BlockFi interest accounts as savings earners

Why leave cash languishing in a savings account when it could be earning six percent in a USD stablecoin account?

My head has been racing with ideas recently. I had trouble falling asleep last night and got woken up by Elder this morning when she crawled into bed with me. Neither of us could fall asleep after that, so here we are, up an hour before our usual wake up time, on the couch, both of us with our laptops open. She’s working on Typing.com, and here I am with you.

Yesterday I opened a BlockFi account. They’re currently offering six percent on BTC and eight percent on Gemini and Coinbase’s USD stablecoins, as well as another Ethereum based USD stablecoin called PAX. The rates seem seems really high until you consider their lending options: over nine percent on BTC-backed loans. (We’ll leave the discussion of that for another day.) So they’re taking a small origination fee and a two or three percent spread. Seems like a decent business model. BlockFi was the first product on the market like this; I remember hearing them on a podcast last year, but more and more competitors are springing up such as Crypto.com and now Blockchain.com

Source: BlockFi. 05/21/2020

BlockFi uses Gemini for custody, which is good, but they’re not FDIC insured, so there’s a risk that customer funds could be lost if they get hacked, but I rate that risk low, since Gemini is focused on providing crypto custody services to the traditional finance industry, and they’ve got good controls. Still, I’m not ready to go all in with my funds quite yet.

I think that earning interest on my long term BTC is a great idea. I’m not ready to hand them over the bulk of my hard wallet, but I’m willing to try a small transfer until I feel more comfortable. The account signup process was pretty quick, I was able to sign up as an individual in a matter of minutes, and only had to provide my address and SSN for KYC.

Compared to the rates that Compound is offering right now, BlockFi is way higher. Since Compound is an Ethereum smart contract platform, they use wrapped BTC (which could cause a taxable event) and there is inherently more of a risk of a block swan like a contract failure or hack. BlockFi is relying on more traditional cold-storage custody solutions.

I didn’t want to break out my hardware wallet yesterday to move funds over to BlockFi, since I’d rather use it as an alternative to a savings account, so I started a small transfer from my bank in order to deposit to a USD stablecoin. That will take several days to clear. In the meantime, I’ll probably be transferring all of my LTC over there, (since it’s basically worthless to me at this point anyways,) and most of my ETH. I haven’t decided what to do about my BTC yet, but will probably be putting a fraction of my funds there at some point.

The advantage to keeping funds in BlockFi compared to traditional banking account is obvious, if one is comfortable with the risk. Missus is not, and curtly said “we’re not keeping our emergency fund in blockchain,” when I raised the subject. I however, am less risk-adverse than her, so I’m looking at it as an option to keep cash available for long term goals while earning considerable interest on it. For example, I’ve been planning on funding my IRA this year, instead of using the money to dollar cost average into Bitcoin, but I didn’t want to actually move the money to my IRA until near the April 15 deadline next year. In the event that I do need the funds for an emergency, I don’t want to deal with the penalty and hassle of withdrawing it. Putting it in BlockFi will allow me to compound it, as well as easily withdraw the entire balance back to my bank account when I’m ready.

If you are sitting on a lot of cash right now, and you should be saving as much as possible during these times, you may want to consider giving BlockFi a try. Please use my referral code.

Daddy Day Care: COVID Day 64

boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding book

Well we are off to a good start this morning. Had a bit of trouble falling asleep last night, but woke up (was woken up) feeling pretty good. Got my morning meditation done, my cup of tea in hand, and I’m ready to kick ass today.

It’s still unseasonably cold and windy outside, so we’re looking at being stuck in the house again today. I think I’m resigned to this being my life for the next few months, at least until schools open back up. Part of me thinks that they may not open. I went to pick up Elder’s stuff from school yesterday and the teachers were handing out grocery bags while wearing masks. I can’t imagine they’re going to send kids back to school and try to keep them separated using plastic dividers on their desks or something. And I can’t imagine Younger going back to her preschool and not being able to keep from hugging and touching other children.

