Common Sense Living

Do you own a piece of America? Or do you just work here?

After spending 20 or 30 years in a career, there is nothing worse than the feeling one has, when they realize the American dream is not being realized.

You bust your butt every day, get up at the crack of dawn, work overtime, only to come home stressed and see a meager balance on your bank statement.  “Why can’t I ever get ahead?” you ask.  Then you start comparing your lifestyle against that of your neighbors or coworkers.  In most cases, they pretty much have a similar standard of living, so you think all is well.  But your gut is still not satisfied.

There IS a better way!

You see, America is a “capitalist” system.  Those who own the capital, those who own businesses, are the ones who are rewarded with the rich profits.  You might be able to make a good living with a professional career, but the real riches go to those who own a piece of America, and not to those who just work here.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make a lot of money to own a piece of America.  Our capitalist system divides up ownership of companies into “shares”, and you can purchase those on the stock market exchanges through a stock broker.   I like to use online “discount brokers” who charge as little as $5.oo to purchase shares of a company.  Such brokers may include Charles Schwab (http://www.schwab.com) or E*TRADE (http://www.etrade.com).  They are easy to work with and are reputable firms, and they offer lots of online education and help to the novice.

The company you work for may offer a 401k retirement plan, which is another way to purchase shares of companies.  A 401k plan will pool your money with others also contributing to the 401k plan.  These plans offer multiple advantages including income tax deferment and diversification, where all your money is not invested in shares of a single company (in case that company falls on hard times).

Most financial professionals recommend allocating no less than 10% of your gross income to own a piece of America.  I know of folks who were really aggressive and set aside as much as 50% of their gross income to purchase shares of stock.  These people saw retirement by the time they were 40!  They may have lived a meager lifestyle early on, and may have been criticized for being “cheap”, but I doubt anyone looks at them negatively now!

Don’t let the American dream pass you by.  Set aside part of your paycheck to own a piece of America, to buy shares of stock.  Over time, your investments will paying you more than your own work does!

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