Pole beans cling to the trellis or sticks more readily if attached by the time they start running.
  • Try a few tomato plants on stakes or trellises this year. Now is the time to start removing suckers and tying the plants up.
  • Watch out for the "10 most wanted culprits": Mexican bean beetle, Colorado potato beetle, bean leaf beetle, Harlequin cabbage bug, blister beetle, cabbage worm, tomato hornworm, tomato fruit worm (and corn earworm), cucumber beetle and squash bug. Early discovery makes possible early control.
  • Begin disease control measures as needed. Check with your county Extension office for more information.
  • Water as needed.
  • Mulch as needed.
  • Keep a log book of problems and failures that occur so you can avoid or prevent them in the next planting season. Note successful techniques and varieties for consideration next season.
  • Make plans now for putting up some of your garden produce. Check with your county extension office for more information.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Back by Special Request....

And one of my all-time favorites as well…..


 So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. – Tecumseh, Chief – Shawnee Nation

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....




What I’m reading:  The Book of Romans

What I’m listening to:  Bigger Pockets podcasts....

Where I’m failingNon-profit planning ….

Where I’m succeeding: Getting stuff done at work ….

What I’m grateful for: This past weekend with my family ….

Quote that has me thinkingGive me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

What I’m excited aboutSome upcoming opportunities ….

What I’ve been pondering: The next four (4) point (.) five (5) ….

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Garage Gym Life....



Check out my friend, John, over at his Garage Gym Magazine site, as well as his new YouTube channel….



Hemingway Quote...



There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self – Ernest Hemingway

Friday, May 18, 2018

January-April Personal Finance Update....



After a 28% net worth increase in 2017 due to eliminating all debt, a robust stock market and being able to save the majority of my income the last two months of the year, 2018 has started off a bit more slowly, with only a 1.6% net-worth increase for the first 4 months of the year (with the majority of this being new investments to offset market losses). However, there are a few bright spots to consider:

·       Having reached Flex F.I., where my savings/investments would cover all of my expenses based on the 4% rule, I’d still be on track to generate more income than I’d spend based on a projected 4.8% return this year.
·       We’ve started 2 additional automatic investments this year on top of what we already had, with a third coming this summer. I consider these additional income streams for the future….check out my man Tyrone over at East Point Investments, LLC… http://www.eastpointinvestmentsllc.com/ 
·       I’ve started looking at potential real estate investment opportunities, which will be another source of passive income to create a more diversified portfolio.

On a side note, downturns in the markets are opportunities to buy stocks and mutual funds at a discount, not a reason to panic and sell, which all but guarantees a loss. Stock market investing is a long game. If you believe in America and understand our history, you know that there are corrections (10% downturn) on average every year, and a bear market (20+% downturn) every 3-5 years. And in the vast majority of years that bear markets hit, the next year sees a pretty dramatic increase. Just knowing this allows us to recognize that the market realigning itself is opportunity, not a reason to freak out…..

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Epicurus Quote...

For my friend…. 



Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurus

Great Story - Please Read and Share...

https://vimeo.com/198357872


December 1944 – The Ardennes, The Battle of the Bulge – The 106th Infantry Division landed in France some ninety days after D-Day. The division, which consisted of the 422nd, 423rd, and 424th Regiments, began an arduous journey by truck across France and Belgium. The winter of 1944 was brutal – it was cold and wet. The 106th Division reached the Schnee Eifel area in eastern Belgium near the German border by December 10, 1944, and took up their positions, with the 422nd Regiment taking up a forward position. On December 16, 1944, the 422nd was attacked by the Germans as part of their counter offensive, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Regiment was quickly cut off and surrounded. In the afternoon of December 19, 1944, Colonel Deacheneaux, Commander of the 422nd Regiment, decided to surrender. Parts of the Regiment, including Headquarters Company, in which Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds served, were captured by the Germans later that day.

The Germans captured more than 20,000 GIs during the Battle of the Bulge. The men of the 422nd Regiment were marched some fifty kilometers to Gerolstein, Germany where they were loaded into box cars, 60 to 70 men per car, with virtually no food or water. They spent four days and nights traveling to Stalag IXB in Bad Orb, Germany, arriving on Christmas Day. After several weeks in Bad Orb, the American POWs were divided into three groups – officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted men. The NCOs were taken to Stalag IXA in Ziegenhain. There were 1,292 men in this group.

The highest ranking NCO was Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds from Knoxville, Tennessee. Upon their arrival in Ziegenhain, the commandant of Stalag IXA, Major Siegmann, ordered all Jewish POWs to present themselves the next morning. Master Sgt. Edmonds ordered all 1,292 American POWs to stand in formation outside of their barracks.

The next day, when Major Siegmann saw that all 1,292 GIs were standing in front of their barracks, enraged he turned to Edmonds and demanded: “They cannot all be Jews!” To this, Master Sgt. Edmonds said, “We are all Jews here.” Siegmann immediately drew his pistol and pressed it into Edmonds’s forehead. Roddie Edmonds did not back down and replied: “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and when we win this war you will be tried for war crimes.” Siegmann turned around and left. There were 200 Jewish GIs among the 1,292 American POWs. This act by Master Sgt. Edmonds saved the lives of these 200 Jewish GIs.

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds died in 1985. He was the fifth American to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.

On Monday, November 28, 2016, The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) honored Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds with the Yehi Or Award – “Let There Be Light” and recognized Jewish GIs saved by Master Sgt. Edmonds.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Intermittent Fasting - Week 4 Results....




This morning I completed my 4th week of intermittent fasting (only eating during the 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM window after fasting the previous 16 hours). To date I’m down 11.25 pounds, 3.3% body fat, 1.75” off of my waist and ½” off of my thighs, while maintaining the same measurements in my shoulders and arms. These measurements reflect that I’ve lost more than 7 pounds of body fat and that the muscle I have lost was from my lower body, which is fine with me. The best side effect of this methodology of eating has been better sleep, as I’m an insomniac. Since the first week (which I’ll admit was rough due to brain fog, no energy and an inability to relax), I’ve been getting a solid 5 consecutive hours of sleep each evening, waking up more refreshed and ready to get right out of bed.

More to follow, as I have no desire to reverse any of these symptoms anytime soon…. following is my regular morning eating ritual, consisting of protein shake (whole milk, protein powder, raw egg blended up), cucumbers dipped in guacamole, maple wood bacon (thanks, Paul!) and a fat bomb (cream cheese with dark chocolate chips in the middle)....



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jack Johnson....

I read recently where President Trump (still weird saying that) is considering a pardon for the first black world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Not sure why he hasn’t been pardoned yet, especially after the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in a rare show of unanimity, urged for a full pardon in 2016. Additionally, Senator John McCain, a huge boxing fan, constantly implored President Barrack Obama to reverse the Mann Act conviction from 2013. This is long overdue and here’s hoping Mr. Trump does what is right soon….

If I can gather enough interest, I will start an online petition to support this symbolic act of justice. Until then, please reach out to your elected officials in support of this action.

“An individual action, multiplied by millions, creates global change.” – Jack Johnson




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....


What I’m reading:  Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss and The Book of Esther

What I’m listening to:  The Mad Fientist Money Talks and Chris Hogan investing podcasts ....

Where I’m failingNon-profit planning ….

Where I’m succeeding: Intermittent fasting and ketosis diet ….

What I’m grateful for: Family, which is about to get bigger ….

Quote that has me thinkingDiscipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

What I’m excited aboutMy son finishing up his freshman year of college in a few days ….

What I’ve been pondering: The next four (4) point (.) seven (7) ….