The most likely scenario, I think, is that families that can afford it are going to keep their kids in some sort of remote homeschooling class, while the rest are going to have to send their kids into whatever public schools there are, or worse yet, just keep them home. Missus has told me on several times that we’re lucky for my tech background, cause I’ve been able to deal with her and Elder’s technical issues. Lots of other families don’t have the same options, and probably aren’t getting exposure to the limited options that schools are offering. It’s going to increase our already divided nation, leaving a good number of kids behind.

The daily Zoom meetings that Elder is participating in are mainly just serving a social function right now; there’s maybe a half hour of math instruction, followed by another half hour or more of the group reading Harry Potter. Half the time, Elder gets bored and I catch her playing video games, so I’ve tried to redirect her to doing Khan’s or Typing.com lessons. Sometimes she’ll sit there and sew, which I don’t mind. The longer this goes on though, the more concerned I am about the progress that her generation may lose out on.

Younger is a bit more of challenge. Elder had a great preschool, and I’m not sure where her sister should be, developmentally. She’ll be four over the summer, can sing her alphabet, and knows about a quarter of it by sight. And she’s already riding a bike, without training wheels. Her education right now is me going over alphabet flash cards, doing Khans Kids activities and watching PBS Kids.

The worst part is just the sheer lack of exposure that she has to other kids her own age. It’s like our world has collapsed down to just the four of us, and the proximity forces the worst out sometimes. The children are like two Tasmanian Devils that leave a path of destruction around the house with their playing. And the fighting, Lord, the fighting. The two of them get into it constantly, and it seems that nigh an hour goes by without the one of them pestering the other into a crying or whining fit. It is so exhausting.

Which gets back to being cooped up in the house with them during days of inclement weather, like we’ve had the past three days. They don’t have many outlets for physical exertion, so it usually winds up being Daddy Jungle Gym time, wrestling and such. We’ve been doing GoNoodle a lot lately. It’s still not as good as them being able to go outside and ride their bikes or play in their clubhouse, but what else is there?

I’m about ready to sign us up for being foster parents for the local cat shelter. Negotiations continue with regard to a trampoline, I just don’t want to mar our already packed yard with a fifteen foot monstrosity. I told them that I would consider it once I remove an old stump near the back of our lot, but it just seems like one of those things that will make things harder for us if we decided to move in then next four years.

For now, the kids are watching their morning hour of television, which means it’s time for me to get to work. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to my priorities today instead of reacting to whatever tickets have come in. We’ll see.

Hustle and flow

black and white Hustle-printed ceramic mug on table

Day ten of the 60 days to six figures challenge

Five thousand, five hundred dollars a month. That’s what it is going to take to achieve our goal of becoming debt-free in four years. Fifty-five hundred dollars more a month than what we’re currently making at our regular day jobs. The equivalent of an extra $66,000 salary, on top of everything else we’re doing now. During a time when most people are making way less than that, and thirty million are unemployed, it seems preposterous to even set such a goal. If the path lies through full time employment, then I’m not just talking about taking a six-figure job, I’d need to practically triple my take-home pay in order to get there, considering taxes.

I’ll admit that I had a moment of doubt today, browsing the jobs on LinkedIn. A couple of high-salary jobs were in my feed, and I was trying to weed out the ones that I wanted, while my monkey mind was there telling me that I wouldn’t meet the criteria. But does one apply for the job they’re qualified for, or the one they want to grow into?

I have been spending a lot of time on LinkedIn the past week or so, tweaking my profile, looking at others’ news feed and figuring out how to leverage it. You’d think I’ve been on social media long enough I should know how to “build a brand” by now, but to be honest I’ve never truly had success in that way. Part of it may be my “procrasterbation”, or how I tend to flit from project to project without ever really finishing anything. Part of it was how I have tended to treat those platforms like I was starring in my own sitcom. Well, now that I have my goals a bit more focused I can hopefully build more.

I’m using LinkedIn premium, on a trial right now. Being able to see who’s viewed my profile is the most important thing for me at the moment. As is figuring out what searches I’m showing up in. (I haven’t figured that one out yet.) But it’s obvious I need to really focus on building my network up. There’s not a lot of activity in my feed, and not really any that reflects where I want to be, so I need to curate that, and figure out what I need to be showcasing. I never actually talk about my work, or what Zombie, LLC is up too. I think that’s telling. My boss is on there too, and I on some level I’m trying to keep things from him, so that introduces a level of stress in my life. It’s certainly not the radical honesty that I was preaching months ago after reading Principles, is it?

