About

Hey, glad you showed up!

Originally this blog was intended to discuss:

Business – Life – Money

But as it and the readerships here evolved it has become mostly:

Money – Life – Business

Either way almost anything can fit if it captures my imagination and I think you might be interested. We’re just having some fun here talking about what has worked for me and what has kicked me in the ass.

I hope you choose to participate in the comments.  This place won’t be the same without you!

Me?  Well since you asked…..

I started selling flyswatters door-to-door and picking up empty pop bottles from the side of the road to turn in for the 2-cent deposit.  Hey, gimme a break.  I was eight.

My first real job was in an ice cream parlor, although I spent most of my time scrubbing out the big metal ice cream cans.  I was 13 and it paid $1.25 per hour.  A fortune!

From there:  Busboy, dishwasher, order-puller, grocery bagger, stock clerk, produce clerk and gas station pump jockey back in the day when someone pumped your gas, washed your windows and checked your oil  for you (ask your grand parents).

Mail clerk, ground man for a tree crew, landscaper, ad agency founder, account executive, ad space salesman, investment officer, entrepreneur, consultant, sales trainer, speaker, writer, radio talk show host, publisher and group publisher.  Pretty much in that order although I’ve done some more than once.  And I may have forgotten one or two.

My work has taken me to most states across the country as well as Canada, Germany and England.  One of my few regrets is that I’ve never had the occasion for an international posting.

But I’ve had the good fortune to see a bit of the planet on my own:  Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, Greece, Crete, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Venezuela, Curacao, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Paris, India, Kashmir, Goa, Nepal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Eleuthera, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Barbados, Antigua, Martinique, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Prague, Guatemala.  Pretty much in that order although I’ve visited some more than once.  And I may have forgotten one or two.

I’ve traveled to and around those places by plane, train, bus, subway, taxi, hired car, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, hitch-hiking, foot, horse, donkey and elephant.  Not only traveled by elephant, but herded rhinoceros by elephant back  in Nepal.  I love saying that!

My degree in English Literature is from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  They still send me alumni letters mostly, I think, hoping I’ve become rich and famous.  I’m working on it.

Here’s my favorite cartoon:

The visual is two guys in a corn field.  They are up on racks dressed in shabby clothes.  Straw is coming out from their shirt cuffs and pant legs.

They are serving as scarecrows.  One is looking over at the other and saying…

“English Major.  How about you?”

 Since June 2011 I’ve left what will probably be my last full-time job.  So I guess I’m retired.  Maybe.  Sort of.  For now anyway.  Never say never.

For now I’ll be:

  • Sitting on a couple of corporate boards.  Small, entrepreneurial companies are what interest me.
  • Working on this blog, occasional speaking engagements based on the topics covered here and my upcoming book The Simple Path to Wealth.
  • Voice over.
  • Travel, adding to that list above.

A pal of mine once said I had won the family lottery.  He is right.

As of June 19th, 2014 my wife Jane and I will have been married for 32 years.  Our daughter Jessica just graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island.

This Blog, as with everything I do, is dedicated to them.

Cheers!

Jim

Oh, and one last thing…..

Be sure to read the important Disclaimers regard the content and advertising on this blog.

Addendum 1: 

For more on me here’s my guest post on Mr. Money Mustache.

Addendum 2: Want to translate this blog from English to another language? Google Translate makes it easy. Just click on the link, type in jlcollinsnh.com and choose the language you prefer. Click on the link for that language and you’re done!

Addendum 3:

Formal CV

James Collins

jlcollinsnh@gmail.com

Mr. Collins is a senior executive with extensive P&L experience and a proven track record of growing revenue and profitability, integrating acquisitions, launching new products, developing and implementing business plans, creating powerful marketing strategies, building strong customer relationships and building effective teams.  He is experienced in a broad range of markets including technology, automotive, investments, design engineering, electronics manufacturing, construction, horticulture and energy.

Most recently he served as Senior Manager, Business Development with Penton Media working on Contracting Business, HVACR Distribution Business, The Comfortech Show and their related websites.  Under his management revenues grew 82%, setting an all time record.

He has served as a Group Publisher for the Advanced Technology Division (ATD) of PennWell Corporation.  There he integrated two newly acquired publishing businesses, Connector Specifier (CS) and SMT (Surface Mount Technology), into the ATD’s operations and culture in what the board of directors called a “textbook example” of successful acquisition integration. Later he guided the integration of the subsequently acquired SMT Germany.

