What type of dad are you?

dad

 

So I have experienced, and have talked to a lot of friends and family, and see there are really only three types of dads: those that fuck you up, those that are there – but not there, and those that kick ass. Which are you?

The fuck up – These dads have major issues. Abuse. Addiction. Absence. These fuckers only care about themselves. They may or may not be good people, but they’re lost in their own world. These men ignore, or sporadically give their kids attention and therefore, their kids end up with major “daddy issues.” The daughters are strippers, or meandering and looking for a male role model, or will latch on to the first stable thing she sees – animal, mineral, or lesbo. The worst leave and check out, leaving the child rearing to a (usual) bitter single-mother who instills this bitter mother attitude. This all rolls down to the kids, and sincerely fucks them up for a long time… permanently if you don’t take a large effort to unravel this pain and recreate yourself. Not Good. Hopefully, none of my readers are in this camp. If you are, my condolences. One of my best friends had a combo of abuse/addiction growing up (though they spent time in the summers), with a nice result of estrangement as adults.

The Indifferent – I would venture to say this is the majority of dads today. They do the best they can. Work hard for the family, but fall asleep on the Lay-Z Boy at night watching baseball or CSI or whatever. They defer to the wife on 90% of things from vacation location to dinner to school function. Dads of this ilk simply check out after a hard day, forgetting that their working wife (be it a SAHM or literal working wife) has had the same type of day. Carry over from decades past. Oh, they’ll show up at your games and shows, but won’t really play an active part. You’ll hear an attaboy or attagirl from them, but mostly they’re riding on the wave of life, instead of playing an active part.

My dad was one of these. He worked hard hours, busted his chops, provided for his family. He saw my sport events from youth to adult, and comes to my own kids’ events as a grandfather. But he was an alcoholic for much of my youth, generally is introverted, and left me and my brothers to ourselves. We occasionally went to the park to play baseball, or kite. And we went camping a bunch as a kid. It was a mixed bag, and I think that is what 70% of us deal with. Not a Hero. Not a Villian.

The Kick-Ass – This dad is rare. He’s the ones who gets up in the night to deal with a sick kid. The one who is there (most nights) to say goodnight and tuck their kids in. The ones who actually go into the uncomfort zone and volunteer to be a coach. Or to be on the PTO. Or to be a Scout leader. Or any number of things we wished our own dads had time for. To help  with the dinner, slap your mom on the ass with giggles on her part, with a visible kiss on her mouth later. That’s what we all need to strive to be.

This dad knows lots of things, and passes it down to their kids. Finances. Health, Cooking. Dealing with girls/women. Confidence. How to chop wood or make a fire. A million things that the iPad can’t teach them. Are you that dad? Or do you try to be? Maybe you work late or out of town, but can’t commit. But do you lock down when you get home? Spend more time away from the house, doing things and learning things? Hiking and looking at the microcosm of the world? Let the kids explore on their own, but be there to give your own thoughts. And be involved. Take the kids away without their mom and have mini-adventures (like guy’s weekend with your boys, or dad-daughter time with your girls). My own mom still talks about how her dad used to sneak her into Lambeau Field. Don’t ever underestimate the powderkeg of influence you have on your children’s lives.

So on this Father’s Day weekend, let’s recognize that dads are really complicated and have their own dimensions and interests. Love yours in the way you can, and love your kids in your own way too. Our dads were like that, and those of us who are dads are too. We’re a mix of wild-beast, renaissance man, sexual dynamo, and sedentary being. But those with kids need to remember what the goal is at all times: give our kids an opportunity to succeed, pass on our DNA to the next generation, and to love them as much as we possibly can. So they too can love and continue the positive cycle.

So regardless of what type of father you have, thank them for giving you life and allowing you to be the person you are today.

And while I’m late for any gift, this is awesome. I’m an anti-morning person. Snooze goes easy peazy. But this alarm clock makes you pick up a laser gun, and shoot your alarm clock to snooze. Have fun!

 

AMD’s guide to having 30 more minutes , starting this Solstice

30minutesShort and sweet. I am a big fan of Summer Solstice (this year, in my local time, we celebrate at 11:39 AM CDT on June 21-5 days from now). I’ve had some fond memories including celebrating the evening with special lady friends, and my sister-in-law got married on the Solstice, in Alaska. At that latitude it is nearly daytime all night long, like in that Nolan/Robin Williams vehicle Insomnia (great flick). It makes for some great late nights with friends.

But I digress.

Five days from now we’ll celebrate this year’s longest day. It’s light in the morning and light when we go to bed. THE perfect time to start moving to an extra 30 minutes per day, since our bodies want to maximize daylight (like crops). I have the move that will work to add more time to your day to hopefully do productive things. One I’ve followed, and one that starts a habit. It takes 3 short weeks (21 days) to establish a new habit. That habit can add a new language, meditation, exercise, writing, or simply reading. Thirty minutes of extra ass.

30mins

Something we can all use (SQUATS! Though she hasn’t done many, not too shabby).

We establish new habits by using the longest daylight of the year. Start that habit when it is easiest to integrate into our lives. A few baby steps in a short time. Peel that band-aid off and start fresh. We do so by using this dang-nasted extra daylight. Knock out 10 of those days in the 10 longest days of the year. The daylight length is the key to this trick.