I’m going to make a point to connect with everyone I can, maybe start with my personal contacts and anyone interesting that I can think of from Twitter and elsewhere. Maybe make a point of it to connect with anyone I’ve dealt with as clients in and out of work. Time to go through the hundreds of business cards I collected during my campaigns.

I’ve been trying to hone the skills I have listed on my profile, hoping that it will help me get found by a headhunter or recruiter. LI has added new skill assessments aimed at knowledge work. They’re quick, fifteen question quizzes on programming languages or other knowledge work applications, and if you score in the top 70-percentile, you get a little badge to put on your profile. If you fail, you have to wait three months before you can take the same one again. I failed the first one I took, on C++, but was able to get two earlier today, one for Python and another for Django. I will probably go through several more, but they’re probably more useful for people without experience than someone like myself.

Ultimately, I’m still not a hundred-percent convinced that a salaried position is going to get me where I need to be. Part of the doubt is probably coming from the fact that the kids are still home. I don’t see an end to the COVID pandemic for us until next fall when the girls go back to school, and part of my brain hasn’t figured out how to reconcile that with getting things done.

In the long run, it’s going to be the project work that gets it done. Building a stable of retainer clients to develop some sort of residual income stream is going to be necessary. Building websites and ecommerce systems, via WordPress, Shopify, or the like will probably take me part of the way there. I’ve got opportunities; I just got to finish them. I just don’t think that’s going to happen with the way I’ve been working, breaking my two hour a week chunks into fifteen minutes here, half an hour there. It’s going to take a lot more deep work sessions, which are really hard to come by the way things are right now.

So, for tonight, I’ll make sure I get to bed on time, with a clear purpose of what I’m going to do tomorrow, and I’ll make damn sure to execute.

Evening pages

I had to go to court for a ticket I got months ago for driving with expired tags. It got dismissed cause I got them taken care of, so I only have to pay court fees instead of anything more serious. Going to court was a bit stressful. I actually put on slacks and a sport coat for the first time in weeks. This also happened to be the first day that the courts were open since the lock down began. Most everyone was wearing mask, except for one young black woman, the attorneys that I saw, and the cop that pulled me over. There was probably three people there out of the two dozen cases that I heard called. Everything else got extended due to the shutdown orders.

It rained all day, so the girls stayed all day except for ten minutes before dinner when they were unable to follow instructions. Today was really rough; they were especially bad. Missus and I just can’t figure out how to deal with their ingratitude and entitlement. The thing that triggers me the most is when Elder tells me something like “we only watched four shows today,” or some complains that she has to do everything. I’d finally had it after dinner, and tried to give her a reality check about her behavior. Younger wasn’t much better, and wound up crying herself to sleep in the bed by herself. She never falls asleep by herself.

Missus and I had more money talk today about getting our bills consolidated and some other subjects. She’s more comfortable keeping large amounts of cash in the bank; I can’t, and am trying to figure out the best way to earn interest on it. We need to have a fair amount saved in case Zombie, LLC goes under, but what do we do with everything beyond that? We’ve had conversations lately about holding cash instead of paying down debts right now, but I feel like I need to figure out way to leverage that cash, safely, otherwise I feel like I’m losing opportunity cost.

I keep looking at the numbers that I wrote on our fridge last week with my debts on it, and the maturation date on the mortgate: 2042. It seems crazy to think that it’s going to take another two decades to get out of this trap. And the chances of this house getting flooded by a hurricane or other storm is non-trivial as well. Looking back, I think we were stupid to consider this house as a long term home. Part of me worries that we’ll never be able to get rid of it. My next door neighbor was about to close on his house before COVID struck and the sale fell through. He’s had a couple of Boomers come out to look at it recently. That’s probably our only hope for getting out of here; I don’t anticipate demand being too high among the younger generations. Things will just get harder.

