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Down but not out
Old 09-19-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
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Down but not out

Greetings. I'm new here. I've been retired for 8 years. We have gone through bankruptcy (2010), moved from Oklahoma (4 years and a disaster) back to Florida (arrived flat broke).

The news is not all bad. I'm sure you're tired of reading about sad stories from people who managed to screw up an otherwise decent life. I'll try to be brief.

I'm kinda searching for an investment vehicle that will allow us to invest $100 a month, for about , well, as long as it goes, but say, 2 years. We live on $3500 a month retirement income (SS and a government pension, combined income). We live in a very nice 55+ mobile home community, where the people are friendly and caring. That matters.

Most of our neighbors are financially secure. We seem to be the rare ones living on the razors edge. I don't mean to seem ungrateful. I'm not. We are very fortunate to have found the home we have and the living circumstances. We could be living out of a car.

So we live from retirement check to retirement check, hoping the hurricanes will stay away because our insurance pays next to nothing.

But we can scrape about $100 a month to invest. Long term, if people in their 70s and late 60s dare to think long term, we'd like to generate some kind of additional income. At our ages, investing seems to be the only option. We are both in very good health.

We're not expecting to get wealthy investing $100 a month anytime soon. But it would be good if we could generate any kind of income down the road.

Fantasyland, or is there a way? Appreciate your input.

Wes
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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Wes, do a forum search on Wellesley and Wellington. Both are Vanguard balanced funds with low expense ratios. Not sure what minimum investment is needed for either fund - you may need more than $100 to get started.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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Congratulations on keeping up your spirits under difficult circumstances. My idea is that short of hugely good luck, investing is unlikely to do much for you. Saving, OTOH, could be very important. Build your cash balances, and be prepared for when you may need that cash.

Your pensions and SS will never go away, no matter what may be on the horizon, you will get continue to get full value. So overall, living where and how you do you will likely be fine. Are you both on Medicare?

Ha
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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Congratulations on keeping up your spirits under difficult circumstances. My idea is that short of hugely good luck, investing is unlikely to do much for you. Saving, OTOH, could be very important. Build your cash balances, and be prepared for when you may need that cash. Your pensions and SS will never go away, no matter what may be on the horizon, you will get continue to get full value. So overall, living where and how you do you will likely be fine. Are you both on Medicare? Ha
I think you need money in the bank, too. Good advice in Ha's post.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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Save six months of living expenses in the bank and then we can talk about investing.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:57 PM   #6
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Given your financial situation and potential to need the cash you are setting aside, I really think your only choice is a savings account. Something like the offerings from Ally will get you close to 1%, and give you total safety and easy access should that hurricane happen. 1% is almost nothing, but these are the times we live in.
Also think about this..What happens when one partner passes on? Will there be pension adjustments and or social security changes? Regardless of the answer, I don't think you have any option but to stay 100% safe with your savings. Best of luck..
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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I agree with saving up an emergency fund as a priority.

You might also want to ask for advice here or on some of the forums with very thrifty types, Mr. Money Mustache and Extreme Early Retirement, on ways to possibly trim your expenses further. Many posters on the other two forums seem to have similar household incomes or less to yours and manage to save a fair bit each month, so they might have some suggestions for you.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:45 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum from someone who graduated from Titusville HS in the class of 1970. The best thing I can say about Titusville today is that it is a very inexpensive place to live.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:05 AM   #9
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Hi and welcome to the forum from another newbie. I think you should check out the forums and the blog of Mr. Money Mustache as daylatedollarshort suggested. Lots of inspiration and good advice there.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:51 AM   #10
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You say, "At our ages, investing seems to be the only option." But you also say, "We are both in very good health." So is finding some employment, even part-time/low wage, an option at all?
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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I'm agreeing with the consensus. A part time job for either of you would be hugely helpful, and you definitely need some savings, rather than investments. Just plain vanilla savings to start, and maybe CDs after that if you can find some good rates.
But this is money you need to have access to, not leave in the market, so regular mutual fund investing would not be a good idea.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
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You say, "At our ages, investing seems to be the only option." But you also say, "We are both in very good health." So is finding some employment, even part-time/low wage, an option at all?
I hesitated to mention that in my earlier post because I assume living in a retirement area in Florida competition for part-time jobs is fierce. But if a local job is not possible, there are realistic ways to making a little extra money working at home with an Internet connection, like taking photos and placing them on some of the stock photography sites for potential royalty income, writing articles for web publishers, being a virtual administrative assistant, or making crafts and selling them on Etsy. One of my friends works from home as a paid forum moderator for some big brand product.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:59 PM   #13
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Wes;

Just wondering. How carefully are you tracking your expenses? Do you already know exactly where every dollar is going? Things like eating out "now and then" can really add up.

Also, wishing/hoping/praying are pretty useless as supplemental storm insurance, as you probably know from your time in Oklahoma. After all, plenty of churches get blown away or burned down. I would say that your first job, before investing, is to put away an emergency fund.

Take care,

Amethyst

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Originally Posted by WesNathan View Post
So we live from retirement check to retirement check, hoping the hurricanes will stay away because our insurance pays next to nothing.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:08 PM   #14
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Very good health with a $3500 secure income. I don't think your living on the edge at all. As other have said save your excess cash and relax.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:12 PM   #15
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If you want to try to free up more money each month for an emergency fund, you might want to check out some urban homesteading sites for some unique ideas, like this one -

The Urban Homestead at a Glance | The Urban Homestead® - A City Farm, Sustainable Living & Resource Center, A Path to Freedom towards Self-Sufficiency

Even if you don't go full scale, you could probably cut expenses quite a bit just by picking and choosing some of the ideas that might fit in with your current lifestyle.
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