Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rumi Quote....



“Why do you seek water when you are the stream.” - Rumi



Saturday, January 11, 2020

Retrospective....



What I’m Reading: Startup Your Life by Anna Akbari, PhD …

What I’m Listening To/WatchingRetirement Starts Today with Benjamin Brandt podcasts….

What I’m Working On: U.G.A. Certified Financial Planner final case study ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Keto diet…. day 11 of diet and day 6 of being in Ketosis ….

Where I’m Struggling: Staying focused …

What I’m Grateful For:  Family ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Yes, everything you do matters. But everything you don’t do matters just as much. Every little thing you d0 – or don’t do – steers life onto a slightly different course.”— Andy Andrews

What I’m Excited About: Figuring things out .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.0 ….

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Book Review....





1.     Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney: Roger does a great job of explaining how retirement planning has changed since our parent’s time due to the elimination of pensions. He also shares how to plan for market volatility and to avoid getting so caught up in the future that we fail to enjoy life today. An easy read that caused me to adjust my financial belt some to create more memories today just in case I don’t make it till tomorrow.

2.    Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner: This awesome duo once again shows how peeling back the layers of anything will show you that rarely is anything what it might appear to be on the surface as they take a look at global warming, prostitution, how monkeys can be trained to be capitalists and how safety devices frequently result in more, not less, injuries. Essentially, everything boils down to human incentives. I’m using this newfound understanding to determine the best way to communicate with college students about my nonprofit.

3.    Everyday Millionaires by Chris Hogan: Chris and his team interview more than 10,000 American millionaires and break down various myths to get at what successful wealth-building looks like for most, along with how it’s possible for anyone who puts their mind to it.

4.    The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins: Mr. Collins has a very simple (and inexpensive) methodology for becoming financially independent: 1. Avoid all debt, 2. Live on less than you earn, and; 3. Invest the difference, mainly in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (VSTAX) fund. He gives some great insight along the way, as well as sharing some life lessons he learned the hard way

5.    University of Berkshire Hathaway: 30+ Years of Lessons Learned from Warren Buffet & Charlie Munger at the Annual Shareholders Meeting by Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn: The intelligence and wit shared by Warren and Charlie reflect that both have lived lives of bountiful experiences and learned lessons that only seasoned learners could communicate in such an easily understood manner. Their simple, yet incredibly thought-provoking quotes echo men who understand the impact of their words, yet never take themselves too seriously. And finally, the fearlessness of sharing both success and failures show that the both fully understand how much discipline and resolution is required to duplicate their feats, which very few have.

6.    Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau: A pretty clear outline for bringing a good idea to fruition, but it didn’t really help me generate any money-maker thoughts for a future side gig. I’ll hold this book for when I do get an idea I believe is worth investing in….

7.    The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation by John Hope Bryant: Great read about how the system works and how anyone can be successful if they will focus more on the desired outcome and less on where they are starting from. The author really brings forth the psychological aspect of what is keep the ‘have nots’ from moving forward in today’s world.

8.    An Iron Will by Orison Swett Marden: Originally published in 1901, Marden was ahead of his time in seeing the decline of masculinity, along with the recognition that will power is the most important single ingredient for success. The poems, short-stories and quotes included all tie together various formulas that reflect upon what one can accomplish with intentionality and an unforgiving focus on a desired outcome.

9.    48 Days to The Work You Love by Dan Miller: Solid book with regards to planning, creating a resume and, especially, the interview process. However, it’s a little light in the way of truly helping someone figure out the intersection between what one is passionate about and what generates income, which is where I’m at currently. However, despite not really getting what I wanted out of this book, I would HIGHLY recommend it to someone just out of college or anyone looking for a job. The author presents some excellent ideas as to how to get a job you really want, including building a resume, communicating with potential employers, job searches and interviewing.

10.                    The Killers by Ernest Hemingway: Short story about two hired assassins sent to kill a former boxer for not throwing a fight. Written in the very basic, easy to follow prose Hemingway is known for.

