Welcome to uptrade. I’m David Beck and like a lot of people today recent times have hit hard on my family. I’m 41 and have been laid off from the auto industry in Michigan where I am a machine repairman. Fortunately I’m back to work, but our recent contract reduced our pay and benefits to the point where I considered bankruptcy.
Also like most people I have been pretty good at managing my debts. At least until the last few years. Two kids, being laid off, reduced pay and a student loan have overwhelmed my last three attempts to use the snowball method to get out of debt. At this point I had no real options and had resigned myself to always being in debt, never retiring, and not being able to put my kids through school or give them the life that my father, working the exact same job I do, provided for us.
When the company I work for terminated the 401k for hourly employees I figured I’d cash it out and try one last time for a snowball, but with what i had left in it after taking payments from it the past couple years it clearly wasn’t going to do enough. So I started looking at other options. Bankruptcy, putting it all on red at the casino, taking the longshot at the track, not good.
Enter the uptrade. I found out as the time to decide what to do with our 401k approached that it’s possible to just trade it in stocks yourself rather than in mutual funds, which won’t have the gains needed to achieve my goals. So I agonized over a broker and eventually chose Fidelity. As I waited and waited for the meager $12k to transfer over, I began to learn how to trade stocks successfully. I checked Investopedia, read about IRA rules and played stock market simulators. I made 8.5% in my first month, of simulation only trading, mainly on HERO.
Finally, the real money arrived.
About two weeks later a coworker of mine let me in on a tip that MSU salvage had some pavers for a big bargain price. I don’t have a trailer but I do have a need, and a friend that also has a need and a trailer, so I set off to do the scouting for him. Basically the arrangement is that I go see if they are available right when they open, buy enough for both of us, then give him a call to come pick it up. He pays me back for his portion of course. It’s a good deal. Long story short the bricks were gone but they had another treasure. A Pentascanner Cable analyzer, of the type that the cable guy uses to properly install and diagnose your cable TV and Internet system.
I looked it up on the Internet right there at the store and since refurbished ones seem to sell for $500 and it seemed to work, I thought I’d take a chance at $20 and see what could get on EBay for it. If I get $100 I thought at least i can buy the scooter windshield I want.
Then today i got to thinking about my stock fund, and this EBay item and I came up with the idea for this blog. I know it’s not completely original. I remember someone a while back trying to swap up from a pen to a new house and going viral with by blogging his journey. This is similar, and probably owes a lot to whoever that was.
I want to see which fund will grow fastest, the $20 used goods resell fund or the $12700 IRA.
The only real rule is that I will be honest here about what I have done in each account. I might contribute money or withdraw money, though I will try not to do so. So let the race begin!