Gearing Up For a Summer of Travel, Family, Friends, & Project Completions
BY BRANDON VAGNER, CPA, Ph.D., & WALLET WIT FOUNDER
My wife and I are all about designing our life so that we can get the most out of it and focus on what matters. A huge piece of that was career choice that was going to allow us to feel fulfilled and live life how we want. My job as a full time Accounting professor, my wife’s current job as a teacher, and our businesses allow us the freedom to physically be wherever we want during the summers. That said, I do a significant amount of research for my job during the summer, but I’m effective from anywhere in the world and I don’t have to stay in any one place. I knew this going into the profession, and fully intend on making the most of it.
Our available time to travel and spend with family and friends is about to get even better because my wife is about to take on being a full-time mom. We’re expecting our first child in September 2019, and Kori will be staying at home with the little guy. Kori’s summer breaks as a teacher were typically much shorter than mine, but we now have almost four full months during the summer to do what we want.
Keep in mind, it took an incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice to get where we’re at from a career perspective, but I give you that background to give you an idea of how we have purposefully designed our life. You can design yours too whether it’s with a career or your own business.
Places We’ll Be Exploring This Summer 2019
Since my wife is pregnant, we’re sticking relatively close to home for our summer travels. We have a lot of family in St Louis MO, and plan to spend a significant amount of time there.
I’ll let you in on where a gemstone of a travel destination is just outside of St. Louis MO. My in-laws own a coffee shop (Stomp’n Grounds Espresso Bar) and bed and breakfast (Half Corked Inn) in a small town called Hermann Missouri. The town is between St Louis and Kansans City Missouri and sits right on the Missouri River nestled on a small Missouri hill. Their businesses are right on the old downtown road that sits less than 100 yards from the Missouri River. It’s an incredible place to visit and get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Within a short walking distance of my in-law’s bed and breakfast are a couple winery’s and a number of other amazing places like the Tin Mill Brewery. If you ever do go, I HIGHLY recommend staying at their place called the Half-Corked Inn. Their Inn is directly above their coffee shop and has been completely remodeled. My in-laws work extremely hard and did an amazing job remodeling this place to make it something special. They really did hit it out of the park.
At the Half Corked Inn, they have two places we sometimes stay. One side of their Inn is a one bedroom / one bath place (Silver Moon Loft) and the other side is a 3 bedroom / 2 bath place (Harvest Hills Loft). I love them both, but one of my favorite things to do is to stay in the 3 bedroom side, wake up early, and write at the desk they have on the third story floor. It’s difficult to put into words how calming it is tucked away up there with the old hard wood floors and this small town right on the river just waking up. If you enjoy early morning writing/reading, you definitely would appreciate it.
Let me talk for a minute about some of the best coffee in the world, and then I’ll move on from our planned adventures visiting Hermann MO. I mentioned my in-laws started a coffee shop in this small town. Holy cow is it good coffee.
Let me first say that I drink my coffee black. I love the taste of pure coffee. For years, my father-in-law talked to me about national coffee conferences and what his game plan was to brew some of the best coffee people will find. Without giving away his secrets, I will tell you that it’s an incredible process that goes into making a high quality cup of coffee. My mind was blown when he taught me about what all he had to buy/build/do to ensure his customers are getting high quality coffee. Anybody who knows me will tell you that I won’t give credit where it’s not due. I’m not telling you this just because this is my in-law’s coffee shop. Their coffee is really the best I’ve personally ever had.
Put-In-Bay Ohio (South Bass Island in Lake Erie)
Last year we went to Torch Lake Michigan and had a blast with the family. We liked it so much we decided to stick with the lake theme and try out a new spot on one of the Great Lakes. I’ll be the first to tell you that I had never heard of Put-In-Bay before this summer, but I’m extremely excited to explore the area and will enjoy writing about it after we experience it.
My wife has been wanting to go to Niagara Falls for years, and we’re finally going to make it happen. Niagara Falls is only a five-hour drive from Put-In-Bay, and we’re going to go explore there for three days after four days at Put-In-Bay.
Chicago is one of my favorite cities. I have a handful of memories going there as a kid, and my limited number of trips there as an adult have been just as wonderful. Lucky for us, my sister-in-law now lives in Chicago and we can stay with her anytime we want.
On the front end of the Put-In-Bay / Niagara Falls trip, we’re going to spend a couple days in Chicago, which should be a blast.
Lawsonia Golf Club (Wisconsin)
Every year I get the pleasure of getting my butt kicked around the golf course by my old college teammates. It’s quite the crew, and we have a blast getting together every year. This year, we’re playing at a place called Lawsonia. It’s supposed to be one of the best courses you’ve probably never heard of. So, I’ll be trying to just break 90. Lol!
Project Completion Goals (Academic & Business)
I do have a lot of fun planned for this summer as you read above, but I’m just as excited to bring some projects to completion. My primary focus first and foremost is to excel at the highest level possible in scholarly research and, in my spare time, I work hard to create assets that have the ability to earn passive income for our family.
Academic Project Goals
I know some of you might be wondering what the heck it takes to be an Accounting professor. For you that could care less, go ahead and skip a couple paragraphs. Lol!
There is of course the classroom component, but research is a major part of my job. To attain tenure, every University/department has different requirements. Where I’m currently at, I need to have between 7 – 10 high quality publications in 5 years. Now, that might not sound like a lot, but high-quality research papers can take years to get to the finish line. Especially, given that my focus is the behavioral side of things and we build experiments on the front end. In short, it’s extremely tough. Many people don’t make tenure at their first University, but I’m doing everything in my power to make sure I do.
I’ve been at my current University for 1 year and 9 months. Within that timeframe, I’ve had four articles accepted for publication. I have a fifth that has been given a revise and resubmit at one of the best journals in our field and I plan to submit three additional articles over the summer. All that said, in a perfect world, I would hope to have eight total accepted by May 2020, which is before my third year is over. Realistically, that’s a bit of a pipe dream, but I’m going to work my tail off this summer to get all of those projects completed and submitted to high quality journals.
I’m extremely excited to be launching my first online course this summer. I have a website geared toward helping people with the CPA exam, and I’m taking it to the next level by offering them a self-paced course to help with strategy and mindset. It’s going to be fun, and if all goes well I’ll next be creating a course to show my readers on the Wallet Wit blog how to create an online course so you can generate passive income for yourself as well.
I also want to REALLY take my Wallet Wit blog to the next level. To do so, I’m testing out whether batch writing is more effective for me. During the semesters, it’s extremely difficult for me to consistently publish high quality articles on the blog. I’m going to batch write this summer in an attempt to build up a repository of articles I can roll out during the busy upcoming Fall and Spring semesters. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know if I find that more effective.