Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Bad....

Reports are that Robinhood, the investment platform I mentioned in my last post, has rescinded, or at least delayed, the 3% saving and checking accounts it previously advertised. My apologies for getting folks’ hopes up.

In the meantime, check out Synchrony, Citizen’s Access (thanks, Alex) and Goldman Sachs Bank for accounts paying more than 2%.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Great Saving Opportunity....

Today’s post will be short, as I just want to share that Robinhood, a U.S.-based financial services known mostly for its fee-free stock investing platform, will now also offer zero-fee checking and saving accounts that will pay you 3% interest starting in early 2019. As a comparison, even the BEST rates for online banks are just over 2%, and one-year CDs, which tie up your money hover around 2.5%. As you can imagine, with interest that high, there is already a waiting list. To sign up for this great opportunity, please click here to get the process started.

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid for this advertisement. I have been looking into using this investment platform in 2019 and my buddy, Kieran, let me know about this deal via his blog last night. Since I talk fairly regularly with most folks subscribed to this blog, I wanted to share what seems to be a great deal. As a reminder, I am not licensed to give financial advice, so this information is only for educational and entertainment purposes.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thinking Small (yet profoundly) ....

“To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Giving Back and Creating Passive Income....

During a year when stock market investments haven’t met expectations and barriers to entry into local real estate have exceeded my threshold, there have been a few bright spots as I look to give back and move towards the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) sector:

·       I created a non-profit: The JH (Robby) Robinson Education Foundation, Inc., which provides $500 scholarships to working college students. Me and the Treasurer, the only two board members, are both working for free. We have a scholarship committee dedicated to ensuring a non-biased approach in awarding assistance and we are already receiving donations and posting and giving out scholarships. All donations are tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)(3) organization. Check out our website when you have time.  

·       Earlier this year I shared that I was trialing a cashback rewards credit card. To date, this has been quite rewarding, as my wife and I have cashed out more than $800 since July. While a large chunk of this was the $500 cashback we received for putting $4,000 on the card within 3 months, we are averaging earnings of at least $50 per month while not paying a dime of interest. However, please do not use credit cards for cashback rewards if you are not going to pay them off every month, as this is what credit card companies are banking on and which will cost you far more than you will receive.

·       After getting tired of seeing 0.25%-0.65% annual return rates for my savings and money market accounts, I moved over 80% of my cash reserves into an online high interest savings account paying a 2.05% annual return rate. This account also affords me the option of moving money into other high yield monetary vehicles (current best offer is a 14-month CD at 2.8%) which is a nice offset when the market isn’t performing optimally.

While my approach is, for the most part, working for me, please remember that this information is only for educational and entertainment purposes and to always consult a financial advisor like my man Tyrone before making decisions about your own financial assets.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Epictetus Quote....

“Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there. Assume, instead, that everything that happens to you does so for some good. That if you decided to be lucky, you are lucky.” – Epictetus 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


It makes me sad that I failed to fully appreciate all the lessons I learned from my father growing up, but seeing the best part of him (and my wife) in both my kids now reminds me that many of those lessons were still passed on…

The following is an excerpt from the Bio I was asked to put together by the treasurer of my nonprofit for our new website ...

During my childhood, my father emphasized sports and chores as a way of teaching me and my siblings about the value of hard work and goal-setting.  As soon as we were old enough, we were required to obtain jobs, especially if we wanted anything beyond the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. In 6th grade, I asked my father for a pair of Nike tennis shoes, as most of the kids at school were wearing them and I wanted to be part of the ‘in’ crowd. He said we couldn’t afford it but that he had an idea. The next day, after school, he took me to the grocery store where we immediately headed to the cereal aisle. He grabbed a box of Wheaties off the shelf. On the back of the box was a coupon for a pair of Pony tennis shoes if you mailed in $5 with it. Upon leaving the store I noticed that our old lawnmower was in the back of my dad’s Datsun pickup truck that he drove for 15+ years. We later stopped at an older couple’s home, who I knew were out of town. The grass was very tall, but I got busy, thinking about the feeling of those Pony tennis shoes soon to be on my feet. Three hours later, I was sweating profusely, the task complete. When we arrived back at the house, my dad gave me a $5 bill and I quickly cut the coupon off the box, addressed and stamped the envelope, dropped the money inside, sealed it and put it in the mailbox, raising the red flag to alert the mailman that he had something to pick up. Two weeks later, I had my first ‘cool’ pair of kicks. More important, I had a great life lesson about planning and working for what you want.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Getting Ahead...

Knowing I was going to be out of commission for a while, I got some spring cleaning knocked out Wednesday, October 31st….

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Pablo Picasso, Money and Cats....

