Archive for the ‘investment’ Category

This isn’t just another meme, this meme could save your life! Click Here to visit the American Heart Associations risk calculator for various horrible and scary diseases (heart disease, kidney disease, etc.). All you need to know in advance are your height, weight, age (be honest ladies), and blood pressure numbers.

Once you get to the site click on the “learn your risk” button.  Input the requested info and info out your risk factors.

So I’ll disclose my info.  When I started back in February I weighed 206.6 lbs with a B/P of 129/76.  My risk factors were:  1.7x greater risk for heart attack, 1.9x greater risk for stroke, 1.2x greater risk for kidney disease. 

Now I weigh about 167 with a B/P of 113/61 and my risk factors are a healthy 1.0x for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. 

So find out where you stand today.  If you don’t mind sharing, leave a comment and let me know how it turns out for you.   

I am sending this along to

Lady Rose

JohnisFit

Cranky Fitness

Fat Lady Singz

FatBloggers.Net

Well I wanted to post on money saving investments today, and all I could come up with was one idea.  So I will share my one idea and in return I hope you guys share some ideas on investments that will save money in the long term.

Buy a Freezer:  Who hasn’t been frustrated by the inability of their freezer to adequately contain the fruits of a trip to the grocery store?  And when meat goes on sale, a rare occurrence, it is a great idea to scoop up as much as possible (and reasonable).    For example, our local grocery store occasionally puts 3 lb bags of chicken breast on sale for $3.50 each.  The usual price is 7.99-8.99 per bag.

Now, if you owned an individual freezer unit you would have somewhere to put that discount meat- not to mention pastries, frozen veggies, and frozen fruits.

How much can you save with this idea?  Well let’s just take the chicken example.   My family goes through three bags a month (sometimes four).  At $8.50 per bag the cost over the year is $306, while the the cost at $3.50 per bag is less than $130 per year.  A savings of  $176 dollars over the year.  And that is JUST the chicken.

Now I know there are some costs associated with this.  For example electricity to run the unit.   But, to the best of my knowledge, once the unit is full it is relatively inexpensive to run- as the frozen goods in a packed refrigerator allow the unit to use less electricity than an empty freezer.

So what are your ideas?

Why don’t you make your savings automatic- that is after you finish paying off those high interest credit cards? Let me address the latter before tackling the former.

It makes no sense to put your savings in a bank account with less than 2% interest while your credit cards accumulate debt at 16-20% interest. Plus, if a true emergency occurs (i.e. your car breaks down) you can access that money on your credit card just as easily, if not more so, as if it were in your savings account.

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I am giddy like a school girl. My wife and I just got back from the play ground with Sasha- a great workout by the way- to see the package hanging from our mailbox. Well I couldn’t wait to taste it so I ran inside and tore open the box and the bag inside. I licked my finger, dipped it into the open bag and tasted…

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Well, if you remember my post from two or three days ago, here is what my living room used to look like…

bar-side.jpg bar-front.jpg

Well here it was a day later…

mimi-and-papaws-june-visit-021.jpg

And here it is today…

mimi-and-papaws-june-visit-025.jpg

Now all that remains is some sanding, priming, and painting. Thank the Lord for helpful in-laws. We also thank God for our friends from church who helped knock down that hideous old bar, put up sheet rock, and tote away the left over junk.

You’ve seen these folks before, you might even be one. They don’t trust in their own abilities. They worry about whether or not they can make (and keep) a real commitment and as a result never commit to anything. They stagnant and fester, unchanging and afraid. That kind of life isn’t worth living, I know because I’ve lived it.

Losing faith in your own abilities doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of countless promises you failed to keep. For me it was a promise I made to conduct a bible study everyday for 45 minutes. I would try and I would fail- over and over. Finally, I rationalized my failure, I just couldn’t do it. So I refused to start that commitment over again. Why should I? I was destined to fail- or at least I thought so.

I followed the same course with my eating habits.  I tried to commit to eating better.  And I did- for about a week or two, sometimes maybe four or five.  But eventually it happened, inevitably I went off the deep end and consume a whole pizza or a whole king sized Burger King meal.  Once I did that, why not eat some cookies and drink a milkshake?

