Liebster Award

Liebster AwardFelix Money over at My Moneyfesto nominated me for a Liebster award last week (I know I am slow in putting this together).  It is basically a blogger to blogger recognition tool to get the word out about new blogs and to create more of a sense of community.  I would call it more of a pay it forward tool than an award, but I really like the concept as it spreads the word about new sites.

I am copying the requirements from the nomination post to save time, though he credits Gen Y Finance Guy for doing the heavy lifting:

  • You are to share 11 facts about yourself so readers can get to know you better.
  • Mention has to be made to the person that nominated you;
  • Answer the 5-11 questions that were asked by the person that nominated you;
  • Nominate other bloggers to receive the Liebster Award and ask them 5-11 questions;
  • Let your nominees know either by leaving a comment on their blog, sending them an email, calling them out on social media, etc.

Facts About Me

  • I have always worked in some type of accounting of finance capacity since graduating college with degrees in finance and economics.
  • I have been teaching personal finance classes for several years.  I enjoy helping people fix their credit, learn how to budget, and increase their knowledge about retirement planning
  • I have two little boys (almost 3 and 1.5)
  • Las Vegas is one of my favorite places.  Yes it is full of opulence and crazy over-the-top things, but it also has good food, culture, and lots of entertainment.  I really enjoy playing Texas Hold Em when I am there.  I won a small tourney on my last trip!
  • I had a hole-in-one playing golf when I was 18.  It was pretty neat, but I played terrible the other 17 holes!
  • I hope to visit Europe with my wife someday (with free airfare) to visit Greece.  I have always liked Greek mythology.
  • Tombstone is my favorite movie of all time.  I could watch it over and over again like a 4 year old watches Frozen.
  • I really like the book New Ideas from Dead Economists by  Todd G. Buchholz
  • I wanted to be a stock broker when I was young, but realized it was as much sales as it was investing
  • I have been on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the trading day, it was unreal!  Also I’ve been on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange twice.  The commodity brokers are very lively.
  • I used to be afraid to try guacamole.  I didn’t like the sound of the name or the appearance.  Then I moved to California.  Now I eat avocados all the time and they are probably my favorite fruit.
Hawaiian beach pic

My boys on the beach in Hawaii, March 2015

Questions and Answers

Here are the questions asked of me and my answers, accompanied by a pic of our recent vacation to Hawaii that proves I do more than talk and write about money all the time!

  1. What’s the best/worst financial decision you’ve ever experienced?

I wrote about a couple of my financial failures a while back, but it was buying a new car (SUV) just after graduating from college with no money down and then keeping my old car (mustang convertible).  That was a bad move on many levels.  I wasn’t prepared for the financing and found out I had a recent ding on my credit score.  I also did not have the income to support such a nice ride.  Finally, I kept the old car because I loved it so much and it cost me extra money to maintain both (if I loved it so much, why did I even need a new one???).

  1. What plans do you have with your blog?

My blog is really just an outlet for me.  I like talking about various aspects of personal finance including my journey to financial independence, investing, budgeting, travel hacking, etc.  Really it is whatever comes to mind.  I need to write more about my investing style and current portfolio.  I wrote something a while back, but never posted it.

To actually answer the question, I don’t really have any plans for it.  I will keep doing it until it is not fun anymore.

  1. What would you do in life if you didn’t have to work for money?

Play golf!  I would help people and businesses with their finances.  From credit score help, setting up a budget, cash flow planning, travel hacking, etc.  I enjoy talking about that stuff and have plenty of opinions.  I’m sure if its free advice someone will be willing to listen!

  1. What’s the best advice you have ever received and the best advice you can give?

You get the results based on the expectations you set, so you don’t do anyone any favors by not setting high standards, expecting excellent performance, or giving constructive and direct feedback along the way.

I would probably pass on that same advice.

  1. What is happiness to you?

Deep thoughts on this one:  Happiness to me is being content with what you have, satisfied with what you have achieved, and excited about what lies ahead.

  1. What would you like to be remembered for?

Being someone that people can count on.  My direct and honest manner can sometimes put people off, but I hope that they ultimately realize I do it because I think it is the right approach and not to be mean.  I would also like to be remembered for being a good parent and friend.

  1. What do you enjoy doing the most?

I really enjoy playing sports like basketball, volleyball, softball, and golf.  I only get to play one of those on a regular basis these days, but my weekly basketball league is a lot of fun.  I can still dunk at age 37 and that alone makes me enjoy it (note: only in warm-ups, I haven’t dunked in a game since college pick-up games).  I can’t wait to be able to teach my two little boys to play sports and my wife recently mentioned she might be interested in learning to play golf!  I have a spare set of clubs, so we might hit the driving range soon.

