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Secret Messages

Sometimes accounting can be a downright boring subject. It is the job of your favorite accountant to spice it up a bit with stories and jokes so the message resonates and therefore gets through. No matter how brilliant my idea to increase wealth or lower taxes, it is worth nothing if I can’t keep you reading to the end.

Many people find blogs like this by accident. The people hunting for blogs like this already are open to the concepts. Not so the wayward traveler finding her way here from search engines. I write for the choir, but always consider the wayward, too.

I use stories to convey the message. Money is fun to read about and have. To keep readers engaged I impose secret formulas to keep them coming back. It’s almost like a sickness the reader can’t quite put her finger on. How come I am so draw to this blog about (egads!) accounting, saving money, investing and retirement? the wayward soul asks.

Let me be clear. The message is simple: Save half your gross income and invest in a broad based index fund. All done. Now you have another 23 hours and 58 minutes to fill today. Money stuff is done.

Easy as it is, I still need to make a living writing this blog. I enjoy the writing process and telling stories. Changing people’s lives for the better is a bonus.

Didn’t See It, Did You?

The opening to this post contains a hidden secret. Writing is generally done in solitude and this writer gets lonely sometimes. His mind also wanders. Telling an engaging tale is no longer enough. Your friendly accountant includes a special something in about 10% of posts on this blog and you probably missed all of them.

Writing time is playtime for me. Everything is choreographed with a purpose in mind. Sometimes I deliver better than others, but under the hood there is a structure holding the whole thing together.

During tax season there are fewer hidden secrets within my posts due to time constraints and because I am sleep deprived. Writing a quality post takes time. Then I have to edit the thing until secrets are interlaced within the text.

A few weeks back I received an email asking if I knew my writing creates words in unusual places. The reader discovered the secret. But even this reader had no idea how deep the hidden messages are buried.

Take a look at the opening section of this post. The first letter of each paragraph spells SMILE. A casual reader will miss it every time. Of course this is waaaaay too easy. I’m a numbers guy so using the numbers in pi (3.14159265359) or a Fibonacci sequence happens more than once. The first letter of certain words, paragraphs, or even certain letter spacing is part of the game. There are a few instances where I use the screen width (will not work on mobile devices) to get letters to line up to create passages at angles across the page. Think of it as The Wealthy Accountant’s Bible Code.

Writing (and reading) should be fun. Finding hidden passages is only one kind of Easter Egg hidden in my work. If you crack the code you will gain access to work of mine not widely disseminated. Over the years I set up simple blogs with personal musings. They are not meant for public consumption. But I love to hide the url or other clues to my hidden writings to see if anyone figures it out. Since search engines don’t include these blogs in their search results I know when an intent reader finds the clue because I see the one lonely traffic data point in Google Analytics.

There is a second kind of hidden message buried within the tomes of this blog. The best way to describe these Easter Eggs is to point one out, kind of. Last Christmas I wrote a post titled: Silent Night. The storyline is true, but underneath is a reference to a movie that has a depressing Silent Night. Your job is to figure out the movie I refer to.

Of course, none of this searching for clues is required to enjoy this blog. However, some people keep coming back again and again. I provided something extra for these people who want to pull apart my work for additional meaning.

Yeah, I know. I’m messed up in the head. (Wasn’t it good enough to just write an interesting post and move on? No.)

The Sick Bastard in the Room

Before you shoot me an email asking for the location of all the secret messages, know that I plant the messages, but don’t keep a record. Kind of fucked up for an accountant not to keep a record. What can I say? I am a sick bastard.

Imagine the thrill I have when accidentally running across one of my previous word games! After a year or two I forget (I forget a lot sooner) where I buried the cash box in the back yard. Me bad.

All I can tell you is have fun. If you don’t like puzzles, feel free to keep reading as always. If you like a challenge, pick at the carcass of a few posts and see if you can rip some flesh loose. Some stuff requires inside information. Don’t worry about those Easter Eggs. Maybe I said or did something at a conference and then include a subliminal reference to the event only those in the room at the time would catch.

There are still plenty of goodies for everyone. Most of all have fun.

The End of another Tax Season

As you may have noticed, I wrote a bit shorter the last week or two. I needed the time to get as many tax returns as humanly possible out the door. Think nice things about me. (Or not. I’m good either way.) I also leaned toward simple subjects to write about (for me). I am burnt out on taxes so another tax problem to work through could have sent me into a psychotic rage. My brain just not could take another tax return right now. Besides, you wouldn’t want me to lose it on page, would you? (You in the back. Yeah, you. Sit down and shut-up. One more attempt to get me to flip out and the police will be involved.) (SECURITY!)

Okay, I like to have fun. Tax season is winding down and I am getting most stuff out the door I wanted done. There are a few things I need to focus on after the due date, but it is manageable. Regardless, I will have my life back. Lack of sleep has me a bit punchy. As if anyone could tell.


So this post isn’t too short, here are the posts coming up later this week:

Wednesday: The Risks of a Side Gig. A side gig is the easy way to check out of the rat race early and fill time once retired. But watch out for the side gig that becomes you.

Friday: The Trauma of Retirement. People don’t understand how traumatizing retirement can be. If you think you can save a ton of money, tell the boss to “fuck off” and travel the world, “See you in the funny pages (yeah, people used to say that 60 years ago), you have another thing coming. It takes a plan if you are going to avoid the emotional pitfalls of early retirement (retirement at any age for that matter).

It’s the best I can give you, this last blog post of the 2017 tax season. I hope all your returns were pleasant. I love all you readers. Thank you for stopping by and being a friend. Hopefully we can share more ideas over the rest of the year to make our worlds a better place. (Yes, I meant to say worlds, as in, we each have our own world we live in. How our worlds intersect and interact is what we call reality. Now go on a word hunt.)


Wednesday 19th of April 2017

Congrats on the completion of another tax season, Keith. This was my first tax season with your firm, but here's to many more. Cheers! (hopefully you have a glass of whiskey in your hand)

Keith Schroeder

Wednesday 19th of April 2017

It took more than one glass, Kevin. It was a long tax season; they all are. I think things went 1000% smoother than last year when I got smashed with requests due to the Mr. Money Mustache promotion. I learn and grow. This tax season more lessons were learned and will be applied. The hardest part is the onslaught of demands to beat the due date.

Thank you for being a client. Hopefully the experience gets better with each year as I get to know you more. "Know your client" is important for a reason. Now for a short break before I roll up the sleeves and work off-tax season projects.