He rebuilt the post-acquisition staff, combining acquired personnel, newly assigned PennWell employees and new hires into highly effective, motivated teams able to execute aggressive quality, cost-saving and revenue goals.

Under his management both businesses set all-time revenue and profit records. CS gained 29% in revenue and 256% in profit and SMT increased 21% and 63% respectively.  SMT’s market share grew to nearly 50%, positioning it as the industry’s #1 publication.

He also launched the ATD’s first show daily venture, The APEX Show Dailies, (posting profit margins of 50%) and SMT Mexitronica.

Prior to PennWell, Mr. Collins served as Publisher of Counterman for Babcox Publications.  There he substantially increased profitability (54% in year one and an additional 41% in year two) and launched Counterman DIY.  He successfully increased revenue, ad sales and market share during a contracting market, positioning Counterman as the automotive aftermarket’s second-largest publication, up from fourth.

In 1988 Mr. Collins was recruited to join Roulston & Company, Inc., an international investment research firm.  There he served as an Investment Officer marketing investment research and analysis to institutional investors.  He also produced analytical reports on a diverse group of publicly traded companies.

Mr. Collins also spent eleven years with Penton Publishing, Inc. holding several positions of increasing responsibility.  As Publisher, he successfully orchestrated the turnaround of Materials Engineering, generating its first consecutive years of profitability in well over two decades.  He also launched Composite Materialsand served as Market Development Manager for Machine Design.

In addition to his work as a publisher, Mr. Collins is an accomplished consultant, author and speaker. He has provided reorganization strategies, sales and marketing strategies, sales training, business plans and operational reviews for clients such as The Aberdeen Group, East Ohio Gas, National City Bank and Thompson, Hine and Flory.  He led the senior management team of Operation Bass in developing a business plan to expand into publications and television, and he wrote the business plan for and helped launch the Journal of Energy Management.

He is the author of the sales-training seminar, Effective Selling, as well as several workshops, speeches, columns and articles on professional sales and peak performance including The Ten Sales Commandments, Enhancing Customer Relationships, The Myth of Motivation, The Most Dangerous Words Your Customer Can Say, Handling Mistakes and There Is No Old Business.  He also produced, wrote and presented a weekly radio feature, Your Sales Guru, for WHK Radio,Cleveland.

Mr. Collins launched his career selling advertising space in Chicago.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and holds a BA in English Literature.

 

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39 Comments

  1. Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well you said you would do it and you did. Best of luck as always, and hope you find your illusive inner-self.

    –Bob

  2. Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    ok…
    where’s your comment on my comment?

    • Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      under your original comment here: http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/my-short-attention-span/

      you’re gonna have to start reading this blog a lot closer, my friend. I suggest you subscribe now. It’s free and worth twice as much. :)

    • Michael
      Posted July 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Is this Jim and Fritz, the comedy team I met in Taos, NM?
      Man, oh man.
      I just had a great flashback of burning sage and glowing lava stones, and crawling from a sweat-lodge onto the cool earth beneath that magical New Mexico moon.
      I thought I’d check an old email address today.
      Sure enough, it led me here.

      Michael(from NY)!

      • Posted July 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Hi Mike – yep, it’s us.
        Good for Jim’s blogger fans to see how the Red Road merges with business, life and money.
        Hopefully, he’ll write about it.
        Jim hasn’t mentioned his FBI connection and a Sundance that we participated in a few years back. Very humorous.
        Only Sundance participant that I know of to dress in a white, buttoned down, dress shirt.
        He was viewed with great skepticism by the participants.
        We worked our fingers to the bone for the ceremony…
        Ask him ’bout the exploding rocks.
        New Mexico Lobo

  3. Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Dang,Jim! Didn’t know you was a blogger.Feel free to correct my grammar.Might as well put that degree to some use.

    Congrats on your retirement,or whatever it is.I’m not one of those people who thinks that you have to keep working or you die.I don’t get bored easily.I can always find something constructive(or at least amusing)to do.Personally,I could retire right now,and live happily another 40 years without ever thinking I was wasting my life.In fact,quite the opposite.I think work is gonna kill me early,if anything.

    I tried the retirement thing about 15 years ago,when I was in my late 30′s. I had about a years worth of wages saved up,and I figured that I could supplement that playing pool.Some nights I was winning $200.00-$300.00,tax free. I figured if I could do that twice a week,or hell,even 5 times a month,I could make it.

