Sunday, November 1, 2020

Financial Independence For The Visually Impaired: Part Four

 It is now just over one year since I created a portfolio of stocks to try to generate some income. Allowing me to make a step towards financial independence.

Back in January I had invested just over $200 and was looking at quite a good year ahead. My general income from advertising,

A stack of U.S. Bank notes and coins

amazon affiliate links and my small side hustles like selling "Spider plants"  were ticking over and it looked like I could amass a reasonable amount over this yeTar.

That was of course before the Corona Virus and the lock downs came along. My income disappeared  over night.  I did manage to scrape together about $100 over the Summer and into September. Mostly some cash given to me to buy something for my birthday in September. I used that ti buy some Financial Exchange Traded Fund stock (XLF)  that stock was a good price in September, just $24, it pays a quarterly dividend next in December, then March, June and September.

Banks and other financial services are a little bruised and battered this year but I think this ETF will hold up. Being an ETF too, means that I am in less danger than buying an individual bank like J P Morgan or Bank of America.

XLF also has a nice perk, I get to hold some Berkshire Hathaway stock in there. The company controlled by Warren Buffwtt and Charlie Monger. Each stock of the company is selling at over a quarter of a million dollars at the present time or less powerful non voting shares change hands at around $200 regularly.

The accounts main weakness was that I bought a large initial number of oil pipeline stocks at the end of 2019. Prices and dividends looked good then. Now with the slump in oil prices all year and cuts in dividends income dropped. The portfolio is now worth just over $352, with a unrealized loss of $22.15.

Unrealized loss means that I still own stock that I purchased at a high price. If I sell now the loss would be realized. Unrealized losses vary as the underlying stock price rises and falls.

My projected dividend income for the next year has grown to $15.83. This is mostly just re-invested into the paying stock so my positions have grown slightly over the year already. 

Bar grap of portfolio showing total value between January 1 2020 and October 31 2020  Amazon affiliate link

As you can see there has been a steady increase in the portfolio value following a decline from February to March.

Most years any portfolio will grow in this way.  The upward trend from left to right is commonly called "The Snow Ball Effect". This is because it appears to grow like a rolling snowball, packing on layers of snow as it rolls along the ground. Eventually given time the low slope can rise to become a near vertical climb.

If you have been watching the news lately in the United States and listened to stock market news you might think the near 7% drop in some stock indices in the last week of October was a disaster. But looking at this graph you can see it has had little effect in the long term. The portfolio even with little extra cash inputs outside of dividends grew over the last ten months. Proof that a long term view is much easier on the mind than panicking at every news headline about crashing markets.

I hope that you have found this update useful. I will continue investing my Amazon affiliate income into this account over the next few months. I would be grateful for your support in doing so. Many of you have already supported this effort, thank you.

To See Amazon's Latest Holiday Deals Click here (Affiliate Link)

To support this Blog you may like to take a look at my Amazon Affliate Link.  If you make a qualifying purchase after using this link Amazon will send me a cash commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

To read the latest Investing for the Visually Impaired go to

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Dark Days Are Coming

 The dark days are coming. Can you feel them??

William Elliott in Guide Dogs for the Blind face mask and a red  GDB baseball hat.

Every year I find this week very difficult. The days between the last Saturday of October and the first Saturday of November.

Why are they hard?  Because I find myself adrift. The United Kingdom has moved off British Summer Time while here in the United States we are still using Daylight Savings Time.

Being eight hours behind normally is ok for me. I listen to the BBC radio stations a lot and so have a routine that for this one week is way out of sync. It is amazing what a difference that one hour in time difference makes.

It is not just since coming to the United States that I have found the problem.

While my wife and I were in a long distance relationship. Me living in England and her here in California, the problem was the same. All well with an eight hour time difference, chaos when we came to a seven hour time difference.

But then on Saturday night, we lose the hour. We go back to an eight hour time difference with the UK, but it will be dark shortly after 5pm.  When I was little, the closing in of the dark nights was fun. Bonfire night soon followed, then Christmas and New Year. By then in England you could tell the nights were beginning to grow shorter. Here in California the difference doesn't seem to come for a few extra weeks.

Plus with losing so much of my vision, dark means dark earlier and longer.

Yellow high visibility jacket (Amazon affiliate link)Next week comes out my reflective high visibility jacket.

Just like the one to the left.

When out and about in the gloom of a dark morning or growing darkness of evening, I like to feel that I can be seen.

Working with a black labrador as I do, even with his harness which reflects some light, I want to be seen. I am big, and in this bright yellow jacket, well your eyesight must be worse than mine, because even I can see me in this gear.

So I recommend that everyone get some high visibility clothing of some sort. It need not be a full blown jacket, a vest can work too, or even just cuffs and leg bands. Something that catches the eye of the motorist or truck driver.