11.  Love Does by Bob Goff: The author takes you on a ride from being shot as a child, to sailing across the ocean with friends as a teenager, to pursuing his wife for 3 years before she agreed to go out with him, to sitting on a bench outside the dean’s office for 7 days because his grades weren’t good enough to get him into law school to taking his kids on a worldwide tour to eat ice cream, etc. with heads of state after 9/11 to becoming counsel to Uganda after visiting there and starting a school, all the while sharing metaphors of how each experience is tied to his relationship with Jesus. What a great life and influence Bob Goff has had. We should all aspire to see the world as he does.

12. The Bucket Plan by Jason L. Smith: Great book to help someone close to retirement protect their assets in a way to ensure they have great experiences while not running out of money. His Now, Soon and Later bucket approach really got me thinking about the optimal strategy for my early withdrawal from traditional employment.

13. Stop Doing That $#!% by Gary John Bishop: Gary John is part author/part psychiatrist in this excellent read that takes you back to the root of the suppressive voices from our past that usually prevent us from being all we were meant to be in life. He also offers some solid advice as to how to overcome those voices. The book contains some awesome quotes as well.

14.Mind Hacking by Sir John Hargrave: Excellent read. The author helps us to view our brains like a computer, as well as understanding the importance of developing successful habits, decluttering our mind, celebrating small wins and using meditation and visualization to rewire positive mental loops to rewire our thinking. I’m looking forward to the 21-day exercise at the end of the book.

15.  Set for Life by Scott Trench: Written primarily for a younger person just starting out, this book shares a tried and true (by the author) approach to becoming financially independent quickly. The path he describes is simple: live frugally and save half of what you make, use that money to buy a property that you can house hack (have others pay the note while you continue to maintain a high savings rate), invest wisely, look for every opportunity to increase income while continuously self-educating and putting one’s self in position to get lucky. Well written and full of examples, I recommend to someone just starting a career. This is the first time someone has been able to explain to me why a house isn’t an asset, as well as clarifying why it’s just as important to build wealth inside non-retirement accounts as it is your 401k, IRA, etc.

16. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: The mythical story of Almustafa, sage of Orphalese and his parting conversations with the locals on all things life. Great series of poems on all aspects of living with advice obviously drawn from the major world religions. Excellent addition to your library with numerous easy to remember quotes on almost every subject.

17. The Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki: This book, written by Rich Dad, Poor Dad author, explains the 4 quadrants of cashflow generation: Employee, Self-Employed, Business Owner and Investor, explaining how each make/spend money and which ones leads to wealth generation the quickest (spoiler-alert: it’s not the employee or self-employed). Excellent read for understanding how the system works, as well as how to use self-knowledge to migrate to a quadrant more to your liking.

18.                    The Business School for People Who Like Helping People by Robert Kiyosaki: I’ll admit that I bought this book together with the last one by the same author because they were next to each other at the used bookstore I shop at in Powder Springs. And, wrongly, I thought it had something to do with nonprofits based on the title. Turns out this is a book on multi-level marketing, which I have no interest in. 

19. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey: Great tried and true lessons on how to start and create a successful business with integrity from someone with a proven track record. And like his personal finance books, these are just as good LIFE lessons as they are business lessons.

20.                   Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy D. Wilson: Nice read which explains the importance of telling the right stories to yourself, along with ‘Faking it till you make it…’. Also, a good reminder that our nonconscious thoughts frequently result in decisions that befuddle our conscious ones and why it’s important to try to match our nonconscious to our conscious selves through training and focusing less on ourselves and more on the needs of others.

21. Thinking Smarter by Shlomo Benartzi: Thought-provoking read on how to about identify goals, discover blind spots and create realistic retirement goals. This is less a numbers book and more a psychological approach to understand how our minds work, and more importantly – how they do NOT work, when it comes to goal-setting and planning our futures.

