Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Financial Independence For The Visually Impaired Part Seven: Update October 20, 2021 Two Years In.

 It is now two years  since I began my initial investment plan for the visually impaired.  That initial investment of $50 has grown to $1,063.47 .  I have added very little to that plan over the last year, just letting dividends build and re-invest has seen it spike in recent weeks.

A graph from M1 showing value of account growing up and to the right.

The main investing focus was put into the M1 account.

That account is now 21 months old. Opened on January 17th, 2020 with just $100. I have added just over $3,700 with regular weekly payments of at first $10, then $15 then $1731.  It has grown to  $4,366 which includes over $93.00 in dividends.  That total is set to grow rapidly as I am now set to invest $18.31 per week and I will be changing my investing strategy slightly until the end of the year. More on that later.

If you would like to open an M1 account you can do so here, if you open a new account and fund it with $100.00  M1   will give you an extra $30 to invest. I will also receive $30 from M1 at no cost to you. So we both get a nice bonus.

You can see how my M1 account is doing at this link too.  My Dividend Portfolio.


 Recently my monthly income has risen a little, just about $20 so I am increasing my weekly contributions to the M1 account from $17.31 to $18.31 per week.  THat money is paid in on Monday.


I will also be aiming to pay extra cash towards my monthly paying stocks, Real Estate Investments Trusts like Realty Income and Stag, together with Main Street Capital a business development corporation.


I plan on adding extra funds to those up until I receive a dividend of about $1.00 per month from each. That's about 4 Realty Income shares, 8 Stag shares and 5 Main Street shares.  That would make a regular $3.00 income o per month.  $36 per year from those stocks alone.  I also would be receiving income from most of the other stocks too.   So far only Boeing, amazon and Alphabet ( Google ) do not pay a dividend.  BOeing's dividend was suspended in the crash of 2020.  It may come back soon.


I did also swap out Asstra Zeneca for Abbvie and AT&T for John Deere.  AT&T is a major player in another portfolio.  ASTra Zeneca was less valuable of a dividend than Abbvie. So I swapped for the higher dividend.


I am now looking at a peak quarterly dividend income of over $23.00 a low quarterly dividend of over $21.00, I hope this will be over $25.00 by the end of 2021.  That will be over $100.00 per year, in dividends alone.


You can follow my progress at My dividend Portfolio here, and don't forget if you open a new account at this link we bothreceive $30 from M1 finance. 

Come take a look at my Investing book selection here.

You may also like to read, Financial Independence for the Visually Impaired Part Four: One Year Anniversary.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

In What Order Do You Value Your Five Senses?

 Some questions seem trivial, take this one: "In what order do you value your five senses?"

Easy to answer?

How do you value your five senses, an eye

Well what if you really only have four senses?

As a blind man, that is the situation in which I find myself. So imagine my surprise when about a week ago I saw this question pop up in my Quora Space, Ask a Blind Guy.

At first I wanted to write something sarcastic, a blurb on the stupidity of the question.

Then I began to think the question through.  How much do I really value my five senses, I do still have five, sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing.  Though the sight one is a little limited to say the least.

So what did I say?

what order do I value my five senses?

This may seem a strange thing, but as someone who is now almost completely blind, just a little light perception that gives me light and shadow in a small area to my right.

My sight, what I have left of it comes in as most prized.

When I was fully sighted, twenty years ago, I guess you might say I took sight for granted, now having lost most of my vision I treasure all the things my limited vision now gives me.


Read the rest of the post Here.


 "Ask a Blind Guy" is a free to read Space on Quora. There are several disabled contributors, most of them Blind or Visually Impaired.  Come and take a look at the space which is full of information about blindness, disability and issues that interest us.


Follow "Ask A Blind Guy" Here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

What Are Some Good Gifts For a Blind or Visually Impaired Person in 2021?

 At this time of year thoughts turn to buying Christmas gifts. But what to buy if you are buying a gift for a blind or visually impaired person.

First of all get to know the person.  Know what they like.

They are a person afterall. 

Fir tree decorated with tinsel and lights covered in snow stands in a forest

I remember my first Christmas after moving to the United States of America.  My wife's parents bought me a pack of 100 socks, yes 50 pairs of identical socks.  I owned socks, I used up valuable space in my bags to ship dozens pairs of comfortable socks from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

Here I was forcing a smile, thanks for the socks.  I'll trasure them always.  Then taking them home, trying on one sock, they were far too small, I could only get the opening of the sock over four toes.

