Sunday, October 6, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....


What I’m Reading:  The Bucket Plan by Jason L. Smith…

What I’m Listening To/Watching:  Mr. 1500 House Flip YouTube videos…

What I’m Working On: CFP course case studies ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Enjoying downtime ….

Where I’m Struggling: Staying focused on the case studies for the certified financial planner course .… we’re already doing so many of the things the course makes a big deal of, which kind of makes it like reading a book where you know the ending, but you still have to read every word…

What I’m Grateful For:  The small things …. had a yard sale yesterday. Only made $80, but it was nice hanging out with the wife and daughter in decent weather .... also got a check for $128 from our electric company (co-op) which was totally unexpected.

Quote That Has Me Thinking“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard

What I’m Excited About:  Some garden ideas for next spring similar to the pic I posted above that I observed in Cartersville last weekend ….

What I’ve Been Pondering: How best to stay the course I have chartered while also enjoying the occasional off path ….

Friday, September 27, 2019

Investing Update...



As the handful of people who follow this blog know, I’m looking to retire early, like within a couple years early. With that in mind, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of different investment options as I decide on which ‘bucket’ approach I will use to fund my retirement:

·       75% index fund/25% bond fund mix with a Fidelity brokerage account. To date this year, I’m up about 16.7%, with nowhere near as wide a spread as you would think between the two funds, thanks to the excellent year bonds have had. Additionally, the index fund will pay out a dividend of close to 2% in December to add to the pot.
·       Dividend Investing: To date, using Robinhood, a commission-free online tool, I’ve bought into 8 different stocks that average dividend payouts of 6.2% per year. As you can see in the screenshot above, they’ve also observed solid growth year to date. In selecting these stocks, I chose companies that were at least 20% off of 52-week highs, paid a dividend of at least 4% and had solid financials (other than Coke, which I bought just because it’s Coke 😊).

Looking forward to how the rest of the year shakes out and will update more frequently in the future.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Quote That Always Really Makes Me Think....



We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“  Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Matt Kahn Quote....


So true….





Despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they have themselves. – Matt Kahn

Monday, September 9, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading:  Love Does by Bob Goff…

What I’m Listening To:  Afford Anything podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Relaxing ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Appreciating life more ….

Where I’m Struggling: Maintaining focus .…

What I’m Grateful For:  Being able to take 3 people close to me to the Braves game yesterday (pic of field above) and the fact that Matt Joyce hit a home run that won me $5 in food/drink at RaceTrak today 😊 ....

Quote That Has Me Thinking“Here's a sigh to those who love me, and a smile to those who hate; and whatever sky is above me, here's a heart for every fate.” - Lord Byron

What I’m Excited About:  An upcoming addition to the family 😊….

What I’ve Been Pondering: How what I am doing right now will impact the next 1, 5 and 10 years of my life ….

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Financial Independence Website....



I want to put in a plug for a great financial independence blog/website ran by Jim Wang, who retired in his 30s to spend more time with his wife and 3 children. Head over to Wallet Hacks and check out some excellent advice from someone who talks the talk and, more importantly, walks the walk….

Life@Sea....



Sorry for the blurry shot, as I couldn’t upload the video and had to settle for a still photo, but Ragnar again shows that, even at sea, there’s no excuse for not getting your daily workouts in….

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....


What I’m Reading:  Men’s Journal magazine...need a good book, though…any recommendations?

What I’m Listening To:  Money with Friends podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Case Studies for the CFP Course and putting down a paver stone driveway ….

Where I’m succeeding: Living below my means and planning for my early retirement ….

Where I’m struggling: Getting to the gym…still getting regular workouts and yoga in at home, but I’m paying a membership and need to utilize it….

What I’m grateful for:  A great time last night at the Aaron Lewis concert…what a show!!!!

Quote that has me thinkingBe true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books - especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.” – John Wooden

What I’m excited about:  An upcoming addition to the family 😊 ….

What I’ve been pondering: The next 2.3 ….

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Book Recommendation....


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

Congrats!!!!



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.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Weekly Retrospective...



What I’m Reading:  48 Days (still) … by Dan Miller ...

What I’m Listening ToBigger 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 ….

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Viktor Frankl Quote....



Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.- Viktor Frankl

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weekly Retrospective...



What I’m Reading:  48 Days… by Dan Miller ...

What I’m Listening ToStacking 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 thinkingKahlil 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 ….

Kahlil Gibran Quote ...



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

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Vacation(s) Summaries...



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!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Life@Sea...


My old Army buddy, Ragnar, never lets his surroundings get in the way of a good workout….



Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hemingway Quote....


I have a lot of work to do still….




“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dealing with Life....



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.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading:  The Memo: Five Rules For Your Economic Liberation by John Hope Bryant ...

What I’m Listening ToTim 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 ….

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Latest Fitness/Lifestyle Effort...



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....

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading:  A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani and Malise Ruthven ...

What I’m Listening ToYou 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 ….


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 ….