We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I grew up poor. My parents scrimped to put food on the table. I first started "working" at 6 years old, collecting newspapers and selling them for 5 cents for 100 lbs. We had one pair of pants and one pair of shoes often either or both were hand me downs. I wore socks on my hands in the winter cold to carry my books to school. I shoveled snow to make a buck. My father would shovel snow if he was laid off in the winter. We grew a lot of food and canned it in the Summer. My first real job, in a car wash, was at 12 and I knew it was a real job because they made me go get a SS card before I could work there. My buddy and I went the same day and we have consecutive SS #'s.
My point in all of this is When I finished school and worked full time I understood the value of money and the need to save. I'm 77 now and watching others through out my life it appears to me that most people don't learn this until their about 45 or so and some don't ever learn it. I think the reason for this is because too much is easy or free and the best way to get the free stuff is to spend everything you make or simply decide to never work. If things come too easy, especially when you are young and learning life's lessons than you don't understand the value of work and money and the necessity to save. It is damned near impossible to teach someone this by words alone if they aren't receptive to the message. If they missed it growing up their next chance is when they are old enough to start worrying about retirement. And if they miss it then they become dependents on society for as long as they live. I believe this is why history and economic disasters repeat themselves.
Sounds like your childhood was like mine. We were poor. Everyone in my town was poor. We (as children) didn't know we were poor. Shoveling snow, mowing lawns (with a push mower), delivering papers, delivering kerosene to the old widows, tilling gardens (with a shovel), etc. Learned a lot about money and responsibility. The 50's were a good time to grow up.
With that said, times have changed. I am hesitant to say this (I will probably get trashed by some people) but buy gold. Physical gold, not paper gold (ETFs). If you can't touch it you don't own it. Gold coins (Eagles, Philharmonics, etc; in multiple weights) and gold bars sealed in assay (5, 10, 20, and 50 grams). Keep them in your possession!
Gold or silver. But anyone thinking about investing in precious metals needs to know the difference. Gold right now may be over priced and silver is vastly underpriced. Having said that understand that doesn't really mean a lot silver could stay underpriced for decades, but probably will not. So if I were investing a few thousand I would choose bullion silver not gold. But if I were investing tens or even hundreds of thousands I would put most of that into gold. This stuff is heavy and you can't even pick up $100,000 in silver.
But there are other factors too. Anyone buying precious metals needs to be able to hold it for years and years. It may go up and you can sell it for a profit. It may go down and you can't afford to sell. It may hover such that you cannot profit from it and it can do this for years and years.
Also as big as the market is it can still be controlled to some extent. In the past few months silver has hovered around $14 to $15 but you can't buy it for that. You have to pay $25 or so because the public value (the market sell price) is pure BS. Someone has manipulated the price. This happens often and constantly. You won't always be aware of it but it does and it applies to the price of gold too.
Today with gold at about $1685 the price of silver should (by historic relationship) be about $100 or so not the $15.30 that the market says it is. There are some legitimate reasons for this and some reason to suspect manipulation. But regardless for this reason and other factors silver is more likely to double or triple in value than gold is. Just know that someone, something, is holding the price of silver down while at the same time gold appears to be freely floating based only on demand.
The number one best precious metal investment hands down for a number of reasons is junk silver. Junk silver is simply American silver coinage like dimes, quarters and half dollars minted before 1964. Not as good if you have to pay too large a premium over bullion silver.
One downside of PM's is storing them safely. They are easy to steal and if people know you have it that fact will make you a target. Just know what you are getting into before you make this choice.
Exactly. The point is to live within your means, no matter what your means are. You can go broke on $500K a year as fast as you can on $35,000 a year if you can't face this reality: there is no standard of living that's guaranteed to you. People in all ages and places have lived on everything from a pittance to a fortune. There is no spot on that spectrum that is a lock-cinch for you, no matter what your expectations or wishes tell you, and no matter how bad it makes you feel to know that some other people have nicer things. Envy should be a spur to increase earnings, not a spur to outspend your own resources.