Mr. Hobo Millionaire

The Biggest Benefit of Wealth

If you ask most people “What would you do with a million dollars?”, they would give answers like:

  • Buy my dream car
  • Buy my dream boat
  • Buy my dream house
  • Go on my dream vacation
  • All of the above

This list of answers is, of course, why these folks don’t already have a million dollars. They are too focused on pleasures and not things that really matter long term. Sigh.

Anyone who already has money would give you pretty much one answer to the million dollar question… they would save/invest the money and let it grow. They would tell you once invested, they could (if they wanted to) spend roughly $40,000 per year of this money without it ever depleting (the 4% rule).

Necessities, Not Things

Let’s get back to the main point of my post today. The biggest benefit of wealth…

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The World Is Not Safe. It Has Never Been Safe. It Will Never Be Safe.

As I write this post, the world has been facing the COVID-19 epidemic for 6 months. I am on vacation looking at a white sand beach, listening to the ocean waves. The world has tried to “re-open”, but many are unsure if that’s the right thing to do and freedoms are starting to be limited again.

One of my favorite movies is called “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. The fictional story-line oddly has a lot in common with COVID-19. The movie was first released in 1956. The basic story revolved around a virus that came from space, landed on earth, infected humans, and you had no idea who had it and didn’t have it (until it was too late — cue scary music).

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Are You Blind To Your Financial Fire?

While commenting on a recent post and telling a personal story on a fellow blogger’s site, Rich @ Sport Of Money, it dawned on me to blog about this subject and expand on this story a bit more.

My Mother-In-Law’s Financial Life Is On Fire

My mother-in-law’s (MIL) financial life is on fire… and it’s not the good kind (as in FIRE – Financial Independence Retire Early). You see, she is in her mid 60’s, still working, and has only $35,000 invested in savings.

No, not $35,000 cash plus something else.

No, not $350,000 invested.

No, definitely not $3.5M invested.

And no, not $35,000 and a paid for house.

She has a total life savings of $35,000 at age 66. And she wouldn’t have that had we (my wife and I) not pushed her to start saving something a few of years ago (and to get out of debt). A few years ago she was in credit card debt and still carrying new car notes.

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Equality? We Are NOT All Equal… And That’s OK.

In this politically correct world we live in today, equality seems to be a big topic of interest. The thing is, equality doesn’t exist, and it’ simply impossible for it to exist. Sure we are ALL equally valuable as human beings. We don’t live in the world of Logan’s Run. No… no one is worthless, discard-able, or needs to be done-away with. But we are not all equal, at least not in skills and strengths. The idea of trying to make everyone equal is crazy. Equality should not be the goal. Equal opportunity is a worthy goal (but it’s probably not realistically possible either).

None of us are equal. We all have different positives and negatives. We all have something we’re good at, and other things we are not. We all have physical attributes that make some things possible and some things impossible. In order to be successful in life, you must figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. You find self-worth in finding what you’re good at. And contrary to the popular belief of working hard on your weaknesses, you should really double-down on your strengths. Sure, put some effort into bettering some weaknesses, but don’t waste time trying to overcome something that doesn’t matter in the long run… or worse, futilely trying to overcome a weakness that is impossible to overcome.

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To Be Successful In Life, Work Like An Immigrant

I must say, I’ve “had it up to here” with people born in the United States complaining about money, jobs, “the rich”, “can’t get ahead”, telling successful people they’re lucky… all of it.

You know who doesn’t complain? Immigrants. Immigrants who’ve been given a chance to make something of their lives here.

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The 7-Hour Workweek

I haven’t posted as much as I’d have liked to in the past month or so. The truth is I’ve been super busy. I was in Arkansas for three weeks helping my son rehab a new rental. I’m invested with him in some Airbnb rentals there. As anyone who’s ever rehabbed a house knows, it’s a lot of work. And the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing some minor, but time-consuming, updates to software that I designed. When I work on a project, I generally go “all in” and commit full resources to it. Not just to get it done quicker, but I believe good (great) work requires complete focus. If you’re working on something business-related, I don’t believe you can do it half-hearted (at least not in the early years). So I generally work 10-12 hours per day until something is done. That means I’ve been working 70+ hour weeks the last 6-8 weeks. I don’t have a moderate switch.

The truth is, though, when I’m not going all out on a house rehab, or making a minor update to my software, I don’t have to work that much per week anymore to maintain my software company. A “small” software company that has recurring/subscription revenue of ~$700,000/year.

