I have been trying to reason out the best way to move forward financially.
I am not a man who is financially well versed. I (somewhat) understand the logic of how to earn money and the (overall) investment categories of savings, investments, real estate, and "things" (be they precious metals or other investments). I am at best an unsure investor because, truth be told, I have a very low tolerance of risk - in my world, savings would yield 8% a year and that would be great.
I am trying to think towards a future of some sort, a future that does not involve me doing what I do now.
I will be honest in that we have had some luck (more through dumb luck than my planning) in retirement accounts - it is nothing to get truly excited about (on paper and all), but for the first time in a long time we have something that resembles a net worth. Combined that with a very fortunate home purchase (literally, the last year we could have bought in this market) and maybe - just maybe - we have something to build on.
But that is just it - at best, it is just something to build on. Now I am trying to figure out how to build on that
1) Keeping putting into the retirement account - yes, as long as it continues to get me a tax break and I have a match. Free money (or effectively free money) is not to be scorned. In terms of investments, mine are simple and uncomplicated - and so far, seem to be doing okay. But this is a long term strategy at best.
2) Savings - I like savings. I like seeing money in the old bank account. I like having a small stock of it at home, "just in case". But frankly, I might as well just keep it at home - at best, I get nothing (literally) for having my money in the bank and even worse, I am watching the value of it being eaten away day by day (thanks, non-extant inflation which actually exists).
3) Other investments - I have a very small investment account, one of those micro-accounts, which I have invested with a very small weekly amount over the last two years. My ability to pick actual value is, well, bad. I am not matching the market at all. And the difficulty with stocks is that they are not liquid.
4) Real Estate - Yes, I sold real estate. I understand the various ways that it creates cash flows for you. At the same time, I understand the amount of debt it generates as well - and is another non-liquid investment in case of emergency.
I exclude from this the home we live in, of course - my only question here is how much to accelerate paying it off, which is an outcome of how long we are here. Or perhaps we hold it as a college home for Nighean Bhean
, who is going to school here (and frankly, the house payment will be cheaper than the dorm!).
5) "Things" - This can include many things, from Precious metals (which I sort of understand, except the people that sell them promote them so heavily and seem to have such a high overhead that it makes me wonder) to other items that will hold their value (firearms, for example, would fall into this category. Swords, sadly, not so much). Things are hard to predict though, and can be prone to loss, damage, and having to be moved multiple times.
So there you have it. Five options, all of them inherently burdened with some level of risk or lack of desirability.
We are doing the other things, of course. Paying down debt (really, actually now making some significant traction on this. Hopefully by the end of this year or early next, we will be all but mortgage free). Working on reducing expenses. All of those sort of things.
But complacency is not the same as continuing to build towards the goal - in my case, not doing what I do. I think I will get there - I am just never really sure of the options, as there are no really good ones.