The Moneyist: ‘Poor people are not stupid’: I grew up in poverty, earned $14 an hour, and inherited $150,000. Here’s what I have learned from my windfall.

by | May 10, 2023 | Stock Market

In September 2018, this woman from Texas, then 36, wrote to the Moneyist to ask how she should invest her windfall — over $150,000. It was small by some people’s standards, but it was life-changing to her. She didn’t have a college degree, said she would never earn more than $30,000 a year, and worked full-time for $15 an hour, in addition to a part-time job at $10 an hour. She paid $1,050 a month in rent.  She paid off her car, and bought a “tiny home,” which she owns free and clear, she wrote in an update a year later. She deposited $70,000 in a high-yield online savings account. She topped up her retirement portfolio and invested $30,000 into emerging markets. She maxed out her IRA and invested $10,000 between very safe dividend stocks and ETFs. She also spent $7,000 on dental work in Mexico. And today? Five years after her first letter, she has updated MarketWatch readers on her progress, and what she learned from this experience:

Dear Moneyist, There are a lot more Americans making less than $50,000 a year than there are those who make more. I feel like we aren’t really represented in the financial-advice world. I’d love to see more columns helping people to invest $25-$100 when they can. It’s empowering to invest. I might never be a Warren Buffet, but when I open my accounts and see how they are growing it really fills me with a sense of pride and determination.  As to how I’m doing? Beautifully. I hate to say it but the pandemic was a blessing to me personally. I feel terrible saying that because of the loss and devastation so many others suffered and are still suffering because of it, but for me, the pandemic opened up a world of possibilities. A job opportunity landed in my lap because of the shutdown, and I’m making almost $4,000 a month now after taxes.  Yes, me! I’ve never made so much money before (outside of the inheritance I received). I am still frugal and …

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