We discussed selling my car again. I guess I’m stuck paying off the loan for now, it’s a buyers market. I suppose I could put it up on all the local marketplaces as a minimum. We’re not sure if I can just cancel insurance on it and let people test drive it. That’s a whole project for another day.

Work was productive today. I had several trouble tickets that got taken care of, and did an hour pro-bono for a Zombie partner in Iowa that needed help with a firewall issue. Only did it to build clout and hopefully get some projects hours. We shall see.

Anyway, the day is almost over, and I have not applied for a new job today, so I better get to it.

Waiting is the hardest part

Friday night we had the neighbors over. I broke out the slip and slide, cooked a couple of pizzas and drank beer with Missus and neighbor dad. Talked about Bitcoin. Wound up letting Elder stay up till 11:30, playing video games and watching half of The Gate. She got scared right when we got to the good part and we turned it off. Seemed everyone in the house was sleep deprived and more hostile to each other than normal. Kids finally went down the street to play. Younger thinks she can just take out the front door and walk over there whenever she wants, and threw a huge fit yesterday afternoon when I told her her she needed to stay in the house during the hot part of the day.

I did fix a broken thermometer, though. Broke out the soldering iron and the hot glue gun. Saved a whopping fourteen bucks. Every dollar counts, y’know?

Spent a couple hours balancing the house books, throwing all our bank statements into GNUCash. The arrangement I have with Missus is a bit hard to keep up with via bookeeping, cause I’ve been trying to account for things that we pay for separately in our own personal accounts: cell phone in mind, and various insurance products through her payroll deduction and checking accounts. I’ve decided that we need to move them over to the house account as much as possible. Since we don’t have daycare expenses right now, it’s hard to figure out how to balance that. We’ll be consolidating as much as we can into the joint account, both to make accounting easier, and to make a proper budget.

Right now we’ve got more than six months cash on hand, for mortgage and utilities. Not including cell phone, groceries, our various insurances, or other incidentals. My credit card spending has gone down quite a bit since the start of the lockdown, but it’s too early to tell exactly how that’s going to work out long term. Zombie, LLC is still above water, so we’re looking good. I don’t keep any long-term savings in my personal account, as fifteen percent of my weekly salary goes straight into Bitcoin.

And for now, it looks like that is going to have to change. There’s a couple factors, but the main one is that I need to get the tax savings from a fully funded IRA. I can still gain bitcoin exposure through GBTC. And being able to take gains off the table in an IRA, tax free, is the best part. Unfortunately I won’t have access to it without taking taxes and penalty, but the goal here has been to build wealth, not to generate income. I’m still going to stack twenty five bucks for Elder and Younger like I’ve been doing, but my own wallet will have to stay where it’s at for the time being.

There’s some additional decisions I need to make about what we’re doing with our idle cash. Holding six month’s expenses in the bank where it earns a whopping 0.01 percent interest is stupid. A CD might be better, but not much. Even Compound’s DeFi rates seem to have dropped of a cliff lately, so I’m not sure what the right answer is. Do nothing for now, I suppose.

I’m also considering scaling into some alcoin positions. ChainLink is looking good, and IDEX tokens will increase my earnings on my DEX node. The only other thing I’ve been considering is Ternio, but I’m not sure I want to KYC at another exchange. I’m still bag holding mining proceeds from Ravencoin, Haven, Arrow and a few others, and I still haven’t touched any of my 2017-19 ERC bags like BAT, 0x, and others. Again, I’ll do nothing for now. I just can’t bring myself to do anything when BTC looks like it’s on the cusp of exploding. I might actually add some Grayscale Ethereum Trust, but I need to take a hard look at that first.

For now, we wait, and work.

Mortgage refinancing decision tree

mortgage Scrabble tiles

Increasing your monthly payment could save you more money

I’m feeling like some kind of dad genius this morning. Elder came in my bedroom earlier and told me she did her bathroom and bedroom chores. “Good,” I said, and rolled back over, not ready to get out of bed. She walked off and a minute later I heard her unloading the dishwasher. This kid really wants her extra screen time, man. I told her if she does all her daily chores I would give her an extra hour. And she’s currently two-thirds of the way to her DadPoints goal, so I guess we’re getting a cat next week.

