I thought a rambling 2016 recap post would be a good idea, looking at some wins and losses. Overall, it is Win orientated, which comes from my personality, I’m not naively optimistic as a person, but I do move on quickly from my mistakes, and hopefully don’t repeat them!
Let’s start with mLife. What started as concept a year ago has proven to be very lucrative, with the following ballpark numbers. Four visits to Vegas, three suites, two with round trip limo. Total food/beverage comp around $5,000, cumulating with the tasting menu at Robuchon. I liken this gig to the aspirational approach to fancy travel. I still think that few people would pay $1400 for a dinner for 2, but they would spend 140000 ultimate rewards on AA F, money is funny. After the last visit, my goose is finally getting cooked there. I do have a legacy offer that I could cash in, but I’m going to let it fade away.
The unexpected loss from Vegas came in the form of ‘winning’ too much, it skewed my AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) which I use to control tax credits and which grants me $480 for the entire family, per year healthcare. In order to fix that issue and control my taxes, I have to eschew the Standard Deduction and Itemize my taxes, which ‘costs me’ a few thousand in deductions.
Vegas is a win, and a loss.. but mostly a win.
One of the big wins is a movement towards DGAF. I’m really starting to feel this mindset – the Don’t Give a F*$K approach to things. I’m not going to trek to Vegas for a free room and food in one of their best hotels because I’ve other things to do, and I don’t DGAF. Same with chasing every offer, following every gig, replenishing every resale item. I’m much more in control. I focus my time more on clients and family (this is also why I’m posting less) and I fit gigs around my lifestyle. If the lifestyle is too hectic, I let them pass me by. DGAF.
This is why I suggest a symbiotic approach to the earn/burn/churn cycle: you both reduce your leakage/inefficiency, and you increase your passive/semi passive earning via applying for things that you don’t really understand, but are just worth it.
An example of this in action was the decision to do the following:
- Carry zero debt
- Open a business
- Apply for DiscoverIT without knowing why
Having very low monthly consumption expenses (no mortgage/loans/etc) means that most of my expenses are discretionary and variable rather than fixed. While I still need to eat, we can throttle down the Rib Eye steaks and buy cheaper cuts if things get tight. It’s a lot harder to throttle down mortgage payments. This means that any income over a very low threshold can be put to work in an investment. DiscoverIT paid me about $2,000 in cash back, and that covered real investments in myself, $2,000 could be:
- 20% of my business technology expense for 2016.
- The cost of attending two conferences to learn and obtain continuing education credit
- The cost of my Enrolled Agent education
Because of the way taxes work, there’s inherent leverage into such spending decisions ($2,000 rebate tax free, $2,000 expense tax deductible) and they also fuel industry and help Make America Great Again.
I still consider not carrying a mortgage a huge win, and one that continues to offer upside in cases like the above.
My biggest mistake for the year was not taking enough time for ‘me’. I went from being deeply involved in martial arts training as a hobby to almost nothing. I’ve carved out one slot a week at the moment, and am committing to another in 2017. It’s incredibly hard to pick something up like this when you are super busy, but it is also incredibly important to reduce stress, and reset the body and brain.
My closest reminder to this feeling was the rage I would feel while working in kitchens during college. The head chef would stroll in mid shift, when we were deeply ‘in the weeds’ and behind on orders. He’d order us to stop everything, clean everything down, and start again. The process used to infuriate me, but I know that it created a reset that allowed us to regain perspective and finish service.
Therefore, my biggest wins for 2016 are realizing that you need to carve out time for yourself. That you need to give less of a F in terms of the noise out there, and that investing free money in education and tools to create more value for people. This should result in more money and a more enjoyable life.