Be sure to make sure you can be seen. 

You can see a small selection of High Visibility Clothing and safety strips by clicking on my Amazon Affiliate Link here.

I would like to thank everyone of you who have supported my blog by clicking my Amazon Affiliate Link already. You have been very gracious in your support of this blog.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What Am I Reading in October 2020?

Red Star Rogue Cover (amazon link) Did I ever mention that I love to read?</p>

I am not one for much fiction. Generally I like more books that might make me think. I also like theoccasional  recorded course. Amazon and  Audible are great for me.

This month I chose a book which promised to have a personal element to its story. The book is   

The book is not new, published in 2005.

I found it fascinating though. The events of the book take place during the Cold War. Most of the initial action takes place on a Soviet nuclear submarine operating in the Pacific Ocean. The boat in question sailed in a hurry from its base in the far East of the USSR in March 1968. It disappeared a few days later.

The book examines how the United States quickly found remains of a submarine just a few hundred miles from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The shattered remains, showed signs of a massive internal explosion. Many of the crew were not at their posts but appeared to have been locked in the forrward section of the submarine. Prisoners in their own boat.

Over several months the U.S. set up a series of covert operations to recover the submarine.

The book details how the submarine became a pawn in the game of diplomatic chess that was played between the U.S., U.S.S.R. and Peoples Republic of China during the late 1960's and 1970's.

Finally reaching the endgame of Detante between the three powers in the late 1980's, when the submarines bell. The beating heart of any ship was handed to the Russians during high level talks in the 1980's. Proving the U.S. knew the location of and had visited the long lost Soviet vessel.

The mission of the submarine had been to launch a  nuclear missile against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. But the members of the crew who attempted to fire the missile were not aware of all the safety devices that would destroy the submarine if the correct  protocols were not folloowed.

My personal interest in this story? Well my wife was born at Pearl Harbor naval hospital just weeks before the submarine tried to launch its deadly cargo. Her father was at the time at sea on board a U.S. navy submarine. So my now wife and her mother were just moments away from a ghastly death.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in espionage or modern naval history. The authors keep up the suspense throughout the book, never revealing all of the secrets until the last few pages when all becomes clear as to how one rogue submarine almost created a devastating nuclear war and how the failure of its rogue mission paved the way to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

You can read this book for FREE if you follow my Audible FREE Books Trial link here.

  or to  send someone the gift of Audible Membership go to Audible Gift Memberships

Youu can listen to real people reading your books to you with audible on a multitude of devices. From your cell phone, your personal tablet or a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa. With tens of thousands of books from Fiction, magazines to complete college courses you can have your whole library with you at all times and can read a book within a few seconds of purchasing it at the Audible bookstore.  (Amazon)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Do Blind People Dream?

 Do Blind People Dream?

 generally don't like answerring such wide ranging questions, since I cannot speak for all blind people, but I can happily say, Yes, I do dream and I am blind.

A colorful abstract pattern, almost like ink suspendeded in a glass of water

My dreams often consist of images. Having lost most of my vision in only the last ten years or so, I have forty something years of visual memory. I can tell you in great detail about places which I knew as a child and up until my mid forties. But I cannot tell what my home looks like today. I cannot see it. I have a mental map with which I can navigate around my home today but I never dream of my present home in visual terms as I have never seen it clearly.

I also find that I dream in color. Grass is the proper shade of green, flowers all shades. Leif my guide dog is black, in my dreams he is a blue-black since all the black lab dogs I have known seem to have an iridescent sheen to their coats.

What Do I Dream About?

Most of my dreams I forget immediately. Some are about things that I have worked on during the previous few days, so maybe this blog post will appear in a dream. Then again if I am thinking of doing something unusual it may appear in a dream. Such dreams may be vivid and detailed.

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For example, the other day I began planning a new television program at CMAC, the local community television studio where I made "Blindside Fresno". In my dream I set up the studio, created the script and briefed the crew to create the program. To see this through to fruition will take several months. But I have already rehearsed some of the process in my dreams.

So hopefully this has answered the initial question of "Do blind People dream?" Speaking for myself, yes, I dream despite being blind.

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When you follow the link and make a qualifying purchase  Amazon will send me a small cash payment. This is at no extra cost to you. You do not have to buy the item on the page to which the link goes. Any qualifying purchase that you make, choosing from the millions of items available on Amazon will leave me a small tip.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Almost Halloween 2020

Guide dog Leif sits near window, lit from behind. Though he is in full shadow his eyes reflect the flash from the camera making them glow brilliant white making him look ghostly or demonic

 Well, it's almost Halloween again. Time almost to prepare for a whole bunch of holidays. For us, Thanksgiving and Christmas and a New Year.

