Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Money, Investing, Saving, Earning, Using.......

For lots of the time while 'babysitting' the last several days, I wasn't actually needed for the moment to moment activities of the triplets and their friends.  I spent some productive time with my computer and Excel, etc. bringing together all my budget components into one document with lots of worksheets.

I had talked with many people, while on the Mexico adventure this Winter, about all the topics listed in the heading of today's title.  Of course, 20 people have 20 different ideas about how, what, why, where, etc. to accomplish "financial happiness," so I'm in process of integrating all the wisdom into a platform of my own!

After having been married for a long long time and not taking very much responsibility for financial futures, I entered the "OMG, I'm on my own!" at 50, instead of 21.   I think some of my laissez faire  about financial matters stems from the fact that I was raised in a family of accountants - mom, dad and brother, so I never took on the role of knowledgeable person.  Then, I was married at 17(!) to a much older man (22) and he managed the money.  When I was divorced at 50 I tried to get a whole lot of saving into a shortened period of time.   Fortunately, I'm fairly pleased with how I did - I do have enough income to live .... I, like lots of people, would just like more!

So, what to do?  I thought a lot about it during my Mexico adventure.  First of all I'll give 'thanks' to my friends, Kevin and Ruth www.travelwithkevinandruth.com, who, among other things, impressed me about the importance of simply KEEPING TRACK of expenses on a day to day basis.  I have always used that axiom when it's been time to reduce weight .... just keeping track of foods passing my lips seems to turn into weight loss when necessary.  Kevin and Ruth, if you don't know them, have been living a wonderfully full and adventurous life for several years and managing it on a budget that could be considered 'tight.'  I applaud them and their way of life.

Secondly, when I voiced an interest in attempting to try on-my-own investing, it was suggested that I look for stocks that pay dividends; so, I've started researching this idea too, even though I haven't actually done anything - yet.

I collected thoughts, ideas, plans, successes, failures from all sorts of people - from all over the World - mostly the US and Canada.  These have been roaming around in my head for a few months now and it's time to get started with organization of information for study, planning and doing support.

During the last several days, I've embarked on an aggressive (for me) computer project.  The goal for this computer project is to be able to access accurate personal financial information any time I want.  So far, my Excel workbook has worksheets called:

  • Monthly Budget - all income and expenses recorded.  I've broken down the month into increments of time so I can coordinate income and assign plans to expenses in a timely fashion.
  • Cumulative Data - re:  income and expenses throughout the year(s) - recorded in monthly increments.
  • MPS Bible - This is the name of a spreadsheet I've kept for years - account numbers, login info, notes re:  communication with companies, banks, subscriptions, etc.  [Just managing login IDs and passwords is an almost full time job]!  Each time I add / alter info on this document I save it to the current date.  From time to time when housekeeping files and folders, I delete old and redundant info.
  • Investment Info - this is what I've been working on mostly the last week.  I'm bringing together all investment info on one spreadsheet - because I have several different investment firm accounts.  My personal financial advisor is with one of these firms.  I'm wondering, if I become really savvy, if it might be better to manage it all myself?
  • Expense Form - an Excel form I print so I can carry a paper copy in my purse to record expenses as they occur so I don't chance forgetting them!
Now, I'm going to spend some quality time learning about investing.  I'm visiting websites (New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street Journal, Charles Schwab, etc.).  I've subscribed to a couple of online financial newsletters.  I intend to read some historically valuable books about money matters ("A Random Walk Down Wall Street," etc).  I AM OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS YOU READERS MAY HAVE FOR ENLIGHTENMENT!

Happy Tuesday everybody!


  1. Wow, you have done a huge amount of organizing in a short time. Well done. The only thing I could suggest would be a computerized list of the weekly, monthly, annual to do's for your RV. It is so easy to get caught in the day to day and forget about maintenance.

    1. Fantastic suggestion. I'm going to add an"RV To Do" worksheet right now! Thank you so much.

  2. There is so much work in keeping up with current events around the world to keep abreast of investments. It was the financial institutions who frivolously loan money to strawbuyers, I believe, that collapsed the market this last go around. I lost big time after years of having a 401K thru work...I kept thinking it won't take another hit but it kept going south until 1/3 investment was down the drain and I finally woke up and moved it to a safer area. Sometimes we don't know a corporation's internal events (again constant reading & piecing information together) that plays a huge part in how sound it is or not. I wrote my thesis on an umbrella investment management firm who managed my tribes investments. The firm was quickly sliding downhill because they had a weird theory called shared revenue & signing young employees to contracts so they couldn't grow career wise. After a while, these young employees had no enthusiasm to work...a brain drain from the company. By the time I finished the paper, three years later, the investment firms under the umbrella were being sued. I sent a copy of my thesis to my tribal financial office and was rewarded with $5,000 for sharing the information I learned. I was worn out by the time I finished my paper. I received my master's degree in finance but it's a different world than what I expected. I don't know why I tell you this but the experience turned me off to playing the stocks a bit. I guess there are pros and cons to everything we do. What was left of my 401K, I put it in a slow but steady growing safer portfolio. The economy is recovering so chances are stocks are pricier than a couple years ago when you would have snapped up them up cheaper. If you catch early in the upswing, I believe, you'll have a better return.

    1. Hi Rita:
      Thanks so much for your comment and experience. I'm feeling like the most important thing for me right now is to become very conversant with where I'm at. It's embarrassing to say that I really never could work myself up into great interest in the process. And, as I indicated, I'm just happy that I did save before I saw the money - because I don't think I'd have saved anywhere near enough for retirement if I'd had the money in my hot little hands.
      I don't plan to do any 'high risk' stock purchasing. I'd like to think that I might be able to make some informed purchases by utilizing my own career experience in healthcare. We'll see - first thing first. I'm getting organized.
      I appreciate all your comments.

  3. http://www.amazon.com/Live-on-the-Margin-ebook/dp/B00AK5QRNE/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    From a review:
    "Overall though, good entertaining book for the novice. If I were just starting out with trading, I would recommend this book."

  4. Thanks Deborah. I just put it on my KIndle and will start reading it this afternoon. Have you followed their program/advice?

  5. I think Deborah just identified a big-time question you need to answer before you get too far down the road. She says she would read that book "if I was just starting out with trading."

    Are you looking to be an investor or a trader? There's a big difference. Good advice about one often does not apply to the other. Until you've decided which you are, be careful about what advice you're willing to follow.

  6. Yes, Gil, I was kind of thinking of the terms investing and trading interchangeably. I'm really looking to understand exactly where I am with what I have now, what needs to be done with my portfolio and then I'd like to take a little money to learn about investing and / or trading. But before I do anything with my hard-earned money, I'm going to read and learn what in the heck's happening before I risk losing it - maybe rapidly. One of my sons has supported himself for the last several years trading currencies - seems complicated to me; but he's actually 'doing well.' I'm just starting to read the Kindle book Deborah suggested - maybe I'll have more to say about it later this week. I do appreciate your comments. Thanks.

    1. I too am just beginning, the quote is from a reviewer...not me, that is why it is in quotes.
      Having read only half of the book there are ways to "trade" in shares of "blocks" of stock. My advice to gilguy would be to read the book before you advise regarding the content. It is an excellent resource to get your feet wet...I think. I am certain that it will take me two or three readings to grasp half of it.
      What the book does profess is not to rely on trading to live, but to supplement your needs first...not your wants. I think the authors do an excellent job of explaining how to gauge your personal limits and set realistic expectations.
      Mary-Pat how much have you read ? and your thoughts thus far ?
      PS. Happy Fathers Day to all.

  7. http://www.outletonline.com.co/