Friday, December 18, 2015

Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

I imagine most people are out enjoying the new Star Wars movie that was recently released to theaters. Me? I am updating this blog. The time has come for me to get serious again about my weight. I will be updating this blog with my weight loss journey.

So, it is confession time. With my previous blog, I was always brutally honest about my shortcomings. I am finding it hard to write this though because I had lost close to one hundred pounds. Now, I have gained it all back plus some. My current weight is 356.4 pounds. When I started my previous weight loss journey I was around 350 pounds. I won't make excuses. I did this to myself.

Where do I go from here? Well, I started drinking soda again. That ends tonight. I have always loved soda and it has always been a weakness. In addition, I plan to start doing daily step counts again. To get started, I am going to set those counts very low. Not only am I heavier than when I started last time, my knees have been hurting a bit. I am getting started with just 2500 steps a day. I know that is a very low step count but I want to ease into it. I will ramp it up as I go along.

Naturally, I will be eating healthier as well. I have fallen back into eating out, eating late, and eating too much. I am not saying that I will not eat out anymore. I just need to cut back. I remember that when I first started trying to lose weight, I always felt like I was hungry. I remember going to bed many times with my stomach growling. Well, I will just say that I have not had that happen in quite awhile.

I will be weighing every fifth day of the month. I always found that if I weigh in weekly, I lived like the devil immediately after weighing in because I always felt like I could make up for it later in the week. With five days, I really don't feel like I have that temptation. So, with that said, the next weigh in will occur on December 20th. Yikes! That means I have to weigh in Christmas morning. Guess I will have to be good on Christmas Eve.

On a completely different subject, I am moving blog posts from my old gaming blog site. Feel free to check them out if you like. Some of them are a bit dated and please understand that I wrote that blog kind of tongue in cheek. I would like to think that I possess a sense of humor. You are welcome to disagree. Check back soon for new posts. Goodbye for now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Is An IRA?

With every passing year I am getting closer to retirement age. Hey, we all are. I am at an age now where it feels like I should have started setting money aside when  I was younger if I want to retire a millionaire. I can dream, can't I?

Since I have had to figure some of this stuff out on my own, I thought I should share some of what I learned. I imagine everyone has a basic idea of what an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is and what it can do for you, but just in case, here is a quick overview. I will discuss in future posts the differences between the different types of IRAs. Also, please excuse the analogies that I share, I tried to make them different than the books that I have read on the subject so that I am not copying anyone (I hope).

An IRA is kind of like a grocery bag. At grocery stores, they used to ask if you wanted your groceries bagged in paper or plastic. Nowadays the options are probably more like plastic or the reusable shopping bags. Similarly, IRAs are offered with either pre-tax or after-tax benefits. As I mentioned above, I will present more on the different types of IRAs and their specific benefits in future blog posts.

Typically, grocery bags are used to store items that you have purchased. This makes them easier to transport until you reach your destination. Similarly, an IRA is used to store your investments until you reach your destination (retirement). An IRA can store many different kinds of investments. You can own stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, and even savings accounts inside an IRA. I will most likely discuss each of those types of investments in future blog posts. For now, just know that an IRA holds the different investments that you choose to place in it until you reach retirement.

Why not own some or all of these investments outside of an IRA? You could certainly choose to do so and it might even be beneficial. The primary reason to store them inside an IRA is due to tax treatment. This is likely a gross oversimplification, but pre-tax IRAs provide a tax savings now, grow tax-deferred, then taxes are paid on the investments when they are sold and income is taken at retirement age. After-tax IRAs (taxes were already paid on this money prior to entering the IRA) provide tax-free growth and no taxes are paid when the investments are sold and income taken at retirement age.

I hope that this blog post was helpful. If you notice any mistakes or would like clarification on anything, please leave me a comment below. I may edit this post with more concise information in the future, but for now, this should suffice. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your feedback.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Launch

Hello and happy Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone has been able to enjoy this holiday time with friends and family. I was graciously invited to spend Thanksgiving with some friends of mine and I had a great time. We watched the Panthers destroy the Cowboys and who doesn't like to see that? (Sorry Cowboys fans). The food was fantastic! So on the whole, it has been a pretty amazing day.

I have not written any new blog posts in quite a while. It can be hard to find the time when life seems so incredibly busy. A couple of things have motivated me to start blogging again but with a few changes. The main motivation for me to start blogging again was to get back on track with my weight loss goals. I have gained back almost all of the weight that I had lost when I started back in October 2012. The blog was a great source of accountability and encouragement to me.

I was also motivated because some of you checked in with me when I stopped blogging. I was told on occasion that people found my blog inspiring. Still others enjoyed following me on my weight loss journey. That means a lot to me.

I actually have a total of three blogs. This blog makes number four. Sometimes I am not nearly as smart about things as I should be. I obviously enjoy technology, I mean, it is my livelihood after all. So I suppose I thought it was pretty cool to buy three different domain names to host three different blogs. Then I also have the domain name for my business. I have not written many posts at all on two of the blogs and yet, I am paying to keep all of these domain names active. No longer!

The first blog that I created was dedicated to trying to help people with technology. I even created quite a few YouTube videos to support the blog and inserted them into the blog posts. They mostly dealt with Windows 7 features. That pretty much gives you an idea of how recently that blog has been updated. You can find that blog here if you are interested.

The second blog that I created was dedicated to video gaming. Honestly, at the time, video games played a much larger role in my life than they do now. Sure, I still break out the sticks on occasion to teach the young whipper snappers a lesson, but I am just not as into it as I once was. The blog was named after a creature that a friend of mine made up (half horse, half scorpion) and securing that domain name was kind of a joke between us. That blog is still up if you want to check it out.

The third blog detailed my weight loss journey. I updated that blog every five days for several years. It documents my journey from 350 pounds down to around 260 at one point. It was by far my favorite. I was able to celebrate my accomplishments and learn from my failures. It provided perspective. When I would hit a weight loss plateau and begin to become discouraged, I could always look back over the older posts and get inspired by my past success. Often this would prevent me from giving up. I want that back! Feel free to check out that blog.

So what did I mean by no longer? I have created this new blog to take over all three of the old blogs. Instead of having three different blogs covering three different subjects, this blog will cover all of my interests and simply have an area where a reader can choose the subject that they would like to read about. Only want to follow my weight loss journey? Just click on weight loss and you won't have to see my posts about technology or any other subject matter. I am probably not going to write any more posts about video games. Instead, I have become very interested in personal finance and investing so I will likely write a few posts about that.

I will be phasing the other blogs out and bringing their content here once their respective domains expire. Until then, you can follow the links above to read archived posts. Any new posts, regardless of subject matter, will find a home on this new site conveniently named after myself.

I will save a bit of money by not having to pay for four different domain names. Eventually I will be down to just two domains, this one, and the other would be my business domain which you can check out here if you like.

I look forward to many more posts in the future. My goal is just to help people through writing about my own experiences. Failing that, maybe I can just make people laugh on occasion. Thanks for checking out the new site!