PICK Chart – A Decision Making Tool

I recently decided to sell my rental property prior to a 6-month set of orders with the Air Force that would take me from Minnesota to Texas.  I decided to get out of the long-distance land lording business while the market seemed good. I gave myself a month to prep it for sale (so much needed after 7 years of renting it out).  Well, in true military fashion, the Air Force moved my start date up by 2 weeks and gave me 10 days’ notice (actually they didn’t tell me, I just happened to find out, but that’s a story for another day). …

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Optimizing the Air Force Fitness test

At the start of every Air Force fitness test you see any number of airmen nervously looking over the scorecards to ensure they know the minimum number they need to pass in the next up category.  Meanwhile I’m looking at it thinking how stupid it is that I have to go from 52 to 57 pushups in a minute just to get that last half point to take me from a 99.5 to 100.  Because I am who I am, I broke it down into a spreadsheet for you below.  I’ve only scratched my own itch and completed it for my age/gender.  If…

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Handling Joint Finances

When you get married or are in a long-term relationship eventually you will have to discuss if/how you will merge finances.  I’ll share with you the methodology my wife and I have been using for the past several years.  This is not the perfect system, but it is what has been working for us.  We all have hidden financial biases developed in our youth that influences how we think and act in regards to money.  I once read a good book on the topic but I can no longer remember or locate the title.  While I don’t know what our personal biases exactly…

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Hobby Selection Matrix

If you’re like me you have more hobbies and interests than you have time or money to actually do in this lifetime.  Therefore, we must prioritize how we will spend our leisure time.  I’ve created a more objective approach to deciding by creating a WEIGHTED MATRIX in Excel.  A weighted matrix is simply a multiplication of criteria of an activity against its subjective value to you.  This idea came from a choosefi.com article.  I expanded upon it by adding a category for relationships and creating the excel matrix.  Filling the matrix out is straight forward, simply follow the instructions.  The scoring definitions can…

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Personal Strategy Deployment

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  A question most of us have probably been asked during a job interview.  I have generally answered something along the lines “Doing work as (insert role I’m applying for) as a real expert ready for the next level of leadership at (insert organization)”…. Great, now tell me about a time when….  How many of us have put thought into answering actually answering that question for ourselves?  Most of us (I plead guilty to this) barely have a plan for dinner tonight.  If we have thought about where we want to be in “5 years” we…

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What are you optimizing for?

What are you optimizing for?  A simple, yet often difficult question to answer.  And yet, one we should ask ourselves often, before and after making decisions.  In business the answer is likely “profit”.  Then the question becomes what are you willing to trade off – Time or Quality?  Cost, time and quality being three main ingredients in creating most things but they have inverse relationships.  I’ll dive into that more another day, you get the gist for now.     In our personal lives it is a more difficult question.  If you asked me what I’m optimizing my life for the answer is “I…

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$5,500+ in Free Resources Through Military One Source Library

Military members have access to an incredible resource through the website www.militaryonesource.mil.  There are many valuable resources that I’ll dive into over time but today I’d like to focus on the MWR library and highlight some of the more valuable and useful resources available there.  If you were to purchase an annual subscription to just the services offered to individuals it would cost you over $5,500 per year. This doesn’t include the cost of the institutional subscriptions (EBSCO, Encyclopedia Britannica, etc) which cost schools and libraries thousands of dollars per year- most of these are available through your public library as well.  I’ve…

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Travel Hacking with the USO
Denver, CO USO

Travel Hacking with the USO

Why do we have to have 6am flights?  And why do they always have to be the cheapest?  This makes me glad, having become a morning person after half a lifetime in the military.  But my wife…not so much.  The night before I just go to go to bed at 9pm and get up at 3am to catch the flight – a solid 6 hours of sleep.   My wife’s sleep pattern has her getting tired around midnight or later – leaving 1-3 hour of sleep, and a not fun day of travel.  Enter the USO.  For those unaware, the USO (United Service Organization)…

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Military Leave benefits- PTO calculator

With my upcoming military leave for technical school (6-9 months depending on seasoning training) I’ve begun to investigate my civilian employers military leave policy (beyond the basic requirements by law).  I learned the only real benefit is I will continue to accrue paid time off PTO while I am on military leave. This is nothing to scoff at and a fantastic benefit. I had the same benefit while working for a sheriff’s office when I deployed to Iraq for 2 full years.  I returned with more PTO than what was allowed (280 hours) and had to take one day off a pay period…

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How to Make Chief in the Air Force Part 1

I’ve developed a secret formula for making rank in the Air Force.  If you are in a different branch, or a civilian you can skip to part 2, the principles there apply to all.  Unfortunately, this segment is only applicable to Air Force, because every branch has its own standards. I’ve been too long gone from the Army to accurately create a list for it.   The secret formula is actually quite simple: Superstar in person + Superstar on paper = Chief material.   I know, a lot easier said than done. First of all, what makes me qualified to coach people to…

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