Bear with me as I have a few posts to post. There's a lot I want to talk about. The first of which being money.
A friend of mine and I got into a discussion (aka heated debate) over stocks and the stock market in general. Many people have a love-hate relationship with the stock market, but still feel that the right stocks are a great investment. I, however, refuse to invest in the stock-market. I absolutely refuse.
There have been times that I've thought about it, but I have two fears: 1) That I would make some money and want to invest more (much like gambling). 2) That I would lose everything. I think the high you get from investing in stocks, the adrenaline rush that you're "taking a risk," and the thrill of actually making something (even if it's small) is just too much for me. I really don't even want to be one of those people who go through an investment firm, and use it as a retirement (slowly making money in a calculated manner). Again, the risk is just too great. I don't like gambling...I've seen the effects it can have, and frankly it's a little scary.
For me, I'm much more of an old-fashioned gal. If I could shout from the roof-tops I would shout "INVEST IN LAND!" I like having something tangible, something I know I could use. Land is like gold to me. It will never truly be worthless, because it can always be used for something...even if that use is just letting the dogs run wild.
I would invest in real estate if I had the money. A few houses, some basic property, heck I may even add money to this house if I had the funds. I could possibly be persuaded to invest in a business, but it would have to be one researched so solidly that I personally knew the owner and had eaten with his/her family...on more than one occasion. Do any of you understand what I'm getting at? I would invest in myself.
Instead of using MY money to invest in a business that OTHERS had created, I would invest it in me. A piece of land, a house, or even a car, with proper care can be more valuable than anything else. Yes, housing prices may plummet, and that house that was once worth $500,000 may only now be worth $250,000, but even that is better than nothing.
What else do I feel about money? If you ever get any, pay off all your debts...ALL OF THEM...first thing. Pay of the credit cards, pay off the loans, pay off that friend who loaned you $5.00 last week. The lack of stress from having them paid is amazing (who wants to pay off my home loan?), but even more so, you are, in fact, saving money by paying off sooner. Interest is a bitch, to put it plainly. Pay off that $10,000 in credit card debt, and you've probably saved yourself an extra $10,000.
Imagine being debt free, owning a home, a car, and lots and lots of land. The money you make may only be enough for basic bills...water, electricity, insurance, etc, and you may wonder what you're going to do for retirement. The options are endless. You could build on your land and rent places out (providing money for you and for future generations). You plant fruits and veggies and sell them at a farmer's market. You could sell everything and take the cash and run. You could give it all to your kids with the condition that they take care of you. You could do whatever you want!
Now, I can't tell you how to get out of debt. That's something for you to decide how to do. And I can't say that the stock market has been a terrible thing. Obviously, that would be a stupid and very misinformed statement. However, I can say that it's not for me. Maybe someday I'll change my mind. Maybe someday I'll have so much extra money, that the risk won't be as great or as scary. Maybe then I'd be willing to invest some of the extra, just for fun. Until then, I will NOT treat the stocks as my way of getting rich or getting out of debt. Stocks for me are not a career, they're like a night in Vegas...I'm only going to spend what I can afford to lose.