If It Weren’t For Bad Luck, I’d Have No Luck At All

There are some people in this world who just have that magic touch. Everything they poke their hand in turns to gold and cash. Do you know anyone like this? Me neither. I’m from the opposite group. I’m not a money earner. Never was and unfortunately, at my age, never will be. I’ve known this about myself ever since I was a little girl. I just could never master earning enough money. Not from an allowance. Not from chores. Not from jobs well done. As I got older, having two college degrees didn’t improve my bottom line either. I’ve never once gotten the income I think I deserved.

So, what I did to compensate for my lack of financial wizardry was to become adept at saving money rather than earning money. What did Ben Franklin say? A penny saved is a penny earned? Hmmmm, not quite:

In his 1737 Poor Richard’s Almanac, Franklin delivered the line: “A penny saved is two pence clear.” And later, in the 1758 almanac, he wrote a version closer to the saying we know: “A penny saved is a penny got.” He never used the word “earned.Money not spent is money that is in one’s pocket.

I’m so good at saving money, buying things wholesale or on discount, that I now consider the money I save is actually free money I actually earn. I’m so good at it, I can do it in my sleep. For example, I bought a home that was listed at $250,000 for only $135,000. How did I do that? I found out the owner was carrying three mortgages (one of them was a mortgage on a spec home that wasn’t selling) and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. That was $115,000 of money that I didn’t have to spend.

Every single asset of my life, from the top of my head (haircuts) to the tip of my toes (pedicures) to every single thing I have ever purchased in my lifetime (I made my first business deal at age 10) has been purchased for less money than originally offered. From cars to boats to houses to vacations, from soup to nuts, I saved money on every single deal. If I am boasting too much on this one little factor about my personality it’s because it’s my one (and only) saving grace and I need to appreciate it more.

woman not good with money.jpg
I’m good at managing money vs earning money.

However, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. I always seem to be a dollar short and a day late. Thus, I compensate for this shortfall by being financially savvy in the purchasing department. This past month, I was forced to finally decide on how I wanted our future retirement investments to go. (Click here for original post) I was at a crossroad. Do I go safe, as I learned the hard way, is the best way for me? Or do I take a risk, after all the other failed risks I’ve taken so far in my life? I did extensive research. I sought out successful individuals and pounded their brains. I read at least two books per day on financial strategies touted from the highest rooftop of highly successful authors.

What was my decision, after all those weeks of angst? To stick to the tried and true system that has worked for me for many, many years. So, I made all the arrangements. I found a top notch financial institution that broadcast the highest rate in the country. Everything was all lined up. I constantly checked the rates. Everything was holding steady. On Tuesday at 11:59PM, the rate was constant. At 12:01AM my money became available and I transferred it into a new investment. And as I watched the transfer go through, behind the scenes, the rate dropped .25 percentage points exactly at midnight.

Son of a bitch! (and other 4 letter words I used, that could never be published here on this blog). Story of my life. A day late and a dollar short. I tried to finagle what I could to make the loss less biting BUT in the end, I was going to be making less passive income than I originally calculated for.

Who the heck changes rates on a Tuesday? At midnight? There was no reason for it. The Feds didn’t lower their rates on Tuesday. Why did this financial institution? Don’t they change rates on a Monday or a Friday? How about at the beginning of the month? Or the end of the month? Whose big idea was it to change rates, that had been steady and holding for weeks?ย  On a Tuesday? To change it at the very exact time I was transferring a huge amount of cash in to it? Did someone know it was ME doing the investment? Was someone out to get me? Make my life miserable?

I just sat at my computer, looked at the screen, noted the financial drop, however minor and I just started to cry. Why does this always happen to me? Why can I never once, just once, make a successful financial move? I did my homework. This was not an impulsive buy. This was well thought out, discussed and calculated. My husband tried to console me and told me I have no control over these things. That wasn’t the point. The rate didn’t change the day before or the week before or a month later. It changed as I was actually performing the feat. And that has been the sad story of my life. I just can’t catch any breaks. They say you’re not supposed to think about it the way I have been thinking about it. Unfortunately, this exact scenario happens to me all the time. It’s the story of my life. It’s the way it has always been. And at age 68 I have finally come to agree that this is my lot in life.

