Want to start off thanking President Trump, Bernie Sanders and national Democrats, such as my U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. All rejected the “slap in the face” $600 COVID19 relief check Congress appropriated for millions of Americans. All support financial assistance of $2,000 instead.
GREEDY Republican Grinches continue to demand $600 of minimal help. Notably, president-elect Joe Biden, his sidekick, Kamala Harris, and Hillary Clinton still say nothing. Warned you about voting for wealthy, privileged people like ’em.
Local connection, KB ThaHustlah, urges friends to use the money to get a new tattoo. The $600 won’t pay for your rent, so instead spend it on something that will be worth little in a short amount time. May be cool or fun; not good financial advice. This is why so many Americans are struggling. They consume rather than investing in their future.
On the other hand, my long-time teammate #34, Kevin England, current mayor of Chubbuck, Idaho, uses his social media platform to educate families about making better financial planning decisions. He was a leader on our championship teams in high school; he continues responsible leadership today for those in his community. This guy is always giving to others!
Anyone can spend their money on a tattoo or video game, but investing in one’s future takes planning and vision — as well as patience and discipline.
One of my ‘ohana here on island is a Lyft/Uber driver and semi-retired. We’ve both pursued 8-to-5 type traditional careers and focused heavily on investing for our Golden Years. We spend a lot of time discussing finance, stock opportunities or new business ventures.
He mentioned recently how his father and White family culture consider it important to teach their children about investing and planning for retirement. In his opinion, this is a major difference between Black folks and families of color. They do not devote as much time to educating their children how to build wealth. The results are clear in the graphic below.
How To Spend $600 or $2000
The biggest investment for most American families is their home. Rather than lose $1,500 per month renting an apartment, put some money down, purchase a home, and pay “rent” each month to yourself. Hey, you’ve just started your first business.
As an example, when my wife and I were married in 1998, we bypassed a fancy, costly wedding. My wife is a traditional girl. She had dreamed of a large gathering, big church wedding most of her life. She instead married Mr. Practical. It was a tough decision for her. She loved me quite a bit to sacrifice. Looking at our finances today, she says she loves me even more.
We pooled the money we would have spent on the wedding with our limited life savings and gave ourselves a wedding present: we bought a home. Value was about $150,000 at the time. It’s now worth over $250,000.
Rather than handing a check to a distant landlord, we’ve been paying ourselves each month for over 20 years. We also enjoyed taking care of the lawn, planting seasonal flowers, and working together on minor home DIY projects. We’ve made $5,000 per year in home value and live “rent-free.”
The second way to increase wealth in America is to invest in the stock market. This is a confusing and challenging task. If you’re starting out, it’s best to speak with a professional financial advisor or trusted friend or relative. Technically, investing in stocks in “legal gambling.”
For example, had we invested $1,000 in Amazon stock in 2000, it would be worth nearly $50,000 today. We actually considered buying some AMZN, but the company was losing so much money at the time that we passed. Instead, I invested in a stock considered to be a “blue chip” of America — General Electric (GE). Our stock today is worth less than 1/10 of what we initially paid.
Thankfully, I didn’t invest heavily in GE. I was directing a research group while working on my PhD, and maintained a Mac/Apple lab. Both the software and hardware were amazing. Apple had a small, niche computer market at the time. Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, called it a “shitty, little company.” I really respected the vision of this unknown guy, Steve Jobs.
Apple stock didn’t cost much at the time. An investor could get quite a few shares for $600. I put in much, much more … not all at once. A little here and there, as we could afford. Told family members and friends also. I have a habit of investing in smart people. I bought a handful of Tesla (TSLA) shares years ago. It’s now worth ten times what we paid. Elon Musk continues to show signs of innovative genius. Bet on smart, creative people!
For many, this discussion is just words and numbers. Let me include some real figures so you can see how investing in yourself and America works. This is one of our financial accounts. We purchased 5,008 shares of Apple stock on seven (7) occasions. Total investment was about $25,000.
At today’s Market Value, our stock is worth about $661,000 — or a gain of $634,4040 since 1994. We also receive over $4,000 per year in stock dividends.
With your $600, you can buy about four (4) shares of Apple. There are thousands of companies to consider. Some stocks cost less than $20. Rather than a using your limited money for fancy dinners, eating out for lunch each day, designer coffees, coolest new sneakers, another unneeded t-shirt or even a beautiful tattoo, try investing in yourself and future.
We all like to buy new, shiny things. Certainly wouldn’t be fun to live our life simply by investing for tomorrow. As we wind down this most challenging of years and prepare for 2021, maybe balance is something we all should seek. For example, if the GREEDY Republican Grinches hold fast to the paltry $600 in assistance, consider investing $300 for your future while spending $300 on something fun (or needed) at this time.
For many of us, the REASON for the SEASON is Jesus. Giving to others in need, lending a helping hand or sharing your time can be far more important than a physical gift. Our closets are full of clothes and shoes. Our kids already have too many computer and video games. Go for a walk together, play a board game, do something to create a memory. Nobody will remember the t-shirt or new LeBron James sneakers. We all remember kindness forever.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”