Bob is my dad’s cousin. He lives in Brownsville, Texas in a humble house, furnished with furniture from the early 80s – original from when he moved in. The house, itself, has never been updated since then either. Bob owns a beach house on South Padre Island. I have fond memories of fun, family vacations staying at Bob’s beach house since the 80’s. And if you visit today, stepping in the house is like traveling back in time to the late 70’s because Bob has not made a single update. Bob shops at Walmart, wears modest clothes, rarely eats out, and just does not like to spend money. He calls it the “frugal gene” on that side of my family. But we all know he is just dirt cheap.
And that is why he is filthy rich.
He does not spend money.
Many years ago I recall riding in the backseat of the car with him in the passenger seat as my dad drove. Peaking over Bob’s shoulder, I inadvertently glimpse a piece of paper he was studying. It was just for a moment before he quickly pushed it deep into his front pants pocket, but I recall seeing the summary at the top. It was the monthly profit he took home from one of the apartment properties he owns.
I was stunned.
He made more in a month than I in a year.
The Self-Made Millionaires Do Not Spend
Since Bob did not spend money while young, he had been able to save money to invest in his construction business. The building industry goes through cycles, rotating between boom and bust. During dry times which lasted for years, he did not make a cent. Being frugal helped Bob survive the times of zero income.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon had used the same old table for his desk years after Amazon became a billion-dollar company. His frugal mindset was essential for bootstrapping his startup to success.
Same with the famous billionaire investor Warren Buffet who is renowned for his cheapness. In his book, The Snowball, he portrays an overly frugal life, still living in the same modest house (like Bob) he bought years ago. For years he wore the same, ill-fitting suit to Berkshire-Hathaway’s annual shareholder meetings.
Warren Buffet said he did not like spending because he knew the future value of the dollar. So, if a new suit cost him $100, and he knew he could turn that $100 into $10,000 by investing it in the stock market, then he did not see himself spending $100 for a suit – he saw that suit costing him $10,000!
Self-made millionaires have this frugal mindset.
So, for yourself, do not spend more than you have. Do not rack up credit card debt or buy a nice car – both are detrimental for future wealth! Yes, you may see me, the owner, driving nice car now. Though, it was not always like that. Talk to the ladies that have been here for 8 or more years. They will tell you about the old, beat-up Lexas I drove which I bought for around $7000. Before that I had an old, ugly green Lexas with hail damage when I had bought it for $4000 – ask Delfina.
When younger, while my friends were buying nice cars, my cars were humbler. Why pay that money in a depreciating asset when I could add it in my retirement fund and let it grow? Indeed, if had not been frugal, I would not have had the money to make Dallas Maids a success through those first few, tough years when I was losing buckets of money keeping it afloat.
How to Retire a Comfortably
The average stock market return is about 10% per year for nearly the last century. What does this mean? It means your money doubles about every 7 years if you buy large, well-established companies that you can be confident will still be here 40, 60, or 80 years from now. I will tell you how to pick the right stocks later. What you need to know now is that your money doubles every 7 years. This is called the miracle of compound interest. This is how you can retire comfortably.
Let’s do the math.
The average age for our Dallas Maids’ staff is 35, give or take a few years. So, let us say you are 35 and start investing in stocks through a Roth IRA (IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account), depositing $6,500 a year, the maximum allowed by a Roth IRA, for only 10 years.
Ok. Ok. You may be thinking “$6,500?! How can I save that much. I have kids to put through school, groceries to buy, lights to keep on”. Bear with me for a minute and let’s do some quick math…
Most of the cleaning staff at Dallas Maids make an average of $25 in tips per work day. So if you save only your tips for retirement, that is $25 times 5 days a week, times 52 weeks a year:
$6,500 a year.
Now on to more math.
Using the calculator at thecalculatorsite.com/finance/calculators/compoundinterestcalculator.php we find you will have $117,059.33 after 10 years:
$117,059.33 after 10 years of socking away $6500 in your Roth IRA. Not bad. But it gets much better.
Using the same calculator above, let us see what happens when you stop adding $6500 annually and just let compound interest do its thing for 22 more years until the retirement age of 67:
I know some of you are paying for your children’s higher education and that makes me profoundly proud of you! It is my hope you pass this info down to your kids so their financial future is more secure, too. After all, once their studies are complete they will have a chance to get a high paying job making it even more easy to save and invest for their retirement.
So, please pass this information on to them. Especially since your kids have a chance to invest early. This means they will make more money since most of the wealth is created during the latter years of compounding. For example, if your kid does the exact same thing at the age of 25 instead of 35, then they have an additional 10 years for a total of 42 years instead of 32 years:
$2,833,934.14 – nearly 3 times the amount!
That is the miracle of compound interest. That is how to retire comfortably.
Now, let us look at some more modest numbers for your Roth IRA. Most of you can save $270 a month. That would be $3,240 a year. If you deposited $3,240 annually until retirement, you would have:
Now, if you deposited $270 monthly instead of $3,240 annually, you would retire with:
Those more frequent deposits made you an additional $33,846.32. Not bad.
