Attitude is What YOU Make it

Attitude is Everything – Change in 2017

There is a catchphrase that tends to reemerge every year from its digital coffin.  At its core, it’s just another ‘attitude is everything’ phrases that tries to amp you up.  Well, this year it worked on me.  “Don’t Quit Your Daydream” is the particular phrase I’m talking about.  From what I can tell, it started back in 2009 as an Indie film that did surprisingly well; however, in 2012 the self-help industry picked it up and ran away (probably to the bank) with it.

The phrase caught me this year because I’ve been looking into the Celtic Crystal Ball and future-gazing a lot recently.  I’ve got a plethora of calculated risks that I’ll be taking later this year that will dramatically affect my life.  My attitude on life has changed because of those risks.  I’ve got to stay dedicated and motivated if I expect to succeed. Continue reading

2017 Checklist for a Happy Wallet

As we ponder the auld lang syne of 2016 and begin the entry into 2017, I’m forced to realize that I’ve been blogging for 9 months.  Amidst the craziness of a full-time job and blog writing, I’ve added a new job (I’m a Realtor!), the purchase of a home, and two puppies to the mix!  I’ve been engaged in life to say the least.  The year has been a roller coaster.  It’s up and down, happy and sad, but at the end of the ride, I can still say I had fun!  As far as the Celt family, we remain intact.  Lady Celt hit a large goal for weight loss, and the Mini-Celt (who now sports a new Mini-Kilt) has grown exponentially – both physically and mentally.

Entering 2017, I would be remiss to not give you all some savvy tips for a New Year, New You.  This past year I’ve regaled you all with topics of retirement plans, and identity theft; making a car budget and various treats of real estate.  Let’s see if I just can’t wrap it all up with a nice big tartan bow!

Read on to learn how you can make 2017 your best year for finances yet! Continue reading

Staying Safe Online Requires Virtual Awareness

Identity Theft – Awareness is Safety

It’s December and that means the holiday season.  A season where happiness reigns for a brief moment, and neighbors get along a smidge better.  It’s also the season of giving and being thankful for what you have.  Just be careful not to give away too much.  December is the Identity Theft and Awareness month after all.

In my last article I talked about how to take care of your finances once your identity has been compromised.  Knowing how to repair a hole in the ship is all well and good.  However, the best way to keep smooth sailing through life is to avoid the hole-making object in the first place!  That’s why I would like to share a few tips and tricks to keeping your identity safe.  The best way to do that is by maintaining awareness of the crime! Continue reading

Causes of Identity Theft

Identity Theft: The Unwelcome Holiday Guest

Now that the Celtic family are coming back from their trip to Phan for the Thanksgiving week, it’s officially holiday season!  I’ve always loved the holidays.  I know a lot of people don’t have good childhood memories and I feel bad for them, because my memories have always been great.  To those people, I say try something different!  Your past does not create your future, try different methods to get different results.

The one thing that can always ruin a holiday – even mine – would be identity theft.  December is Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention month, so I figured an article detailing those “oh crap” twilight hours would be helpful for my readers.  The holidays are a busy time for most people.  This should be a helpful resource to refer back to so you can expedite the recovery process and get back to what really matters. Continue reading

Would a Single Payer System Make Pills Cheaper?

Single Payer Healthcare and the Repeal of Obamacare

Trump is the president of the United States.  I’ll add that to the list of “Things I thought I’d Never Say”.  Now that it has happened I’d like to say a few things without getting too into the weeds of political debauchery.  I didn’t vote for him, but I will stand behind him.  That said, I absolutely understand the fears of all the minorities that he openly degraded and threatened – I stand behind them too.  I will call out any attacks I see on people through a Trump presidency.  At this point though, he hasn’t done anything except rhetoric.  At this point he’s not a bad president.  I’m willing to give him benefit of the doubt to see what happens.  He has already changed his view on repealing Obamacare.  Perhaps he can change his mind on other things too.  Maybe he will be more pragmatic than people believed; just as Obama was more pragmatic than his idealistic campaign set out.

There.  Now back onto some sweet, sweet finance!  On topic though, I’d like to talk about Obamacare and why I fear what Trump may do to our healthcare system.  I am going to take a direct positional stance on how I feel healthcare should be run.  Many of you may disagree – I welcome that – and if that’s the case, let me know in the comments.  Continue reading

Bridge Closed to Fitbit wealth

The Fitbit Headache – Making Whiskey Sour with Lemons

I have a headache.  It’s been constant for about 10 months now.  The bright side, I know exactly what’s causing it.  The bad news is that I can’t pull the trigger to get rid of it.  The source of my nagging condition is, none other, then Fitbit’s stock price.