22.                    The Little Things by Andy Andrews: Great read about the importance of the ‘’small things,’ like perspective, attention to detail, discipline, introspection, common sense and other principles that enable anyone to be successful.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Weekly Retrospective ....



What I’m Reading: Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy D. Wilson …

What I’m Listening To/WatchingWes Moss podcasts….

What I’m Working On: Terry College of Business CFP Program ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Planning ….

Where I’m Struggling: Leading …

What I’m Grateful For:  Every Day ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”— James Clear

What I’m Excited About: The Future .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.05 ….

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Kadar Quote....



A shark in a fish tank will grow 8 inches, but in the ocean it will grow to 8 feet or more. The shark will never outgrow its environment and the same is true about you. Many times we're around small thinking people so we don't grow. Change your environment and watch your growth. - Kadar

Monday, December 2, 2019

Lifestyle....



I recently posted our expenditures through the first 3 quarters of the year with a promise to update, by category, what those disbursements entailed. Thanks to paying off all of our debts a couple years ago, we are now in a position to enjoy life considerably more than before, when we owed the majority of our incoming cash to liabilities.

Through the end of September, we have spent about 12% of our bring-home pay on lifestyle expenses, broken down as follows:

·       Vacation/Travel: 47% of our lifestyle expenses went to 3 nice trips this summer, including Colorado where my son and I got to hike some nice trails and visit the MMM headquarters with Carl (Mr. 1500). We also traveled to  Boston and North Carolina.
·       Spending Money: 30% went towards expenses such as hanging out with friends, concerts (Aaron Lewis and The Muckers were both AWESOME!) and other excursions that didn’t fit neatly into other categories.
·       Clothing: We spent just shy of 7% of this category on clothing. We’re not fancy dressers so the majority of this went the basics, like underwear, socks, long johns, etc.
·       Self-Care (mainly the wife): This includes nails, hair (haha for those of you who know me), massages, etc. We spent just shy of 10% of our lifestyle expense here.
·       Gym (YMCA): 6% of our lifestyle costs went to our local YMCA, which we, in fairness, did not use as much as we could have/should have.

What is even more awesome is that the vast majority of these expenses were paid for with a 2% cash-back credit card (through Fidelity, which then allows us to invest directly back into our brokerage account), which paid us a few hundred dollars for traveling, hanging out with friends, going to the gym and taking care of ourselves, without us ever paying a dime of interest.

Next up will be insurance and medical expenses…..



Sunday, December 1, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading:  EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey…

What I’m Listening To/WatchingGrantSabatier Financial Freedom podcasts …

What I’m Working On: Creating my 2020 Breakout Year Plan ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Relaxing ….

Where I’m Struggling: Breaking into real estate …

What I’m Grateful For:  An exceptional partner ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”— Kahlil Gibran

What I’m Excited About: The Future .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.09 ….

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Giving....




I recently posted our expenditures through the first 3 quarters of the year with a promise to update, by category, what those disbursements entailed. Thanks to paying off all of our debts a couple years ago, we are now in a position to give considerably more than before, when we owed the majority of our incoming cash to liabilities.

Through the end of September, we have been fortunate enough to give away 12% of our income, broken down as follows:

·       Church: 50% of our giving has went to our Church. Malachi 3:10 is a great reminder about God’s expectations here….
·       Other: 25% goes to various charities and people we see in need.
·       College: 15% of our giving goes to college tuition and expenses to help our son get through his education with zero debt.
·       Grandkid’s 529 Plans: 10% goes to us trying to get ahead on our grandchildren’s educations. The Georgia 529 Plan is a great resource for those trying to help others get a start on their secondary education.

It’s nice when debt isn’t a hindrance to being able to help someone in need from time to time, as well as being able to help future generations avoid mistakes I have made.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading:  The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (reread) and The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki…

What I’m Listening To/WatchingChris Hogan podcasts…

What I’m Working On: My nonprofit tax filing (990-EZ) and CFP course….

