Simple is Always Better
The beginning of the year is usually filled with a holiday hangover from Christmas and the New Year’s Eve activities. I usually see a new years resolution in January and now in late February, those resolutions have gone to the wayside. In my past experience if the goal is to lose weight you might have read or convinced yourself to go to the gym 3 days a week, run 3 miles on off days then eat only chicken breast and broccoli, for you know the rest of your life. For the cubicle dweller that considers exercise to be walking down the block to get a latte from Starbucks (aka “Evil Empire”), this is not only too much to handle it’s complicated to follow such restrictions, stressful when you miss a day of exercise, and unrealistic to think that going from zero to hero is possible in just a few weeks. Now I am not the model of health and I don’t intend to pass on weight loss tips, but something I have learned about myself in health and fitness that leads to my financial post today, simple is always better. Recently I forgot this simple truth and today I wanted to confess, it’s hard to tell yourself simple is better, especially when it comes to your money and your life.
Not long ago we finished up our taxes and found out about our annual bonus and raises, I forgot about simple. With this new found money my mind shifted to the best and fastest way to make millions with a few dollars supplied by my IRS refund and my 9-5 job. Real estate is always in the forefront of my thoughts, but a small sum certainly isn’t going to buy in my neighborhood. But wait what about small town America I could put money down and collect rents till I’m old and have weird hair growing from everywhere. We own and have a mortgage on real estate already which makes up a large portion of our investment portfolio.
My mind immediately shifted to real estate as this is always in the forefront of my thoughts, but a small sum certainly isn’t going to buy a home in my neighborhood. But wait what about small town America I could put money down and collect rents till I’m old and have weird hair growing from everywhere. I lost myself in thought and shifting from small town America to more property management, fixing, flipping, and all the other items that go along with buying a home out of state. We own one house and have a mortgage on another which makes up a large portion of our investment portfolio. Do I really need to add another?
My mind took a brief spin over to REITs (stocks for real estate) and individual stocks for dividend investing, but this made me think of the amount of time I would spend researching stocks that I happily admit is not my strength. My deep dive only took a small amount of my day as I remembered through research that REIT’s are taxed differently and while I like the idea of dividend investing I am already putting money into my personal portfolio and my knowledge as a stock picker is equal to a monkey selecting my investment choices. Is the real answer here that I need to buy a stock picking monkey?
I wanted small money to turn into big money, what better way than to start your own business!!! While I asked Google what was the best business to start, so many of the answers involved me busting my a** to start a business. Don’t get me wrong I like work, but between my 9-5, rental real estate, side hustle on eBay, and occasionally writing on this blog, I am not exactly looking for another 40 hours a week business to add to my life. I started thinking can’t I just give my money to someone and they make money for me?
That’s when I realized that’s the answer, it was the simple answer but it was the right answer as well. The simple answer is to invest in an index fund and watch it build over time. The idea of “get rich quick” is the most complicated answer there is and that’s what I was trying to find. It took me awhile, like the new year’s resolution that is unattainable, to realize simple is always better. Next time I am looking to complicate my life with new investments and piling hours and hours of potential work on my plate I’m going to come back to this post and remember, SIMPLE IS ALWAYS BETTER.
I use Personal Capital to make my life easier. I used to login to each bank account online and put each transaction in my own excel sheet. Now I track all of my income, expenses, and investments in one place with Personal Capital. Personal Capital acts as motivation for me as I see my net worth increase or a gentle reminder on my asset allocation and where they recommend I put my investments. I get fancy graphs, top notch technology driven data, and a clear picture of where I am at today, where I was in the past, and projecting my future. Sounds like an infomercial I know, but seriously I use Personal Capital as my primary source in tracking the overall picture of our finances. I recommend signing up because the whole thing is FREE and I believe once you get all of your financial data into one place to see how it works and what it looks like, I think you just might be impressed*.
*If you sign up with Personal Capital I could be compensated. It’s all about keeping the lights on here at Even Steven Money so we appreciate your help because we are afraid of the dark.