I'm older and just trying to catch up after raising my children singlehandedly for almost 30 years.
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Think before acting. Buying a property has a high frictional cost. You pay taxes to buy, and you pay commisions to realtors to sell unless you manage to sell yourself. Buying in another state is a huge hassle because when something goes wrong you have to pay someone else to deal with it.
If you yourself are renting, you could buy a place to live in first. Unless the place you live is far cheaper to rent.
If you are just getting started, the stock market is a more fluid way to build capital without the frictional costs. You can buy a small amount of an index fund each pay period. To buy property you need enough money for a downpayment, and you need to be fairly certain you can weather a financial storm. So property should probably not be the first thing you buy, unless there is a particularly good deal and you are willing to take risks.
If you are renting, would buying a place save you money? Buying a place does have tax breaks, but if you are going to take the standard deduction anyway, they won't help you. The best way to save money on a place you live in is to live in an inexpensive place. So your intuition about buying a property and renting it out might make sense if you are living in an inexpensive rental, yet can buy a property and rent it out for more. But again, owning property is a far bigger entry than buying shares, so you should build up enough equity so you can handle your tenants not paying you for a few months before you buy something. And buying out of state seems like a management headache. It might also be a taxation headache. You might have to pay income tax in that state, dramatically complicating your taxes! Good luck
Thank you so much for your help.
I was looking at distressed properties in which I would be paying cash. I thought the money I had was enough but I see that there really is no way for poor people to get ahead. I have some stocks but I wanted to give my money an actual chance to grow for my children. A rental would give my children "passive" income and pass on to any potential grandchildren.
My rent is 4 figures and is actually inexpensive for where I live. I tried to buy a home years ago when my son was small. I was told that as a single mom, since I would have to take time off if my son got sick, EVEN THOUGH I HAD SICK LEAVE AT MY JOB, that they would not sell to me. That was over 20 years ago and never looked at a home since. Now my son is married and on his own and my daughter is 15. So that can't be used as an excuse anymore for me to buy.
I live 12 to 15 hours driving time from the other state. I would hire a management company. A friend owns a construction company and we've already started talking costs to rehab and possible loans (I know) to obtain. The 5 years of back taxes I'm also able to pay.
All of that being said, I'm going to refer to your answer during my research phase. Again, thank you so much for your thorough answer. My next carrot cake will be in your honor. 😊
Never give up. There is no question that the best way to get rich is to have a rich parent who can give you a leg up. But if you have the desire, and the will, you can improve your situation. I think Minority Mindset really captures a lot of it.
A lot of people overspend, and Jaspreet spends a lot of his effort trying to convince them not to. But it's hard. I personally am an overeater, but eating and spending are similar in the sense that you can't go cold turkey -- you have to eat, and you have to spend money, so you can't just lock yourself away and not do it. So you have no choice but to learn moderation.
Let me give you some ideas. All will involve some kind of sacrifice to get where you want to be. None are easy.
The biggest single cost we all have is housing. You said you are a single mom, and that means you are shouldering this burden alone. I can't find you a life partner, but if you have single friends in the same boat, suppose you start talking to them about changing your lives. Could you move in with someone and share expenses?
These kind of sacrifices are tough, but it's important to realize it's not forever. You could partner with a close friend, share an apartment. That would mean half the rent, half the utilities, half the internet. That's huge. If you both save your money, you could follow Jaspreet's example and form an LLC, and the two of you buy a place to rent together. Figure out how much money you would save living with someone else. You could get a group together, but the more people, the harder it is to keep it together.
Another idea, and again this can be very difficult in our culture, is to live with one of your children. In our culture we want to move out and do our own thing, but notice that immigrants live together in big non-nuclear families. That's partly necessity, and partly cultural. But it's very, very efficient. You may not always get along with your kids, but they are your blood, you probably have each other's backs. If you can work out how you let your children run their own lives and not try to "mother" them, and you can live together, then it's possible you can build wealth faster.
Obviously, if you partner with someone, you are taking a risk. They have to keep up their end, and you need to work out what happens if the partnership breaks up. You should work out the terms in advance. Jaspreet is always saying he's not your lawyer, but if he really wants to do a service to poor people, he could draft a sample agreement like this....
What else can you do?
The second biggest expense in most people's lives is a car. Many people need a car to get to work. Can you arrange your life so you live in a nice place where you have public transport? Of course, right now that's not too popular with COVID.
Cable TV is a huge expense, and it's kind of a waste. But I realize a lot of people like their TV a lot. Again, if you live with people that's not nearly as big a deal.
The stock market right now is sky high, and bond yields are starting to rise so it's in danger of coming down 20-30%. So of course that adds to your problem. But If you save money in a big way, and start investing it, it will grow eventually. Buying an index fund is good general advice. But the market is super high, so it could go down 20% first, slowing you way down. If you want to try to minimize your risk, you can try to buy individual stocks. That's tricky because you can pick badly. I have some suggestions.