The photo to the right shows Leif, my black Labrador guide dog sitting in our kitchen. There is a brightly lit window behind him so we can see him almost only as a silohuette. My camera on my phone, set up this photograph with flash active and as Leif must have been looking straight back at the flash and camera lens, his eyes are reflecting the light of the flash back. His eyes are both glowing white. Quite spooky, and a bad photo technically, but at this time of year, I think pretty good.

Leif and I have been together for seven years now. We were introduced on October 21, 2013. He was about eighteen months old. 

He was then and is still a character. He grumbles a lot of the time. Will throw himself down with a loud "Hummph" Lie beside me as I write or work on my investments. Sometimes he might nudge me with his heavy black nose. A pat is required, or a belly rub. Just to make the bond good again.

This year has been hard for us. The virus and the lock downs make it difficult to go out. I often have to use Lyft or Uber, and many of the drivers don't take kindly to dogs, in spite of it being illegal to refuse us a ride. But I am not picking that fight, it's not worth the bother to me. We used to love riding the bus, but not now. We used to love walking around the local college campus, he always got a little pat from other students. But of course with the colleges and schools closed, we don't go there any more. I am not taking a class either, with the main reason for taking classes being to get out and mix socially, there is no point and my certification classes closed to me as I have heart and lung problems due to having suffered several heart attacks and lungs scarred with "Valley Fever" then a dose of Corona Virus could be pretty serious for me.


So all in all, 2020 has been a year of sitting at home. Watching Leif's muzzle start to gray.

There are a few gray hairs on his upper lip these days. A reminder that he is getting a year older. Wondering how long it will be before we decide to hang up his harness for the last time.

I must say he is still eager to work. When I pick up his leash and harness, rare occasions this year, he is there in front of me. Pushing his head through the leather chest harness. Padding impatiently beside the door eager to strut his stuff. 

We may go back to college in the Spring 2021 Semester. Maybe, if all goes well.

Thank you If you have enjoyed reading this post, then please consider leaving me a small tip. It is easy for you to do. 

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Or maybe you might like to join Audible.  The recorded book service from Amazon. Tens of thousands of books are available from Audible, many read by top actors. You can choose fiction or non fiction. The books can be listened to via your phone, a tablet such as an iPad or your smart speaker, such as Alexa. .  Read more about Audible at the link below.

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Saturday, October 10, 2020


 As a blind person these days, in this time of pandemic and great unemployment. I am finding it difficult to find employment. There are so many more able bodied people who are needing jobs.

Please help me earn a little income by making a qualified purchase from amazon using my affiliate link.

Amazon will pay me a small commission at no cost to you. 

Thank you for your support at this time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January 2020, A Month That Will Go Down in History

I am already tired of January 2020!

It all started so well. Was it really just one month ago that I was planning a great start to the year, new class, posting more regularly, working harder?
a colorful water color pattern, of mingling red, blue, green and yellows that make for a bright display.
A Colorful Pattern

Well class at school began well. The professor is accommodating. She even wanted to see where my problems lay with the online interface for my personal finance class. Ah! The online text book is full of ALT Text bugs so I cannot read the textbook online.

Then suddenly on January 21, I hit a full stop.


A pain in my chest.

A trip to the Emergency Room.

Chest X-Rays.

A blood clot blocking a coronary artery.

Blotches on my lungs. Cancer says the Doctor, no old, 14 year old Valley Fever Scars, say I.

Four days in the hospital arguing with the doctors, I have been through this all before many times. Its not cancer. No we need to do biopsies and tests, we cannot be sure.

No deal with the blood clot, not the old Valley fever scars.

It's cancer.

No it's not!

No it's not cancer the doctor finally says after four days. It would have helped if you had told us that you have had Valley Fever in the past.

What had I been doing for the past four days?

It took me one week to get home. I am exhausted. My old problem of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome has flared again. This time causing a clot in my heart.

Now my life is all up in the air again.

Nothing is set for the next month. More doctor visits, possible heart surgery. Probably that will not happen though the doctors were talking about it yesterday.

But right now, it is good to be home.

Tonight I won't be woken for yet another blood draw. Tonight I can eat a meal that tastes of something, rather than dine on nutrition.

Tonight I can drink a cup of tea when I want to, not just when my visitors smuggle one past the nurses station.

Tonight I can pat my dog and hug my wife.


If you have enjoyed reading this post  and would like to leave me a cash tip perhaps you might like to make a purchase using my Amazon Affiliate links below.
If you use this Amazon Affiliate Link   to purchase  an item Amazon will send me a small cash commission, at no cost to you. 

Thank you for any "Tips". As a blind person I am grateful for any income that you provide for me.

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.