Just had to share an amazing children’s book that really helps us all to remember how impactful our actions are on those around us. Please share and pass on to any and everyone with small children. Available on amazon.com at the moment….
Sunday, August 4, 2019
I wanted to take a moment and congratulate our year to date scholarship winners , as well as to thank all of those who made donations to assist students working towards their post-secondary educational goals. Learn more about our non-profit at JH Robby and share the word with those looking for opportunities to help, as well as those seeking assistance. This educational assistance non-profit has no paid employees and seeks to keep our overhead low to ensure every dollar goes to students working to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.
at August 04, 2019
Sunday, July 21, 2019
What I’m Reading: 48 Days (still) … by Dan Miller ...
What I’m Listening To: Bigger PocketsMoney podcasts…
What I’m Working On: Just completed the final module of the UGA Terry School of Business Certified Financial Planner course ….
Where I’m succeeding: Finishing what I start ….
Where I’m struggling: I’m sore…..I put in a ceiling fan yesterday – what a shoulder workout!!!!
What I’m grateful for: An awesome life ….
Quote that has me thinking: “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn
What I’m excited about: New beginnings ….
What I’ve been pondering: The next 2.5 ….
at July 21, 2019
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Sunday, June 30, 2019
What I’m Reading: 48 Days… by Dan Miller ...
What I’m Listening To: Stacking Benjamins podcasts…
What I’m Working On: Remodeling my side driveway (gravel) with paver stones ….
Where I’m succeeding: Getting things done ….
Where I’m struggling: CFP course (time to get back at it) ….
What I’m grateful for: An awesome life ….
Quote that has me thinking: Kahlil Gibran quote (see last blog post) ...
What I’m excited about: Getting back to saving/investing after a few nice vacations ….
What I’ve been pondering: Making my life about priorities rather than needs/wants ….
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half a man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices on the night.
All work is empty save when there is love; and when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Two weeks ago, I went to Boston for seven days with my wife. This past week I was able to fly out to Colorado for a four-day trip with my son. Some of my take aways during that time:
Stick with the big airlines, where they tell you the fees up front. Ugh. Flying to/fro Boston, we used Delta. Flying to/fro Denver, we used Spirit and Frontier. And while the cost ended up being similar overall, jumping through hoops on my phone at the last minute to pay for carry on bags was no fun, as well as the unexpected fees I hadn’t planned on. You pay for what you get....
Same with rental cars....our Boston trip resulted in paying one price up front, quick pick up and getting a zero-due receipt upon dropping off said rental car. In Denver, on top of a million extra questions and hard sell for additional options that added several minutes to my counter time, I came back to $76 of unexpected fees, taxes, etc.
Airbnb is hit/miss for me. While our experiences were generally nice overall, staying in someone’s home, oftentimes with other people you do not know, can be weird. And while we’re working on being more communal, we’re still not completely used to the experience (the one in Longmont was the BOMB, though!).
Boston’s history, tourism, eateries and scenery are world-class. But their traffic sucks. Bad. Salem, Plymouth and Cape Cod were also exceptional, but without the vehicle congestion issues. But seriously, overall a great trip, including the Freedom Trail and all the attractions it included, Salem Witch Trial tours, the original Pilgrim settlement, an awesome time visiting lighthouses in Cape Cod, and some great food.
Longmont, Colorado has the friendliest community of people I have ever been around. Seriously, every person we met was super-nice and accommodating. Our Airbnb host had an alpaca ranch, which are some really cool animals, as well as a cat that took right up with us. We visited the local museum and a heritage culture farm to learn about the history unique to this region, along with enjoying some awesome mountain ranges. We spent a lot of time in Boulder enjoying some hikes, before coming back to Longmont for a tour of the Mr. Money Mustache Co-Work space, or what I refer to as the Mecca of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) community. Thanks to Carl, better known as Mr. 1500, for the tour. On our last day, Carl was nice enough to invite my son and me on a hike of a nice peak in Boulder along with two of his early retiree friends.
As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am on track to retire early after years of living below my means and saving/investing as much as possible. Getting to visit the Mr. Money Mustache Headquarters and hanging out with someone whose blog I have followed religiously on my journey really cemented this goal for me. Additionally, there is nothing like hanging out with three guys who have accomplished what you are aspiring to do and seeing how much they are enjoying life to motivate you towards toward your goal.
Finally, never lose your license/main source of identification, when you are out of town and flying back, as my son found out the hard way. While Denver’s TSA team were super cordial and helpful in resolving the issue in a timely manner, the added stress and time was something we would rather have avoided.
