(pssst!) Hey Buddy. Can you spare a million dollars?

I’ve been lurking around the Blogosphere for a week or so now … and I haven’t been posting any thoughts.  (Bad, The Frugal Cheapskate, bad boy!)  🙂  

It’s interesting to listen to what the multitude of “others” have to talk about and how “they’d do it!”  

“Do what?”  

Well, make a lot of money.  Like, say, a $million smackeroos.  (but, is that before or after tax?)  

You can always tell who the ones are who fell into it, and those who actually rolled their sleeves up and made it the hard way.  nickel by nickel. (and without their parents help).  The ones who did it on their own aren’t pompous, nor are they name droppers of their lifestyle.  No, dear readers, they aren’t the ones talking trash about their neighbors who are always trying to one-up everyone else in the ‘hood.  (that’s ‘neighborhood’ for those who don’t watch MTV or some of the various other low quality movies and shows out there.  Slang-lish)  

These same people don’t have to copy cat, or ride someone elses wave to stardom.  In fact, they’re quite original .. and don’t secretly feel like they have to look over their shoulder least someone start copying their already copied stuff.  

But … speaking of “copied ideas” and “other stuff relating to non-plagiarised” … watching and mimicking someone else’s formula for success is actually a good thing to do.  If you want to open up a restaurant, or start trading in the financial markets, why not find someone who has actually been there .. and succeeded.  No, I’m not talking about those who push “a companies” mutual funds or the latest (in their opinions) stock picks (and god help them if they’re looking @ penny stocks).  Instead, try to do what the ones who do their own research do – for themselves, not for their work, and pull steady gains out of whatever vehicle they are using to do it.  Whether its real estate, stocks (even mutual funds if that’s your bag), or stuffing gold and silver coins under your mattress.  LEARN what they do and their “Formula For Success.”  And then Make It on your own merits, instead of following a so-called leader.  

Many years ago, I used to listen to all the “stock-pick” guru’s.  After all is said and done, 99 out of a 100, these people do not even invest their own money in what they are touting as “the best thing going.”  And sadly, even when they’re tooting their horn the loudest, they also go down with their own ship or even worse (pulling out but not telling “all their followers” to do the same).  How sad is that?  

It’s easy to pick a winner … if it is already winning.  It’s easy to use hindsight to prove “what I would’ve done had I been you” too.And these guru’s make their money off of people who “give it to them.”  Think about it.  If I have a winning formula for trading futures or some other commodities in the market, why would I tell everyone else?  (Oh.  that’s right.  People are paying me money to think for them.  instead of me taking the time and effort to LEARN what is the right way to make consistent gains.) 

 Here’s an idea.  Why not pay someone to go to your day job for you.  never mind that they might screw up, or say something wrong.  In fact, they’ll even tell you all is grand.  Just keep paying “me!” 

 Soooo, how did they get their first million dollars?  (Pssst!  Hey Buddy, ole’ pal.  Can you spare a million dollars?  Don’t worry, I’ll take real good care of it. Promise!) 

many years ago, I started playing in the markets. Playing might not be the right word for it, but I was basically “playing” or even “gambling” because I’d watch someone else who swore up and down they had the right thing going.  They knew what was going on, and could prove it .. (there’s where the hindsight comes it, right?).  Well, like a drug dealer, the first tips are free, but after that?  “Hey, you want the good stuff right?  Everyone else is buying it up so you better hurry!”  (LOL) After losing a large-ish sum and watching them just shrug their shoulders and say “it happens” and “that’s just the way the markets go sometime.”  (I guess they didn’t know that I’m also a card-carrying member of the NRA either, and live in Texas to boot … but I was nice.  Go figure)  🙂 

 I then set out to learn as much as possible about the markets and the seasonal movements, price actions, as well as “other things” relating to making money as easily as possible (in the financial markets).   The best advice I could give anyone is to “learn it for yourself.”  DO NOT give your money away to those who really have no earthy idea of what the markets can and will do.  Take Charge of your own money and how it is spent.  Spent by YOU, not some person who tries to push you into what they call a diversified portfolio.  Granted, there is a place for such … a (say it quickly 5 times) .. Diversified .. portfolio. 

