Book Report: The Bible

This is a work in progress, but that’s the point! Download the template, fill it out for your favorite book of the bible, then let’s discuss and I will post! I started with Judges, so you can use it as an example.

0. Blank Template

7. The Book of Judges by Nathan, Spring 2013

07 Judges Image

 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. -Romans 15:4

Ventures Update April 2015

695 Riverview Drive

Summary: 9-unit apartment building near Columbus, Ohio and Ohio State’s  campus that I bought with my brother, Thad in July 2013. As of 1 April 2015, it is managed by North Point Asset Management.

Recent

  • Management: switched property manager from Renting Ohio to North Point Asset Management (NPAM). So far, NPAM is doing well. However, Renting Ohio seemed great in the first several months, so I will reserve my evaluation for now.
  • I left this review on Renting Ohio’s business Facebook page. Look for my name under 2 star reviews. Or download here. I made the review extra negative to get his attention so that he would send documents I needed for my taxes. It is truthful and accurate. He ended up helping with the turnover as much as he was able.
  • Switched from a dumpster in the front yard to much more sightly–and less expensive–bins for trash removal.
2015 04 15 Riverview from Front no Dumpster
April 2015 photo of the building. The dumpster is gone, and there are bins under the archway, but we haven’t yet planted grass where the dumpster was.

2014 Summary, and 2015 Projection

  • 2014 Profit and Loss pdf.
  • Rounded off to the nearest $500, we show a loss of $13,500.
  • Almost $9,000 of expense is depreciation of the building. The accountant currently handles the depreciation schedule. For a rough calculation of cash flow: ($13,500) + $9,000 in depreciation = ($4,500). Bottom line, negative cash flow!
  • There are 3 key items that we expect to be different in 2015, in our favor, that will improve the bottom line:
    • 1. from January 2014 to April 2014, we did not have a professional property manager and basically were not marketing at all. We had 3 empty units. At $500 per month per unit, for 4 months, that is $6,000 worth of vacancy. They were filled within 6 weeks of hiring a manager in April. If just 2 of the three were occupied, that’s a $4,000 improvement for 2015.
    • 2. In January of 2014, we had a pipe freeze and burst in a vacant unit. It wasn’t discovered until the manager (Thad) entered the unit to install a space heater. He was too late; the pipe had burst 30 minutes prior. The water to the building had to be shut off, and the unit had to be gutted carpet to drywall. This cost about $2,000 and was totally preventable.
    • 3. We spent $3,500 in October to an electrician to make the building compliant with its aluminum wiring. This was a one-time cost to improve a problem that existed when we purchased the property. It can be easily prevented in the future by hiring a competent electrician and ensuring that he knows about aluminum wiring and installs appropriate equipment. Aluminum compatible fixtures are only slightly more expensive.
  • A reasonable expectation for 2015 cash flow is: ($4,500) + $4,000 (improved occupancy) + $2,000 (no frozen burst pipe) + $3,500 (no expensive electrician bill) = $5,000 positive cash flow for the year.
  • There are some items I didn’t list that are negative, but they are roughly equal to the unlisted that are positive. The 3 items I listed are by far the largest.

Gluten-Free Bread

2014 09 Shilohs Five Loaves

Shiloh’s Five Loaves is a gluten-free bread company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Devaunt LeClaire of Kineomen is the business brains behind the operation while his brother is the baker.

  • As of early April, Tristaun was busy in the newly-leased building with the newly-installed equipment doing test runs baking bread while Devaunt was out coordinating sales. Busy, and progressing close to on schedule! New picture next time…

Kineomen

I became a Kineomen investor in November 2014. Shiloh’s Five Loaves is Kineomen’s primary investment project currently. Kineomen recently proposed a real estate business in Ohio and I am considering a small project this fall to test the viability and get the ball rolling.

Coconut Wine (Vino de Coco)

Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco's website.
Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco’s website.
  • Click on the picture for Vino de Coco’s website.
  • No real update. Seeking repayment of loan. Plan to make a full attempt at repayment this summer.

Ventures Update January 2015

695 Riverview Drive

Summary: 9-unit apartment building near Columbus, Ohio and Ohio State’s  campus that I bought with my brother, Thad. It is managed by Renting Ohio since April 2014.

Recent Updates

  • In October, electrician John Kelly completed all electrical work required for compliance with the aluminum wiring in the building. It was expensive–about $4600–but had to be done and now it can easily and effectively be maintained by hiring electricians qualified to work with aluminum.
  • Switched from a dumpster in the front yard to much more sightly–and less expensive–bins for trash removal.
  • For the months May-December that Renting Ohio has been managing the property, we averaged 13% vacancy. This counts for 2 months of unpaid rent as vacancy. This tenant is being evicted.
  • December 2014 was the first month with no unscheduled maintenance fees.
  • With two new leases signed, we stand to be fully occupied 1 February!