The next year, was more successful, my father-in- law, loved a practical joke.  He put $50 in a paper cover of a can of sardines.  Everyone in the family got a can of sardines.  I was ecstatic, I love sardines.  After everyone else found their $50 I went around the family collecting the cans of sardines too.  Best Christmas present ever!


The moral of that story. Get the  person something they like, show them that you have some knowledge of them as a person and that you have put some effort into deciding what they like.


Having said that here are five easy ideas for a gift, that may be of use to a blind or visually impaired person.


1. Audio book Subscription. 

Buying a subscription to Audible can give the person a gift every month of the year, if you buy a twelve month subscription.


My wife bought me a subscription for the audible service for my birthday.  I love listening to books and now I can look forward to buying a book every month for the next twelve months.  I love to buy Great Courses programs too, some of the older courses are now available as Audible audio files.  They  cost just one audible credit just like a normal book and make great listening...



 2.  A Smart Speaker Device.

I own four Amazon Alexa smart speakers. I have them in four different rooms, the living room, a bedroom, the office and the kitchen.

I use all of them everyday, in the kitchen I use my Dot (Alexa ) as a timer, in the living room, bedroom I listen to books or music and in the office I listen to a variety of streamed radio services and podcasts from all around the world.

It's easy to use, I say "Alexa play BBC Radio four." In seconds I am listening to the BBC.  I can ask Alexa the latest market news for the stock market, or I can ask Alexa to make calculations for me.  Just ask and Alexa will do the job.

3. A Tablet

A tablet or E-Book reader is an excellent device for a blind or visually impaired person.

Many of these devices now come with the ability to record speech as text or read text in a realistic voice. They can do many of the jobs of a micro computer, stram video, give access to the internet and allow you to run e-mail and other business software as well as playing games and using communication software like Skype or Zoom with friends and family.

One such Tablet is the Amazon Fire.

amazon fire tablet

4. An Amazon Gift Card.

Many people love a Gift Card, and the Amazon Gift card is available in many denominations from $20 upwards.

The benefit of an Amazon Gift card is that they do not expire and the recipient can use it to buy what they need when they need it.  It also solves the problem of giving a gift to someone you may not know that well. Remember the socks?

amazon gift card

5. A Smart Watchh.

I own a first generation Apple Smart Watch.  It's about four or five years old now. I wear it everyday.  It records my pulse rate, my steps walked, it reads my emails, it talks to me telling me the time, how much exercise I have taken and it has a calendar too.

all of that and it is connected to my iPhone so if I am away from my phone, but in bluetooth range I can answer and make calls on my watch.

AS a blind person I cannot think of a more useful device to have.

apple smart watch

So there we are five ideas for things that a blind or visually impaired person might like to receive as a Christmas Gift.

Of course it all depends upon how well you know the person. But the best gift of all will you recognizing them as an individual not as a disability.

Thanks for reading.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 11, 2021

There Can Be Days When You Just Want To Give Up.

 October 11 th, 2021.  Is just one of those days when I just want to give up.

William Elliott in guide dogs for the blind mask and baseball cap

I am in a flunk.  There is a howling gale outside. This after weeks of air thick with the smell of burning pine forests. So thick you felt like you had just drunk a bottle of pine scented lavatory cleaner.

My lungs are raw from coughing like a forty a day smoker. It just seems an effort to think and I have no plans to do much other than sit around for the foreseeable future.

I need a break I think, something to take my mind into new territory.

There are always days like this. We all have to face them.

Part of my problem is, I think, today is Columbus day, the stock markets were open but I had no cash to buy available, all my transfers usually take place on a Monday, but were put on hold by the banks who use today as a holiday.

So where I usually work on my plans for investing over the week, I have been sat here twiddling my thumbs.

I did think of buying a digital camera over the week-end.  Blind! Digital camera!  I can hear the alarms sounding.

Well yes, I can own the camera, let my wife take the pictures for me.

That may encourage her to want to go somewhere at week-ends.

I have not left the house much for anything other than hospital appointments for  nineteen months.  Talk about cabin fever.

The camera that I was looking at is the Nikon 5600 kit.



At the end of the day, tomorrow is another day.  The markets will be back to normal and maybe I will get a better mindset by the morning.

Blindman in the Kitchen. A Voice Controlable Air Fryer

 I like to cook.

One of the things that I would really like is an air fryer, preferably one that is voice controlled or at least one that has an audible/voice touch screen.

COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer(100 Recipes), 13 Cooking Functions, Keep Warm & Preheat & Shake Remind, Works with Alexa & Google Assistant, 5.8 QT,...

This air  fryer has a host of commands that you can access via either the Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, or a Google Home speaker.