First of all, as a beginner, don't get fancy. Buy solid, boring companies which are bringing in a lot of money relative to their stock price. The important metric is called P/E ratio. Apple is a great company. Tesla is a great company. But they are so great that lots of investors got really excited and bid up the price of the stock to ludicrous proportions. This week Tesla went from $670 to $607 to $708 to $690, a wild ride. The company is making money, but not enough to justify the crazy price of 1200 times earnings. With a P/E ratio of 20, every year the company is making 5% of it's price, so in 20 years if nothing else changed it would be worth double. In practice it's not that simple. Companies can be doing well and growing, or doing badly and shrinking. You have to do "due diligence"
But you can start by planning to save money and watching some stocks:
XOM (Exxon Mobile)
TU (a canadian telecom stock)
NLY (A real estate company)
GE (General Electric)
Verizon is really boring. Go to bigcharts.com, and look at what it has done for the past 10 years.
It goes up and down. Often with no reason at all. It has a yield of 4.3% That means if you own this stock, it pays you 4.3% every year. It is pretty high now. It might come down, or it might not. I don't know. But you don't have to buy it. Look at Exxon Mobile (XOM). Right now, oil is cheap, so Exxon stock is down. But as the pandemic declines, and the summer approaches, oil prices will go up. They will make more money and the price of XOM will go up. It also pays a nice dividend. Can you own Exxon forever? Well, as electric cars become more popular there will be less gasoline sold. So investing is not something you can just do once and forget. You need to be prepared to look at your holdings every month or every week and decide to sell, or keep them.
A REIT is a share of real estate. NLY rents out properties and pays a high dividend 10%. I don't fully understand how stable their business is, and it might not be great. GE is a company that was great, really fell on hard times, but is a leader in some areas like big windmills. It is coming back. It doesn't pay much of a dividend right now.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) is Warren Buffet's company. He owns an insurance company that makes lots of cash, and uses that cash to buy other businesses. His company has done better than the S&P 500 for most years in the last 40. Of course he's 90, but he has a capable team set up so it's not all him. If you buy BRKB, it does not pay a dividend, but in 10 years it will probably more than double, perhaps quadruple. And it's not bid up. It's P/E ratio is 14. Also, he owns so many smaller companies that it's sort of like a mutual fund, it's not just one thing.
If you hold onto stocks for 1 year or more, when you sell the first $10,000 in profit is taxed at 0%. As long as you hold stocks for more than 90 days, the dividends are taxed the same way. So if you can build up a portfolio of $10,000 of stocks like VZ, that will pay you $400 a year tax free. Use that money to buy more. When you have $40,000 you will have $1600 a year.
Building wealth is not going to happen overnight. This is not a lottery ticket. Which by the way is one way the poor waste their money. Desperation does horrible things to you. You want a shot at riches, ok when the lottery is $150mm, buy one ticket. But if you are buying $5/week, that's a huge waste of money. Invest it.
I hope this helps. You want to help your children. The best way is to work with them to start saving more. The best way to get them to save more is by your example. If you save together, you can buy a place eventually. Maybe by the time they are 50, they can be in a much better place. I'm sure this isn't very satisfying. I wish I had a quick easy answer for you. Certainly for your grandchildren, education is key. When my grandparents got here, they would sacrifice everything to send one kid to college. They had to become an engineer, or a doctor or a lawyer. Huge pressure. My parents were a teacher and a librarian. They were professionals, but not doctors or lawyers, not making a lot of money. They got me through college without debt, a lot easier back then. Because I had education I was able to earn a lot more than they did and today, when college is very expensive, and the world is crowded and a lot tougher environment, I can give my son a lot more help getting started. But while I could help him buy a place right out of college, he has learned the power of saving money, and he will have roommates at first, because that way he can save a lot of his salary and invest.
Once my people (Jews) became wealthier, their kids had less pressure to succeed on their own. If you give your teenager too much money, they seem to lose pressure to be productive, but at least their parents could help them get started. Today you see immigrant groups like Indian and Chinese do the same thing 30 years ago that we Jews did 100 years ago. What do they tell their kids? You have to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer (or today, computer programmer). I am a professor at an engineering school. At a graduation a couple of years ago, a colleague who is Indian told me that when he came to the US for college, he had a full scholarship at Georgia Tech. Before he got here, his father pulled him aside and told him: If you lose this scholarship, we can sell everything, mortgage the house, and we can keep you going for one more semester. Don't screw up" He told me he studied his butt off. He was terrified that he would fail and that his father would liquidate everything he owned just to keep him in school. Today, there are Indian and Chinese families who are ultra wealthy sending their kids to my school. I see cars in the parking lot costing $100k or $150k. You know what, many of those kids no longer have the drive to succeed. I find the most critical thing is not to tell your kids that the most important thing is to be rich. You tell them the most important thing is education and to save money. If you teach them those two things, the wealth will come.
Jaspreet should be an inspiration to everyone. His parents came with nothing and worked so he could be a lawyer. It took a generation. If you are starting now, see what you can do. Save your money, and start looking at real estate. Find out how much you can borrow. Figure out what you will need to buy a place, and start looking around your area. That way, when there is a crash, you will be positioned to buy. You might be pleasantly surprised, there might be bargains eventually. But not only do you need money, you need to be prepared with the knowledge of how not to get ripped off. So watch a lot of Jaspreet's videos, and if your goal is to buy a place, work towards that goal.
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