Gluten-Free Bread

2014 09 Shilohs Five Loaves

Shiloh’s Five Loaves is a gluten-free bread company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Devaunt LeClaire of Kineomen is the business brains behind the operation while his brother is the baker.

  • On schedule to deliver its first loaves of bread to Raleigh-area stores in February!

Kineomen

I became a Kineomen investor in November. Shiloh’s Five Loaves is Kineomen’s only investment project to date. More to follow.

Coconut Wine (Vino de Coco)

Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco's website.
Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco’s website.
  • No update. The company is doing well (I think), but not pushing information to investors. Seeking repayment of loan.

 

Ventures Update September 2014

695 Riverview Drive

Summary: 9-unit apartment building near Columbus, Ohio and Ohio State’s  campus that I bought with my brother, Thad. It is managed by Renting Ohio since April 2014.

Profitable? Yes. August 2014 was a profitable month and “normal” enough to be repeated and sustained. I populated the spreadsheet that I use to evaluate properties with the numbers from August. Accounting for 11% vacancy, the expected cash flow is $255 / month. Maintenance and improvements have cost a lot, but are starting to taper off. Rent is steadily increasing with the market and with the improving condition of the building.

Riverview Cash Flow Aug 2014
Riverview Cash Flow Spreadsheet

Recent Updates

  • Hired electrician to ensure safety of aluminum wiring. (~$1500)
  • Switched from a dumpster in the front yard to much more sightly–and less expensive–bins for trash removal.
  • Met the owner of 675 Riverview, a neighboring building with the exact same layout. Shared contact info, ideas, and got some tips. In August, he resurfaced his parking lot, painted lines, and it looks great, but costs $7500 to have done.
  • Installed a bike rack with brother’s help. ($150)
  • Touched up the paint on the white trim on the front.
  • Determined that the dilapidated fence is the neighbor’s fence, not ours.
The dumpster was an absolute eyesore and had to go.
The dumpster was an absolute eyesore and had to go.

Gluten-Free Bread

2014 09 Shilohs Five Loaves

Shiloh’s Five Loaves is a gluten-free bread company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, I can put you in touch with co-founder, Devaunt LeClaire. The investment window is open until 31 October 2014.

Coconut Wine (Vino de Coco)

Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco's website.
Coconut wine based in the Philippines. Click the picture for Vino de Coco’s website.

I lent money to this company in October 2011 with a friend. We have yet to be repaid, but the company is doing well as far as we can tell. They are currently seeking investors. I do not plan on investing further.

Stock Market

I sold all my stocks in December 2013 have been in cash since. After reading How to Make Money in Stocks by William O’Neill of Investor’s Business Daily, I determined that if I were able to make money in stocks, it would always be a gamble and it takes a lot of time just like any other investment. I decided I want to invest in things I am familiar with personally.

Nielsen Survey

I was recently solicited to participate in a Nielsen household TV survey. They have a unique way of enticing participation. The first envelope has a lot of explanatory material and a request to participate, as well as–without explanation–$5 cash, a single five-dollar bill. I agreed to participate, so after a few weeks they sent me a second envelope with a “TV Viewing Diary” to be filled out in detail for two weeks; and again the cash–this time the envelope contained six five-dollar bills, $30 cash! I spent the fives on groceries, filled out the TV viewing diary (blank because I don’t watch), and took their TV survey. Now, like Pavlov’s dogs, I am expecting a thank you letter with more cash. I can’t wait to hear from Nielsen again!

At the end of the diary, Nielsen leaves space and asks you to “comment on TV in general.” This is my response:

Except for about two years in the middle, I haven’t had TV in my house since 2003 (for two years my roommates had one). At first I felt like I was missing something and like I didn’t know what was going on. After a few months, I no longer missed it and I gathered from conversations at work and with friends what was in the news and what was going on in various shows. After a few years, I started having the opinion that TV actually prevents people from really knowing what’s going on. I hear conversations about current shows and it’s all sensationalized fantasy.  People’s world view from the news is this chaotic, scary place, when really the world, for the most part, is fairly well-off, happy, and stable. When I see TV now, much of it is shocking and some of it is offensive. I do miss sports and ESPN. I watch ESPN
whenever I can! -Nathan Ruffing

So You’ve Got My Card

So you’ve got my card. Why do I have a card? The real question is, why don’t you have a card? I have one because I am an aspiring adventure capitalist, and I have ideas percolating from 7 1/2 years in the military and I want to  share them and execute the best of them. Here is my story.

This was one of the first paved roads at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2011.
This was one of the first paved roads at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2011.