I was really happy with yesterday’s post about my trading performance and figured that a more accurate assessment was needed. I hate to say it, but I think I need to do some more work in Excel, to figure out how to group transactions and join several sheets together. I don’t know if it’ll work or if I’ll need to get more complicated and throw it up in Python (or Google Collab) but at the minimum I want to see what things look like when I remove long term positions like Amazon and NVidia.


Today I want to talk about something that I wanted to mention yesterday, but took out cause of time constraints: refinancing our mortgage. Missus and I were discussing it as part of our FIRE plan, so I reached out to our mortgage agent to see if it was worth it. The short answer is no, and it’s likely that, for most people who are looking to pay off their mortgage and pay less interest, simply paying more on the collateral is a better play.

We’ve been in our house for five years, put ten percent down and have a twenty five year fixed rate mortgage on the house. Our payment includes escrow for taxes, as well as mortgage, flood and property insurance. After the first year, the escrow estimate went down, and we’ve been paying the difference into the principal each month. The city assessment on our home has gone up more than ten percent as well.

You can take a look at the this refinance calculator to see your own options, but our results weren’t very encouraging, only about $35 a month, or $420 a year. Considering that we would pay 1-2% on closing costs, we’d have to stay in the house for another seven years just to start recouping the money. And the total savings would only be about $8400 over the life of the loan. No sir. Instead, have a look at the savings we’ve gotten from throwing that extra $60 capital in each month. First, here’s a payoff calculator with a five year old mortgage with an original value of $200,000:

And here’s the result with an extra $60/month thrown on top of it.

Almost thirteen thousand in savings. That’s the value of compound interest, right there, folks.

Since we’re now under the 80% loan to value (LTV) on our home and are no longer required to carry mortgage insurance, I emailed our loan adviser and had him run the numbers for me, just to make sure I knew what I was talking about. They gave me several options, including a 20 year fixed with almost a whole percentage point lower rate. The savings? Sixty dollars a month. Now, while that does change the original estimate, we’re still talking about thousands in closing costs, which would take at least five years to recoup. And we can save three-quarters of what we would with a refi just by doing what we’re doing now.

So for now, we’ll just take the PMI payment and roll it back in to our principal every month, shaving over four years off of our original maturity date.

Before we bought this house, I had no idea how much I would hate the payment summary on my mortgage statement every month. The interest portion of the bill alone was enough more than I paid for my first apartment! It’s crazy. Thankfully Missus and I are on the same page, and focused on getting debt free and FIRE as quickly as we can.

Six Figure FIRE Update: Day 6

Job search, investing performance, and BTC reFIREment plan

So here I am writing at night again today, as getting up early just hasn’t been my thing lately. The girls are enjoying the quarantine bubble that we’ve formed with the family down the street, and they spent most of the day outside playing today. It was the most productive day I’ve had in a long while.

I applied to two jobs the past two nights, one, a fast-growing firm that provides AI-enabled insights for customer data, Outlier.AI, and a startup trying to “cancel the endless cycles of extractive capitalism,” Good Money.

Outlier is a rather large firm that has an office nearby and meets my salary requirements; Good Money is an unknown, but it’s a startup and the culture looks so awesome. I’ll keep applying to my dream list over the next few days: Square, GitLab, Stripe, Twilio. I’m also continuing my consulting gigs, but I don’t know that I can grow that fast enough to reach my goal. We shall see.


Other good news today is that the retirement account hit a new all time high. I was finally able to figure out my actual account performance by looking at my cost basis gains.

