In college, a received a few small scholarships and help from my parents to pay for some of my housing. Other than that, I put myself through college by working. Even during graduate school, I worked 20–30 or more hours a week. When I got married, I had $30,000 in investments and no debt. (See chapter “School,” section “Financing School.”)
My salary at my first full-time job with the Church in 1980 was $19,200 a year. I always felt the need to save money and taught myself how to invest in stocks and bonds. For years, I listened to several finance shows daily to learn from knowledgeable people. I occasionally had courtesy portfolio reviews by financial experts who wanted me to use them as advisors. At each review, they were impressed with my investments and the returns I experienced.
In 2017, I began managing Dad’s investments for him in a well-balanced, diversified, conservative portfolio including some high-growth stocks. For example, in 2017, the portfolio grew 24%. In January and February of 2018, when the stock market corrected 10%, the portfolio was only down 3.5% and by the end of February, it had recovered completely. With the market decline in early 2020 because the coronavirus pandemic, the portfolio declined about half of what the market went down, and we had recovered all the losses by mid-year.
By the time I retired, we had transferred all out investments from IRAs and 401(k)s to Roth accounts, so everything we spent in retirement or left to our children as an inheritance was tax-free money.
We invested the money from the sale of our house in 2022, and it grew 43% by the time we used the money to build a new house in 2024.