I’m always doomed to struggle.

Within minutes, I started thinking of what I needed to cut out of my budget, out of my life to balance yet another financial blow. I looked over my budget. I thought long and hard about my lifestyle and I came up with nothing. I drew a line in the sand and I said to myself that I had reached the kind of lifestyle and comfort I loved and enjoyed and I wasn’t about to give up one iota. Of course, I was furious with God. “You couldn’t give me one more day?” I asked Him. “You couldn’t use your powers to convince the financial gurus NOT to change a thing? You couldn’t give me one more day?” I told God I wasn’t cutting a thing. What will be will be. But subconsciously, I was cutting back. I was buying less. Perhaps I was automatically making the changes but purposely not thinking about them (nor writing them on paper) for fear they would become my new reality.

I’m no good at making money. I think God knows that. And I think He knows that I try and try but its just no use. I don’t have the talent. I compensate by being smart and frugal in spending money in order to make my checkbook balance.

divine intervention.png
Divine Intervention by Ben Kรณkolas on Dribbble


And with that my husband gets a phone call. A new contract came in to play and he was offered three weeks of steady work (not strenuous) to oversee an installation in New Jersey. He’d be gone for three weeks and the money HE would earn equaled almost to the penny the money I just lost in the .25 percentage drop. God knows that I can’t earn money but my husband sure can! That’s why we’re a good team. God knows that I did my best and I’d handle the extra income prudently and devoutly. God utilizes our talents individually and to its full potential.

I guess we have to make our money the old fashioned way: we have to earn it!






    • From Cindi to Cindy. We need to stick together sister! My only advice is to hang in there! We do our best and that’s about all we can do. Thanks for your comment.


  1. I am so sorry that your investments lost money. Your budget is so tight that each bit is needed to see you solvent. I pray this is not too much for your husband. You share so much. I hope by sharing, and all of us kindly listening, that will help with your pain. Autumn is coming and, for us, this is time when we spend less money. With not needing AC or heating and still eating produce from the garden our expenses are lower. I also make meals that have great tasting leftovers, so the food budget is lower as well. I hope your husband’s work expenses are not too much. Will he need to pay much for gas, food, and sleeping while he is away?


    • HI Sue. The job is covering all his expenses, including travel time. He’s looking forward to it. He’ll be home on the weekends. It’s the only job left for this year, so it’s a good thing.
      It’s starting to feel like fall here also. I’ve been sitting more outside on my deck now that the sun is not so brutal. This is hiking weather which we look forward to every year. It’s a free experience, good for both the body and our soul!
      Thanks for listening. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Sue, I gave a lot of thought as to whether I should write about what happened to me or just keep mum about it and pretend everything is hunky dory. I didn’t think that would be fair. People make mistakes, miscalculate or just plain aren’t good at something specific. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, thought I. Better to share than hide it. I dislike people who cover up. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if someone is lying or pretending. They fool no one. And they help no one either.
      Thanks again for listening. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Wow .25 % on $100,000 is $250 dollars annually or about $20 a month and 0n $150,000 itโ€™s $325. Is this locked in a CD or in a money market? I would solve this with another passive income stream $2500 invested in a monthly preferred stock, bond, or REIT paying over 10%. Dividends or interest yields $250 annually. Some risk, no working for the man needed and in a Roth no taxes due- total retirement for Nick still maintained. Lara


