Monday, January 13, 2020

Back to School

Well today I received my first weeks schedule for my next college class.

Going back to school 
A fountain rises in front of the old administration building at fresno city college. The two story building stands at the end of a walkway and is built of red brick, with steps going up to the front door.
Fresno City College

Going back to school at the beginning of a semester is always exciting and scary, even when you are 58 years old. How did I survive from the age of four until I was sixteen?

This semester, I am taking a step away from my Social Work Certificate. There was just so much depressing concepts in those classes, so I need a break. This semester, I am going into business classes. I am taking Personal Finance.


Wait a minute! I hear you say, didn't you say you had over forty years of investing and running a family business?

Well yes you did, and I have done those things, still do, but I believe I still have a lot to learn.
  •   You can always learn something new.

 Most of what I have learned over the years has come from books and putting into practice what I thought I understood. It has worked, but it is not a perfect system. When I was young and sighted I read a book about driving a car, I knew all of the theory but non of the practical things with driving. For that I had to take driving lessons.

There is lots of stuff that you only learn by practice, some of them we can't go through here without adding an adult content rating to the site.

Believe it or not I even had to learn how to live as a blind person. So. Why not go back to school for a semester and learn about personal finance.

I am looking forward to class. There seems to be lots of read. I haven't got the book as yet. At $150 from the college bookstore and only $55 from amazon. I decided to take an option of saving some of that personal cash and go for the cheaper option.
Leif, a male black labradore retriever in harness of a guide dog, and is also wearing a white bow tie.
Leif, My Guide Dog

Plus it seems that I need to buy a graphing calculator. Need to buy? Do I need to buy anything that I cannot use? Well I will have a chat to my professor tomorrow.

Then there the nerves about who will be in class. First days are always nerve wracking, but at least I get to take a cute dog along with me. Last week, last Friday, we went to get my student I.D. and took a walk to find the classroom. It is in a building which we haven't used before, so Leif, my guide dog, enjoyed lots of treats as we explored.

Wish me well. I will keep you appraised of the first week news later.

If you are going back to school this week. Good luck, I am with you all the way.

All the best.

Please share this  post if you have enjoyed reading it.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Financial Independence For the Visually Impaired - Part 3

Two months ago I set in motion the basic foundations of a plan to generate an income stream from dividend investing, the aim to reach an income of $10,000 as soon as possible. For the initial plan read more here.
Financial independence for the blind and visually impaired, cash flow
Cash Income

My latest steps to Financial Independence

I initially funded the brokerage account with $50 then added another $110 in November, 2019. In December I received $2.16 in dividends which were re-invested in their stocks which added a few fractional shares and some units of Mutual Funds..

This income stream led to my investment increasing to $162.16
In addition the stock market added another $5 to my investment so as of yesterday my total investment is  just over $166.00 (Rounded Down). Growth of 2.17%

 The account has a projected dividend income of $6.09 for the year, but this will increase monthly as more dividends are put back into the account.

 Also I have introduced a new stream of income from online advertising. This income will be used in addition to my amazon affiliate income to generate funds for further investment throughout 2020 and beyond.

I am also using the Spring Semester for studying Personal Finance at my local Community College. I have a long history of investing behind me, forty years of history. But there is always something new to learn in the subject and I think it is time to go to school and learn if I am doing as well as I could or if I am missing some really important information in my investing knowledge.

As Mark Twain once said "It's not what you know that what gets you into trouble. It's what you think you know for certain, that gets you."

So with a nice two percent rise in my initial portfolio, I will say thank you for reading and if you have found this post useful please like and share it with your friends and family.


If you would like to know why I love investing for dividend income read my blog at "The Investor".
Possibly leave a comment or question below.   Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

How I discovered Happiness

It may seem crazy, but I did not discover happiness until very recently.

I am wearing a deep blue button down shirt and a silver and black patterned tie.
William Elliott
There were occasion when I thought that I was happy, but in the moment that I had that very thought, the feeling fled to hide like a frightened rabbit being hunted by a pack of dogs.

Happiness was not a lasting satisfying feeling for me. In many ways happiness came with a dread fear of pain for most of my life.

I grew up in North-West England, not far from the city of Chester close to the border between England and Wales. My father was Welsh, but died just a few weeks after my seventh birthday.

I was brought up by my mother and my maternal grandparents. For many years I was bullied at school and spent much of my spare time running errands for the "Navvies" and brick laying gangs who worked on the large building sites around my hometown in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

I didn't have many friends of my own age. One person, Chris said he was a friend, but I remember on a couple of occasions going to his house, we were born on the same day and met on our first day at school, he would kick a football at my head and if I dared to duck would then punch and kick me in the face and body.




Of course today I see, Chris was a bully. One day when I was about eleven years of age. I just decided to open the gate and leave Chris to find someone else to  use as a punchbag or football. That made me bitter at the idea of friendship. Something that made me sad.

