Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Money from Nothing – Part I

Back in the end of 1999, Stephen and I decided to build “TheWeirdcrap.com”.  We had no idea what to do with it at the time, but one feature we kept going for a good 16 years was our weekly blog (columns back then).  Around 2016 we just stopped.  We never became Internet stars or Internet millionaires.

Considering Google got their start around the same time, we seem to be a little behind.  Facebook came on the scene 8 years after we got our start, so yeah, you can pretty much say we are more Internet flops more than Internet sensations.  Maybe we didn’t try hard enough or maybe it was our business model, which doesn’t exist.

Despite our obvious failure, we decided recently to go ahead and start up our columns, only now times have changed.  Back in the day, finding strange stuff on the Internet was an oddity, and a website letting visitors contribute and write their own content was non-existent anywhere else (MyStrangeStories.com).  So back then we had a nitch and at our peak had about 1,000,000 visitors a month.  Unfortunately we never monopolized that popularity, never grew, and never made a dime. 
Such is life, but we’re back now.

Not so much with a vengeance, but like a kid who ran away from home and realized at 8pm he was hungry and slowly walked back home with his tail between his legs.

Back then we wrote about what we knew, which was getting drunk and getting into trouble.  But if you want to read about those crazy days, I encourage you to browse the archives.

Back in 1999, my wife was in college, I had a low paying job and we were living paycheck to paycheck. The website was on a free host (Angelfire) because he had no money to spare.  Since everything was hand coded, I did some weird stuff with the side columns switching them from right to left as you scroll…it looks very different.  You can take a look at our Amateur beginnings on TheWayBackMachine here: https://web.archive.org/web/20010420092607/http://theweirdcrap.com:80/c3.html.  But enough about the good ol’ days.

A few months ago the network news mentioned that the average American family could not afford an unexpected $400 expense.  I had no idea the average US family was doing so poorly.  An expense like that would’nt phase our family financially, but to other folks it would be unmanageable.  It’s just sad from my point of view.

Well I’m not stock market millionaire or anything, but we are comfortable.  Neither my wife or I have high paying jobs, yet we have a comfortable financial situation.  Much of that came with starting an investment portfolio, but there’s more to it than just that.  In the last 16 years since we went from renting in the Omaha ghetto to owning a nice home in Millard that’s about 3 times the size of our first house (and we pay less that the average 2 bedroom apartment in Omaha – I’ll cover how to do that later).

I don’t have a get rich scheme or even a guaranteed method to get financially comfortable as we have, but the changes started after deliberate and consistent changes.  So, with no guarantee to offer, I just want to share the steps that changed our lives and hope some folks benefit.

The name of the new column is basically what I did, made money from nothing.  I’ll explain what I did and why I think it worked.  I have nothing to sell, there’s no Internet course, no self help book, no get rich scheme, just sharing what worked for me…it’s all free!  Everyone’s situation won’t be exactly the same as mine, so you may not be able to do EXACTLY what I did, but you could modify the plan to fit your situation.  And since the claim of  “do this step, and you’ll get this result” has some liabilities, I decided to just share my real life experience.

I repeat, we are not rich and we don’t have high paying jobs; but despite that I should retire with about $1,000,000.00 in my 401k (if it continues to grow at the rate its grown for the past 10 years).  Likewise, should I loose my job today, I could cash it out, put the 401k money  in the same investments that I have now, and the yearly growth would be greater than my current salary.  So basically, faced with what should be a devastating turn of events, I’ll end up better off.  I also have a personal investment account that that can pay our mortgage for 2 years if I needed to cash it out.  So not rich, but comfortable and secure.  And that’s the way all people should be.

Here’s my theory, just a handful of people own large portions of over the counter businesses.  If more people get involved and benefit, the control of the few will lessen, or as Bernie Sanders would say the average taxpayer will finally get his fair share.  Personally I think a large majority of corporate leaders and crazy-rich are either psychopaths or idiots…so getting stock market voting decisions into the hands of normal people will be a good thing in the long run.

As mentioned before, I’m not selling anything.  So if you live in a community that employees people and has a stock exchange, I think you can copy what I have done… One warning, it takes time, and there will be the temptation to be less conservative, crazy, risky…don’t do it!  Most crazy overnight schemes just loose money.  We’re trying not to do that.

Before I go, I have to have my political say.  Trump saying Democrats are to blame for the federal child abuse that he enacted is like the drunk wife beating slob yelling, “You made me do this too you…” while he plummets the defenseless lady in the head.  Sorry, you dim-witted slob, it’s you…it’s all you.

So there you have it.  This is my introduction to my new series, “Money from Nothing”.  Sorry the chicks are never free!

And now you know.

Coming Next: The road map.

And now, my moment of ZEN: