Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to get seed money?

If you are a first timer, please read the following pieces first. It will provide you with important background information.
1. Why I created this blog?
2. How am I going to operate this blog?

I would like to tell my own story first. When I first landed on the most fortunate land on the world, I had $1, 000 borrowed money in my pocket. I was guaranteed about $1, 000 a month through a research assistantship. For the first two years, wealth building is simply not on my agenda. I improved my oral English, learned the culture and custom of the new land and saved. Saving money is part of my childhood training since there was never enough money flowing around in my family.

I began to realize I need to build wealth when I had a car accident five months after I landed my first job. I got a new car to transport me to work every day. My networth became negative between a car loan and a couple thousand dollars in my checking account. According to an old Chinese saying, troubles always follow one another while delight never comes in pairs. About four months later, my then employer lost a contract from a State government, rumors of layoffs flied around the workplace. I soon changed jobs.

The sense of insecurity and instability grabbed me. I lost several nights' sleep. I decided to establish my financial freedom. I saved more diligently and control my spending more rigorously. I had about $50K in 2003, five years after I came to the States. One year later, I have about $100K in saving and I began to buy stocks. By 2005, I had about $170K. Before the severe recession, I had about $400K in October, 2007. On the date of my writing this blog, I still had about $400K. Of course, I expect much more once the recession ends. Excluding taxes, I spend about $17K per year. You can see I no longer worry about layoffs since I can live on my savings until social security and medicare kick in.

As you can see, I got my seed money by saving. Saving is the most reliable source but may not be the quickest one. Now looking through the rare view mirror, I always wondered what if I used a little more leverage, LEAPs for example. I may have come to my current status quicker. But most people are risk averse when offered the opportunity to double his money or lose all of it. After two incidents I may lose my salary income (I had an experience I nearly lost my assistantship in the graduate school besides the layoff rumor), I became more risk averse. If I had known I would keep my jobs this long, I probably should have risked more money since my then salary should cover the potential loss easily.

For you, readers of my blog, how to get your seed money? I expect most of you should get through rigorously budgeting and saving. A small percentage of you may get it through gifts or inheritance. I expect extremely small percentage of you will get it through adding leverage in your portfolio.

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