So Excited

Accomplishment

Today, I finally published my book through Kindle Publishing. It should appear on Amazon.com within 24 hours. The title of the book is “The Little Debt-Free Book” and I began writing it in 2008. I have been so nervous about publishing it because I felt that it was never good enough.

Through the encouragement of my wife Sharon, I finally have it done. Once I have a link to the book on Amazon.com, I will post it here.

Why So Nervous?

Here are a few of the reasons for my nervousness.

  1. No one will like it
  2. People will make fun of me
  3. Who cares what I think
  4. It’s not good enough
  5. I don’t have an agent
  6. It’s self-published
  7. If I publish it, I just open myself to criticism

I could go on for days about it. It’s easy to put ourselves down about things that are new to us.

What This Means

This means that the hardest part is done. Hopefully, someone will find the book useful. Now that it is there, a burden has been lifted. Nothing I can do about it now. I am open to all of the above. I pray that someone will find it useful.

This also means that the book is done. Finished. I can focus on something else now. My wife suggested writing something about my experiences from my brain surgery. I think that is a good idea as well.

Marketing

My next hurdle is marketing. I have some ideas of what to do with it and this blog post is one of them. The book has a price of $5.75. Not too much I don’t think. It’s cheaper than a lot of other books out there on the subject. Twitter, facebook, etc. will get a plug.

I’ve seen that I do not do enough with social media, especially with the people I follow on twitter. An area I can definitely improve on.

I have an idea for another product that falls into the same category but need to figure out how to produce it. More information on that soon.

Thanks

A special thank you to my wife and my kids. My kids, because they lived through a lot of the process I used to get out of debt. My wife, because she has been a steadfast support for me that cannot be beat.

What About You?

It is said that everyone has at least one good book inside them. Everyone has something to say that others would like to hear about. EBooks do not need to be 250 pages. There are plenty of eBooks out there that are very short. Indeed, my book is not very long at all. Give it a try. You will learn about formatting, writing, yourself, publishing, pricing, and the list goes on. Let others hear what you have inside.

Cheap! Cheap!

Why Are You So Cheap?

My wife told me the other day that I was cheap – complete with sound effects. It’s not the first time someone has told me that. I suppose that in some ways I am. I don’t like paying more for things than I need to.

The other day, we were driving on a toll road. There are toll roads everywhere and at times, they are really handy to get around. The traffic is lighter many times and there are no traffic lights.

Having traveled this road many times, I realized that if I exited one road early on my way home in a certain direction, I could save $0.99 in tolls. Hence the cheap comment.

After all, it’s just a dollar.

Rationale

We don’t travel that road all the time. It was just something I noticed over time. It would mean an additional light to maybe stop at if it was red.  It is said that Benjamin Franklin first coined the phrase “A penny saved is a penny earned.” A quick search of the Internet shows that it appears that there were others that made similar statements as well.

The point is that it is about a dollar that was not spent on tolls and as it turned out, we were not stopped at the light.

I don’t like paying more for my phone service either. When I see something wrong with the bill, I immediately go to the store and talk to them about it. I don’t talk to someone over the phone. I talk to a live person and we discuss until the bill is where I think it should have been. That apparently is not a waste of time or money to some around me. (Go me.)

How Much Money Do You Waste?

There are hundreds of things we waste money on – daily, whether it is gas in the car, buying a soda, or paying an extra $0.99 on the tollway. If we look at all the things that we waste money on, maybe we can start to see ways of saving just a little. Saving a little adds up over time and we are able to do more of the things that really matter to us rather than getting that instant gratification that is so popular today.

Then again, there is something to convenience, no traffic lights and less traffic.

Why “New Normal” Doesn’t Work For Me

New Normal

How many times have you heard it said to someone who has lost a limb, gotten divorced, had a spouse or child die, that they will be alright – they just have to understand they have to embrace a new normal for their lives? At other times, it might be a disease such as cancer, diabetes, or an injury from an accident or playing sports. Still, it might be someone who has lost a high level position at a company and needs to take a lower position somewhere else in order to keep moving forward.

Bullshit!

Does anyone say you have to get used to the new normal when you get married or have a child? I don’t think so. Instead, they say congratulations. It’s such a copout. I believe that we are who we are based on the experiences we have throughout our lives.  There is no such thing as a new normal.

Embrace Who You Are

When someone graduates high school, opportunities are opened. When someone graduates college, maybe other opportunities are opened. When someone embraces a relationship with God, new thinking takes place. And, when someone gets divorced or married or loses a child or spouse – all these things contribute to shaping our lives.

