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….