 If I trade 4 times a year and pull 4 to 5 figures off each trade … and all from a different stock or two .. or three … does that qualify for “diversified?”  probably not in a salaried w/bonus fund managers eyes.  Despite the fact that they’re doing almost the exact same thing.  but they drop your money into their products, charge you for the pleasure of them doing it for you, and then tell you, “thanks” for letting me work for you (instead of you doing all the work yourself). 

The promise of big money is always alluring.  And the talk about “your retirement” and (then) how “we’ll make it happen for you” is almost an oxymoron.  Do you trust a complete stranger to manager your hard earned money?  For millions of Americans and others around the world … it’s obviously so.  And where is the warm fuzzy feeling now?  Or are you like so many of the masses who is just “playing” with their money and “hoping” for something nice and pretty to come in the mail that says, “Don’t worry.  We’ll help you make it back .. in these trying economic times.  Don’t worry, the markets will bounce back!”  Despite your “diversified portfolio” sounding more and more like a flushing noise.  And who’s money is it?  What could YOU, dear reader, have done to keep that from happening?  Or at least have been able to cut it short before the flushing noise?  And WHY aren’t you doing everything you can to find out how to NOT have that happen again?? 

Of course, you could just pickup your iPhone and Text your smartly dressed broker and ask him.  Of course, he could be out on the Golf Course somewhere.  But if he’s in his office, why not ask him/her about some of the things you’ve looked into … that are promising.  Or (and I love this one), why are they still in the same [stocks, mutual funds, etc, etc, etc] that have lost your money for a while now?  “Why??”  I already know the answer.  because … “in your diversified portfolio, we picked a group of stock/mutual funds that “have the potential” to generate some nice gains…” or something similar. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have kept the money where it belonged?  Either in the market when it was making you money (all the profits!  Not the percentages that they pay you as a favor for using YOUR Money to play with) … or in your pocket when things turned negative.  Instead, you pay for the privilege of their wheel spin.  When things turn bad, their reaction time is about as fast as a turtle crossing the road.  With the same consequences too.  (How lucky are you?) I do not have a million dollars in the bank.  But I’m working on that (and more), ever so steadily.  I highly recommend saving as much as possible.  I recommend “living under your means” not (extended) over it. Look for ways to save money, and if you really need to “Splurge” on an item, look for the best possible price, or even think about a refurbished model w/factory warranty.  I say the last one because I am getting the itch to Splurge on an iPod Touch. 

We (wife and I) just bought a “used” New Car.  It’s a 2010 model Toyota matrix with 20,000 miles on it.  Brand new they are $21,000+ … we got ours for $7,000 less (+ TT&L).  She really needed a vehicle and we budgeted $10 grand to get a vehicle.  PAID IN CASH!!!  No payments, nothing.  It would’ve been paid for and probably around a 2008-09 model (non-Toyota or Honda).  But, it’s September and the 9th month of the year is the best time to by a vehicle.  Dealerships are looking to roll out the 2011’s (next years models) and cut their inventory of “this years” vehicles.  We’d been looking for months but never found the right price.  It was about the price we’d pay … not the vehicle and “I want.” 

The Kelly Blue Book says that we could sell this car today and make $4,000 .. right now.  Imagine that … the Frugal Cheapskate spent money …. but he did it more as an investment, instead of a “I just got to have it” purchase.  Plus, Toyota’s hold their value quite well compared to other vehicles.  And the 7 year/100,000 mile warranty was just a bonus on top of it all.

Super Economical and FUN to drive!!!The real kicker to it all is …. we put a large chuck down, and it’ll be paid off in less than 1 year.  (Now … how did we easily get the money for this purchase?)Financial Security is waiting for everyone!  All the great things in life are waiting for you …. but you have to start somewhere small and work your way up.  Brick by brick.  mile by mile(stone).  I always tell people that we got debt free by brown bagging our lunch for 4 years.  We saved ALL the money we would’ve spent, instead of “spending all the money we would’ve saved.

D I S C I P L I N E is all it takes and a little perseverance.  Have the dream, have the goal.  You can do it (too)!  And stop wasting money on other people’s chatter.  Generate your own formula(s) for success. Learn from those who walk the walk, not talk the talk.  If it was easy, everyone would be financially secure, versus letting someone else do the thinking for them.  Don’t get caught in their trap.  You’ll be thanking yourself all the way to the bank … and the car dealership.

Dare to Live YOUR Dream!

ALL of the little things do add up!

The Frugal Cheapskate!

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