It has been quite a while since we have had any posts in this series from reader MK, and thus the time is right for issue #4. Today’s topic is the economy, yet again. As always, these comments are not mine, and their inclusion in my blog doesn’t necessarily mean I support them. I include them as food for thought and discussion.
It’s been months since the last Tip. My excuse? I’ve been productive: a nice 2016 harvest (1,500 pounds of fish and game plus half this weight in crabapples). Look, teen boys flat-out eat. And this merely supplements an annual consumption of 1,500 pounds of oat & rice plus 14,000 eggs. Protein? It’s kind of a big deal here.
This sidebar conveniently relates to my prior TT, which concludes: For those who can adjust their [economic] mindset and take action, real opportunity exists. So forget the theory; let’s get specific about the opportunity:
1) Read the book Dividends Still Don’t Lie (Wright). Invest accordingly. Educate yourself regarding stocks. Grok book value, PE ratio, and dividend yield. Extra credit: read The Intelligent Investor (Graham). Extra-extra credit: read Graham’s classic Security Analysis. Look, knowing about money is just what men do, like fixing cars, shooting guns, or hanging drywall. You simply gotta know it. Especially if you are young.
2) Follow the Investment Quality Trends newsletter for at least a year. This value-investing methodology has yielded double-digits since 1966 in very conservative manner. Too much work? Just dollar-cost-average your savings into the Vanguard Total Stock Market. While higher risk and lower return than IQT value investing, it’s not a bad option and requires little education. Extra credit: put savings outside of a 401k or IRA into an investment partnership (easy to start). This shields the money from lawsuits (cheap insurance). Remember, the primary cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical issues, and this could happen to anyone. We all get sick and die eventually. Be prepared.
3) Be a saver, not a spender. Select friends and romantic partners who are also savers. Avoid family members who spend recklessly. Hang with the kind of guys who actually play sports and do productive things, not the guys who watch other people do them on TV.
4) Kill. Your. TV. ‘Nuff said. 90% of consumerism (and cultural filth) comes from our media. Don’t even allow a TV in your house, especially if you have kids. Whisky and loaded guns seem less dangerous, to me.
5) Get serious about life. Do hobbies that produce health and wealth, not decrease them. For example, learn to fix everything. Buy less, and only buy quality. Eat at home. Vacation where you live. Learn to cook from scratch, sew, and tailor. If married, expect your wife to do this, and do it well. Grow a garden. Cut your own hair. Caveat: an alternative to this DIY approach? Pour excess time into a productive career. I prefer to live a fuller and leaner life and retire young, but heck, why not do both? Go big or go home!
6) Invest in yourself by trying new and productive things. For example, buy a house, improve it, and sell it for tax-free profit. This works for all sorts of things: cars, appliances, whatever. As Scott Adams says, each new skill you learn doubles your chance of future success. Life is short, think big.
7) Keep at least 6-12 months of cash outside the system (remember that withdrawals of $10k are recorded, so take your time). Store it carefully against fire and theft (e.g., vacuum-pack and bury). This is base insurance. If you get sued, divorce-raped, or forced into bankruptcy due to a medical crisis, you will be glad you did this. The money must remain private and easily accessible. Remember, if you are a traditional Christian, you should anticipate persecution. It’s not a question of if, but when.
8) Keep 10% of your net worth in physical precious metals and/or jewelry. Again, outside the system and stored carefully. Don’t even consider a safe-deposit box! For the same reasons as above. This is longer-term insurance; unlike cash, it will match inflation over the decades. Personally, I like to sell half when prices go high, and then replace it at lower prices for profit later. It’s nice to get paid to have insurance for a change!
9) Act. Everyone talks. Very, very few have the balls to DO. Be the doer. Take a risk. The odds are, you won’t do any of these things, even if you like the ideas. Why? Inertia is the greatest force in the world. Trust me, none of these things are easy to do. But I can’t recommend them enough. Act.
Lots of guys don’t see much point in it all today. They are listless and uninspired. I get this. I assume this is generally due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, and the declining economic and social situation that defines our hopeless era. Lack of hope is a lethal spiritual wound. Men ask: what are the options today for a serious religious guy? Become a monk, or a cuckolded provider for a woman cashing out of the SMP? The game seems rigged. The deck stacked.
Well, I say: Don’t fall into this trap. Forge your own economic lifestyle. Ignore the crowd. Become financially independent. Live with focus and purpose. Never look back. Demand more. You will be amazed at the number of people – especially women – who will follow you. I know I would. Hope, confidence, and excitement about the future are highly contagious.