All in all, some great memories, experiences and time with people I care about and admire from afar. One thing I’ve learned on my financial independence journey by way of budgeting is that it is important to match your spending to you values. For me, I enjoy good food, travel and time with people I care about and respect. You can have the nice clothes, vehicles, big home, gadgets and toys. On that note, it’s time to start planning my next trip before heading out for a nice dinner!
at June 29, 2019
Monday, June 17, 2019
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Saturday, June 1, 2019
I had lunch with a good friend at a good restaurant today and he brought up the topic of depression. He was shocked to hear that I had received a clinical diagnosis of depression in my early adulthood and have struggled with it most of my life. He asked how I deal with it and it dawned on me that my coping mechanism has always been to find someone who needs assistance and do what I can to help them. I had exceptional role models on this front growing up, as my father and grandmother both went out of their way to help anyone in need that they came across. All this time I thought I was emulating them, when I was really just self-medicating. It’s difficult to feel depressed about your own situation when your feeding someone who hasn’t ate in a few days, visiting someone with ALS or building a home for somebody who’s struggled with spousal abuse and subsequent addiction issues.
In no way do I make light of any form of mental illness, especially when 22 of my veteran brothers and sisters take their lives each day in this country. Nor am I arrogant or simple enough to think that my approach is a one size fits all cure for everyone who deals with depression. There are different levels to this disease, as well as different precursors. If you are struggling, please seek out professional assistance. But also know that giving back is a powerful medicine that will also sooth the soul and bring you closer to your maker.
*** I am in no way offering any medical advice here. Always seek assistance from a doctor trained to deal with depression if you are experiencing symptoms.
at June 01, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
What I’m Reading: The Memo: Five Rules For Your Economic Liberation by John Hope Bryant ...
What I’m Listening To: Tim Ferriss podcasts…
What I’m Working On: Catching up after taking a break from my CFP course ….
Where I’m succeeding: Getting things done ….
Where I’m struggling: Staying focused ….
What I’m grateful for: Family ….
Quote that has me thinking: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“ Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
What I’m excited about: My son being home from college for the summer ….
What I’ve been pondering: Newfound peace of mind ….
at May 13, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
I’m an insomniac. I’ve been one since my time in the military. Oddly enough, it’s never had a huge impact on my life, other than making me grumpy and fatigued from time to time. Regardless, it’s never prevented me from filling the vast majority of my employee or familial obligations. And every now and again, I crash hard, but those times are few and far between. A few weeks ago a buddy turned me on to an article that explained the pitfalls of not getting enough good sleep throughout your life, including depression, obesity, blood sugar problems, heart disease and even cancer and Alzheimer’s. Being that I already experience a couple of these issues, I knew the information was real as soon as I read it.
Shortly thereafter another buddy bought a sleep watch and started showing me how it measures and shows the breakdown of your sleep each night, including deep sleep, light sleep and awake sleep. After a week, I decided to buy one for myself to track my sleep. What I’ve learned over the course of my life is that anything I am able to measure, I’m able to improve, so I’m now sharing my sleep report with my two friends every morning as we all try to increase our body’s ability to regenerate and heal itself. If you are interested in one, click on the following fitness tracker link.
Full disclosure: I receive a small fee if you buy, which I will immediately donate to my nonprofit. If you decide to buy, let me know so you can join our accountability group....
at May 07, 2019
Sunday, April 28, 2019
What I’m Reading: A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani and Malise Ruthven ...
What I’m Listening To: You Can Afford Anything podcasts…
What I’m Working On: Finishing up Spring Gardens ….
Where I’m succeeding: Relationships that matter ….
Where I’m struggling: Sticking to a routine ….
What I’m grateful for: People who love me in spite of my many flaws ….
Quote that has me thinking: “Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place - that is, the unique you. Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have perseverance to realize the great life.“ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
What I’m excited about: Hanging out with my daughter and putting in her Spring garden ….
What I’ve been pondering: Long-term decisions ….
at April 28, 2019
Saturday, April 20, 2019
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….
at April 20, 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019
What I’m Reading: Side Hustle (still) by Chris Guillebeau...
What I’m Listening To: Bigger 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 thinking: “Great 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 ….
at April 15, 2019
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
"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
at April 03, 2019
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Monday, April 1, 2019
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….
at April 01, 2019
Saturday, March 30, 2019
What I’m Reading: Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau...
What I’m Listening To: Money 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 thinking: “Men 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 ….
at March 30, 2019
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Sunday, March 17, 2019
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…
at March 17, 2019
One of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. I honestly never heard him say a bad word about anyone….see you soon, Uncle Bill.... ...
Date 20-Jul 27-Jul 3-Aug 10-Aug 17-Aug 24-Aug 30-Aug 8-Sep 15-Sep Weight 177 173....
What I’m Reading: Sgt. Rodney M. Davis: The Making of a Hero by John D. Hollis and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell Wh...