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” – Pablo Picasso 

As a pursuant of F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) I regularly read blog posts and listen to podcasts of folks who have been far more successful in this endeavor than I. The Picasso quote above, which I found in one of those recent blog posts, really got me thinking…

I’ve been fortunate to know what it’s like to be both poor (for an American in the early 70s anyhow) and, more recently, well off (financially-speaking, compared to most on the planet). And I hope that neither comes off as a call for pity nor as arrogant. I’ve seen enough money-poor people in the world who are far richer in faith, self-acceptance and peace of mind than I will ever be to know that there are certain things that money cannot buy. At the same time, I am not na├»ve enough to believe that, at least in the society we’ve created here in this country, that the proper use of money cannot lead to greater freedom, peace of mind and use of time.

I have two cats. One, Oreo, is perfectly content. She doesn’t care much about going outside, as she seems to sense the dangers of doing so (nearby dogs and further away coyotes). She enjoys looking out the window at chipmunks, squirrels and birds, but more so her naps and eating regular cat food. Occasionally, she chases her leaner, meaner sister (Olive) around the house for both exercise and a trip down her evolutionary memory lane (when she was a lion or another big cat of ancient times). This is oftentimes followed up by some sunbathing and a nap just inside our back-deck window. All in all, Oreo appears to be happy with her existence and seems to trust that all her basic needs are taken care of and that she has people around her who love her and enjoy her company.

My other cat, Olive, however, longs to roam the ‘wilds’ of our neighborhood and the wooded area that surrounds it. She rarely appears to be content and seems to be always waiting nearby for someone to open a door she can quickly exit if we are not paying close attention. Olive cannot stand regular cat food, always crying for her ‘special treat’ soft cat food, cheese and yogurt. And while she also engages in fisticuffs with her larger sister, she appears to take these far more seriously than Oreo (probably because she regularly gets the worst of it). Additionally, she alternately goes back and forth between crying to be petted or held with wanting to be left alone, frequently hanging out in the basement by her lonesome. While Olive occasionally snuggles up in our lap as a sign of appreciating her surroundings, you can almost see the desire for more in her eyes as she stares off into a future the rest of us cannot see.

I believe the path to financial independence is the middle ground of the two extremes described in my cat’s lives above. It’s about marrying living within your means and being content with what you have (Oreo eating regular cat food and enjoying the view) with having a vision for the future and creating a plan to get there (Olive plotting her escape out of the next open door).

For me, I don’t trust either of our government’s two extremist parties to take care of me in my old age, nor my genetics to allow me to get to the age where they would be obligated to. To quote Thoreau: “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” My goal is to plan and execute well enough for a long retirement, which includes ‘work’ that fulfills and sustains me but doesn’t require me to punch a clock for someone else to the tune of 2,000+ hours a year. It’s to be able to spend more time with, or doing for, those I love and the community at large. It’s about focusing more of the time I have left on truly living, while preventing dangling carrots that don’t matter, like shiny new things, from allowing me to get there. Ultimately, it’s to fully experience life as a poor man with lots of money…

Sunday, October 28, 2018


My man, Devin, totally pulled this off tonight at Trick-R-Trunk…awesome job, brother!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sam Langford Quote...

Our Saturday morning long-distance Bible studies often segway into various topics and today Kadar asked me for my top 10 heavyweight boxers of all-time. I had to include a relative unknown to all but the most die-hard fans: Mr. Sam Langford, who fought from lightweight all the way up to heavyweight…

“You’ll pardon me gentleman if I make the fight short. I have a train to catch.” – Sam Langford

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Chad Howse Quote...

I LOVE this quote….

“It seems as though the masses are insane - though I think the majority are quiet, and too busy working, surviving, trying to pay bills and better themselves than to yell at others for not thinking like they do.” – Chad Howse

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m Reading:  Sgt. Rodney M. Davis: The Making of a Hero by John D. Hollis and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

What I’m Watching: Website design tutorials…

What I’m Working On: Upgrading our nonprofit website ….

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

What I’m grateful for: Answered prayers ….

Quote that has me thinking“Gardening is all the things that I am not. It’s patient. A garden has a vision and it’s hard for me to find my visions. In a garden, you get involved in time, there’s no time pressure, there’s always next year.” – Excerpt from the book: People with Dirty Hands

What I’m excited aboutWatching our nonprofit evolve ….

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jim Rohn Quote....

We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chipmunks and Investing....