Starting today, set your alarm 6 minutes earlier. Then tomorrow, you set it 6 minutes earlier. And so on. Like compounding interest, by Father’s Day Sunday you’ll be getting up a half hour earlier. Stick with it, keep that alarm the same you pussy, and you have 30 more minutes. Is it easy? Not really, but easier each day. Just plan how you’ll use that extra time, and take 2 minutes tonight to set the coffee maker for tomorrow – it can be the key to maximizing you extra time, so do it! (another secret. Two for one tonight, I’m feeling generous). You’re welcome!

30+min

Raising a daughter in a red pill age

My daughter is nearly 10, and starting to enter pre-teendom. They had the “our bodies are changing” seminar at school, where they learn about Stuff. That’s Stuff with a capital S. She’s been wearing a sports bra every day for most of the school year, and while she’s still a little girl (still playing American Girl with her friends), the clock is ticking. Tic. Toc. As any of you with kids knows, the stages of childhood pass as quickly as pages in a Dr. Seuss book. Newborn to toddler to preschool to school age all have gone way, way too fast. The next stages scare me. Hormones, menstruation, boys… :shiver: 

I have thought a lot about how I want to raise my daughter Birdsnest, and have read various perspectives from the red pill side from both men and women. The pro-YouGoGirl, Selfies, beta-dad as money provider wimp with wife as household head, that are 75% of America today is the societal headwind we are up against. Your daughter is getting fed this by their friends. So even if we do raise them right, we stand the chance of losing her to modern feminist propoganda that is pro-self, pro-sleeping around, pro-ball busting, that devalues starting a family under the traditional system. But we try to fend against this and raise them to have the greatest chance for success, happiness, and love while passing on our genes to the next generation. Anyway, a few sides of the raising a girl in today’s society from the red pill peanut gallery typically goes like this:

  • On one side you have people who think the best way to raise a girl in this world environment is to try and raise a submissive daughter, who learns to cook, clean, take care of children, takes care of her man, isn’t narcissistic but still takes the effort to be feminine and look pretty…basic ideology of becoming a stay-at-home mom when times were simpler. This approach still works, and is found in many highly religious families where values were very strong and taught at a young age. On this path you can still teach her what a qualities to look for in a good man  – basically hoping she finds the Boyscout (trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent).
  • On the other side, those men and women who get the whole Captain-First officer dynamic, strong feminism is fairly poisonous to healthy relationships, and how riding the cock carousel is really bad for establishing long-term bonds/lasting marriages. These people, of which I am one, tend to spin the Red Pill. But the question is how do you take 3, 5, 7 years of digesting this stuff, as well as other perspectives and life insight, along with your own values, and try to impart it to the daughter?

Here are the things I plan to teach my kid as she becomes a woman in this world today. Now she’s 10 people, it’s not like we’re having these conversations next year even, but she will grow up and have raging hormones, and I can’t go forward with my head in the sand. My goal is to have a well adjusted daughter wise to the ways of the world today, including men. I want to raise her to be self sufficient and to value family more than a job, and to do what I can to give her a leg up if/when she decides to get married. Staying happily married has a huge impact on both life wealth and happiness. So of all the other million lessons I’m teaching my kid(s), here are a few I will address at the appropriate time(s) in the future, in no particular order or timeline at all:

  1. First off, I am setting the example of how she views men. Fore the dads: be strong, be in control, be a leader in the family. Have manly hobbies and do manly things like chopping wood, and playing guitar, and building stuff. Go camping with your kids and get away from the iPads and Xboxes and bullshit that seem to clutter our daily lives. And make stuff happen, while being kind and joking and showing love in our man ways like whisker rubs.
  2. Working hard and being humble will lead you to much more successful and grounded life than taking your talents for granted and being conceited and narcissistic. And you’ll have a better root structure to grow from. Over the years, despite your ability and test scores, we’ve underlined that hard work (AKA Grit) will be a key factor in life happiness and success. Be it working hard in the home, or in school, or in a hobby, or in a job.
  3. Sex – boys/men will do whatever they can to both try and sleep with you while at the same time not wear a condom. Don’t ever, EVER settle for whatever excuse they’re saying. They’ve done this with other women, who have done it with other men. Don’t be a cum dumpster to some tainted semen, or maybe worse yet, get pregnant if you’re not ready.
  4. Being chaste, waiting (and waiting) to have sex. Building rapport and love will make the chances of a relationship, including marriage stick, will be much higher. Sex in long term and loving relationships is special. Random hookup sex makes long-term connection with a future husband more difficult, and likely leads to increased divorce rates. I’ll also be discussing hypergamy and why the “bad boys” are exciting, but why they’re usually not a great long-term choice for a partner.
  5. As a piggy back, don’t be afraid to get engaged and married early. Your slutty and feminist friends will wait, cuz they’re independent and riding on the hot cock carousel, but getting married early is good. Having kids early is good. Young bodies tend to make healthier babies in my experience. We’ve seen a number of women near or over 40 having babies that tend to have “issues.” Not to say it will happen, but why risk it.
  6. Narcissism is what most girls and women do. Selfies bad, especially those in bathrooms or showing your messy room. Naked shots sent to boyfriends. Don’t ever do it! This shit is forever. Your boss one day can Google your name, which will link to your face using recognition software, and see you sexted your boyfriend in 11th grade. Is that what you want? Plus, they call that “child pornography” if you’re still a teen. As an adult they’ll call that just a bad decision that may haunt you.
  7. Being pretty, and feminine with long hair is what attracts boys/men no matter what your short-haired girlfriends say. Having a unique and funky style is cool, but taking pride in your appearance is important.
  8. Money-wise – avoid the trappings of fancy clothes, fancy cars, new phone every year. Save. Invest. Start putting 10% into your retirement as soon as you start – more if you can. Raise it up each year. I started teaching you this at 9 years old, bought you your first stock (BRK-B) for your 10th birthday so you could learn something, and taught you about the power of compounding. Small sacrifices in our super abundant society have minor impact on our happiness in exchange for the financial freedom it can provide you when you are older.
  9. Work towards a career that is in the direction of what you love, but don’t be afraid of hard work, taking risks and starting your own business, or even work in a job you don’t love. These are all stepping stones to finding your life purpose and path. Make a plan and do it… and we expect you’ll be successful enough so you don’t have to move back in.
  10. Which brings me to discussing post-high school direction, I will make sure you are aware of marketability of a college major before you waste the money.  You’re going to read our copy of Worthless so we can do our best to avoid the trap of “investing” in college for a degree with no payoff.
  11. We’ve been discussing health and good eating since you were little. Hopefully you know enough now to have both mental and physical health and well being, eat well, and take care of your body. To avoid the trapping of drug culture, and keep any alcoholic endeavors in moderation. Speaking of which, alcohol can be a bad thing to a young woman trying to make good decisions. Hopefully you have friends who you can trust when you do imbibe, and to look out for each other.