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

Where I’m Struggling: Breaking into real estate …

What I’m Grateful For:  A relaxing, rainy weekend ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “You delight in laying down laws, yet you delight more in breaking them.”— Kahlil Gibran

What I’m Excited About: My son coming home from college tomorrow for a week .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.1 ….

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Seneca Quote....



“Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests. There is no such thing as good or bad fortune for the individual; we live in common. And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbor, if you would live for yourself. ” — Seneca

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Quarter 3 Savings/Investments Update....



I recently posted our expenditures through the first 3 quarters of the year with a promise to update, by category, what those disbursements entailed. Thanks to paying off all of our debts a couple years ago, we are now able to invest or save approximately half of our income. YTD, this category is 45% of our bring home pay, which we hope will increase significantly the remainder of the year now that travel and helping prepare for a grandchild is out of the way 😊. And while savings/investments aren’t REALLY an expenditure, it’s one of the main categories we track, so here goes:

·       Retirement Accounts: To date, 42% of our savings/investments have been retirement account contributions. 30% of this money is invested in Vanguard’s Growth Index Fund (VIGAX) which returned 23.9% through the first 3 quarters and 30% is invested in a target date fund (VTHRX), which returned 14.3% during the same period. 25% of accounts are invested with a Fidelity total market fund (FSKAX) returning 17.8% and the remaining 15% is invested in a Fidelity total market bond fund (FTBFX) returning 9.7% to help even out market volatility. Get with your CPA or investment adviser to understand how to maximize tax-free or tax-beneficial investments to maximize investments and save your actual largest expenditure (taxes). This category will increase significantly during the last quarter of the year for reasons I will detail later.

·       Brokerage Accounts: We use Fidelity and Robinhood for our brokerage investments, which make up 35% of this outlay. For the Fidelity account, 75% is invested in FSKAX, a total market index fund returning 17.8% through the end of the 3rd quarter. 15% is in a 3 year CD returning a set 3.1% per year (not the biggest fan of CDs, but it was hard to pass up this guaranteed payout at a time when the markets were acting a bit crazy) and 10% is in a total bond fund (FTBFX), returning 9.7% through September. For our Robinhood accounts, we chose high dividend paying companies with consistent, year over year payouts. And, excluding Coke, we chose companies that were down at least 20% from 52 week highs but with otherwise solid financials. Through September we were up 20%, with Western Digital being our largest gainer (over 50%).

·       High Yield Savings/CDs: Our final 23% was put into high yield savings and CDs with Synchrony, an online bank. We are currently getting 1.9% returns on savings (was as high as 2.25%) and 2.65%-2.8% on CDs. We currently have about 8% of our net worth in cash due to looking for real estate opportunities (hopefully an announcement coming soon). Someone please tweet President Trump and tell him that negative interest rates aren’t in the best interest of most Americans.

Well, I hope this information is helpful to one of the two people who read this blog. I’d love feedback, questions, or even silly comments. Thanks for taking the time to read…..

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weekly Retrospective...



What I’m Reading:  Set For Life by Scott Trench…

What I’m Listening To/Watching: Tim Ferriss podcast…

What I’m Working On: Closing my first commercial real estate deal ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Relaxing ….

Where I’m Struggling: CFP Course …

What I’m Grateful For:  Family ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Success often comes to those who dare to act.  It seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences.”— Jawaharlal Nehru

What I’m Excited About:  This weekend’s Habitat for Humanity Build (see pic above) ….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.1 ….

Friday, November 1, 2019

January-September Spending....




Sorry for the late report, but through the first three quarters of 2019, we’ve had the following expenditures:

·       Savings/Investments: 45%
·       Giving: 12%
·       Lifestyle: 12%
·       Food: 8%
·       Housing: 8%
·       Extra Taxes/Insurance: 8%
·       Transportation: 4%
·       Education: 3%

I’ll follow up later with how, by category, these expenses break down.