“Make booze pay you back.” (12/28/16)

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This isn’t about getting rich quick; this is about making good use of the money you no longer spend on booze or drugs. I mention in my books that I wanted to “make booze pay me back,” and I have been able to do just that. I get a fair amount of emails from people asking me how they can do this as well. The answer is that there are a few ways to do this. One way is very simple, other ways are a bit more complicated. Investing in various financial instruments involves deep and sometimes complex nuances. However, with a basic education in finance, some self-discipline and a plan, you can make booze pay you back.

People want fast results. “Okay, I quit drinking this morning and it’s already noon but I’m still not a millionaire. This is bullshit.” Life takes time. Accumulating and retaining wealth takes time and getting the most out of your sobriety takes time, a plan and you taking action on your plan. I’m going to offer you some ideas for a plan to make booze pay you back.

I stopped drinking more than 10 years ago and ever since I’ve been investing in beer, wine and booze stocks. (I invest in many other sectors but booze is part of my diversification.) This is the primary method I use to have booze pay me back, but I began this journey with a very simple strategy, I started a “Sobriety Savings Account.”

A lot of people hate to admit how much they spend (or have spent) on booze and drugs. The reason is because the numbers don’t lie. When I stopped drinking and doing drugs I was curious about this. I began doing the math. I couldn’t believe how much money I had wasted on getting wasted. It hurt me at first. I felt like a real idiot. But then I began realizing some truths in the other direction. I thought, “If I stashed away the same amount of money I was spending, here’s what it will add up to over 30 days, 90 days, one year, five years, and beyond.” I suddenly became excited. I could see that I could do something positive for myself. I couldn’t get back what I had wasted, but I could begin to set a more secure future for myself. So here’s how YOU can begin to make booze pay you back.

Start with a “Sobriety Savings Account.” (I go into great detail on this in my book: Okay, I quit. Now what? But I’ll be brief here.) How much did you (or do you) typically spend on booze or drugs every week? You need to be honest with yourself about this. $100 a week isn’t out of the question. If you spend/spent $100 per week that averages to $14.28 per day. $50 a week averages to $7.14 per day. (At $100 a week that’s $400 a month and $4,800 a year!)

So here’s what I’m going to ask you to do. If you’ve stopped drinking, then set aside—EVERY DAY—the amount you would have spent on booze or drugs. After you have $100 stashed away, go to a bank and open a brand new account. (Make sure it’s a different bank from your regular bank or the account isn’t tied to your other accounts. There are specific reasons for this.) From here on out all of the money that you are no longer spending—and now saving—will be going into that account. You’ll surprise and impress yourself by how much you amass after 30, 60 and 90 days. That’s providing you stick to your plan.

Saving up your money into a “Sobriety Savings Account” is a concrete way of seeing what you’re doing for yourself. This is one way you can reward yourself (or your family) for your sobriety. When you have money stashed away in a “Sobriety Savings Account” it will have a calming effect on you. You won’t be as nervous about the future. You’ll know that in the event of an emergency you’ll have a safety net and you won’t have to charge everything and go deeper into debt. It can also help you establish goals. Your goal may be to have enough money to pay for advanced schooling, to buy a car, to take a vacation or to do something special for your family.

None of this reflects greed or anything evil. Money isn’t evil, the greed of money can make people evil. The fact is that without money you can’t afford to take care of yourself or your family. You can’t afford pleasant housing, nicer clothes, better food, a better education and many other conveniences. You do want to treat yourself and your family well, don’t you? You need money to do that. You needed money to buy booze and drugs, unless you traded “favors” for it. Don’t be afraid of money. Money isn’t evil, the greed of money can make people evil.

Next I’m going to talk about investing in booze. To some of you this won’t be new information. I certainly don’t want to insult anyone with my simple explanations or examples. But many people have never owned individual stocks and even more have no idea of all the terms and nuances involved with investing. This article is purely to answer a common question I receive, and I want to answer it in the simplest form.

Investing in stocks or Mutual Funds isn’t right for everyone. Some people don’t like the ups and downs. It makes them nervous. And investing requires money, sometimes a LOT of money. To buy a worthwhile amount of an individual stock you’ll need anywhere from $5,000.00 to $15,000.00. (At this writing, 100 shares of BUD would cost $10,350.00 at $103.50 per share.) Most of us don’t have that kind of money laying around. So that’s why you start with a Sobriety Savings Account and then move that money into a Mutual Fund and invest monthly into your Mutual Fund. Once the money builds, then you may feel like buying shares of an individual company.

When you’re comfortable and ready, you can buy stock positions in individual companies using the brokerage you have your Mutual Fund with. There are plenty of good companies out there. T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and Schwab are a few examples. You can research them through their websites.