And so on. I cut out time so just her and I can be together as I slowly pass on my knowledge, and hope to continue that tradition in the future. She’s my little girl, and one day she’ll be grown up (sooner rather than later, I think). We can’t take it for granted that she’s going to magically learn these things from her teachers or friends or mother (her mother and I have differing viewpoints on some of these topics that brush up against hard feminist teachings, but for the most part agree). Dads need to play a major role in raising both our sons and daughters, and not just bottle things up or check out after working all day.

I like the general message for single men from Roosh (and have had an article posted on his Return of Kings site that can be applied to many life’s circumstances), and really like his post on Open Letter to Parents of American Daughters. It’s about hook-up culture and is more raw than my list above, but it is important to realize that our kids are like us as teens and young adults. I was having sex with my 15 year old girlfriend in high school. Hormones a plenty for teens, so don’t expect her to control her body or mind at these early teen years – be proactive. And while the message may be mixed for boys in this Manosphere teachings (don’t get married, be aware of the trappings of women, women can be seduced, etc.), most of these things can be taught as a lesson to our girls to look out for that bullshit. And for the record, the teachings to my son will be very, very similar to the list above, just a change in perspective to “most girls” will behave like X for the intergender teachings. My kids and yours will have to learn their own lessons, but hopefully our wisdom can help dampen some of the harsh reality of the world today.

How AMD distributes his savings buckets

I’ve been listening to a lot of personal finance podcasts lately. Fun for the hobby investor or those interested in learning more as an average guy guiding his retirement path. A couple I really like are Stacking Benjamins and the Dough Roller, they are both on iTunes or podcast searches.

Some of the more interesting off-line discussions I’ve had are on the personal finance topic, especially since I’ve been somewhat open on our financial past and present. If you generally like the topic or want to know more of my philosophy, check out the financial tab to the left. In general, I don’t have too many rules and hedge my bets a lot. Basic stuff like pay off credit cards. Pay yourself first. Heavily prioritize retirement over college funds. Have an emergency fund. Take as little time as possible to pay off cars. Pay for vacations in cash. Be smart with the debt you do have (make it tax deductible, or if you’re rate is lower than what you think you can get in returns, often it is better to continue paying debt service or minimum payments and put it somewhere else). But in general I have very few hard and fast rules. Rules are meant to be broken, and I’ve broken them all over the years.

buckets

Anyway, many people have many opinions on how you should allocate your free money into your buckets. Dave Ramsey says at all costs (even at the extent of starting to pay into retirement accounts even with company match) pay off high interest debt. Others argue between paying off mortgage early versus not paying an extra cent towards that endeavor. Or others who say you should not put a cent into your kids college 529 accounts until you are maxing out your retirement and don’t have debt and paid off your mortgage and maxed out your HSA and, and, and. Many different ideas.

For me, I’ve invested in my 401k while still having credit card debt. I had student loans (at 4%) for a long time while plowing money into retirement accounts hoping for a better return (while being able to get tax deductions). Probably sounds like you to some degree. I thought it would be interesting to pull back the AMD curtain about how we distribute our savings funds. Keep in mind our big expenses are primarily a large car payment (to pay off new minivan in 2-3 years), childcare to the tune of an average of $600/mo (lower during school year, higher during summer), and a mortgage. We also have a decent emergency fund, and I’d also like to say that kids are fucking expensive too (not just child care). So here’s how other savings expenses fall.

