Finances

Who Do I Think I Am, Wanting to Get Rich?

The past few days have been filled with tormenting thoughts. Just who in the hell do I think I am, trying to get rich? Even though my goal is simply to become financially secure, to have enough money to be safe in the event I ever have to stop working again, the thought torments me just the same.

Think about it: I’m an uneducated, dirt-poor single mother probably suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome as I listen to my daughter discuss her plans to marry and move away. I bring home about $600 a month in a minimum wage job. Last month I received a whopping $84 in book royalties yet here I am, studying my ass off as I work to come up with a plan to spin that paltry amount into enough money to provide a living wage to prepare for a point in the future where I wouldn’t have to work.

I mean, I’ve ran the numbers. It would take $500,000 at 1.5% interest (my current savings account rate) to generate $7,500 a year annual income. That amount would bring in less than $600 a month income after taxes ($625/month pre-tax). I can’t even¬†conceive of having $500,000 in the bank, much less how to build up that type of money. There is no way on earth I can just stick that $84 a month into a savings account and build it to that amount in my lifetime, much less in a shorter amount of time.

If I took part of that $500,000 and invested in a cheap home for me, that would eliminate my rent expense, however. When the kid moves out I will have to pay the whole amount of $250 a month for rent. Using that as a base number (since the kid leaving is inevitable), if I continued to pay $250 a month to myself after I had a house that was paid for, the gap between where I am and what I want to do gets a bit easier to manage. If I reserved $100 a month of that amount for property taxes, repairs, and maintenance, I would then have another $150 a month to invest.

That would allow me to save a total of $234 a month towards my goal of being financially secure when combined with my monthly royalty payments, provided they stay steady.

But there’s a big whopping problem with that scenario: I’d have to find the money to buy a house in the first place. I don’t have a large amount in savings aside from the $1,000 pillow I keep in my checking account for emergencies. That is not near enough for what I would need to start that plan.

So who the hell do I think I am, getting the high-falutin’ notion of becoming rich? The odds against me are so astronomical I cried myself to sleep last night just thinking about it. It’s no wonder so many people in my situation don’t even try.

Okay, I’ve had my rant. It’s time to suck it up and move on. I don’t have to worry about the end point right now; all I have to do is focus on the Baby Steps. I can do this.

I hope.

 

18 Comments

    • Annie

      Thank you so much for the links Erin, as well as the vote of confidence! Who knows..maybe one day Oprah WILL discover me. Anything can happen!

  • Anna Wood

    Is trying to find a way to support yourself “getting rich”? Or is it simply showing wisdom? I have been very blessed by your writings and your story for quite a few years now. I believe that you are very wise to seek to find ways to grow your income. No, you probably won’t ever get rich but you, through research and work, can find a way to make things better for yourself. That is wise. I know you said that you didn’t want to promote your books aggressively because you didn’t want to take advantage of those who are struggling financially–the very people who might buy your books. BUT–by having your books out there and, yes, even by promoting them, you are simply making your hard won wisdom available to those who truly need it. Plucking down a few dollars to learn things that can save you quite a lot of dollars is, in my opinion, worth it. In my case, it took me several months of buying one of your books here and one there to be able to afford them but I was never disillusioned by them. They were a help and an aid to me each and every time. I say that to say this: Maybe there are more books in you or, if not, there are still those who might want the books you have already written if they only knew of them. Walking down a difficult path way and turning and extending a hand helps those behind you as well as helping the one who is slightly ahead. Whatever you do–investing, writing, or something else–may you be blessed as you have been a blessing. My prayers are with you.

    • Annie

      Hi Anna!

      I guess I consider it “getting rich” because compared to how I’ve lived for most all of my life it is. And that’s okay. My viewpoint will change as I continue to change.

      I’m rethinking a bit on the promotion aspect of my books. Just watching my kid actually DIG through them for tips as she plans her wedding and whatnot as well as all of the comments I’ve received are making me wonder. I would LOVE for knowledge of them to grow organically, as the word spreads, so who knows? I’ve changed my positions before, perhaps I will again. I promise to think long and hard about this.

  • Linda Sand

    You are a wonderful woman who deserves to be able to support yourself in your old age as well as now. I also agree with Anna Wood–helping those coming behind you is an excellent thing to do so getting the word out about your books is a good thing.

  • Karen

    Annie, dear Annie…you have changed lives with your writing and your books. You can do the same for you to create a safety and security net. Baby steps. You will figure out what is best for you. I can not begin to find the words to tell you how much your open sharing of your life has impacted mine. I would suggest reading and doing the 9 steps in the old version of the book Your Money or Your Life. Skip the new version -the old original version is better.

    • Annie

      I LOVE that book Karen! It’s on my shelf as I write this. I haven’t posted about it yet, but I’ve been doing the steps in that book for a bit now. Thanks!

  • Jimmy

    You are absolutely right, focus on the baby steps. The only way to accomplish anything is to start by doing what you can, no matter how little, right now. Then keep doing what you can. Truly the hardest part is overcoming the inertia and starting. This is especially true when the end goal or big picture looks so large as to seem impossible. Of course it’s easy to say this and harder to apply it , inertia is funny that way. But I’m rooting for you. I know you can do it and I appreciate the reminder that there are areas in my life where I need to push past my inertia. Thank you!