    Funny how you can blow through a years wages in about 6 months when you’re hanging out in poolrooms and bars every night.

    Funny too,how something that used to be easy freewheeling fun,turns into a pressure filled job,when you do it to put food on the table.My game went to shit,losing to people I should have schooled,and I was lucky most nights to get away with just paying my bar tab.

    Anyway,I envy anybody who can break out of the rat race,even for a while.Kudos to you.Rock on, amigo!

    • Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Hey Bruce…..

      great to see you here and thanks for subscribing! yer grammer be fine far as me can tell.

      I agree, there’s lots to do in life besides work. For the most part I’ve enjoyed my jobs and the only complaint was they took up so much freaking time. :)
      If things work out as I plan, I’ll be ‘working” about 30% of the time now. I have a post or two planned about people I’ve met who’ve been able to make that happen.

      very cool that you took a year off, kinda like a retirement preview. but remind me never to play pool with you for $$

  4. Posted March 31, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Hi James L. Collins from Wilmette! I finally found you because Chris foound Fritz- The Unholy Alliance is reunited! It should be the Chicago Trib Headlines!

  5. David
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Jim – you called and I was traveling. Please call me back. Today?
    David B.

  6. Posted January 16, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    HI JL….

    I have a financial question related to a health issue….where would it make sense to post it? ?

    Chris

    • Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris….

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a health question. You can post it right here, unless the financial aspect relates to another post I’ve written?

      • chris
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Well Thank you….

        So my wife recently went into the hospital for a gullbladder surgery. Fortunately she is doing better and we are now experiencing sticker shock for the bill. We have a high deductible health care plan where we pay $650 per month out of pocket for insurance. Our plan has us paying the first $6500. Surprise.. our bill was $6382. I am trying to figure out the best way to pay this off.

        One option would be to pay the bill off monthly. They are offering payments of $212 per month interest free for 30 months.

        Second option is to pay them cash of $5105. The opportunity costs of this would be about $1200 over 30 months?

        They may accept less cash?

        I am curious how you would deal with this?

        Thanks for your thoughts in adv.

        Chris

        • Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Hi Chris….

          Glad to hear you wife’s doing better.

          Sounds like they are offering a 20% discount if you pay cash:
          $212 x 30 months = $6360
          - $5105 cash
          = $1255 = 19.73%

          looking just at the numbers, I’d pay the $5105 cash.

          But you might also try to negotiate for a lower bill first. The fact that they are willing to take 20% less says a lot about how much padding is in the bill and about how afraid they are of defaults.

          Start with negotiating the bill itself, before discussion of how you’ll pay. It might be as simple as asking:

          “Wow. $6360 is a lot, especially since with our high-deductabel plan we’ll be paying it all out of pocket. What kind of discount can you offer?”

          Then, with whatever discount they offer and you accept:

          “Thanks! That helps a lot. We’ll also pay cash so that comes to ($xxx – 20%)”

          As with all negotiations you want to be friendly.

          Good luck!

  7. Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    great ideas!! Thanks for your help on this!

  8. Posted February 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out how to contact you and all of my comments go to spam. Hopefully this one doesn’t. Where is the contact info on your site?

    • Posted February 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Joe….

      Looks like you hit on the magic formula. Sorry getting thru has been tough. I do try to look at the spam folder so the good ones don’t get away. I’ll keep an eye out for yours.

  9. Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Jim, I have a logo design for you. How do I send it?

    Thanks,

    Tom Jackson

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Hi Tom….

      Good to see you here! I’ll send you a PM.

  10. Steve Kreindel
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I just found your blog. MMM was the source and I have a lot to catch up on. My bio reads just like yours and it’s encouraging. I’m kinda retired, will be 60 next month, an investor for 45 years, two kids and a long marriage. I’m one lucky guy.
    I started teaching personal finance to high school kids last year. Life just gets better if you know where you’re going and appreciate the journey.

    Best,
    Steve

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Steve…

      ..glad you made your way here and very glad somebody is teaching HS kids personal finance! New job for you or volunteer work?

      If you find anything useful here, feel free to share it with your classes.

  11. Steve Kreindel
    Posted March 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Volunteer work through Junior Achievement in Los Angeles. The course takes kids through budgeting, saving, credit and investing. I even taught a career development course on how to interview, write a resume and dress for work. Most important tip I gave them was how to hide their tattoos for an interview.