I bought Fitbit stock back in January at $21.91 a share.  I only bought it because I was bullish on the wearables market and Fitbit was the big guy on campus.  At the time, they had no debt to speak of and owned the market share.  They had also gotten over their IPO volatility period.  I was super confident about this stock and had set myself a price target of $27.  For the record, at the time, most of the major investment funds were targeting around $32-34.

Just so we’re clear: I still own stock in Fitbit.  This is not an advertisement.  This is a lesson about the marketplace.

The Fitbit Learning Curve

Fitbit has matched or beaten Wall Street earnings almost every single quarter.  Their growth forecasts usually beat all expectations.  The wearables market was really coming into full swing as well and the marketing campaign was well under way.  I was sold on Fitbit, so I bought in on January 8th of this year.  The following Monday, Jan 11th, a major investment house published a nasty note. They thought Fitbit was a joke and sold off all of their shares.  The memo didn’t really note any specifics, but rather just a generalized “I don’t like it”.  This caused a large selloff and my position dropped from $21.91 to $18.85 – a 14% drop for those of you playing at home.

I held strong.  Fitbit had great fundamentals and bad news happens all the time.  The overall tone of other news articles was still positive and strong – the stock would jump back.  But it never did.  I’m not as active in the market as I once was, so I check my stocks infrequently.  I was flummoxed when I finally opened up my trading app and saw “$FIT: 14.68”.  The market trounced me to the tune of 32% of my investment.

I became active in the market again.  Fitbit was incredibly volatile at the time and had a very steady trading range, so I began to sell very short options on my position.  The options all expired worthless.  I began to earn back my investment $16 to $32 at a time.

The most recent Third Quarter earnings has Fitbit matching analysts’ expectations.  And yet the CEO has come out again and slashed expectations – he’s done this twice now and each time Fitbit has surged past the original forecast.  The market reacted and sold off.  My shares now sit at $8.71 at the time of writing.

Why Fitbit is an Important Lesson

I’m strong on Fitbit still.  They have great fundamentals: a profitable product, chic design, and they still own the lion’s portion of market share at 32%.  Their debt levels have increased, but it’s in R&D.  Fundamentally, they’re a sound company and the wearables sector, I believe, is hesitant to go away.

However, the market is fickle.  Sometimes winners and losers don’t make sense and that’s just the way it goes.  You can’t give up on your dreams and goals because they don’t always go your way.  Just reanalyze and get back on the horse.

Bridge Closed to Fitbit wealth

No Entry – Only Suffering for Fitbit Owners

Your retirement account may bounce around and your career may turn unexpectedly, but you can’t give up.  Set your sights on what you want and go for it!  This is also why it’s so important to start investing young.  The earlier you start to contribute, the longer you have to analyze mistakes and learn from them.  If you’re unsure of where to start, check out my synopsis of various IRA accounts.

Becoming financially independent and free takes time.  Be consistent, be methodical, and be purposeful.  Even when the market turns against you seemingly at random.

Conclusion

We always need to analyze our faults.  So what am I doing to analyze and reboot my strategy?  Well, I’m selling my shares and buying back in.  Yes, that does mean I realize a 50% loss in my investment.  However, $8.71 is far too low for Fitbit.  I’ll be able to buy more shares than I originally own and my new cost basis will be $12.74 AFTER trading costs.  That means anything above that mark, I make money.  Fitbit also just had a huge sell-off after the CEO slashed expectations, so I expect there to be some volatility from that, coupled with the volatility entering the election.  I plan to sell short term options to capitalize on the uncertainty and make a few dollars.  I’ve set a new price target at $15.  Once it reaches it, I will sell Fitbit and be done with it for a long, long while.

After I sell, I will still like the stock.  I still believe in its future; however, I don’t believe in the CEO.  I look forward to being rid of the headache though.  It’s gone on so long for me.  Just because you analyze your faults, and rebound, doesn’t mean you have to like the journey.  Sometimes it’s better to say “so long!  And thanks for all the fish”.  The market is fickle; it doesn’t always make sense.  But it’s up to you to make your success.

