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    Happy Father's Day

    This is my first post in years.  I tried to call my older brother, Randy, to say Happy Father's Day.

    I didn't get him on the phone, so I thought who else could I call ( I'd been up since 5:40am and it was 8:45am).  Things then got weird.  I went down the list of my best friends.  No Dads, no Fathers, only guys that help me from going crazy because I am a father.

    I was going to call Dave;  nope.  I was going to call Dan;  nope.  Tim;  nope, Lynn; nope, Gary;  nope.  Made me think twice about my life choices.  I have no regrets.

    Happy Father's Day to some internet people I know are fathers:  Brian Brushwood, Joshua Brown, Evan Ewing, Randy Linderman, Travis Wilson, the happy rabbit in my back yard (well, not really).




    The Josh Brown Chronicles...Part 3

    My site has finally been a newer, healthery, ....oh what the site isn't anything healthier than it was in 1976.  I don't know Josh Brown, never met him.  He is called The Reformed Broker.  (I am sure you can find him on the internet.) 

    Josh Brown took a vacation in 2013...oh, no!  Enjoy your time off, Josh.  Thank you sincerely, Josh.  I am wealthier now than when I met you online 4 years ago.  Or 3 years ago.  I am getting old, so I don't worry about it.



    Verizon saves my bacon

    I've had a Verizon Prepaid Wireless account for several years.  I got it to satisfy a former employer's requirement that I be on call 24/7.  Otherwise, I was happy being untethered and cell phoneless.  The good part was I was being paid $720 per year to cover my cell phone costs ($60 per month).

    Not ever having a cell phone before, I studied all the companies and all the plans.  I decided to go with a prepaid phone to start with.  I was mainly concerned with coverage here in northeast Kansas.  At the time, Alltel fit the bill.  I could get a year of service for $100 which included more minutes than I would ever need for work.   I paid 15 cents per minute.  My service renewed on Valentine's Day.

    My prepaid account grew more each year.  Did I mention untethered?  Hold on, I thought you were going to talk about Verizon.  OK, here's the scoop.

    Verizon bought Alltel a few years ago.  I am now a Verizon customer.  Each year I renew my account at Valentine's Day with another $100 for another year of service.  This year my account had a balance of $417 worth of unused minutes.  Guess what.  What?  I was late with my renewal which meant my account was closed and all unused minutes were lost.  Talk about a bad Valentine's Day.  I'm still not sure why that was the day my account started either.

    After being sick to my stomach all night for waiting until the last minute, and then being at work until Midnight, I felt like a perverted Cinderella.  I slopped my dripper (any Archie Campbell fans?).  Anyway, I got online, logged in to my account, and submitted an email with my delema. I renewed my account the next day knowing I would be starting over with $100 worth of minutes.  Then I waited, and waited.  After 2 weeks, I figured I had been blown off.

    I finally logged back into my account.  I was already feeling stupid, but I thought I'd try one more time to contact customer support.  I was ready to get the run around or just plain "you screwed up".  I got on their online chat.  I had to wait about 5 minutes to chat with Charlotte.  But it was worth the wait.  I explained things again and she gave me an 888 number for somebody to talk to to.  She made no promises, but thought something could be done.  Thanks, Charlotte, whoever you are.

    I called the 888 # and got even more help.  I talked to Matthew.  I explained things again.  Matthew put me on hold twice while he tried to help me with my problem.  Matthew deserves kudos from my experience.  He couldn't have been more patient or more nice.  He submitted a credit for me, and said a decision would be made within 72 hours.  I said I'd check my account in 72 hours and thanked him for his help.  He said 72 hours is the longest time, hopefully  I should know before then.

    The first day, nothing.  The second day, boom, I am credited $415, boom, da boom, boom, boom.  Thanks Verizon!  You didn't have to do it.  But, a big thanks, and especially Matthew for not trying to make me be on the defensive.  I can see being a Verizon customer for life.  My late New Year's Resolution is to put my Verizon account on autopay.  I don't like Autopay because it is sometimes hard to stop the withdrawals.  But Verizon saved my bacon.  Thanks Matthew.

    And thanks to the unnamed supervisor that gave me back my minutes.  I'm now sitting on $500 worth of minutes.  It feels good.



