jury duty

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I had the honor and the privilege being called for jury duty for the first time. I do believe that it is our civic duty and I am glad to have had the experience but also grateful that I was not selected as a juror for either case. One young man was being tried for assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. The other was a civil case in which a man was suing an insurance company three years after a car accident. 

I felt for the parties involved in the cases. So much was riding on the outcomes of the respective trials. It reinforced for me what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6 (MSG):

And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?

I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?

These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.

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opt out of obamacare without the fine

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You don’t like Obamacare. I don’t either.

I have chosen to opt out.

Fines (the so-called individual shared responsibility payment) for opting are $95 for an individual in 2014, or 1 percent of household income, whichever is higher. They escalate to $695, or 2.5 percent of household income by 2016.

Fortunately I qualify for an exemption to the fines as a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry. On page 327 of Obamacare, a provision exempts members of three health care sharing ministries: Christian Care Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries. These faith-based non profit  ministries facilitate the sharing of health care needs by individuals and families.

I do not trust the Government to take care of my family’s health care needs. I trust God. In August 2013 my wife and I had our third child. The cost was about $8,000. Members of Samaritan Ministries met all of our needs. Financially, we received dozens of checks, covering the entire cost of the pregnancy and delivery. Emotionally and spiritually we received letters and cards and the prayers of believers from all over the country. Receiving from other members was a blessing. It was an amazing experience and I believe it is how healthcare should function.

I do not want to be coerced to pay for health care costs incurred by people whose lifestyle choices expose them to much higher risks. But I am happy to share in the burden of other believers who live a biblical lifestyle. Instead of paying an insurance company a premium, each month our family sends a check for $370 and a note of encouragement to a believer with a medical need. Sharing with other members is a blessing.

Not an entitlement, not a contractual obligation of an insurance company, a blessing.

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feeling foggy

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I talked with the good folks at the Florida Office of Financial Regulations Securities Division about the approval process for my new Registered Investment Advisor. I thought I was very close. It could be 90 more days, which is making me feel a little foggy.

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when will I launch?

ImageI called the Florida Office of Financial Regulations about my application for registration as a financial advisor. There were a few items they wanted addressed before proceeding. It feels like it has taken a long time to get to this point and truthfully, the wait has been disappointing. 

But there is nothing so invigorating as doing something. And I got to take action today, adding content to my ADV Part 2 and my advisory agreement per the State’s request. I am excited to be that much closer to launch time. When will it be? Soon, I hope. 

 

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can you trust an expert?

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August is hot in Gainesville, Florida. In August 2012 I was driving my 1998 Ford Escort and the air conditioner went out. It didn’t blow up or start making funny noises, it just sort of faded over about a week. I held out hope that maybe it was just me. Maybe my short trips just weren’t long enough for it to cool down. Maybe I was just imagining that it wasn’t as cold as it used to be. After all, August is hot.

Then my wife used the car to run to the store and when she got back she said, “Your AC isn’t working.” She was right. I had to face the truth, my AC wasn’t working. So I took it to a auto repair shop.

“Sorry buddy, your compressor has a huge leak. We’re going to have to replace it.”

“Can we just recharge it?”

“No, the leak is too big.”

“How much will a new compressor cost me?”

“About $750, maybe a little less if we can find a used compressor.”

“I can’t do that, the car is only worth maybe a thousand. Thanks for checking it out.”

So I toughed it out. August. Gainesville, FL. Broken AC. My commute to work was only 4 minutes and I figured it just wasn’t worth the $750 for four minutes of comfort.

The summer faded and having a broken AC didn’t matter as much. Until June 2013. June is hot, too. And I got a new job with a 15 minute commute. Still not bad, but it was a little more uncomfortable. One day in June I visited an auto parts store to get a brake light for my wife’s car and while waiting in line I noticed  a do-it-yourself AC coolant recharge product that says it can fix small leaks in your compressor for about $30. I bought it. If it didn’t work, well… it was only $30.

It worked.

Why didn’t I try this sooner? Why did I go almost a full year without working AC? In Florida??

Because I trusted an expert, one who didn’t put my best interest first.

Maybe the compressor did have a big leak and in the expert’s judgement it needed to be replaced. But what about trying to recharge the system with coolant for 1/25th the price? There is no doubt that the repair shop wanted to do a $750 repair instead of a $30 service. I take responsibility for trusting the expert. I should have realized the conflict of interest that they had in making the suggestion to replace the compressor. I should have tried the $30 fix sooner. I don’t think they are evil or greedy. I think they are a business. The purpose of a business is to make money.

Unless the purpose of a business is to put their customer’s best interests before their own. In the financial world that relationship is called a fiduciary. A fiduciary is a person that looks after the assets on behalf of another and is morally and legally bound to act in the other person’s best interests.

If you are considering hiring a professional to help you with your personal finances, one of the first questions to ask is, “Will you act in good faith and in my best interests as a fiduciary?”As a Registered Investment Advisor my duty is to act in a fiduciary capacity for my clients.

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unstuck

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I have found that one of the challenges of a day job, a family, and starting a new company is getting stuck. Sometimes the thing that I get stuck on is out of my control, but most of the time it is my fault. I would rather watch a movie than work on writing out my disclosure documents. It was weeks before I took the time to get my fingerprint card done. Finally I was able to get motivated and unstuck. What was the key? Talking to people about my goals, my purpose, and my vision for the new company.

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test drive

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I have been working on a test website. I wanted to learn more about using WordPress, the Responsive theme and also work on my content and format. Check it out here. What do you think?

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