Today, we have many veterans returning from war with severe injuries, lost limbs, PTSD, and any number of ailments. What an insult it would be to tell them that because of their sacrifice, they should just get used to a new normal for their lives.

Rather, we can celebrate their dedication and love for this great country, thanking them fully and helping them to embrace the circumstances of their lives that have made them who they are today.

For Myself

I would be insulted if someone told me that I should get used to a new normal. I have been divorced, have had brain surgery, and have ended a 30 year career in automation systems and robotics. I walk with a cane. I have returned to college to pursue something that excited me a lot – A Bachelor’s degree in Emerging Media and Communications from the University of Texas at Dallas. Please don’t tell me to get used to a new normal. Instead, encourage me to follow my dreams and embrace who I am today.

What Do I Need To Do To Retire?

Financial State

I’ve written about this before in a previous blog post. I cannot emphasize this enough. The only way you can really consider retiring is if you are bringing in enough income to replace the income you are receiving while you are working. That is unless you don’t mind living on a whole lot less than what you are living on now.

What Changes In Retirement?

Here are a few things that you hopefully will not have to worry about anymore when the day comes and you decide to retire.

  • Mortgage. If your house is paid for, there is no mortgage payment. However, keep in mind that you will still have taxes, insurance and general upkeep on the property.
  • Car Payments. When I get to a point where I am considering retirement, I will make sure that my wife and I each have a new car that is paid for. We should be driving a lot less by then and the cars should last quite a while.
  • Expenses. These typically go down probably due to the fact that kids are no longer at home, you have most of the things you want to have and you eat less. That said, my folks eat out most of the time now so I am not sure how much they are saving there.

How Much Do I Need To Retire?

As stated earlier and in other posts, retirement is a financial state. It is also based on the lifestyle that you would like to live in retirement. As our example today, we will use the sum of $50,000.00 to describe a reasonable lifestyle in retirement. Keep in mind that this assumes there are no mortgage or car payments when you get there. We will look at that number two different ways. The first will be after taxes and the second will be before taxes.

If you desire to live on $50,000.00 after taxes, the best way to do that is to have money put into a Roth IRA. But what will you need in order to have $50,000.00 per year? Using conservative return on investments (ROI) of 5%, you would need $1M is investments to get that sum into your hands tax free. Why so much? This amount will mean that you will always have $50,000.00 per year for the rest of your life. The principle in your investments will never go down. This will work for five years of retirement just as well as 40 years of retirement.

If that income is before taxes, then you have to consider the income tax you will need to pay on that money. Today, that probably puts you in the 15% tax bracket. That amounts to $7500.00 in taxes. Considering that you probably do not have a house payment, there are probably no good write-offs for your income. You will now have to live off $42,500.00 per year.

If you think this is all wrong, ask yourself how long $1M will last if you are going to have a lifestyle of $100,000.00 per year even if it is after taxes. You see, if you take out more than is going into the account, then your principle amount will decrease, causing your nest egg to disappear much quicker.

How Do I Start?

Starting is easy. Start saving. Whether you put the money into a Roth IRA or a standard IRA, starting now will increase your chances of having that money available when the time comes for you to take up fishing every day.

Writing Aspirations

A Book

cover1

For a long time, I have wanted to write. I’ve written a ton of articles, short stories, and this blog. Much of the things I have written have never been published in any form. It is probably a self-esteem issue for me.

Well, when I became debt-free the first time, I started writing a book. The book was about the steps that I took to get out of debt. For six years I have been “editing” the content. Some of the things that I used for excuses for not publishing it were:

  • It’s not good enough
  • It’s not long enough
  • No one will like it
  • People will criticize it
  • No one will publish it anyway

The last one was significant because I am not known as a writer. I did not know the steps to take to get a publisher to look at my stuff. What is an agent and why do I need one anyway?

I wrote the book “The Little Debt-Free Book: A Personal Journey” so that maybe, just maybe, someone who found themselves in debt would find it helpful.

When I found out about self-publishing, I thought it would be a way to get my book published on my own. Everyone wants to make money from something they have created. It would be nice for the book to be a success but I would be happy if someone got some useful information from it.

I am currently working on the final steps to get it put on Amazon.com. My wife has been encouraging me to publish it for quite some time and it’s about time that it is put out there to help someone.

I don’t have money to advertise all over the place, do book signings, etc. I’m publishing it online for now as an ebook. Maybe later I will print some if there is a demand for it.

Where To Find It

I have a website thelittledebtfreebook.weebly.com that has information about the book.  I hope you find it interesting. Once the book is up on Amazon.com, I will update the site so there is a link directly to the order page. I am targeting this month for publication.

Let me know what you think.