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Early Retirement/Saving Money when Poor with Low Wages

Posts: 85
Location: Southeast Missouri
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Live and let live.  What someone does with their money is their business.  I have no skin in their financial decisions or dealings, nor do I care to.  I am interested in hearing things that others have done to make money, save money, and reduce spending.  Some of those things I will apply, some I will reject.  Bottom line is, I have one life, I'm going to live it as responsibly as I can, and I'm going to leave you to live your life as you see fit.  As long as someone doesn't try to interfere with my life, I'm happy to let them do whatever they want, and I expect the same.

I've made a lot of money mistakes in my younger years that cost me dearly.  I try not to make those mistakes today.  While I never got caught up in the rampant consumerism that seems to grip the USA, I have wasted my share of money on things that I regret.  I can't undo them, just learn from them.  We are actively adopting a minimalist lifestyle and find it very liberating.  Friends and family think it is a sign we are losing it now that we are over 60.  We don't miss eating out several times a week.  We don't miss buying stuff just to buy stuff.  We don't miss throwing out perfectly good linens because my wife let her cousin talk her into redecorating the bedroom and adopting a different color and design theme.  We don't miss paying for a storage unit to hold all the stuff that won't fit into our house.  Over the past few years I have become more conscious of being responsible not only with money, but with things that impact the environment and society as a whole.

You can start an investor checking account with Schwab for a relatively small sum.  From there, you can invest in stocks, bonds, money market.  There are lots of tools to help you make good decisions.  Sure, there is risk, but history shows that for every dip there is an even larger and longer rise.  Even if you are poor with low wages, you can still save and invest something.

We bought a new car with a warranty to use for commuting back and forth to work.  Sure, it lost "value" as soon as we drove it off the lot, but the value to me isn't just what the care is worth if I sell it.  Part of the value is in knowing that my wife is in a reliable vehicle that is safe and economical.  We don't have to worry about if we will make it the 150 miles to St. Louis, and we don't have to worry about a huge repair bill if something fails on it.  In a short time it will no longer be under warranty, so there are repair bills in the future I'm sure.  The car I currently drive is a 2003 with 230,000 miles on it, and I will drive it until it requires an expenditure more than what it is worth.  We will do the same with the car we will soon have paid off.  Once that car is paid off, I will put the payment into my investment account and let it grow until we decide we want to get a new(er) vehicle.  Yes, we did 72 payments, but at .5% interest it let me put almost $200 per month into a mutual fund that has been averaging a 10% annual return.  If you can borrow cheap and invest the difference, you can come out ahead compared to cash.  Another way to save money.
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Here is an investing opportunity that is kind of rare but if you spot it grab it. Conditions:

* Cyclical stock, generally a utility stock.
* The price of the stock rises and falls on a yearly predictable basis.
* As an employee you can buy the stock directly at a discount.
* Sufficient market volume that sale is not a problem.

Again all the factors have to align but there are still companies like that out there. I worked for GTE in a prior life. The stock price was habitually low in November and highest in February. As an employee I could acquire the stock at 15% discount. I made a 30% return on every deal I did. If you work for a company that is on an exchange a call to HR might be in order. Then see if they match the conditions above.
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Cyclical and seasonal stocks can be a good opportunity for anyone. Then use options to trade the time period so that you don’t tie up a ton of $ in the stock, and to amplify your return. Or, at least sells calls against the stock if you choose to buy shares.
Don't count your weasels before they've popped. And now for a mulberry bush related tiny ad:
All of the video from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
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