The $19.97 Investment Guide

By Don Doman

Each new year brings a plethora of economic investment advice. Economic advice is good, if you have cold, hard cash to use it. The problem with most investment advice, however, is that advisors suggest you invest thousands of dollars. The people I know donít have thousands of dollars. Besides, if people have thousands of dollars, they donít need much advice.

I have come up with five ideas for people that either save money or help make money. Iíve kept needed investment funds at under twenty dollars, so that everyday people, regular people, the common people, you know. . . people from Tacoma can afford to act on the advice. Even if you choose to take advantage of each piece of advice, youíll spend less than a hundred dollars. Investments are needed for both special events and retirement and should not be taken lightly.

Investment ideas

#1. Buy one share of a ďno loadĒ (no charge/fee) mutual fund. There are many mutual funds for under twenty dollars per share. I saw one for $19.97 recently. Some funds require you to invest a minimum amount, but there are others that will let you set up an open account where you can invest modest amounts when youíre able. Re-invest all your dividends. Hold on to your mutual fund until you have enough for retirement or a Pearl Jam concert.

#2. Have the oil changed in your automobile. For less than $19.97 you can have the oil and filter changed on most cars. Clean oil helps engines last longer which saves money.

#3. Plant black walnut trees. This is a long term investment with some short term perks. Buy a pair of work gloves and some Baggies and then drive around looking for black walnut trees. Drive through old neighborhoods (North End, South Tacoma area) and the countryside (Sumner, Puyallup and Lakewood). You can spot a black walnut tree by the black/green slime balls lying on the ground under the tree. Be careful, the slime balls can stain your clothes. Most black walnut tree owners wonít care if you take a slime ball or two. It cleans up their yards.

Put on your gloves to handle the slime balls. Pick them up and put them in your Baggies. The slime ball contains the nut or seed. Bring the slime balls back home and throw them on the ground where you want them to grow. If you move, dig the saplings up and take them with you. After a few years you will have free black walnuts to eat. In sixty to eighty years youíll have trees that can be harvested for their expensive lumber. If youíre not going to live that long, then youíll have a nice inheritance for your kids. Your only expense is the cost of gas used in looking for black walnut trees, a pair of work gloves and the Baggies.

#4. Buy bags of action figures. Visit one of our local thrift stores like Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul or Value Village. These stores put small unrelated toys together in plastic bags. You might see Star Wars movie figures packaged with Hunchbacks and Dalmatians. A bag of a dozen figures might sell for only a few bucks each. It doesnít really matter what the figures are, donít waste your time trying to predict what will be worth money in the future. Buy the bags and save them for thirty years. As collectors proliferate, these action figures could command. . . attractive figures. They can help your retirement, and give you many joyful play-time hours.

#5. Buy an Entertainment Book. It costs about $35. Get a friend or another family member to go halfsies. There are many money saving coupons in the book to augment your entertainment dollar. Each partner gets to use the book for four weeks. After the eight weeks you simply rent the book out to people who are too cheap to buy the book in the first place. You could charge $6 per week and make up to $264. Encourage referrals by rebating renters a dollar for recommending cheap friends to you. This will still make each investor about $110. Keep an eye out for additional books at garage sales and you could make an entertaining fortune.



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