  • Holly, Mrs. AMD, puts 15% into her traditional 401k to reduce taxable income with assumption that future income post-retirement will have lower taxes (plus 2% company match, for 17% of salary) – she gets additional salary put into an ESOP, but doesn’t count as savings
  • I currently put 10% into my traditional 401k (plus 2.5% company match for 12.5%. Previously at last company, I was putting 20% in [plus 4% match], but had better fund selection) – I now get additional salary put into ESOP, but reason I dropped percentage is below
  • Put $500-1,000/mo into saving/investment account with intention to buy back as private shareholder in my company as lump sum in a year or two (I was one before, opened up to select individuals, was previously made to liquidate per T&C when I left last time – has had a great, great track record of returns). This monthly dollar amount will drop after buy in period.
  • Into our Vacation/Future Car Fund (in addition to current car payment) goes $400/month. You may think our priorities are messed based on amounts into college, but it’s our allocation, we don’t usually take big vacations and hope to pay for both vacations/cars with cash in the future.
  • Currently adding $200/mo. total into college 529 funds for two kids. We’ve been bumping this up over the years with minor amounts  of grandparent birthday money, but according to most publications, we are woefully underfunded. As our financial situation changes (pay off the big car payment, lower childcare expenses), we plan to funnel this surplus into college. I don’t mean to get on a tangent here, but in the not so distant future (AKA 3-4 years), we plan to lay out the plan to the oldest in that she will have skin in the game. That means she’ll be using part time jobs, college jobs, loans, grants, scholarships, whatever, to help pay her own way through school. But we’ll help as we can given those parameters. Much more to flesh out on that idea…stay tuned.
  • Have started an Acorns micro-investing account (uses your debit, rounds up the change on any purchase to the nearest dollar into the account…so a $2.47 purchase rounds up to a $0.53 deposit into Acorns account – seeded with $300 of savings to lesson the impact of $1/mo fee) – deposits for us $30-40 into a low expense fee diversified taxable account which is invisible to our budget but will slowly add up over time.
  • Adding $400 per month to mortgage payment, despite only 3.5% interest rate – will cut 10 years off a 30 year mortgage at this rate (will surely pay off sooner if we stay here)…payoff will be right in time for planned retirement.

Adding everything up, we save 25%, and are investing (increasing net worth plus investing in kids retirement, so subtracts out the savings for shit like cars and vaca’s) at over 22%, of gross income per year. I fully expect this percentage to go up, and also recognize we have a lot of wasted spending. But we’re mostly happy and live mostly comfortably, so life is good on the financial side.My point isn’t our savings rate, but the fact that we are spreading things around. On some income we are investing in the retirement accounts hoping they pay 7-8% returns. Other income we are paying a guaranteed 3-4% return (mortgage, accelerated car payments). We’ve already paid the high interest credit card loans, but even then took the free money where we could for taxable accounts.

For us, we feel we are in our cozy forever home and feel a lot of mentally satisfaction paying it off early. Even the Dough Roller says he does some extra payments on mortgage, but also recommends a 20% savings rate before that happens. I guess we’re there. We are also hedging our bets a little that the market will crash since we may be giving up a 3-4% return by investing back into a guaranteed low interest mortgage payoff. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, please e-mail me. If we wanted to create more long-term wealth though, we’d likely be much better off taking our extra car payment and house payment and putting it into stocks. One day though, when the shackles of any debt are off of us it will feel so good.

So that’s our general spread-the-wealth-around strategy we have. Save more, spend less is the golden rule, besides being awesome and treating other people awesome. Peace.

 

Updates and The Dad Bod

If you aren’t a regular reader, skip ahead, no worries. For those who are used to a few posts a week, my apologies. With the new job (about a month in), my head is generally spinning as I get my bearings and try to make traction. It is going great, but I’m mentally exhausted, hence my lack of posting. Besides that I’m coaching U8 soccer, getting kids out the door every morning, picking kids up every evening, making supper fairly often, getting them to soccer practice or games, doing Life Coaching a couple evenings a week still, podcasting about every other week, plus the working out thing (more later). Not to mention dealing with a cripple at home (wife had hip surgery in April, just got off crutches on Friday), which means I’m doing her gardening, plus my yardwork. Oh, and we just did a garage sale.  Sexy times have been regular vanilla shower sex due to the hip (last night was the first time back in the bed since the surgery about 7 week s ago, and let’s say was underwhelming for many reasons). My wife and I have been “maintaining” more than being awesome, but we all go through these patches, especially when adverse health is involved.

Anyway, I have missed writing to y’all, and interacting with you. So I hope to be writing more as I can put some of the crazy stuff on steady instead of front burner. Plus, I am about ready to dust back off the next book I’m working on (a reader asked pretty close to the topic off-line, so I know there’s a need). No rest for the wicked, much like you. Anyway…

You’ve probably heard about the Dad Bod by now. Some Clemson co-ed penned an article about how girls like the “Dad Bod” and it took off. It’s a dumb article, but seemed to catch the media’s attention for the week. Like usual, this Average Married Dad is a day late and a dollar short. Here are some examples (some famous, some not):

dad bod example tom brady dad bods dad bod luke bryan

Now I’m probably at this stage, right now, a prototypical Dad Bod. I run 2-3 days a week, lift weights 2-3 days a week (am currently about to start week 11 of a Hatch Squat cycle), plus weighted vest walks once a week among day to day life. I’m fairly thick in size for my height, and in a fitted dress shirt that I wear most days, am popping out in many areas. Due to a diet that still isn’t ideal, I’m carrying 10-20 extra pounds along the waist, but like chicks with a big chest, dudes that lift and have a big chest also tend to mitigate some of their fatness. That’s me. But I have a dad bod, which can now be seen at our local pool. My dad bod has muscles though, while most have the slack-sloped look of someone who hasn’t seen a weight since high school, so by comparison I still look pretty good. Not great mind you, but ok.

I guess the big question is, should men simply accept their fate (or is it fat?) of being a low-T beta dad, or should we continue to fight the good fight? I get the rationale of women writers promoting the dad bod to some degree. Mostly, it’s women are not happy with their bodies, so if their Man looks shitty too, then they won’t feel as bad. My wife essentially told me that the other day. “You are fatter than me, I like that and find you better looking because of it” in about as many words. Remember, I was an emaciated 135# Ironman triathlon dude, so to some degree she’s right – women want a man who’s bigger than them. That’s it.

