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Archive for March, 2017

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In the hallways of Portland Internal Airport or PDX.

I boarded the Portland, Oregon, flight at 8:05 this morning to fly to my Uncle’s memorial service in Portland.  It’s been a long pull this week, and I’ll be landing back home at around 10:30 tonight.  I’m sitting here in the terminal because the Uber to the service is only 20 minutes away, and I’m a bit early.

Work has been hectic.  Unfortunately because this is a blog that can be seen by other people, and I do run a substantial part of my companies business, I really can’t say more.  What I can say is that I’ve been throwing my heart and soul into the business trying to figure out how to make us more profitable.

Somebody sent me a note, after I had done an email blast, and said, “You seem to know how to motivate people.”  The nature of the note was about a decision that I made.  Making a few calculations, I figured out how much the activity was really worth.  I sent the note calling out that this would contribute to multiple millions of dollars with an actual figure, and just was not a trivial task that would not have any impact to the bottom line

I basically wrote back to the person that said that I could motivate people, and I stated something like, “You know, I both speak and listen money. A lot of people can listen money, but they can’t speak it.  So if you can call out the impact of the money, they can listen and they will act.”

Money can be the roots of all types of sins.  However, it can also be freedom to allow you to do things.  I have been blessed with some type of security, and this has given my wife and I the ability to support our kids through college, and contribute to the work of the gospel.  I would not call myself out as a sacrificial giver.  I am a giver to what I believe the Lord has called out in scriptures.

My father ended up making a fair amount of money that gave him security in this life.  Some of this was driven by his years at Boeing, where he ended up in a strong position.  But even more of this was driven by investments that he made outside of his normal work.  Finding himself at 50 years of age, he decided that he had better do something more for retirement and ended up buying a farm, an apartment, then finally a nursing home.  Right after he retired at 62, he flipped the nursing home, then 20 years later, he flipped half of the farm while the real estate market was at an all time high.

My mother came from a very large family of kids including:  Aunt Norma, Aunt Dixie, Uncle Bert, and Uncle Bud.  My mom always got along with my aunts, but she was extraordinarily close to her brothers.  One of them had a troubled marriage then divorce, which caused her to spend a lot of time on the phone with him.  The other was a brick layer and hard worker, but never had a lot of money.  He was good to his kids and a wonderful man.  He was close to my Mom and my Dad.  When my mom died, he was a source of comfort to my Dad.

It is this Uncle who I am flying to remember his time on earth.

Around 25 years ago, my uncle had gotten to the age where he could no longer lay bricks, and while my Uncle and his wife had a separate small line of business, they really could not make this go.  So, my Dad and my Mom knew that they did not have the resources, and they offered to allow my Uncle and his wife to live in our farm house for free.

When my my Mom died, my father never questioned if he would continue the arrangement.  When my Dad died, my sister and I never questioned the arrangement  It was my parents wishes to grant him this favor, and who were my sister and I to question this.  What is a house rental worth?  A substantial amount of money considering that we could have rented the house all those years.  I speak money and I recently told my sister how much this was equivalent to for our family  She said, “I never realized that, but now that you mention it, it is a mind blowing amount.”

The question of how to use our money is a funny thing.  My sister and I currently have a LLC that our Dad and Mom left us.  We share thing unequally because my sister has taken the bulk of the work.  However, since September, I haveare also been heavily engaged.  In a completely different way, but engaged. 

My Dad had bought muni’s, Optax and Ornax, to be exact.  While they throw off money, which allows us to keep the rest of the property going, the fund has shrunk over the last decade.  When compared to the S&P 500, we have done okay after divideneds, but nothing like what we should have done.

So, I have been working the account since September.  I believe that by looking for value and dividends, with some covered call plays, you can moderately outperform the S&P500.  Now mind you, this is dangerous, and I recently told my sister, “you need to keep praying for guidance.”  However, we have slowly started to rebuild the fund, while continuing to keep enough dividends from the munis to finance our needs.