SecurityOpen dateClose dateGain(%)
APPLE INC (AAPL)12/26/201310/5/2018170.64
AMBARELLA, INC. (AMBA)12/26/20139/19/201819.05
AMBARELLA, INC. (AMBA)9/3/20159/19/2018(55.98)
AMBARELLA, INC. (AMBA)11/4/20159/19/2018(40.97)
AMAZON COM INC (AMZN)12/26/20139/6/2018383.27
AMAZON COM INC (AMZN)2/20/20149/6/2018457.70
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC (ATVI)12/1/201410/10/2018248.63
BAUSCH HEALTH COMPANIES INC (BHC)12/26/20139/13/2018(80.58)
8POINT3 ENERGY PARTNERS LP (CAFD)8/5/20156/21/2018(20.48)
8POINT3 ENERGY PARTNERS LP (CAFD)8/3/20166/21/2018(25.19)
3D SYSTEMS CORP (DDD)2/20/20149/5/2018(75.12)
3D SYSTEMS CORP (DDD)2/18/20159/5/2018(38.07)
FORTINET INC (FTNT)5/4/20179/5/2018112.83
NVIDIA CORPORATION (NVDA)2/10/201610/8/2018917.65
OCEANEERING INTL INC (OII)12/26/20139/18/2018(68.84)
Total:93.58
2018 Realized Gain/Loss

Obviously Amazon and NVidia were the big dogs here. My portfolio was imbalanced with the sheer amount that I was holding there, and I had a bad feeling about the economy. I wanted cash in hand, so I sold about half my position via a trailing stop. It looks like genius in hindsight.

2019 wasn’t too great from a gains perspective. On paper it’s only about 4%, but realistically it should be more since I was covering positions, covering my initial capital investment while retaining the rest of the position, risk free. I was able to take profits on GBTC, Paypal, RestoreBio, and Yext, but lost most of it in Aurora Cannabis and Cronos Group when weed stocks collapsed. I also got stopped out trying to play a very volatile penny stock involved in Bitcoin mining operations.

2020 hasn’t seen any major sells, my trading is automated now via my value averaging protocols. Very low volume, so to speak, and a modest 4.7 percent realized gains. My unrealized gains, however, are sitting at a whopping 38.54 percent! Most of that is Amazon (2014), NVidia (2016-17), GBTC, (2019-20; about one-third of my total portfolio,) and Netflix (2013). Major losers include Sierra Wireless, Hive Blockchain Technologies, FireEye, Overstock, and 3D Systems Corp. I’m currently holding thirty-one positions in all, seven of which I’m currently value averaging into.

Before I go tooting my own horn too much, though, I’ve got to acknowledge a bit of cherry picking here in the results. Due to my original brokerage being acquired, I don’t have access to my full trade history prior to the last four years. I’m sure it’s ugly. It’s not really fair to cout gains on positions I’ve held since 2013 while tossing out the ones I lost on during that time frame. I also closed out my traditional brokerage account, about one-fifth of my IRA at the time, and put it into bitcoin in 2017, before it broke 10K.


I am obviously putting my money where my mouth is with Bitcoin. Between my hardwallet and GBTC holdings, I have well more than half of my liquid net worth in the big orange coin, and a smaller bit more in Ethereum and other tokens. I’ve done the calculations and am looking at a BTC price target of $67K, at which point I will have more than enough to pay off all mortgage and student loan debt and establish my financial independence. My target date is sometime before the next halving, which I based off of the stock to flow model, which predicts BTC ranging above $100K before then.

There are lot of details to be worked out before we get there though. Obviously taxes is going to be the big one. I assume we’ll be looking at long term capital gains in the case of Bitcoin. GBTC gains in my IRA are untaxed, but withdrawing anything will be subject to income tax plus 10% early withdrawal penalty. So the best strategy right now is to continue to accumulate and hodl. Since I think BTC is going to accumulate price much faster than my four percent loans, it makes more sense for me to continue to accumulate BTC while making the regular payments.

One change I will be making moving forward is that I am going to resume contributions to my IRA, which I suspended in favor of buying bitcoin directly the past few years. I am missing out on the tax savings from my contributions, which is going to be a big factor next April given my expected increase in income. Once we’ve topped that bucket off, I can make a final decision on where my additional savings will go.

Genius dad

So this is a late post for me today. Woke up the same time as the kids, and forgot to turn my phone on DND before I started meditating, and got a text in the middle of it about an outage at one of Zombie, Inc.’s cornerstone clients. So I felt obliged to take it, and the morning was just shot from there. The day actually improved from there, even though I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be. So here I am, trying to finish what is for me one of the most important parts of my day. I finished meditating after I put the kids to bed, and I want to put down some thoughts before I get to work on coding. No TV today.