The problem is, people are LAZY!! If a woman’s man is fat, it gives them an excuse to be a little fatter than needed too. If a dad looks like this:

fit dad

his wife is gonna have to step up her game, especially if he’s working out with good looking people. Dad Bod makes us all lazier. While I will probably look better than most of the non-lifting dads at the pool this summer, it doesn’t mean I’m ever going to be happy with how I look until I’m in the low teens for bodyfat. A little softness is fine for all of us, but I believe being strong and healthy and looking good is still better than simply settling on a dad bod. And the examples I gave are on the plus side of the spectrum. Most real dad bods I’ve seen at the pool are carrying more than a little extra lbs, but a full on gut. Not sexy no matter how you rationalize it.

So from this dad to the others, keep fighting the good fight. Find some sort of plan that works for you and your life and be disciplined enough to make those minor adjustments for long-term consistency and health. Usually that means getting up early, or swinging out of work for workout lunch (if you are fortunate enough to have a shower), or getting rid of the bread and refined carbs (really the most important for getting rid of the gut). It may not make a difference this summer, but it will make a difference. If you really don’t have a clue, I highly recommend a video program. It provides direction and motivation. I did Insanity for a few months, and my friend is still using my videos after six months. P90x may be better in that it helps build muscles, and you need some dumbbells (you’ll need various sizes, find them used or on Craigslist – expect to pay about $1/lb-, or adjustable dumbbells like this) and a door mounted pullup bar and that’s it (plus the videos, you can find them on Amazon here for $139 or do what I did and find them used). Some like the gym, but unless you’re following a program, many sort of flounder. Whatever it is, invest your money and time in what works for you be that home gym, videos, Crossfit, bootcamp classes, gym memberships, whatever. But do something, don’t accept the dad (or mom) bod. Be the best you can be, and don’t fall into the lazy rationalization whoever is selling this week.

AMD out.

It took me 10 minutes to roll over my 401k

I fucking hate excess fees in my investment/retirement accounts. I’ve gotten into some heated discussions with friends who are in the personal finance industry, with vested interest in selling you their front-end loaded high fee funds, and have heard them go so far to say indexing is a bubble. It was all I could do not to laugh in their face.

Now I’ll be the first to say indexing isn’t perfect, but it’s efficient, lean, and pretty damn close to perfect. If those like Warren Buffet and John Bogle say they’d recommend their wives index, or they’d rather buy the haystack than try and find the needle, that’s pretty good recommendation. For those that aren’t into this stuff, an index mutual fund basically tries to replicate a broader market index, like the S&P 500 (or Standard and Poor’s 500 large stocks that trade on the NY Stock Exchange or Nasdaq). They don’t try to outthink the market and instead recognizes the efficiency of the market. It doesn’t try to pick the right handful of stocks out of the haystack, or weight towards one segment (health care, mining, technology, etc.), it simply picks the large basket of 500 or 5000 stocks in the same ratio as the market index, be it in U.S. or international funds, and stays constant. There’s limited wasted movement from trading (incurring fees and unnecessary capital gains taxes).

Anyways, I hate fees. And most 401k’s have too many. My new one isn’t that great. I found a couple of funds that are under 0.3% , but most, even an S&P 500 index are well over 0.5% (and to compare, the Vanguard 500 Admiral share index fund of the same is 10% of that, or 0.05%). And they trick the average investor by making their own fund families from a combination of the various higher cost funds (conservative, moderately aggressive, aggressive, etc.) for simplicity, but even higher fees. Ridiculous I say. Even reGronkulous.

gronk

So I slightly digress. My 30 days post-employment finally ended and I was eligible to roll over my 401k into my IRA(s) I already had set up at Vanguard. It took 10 minutes and two calls and I went from old to the new. And free money, as I’ll illustrate. The paperwork I got from my 401k company indicated they automatically cut a paper check for a rollover, and send it to you. My call to Vanguard was to get the address to send them to. Polite and professional as always. The second call was to the 401k company, requesting a DIRECT ROLLOVER. The check was made out to “Vanguard FBO My Name” (For the Benefit Of). They will send a hard copy check (to me – my last rollover went to the financial firm directly, so this type of thing sometimes varies), and I will forward it on to Vanguard directly. In a couple of days, I’ll actually get two checks, one from my traditional 401k (pre-tax) and one from my Roth-401k (for deposit into a Roth IRA).

I accomplished two things by rolling this over to a self-directed IRA. One, consolidated an old account into one spot. If you have changed jobs, maybe you have old account or three hanging out there somewhere. Tracking that shit gets annoying. Second, reducing fees. Not only do you have the regular fee that running a mutual fund charges, but you also have the more tricky, hidden fees the 401k administrator charges. It is getting better, but they still hide them pretty good.

So let’s say, for the sake of argument, I just rolled over $100,000 (within spitting distance of that). Assume I have 25 years before I would touch my 401k or any IRA. Now I did my best to pick the funds that were the cheapest in my Asset Allocation zone. That is, stocks/bonds (i.e. risk) tolerance. A topic for another day perhaps. So anyway, I think I did a pretty good job within the limits of my last 401k, getting my weighted average for fees as low as 0.32%. My weighted average in my IRA is 0.08% mainly due to the ability to select super low fee index funds. The difference therefore between the two was a microscopic 0.24%. But it makes a difference over the long term. If one makes a 7.00% return, and one makes a 7.24% return (the difference between expenses), it makes a difference of approximately $35,500 over that time. Certainly not pocket change.