I took this picture of a chipmunk earlier today who thought she was hiding. After some editing, I sent the pic to my wife whose response was: “She’s gathering supplies for the winter.” For some reason this got me thinking about the recent stock market drop and many people’s responses to the 6%-7% disappearance of many of our investment accounts the past several days. Like the little chipmunk, we’re all investing for the future, hoping that the savings hold us over during future times of scarcity, after our ability to provide for our needs have passed. However, during days like these, I believe the chipmunk has a better outlook, as he simply puts his head down, gathers and stores up supplies, regardless of the size of the seeds, nuts, fruits or buds he gathers.

Remember that investing is a long game. Selling when the market is down guarantees a loss and, 100% of the time, the market has rebounded from downturns. As the chipmunk knows all too well, some seasons produce a bountiful harvest where you sow little to harvest big, and sometimes you work harder to simply make it through the winter. However, over time, investing always produces a profit as long as you let compounding work for you. To quote Warren Buffet: “Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.”

** Always consult an investment adviser before making personal investment decisions. I do not claim to be an expert in anything and my opinions are simply that and nothing more…

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Please Subscribe!

As stated in an earlier post, I recently started a nonprofit and if you are subscribed to this blog, please also subscribe to:

The funds are rolling in and I really believe this is a great cause that will help a lot of people who are trying to help themselves. 

The backstory is that when my father died of cancer at 44 years of age, he left a small piece of property in Louisville, Kentucky to be split between me and my siblings. His instructions were to divide the proceeds and establish trust funds for each of our children to help pay for college. My father never graduated from high school, despite being quite bright, and after watching folks pass him up for promotions at the railroad where he had worked for 25 years, came to value the power of an education. That initial $7,000 investment for my daughter grew and helped pay for her college several years later.

Our missionProvide $500 scholarships to working students to help with books, fees, etc. These scholarships would be funded by people in the names of a person of their choice in a field of study (and maybe even a specific school). The student would apply for the scholarship, and, if accepted, send a letter or email of thanks to the person donating the money.

The Proof of Concept: I gave away several scholarships out of pocket last December. Seeing the look of relief on those young scholar's faces was priceless, as was listening to them talk about how they would use the money towards books or minor obstacles that regularly arise.

This is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization so please take the opportunity to save on taxes while supporting people in our community who are working hard to help themselves and their families by furthering their education. Please know that in our initial board meeting, we voted to not take a salary this year and also donated the majority of the funds to date, to include paying all startup fees out of pocket, as well as providing four $500 scholarships out of pocket as we were formulating the idea for this nonprofit.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Audre Lorde Quote....

"Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptance inevitable." - Audre Lorde

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Received word today that our nonprofit is officially a 501 (c) (3) …  more to follow as we get the website up and running and start providing educational assistance to working college students and educators who sacrifice much to provide optimal learning environments for our future….

PayPal option added...

Monday, October 1, 2018

End of 3rd Quarter Year-to-Date Budget Results....

After getting off to a slow start at the beginning of the year for investments/savings due to paying some stupid tax, we’ve now had 7 consecutive months of saving/investing at least 43.5% of our bring home pay. Just as importantly, we’ve been fortunate enough to give away almost 14% of our income. Discipline really does equal freedom….

Friday, September 28, 2018

Mission Accomplished....

Today marked the end of a 10-week accountability effort with Mr. 1500. And while you can head over to his website and see how much better he has done during this time period, I am more than satisfied with my results, having lost more than 7 pounds and 2 inches off my waist.

Start Date



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Life@Sea Training Update....

Ragnar continuing to shame me by ridding me of all excuses to knock out workouts on dry land….

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


There’s nothing like a conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in a long while to motivate you through difficult patches and help refocus you on what really matters (thanks, Andy!).

And then I came across this quote from an old boxing trainer that reminds me that what I’m working on isn’t really all that difficult to begin with….

“To me, a fight is not a fight until there’s resistance. Until there’s something to overcome. Otherwise, it’s just an athletic venture. It’s an exhibition. I think life is like that. A doctor is not a doctor until he opens up this kid, a kid just like he’s got at home, and arteries are bleeding all over the place – it’s not in the textbook. And he’s gotta do it. He’s gotta figure it out. Then he’s a doctor. He’s a surgeon at that level. You’re not in a fight until there’s pressure. Resistance. Overcoming something.” – Teddy Atlas

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Accountability Challenge Week 8 Results (week 9 for me)....

Several weeks ago, me and Mr. 1500 embarked on a friendly accountability body transformation challenge, with our main goals being reducing our waist measurements, but also hoping to add a little bit of muscle mass along the way. This morning I finally hit my target goal of getting my stomach below 34”. The knowledge that I had to report on my progress to someone else each week was an excellent antagonist to my inherent laziness, ensuring that I stayed focused on my end goals.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Life@Sea Training Update....

Ragnar continuing to get his training sessions in regardless of the location, environment or tools (or lack thereof) available….

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…