The extended 4th of July holiday here in the states was a do or die situation in The Wealthy Accountant offices this year. Illness had plagued me for some time and became acute just as tax season got underway. The pain was exquisite and unrelenting. It was time to decide if I can continue doing the things I most love.
In July I published a late post letting readers and clients know where things stand. You can read the prior post if you wants details from the trenches.
Things have changed a lot in the last three months. Clients and readers should be pleased my health has improved enough that I no longer consider health issues an existential crisis.
The second part of this post is an update on Camp Accountant.
Check-in or Check Out?
My writing process requires time. Usually I have a good idea what I will write about days in advance. As I think about the topic I gather materials and scribble notes. This post is no different.
Where this post is different is the material covered. I always want to tell a story that engages, drawing the reader in. Repeating what I already published seemed redundant to me and since this post is really an extension of the post linked above I will pick up where I left off.
Thinking about the nature of my illness caused ideas to keep flooding my mind. For the first time in my adult life I seriously had to consider retirement and an old nemesis returned: depression. I prefer discussions of solutions over complaining about the inequalities of life.
Earlier this summer, I had to face the real possibility of life without purpose. What would I do if I no longer could do what I was good at?
I visualized a life of leisure with stacks of books and nothing to do all day long. As much as I love reading and books I knew a life of accumulating knowledge I would never use or share was still meaningless. And longtime readers of this blog know my disdain for travel.
That is when this little verse popped into my head:
Don’t check out and travel the world;
Check-in and change the world.
I don’t know what you can do with that. It sums up my philosophy on life. Hopefully these words give you the motivation to do great things.
When health declines strange thoughts enter the brain. My journey is not done. There are many things I must do; things that could change the world at least for one person. I now know this blog is only practice for a much larger stage. I also know, from this blog, that I do not handle the large stage well so I need plenty of practice.
When the purpose is important enough you will find a way. Somehow God, life, something, just comes together to make important things come to life. Our worst moments of life eventually become the most important events of life. True value is impossible without these moments of crisis.
All I know is that I am not ready to check out. This blog and my accounting career have more room the run; things that must be done.
But there is one more thing I must do. Something so important (in my egotistical mind) it will change the world for the better for at least a few people. I wish I could flesh it out here and now, but you would not understand without the full context. All I can say for now is that it will start with a TEDx talk, a book and a larger public presentation. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done; the hardest thing I will ever do. And I have to stand in the light on a stage. And travel.
You see, I had to get well enough (and experienced enough) to complete these tasks.
Before you think I flipped my rocker, let me say that my purpose will change the world for at least a small number of people. Not at the level of Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. No, my earth shattering world change may only make a difference in the life of only one. But for that one person it will mean everything. And the odds are good more than one will be served. Too much is at stake to be diverted over a simple illness.
What was Wrong with TWA
The short version of my illness is I had a sinus and lung infection that required several rounds of antibiotics to resolve. Recovery is still in progress.
The cause of the infection probably came from a serious issue with acid reflux. Several years ago I noticed reflux issues but thought little of it. Acid reflux is such a minor issue (in my mind) that it didn’t need attention.
Jogging would cause coughing bouts. Even flying was an issue. (Maybe that is why I hate traveling so much?) As the reflux worsened I reduced my workouts to adjust and my diet declined. Weight went on and round and round we go down the drain.
The doctor said the acid reflux did not cause the infections (in her opinion). The infection just made the reflux more noticeable. I disagree. I would wake up at night choking. It was painful. It felt like it got in my lungs.
Regardless if the chicken preceded the egg, I ended up with a serious infection coupled with serious acid reflux. I was unable to talk and breathing was difficult. And I was in constant pain.
The infection is gone; the acid reflux is more of a constant friend. Diet and exercise improved after the infection was removed. (I gained nearly 40 pounds!) I can talk again to the chagrin of family and employees. I can even sing in church on Sunday morning, though I would not sit too close. I’ve been know to etch glass with my voice. Now we will see if my voice survives the upcoming tax season.
Where do We Go from Here?
There is no doubt I took the additional time allotted me while I healed to reflect on what life means to me.
I enjoy my work and always have. There is more work than any one man or business can handle. That is a hard lesson for me; the ability to say “No” when it is the right thing to say.
Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
The tax practice lives on. Current clients stay. I will not say I will never add another new client. What I am saying is that any new client will probably be local. I can’t be everything to everyone, taking the most complex tax returns from around the country. (Refer to the point before this paragraph.)
This blog also stays. The once per week publishing schedule works nice and if I want to pound out a few other ideas I’ve been working on I can always have an extra post now and again.
