“The Military Guide” retirement seminar


I had a good time at Mililani Library last Wednesday night, but it wasn’t so crowded.

OK, OK, only four people showed: the organizer, the volunteer handling the book sales, and… the tenants of our rental home.

The good news is that our tenants asked all the right questions. He’s retired military and he’ll probably stay in his federal civil-service job for a few more years until those retirement benefits vest. Their kids are launched from the nest but they’re still paying in-state college tuition rates for one of them, so they’re planning to stay in our rental home for a while. (Whew!) They have aging parents and relatives on the East Coast, though, so like many local military veterans they plan to eventually move back to the Mainland.

I had a very interesting conversation with the organizer about asset classes and asset allocation. He’s very well read on the subject, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re a librarian. He’s doing far better at his age than I was, and he’s well on his way to financial independence.

I enjoyed helping people with their questions, but it was also a great chance to run through the seminar process. My checklist worked. I remembered to bring all my books, pocket guides, and handouts. I practiced my pitch. The handouts covered everything and people were taking notes. Everybody agreed that PowerPoint was not necessary!

Next I have an offer to do this at the Kailua Library (right next to the Kaneohe Marine Corps base) after the holidays. (Now that the troops are returning home, the bases are a lot busier.) While I’m setting up for Kailua I’ll donate “The Military Guide” to more base libraries and see if they’re interested in seminars too. The nice thing about libraries is that nobody feels any sales pressure, and I get the feeling that the librarians would love to have more crowds in their buildings. It’s a lot easier to set up at a library than to find some other base building that’s open after working hours, let alone deal with security or parking– the libraries have already solved those issues.

One side effect of the seminar: I realized that it’s pretty straightforward to convert this to a podcast or even a video. Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com has a great video/podcast on being “Being Everywhere” where he points out how much traffic comes to his website from iTunes (podcasts) and YouTube. The trick with a video is avoiding “talking head syndrome”, but a podcast works very well during commutes or workouts. Pat even sets up easy-to-remember URLs for his podcast listeners to check when they get to a keyboard. It’s just one more way to build an audience.

Between blogging and visiting libraries, though, the “marketing” part of writing a book is starting to take more time than the actual writing. I’ll get sales numbers from the publisher next month (along with a royalty check). Hopefully those will give me enough data to help decide how much more weekly effort I’d like to put into all of this!

Please help me figure out how you’d like to connect: do you prefer to read the blog, or would you be more likely to spend the time on podcasts & videos? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail!

Related articles:
“The Military Guide” retirement seminar
The first stop on “The Military Guide” speaking tour

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WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free. I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy's submarine force. I wrote "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

  1. Reply
    Jay November 24, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Here is a classic ‘Nordmanism’:
    “This whole book project has been one door opening after another! The keys appear to be quality content and persistence. Imagine that.”

    I can see another book title: ‘The Nuts from Nordman’ (full title: ‘The Nuts of Financial Independence from Blogger Guru Doug Nordman’).

    A small question — Even though I love to read and look forward to 2-3 hours online each day, I wonder why you’ve chosen to blog 3x a week, and not just M-W or T-Th?

    Thanksgiving aloha,

    • Reply
      Doug Nordman November 24, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      Thanks, Jay! I like “The Nuts”. I’ve been blogging to collect material for the second edition, and the title needs a catchy subtitle.

      You raise a good point. 3x/week was a compromise when I started the blog. I knew better than to go for 5-7x/week (although quite a few people do) and once a week was too slow. When I started I was excerpting the book onto the blog, and I felt that I had plenty of material. I wanted to hit the 100-post milestone before the book was in the exchanges, and search engines pick up faster when you produce more material, so it became 3x/week.

      Turns out 3x/week is considered a good frequency among personal-finance bloggers, whether it’s 3x/week on one blog or once a week among three different blogs. I shifted the third post from Friday to Thursday after deciding that most readers would be too busy on Friday. I can make Thursday’s post more lengthy and link-heavy because it’s four more days before the next post.

      I still have plenty of material, but time is becoming an issue. I’m not doing near enough longboarding or recreational reading and I’m ready to go 2x/week. I think I’m writing as efficiently and in as disciplined a manner as I’m ever likely to achieve, but each post takes several hours of research before I can start writing. I could write faster if I wrote shorter (& dumber), but 2x/week sounds like a better number– especially when I start writing the book’s 2nd edition.

      Ironically, this announcement will make a great post. I’ll probably do it after I hit 200 posts at the end of December.

  2. Reply
    Jay November 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Hi Doug,
    I look into my crystal ball and can see– “…. Hawaii… Angels…. pre… meeting… ” in your future!

    We were talking about PowerPoint presentations last week and thinking back to the days when speakers showed up with easels and flip charts. In many ways that was better than PowerPoint slides with list after list of bullet points. Handouts are good!


    • Reply
      Doug Nordman November 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      Thanks, Jay– I think!

      Having me talk about retirement at a Hawaii Angels pre-meeting might open Pandora’s Box to a whole slew of off-topic pre-meetings. (And hecklers.) Maybe you’d have to put it to a vote of the entire membership? I’d be much happier doing Kevin’s “Angel 101” series or “Education of an Angel Investor” or a talk on “Why YOU should join the Screening Committee!”

      Early retirees are definitely a small population. Military early retirees are an even smaller population. And military early-retiree angel investors… well… maybe someday we’ll find another one.

  3. Reply
    Jay Woolston November 23, 2011 at 11:30 AM


    I would have attended but have a slight distance problem to overcome.

    I much prefer reading your blog. I don’t commute and my cell is barely out of the dinosaur era so reading the blog when I’m at my PC is my best method. Pod Cast and Videos are nice, Viewed a lot of Vanguard podcasts that way but I much rather read a transcript and get to the parts that interest me using find/search.

    Hopefully, word of mouth will get you more attention. At some point, you’ll make a connection that will open the door to more opportunities/exposure.


    • Reply
      Doug Nordman November 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      It’s a tough commute!

      I think that anything I did in a podcast or a video would include a transcript (which would start out as the podcast/video script). I agree with you– I don’t use podcasts or videos myself, but I’m happy to provide them if that helps a subscriber.

      This whole book project has been one door opening after another! The keys appear to be quality content and persistence. Imagine that.

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