CAPS Threw me a party and I didnt show: A special thanks and Reflection of 2010
I would like to give a special thanks to Starfirenv for putting up this thoughtful blog for me on my birthday.
Unfortunately I did not see it until last week because I was out of town on vacation that week and I had no access to internet. That also happened to be the same week my then boyfriend proposed to me. [I said yes =)]
Either way, when I saw that blog and comments I was touched. I really appreciate all the well wishes. This is truly a great community and I'm glad that I'm apart of it.
This year has truly been momentous for me. I went from being a single girl (dating), working a full time job, self managing my IRA, and running a side business; to making money off the commodities runup, while sitting unemployed trying to turn my side business to a full time business and planning a wedding. Wow.
I'm approaching all these things from a "grassroots" perspective. I don't have a lot of money but in all these things I must structure them as if I do have money (without going into debt). Doing this is challenging and it takes time and patience. But these strategies seem to be working out for me so far.
As I stated before I didn't start out with alot of money to invest with. I can only invest money I can afford to spare so it doesnt leave me with alot of options.... So thats what I've been using. A few well placed call options on silver stocks have allowed my investment account to almost double within the past 6 months. Even I've been trading options for a few years now, I'm still learning and developing my strategy. Due to the high risk I've been using small portions of my account option investing. Then I've been rolling the gains into longer dated options with agressive (low) limit prices. One thing I've learned is option investing requires even more discipline than stock investing because of the wild swings in price (and the recent market volitility adds to this point). You have to develop a desired return then get out and get out quick. You have to consider high fees and short term capital gains taxes. Its quite a ride. But in the end if you dont have alot of cash to start with, its a quick way to raise cash if you know what you're doing.
For those of you who don't know I am a CPA. I do taxes and I'm in the midst of aquiring licenses to become a Financial Advisor. But oddly enough I am fascinated by the world of finance. I've been a member of TMF since I was a junior in college. My favorite college class Investments. One of the first websites I look at in the morning is the Wall Street Journal. But I digress.
Working with little money, I must have as little overhead as possible. However, just maintaining a CPA license alone can be quite expensive (CPE requirements, state society fees, licensing fees). Plus I need software and services to run my business. So to keep overhead low I'll need to forgo full time office space for now and consider virtual office space. Virtual space is pretty cheap (between $50 to $100/month) and offers some basic office services. Because faxing is inevitable, I signed up with an online fax service that costs only $55 a year. I maintain a business page on Facebook for free. I found out that advertising on Facebook is relatively inexpensive. I've been going to alot of networking events in order to meet potential customers and referrals. Since I do my own accounting I don't need bookkeeping services but a friend of mine and fellow business owner mentioned that small business owners can also "outsource" bookkeeping work overseas by using online administration services. I dont know much about these services so I still need to do more research into how well these work. But these are all ways keep work product quality high while keeping overhead low. In the end what you put into a business is what you get out of it. But you shouldn't have to always risk going broke doing it.
American tradition says the bride's parents typically pay for the wedding. In an ideal world I'm sure that would happen but unfortunately that is not the case for me. Though I'm sure my parents will provide some help, as with many couples these days, my fiance and I will be paying for the majority of this wedding ourselves. Though, I want the wedding to be classy and for everyone to have a good time, I don't want to go into debt just to make that happen. A few years ago the average wedding cost $28000. I simply dont believe in paying that much money for one day. I'm not judging anyone who does, its just not me. Therefore, in order to have a wedding with alot of the bang but not so much of the buck is going to alot of research and creativity. So the first thing I've done is create a cash-only registry. I've had my own place for over 5 years now so I don't need pots, pans, or blenders. I'm considering doing online invitations. For one, online RSVPs are easier to keep track of and I won't need as much postage. I'm looking into ways to keep my wedding dress less than $1000. I'm even willing to consider used dresses. My wedding guest list will be limited. Finding the venue will probably be the most challenging. I'm looking into venues that are nice but not so popular. My thinking is the less well know venues will tend to have the better bargains.
Starting small seems to be a lost art in this country. For this very reason I'm, if nothing else, quite a few raised eyebrows at my methods. Everyone wants everything and they have to have it now. With that attitude is it any wonder why we're so bogged down in debt?
One final thought. I just read an article saying that more and more people have stopped paying their mortgages. At the same time retailers have just reported record sales this holiday season. Are these people spending what should be their mortgage payments on Christmas shopping? If so, what happens when banks start forclosing on these people? Just a thought.
Happy Holidays and feel free to comment for Foolanthropy.