The list of commands includes:

 Fryer " commands:
Alexa, preheat the "Air Fryer" to xxx degrees.
Alexa, air fry at xxx degrees for xx minutes.
Adjust the "Air Fryer"
Alexa, add xx minutes to the "Air Fryer".
Alexa, stop the "Air Fryer".
Alexa, pause the "Air Fryer".
Alexa, resume the "Air Fryer".
Check status of the "Air Fryer"
Alexa, is the "Air Fryer" on?
Alexa, what is the target temperature of the "Air Fryer"?
Alexa, when is the food done in the "Air Fryer"?

Of course here you will need to have an Amazon Alexa which are now very inexpensive.

Friday, October 8, 2021

What does your mindset have to do with it?


Your Mind is Powerful, what you believe can either expand your world or imprison you.

From your first moment of consciousness you mind is looking at a world that in effect you create. The world you see, the world that you love, the world that you fear, they are inside you. You will strive all of your life to confirm the world of your internal bias. If you seek it. It will come.

If you believe that money is hard to find and keep. You will see money come into your life. It will play with your mind then disappear from your life. You will spend, telling yourself that you will never have money. Then look at your credit card bill, look at your empty wallet, look into your empty purse. Then tell yourself how right you are. Money is too hard to get, too hard to save, too hard to live without and how you were just never meant to have money.

You have created the world that you believed in, long before you were poor. You developed a poor mindset.

I know someone, he has an important job, earns over $150,000 per year. He lives paycheck to paycheck. Never has money to save. He buys a new smart phone every few months, well three of them one each for himself, his wife and his daughter. He buys a new truck every couple of years. When he dines out with his family, they buy the most expensive cocktails on the menu. Apart from his truck all three have a car. If he cooks a meal and I am invited over, he tells the guests the price of every item that is on the plate. The house where he lives is comfortable, clean, neat and remodeled every eighteen months with this years gadgets and decor.

He and his wife are constantly telling everyone how little money they have for their next project.

The banks and their credit card companies must love them.

They have a poverty mindset.

Think of the people whom you know. Do you know people like my friend?

Having a growth or wealthy mindset is a small thing.

There is wealth out there. You can choose to change your mindset.

Look at what you want in your life. Choose to aim for that goal.

Five years ago, I decided to get serious about my finances. I knew that I could manage money. So I aimed at saving $150,000 in five years. I would do that using the skills that I already had.

I would also start with just $100 a birthday gift from my wife.

The first thing to consider with a mindset is that having the mindset to do something, is not the same thing as having a mindset for something to happen.

I did not just wish that I had $150,000 I set that as a goal. Had I just wished then probably I would still be wishing. Without a plan and action a mindset is nothing.

Create a Plan

Once you have your goal, you need to plan a way to achieve that plan. I had some skills. I can use a computer, I can make decisions, I can follow through on decisions. Yes, those are skills. You need to muster all the skills that you have in order to build your world and support your new mindset.

I took the $100, then looked about me. I saw that I could sell books, secondhand books on Amazon.com. I had books at home that I no longer wanted, I went to charity stores and bought books off the shelves. I mailed them direct to customers at first. Then as the business grew, I put the cash from sales back into buying new stock. I registered with Amazon to fulfil the orders. I would spend a day in various charity shops. Another day inputting my new stock into the Amazon website, then packing boxes of books off to an Amazon warehouse, to be sold and sent to customers all around the world.

Soon, within six months, I was buying new stock from charity stores and had cash left over, this I invested in the stock market.

My stock investments did not grow fast. I was investing for dividends. Dividends are the cash payments made by companies that are paid to shareholders for owning a stock. A share of the companies profits, paid at regular intervals. So now I had two streams of income. The books paid most of the income with dividend income coming in too.

By the end of the first year I had turned the $100 into over $11,000.

Learn, Evaluate and Change.

As you go along you must learn. If you need to learn a skill, learn it. Buy a book, read it. Watch a video on YouTube. Be open to improve your skills. You will never know everything, but the more you know the better. If it seems useless information today, you may need it tomorrow.

Be open to learning something, anything, everyday, even every minute of everyday.

Evaluate your knowledge, is it good enough to do a job or is there something that you need to know. If you need to improve a skill, or a business idea comes up. Don’t be afraid to try it.

If it takes time and money, don’t dig a hole of time and invested money. Set limits.

If you think something is worth $50 to you in time and money. Allow yourself $100 in cash, don’t invest anymore time or money than that in your trial.

Allowing time and money to pour into any project is a waste of both, your other business will suffer and your mindset will suffer too. Do not allow yourself to fall into the sunk cash fallacy of thinking.

“”I have spent all this (cash or time ) so I may as well finish.”

In the second year, I decided to add house plants to my businesses. I have always loved Chlorophytum (Spider Plants).

A Spider Plant.

I knew how to propagate Spider Plants from runners, so I spent about $40 on a mature plant, a bag of compost and a selection of plant pots.

I spent the next year growing my initial plants to the size where they put out lots of runners to grow and sell.

I also learned to write blog posts and earn income from affiliate sales.

By the end of year two, I was looking at three income streams, bringing me cash flow and a possible new income stream, the house plants for year three.

My $100 had now accumulated to $28,800.

By the beginning of year three, my book business was in ticking over mode. I was sending in books to Amazon, but just enough to maintain stock levels at just over one thousand books. I was also more selective about the books that I was sending in.

Dividends and stock purchases were also growing, increasing income there.

My blogs were getting read and income was flowing in from affiliate sales.

I was also able to begin selling some of my potted Spider Plants. As my stock plants grew on I would make cuttings of runners and grow them on, I was averaging about ten new plants per week selling those on after just a few minutes work of potting into decorative pots for between $4 and $9.

At the end of year three I was looking at my $100 having turned into $57,000

Then year four came. All was okay until February 2020. Then all closed down. My affiliate income drained away. A lot of my income had come from selling wedding stationery. My book sales collapsed, no one wanted to buy real books and I couldn’t get new supplies as all the charity stores closed. I couldn’t sell my Spider Plants.

The only income was from dividends. So I pushed all of the cash income I was receiving into stocks. Just at the time the markets fell in March 2020.

Then the markets turned.

Some income began coming in as I changed my affiliate links to other things, birthday cards, gifts that didn’t mean large sales but were still consistent throughout the year.

It had looked bad in the first part of 2020 but by the end of the year, I pushed my $100 up to $104,000.

This year has seen increasing income from affiliate sales. Amazon book sales are still low. Charity shops are still not an easy place to find books in my area. Maybe they will come back, maybe not?

Spider Plant sales are increasing a little. I have now begun selling them to a local garden center wholesale. It is income after all.

Dividends are the biggest growth portion of my businesses.

A few days ago, I passed my $150,000 in five years goal.

As of October 5th, 2021 my $100 is now worth $150,387.42.

What Now?

So, What now?

Well I will carry on. I don’t need to measure towards my goal any longer. I can measure how much I can surpass my goal.

It doesn’t matter what I do. I have now created a mindset which provides me with the knowledge that I can achieve what I set out to do.

It’s not as simple as thinking I want something.

It requires work, it requires planning, it requires gaining knowledge and it requires the ability to withstand outside influences which can at times seem to be enough to destroy all of your plans.

Accepting that you are responsible for how you behave in such circumstances is key.

I wish you all the best in your search for wealth.

I know that you can make a difference in your life, and the lives of others.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Do You Think Guide Dogs Are Unethical Because They Can't Consent To Work?


William, wearing a yellow hat, black T shirt walking down a sandy path with Leif the Black Lab guide dog in harness on his left side.
I have worked with my Guide Dog Leif, a black Labrador Retriever for about eight years now.  That is him at my side in the photograph above.

My dog, loves to work. He let’s me know this because he comes to the front door with me, he eagerly stands while I put on his harness. He works well. While some may say, it is all he knows to do in order to get treats. Well yes he gets treats, he is groomed daily, I feed him, he is only a quick phone call from a 24 hour, 7 days per week veterinary service. This dog is pampered and doted on wherever he goes. If I badly treated my dog, I would be noticed by dozens of people. I am his support act, my neighbors ask after him before they ask about me.


To read more go to Ask a Blind Guy 



Monday, October 4, 2021

Financial Independence For The Visually Impaired: Part Six

 One thing that puts blind and visually impaired people off investing in the stock market for themselves is that they think there is no way to know what they are investing in.

One of the brokerages which I use is called M1 Finance.  The basic brokerage account is very simple to operate.  I opened a brokerage account in mid January 2020.  I began with just $100 and have been investing up to $17 every Monday since the account opened.

I have just produced a video showing the M1 account being used with the NVDA screen reader.

You can see the video here:

I cannot guarantee that if you invest with M1 Finances brokerage that your money will grow as rapidly as mine has, that is for the market to decide, and your stock picking skills.

But if you open an account with M1 and fund it with $100 in a few days, M1 will give you an extra $30 as a thank you, that money can be invested in your account giving you an instant profit.  The link to open an account is in the video description on YouTube.

Note: I too will receive a $30 payment from M1 as a thank you, so you will be helping me too.  Thank you for supporting me and my work.