    The Josh Brown Chronicles...Part 2

    I am having a great night....being it's Friday and all.

    I have been watching "The Guild" on Netflix.  I highly reccomend it if you have Netflix.  Season 3 Episode 1 is awesome.   The first 25 minutes is slow, but sets up the last 35 minutes.  Check it out. 

    I like Josh Brown for the same reasons I like "The Guild".  It's true, awesome stuff.


    Part 3 coming soon.



    The Josh Brown Chronicles...Part 1

    I had a lot to say about Joshua Brown about 30 minutes ago, but my damn USB keyboard was giving me fits.  After rummaging thru a room full of old computer parts, I couldn't find any other USB keyboards (even though I know I have several).  The boogeyman must be hiding them from me.

    After getting out my laptop, my son offered me his keyboard.  I set him up with a PS2 keyboard, so here we go...typing on an Apple iMac keyboard.  They say things happen for a reason, so I'm sure I'll figure out this delay sometime.

    Anyway, this is going to be a several part story of why I admire Josh Brown, The Reformed Broker.  Just Google it to find his site.  I am already behind schedule and won't be adding any links tonight/this's already 4:20am here on The Great Plains.

    I started reading The Reformed Broker's website way over a year ago.  It has taught me a lot.  I decided, in 2008, to manage my own IRA.  I was tired of blaming my 401K, and other IRA advisors, for my dismal money making performance.  I am much more comfortable doing it myself.  Now I have nobody else to blame.

    I studied, and studied, before putting all my retirement money into an online Scottrade account.  Then I studied, and studied, about what to invest in.  I am from the Midwest.  I have relatives and friends who have already paid off their homes.  I have relatives and friends who have maxed out credit cards and have already gone through bankruptcy at least once.

    I guess I am somewhere in the middle.  It makes me mad, that over the last 20 some years, a lot of our law makers have filed for bankruptcy on their way to Washington, DC.  Some of them even helped draft the bankruptcy laws that they benefited from.  Nowadays, those laws are way worse than they use to be.  I guess they already got theirs.  It pisses me off to even think about it.

    I figured my only option was to hold my head up high, and pay back anybody that I owed money to and forget about the letter of the law, and go with the spirit of the law.  Don't file bankruptcy unless that's your only option.  Like my hero, Willie Nelson, said, during his IRS problems, "I don't want charity, and if I still have a talent to earn money, then I want to pay my debts".  Which he has done admirably.

    I have been in that boat of debt over my head for about 7 years.  After 2 failed relationships, I was left holding the bag for $22,235 worth of credit card debt.  I don't blame anybody but me.  I was hoping something positive would come of those relationships, but nothing did.

    Back in 1984, I got married to the wrong girl just long enough to have a child.  A few years later I took custody of my son and raised him since he was 3 years old.  He's now 28 years old, and a fine young man.  That wasn't an easy road...but I digress.

    Anyway, being a part of the working class, not the lower middle class, not the middle, and certainly not one of the "1%", I have been dutifully, slowly, paying off my credit card debt.  I now owe around $9,500.  Me and my son have eaten a lot of rice and beans, but we have also eaten a lot of ribs and brisket.

    I am a frugal guy.  I don't have brokers and advisors working for me.  I am learning for a lifetime.  That is why I am so very thankful that I came across The Reformed Broker's website.  A top notch, free, education.  I do have some money saved for retirement.  I read online that a chunk of people have less than $25,000 saved for retirement.  I squeak by that figure.  I just turned 54 years old, and it has taken me pinching pennies for a lot of years to have anything saved at all.

    I trust Josh Brown to be a straight shooter with his website and insights.  He hasn't let me down yet.  If anybody wants to say that I am link baiting or kissing ass, then you don't know me very well.  I am just saying what my experience has been.  It's not all pretty, no?

    I am calling this The Josh Brown Chronicles because I want my friends to know that you don't have to blindly trust somebody else with your money.  I didn't.  I haven"t.  I have done my best to educate myself about the world, the financial markets, the stock market, and human behavior.  All I'm saying is The Reformed Broker has helped me in all those things.

    Part 2 coming soon.