I also enjoy my kids run up to me when I get home to work to give me a big hug (especially when they just learned to walk).  Oh, and watching as many Kansas State Wildcats football/basketball games as I can with my wife and kids.

  1. How do you plan to reach financial independence?

I plan to reach financial independence in about 7 years through solid investing and an above average savings rate.  I have no rental properties, so my portfolio consists of stocks, mutual funds/ETFs, bond ETFs, and a Prosper P2P lending account.  A rollover IRA, 403b, 457b, 2 Roth IRAs, and a traditional IRA are all part of the mix plus a taxable trading account.

On a more global level, I am going to reach FI from having an above average income, an average sized house, not carrying credit card debt, and making some good financial decisions.  Maybe a few smart individual stock picks as well.

  1. What is financial independence to you?

To me financial independence is the freedom to make your own choices without the constraints of a job, mortgage, or any other financial impediments in the way.  If I want to teach free classes I can because my portfolio provides all the income we need to live a comfortable life.  If I want to take a month to do slow travel in Mexico in the summer with my family, we can without worrying about vacation requests and the cost of the tickets/hotel/meals/etc.

  1. What’s the most important question in life, according to you?

I think the most important question in life is: what are you here for?  Figuring out what you want (and were meant) to do is part of growing up.  Some people know it really early in life and others don’t realize it until age 40 or later.

I knew I wanted to do something related to money since I was little.  Once I was in my 20’s I realized I was meant to teach people about finances, not just have a career in it.

Next Nomination

I recently came across Retire29’s blog and have enjoyed reading his latest few articles.  He served time in the Army and has his MBA.  For the last year or so he has been documenting his journey to financial independence through his three-pronged strategy of lowering expenses, building passive income with dividends, and increasing income through side hustles.

I would like to nominate him and ask him the following questions (and remind him to include 11 facts as well!):

  1. What are your best and worst financial moves so far?
  2. Where do you see your journey to financial independence in five years?
  3. What is your favorite asset class?
  4. If you could own only one stock, what would it be?
  5. What are your plans after reaching financial independence?
  6. What is your ideal family vacation?
  7. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of blogging?
  8. What would you do
  9. What book or books have influenced you (does not have to be financial)?
  10. What is the meaning of life?
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Thanks for reading.  I hope you learned enough about me to want to keep reading in the future!

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12 Responses

  1. I like golf too. This is one of the few sports that I actually find relaxing to play. Congrats for being a teacher and helping others with your PF knowledge, the more people have access to this knowledge the better our world will be. What do you find typically benefits the most to people attending your classes?

    • vawt says:

      Thanks! I find that the 20-somethings tend to be the most wide eyed, but the older crowd is more ready to change and has specific questions. I am surprised that medical school trains doctors, but does not teach them about the business side.

  2. Nice to see the Liebster Award continue making its way around the community. It was great getting to know you a bit more.

    Where do you typically teach people how to get a handle on their financial lives?

    I wish I enjoyed golf, but it is such a frustrating game that I just can’t seem to get into.

    Cheers!

    • vawt says:

      I teach it to coworkers right now. They let me use our conference rooms and I let employees bring a spouse/guest along.

  3. DrSugardaddy says:

    Maybe poker’s just not your game, Ike. I know…let’s have a spelling contest!

  4. Thanks for nominating me. I’m going to post my response tomorrow. Thanks so much!

    Eric

  5. Congrats on the Liebster award Vawt! I’m very envious that you can dunk! I love basketball, havent played for years, but have manages a dunk once or twice warming up – it was always my dream to dunk in a game! And I’m a big golf fan too, a hole-in-one is another one I’d love to add to my list! Although I’d be thrilled if I could just play a round once every month or two these days…

    Hope you keep enjoying the blogging for plenty more years to come!

    Cheers,

    Jason

    • vawt says:

      Thanks Jason! I haven’t played a round of golf since Father’s Day last year, but I hope to get out and play soon.

  6. Keep up the great work! Stay away from Vegas if you want to get to FI faster. Save and invest and you will be free soon enough.

    • vawt says:

      Yeah Vegas is not always helpful. I try to keep it as a mini-vacation when I have to travel there for a conference each fall.

  7. Guacamole — LOL. And love your definition of happiness! You seem very grounded… must be all the avocados. 😉

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