 

Celts, do you think my strategy will pay off?  Do you take time to reflect on your mistakes and success to find patterns?  Let me know in the comments below!  Be sure to check me out on my Cash Flow Celt Facebook page.  And if you’re in Central Florida, looking to buy or sell real estate, check out my new Realtor Page!

Contract Bonuses - Angry Pug

Military Contract Bonuses: Government Claw Back Edition

I’ve got a lot of respect for the military.  They endure things that the average person could not cope with.  This is especially true during a wartime situation like the United States has been faced with since 2001.  We send our men and women to serve all across the globe.  Some make it back and some don’t – it’s a sad, but true, fact.  However, to compensate our soldiers, we pay them in outstanding fringe benefits like education, pensions, and healthcare.

Sometimes during wartime, when ranks run thin, we even pay them with contract bonuses.  The same type of contract bonuses you see athletes or corporate executives get to entice them into signing contracts.  Generally, so long as the term of the contact was honored – and there was no malfeasance by either party – they are irrevocable and free to enjoy by the signing party.  Last year, Peggy Johnson, then an executive with Qualcomm, received a $7.8Million bonus to sign with Microsoft.  Could you imagine the outrage if, 10 years from now, Microsoft claws back that bonus saying she was ineligible for the bonus because the Board of Trustees didn’t vote on it?

Strangely enough though that’s exactly the case that’s happening to nearly 9,700 troops associated with the California Guard.  The L.A. Times reports that the soldier’s bonuses are being clawed back – and I’m pretty peeved about it. Continue reading

first week in real estate

First Week in Real Estate

Week one is in the books ladies and gentleman!  I’ve concluded my first week in real estate as an agent with a brokerage.  I need a vacation.  If you haven’t read how I came to choose my brokerage, be sure to read it here.  It’s now clearly apparent that Phil Dunphy, the REALTOR character in Modern Family, has lied to me.  For all of his self-deprecating humor and carefree self, he led me to believe this thing was easy!

It’s been hectic.  I still thought it would be a great idea to let you all in on what your first week as a real estate agent would look like.  A lot of it follows exactly what you may think, but you may also be surprised.  There is a lot of back-end work that goes into making your first week successful.  There is also a lot of time that needs to be spent on one and done activities – which is frustrating. Continue reading

Picking a Brokerage - House Picture

Picking a Brokerage for Real Estate

I’ve been incredibly busy as of late.  It’s actually been very difficult to try and post consistently.  So what have I been doing that’s taking up so much time?  Trying to pass real estate school!  Well, as of October 3rd, I had passed the state exam and officially became an inactive holder of a Florida real estate license!  So then, the trek to find a broker officially began.

Presently, I have officially selected a broker (and am now licensed and active) and I’d like to share my thoughts on what my thought process was.  Part of writing this is so everyone, should they decide to get licensed, will have some guidelines.  The other part is so I can have a record for my thoughts a few years from now to see if my expectations were met.

If you’re in the Central Florida area looking for property as a buyer, seller, or investor, look me up.  A great place to start is my agent page at www.realestatecelt.com.  I would be happy to sit down for a free consultation.   Continue reading

Professional Hardships? Let us know!

Sleepover at the Sheriff! What I learned About Professional Hardships

In every job, you will have professional hardships.  I had my first major one while working at the sheriff’s office.  As most of you know, Central Florida was hit by Hurricane Matthew this week.  I’m a dispatcher, so I’m considered part of the essential emergency staffing.  This meant that, from 5:30 AM Thursday to 6:00 PM Friday, I was working and sleeping at the sheriff’s office.  We were fortunate that Matthew went further east than originally predicted, and our lock down was lifted early.  But I learned some very important things about work and personal life.

Before I get into that though, I want to take a moment and shout out to all of my coworkers – including

Professional Hardships?  Let us know!

Professional Hardships? Let us know!

those from neighboring agencies.  My living situation was pretty miserable, but it pales in comparison to those deputies and officers that were literally living in their car for days as they responded to calls when wind would briefly die down.  When I left the sheriff’s office, the road patrols were still required to be on emergency staffing, meaning they didn’t get to go home.  They handled their professional hardships with tact and diligence.  Bravo on them all.  They embody all that is right with protecting and serving.

Further, while the road units were outstanding on the road, the communications center also performed admirably.  We received TRIPLE our normal 911 call volume on Friday.  Not a single 911 escaped agency standards.  All phones were answered in under ten seconds to keep us in line with national accreditation standards.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Now, onto what I learned. . . Continue reading