So when you change jobs, and can find similar returns with less expenses, don’t be afraid to switch. The 401k does have some advantages over the IRA in that you can take a loan against it (usually not a great idea), and sometimes is more protected in the event of a lawsuit (depends on the state, but is one reason why I recommend umbrella insurance). Additionally, if you leave your employer during or after age 55, you can begin withdrawals – but not a big deal since if plan on an early retirement, you can use another provision (72t that has various rules and obligations) to get access to either 401k or IRA funds so the advantage isn’t that great.

By all means talk to a financial planner, but be aware that like my friend, they have a vested interest in their company, often to the detriment of the client, even if they have drank the Kool-Aid and don’t believe they do. Look very closely at what they are guiding you towards, and what the expenses are. That is all. Consolidate. Watch the tiny fractions of a percent. Ten minutes can make thousands of dollars in difference. Save. Live beneath your means. Keys to wealth, simplification, and happiness. Set it and forget it, and move on to the more fun things in life.

 

Red Pill Marriage and Blogging: 3+ Years in, Thoughts

marriageI first started unplugging from the Blue Pill Marriage Doctrine in mid 2011. My youngest had just turned 4 years old, and any post-baby shit that impacts marriage should have been long-since in the past. I wasn’t happy. We weren’t happy. Or I should say, we were happy and accommodating in ways roommates are on good terms, but not in the way a married couple should be. My wife was oblivious for a number of reasons (caught in her own head, birth control, society, what does it really matter), but I finally had enough and was searching for answers. Why wasn’t she attracted to me any more? Why weren’t we having very much sex? Why had we drifted to this state? It was a conundrum, one I had to figure out. In searching for answers I stumbled upon Talk About Marriage (forum), Hawaiian Libertarian Post on Red Pill/Blue Pill marriage (though what most influenced me was a response Keoni Galt posted on some other forum on his experience with red/blue pill marriage. I wish I could remember the site or find it. It was THE catalyst in my journey, moreso than anything before or since, and I can’t thank him enough), and Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life (blog and forum, plus both the The MMSL book and The Mindful Attraction Plan books – which I can’t recommend enough) – in that order.

So I read other books (The Game by Neil Strauss, you may be able to find it at your library like I did – a GREAT book for those seeking answers) and blogs like Captain Capitalism, Rollo, and Red Pill Room (author Ian Ironwood did the forward to my book– thanks again!). And things magically started getting clearer. When I started implementing some of these things, no matter how hair-brained I thought they were, things started getting better. It was crazy. Soon 10 second kisses, leading the dinner and family, and shower sex was the norm, not the exception. I was floored. If you are a recent reader,or have read my book, you may have seen (or still see) some of the bumps along the way, but that is real life. It was a lot of two steps forward, one back, but we still made progress, and that was the most important part.

Three years ago, early April of 2012, I started blogging. It was a free blogspot account, which was great to start with (no fee, anonymous, all you had to do was write), and write I did. Very personal stuff. It was cathartic as I figured this stuff out on my own journey. Friends I made at the old site included now defunct PonyBoy (Marriage in the Bedroom), and Don’t Say No [in 2012] – which I just have caught back up with – she’s still around, along with some brief correspondence with Athol Kay as he was just starting to ramp up into the success he has become. All three made a huge difference in my decision to keep going on the journey and the blog front.

Initially my wife didn’t know. I was talking about my various insecurities, sex life in explicit details, and thoughts on life in general as I was going through post-Red Pill taking. My whole life and sex life weren’t where I wanted to be. But it felt so wrong to be doing it in secret from the person I was going through this journey with. So I put the old blog on deep freeze (still have all the old posts unpublished for posterity sake), and got my wife Holly on board with me blogging about our life.love

Thus, on August 31, 2012 I launched my first post on this website, with my wife’s full support (with an abbreviated version of sex/life talk blog to date). It was a major deal at the time, but she rarely reads these days. Hence, AverageMarriedDad was started.

So back in 2011, I started to change. I went from Laissez Fiare attitude to taking control. I gained 25 pounds of (mostly) muscle (from  140 pounds in 2009  to 165 in late 2011 where I’m still at today). We went from sex a couple times a month to a couple times a week.  But most importantly was that our interpersonal dynamic changed for the permanent, and my eyes were opened for the long term. Once you take the Red Pill you can never look at the world or marriage in the same way.

You understand why you really DO like long hair better, and you aren’t afraid to tell your wife. You understand that having an edge (not necessarily being a “bad boy” but having a backbone and being the decision maker in and out of the bedroom) is the dynamic that most women crave (as proven by 50 Shades, among the truth that Nice Guys Finish Last, with the ladies at least). You understand that most marriages are steeped in nice guy stuff, and lacking dopamine excitement. You understand that if you look good, and feel good with good energy, you can get away with all sorts of grabass and sexual innuendo (or outright sextalk in the light of day) that the old soft, oatmeal boring version of yourself never could. And once you show by both action and talk how things will be, it is damn hard to let yourself go back. Plus your wife knows the score too, so both of you have a vested interest in a better marriage with more direction that is led explicitly by you (with input from your wife).  And you learn, like our great grandfathers before us, that despite the brainwashing that feminism has taught us, a patriarchal led family FEELS right, even if society and that short-haired fatty in HR tells us differently.