To compensate for fewer clients (some old clients leave and fewer replace them) I will focus on helping the largest number of people with a course on taxes tips. (News coming soon!) The same questions keep coming up again and again. With a course I can say it once and help thousands instead of one-on-one. A few other courses are also planned.
Consulting is still on. My consulting this year is way down due to that nasty loss of voice. If you contacted me on a consulting session you may hear from me soon. While consulting is still a go, understand I can’t consult with every request I get. There are just too many and I really do not want a relapse of the first half of this year.
And then we come to Camp Accountant.
Yes, Camp Accountant is now a real thing! Use the link for details and sign up.
Several false starts have finally ended in a real Camp. Changes were important. In the past I was pushed to do a Camp by someone else’s rules and it kept falling apart. I finally decided to have the Camp right where I want it: a short walk from my tax office. (Sorry Colorado fans. The Upper Midwest also needs some love too.)
I also decided I would run it my way. These things are a lot of work and I was expecting somebody else to do all the lifting. My contribution would be showing up. That wasn’t working.
Instead of the traditional FI and FIRE camps around the country, I settled on a one-day event. I brought in two speakers and all attendees get a Wealthy Accountant t-shirt. We also will tour my office so the proletariat can see how the bourgeoisie works in his natural habitat. Warning! You might be underwhelmed.
The morning will be presentations with guest speakers. I will share thoughts on the topic as well. After a nature walk to my office and lunch I will give a presentation followed by a Q&A. (Think of the Q&A as a consulting session without the cost.) If no one has any questions (that would be a first) I have an additional topic to cover.
Camp Accountant should be fun and informative. It is for everyone looking to build wealth, reach financial independence and make a difference. CPAs, enrolled agents and attorneys get CPE, but this doesn’t mean only these people will benefit. We are offering the CPE so these professionals can get a tax deduction as they satisfy their continuing education requirements.
I hope no one was too worried about my health. People were asking so I thought it best to publish an update. Camp Accountant is something people have asked for as well. I am very happy this is happening.
Now I am working to keep balance so I don’t relapse. I am grateful for the best clients and readers anywhere. This is important to me because I know it helps you. So I repeat:
Don’t check out and travel the world;
Check-in and change the world.
More Wealth Building Resources
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Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.
QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.
A cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.
Note: Camp Accountant is postponed for now. The original planned weekend is two weeks after FinCon and the same weekend as the tax extension due date. A large number of accountants wanted to attend, but couldn’t due to the due date. There were also several complaints the event wasn’t in Wisconsin. Colorado is an awesome place, but a lot of bloggers promote Colorado; it was felt I should promote Wisconsin. We can satisfy all these issues by having Camp Accountant in West Bend, Wisconsin at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa the week following the Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp, a program I’ve been involved with in the past. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The Event you have been waiting for your entire life had finally arrived! Camp Accountant is Here!
I don’t know about you, but I’m tingly all over. Camp Accountant is different from any camp you’ve attended in the FI community. All proceeds go to support the local Boys and Girls Club. In fact, all the registration money is collected by the Club. They pay for the cost of running the camp and put the rest to work serving the community. Everybody wins! Many of the venues are provided at low or no cost so more money ends up helping the Boys and Girls Club.
The first ever Camp Accountant is limited by the size of the venue so register early (details and links at the end of the post for registration and accommodations). First I need to share details. Read to the end for a special surprise!
Karen (she can share her full name if she wants) put this thing together. That means she did all the work. Please acknowledge her efforts. These things take time and cause stress so I am tremendously grateful for Karen’s efforts.
Karen and I have communicated during the planning process. She put together an information sheet so I’m going to cut and paste her words because she said it first and better:
Location – Salida Colorado — main location 419 D Street
Cost – $400 per person.
Participants – 30 people.
What this is all about –
Have a great time meeting like-minded folks, bike and hike around the Rocky Mountains in Colorado; learn cool stuff about accounting and how it supports our road to Financial Independence.
Keith from the Wealthy Accountant is hosting this event.
Lodging is not included in the event – it takes place in downtown Salida, Colorado. Lots of camping and lodging nearby, all info provided upon registration. All lunches and most dinners are included in the cost of the ticket.
The camp will be a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County. This amazing program supports youth in a rural county in Colorado.
A bonus of supporting the Club is that Colorado residents attending the camp will receive a donation letter for $200 that will equal a $100 credit on their Colorado state taxes.
Boys and Girls Club
Salida, Colorado is a very economically diverse community. As a small town of 5,000 people, there is no other after school programs for working parents that are affordable, and no other enrichment programs for families of limited means.
This program supports our local youth in many ways. Kids are with staff for homework help. They join structured programs to follow interests as diverse as sewing to robotics, and have a chance to be physically active instead of home alone in front of a screen.