So I want to ask you. How often has a lack of faith in your own abilities kept you from God? How often has it kept you from adopting a positive change in your life?

Yes, when we come to God, we must at some level accept that we are powerless to save ourselves. But we must also have faith that He will give us the strength to move ahead toward a better and more fulfilling life. Without that faith we are left to flounder and wriggle at the end of a hook composed of our own self-doubt and lack of trust (in self and God).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Submit yourself prayerfully, look towards the end in all you do, and walk your path accordingly. You will find you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

It is easy to dream.  The hard part is making your dreams come true.  One thing that is certain, no dream comes true while you sit on the couch watching Lost- unless your dream is sitting on the couch watching Lost.  So how do we accomplish our dreams and goals?

**Warning: All endeavors should be undergirded with MUCH prayer.  Do not follow the steps below without also taking time to seek God’s will and His assistance.****

I find it easiest to achieve goals when I set up a staging process.  As an example, here is “Steps to Achievement” for the ranch I am looking into purchasing, starting, and running.

Stage 1 (Things that can be done in the first 6 months)

  • Research– Research land purchases (financing, pricing, etc.), ranching, raising livestock (alpacas, goats, sheep), and taking care of horses.
  • Savings– All extra funds are directed toward a savings account set up specifically for the future ranch.
  • Location– Look at regional locations for the ranch.

Stage 2 (Steps that can begin between 6 months and 1 year from this date)

  • Narrow down location to specific area(s) (in conjunction with universities that might offer employment).
  • Move money from savings account to a money market account.
  • Talk with experienced ranchers and farmers.  Ideally with men who started their own establishments.

Stage 3 (Steps that can being between 1 and 3 years from today).

  • Pick top 3 locations, make offers.
  • Start ranch corporation (non-profit?).
  • Look into purchasing necessary livestock.

Stage 4 (Steps that can begin 3 to 5 years from this date).

  • Close on land
  • Finance new home to be built on the property.

As you can see this list is still pretty skeletal.  Over the next few months, as I complete more research, the list will grow and expand.

As you look toward accomplishing your own goals, make your own list.  Learn what must be done to make your dreams a reality.  When you have an outline it is easier to stick to your path.  Following a dream without an outline is like hiking without a compass- you are almost guaranteed to get lost.

Best of luck in pursuing your own dreams.

Change is difficult, change is hard on the nerves, and change is perhaps the single most important incentive to growth. Sometimes the only certain thing in our lives is change. We can encounter that change and cower in fear, we can simply roll with that change (letting it overpower us), or we can use that change to transform us for the better.

When I started this process in early February, I noticed a change in myself.

I had become intellectually lazy (I had almost stopped reading completely), I had become spiritually empty (my prayer life was practically dead), I had become financially lazy (engaged in a cycle of spending beyond our means on non-essential items), and of course I had become near hopelessly fat (my stomach jiggled when I brushed my teeth).

These things hadn’t happened over night. Each occurred gradually, the result of a long string of poor choices and bad decisions.

I took a look at myself that February day and said, “This need stop now.” I haven’t been perfect since then, I have spent money I shouldn’t have, missed bible study dates, and eaten deep fried food and calorie dense snack food. However, for the most part, 95% of how I live my life in all those areas has changed. Why did I do that?

Because I looked ahead and I saw an unwanted change coming. I looked to my financial future and I saw bankruptcy; I looked to my spiritual future and I saw the wide path that led to destruction; I looked to body’s future and saw heart attacks and diabetes. I didn’t like any of what I saw. So the choice was clear, wait for change, or begin the process of change (transformation) myself.

The process has been at times a bumpy road and at times quite difficult, but it has also been rewarding. I would advise anyone else seeking to transform their life that the change is worth it- the chance is worth it.

Anyone Got $33 Grand?

Posted: April 25, 2007 in investment, life, Me, misc, my life, personal

Anyone willing to buy me out?

 


My blog is worth $33,872.40.
How much is your blog worth?

My wife and I had an idea a while back. In its embryonic stage the idea was about raising Alpacas on a small piece of land, it has since matured into what I am typing today. I am breaking this post apart into the goals we want to accomplish, and what we need in order to accomplish this goal.