I had a good day with the kids. One of their friends came and knocked on the door. They hadn’t seen her in several weeks, so I let them out for some socially distanced bike riding. I chaperoned. Then after lunch Younger and I took a ride to the pier nearby. She’s totally comfortable on her new pedal bike, only took four or five days. I’m so proud, she’s not even four yet and riding a pedal bike; didn’t even need training wheels. I feel like genius dad.

Elder had a good day also. She had a nine-thirty call with the gifted teacher, which probably broke up our routine for the better. She has this idea that she’s been bringing up for the past couple days about turning the house into a hair salon. I’m trying to humor her but explain the reality about what that really would mean. We also discussed writing a book. She came up with this idea for a story called “Cave of Gold” or “Treasure of Gold”. Her description of it sounds like The Goonies, which we watched over the weekend. I told her the most important thing about making it happen was getting it out of her head and into the real world. We discussed typing it, writing it, and I even showed her some voice dictation options, both on my iPhone and a electronic voice recorder that I have. She wound up writing a scene just before bed. It was a dialog between a mom and an older sibling being asked to take care of their little sibling. Sounded like something right out of our house. Seems like she’s already learned the rule, “write what you know”.

Getting work during the day is hard, though. There’s the distractions from the kids that make most deep work impossible. By the time I actually have the time in the afternoon, my energy is dead. I moved the needle on a few small tasks: ongoing domain migration woes from a crappy reseller; and got a copy of my resume added to my CV site and made a few edits. I’ve got no excuses to start applying now.

I’ve started refactoring my value averaging code. The main function is a hundred lines long, and there’s no tests, so I’m going to to spend some more time on that again today. I run it every day when the market opens. I’m having some problems with it. I give it a list of positions to process, and it takes each one and goes through several steps of calculations before sending a buy or sell order to the exchange. Some of the positions are failing and I’m not sure why, so I’ve got to decouple several of the functions so that I can debug it better. After that I need to pull it out of the package that it’s in and make it a separate library. Right now it’s in my trade plan library, which has turned into a bit of a junk drawer over the past year or so. It’s also tightly coupled to the TDAmeritrade brokerage, and that needs to be abstracted out at some point. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

Tomorrow, I want to get up by six so I can get my meditation and writing done. After the kids are settled in and I’ve done all my morning checks for Zombie, I’m going to focus on the software design pilot project I’m working on there. Then the afternoon, I want to find the best job posted on LinkedIn and apply for it. We’re going to make this happen.

Just another day in the life: Day 55

It is a beautiful day today. Perfect weather. The girls are playing together nicely in the living room, Missus is upstairs at work. I have half an hour before my scrum call, so I’m going to try to write quickly today.

I finished The Future Is Faster Than You Think. It took me a long time to read because of everything else going on, plus I wanted to let the ideas percolate in my head. A full review is upcoming as there are a lot of takeaways. They have CEO training — I wonder what they charge for that! — plus a venture fund that might lead to some possible opportunities. They have a digital version of their Abundance360 program that might be within my reach.

I downloaded GPT-2 here on this laptop, via their Dockerfile. It needed almost ten gigabyte of downloads for the model, and I still have no idea how to run it. That will need to wait for another day. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it, but getting it up and running will be an interesting test. I’d like to see what it can do. I imagine prompting it with a subject and have it generate papers and blog posts. I’m sure there’s a business model in there some how. I know AI is used by a lot of financial news sites to generate articles based on firm reporting results, so the question is, how far can it be used.

Using Docker for development is going to be my new baseline, though. I really want to be come proficient with it. Ideally I’d like to have a setup where docker is running on my downstairs Linux server, and I can just connect to it using whichever machine I happen to be on. I currently have three workstations, though, one for “work”, my upstairs rig, and this laptop. It seems a bit much and like something I’ll need to pare down if we want to minimize or downsize. I should probably just get rid of the downstairs one completely, since I don’t really need a headless Linux server right now.