The Club needs its own building to guarantee its future, instead of renting space and moving every few years. The opportunity to get word out about supporting the Club through the Wealthy Accountant blog could help us get a building so that the youth served by this program will have a permanent home.
Link to the Club website – http://www.bgcchaffee.org/
If you want to donate – http://www.bgcchaffee.org/Donate (click green button to donate online)
This is what the FI community is all about. We share ideas to improve our own lives and pay it forward so the upcoming generation can enjoy the same.
Here are answers Karen provided to important questions:
Can I come just for the day?
The space will only hold so many comfortably, so we will only have tickets for the whole event.
Where should I stay?
There is camping, Airbnb lodging, and a couple of B&B’s all near the site. Details of lodging and transportation will be sent upon registration. Most locations for lodging downtown are within walking distance of under a mile.
Is registration refundable?
No, but we will try to find a way to transfer tickets to people on a waitlist.
Who is hosting this event?
Keith from the Wealthy Account Blog is hosting the event.
Snap Pea (Karen), a longtime reader of the blogs and OG of the FIRE world, is helping coordinate all the logistics, and is crazy excited for the fundraiser for her local charity.
For profit event?
No. Information on the club is linked above.
Could I or Should I bring my rugrats?
While there is a lot to do in the area, the setup isn’t good for kids running around if the weather is bad. They would have more fun with a non-attending person around. If you do want to have kids and/or partners join for meals, please email for availability and rates to cover food costs.
If you have any additional question use the contact button on this blog. I’ll do my best to calm Karen down, ah, work with Karen to get you an answer.
Here is the planned itinerary.
Tentative Event Schedule
Thursday, October 11
Intro: evening at the Salida Hostel. Beer, wine and appetizers (enough for dinner) provided.
Friday October 12
9 AM: meet at 419 D Street for a bicycle ride or hike around the Salida area. There are mountain bike trails, road bike routes along low traffic county roads, and hiking trails all nearby.
This activity is dependent on weather – coffee and conversation at the site is the alternate plan.
Noon: Lunch at HQ
Intro talk by Keith, Q and A’s, etc. (I promise not to upset stomachs.)
4 or 5 PM: beer at the site or nearby park, happy hour, dinner on own downtown Salida.
Saturday, October 13
8:30 AM: Yoga with a volunteer leader – for those so inclined.
9:30 am: Event – talks, Q and A, discussion topics, power presentations, breakout discussions
Noon: lunch at site
1 PM: Event – talks, Q and A, discussion topics, power presentations, breakout discussions
5 PM: happy hour and BBQ. Volunteers from Chaffee Boys and Girls Club will be helping with the BBQ.
Sunday, October 14
10 AM: coffee and conversation, possible 5 min power talks, hanging out.
Noon: sandwiches and leftovers for lunch, organized event ends.
1 PM: Mountain bike rides and trip to local Hot Springs for those inclined. Car-pool organized by participants.
The after-party will continue in Salida, Colorado –
Stay longer and come check out our volunteer coordinator’s business – www.salidainnandhostel.com The Inn is set up as a friendly and social place to continue the fun after the Camp.
Salida is near several hot springs, hiking and biking trails and just a cool little town.
I’m happy to do all the talking, but for this to work best we need participation from others. Taxes are always a hot topic, especially with the new tax law in effect. I’ll answer questions personally as well.
We also need volunteers to give short presentations. Topics should be of interest to the FI community. Those active in real estate should consider a short presentation on the real estate market, RE values around the country and rent rates. Frugal living and early retirement are always of interest. And don’t be afraid to step forward and share some travel tips. Just because a certain unnamed accountant prefers to avoid travel doesn’t mean other wealthy accountants feel the same way. (For the record your leader is a slightly nuts!)
Here is additional important information before I provide the registration links:
We recommend staying in the downtown area. Salida Inn and Hostel www.thesalidahostel.com the Palace Hotel https://www.salidapalacehotel.com/ and the Simple Lodge https://www.simplelodge.com/ are all within walking distance. We also recommend Airbnb as many locations are within walking distance.
Camping/RVs – There is a lot of free camping just outside city limits on public land. There is also a nice private campground just on the outside of town, as well as a public pay campground called Salida East.
Transportation to Event
There is one bus a day to Salida — it leaves in the afternoon from downtown Denver, to get there from the airport you take light rail. It works best if your flight arrives quite a while before the bus leaves.
Renting a car is highly recommended unless your flights really work out for the bus.
The Colorado Springs and Gunnison airports are much closer — you would need to rent a car from them.
I come from a small town so I’m excited about our venue. The boondocks are my home and anytime my tail is planted in the outback I’m a happy camper.