I am a transitioning Marine Corps Officer and pilot of the mighty CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. I joined the Marine Corps after graduating college, and began my service in January 2007. Following initial training and flight school, I was in “the fleet” from May 2010 until May 2014, and deployed with various units to Afghanistan in 2011, on the 31st MEU in 2012, and back to Afghanistan in 2013. During my service, I have had the challenge and privilege of serving with inspiring and intelligent Marines. As I transition out, I feel an implied obligation to live up to the example that many of them set, and to use what I have learned for good.

This day marked seven years in the Marine Corps for me and we tested this bird up.
This day marked seven years in the Marine Corps for me and we tested this bird up.

During 7 1/2 years in the military so far, it has been busy, but there have been many hours in chow halls, K spans, “at the LSA,” on the boat, and–who am I kidding?–at work, to plan, scheme and dream about what we are going to do after. That’s a lot of talk. Now it’s time to walk the walk.

What is the website for then? Once I’m out, in July 2015, I will need a place to define and organize what I am doing. I want to share my ideas, network with people around the world, establish business relationships, sell products, and give friends and acquaintances a way of following my whereabouts, failures, and successes.

Currently the site includes a summary of my only real business venture (695 Riverview Drive) and some posts that are basically just my musings. On the near horizon, I am in the process of investing in a start-up gluten-free bread company organized by a fellow transitioning Marine Officer. It is an exciting opportunity and an endeavor for which two families are moving across the country and risking it all to ensure its success. I look forward to posting about it. I also plan to post a first-year summary of my apartments at 695 Riverview Drive.

Comment on the site, or e-mail me! nate@nathanruffing.com

 

 

Words to Live By

These are my favorite quotes. Some are famous, some are my own, and some are things I’ve heard friends say. Feel free to suggest some more.

Famous:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
-A summation of Aristotle’s ideas by Will Durant

“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

-John Adams

Friends’ Quotes:

“You don’t have to explain doing the right thing to me.”
-Sergeant Brad Johnson to my brother, at a party during college, when my brother was explaining why he had to leave the party to study. I prefer this variation,
“Never explain doing the right thing to anybody. Let them figure it out.”

“I strive to be a value, not a success.”
-Staff Sergeant Brandon Hayes during fitness report debrief. It is a variation of an Albert Einstein quote.

“The first one with a power point wins.”
-Major “IKE” Rossman to the company grade officers, meaning be the first to come up with a plan and it will become the plan.

My Own:

“Prepare: today is not over until you are ready for tomorrow.”

“Enjoy your meals. Work to eat. Don’t eat to work.”
-A variation of, “Work to live. Don’t live to work.”

My Favorite Things

Oprah and I have a few things in common. For one, we both have favorite things. If you want to see her favorite things, click her picture. If you would rather see my favorite things, read on.

OPR120113_000

Check out the Amazon Affiliate program for an explanation of why I made this post.

If you have never read your e-mails, browsed Facebook, Netflix, or YouTube from your couch, then you are missing out, trust me. With this on my lap, my wireless roller ball mouse in one hand and the King of Beers in the other, I am king of my domain (my domain being my living room).


Borderline sadistic, this product makes you want there to be more flies to kill. For an extra $10, there is also a PRO version for those man-eating horse flies.

This flashlight got me through many aircraft pre-flights in Afghanistan with the white light, then switched colors to green for the flight. Single AA battery, durable metal, bright enough. Must-have flashlight.

Favorite movie, hands down.

Seriously? They sell Snickers bars on Amazon? It is my favorite candy bar, but I actually don’t recommend buying 48 at a time…

Web Design

Do you like this site? Do you want your own website? It’s easy–or it can be if somebody shows you how.

I will show you how to create a simple WordPress website. Post your business information, post your own ideas, have a customized e-mail address associated with your website. It costs less than $15 per year to maintain.

Professional web design companies will charge you hundreds of dollars to design a site for you. For $100, I will sit down with you and take 5 hours (a short day of work) to walk you through the process, and get you started as an independent operator of your own simple site.

Notice I didn’t use any fancy jargon here. Creating a website can be complicated and time consuming. The first step, however, is simple and very worth it. Take that first step!

Contact me, Nate@RR34.us, with any questions, and we can set up a time to get you started!

Financial Tools

I have a monthly budget. This makes my life 1000% easier than people who don’t because I am financially ahead. I want you to be ahead also and your life to be easier. Here is a great spreadsheet:

Cash Flow and Potential Savings v1.2

Change the yellow boxes. Other boxes have formulas. Use this spreadsheet to identify financial changes, challenges, and opportunities with an upcoming life change. Enter your monthly income and expenses for your current situation, then enter the same information for the future and quickly see the changes. Finally, see how much you will save over time with a monthly savings allocation.