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Find Your Why… For FI

My pursuit of financial freedom started in my 20’s (30 years ago). I did not know anything back then about FI or FIRE, or one of the original books on all of this… “Your Money or Your Life”. I simply didn’t want to have to work and be controlled like my father was at his jobs. My father served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne in his early 20’s. After that, with his jobs, he pretty much got up to an alarm at 5am for almost 50 years until he died. While I deeply respected my father’s hard work and sacrifices (I’ve never known anyone who worked harder), I wanted more, and I wanted to not be a slave to an alarm clock for the rest of my life.

Fast-forward to 2012, I was finally making some good money after 20+ years of hustle (200+K of profit). I was technically a millionaire on paper by then due to my software subscription business model (X multiplier of net profit with recurring revenue), but I certainly didn’t feel like it. Just a few years prior I was paying off IRS debt (that’s another long story), and I had zero savings. Yes, you read that correct, zero.

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FIRE (Wealth) Is All About Math And Choices

I blog a lot about this subject (choices in life), because it really is at the core of all that I believe. The sum of your choices in life will determine where you end up (and with how much money). Of course there are people who get the “short end of the stick”… that’s not you. If you’re here reading this, you’re alive, have internet, you’re doing better than the folks who got the short end.

FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early

The math of FIRE is simply to save 25-30 times your yearly expenses and live off that savings by withdrawing 3%-4% “forever”. If you spend $30,000/year, you need to save $750,000 to $900,000. If you spend $100,000/year, you need to save $2,500,000 to $3,000,000.

A lot of people seem to think it’s impossible to save 25-30 times your yearly expenses. It’s not. It’s all math and choices.

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2nd Place – Movies, Actors, Auditioning, and Life

You’re probably wondering how in the world could Mr. Hobo Millionaire possibly have an opinion about actors and auditions. What you don’t know is I’ve  produced and cast a few independent movies in my lifetime. Seven (7) total movies/feature films in all. None of them have been super successful, but they have been good enough to air on Showtime, Starz, Lifetime, Amazon, and Netflix. In my movies I’ve worked with actors Lou Diamond Phillips, Mimi Rogers, Fisher Stevens, and Sean Patrick Flanery… just to name a few.

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(Financial) Ignorance Is Bliss… But Very Expensive

Warren Buffett recently released his annual Berkshire Hathaway letter. You can read the whole thing here. I want to focus on a few juicy bits from page 13 of the letter titled “The American Tailwind”. Mr. Buffett spoke of his first investment of $114.75 at the age of 11 (he started hustling at a very young age, but that’s a topic for another time). The year was 1942. 77 years ago. What stood out to me was his analysis of how much that $114 could have grown to in an S&P 500 index fund over that time (if one existed).

If my $114.75 had been invested in a no-fee S&P 500 index fund, and all dividends had been reinvested, my stake would have grown to be worth (pre-taxes) $606,811 on January 31, 2019 (the latest data available before the printing of this letter). That is a gain of 5,288 for 1. Meanwhile, a $1 million investment by a tax-free institution of that time – say, a pension fund or college endowment – would have grown to about $5.3 billion.

Let me add one additional calculation that I believe will shock you: If that hypothetical institution had paid only 1% of assets annually to various “helpers,” such as investment managers and consultants (in other words “unnecessary investment fees”), its gain would have been cut in half, to $2.65 billion. That’s what happens over 77 years when the 11.8% annual return actually achieved by the S&P 500 is recalculated at a 10.8% rate.

His $114 would have compounded into $600,000. Think about that! We’re not talking about starting with $114 and adding a $100/month or $1000/month. No, we’re talking about compounding only the $114. That takes my breath away. That’s astounding, even if over 77 years (which is just about a lifetime).

And $1,000,000 would have grown to $5.3 billion… yes, billion with a “b”.

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GoFundMe Is Not A Financial Plan

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a story of a semi-famous radio host who had passed away. I didn’t know him, and I had never heard of him, even though many seem to know him. I’m not going to mention his name, because I won’t be pointing out very kind observations about him and his life.

The reason he jumped out at me was because of how many people have talked about the impact he had on their lives. He evidently spoke a lot about small business and entrepreneurship.

What others said about him…

I highly respected [person], listened to him every morning when he was on [radio station]. I spoke to him both on the radio and in person more than once. 

[Person] taught me a ton! Will be greatly missed…

Your heart toward small business and entrepreneurs was incredible. Someone should start a [The Person] Foundation, whose sole purpose is to help, encourage, and support small business and entrepreneurs.

What does this have to do with GoFundMe and Financial Planning?

He apparently had no net worth and no life insurance in place.

Yes, you read that correctly.

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