Today, I can look back on my choosing to walk through that gate as a life lesson. Though it took me about forty more years to learn the lesson.

Life happiness is about personal choice.


Life is not fair, in fact life does not care about me at all. Whether I was born or not. Whether I continue to live or not. Living is not about being happy or sad, being healthy or sick. Life is just about living and it is my own personal choice that makes me happy or not.

We make our own happiness by the way we choose to react to all those carrots and stones life throws at us.




It was about ten years ago. I was married and I had moved from the United Kingdom with my wife of two years. I found myself going blind. I was terrified and angry. There was no escape from the reality that going blind would change my life. It would change both of our lives.

My wife felt compelled to be strong for me. I felt compelled to put on a brave face for her.

In the ensuing few months as my eyesight improved and failed over and over again. We were both under a lot of stress. It was then I said to myself everyday. "

"This is as good as it gets."

 Every day I would get up and blink, some days I could see the picture on the wall, other days I could only see the blur of a wall. But "This is as good as it gets." Got me through.

I began choosing to make challenges to myself. Walk around the neighborhood. Walk to work. Ride the bus alone. My confidence slowly came back.

With that confidence came happiness. I began to notice the lows getting less low. As my confidence rose I could see more possibilities and more challenges. As I tried to overcome each challenge, I might succeed, then ok add a new challenge to the list. If I failed a challenge then I could feel low. I even accepted that I did feel low. Accepting the lows meant that I moved on faster. A slump of a month or more became a slump of a week or two. Then the more I accepted that bad things happened, the more confident I became that the bad times would pass and the more I accepted the bad with the good the happier I became.




Now though I cannot see very much more than a shadow. I am content. I do sometimes feel frustration with my situation but I accept frustration. I let it flow through me. I might even snarl in anger now and then. But I am much happier today because I accept that bad things happen.

Bad things have happened to me. Bad things have happened to you, I know. Things so awful that I cannot imagine, I guess. Accept. You do not need to try and forget, you just need to accept your self, your pain and your anger. Then you too can begin to find peace within your self and the gem of happiness which I have found in my life, will be yours.



William sits in the garden wearing a grey and blue checkered shirt and dark blue trousers. Leif a male black labrador guide dog sits between William's knees.
William and his Guide Dog Leif

To read more about Emotional Intelligence CLICK HERE




Monday, December 9, 2019

Christmas is coming

A Yellow Labrador retriever puppy looks into the camera.
Yello Labrador Puppy
So it is now mid December and Christmas is coming. My semester at college is almost over. In fact this week sees the Final Exam of my "Introduction to Aging" class.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Six Years Together: My Guide dog and I

We originally met on October 21, 2013. Almost two weeks later on November 2, 2013, Leif, my black Labrador guide dog and I graduated from guide dog school in San Rafael, California.
William, in check shirt and Leif a black labrador sit in our garden on November 2 2019. Their sixth anniversary after graduation from guide dog training.
William and Leif Today

Today, it is November 2, 2019. Six years to the day since our graduation. What a wonderful experience it has been working with a guide dog like Leif.

Working with a guide dog is not easy. Sometimes it can be a battle of wills. That discarded burger paper on the floor needs testing, people want to pet him, people have even grabbed him as we crossed the street. The blade of grass that smelled so good yesterday may carry yet more pee-mail messages today. He did well ignoring yet another distraction, but does he really deserve fifteen dog treats in a two minute walk to the bus stop.

All these matters might crop up anytime. They tell you about some of them at guide dog training. Many they don't tell you about.

One of the first things I learned at guide dog school was how to take care of my dog.

A guide dog is a working dog. First and foremost he is my eyes, plus an extra set of ears. My life can depend on him several times per day. So I need to look after his every day needs and keep him healthy.

You can tell Leif, is healthy. Just looking at his coat. Black, thick and glossy. His eyes are bright and intelligent, he misses very little in his environment and at seven and a half years old his ability to walk is not impaired by rheumatism or arthritis. Everyday he receives a few drops of salmon oil in his food.

People often comment on how good his coat looks and feels. I often allow people who ask to pet him a chance to stroke him. It is always nice to hear how the grooming he gets everyday feels to others. Plus when people ask how I keep him looking so healthy, I can tell them about his care. An occasional egg mixed in his food. High quality food and a spritz of salmon oil.

Working with a guide dog everyday is an adventure. I never really know what is going to happen to us. People are drawn to these working dogs. Walking with a long white cane rarely caused anyone to speak to me. I could go through my day without anyone speaking to me. It was lonely going out. With Leif by my side people do talk with me. I am never lonely with Leif by my side.

I love every moment with Leif, my black Lab guide.

Has there ever been a Guide Cat for the Blind?  Read more