But I’ve realized that there is no finish line. Like the stock market, you have to keep climbing and improving or else you backslide, and you end up losing in the end. Each success is another stay at basecamp, and once acclimated, you can only keep the same happiness with additional excitement and effort. Me and her and us – we are now aware this is occurring, so we can decide on if we want to make the tough decisions to keep a high-love/-sex marriage, or if we want to be a little lazy and slack off. I know which one I want. I know which one she wants, and it’s not easy. In some ways we compete and feed off each other, neither of us wants to be left in the dust.

lingerieAnd not least of all, when looking at my life past as well as forward through my elderly years, being married to the same woman definitely gives you the best chance to accumulate wealth. Besides the emotional toil divorce plays, it also often destroys, or at least sets back by years or decades, financial goals you set out to achieve. A big caveat is that your wife isn’t a super spender while you are Mr. Frugal, but if you’re both in that middle area, then divorce usually fucks the husband (and the wife) in many ways fiscally. So even as you both have wrinkles and saggy asses, at least you can enjoy the fruits of your labor one day versus paying out your ass to get rid of your former love.

So for us, we don’t have the perfect marriage. Some days, weeks, months, and years are better and worse than others. We want different things and have different expectations for what we get out of it and all the nuances of what marriage is. But we parent on the same page. We have a shared end goal financially, though we’re different shades of gray. We both want to look good, so we eat well and exercise and want to look sexy for ourselves and for each other. And we both appreciate what a good sex life means to marriage. Life is busy, and we are often tired, but looking back, we’re 100x more comfortable in who we are as a couple and as a family than we were just a few years ago. That’s what taking the so-called Red Pill on relationship has meant for us. Plus that leaves a lot more headspace to improve or grow in other areas, while continuing to enjoy the fruits of your marriage. Life can be good. Unplugging and fighting through the rough patches and traps can be worth it when you reach the other side. I hope those of us in a relationship or marriage can all reach that end game. One day.

Until next time -AMD

infinity

 

Guest Post: Sexting in Relationships

Hi folks, busy wife, busy life. Holly is in Florida at a work conference this week so I am even busier than normal (if that is even possible). I thought about doing the whole sexting thing while she’s away, but then remembered the train wreck the last time I got on this kick (see: AMD’s How NOT to Sext your Wife for a good laugh at my expense). So I thought I’d take this time to work on some other content while taking care of kid and life stuff, and introduce my first ever guest post by Diane Wilson. Hopefully you’re more successful sexting than I am (I could have learned a few things had I read this article beforehand). Enjoy!

Your partner isn’t always with you, but your cell phone probably is. It’s no surprise that given our busy everyday lives, sexting has become an increasingly popular way to keep things hot with your special someone.

Selfie Time

Critics may see sexting as settling tactic for scraping up some form of intimacy, but they’d be wrong in thinking that way. In fact, a recent study from AdamEve.com shows that sexting actually works to make your relationship with your partner better. Of those surveyed, 56 percent claimed that sexting successfully improved their relationship. And sexpert Dr. Kat Van Kirk believes the reason is because sexting is a “fun, flirty way to keep the passion alive as well as a great way to tease your partner—to pique his or her interest until you can physically be together.”

Sounds pretty good so far, right? Like a pretty great way to spice things up? Well, don’t send those sexy thoughts or steamy pics just yet.

Before you get started, it’s important to remember a few guidelines you should follow to ensure that the experience is a positive one. The topic was recently covered by Susie and Otto Collins in an article for YourTango.com titled “Sexting Dos and Don’ts for Couples.” A married couple themselves, Susie and Otto have offered helpful relationship advice to other couples since 1999. And when technology became an important factor in relationships, they were right there with it. Using their own experiences, and by working with other couples, they found out what worked and what didn’t work when it comes to incorporating modern technology in you love life.

Here are a few of their tips:

First, you should never use sexting as a means for fixing problems within your relationship. As the Collins write: “Sex is never a good way to resolve conflicts or fix trust issues.” They note that you should “[t]ake care of whatever has driven a wedge in your relationship and then, later, celebrate with sexual intimacy.”

Second, you should never try and push your partner beyond their comfort zone. The Collins recommend getting a better idea of what your partner likes and dislikes in regards to sexts, before send the message. This also extends to when they’d like to receive messages as well. Some people like to get them day and night, but others can be pretty particular about location boundaries. As a rule of thumb, they recommend steering away from sending your partner messages while they’re at work. It’s a bit difficult to act professional when your phone keeps lighting up with nude pics.

And finally, they say for the sake of privacy, never save your sexts—the ones you send and the ones that you receive. It’s far too easy for them to fall into the wrong hands. Suivi-eolien.com also reiterated the Collins’ point. If someone else gets a hold of sexts you were supposed to delete, “It won’t be sexy anymore.” Also, it can be a huge betrayal of your partner’s trust. Play it safe, and always delete them immediately.

Sexting can be a great way to increase your bond with your partner, especially when you can’t be around one another. Just make sure you follow some of these key steps, and you’ll be on your way to some steamy photo swapping before you know it.

 

Nuts: Friend or Foe? (While Trying to Lose Weight While Primal/Paleo)

As I’m working with a couple of people, plus my wife, I see some very common themes. The most common is trying to lose fat. With the summer nearly upon us, and all the potential for pool time, volleyball, barbecues, and time with friends, there’s the vanity side of things of wanting to look good. And there’s the health side of things about wanting to feel good. Thus starts (or restarts) people’s journey to ramp up for the year.

So they start cutting out processed food, eating more veggies, maybe some meat, good fats like coconut oil. Inevitably I get asked what to eat for snacks. Beyond beef jerkey, or maybe hard boiled eggs, nuts are the first thing people gravitate towards. I’ll be the first to admit I like nuts. I buy a huge ass jar of smokehouse flavored almonds at Costco once in awhile, and eat them by the handful. I like those bitter walnuts. Cashews are a gift from God. I like most nuts. Which is one of the reasons I am not at my ideal bodyfat.