Today is the first day of the week, and I have a couple goals:

  • Provide at least two hours of value this week to my two clients, plus the pilot test I’m doing through Zombie, Inc. (six hours)
  • Sign a third client, at a higher rate than the other two. (two hours)
  • Register my LLC. I need liability protections to operate. (two hours)
  • Finish updating my resume and add it to the website.

Half the day is over, and most of the morning has been taken up with a trouble call and managing the kids and the kitchen.

Yesterday I spent several hours going through old mortgage statements and updating acccounts in GNUCash. I investigating refinancing and changing insurance companies, but both seemed a dead end. Even if we shaved an interest point off our mortgage, by the time you factored in three thousand dollars in fees, we’d save just over four hundred a year. It might make sense if we were going to take twenty five years to finish paying it off, but we don’t. If we roll rental income from Missus starter home into our mortgage, we could have our house paid off in ten years. Anyways, we’re at the point where we can drop our mortgage insurance. Applying that money to our principal will shave another two years off the maturity date.

The homeowners insurance quote I got from Lemonade wasn’t very good. The payments were higher than our current coverage from Nationwide, plus it didn’t seem that the coverage was better either. It was worth the fifteen minutes it took though.

I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do with our accounting, which will wait till next week. I’ve got nine months of utility bills to plug into GNUCash. Anyways, it’s one o’clock, and the girls are fighting.

Mother’s Day: Halvening Edition

Today is Mother’s day. Everyone is up and in a good mood — it seems. After I finish this I’m going to make mimosas and cook breakfast. We don’t have anything planned today, but I imagine it’s going to involve a lot of movies and sweets. I’m going to keep the kids productive, though, there are a couple rooms of the house that are in dire need of tidying.

It’s also been over six months since I did the house accounts. I use GNUCash, to keep tabs on the house expenses, mainly the mortgage and utilities, but it also let’s me stay on top of contributions between my wife and myself. She’s put up large lump sums in the past, for the roof and the HVAC, and I have to balance that against my monthly deposits until we’re more or less even. Things are even more complicated because she pays the health, car and home insurance and has also made the daycare payments. We split those payments and I credit her on the house account, but we’re not very disciplined about keeping up with adjustments.

We don’t track groceries or clothes for the kids or anything like that. We tried once using an app, but she just spent more than me, and it became too much of a conflict when it came to buying groceries, or eating out, or buying things for the kids. So we just try to take turns with the groceries and call it a day. We also make our own contributions to the girls. Missus prefers our state’s 529 plan, and I have bitcoin wallets for the two of them on my hardware wallet. Like driver’s licenses, I don’t think the kids will have a need for either by the time their old enough to use them.

I’ve managed the other bills through the joint account, but we’d never been able to keep much of a buffer in our savings. My individual account usually hovered just above water, maintaining tenous balances on my credit cards that I would struggle to pay off each month. She’s since started building it up through her side job, and with the addition of our stimulus payment and a hefty tax return, we’re sitting on close to six months expenses in that account.

I told Missus about my Sixty Days to Six Figures goal, and we wrote up all our debt on the board, which is about two hundred and seventy grand for the mortgage, my student loans, and my car. We wrote it up on the fridge. I also wrote up the current price of Bitcoin, and where we needed the price to be in order to pay all that off. Without disclosing how much I’m holding, I’ll just say it’s between a new all time high and six figures.

One of the responses above reminded me that mortgage interest on a $250,000 house is more than the house itself. It seems absurd now that we would have done such a thing, but given where we were coming from when we bought this place five years ago, I don’t think we could have fathomed any other alternatives. We know better now, so we’re going to do what we can to get out of this trap. And more importantly, teach our kids how not to get caught up in it either. There’s so much that could be written about this aspect of the American Dream, how the banks get rich off of servicing this loan debt, both mortgages and credit cards. The banking economy is driven by this extraction. It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin will fulfill the promise of P2P currency; it looks like it’s getting swallowed up by traditional finance. I am, however, more confident than ever of it’s worth, and am looking forward to the upcoming halving, now in about one day and eleven hours, early Tuesday morning.