And if you stopped depositing money after 10 years instead of saving until retirement:
As you can see, the more you can invest earlier, allowing compound interest to work its magic, you will have more later. And if you can $250 per paycheck for 10 years, that equals the $6500.00 a year you need to retire with $1,046,875.03.
How to Make It Last in Retirement
Now, how long with a million dollars last?
Let us do some more math using the calculator mutualofomaha.com/calculator/how-long-will-my-money-last
If you withdraw $65,000.00 a year and increase the amount by 3% to keep up with inflation, then you should have enough money for 31 years, or until you reach the age of 98.
What if you live past 98? Lowering the starting amount to $60,000.00 should last you just past the golden age of 105.
How to Pick Stocks
Let us rewind a bit and talk about how to pick the right stocks. First, you will need a platform to easily set up a Roth IRA and buy stocks. I use eTrade.com for my Roth IRA. Its free to set up, free to buy stocks, and easy to use. You can click on https://refer.etrade.net/0wwccm to set up yours. Now, on to how to pick your stocks.
1) Buy What You Know
Before I began investing in stocks, I armed myself with knowledge reading books on how to invest. Some of the best advice I have ever read was in the book, “You Have More Than You Think” by David & Tom Gardner of The Motley Fool https://www.amazon.com/Motley-Fool-Foolish-Personal-Finance/dp/0743201744 and it was this: Buy what you know.
Look around in your bathroom. You may find some Johnson & Johnson products. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a good stock. What phone is in your purse? iPhone? Android? Both Apple (APPL) and Google (GOOGL) are amazing stocks to own. Where do you buy your clothes? Ross? Ross (ROST) is yet another great stock that has done well long-term. Just look at this:
All the products and services you use every day tend to come from large, well-establish companies that will most likely still be around in 40 or 60 years while growing at a steady rate.
2) Copy the Big boys
Warren Buffet. Ray Dalio. George Soros. These are some of the big-name investors whose portfolios I occasionally peek at. They have done the research. They have billions of dollars invested. They make good stock picks – their livelihood depends upon it! So, copy the big boys.
In 2010 I notice many of these big boys were betting on clean energy. After doing some research for myself, I saw they were right; clean energy will be more prevalent as oil disappears. Oil is a finite resource we know is running out. But I did not buy clean energy stocks. Rather, I thought to myself, “What industries would benefit from the demise of oil and the advent of clean energy?”
And that is what led me to buy Tesla Motors (TSLA) in 2011 at a stock-adjusted price of $1.60. As of this writing, it is at 161.43 – that’s 150x returns in 12 years!
So, watch what the big boys are doing to make good stock decisions.
Finally, whatever stocks you pick, make sure they are spread across different industries. You have heard of the old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Same with your investments. This is called diversification and it protects you by managing risk. If one stock’s industry experiences a crippling downturn, your stocks in other industries will better survive. So, avoid buying too many stocks in the same industry.
I recently read Ray Dalio’s book, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail. https://www.amazon.com/Changing-World-Order-Nations-Succeed/dp/1982160276 You can view his summary of the book in a video posted further down in this article. In his book, he predicts an economic calamity caused by where the United States is in an economic cycle he uncovered by studying history. He expects the stock market to crash along with intense political division and chaos that may very well foster a violent revolution in America. It does not bode well for us. Armageddon aside, he recommends buying gold and bitcoin along with other real assets such as real estate. Both keep their value in face of economic downturns and are untouchable y the government. I suggest buying bitcoin.
Cathie Wood is the founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest says it best: “Bitcoin is the first global private, meaning no government oversight, digital rules-based monetary system.” She means this is money not isolated to any one nation. The world can and is using it. No country can control it. There will only be 21 million Bitcoin. So, no government can print more of it, saving us from the devaluation of currency (The U.S. dollar has lost 95% of its value since its inception). Bitcoin has the potential, and probably will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency one day. Bitcoin is a new asset class. An investment like this does not come around often, if ever in a lifetime.
Add invaluable diversification to your investments.
Buy some Bitcoin now!
Ten years ago, I knew Tesla (TSLA) was going to disrupt the automotive industry. I felt strongly in its future potential and a prime stock to invest. Fortunately, I was right. Now I feel the same of bitcoin. Even more so. Remember my advice; Buy What You Know. So, before you buy, learn about Bitcoin. Educate yourself on its potential, then invest.
I will conclude this bit about bitcoin with a question:
Will bitcoin replace the dollar as the next reserve currency?
I don’t know with 100% certainty. No one does. Though I suspect the chances are higher than most realize. Two of the world’s most successful investors, Ray Dalio, co-chief investment officer of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates and Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, have spelled doom for the U.S. dollar due to the massive amount of money being printed and debt being accrued by the United State government. I will leave you with what they both have said in the following videos:
May This Help Secure Your Future
I hope you found this information useful. It is my sincere hope you begin saving for yourself and teach your kids a little about investing. They have an amazing opportunity because they have a chance to invest early, allowing compound interest to safeguard their financial future. And I especially hope you take advantage of Bitcoin’s disruption of the financial system. It has the potential to make you filthy rich like Bob.