Nuts have some health benefits, and taste good. There are some big problems with eating nuts, and if you are trying to lose weight, I’d highly recommend you cut them out or limit them a lot.

  1. They are very calorically dense. Most nuts are between 150 to 200 calories per ounce. If that is your ‘go to’ snack, it is so damn easy to over indulge. How big is an ounce? ounce of nuts
  2. They are high in Omega 6’s. Though they have many other good things going for them, most standard American diets (SAD) are already overweighted in the omega 6:3 ratio resulting in systematic inflamation. While primal/paleo with veggies, grass fed meat, no soy, and so forth tilt that ratio in the right direction, too many nuts can tilt it back.
  3. Large amounts of nuts are physically difficult to digest. Humans aren’t really built to digest large quantities of them. Ask an already damaged digestive system to handle large quantities, and you’ll get stress, stress creates cortisol. Cortisol (the stress hormone) wants you to hold onto your fat, thereby making it harder to lose.

Some people handle nuts better than others, but if you are having problems and the rest of your diet is pretty clean, and you’re exercising, sleeping well, and have fairly low stress, check out your nuts :) At a minimum, get a food scale and measure what an ounce looks like, bag them up for snacks rather than eating out of the container. Otherwise, you could be like me and kick nearly an entire wasabi flavored almond container in a single sitting (So dang good though!):

wasabi almonds

Bottom line: enjoy your nuts, use them as a side portion (on a salad or garnish) or have a MEASURED or WEIGHED ounce or three during the week if you’d like, but don’t use them as your ‘go to’ snack if you are trying to lose weight/fat. If you do, you’re likely sabatoging yourself. If you must eat nuts, get crackalackin’ and get them in a shell. If you’re like me, you’ll find cracking shells gets annoying fast, so you’ll eat less.

Check out the following resources for much better reasoning, science, and information (good and bad) about nuts than I could dream of providing you:

Mark’s Daily Apple – Nuts and Omega 6’s

VegSource’s Can’t Lose Weight? Could be the nuts.

Mark’s Daily Apple Definitive Guide to Nuts

Finally, in the vein of weight loss, here’s a few more MDA articles on the subject:

17 Possible Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

9 more reasons you’re not losing weight

Celebrating the little things

Too often we tend to save up our positive emotional energy for the future big things. Things like the weekend, or a vacation, or a favorite event or concert. And just as frequently, this means we lose sight of the little things. We’re miserly in our affection and attention. We’re jumping in our mind one or two steps ahead. When we’re making breakfast, we’re thinking about the commute. When we’re on the commute we’re thinking about work. When we’re at work, we escape occasionally other ways. Make dinner. Get to practice. Get homework done. Eat your veggies. Take a shower. It’s overwhelming if we don’t just take things one step at a time and enjoy the moment of that step. If we just stay emotionally invested with good energy in as many of those tiny moments as possible, we’d all be happier. No reason to save up your happiness for a long weekend or anything. Live happiness every day – it’s there for the taking.

little-things-big-things

Staying mentally engaged in the moment uncovers many tiny daily treasures, and some bigger daily treasures, that often go unnoticed when our mind is living in the past or future. So as I hope you do as well, I’ve been trying to stay present more often, and am learning to find positive energy and true happiness in the little daily things we take for granted. For example, my celebrations of today that made me happy and brought joy to me (and in some instances to others):

  • I had purchased some cheap jello pudding cups for lunches – and watching LoudBoy go bananas for them (“This is probably the best lunch I ever had!!!!”) was worth the $0.25 price of admission.
  • Laughed with the kids as the rain and wind almost blew us away while we waited for the bus while we were trying to avoid stepping on all the worms
  • Started listening to a new audiobook on salesmanship, which will help as I grow into my new job, while sipping on a thermos of homemade coffee (black) on the short work commute
  • Felt real pleasure with the comradeship and respect of my coworkers and boss despite my short time on board. Good energy here.
  • Enjoyed a lunchtime run, feeling healthy (and slow) as I try to get into summer shape
  • Grilled some brats for the first time this year for dinner
  • Had some special dog time tonight, as Dum Dum curled up by my feet while I caught up on my guilty pleasure of reading my favorite magazines
  • Seven year old LoudBoy, who isn’t always as affectionate towards me as his mom, was very kissy tonight with me. I’m not sure how much longer he will be like that, so tonight I savored the moment of cuteness. Then he said we were the best parents ever. Great moments!

Life isn’t always easy and we all have stresses that can bring us down if we focus on them. I could have easily taken every one of those bullets above and made it a negative with the opposite mindset. I could have dwelled on the fact my wife Holly was still had residual pain from her recent surgery, or annoyed that my commute has idiot drivers, or gotten on the kids’ asses about not putting away laundry or getting their things ready for their after school sports. But I just stayed in the moment and both generated positive energy, and saw it reflected back my way. Much better day for soaking that in, something we all likely need to stay on top of. Thus yoga or meditation or focusing or calming activities can help a lot. For happiness, enjoy those little things as much as you can.

This week, I hope to wrap up some posts on:

  • nuts and weight loss,
  • my thoughts on Red Pill and results after 3+ years of blogging and bringing my wife into the fold (my first of 78 posts that were much raunchier at the now defunct  losingbetamarriedguy.blogspot.com was put up on April 3, 2012 – it wasn’t until August 2012 that I let my wife know and brought her on board),
  • bang for the buck exercises and home workout plan with just a few things like dumbells or barbells – to get ready for summer (only about a month to Memorial Day)

Peace!