Regardless of whether you buy individual stocks or Mutual Funds, I suggest that you follow a DRIP program. DRIP (Dividend Re-Investment Plan). This means that instead of you receiving a dividend check every 3 months, the amount you would receive in a check is used to purchase MORE shares of the stock. This strategy is used by most long-term (and wealthy) investors. If you plan on holding the stock for 3 years or more, then a DRIP is in your better interest. You will accumulate more shares and get more dividends every 3 months. The exponential growth of compounding is your friend. However, if you like to receive a check, then take the dividends in cash. But remember that the amount you receive is based on how many shares you own. So, a .32 cent quarterly dividend on 100 shares means you’ll receive a $32.00 check every 3 months. That same dividend of .32 cents on 1,000 shares means you’ll receive a $320.00 check every 3 months.

If you want to research some “sin stocks” here are a few stock symbols worth looking at: BUD, TAP, DEO, STZ, MO, RJR, PM, BTI. You can type the stock symbol into a site like Yahoo Finance and learn all about the company. You can see if, when and how much of a dividend it pays and find out much more information about the company, its products and history.

A lot of people are interested in buying Marijuana stocks. The following is strictly my opinion. Medical marijuana and decriminalization of personal amounts is happening. But the product hasn’t passed through to the level of consumer availability such as beer, wine, booze and tobacco. Legalized marijuana is coming. At some future point it will become commercially available to the public. But who do you think wants a piece of that action? Beer and booze companies want to own their competitors. Tobacco companies are perfectly positioned to grow, process, package and distribute pot. As an investor, I feel that individual pot stocks might be a bit risky right now. If you’re so possessed, you might be best served to “jump & dump.” That means buy the stock and be ready to dump it at a reasonable profit (providing that the stock actually does go up). Publicly traded pot growers and manufacturers won’t be paying any dividends soon. The cost to start and run a large, publicly traded legal pot growing or production company is too high for dividend returns. Tobacco and beer companies are better positioned to make a profit and pay dividends when pot does become a legal product.

Always perform research and understand the basics BEFORE investing any of your money. There is risk involved when you invest in stocks or Mutual Funds. What you bought may be worth less than what you paid for it when the time comes that you need or want to sell it. You CAN lose money. But if you invest conservatively and with a long time-horizon you will most likely make money. If the risk is uncomfortable for you, then at the very least start a “Sobriety Savings Account.” The money will be there when you need it or want it. Your savings account may not keep pace with inflation but at least you won’t have frivolously squandered money that you were once spending on booze or drugs.

If you want to look deeper into how you can get the most out of YOUR money and learn to enjoy your money, I encourage you to get a copy of my book: Living Broke Sucks! You can find it in paperback, eBook and audiobook through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places.

There are also plenty of good books out there which are specifically written for beginning investors and most brokerage websites offer free tutorials and explanations of words, terms and strategies. Naturally the websites want you to invest your money through them. I don’t want your money. I would just like you to buy my book once and then apply what you learn to keep more of and enjoy more of your own money.

Over the years I spent a lot of money on the creation of piss and vomit. (I conservatively estimate it to be over $109,000.00) I won’t berate myself for how much I had wasted. In fact, I had a pretty good time while doing it. And back then, had I not spent my money on booze or drugs I probably would have squandered it on something else. But today, because I have a different level of knowledge and because I have a different type of understanding, I will make better use out of the limited money that I have. So now with the money I am no longer spending on booze and drugs, I will use that money to make booze pay me back. That’s why I own “sin stocks.” Every time someone opens a Bud or a Coors, they’re paying ME. Every time someone drinks a Rum & Coke, they’re paying ME. Every time someone lights up a Camel, Winston or a Marlboro, they’re paying ME. Each can, glass or bottle of beer, bottle of booze, soda or a cigarette is a miniscule fraction of a penny put into my pocket. But compounded and paid over time, it all adds up. So I say, “Drink more and smoke more. Spill it on the bar, throw it up or just piss it away. Keep on drinking because you’re going to make me rich.”

The bottom line is that I suggest you do something specific with the money you were once (but are no longer), spending on booze or drugs. If you don’t specifically do something with it, the money will simply disappear. You’ll end up spending it on something else and you may not even know what you’re spending it on.

I receive no financial gain if you follow any of these strategies. I want nothing out of this other than to motivate you to live better. Do something positive for yourself and for your family. Starting in 2017, make booze pay you back!

(Disclosure statement.) I personally use T. Rowe Price as my brokerage. I own some type of position in every stock mentioned in this article. I make no endorsements on any particular stock or Mutual Fund to buy. The only recommendation I have is that you at the very least start a “Sobriety Savings Account.”

These are my own opinions and observations. Please, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. I invite you to pick up one of my books: You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. I pay for all of this with my own personal funds. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what this all costs me. I am very appreciative that a few people have signed up to make a $5 a month donation. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.

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