First, what do we want to do with this farm? Well, there is quite a lot. The original goal was two-fold- to live as independent a lifestyle as possible and to help as many people (and animals) as God made possible. Of the former, I wanted to build a home and work a piece of land that allowed us to provide much of our own food, live an eco-friendly lifestyle that minimized energy bills (not because I am an “enviro” nut but because I am cheap), and provided a certain level of independence from the outside world. Of the latter, I wanted to take any excess (beyond what we needed to eat) and give much to the families in local communities who went without- whether it be families who needed firewood, eggs, milk, etc.

But now I am getting ahead of myself. In the beginning we only wanted to raise alpacas, as they are a good investment and quite a huge hit with investors- whether it be selling the fur or the actual animal. From there we began to think about owning some milking goats, sheep, and chickens (as each could provide for certain needs of drink, clothing, and food).

In addition to those animals we would keep to fulfill our own needs, I have always wanted to run an animal rescue. I love dogs- and quite frankly, I wish I owned more than two of them right now. But we thought that the dog shelter in and of itself wasn’t enough. What if we used the shelter as a program where kids with behavioral problems could work with the animals- and take steps towards their own improvement? I have read wonderful things about such programs all across the nation that already exist and help those inside prisons. Something about dogs seems to bring out a hidden part of even the worst of us. Perhaps it is their unconditional love, I don’t know.

Furthermore, the farm would include fruit orchards and pecan groves. We would pick what we needed for the season and then allow local folks to come and take from the excess for a nominal fee. Because I would also like to- depending on where we end up- be very involved in the community, and open my land to those in the community for family activities- not to mention ministry activities.

The latest addition to these ideas was born while talking with some friends. Our friends church has three spare houses where missionaries who are in between mission trips come to rest and relax from the rigors of the mission field. We thought it would be nice to build several additional small houses to provide for such a need on our farm.

There is so much we want to do, and I know to some it seems idealistic and unachievable. However, the Lord has really put this idea on my heart and I see this as highly possible. I try to stay in prayer over it, waiting to see how God makes things unfold.

But what do we need to make this happen?

First, knowledge. My wife and I have already started reading up on raising livestock and farming. Although there is no Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your own Farm there are many books on the subject. We have broken this down into subjects that each are responsible for- subjects that fit into our own interests. I am handling the finances of purchasing land, corporate taxes, etc., while she is focusing on the livestock part.

Second, funds. I have done countless spread sheets to see how much we can save and how long this will take. All point toward about a five year saving period that will begin this coming August. If my calculations are correct, we will need to save about $115,000 (plus sell our current home) to begin this project. Although the jury is still out on which financial vehicle we will use for investing the money over the next 5 years. Any suggestions?

Third, land. We are looking for the right piece of land. At this point I don’t know if we want to purchase it early and try to find jobs in the area, or if we should settle down in an area and try to find land. I won’t be looking at a serious job until three to five years from now- when I complete my Ph.D. Although, I have faith, that if this is what the Lord wants us to do, things will fall into place- in a way that will amaze me no doubt. He’s done it before.

Fourth, a home. We acknowledge that we might have to live in a trailer for a few years as the land and asset purchase might eat up our funds. When we do build our house we will be building a Formworks’ designed home. Just visit the linked website and check out the amazing benefits to these homes. Even you are an “enviro” you will love them, or if you are just plain cheap (like me) you will love them! And for those of you too lazy to click on the link- you know who you are- here is the list of benefits:

  • No major maintenance for more than 100 years;
  • Little or no heating/cooling needed;
  • 50 foot “free span” allows spacious Interior;
  • Thin shell construction (four inches);
  • 90% fewer pollutants & allergens than standard housing;
  • Virtually impervious to moisture and insects;
  • Tornado-proof, hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof;
  • Estimated life span 200 to 1,000 years;
  • Never been denied a building permit in any state

No more ant invasions or seeping moisture, count me in!

So what do you all think? I am a crazy dreamer, aren’t I? My head is often in the clouds. My wife is the one with her feet firmly planted in the ground. Together we make an excellent team. Doesn’t hurt that she is beautiful either.