    Steve

  12. Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Jim, great site. I run 27GoodThings.com, if you’d ever like to be a guest sharing three good things to read, three to watch, and three to use please let me know.

    I would also love to see a post where you shared more resources like MMM and other FI, outspoken, intelligent writers. Or any books you recommend.

    Thanks for writing and sharing these ideas.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mike.

      That’s a pretty cool site you’ve got yourself. Great concept. I’ve subscribed. BTW, the easiest sub process ever.

      I’d be honored to participate. Let me start thinking about it. Do you have a time frame in mind?

      As for other resources, I’ve not done a post but you will find a blogroll in the left-hand column. I also imbedded links frequently to posts and writers I like. I do the same with books on occasion. As you spend time on my blog you’ll come across these.

  13. Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    No time frame, some guests have a list created in a few days, others take a few weeks. Whatever your schedule will allow.
    You can email me at 27Goodthings at gmail dot com when you’re done or if you have other questions.

    I’ll keep an eye out for more books in the posts. Thanks.

  14. WolvErwine
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I just discovered this great forum, am I late? I guess not. There was this comment in marketwatch that recommend this site and I find topics here are both informative and entertaining. Some are not applicable to where I am now, I mean location-wise as I am located in Australia (like for example we have Super, not sure but I guess its like a 401k in the US). I am thinking to invest in index or etf funds and I am pretty sure you have more than a couple of articles about that.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Not late at all, WE. Although as I’m just back from six weeks in Ecuador I’m a bit late responding!

      Glad you found your way over here. While I’m no expert in investment options for those outside the USA, people have found value in my stock series no matter where they live.

      You might especially check out:

      http://jlcollinsnh.com/2013/05/02/stocks-part-xvii-what-if-you-cant-buy-vtsax-or-even-vanguard/

      Be sure to read the comments, too. Readers from all over have added their insights.

      Good luck and I hope you stick around!

  15. Posted October 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    We met at the FinCon13 opening party happy hour and I said I’d have to stop by and check out your blog! Well, I made it and will be exploring the rest of your site, but just wanted to drop you a comment and let you know I made it :)

    Lance

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 27, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Hi Lance…

      Glad you found your way over here! Hope you enjoy poking around.

      FinCon was quite the event. I almost didn’t make it and am very happy I did.

  16. Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting life so far Jim! I hope I can accomplish some of what you have. I am only 7 years into marriage with 3 kids and have only been to a few countries. Very inspiring to learn more about you. Nice work so far on the blog.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks FMM!

      It has been a great ride so far, even if I wasn’t always astute enough to appreciate it at the time. :)

  17. Rich
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Jim,

    Just found your Blog and enjoyed reading a few posts that strike similar experiences in my life. Nice work. keep it up.

    Cheers,
    Rich

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rich…

      glad you are here and I appreciate you letting me know!

  18. AJ
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    On your Jan. 30, 2014 post, there is a place in Spain with bullfighting ring. It is in Ronda. Ernest Hemingway spent much time there will covering the Spanish Civil War.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks AJ…

      …and right you are!

      How come you didn’t post your comment under that post?

  19. Purnima George
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hello Sir,
    I recently started reading your website. After reading your website I opened an account with vanguard (IRA account). Let me first give me background. I and my husband are working, 35 and 40 respectively. We just started saving drastically now from past one year before that we were settling and came from another country etc.. Basically we are starting out fresh to get FI. Both have very good 401k plan and has lot of low cost vanguard funds. We both hold 500 index, extended market, international and bond index in 401k and the expense ratio is .05% altogether. We both work for the same employer. In our roth we have VTSMX,VGTSX, and VBMFX. Now the question I have is we have around $100 k to invest in taxable account. I am sure I am going to go with vanguard. I am thinking of investing the 100k in VTSMX and VGTSX at the 70% and 30% ratio. Do you have any suggestions in our case. We are under 28% tax bracket. Also I am planning to invest $30,000 every year in taxable account apart from 401k and roth (We are maximizing both of these from last year) till we achieve FI. Another note we have paid our house and live very frugally. We have a son in elementary school. We are also saving for his college vanguard age based aggressive portfolio(Yearly $5000) from last year. Our plan to achieve FI before my husband is 55.

    Do you have any taxable funds recommendations?

    Thanks in advance. Keep writing your blog and educate people like us.

    Thanks
    Purnima George

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