    • Annie

      Aww thank you Jimmy! You just made me smile, and I really needed that. Sending a big hug your way!

  • EcoCatLady

    When I was in college – which at this point was a lifetime ago – I took a class taught by a visiting professor from India. One day we walked into the classroom and written on the chalk board was: The Caste System in India and America.

    Many of my classmates were livid at the mere suggestion that anyone would dare to suggest that we have anything resembling a fixed hierarchy of social classes here in the good old US of A, the land of the “free”. But the little professor from India persisted, and his lecture that day has stuck with me all these many years later.

    When you really think about it, the vast majority of Americans never really question the norms and expectations of the class into which they were born. It’s like we all silently accept and follow a set of rules that we don’t even realize exist. And that keeps people trapped – whether their assigned role is to work a minimum wage service job, or to march along with the corporatocracy, working 80 hour weeks and spending tons of money on a bunch of crap they neither want nor need.

    OK, sorry for that long diversion, but I think maybe part of what you are experiencing is the fear and uncertainty that goes along with trying to step out of the role that society has put you in. But here’s the thing: investments, home ownership, financial security – these are not advantages that are somehow reserved for people in the upper classes, they’re tools that the upper classes use to maintain their advantage over everyone else in society.

    But you’ve already taken a huge step forward. You’ve realized that you can put some of those tools to work for yourself. And you actually have an enormous thing working for you already – you know how to live on a shoestring, so you don’t need anything approaching the amount of income that most people do.

    So hang in there and don’t give up. It’s not going to be easy, and not everything you try is going to work out – some things will be complete failures. But there are many, many ways to generate passive income beyond the miniscule amount of interest that the banks pay out. You’ve already discovered one of them: royalties. And you’re dipping your toes into another: investments. But there are plenty more out there – you just have to keep looking for them. Maybe you could buy a duplex instead of a house and live in half while you rent the other half out. You have a lot of technical skills – maybe you could design some sort of smartphone app and bring in money that way. The possibilities are endless once you change your mindset a bit.

    So hang in there and don’t give up. If you want a bit of inspiration, check out a book called “The simple living guide” by Janet Luhrs. It’s very dated by now, but it really helped me when I was setting out on this path. I especially liked the section where she profiled a bunch of different people who were living financially independent lives, because each of them had taken a completely different approach, and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Some others that I found very helpful were “Your Money or your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin, and “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. You can probably get all of them from the library or for a few bucks used on Amazon.

    Big Hugs…

    • Annie

      Hi EcoCatLady!

      I LOVE those books you’ve mentioned. Devoured them, actually. And your professor was right–lower socioeconomic classes are taught how to stay in their assigned class, not how to escape. The more I read about the differences, the more I become convinced of that.

      Like so often in my life I will make mistakes but the trick is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. I’ll figure this out eventually. At least I know how to obtain the knowledge I need…and I have the stubbornness to keep pursuing it.

      Sending hugs!

  • Cam Coogan

    Working to save $500K definitely looks overwhelming and nigh impossible when your income is $600 a month. I am not sure how old you are and how many more years you plan on working. More and more people are planning to work until they are dead. But there’s the possibility, as you mentioned, that you may, one day, no longer be able to work but you’re still very much alive. What then, as you ponder your dilemma. IMHO, your best bet would be to increase your hours to full-time or increase your book sales income to the equivalent of that and then take advantage of investing consistently and steadily over time to take advantage of the power of ‘compounding’ that in those Vanguard index funds your readers are recommending. Invest as much as you can- you have already accomplished what many fail to do and that is to learn to live as frugally as possible. As far as buying a house- again, IMHO, owning a home is a potential money-suck. You can beat the rent you pay in the ‘hood. Maybe you have heard this story but in case you haven’t, here is an article about a man named Ronald read- a lifetime janitor who left an $8 million fortune. Oh, and by the way, you are a self-educated, strong single mother who has done a fantastic job in raising a wonderful young woman while helping others by sharing your knowledge and experience through your writings. I thank you for all that I have learned from you.

    • Annie

      Thanks Cam. I will definitely check Ronald out! Right now I’m still exploring my options. I learned a long time ago not to set too many plans in stone. Anything can happen.

  • Lyn

    Hi Annie,
    I do understand that change is not easy and that it is easy to be overwhelmed at times.

    If you are never rich in your life, isn’t that still ok? I mean, really, not everyone is. I believe in being a realist. I don’t think I will ever achieve that either, and it’s ok. I’m good with it.

    Perhaps you need to work on your mindset a bit? A defeatist attitude never helps any of us. It’s ok to have those moments, but we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and keep moving forward.

    You have received a lot of good advice. And much appreciation for all you have done in your writings and in your life. As far as your daughter moving on, you knew this was coming. So why not make this a positive time in your life? It is not the end of the world because you will be on your own. You still have your daughter. She is alive, healthy and well.

    I agree that promoting your books and writing more will be of help. Why not further what you have already accomplished?

    You can do this, Annie.

    • Annie

      Thank you for your kind comments Lyn! I tend to write what I feel, when I feel it. Just like everyone else, I have down days. Thank you for sharing some very valid points.