Over the last couple of days, I took some time to layout my finances.  I have heard that to get to security, you need multiple sources of income.  I believe that this is very true.  There are three main sources of income that you can pull from:

1. You can work for somebody else and be employed

2. You can place your money in dividend stocks, and use the outflow from the dividends

3. You can have rental property and have somebody pay you to live there

In my own personal portfolio, I have all three.  My job continues to pay at least half of my income.  My financial drain is at an all time high.  As mentioned in this blog before, I changed jobs and moved to the Silicon Valley.  God saw to bless us with an incredibly unique house just above Los Gatos, and while this was a once in a life time opportunity, it was expensive.  So, I have a rather large mortgage payment every month.  On top of this, I have one son in college, with no bills, and I have two kids in private school, which my wife and I think is important considering that we wanted a Christian environment for our kids.

Life changes dramatically over the next 8 years.  This comes in two fashions.

1. At the end of 8 years, my kids are all through college.

2. At the end of 8 years, I believe that we will have established a steady rental stream from our properties.

3. If the stock market doesn’t crater, and if God leads, I should increase my dividend flow.

So roughly 100 months to a dramatic new life.  I am hoping that God will give me the strength and the providence to keep working full time to this goal.  So, what is the end state of this?

Really it is continuing my earthly Dad’s vision.  My earth Dad decided that he wanted to create something for his kids, so he bought and created a wonderful place in Port Orchard, Washington.  I may have the opportunity, God willing, to do the same thing in my place in Los Gatos. 

Only time and God will tell where this will end up.

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I have totally changed my life style and regressed almost a decade.  After going somewhere around 6 years of not biking to work, I took out my bicycle last week and got onto the old stead.  My wife tracked me on Life360, and around 45 minutes, I had pulled into my new work.

When I lived in SoCal, I actually bought my house so I had a bicycle commute to work.  It was great.  However, about 6 years ago, the company grew so much that it had to move.  It found an enormous building close to the Irvine airport, and relocated everything.  The problem is that their were no real good roads to the new place from my place, and the commute went from around 12 miles to around 22.  There was no way that I was going to spend 45 miles or more bicycle commuting.

So I basically changed sports to golf. 

Now I’m going back.

The Los Gatos area and San Jose in general really does not have the same golf culture as SoCal.  Again, my previous neighborhood had two brilliant golf courses just 5 minutes away from my house.  So, there are few places on earth that can replicate what I had.

However, the biking to work is a much smaller piece of a bigger puzzle.  I am not just commuting to work, but I am restructuring my life so that I can workout more.  I have re-engaged my triathlon life style, and I hope to do another triathlon before the end of this summer.

As I get older, I am constantly interested in the actual process of getting older.  I read a recent article that as we age, we clearly have differences in our personalities.  In other words, the younger version of ourselves would not be the same personality that the older version would be.

However, I notice that I have a few things that have stayed the same.  My wife for one thing.  We were just teenagers when we met.  I’m a very happy person because of it.  Maybe we have both changed, but we’ve changed together.  However, when we met, we immediately started doing things together.  When I say we did things together, I mean that we ran, swam and biked together.  Although we had met, we were not together back in 1982.  However, we both did the United States Triathlon Series on Mercer Island in Seattle in 1982.  She went on to place somewhere in the top 3% of women, and I went on to get lost and ended up in the bottom quarter of the men. 

As mentioned before, 2016 was basically a year without any workouts and a lot of stress.  It placed around 10 pounds on my body, and it established a bad trend for my overall waistline.  While athletic exercise is not required for losing weight, I find that it incredibly helpful.

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The above chart shows my athletic calorie burn.  As you can see, in 2015, I was burning around 7000-8000 calories per month.  This would be equivalent of walking around 70 to 80 miles for for 150 pound person.  Basically nothing happened in 2016, then you can see a small attempt of re-engaging my athletic routine in October when we moved into the new house.  However, January was the real beginning.

February set a new record of 9000 calories burned, and if March stays on track, I’ll set a two year record for calories burned.

Now, we just need to see this turn into weight loss…..

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