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Op-Ed: How Saving Set Me Free


Extolling the many virtues of inconspicuous consumption.


Editor's Note: This article was submitted as an op-ed by Minyan Jim Donovan.

Greetings from the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii where the screens come on at 3:00 a.m.

While I wait for the coffee to brew, I can see a bobbing yellow light well below the house as Dave the fisherman rows his dingy out over the first wave breaks and into the water of Lli Lli Bay where the Mighty Dorsal is anchored. Looks like grilled Mahi Mahi tonight. The whales are blasting a sea-monster soundtrack in the darkness. Mating season, you know.

So, we're savers. Have been forever. That's how we escaped. We used careers as road warriors to save every dime, learn about money, invest wisely and always take responsibility for the bills that are ours and the obligation we owe to so many who never got the breaks we did. We have no debt at all. We own our home and cars, and my wife just got a new degree in hospital administration.

I followed Bonner out of stocks early, moved into currency with Butler early and followed Rogers into silver and gold stocks way early. After each of those buses ran me over, I decided to use all the bad news against the machine and moved a bunch into Ultrashort Financial (SKF) only to have it halted when they outlawed short selling. Then I restarted it and triggered a sell on a gap that cost me more than I should have risked. So those are my big losses to date - and there are thousands of reasons to be thankful I wasn't in equities like so many of my friends. Minyanville has helped me recapture some green and some confidence.

The first stimulus came to all our friends and family, and since we pay our own way, we were somewhat proud not to qualify. Ditto for the new plan. We pay, they spend. We pay more, they spend more.

So, my cousin with the great pay and benefit-laden state job calls to tell me that the credit service he went to helped him understand how he got into all this debt. They told him it's not his fault that he has 4 maxed-out credit cards, a home underwater, 3 signature loans on land (with a loan already in default) and 2 cars behind in payments. It's the greedy banks and credit-card companies that took advantage of his spending habits.

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