Most days here at the ol’ FU machine, we do the same old thing. I talk about finance stuff and you kids pull up your proverbial chairs and gather round, just waiting to be wowed by the wonderful pageantry that is Nelson.

Either that or you’re dicking around at work in an attempt to forget about your crippling existence for a little while. Got a little real there, didn’t it?

A blog is kind of like a hot dog factory. You never know about the background, likely for good reason. All you get to see is the delicious tube-shaped product when it’s finished and you’re about to stick a six inch dog in your mouth. Be gentle with it. Anyone who puts it all in at once is just showing off.

So let’s do something a little different today. Let’s take a closer look at how I make the magic happen. Allow me to take you for a personalized tour of the hot dog factory, Nelson’s desk.

Picture it up, yo


Oh God Nelson that’s disgusting. An energy drink?

Relax, it’s empty.

I don’t think you really understand my criticism.

So let’s start at the beginning. This high quality office you see actually costs me money.

The story goes something like this. I got back from South Korea and was deciding whether I’d take writing seriously or get a job and continue writing on the side. After applying for all of one job that semi-interested me, the choice was pretty clear. Typos and all, Nelly was going to double down and become a true professional writeer.

That typo is intentional. I’m not that big of a hack.

I quickly realized writing at home wasn’t going to do it for me. It was depressing not leaving the house for days at a time. I missed human interaction. My wife made me cook dinner. And most importantly, I really needed to put on pants and go to work. The psychological boost of leaving the house is a huge deal for me.

I started going to coffee shops and grocery stores to write, but that got old quickly. I’d run into people I knew or they’d just be too damn noisy. Coffee shop internet will do in a pinch, but it’s not really that good.

So I decided to rent an office. After viewing a half dozen different offices, I chose the one in the picture above for a few different reasons, including:

  • It’s located in a mall, which gives me a physical location for private mortgage clients to pay me
  • I liked the free option for opening up a retail store, although after more than a year here I still can’t think of anything I’d want to open
  • The rent is a terrific deal for what I’m getting
  • There are other people around who I can talk to
  • Snacks and energy drinks are close by

My desk basically sits in the corner of a retail space that’s approximately 400 square feet in total area. I use maybe 100 square feet. There’s another ~200 square feet in the back, too.

Here’s the view from the other side.


As you can see, there’s plenty of room for me to stretch my legs. I’ve thought about opening a co-working space with my extra area, but my landlord isn’t really in favor of subletting and I am cripplingly lazy. I’m also not exactly sure how much demand there would be. Solopreneurs don’t really end up in my boring small town.

Anyhoo, onto the desk itself.

Let’s start with the two monitor setup. If you’re a writer, it’s an absolute godsend. You can research on one monitor while keeping the other open to your work. It makes everything go that much faster and smoother.

Ron Swanson currently guards one of the monitors, and Bender will soon be guarding the other. I left him at home. He’ll be standing right where the Subway cup is.

The MacBook pro exists for two reasons. I use it almost exclusively for email and tweeting, and every now and again I’ll drag if off with me when I do somewhere. I will need to replace the cord soon for the second time, which I don’t intend on doing. It will get replaced by a PC laptop sometime soon, probably in 2017.

My papers are always a bit of a mess. On the left is the least high-tech system ever for keeping track of stuff I want to write about. The large notebook has ideas for Motley Fool and other investing topics I want to cover, while the smaller one has all the ideas for this here blog.

I own the Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator which is the only calculator any serious finance type needs. You can figure out things like depreciation, amortization, and compound interest on it, although I usually just use online calculators for a lot of those things. Still, it was only $30.

Off to the right is a printer and file cabinet, which actually get used. More than once. I went with the printer that could scan stuff because that’s nice to have every now and again.

You might have noticed the pair of shoes under the desk. They’re off most of the day. The only time I really put them on is when I go somewhere. The rest of the time I walk around in my socks.

And finally, let’s talk about the chair. I spent $170 on that chair (regular price, $249) and it was the best money I ever spent. If my ass could talk, it would probably just say things about my bidet and that chair over and over again.

The wall

As evidenced by the previous pictures, I don’t have much up on the wall. In fact, my wall only has two things on it, my business licence and my pictures.


The two bottom pictures are of my wife. I decided to take these pictures out because the last thing I need is to be yelled at. The other two pictures are of my cat, who only yells at me in cat language. Besides, cats don’t use the internet.

Let’s talk more about the picture of Warren Buffett, which I got at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting for a buck. Warren looks down on me, making sure I don’t make any dumb decisions with my capital. Charlie Munger is on the other side, and periodically I might turn it around so Charlie is looking down on me.

Best dollar ever.

And that’s really about it. It’s not the most glamorous desk, but hey, it sure beats one of those standing desks. Nobody likes those things.

Tell everyone, yo!