This is going to be such an incredible event. Registration is on Eventbright.
Now for the surprise! I’m donating all my time and all my travel and lodging expenses are coming out of my pocket so the Club gets more of the proceeds. Airfare between the Accountant farmstead and Denver is really, really cheap; like $100 or $150 per person. Buuuut, Mrs. Accountant and I are driving so we can spend more time checking out the sights along the way. And since I’m driving there is a strong possibility a case (or ten) of the world famous Spotted Cow beer only available in Wisconsin will be smuggled in the truck of a wayward accountant willing to share.
I’d say the first beer is on me, but we all know it’ll be more than one.
See you at Camp, kind readers. There will be loads of powerful information for you and a future for the kids. And that is what life is all about.
We had another drawing this week for two $50 Amazon cards. We have one winner and one in anticipation.
Chuck R of Lincoln NE claimed his $50 Amazon card. Congratulations Chuck and thanks for subscribing. It’s great to have you here.
The second winner hasn’t contacted me yet so if you’re a subscriber be sure to check your email. My legal people tell me I need to wait 30 days before tossing the money back into the ring. If the prize goes unclaimed I’ll add it to another drawing. Check the Where Am I page for details.
Camp Accountant Update
I spoke with Pete (Mr. Money Mustache) earlier and he likes the idea of hosting a Camp Accountant at MMM headquarters in Longmont, CO. A date hasn’t been set and many details need to be worked out.
The biggest issue surrounding Camp Accountant is time. I’m enjoying the best tax season in years. The office is running smooth. Virtually all tax returns are out in a week or less. If your return has been in my office longer than a week we either are waiting for more documents or I’m researching an issue to maximize tax benefits. Even still, the pain of burnout lingers.
Longer hours and hyper-productivity take a toll. The tax law changes this past year are so significant I will spend most of my time this summer with clients and blog readers hammering out the best approach to realizing the maximum benefits from the changes.
With limited personal time available I am unable to run the whole Camp Accountant show myself. I am committed to attending (it was Pete’s first question) and presenting several topics. I will also attempt to get IRS approval for CPE for enrolled agents and CPAs.
All this said, Camp Accountant is on hold unless someone, or someones, volunteer to facilitate. I can provide guidance, advice and encouragement, but I can’t run the whole show myself. (I might be energetic, but I’m not crazy. (Don’t comment!))
If you or someone you know is interested in facilitating a Camp Accountant in Longmont, let me know. You’ll get to meet Pete (always a great experience) and work with me (not always as great as meeting Pete). Ideally the person/s helping organize the event should live near Longmont. Duties would involve planning the event, setup, helping determine the fee to each attendee and handling registration.
Now on to our weekend entertainment.
What I’m Reading
What I’m reading isn’t always what I’ve read. There is a difference. I’m nearly finished with How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Reading time is at a premium during tax season. That said, by the time you read this I’ll have finished the book.
How Democracies Die examines democracies in the recent past that have failed and asks if it can happen to the U.S. The comparisons are concerning. Politically polarized people with a closed mind will hate the information. Intelligent people will see reason for concern and ample reason for hope and how we as individuals can make a difference.
This isn’t a long book. Outside tax season I’d finish it in a day or two. It’s addictive reading. Part of my slow reading pace on this book is the amount of highlighting and note-taking. I may write a full post discussing How Democracies Die when time permits. There is so much powerful information between the covers you will find yourself reading this book and referring back to it often. I know this for a fact because I’m doing it before I’ve even finished the first reading. Yes, I said first reading.
What I’m Watching
Okay, I admit it. I watch some strange YouTube videos. But also admit you find them interesting too.
Our first selection caught my eyes in the feed: 13 Unusual Facts about Females that are Totally True.
Did you know there is an illegal number, as in a number illegal to possess? Me neither! Watch TWL#7: This Number is Illegal and join me on a criminal adventure. Don’t worry. You’ll look good in orange.
By now you’ve realized I have a science fetish. I share a wide selection on this blog, but my history on YouTube is cluttered with math and science videos. I can’t get enough. To that end I share with you Bose-Einstein Condensate: The Coldest Place in the Universe. It just makes me want to start the experiment.
What I’m Listening To
Remember the movie Heavy Metal? It’s been a long time. I didn’t care for the movie, but loved the music. Here is the theme song, Takin’ a Ride.
One Tin Soldier is a powerful song reminding us greed will destroy the most important part of life: peace on Earth.
And to finish this week’s selection I share a reminder from Three Dog Night: Black & White.
May you have peace and love, kind readers. See you Monday where I’ll share my insights into the tariff issues and how it’ll affect wealth, the economy and the stock market.