    • Lara, I agree with you. It’s $200K locked in a 5 year CD so the ‘loss’ is $500 a year, or about $42 a month. I know it’s not much, almost laughable but it’s just so, so typical of my life! Over the course of 5 years, that’s $2500 that I won’t see. Hubby can make that back within a week or two. Three weeks gives us some extra. Then he’s done for the year, till maybe March or April 2020.
      I still have $25,000 left to invest and I think I’m going to use it under my Original Plan A which was a mix of bond funds and the S&P 500. I just got off the phone with the brokerage firm.
      I wish I could just be left alone (by hubby, not anyone else!) and do the things I want to do as per my first instinct. But when you have a partner, my hands are tied. For example, back in 1998 I wanted to buy 100 shares of Apple. Nick kicked and screamed and only wanted me to buy 50 shares, if at all. What a mistake. I believed in Apple. He hated them. Nick comes from a very poor, blue collar family. I come from a very rich family, so you can understand the differences. Nick’s family is always doomed to struggle. Mine isn’t.
      I bought the 50 shares, then doubled, tripled and quadrupled my money, then sold when we hit financial hard times. That was what it was all for in the first place!
      Anyway, I’m taking on the risk.
      What will be, will be.


  3. Cindi, my example still works $5000 at 10%=$500 or $42 a Month . A little risk of$10,000 paying 10% gives you $1000 and a five hundred cushion. This volatility and rate environment is Awful for the risk adverse investor and what was the difference between locking in for five years and the highest paying money market? Was it even a . 25 %difference? I would have diversified to get more then the income you needed. Lara


    • Lara, the banks only go up to 5 years. If I wanted longer, I’d have to go back to a brokerage firm AND the higher paying CDs are still callable. I’d be back to Square One. My original CD was for 10 years. Ugh.
      I’m going to diversify. I still have a bunch of cash to do what I always wanted to do. I’m back to the 3 bucket theory. There’s more than enough to keep hubby happy.
      I’ll keep you posed.
      Thanks again. You are such an encouragement!


  4. Cindi, Today I picked up 1400 shares of a preferred stock at its bottom and itโ€™s dividends will be $4200 paid quarterly cost basis under $22000. It close 22 cents higher almost $300. I think it will go $5.00 higher before its ex dividend date in October so I will cash it in for $7000 profit.It only needs to go 53 cents higher to match a 5% yield. Lara

    Liked by 1 person

    • ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
      Lara I understand your tactics, theory and reasoning. But how can anyone invest in a market whereby a president can send out a tweet and within seconds the whole stock market comes crashing down? Then in a day or two, he changes his mind, sends out another tweet and the market is back up? How can anyone base their lives around such volatility? How can anyone plan anything? That’s the question.


    • An update: two days of the market rally and I sold the preferred stock for 7.5% gain in five days. I sold two more positions when they hit their yearly highs. I will wait to reinvest when we have another swing down or if I find another good buy. Lara


      • How do you know what you sold has hit their yearly high? Year isn’t over yet?
        Follow the Tweetster. He’s like the preface of what’s to come. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


      • Stock charts have two choices one year and year to date. Everyday ahead creates a new year look back. Every trade has two sides the seller and buyer. I donโ€™t sweat that I may miss some of the gain, in fact I hope the investor who buys mine makes money too. I set goals, and future needs and want to make possible my future dreams. My pension covers my current necessities, at least 10% savings, car payments, insurances, hiring help, taxes, entertainment, gifts, treating my grandkids, trips to Cape Cod , New Mexico and Florida. Getting travel rewards of 2.65% on my basics besides gas and food makes these trips almost free. I tap investments for major repairs and projects. And possible moving, long term care and Inflation. Sincerely, Lara

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Cindi,
    I could buy into this fear and stay paralyzed, read a thousand financial books but do nothing, complain Trump tweets are crazy or I can find the best way to have a secure income stream. Then enjoy the fruits of being a saver and the interest banks are paying on their preferred stocks. You just invested $200,000 in bank CDs paying probably around 2% and you are locked in for five years which gives you$4,000, if it was 3% you get $6000. Invested in one of my favorite bank instruments :preferred stocks and trust certificates I choose 8.05% or $16,000 plus a year paid quarterly which is $1333 a month. FYI: Almost every big bank has 6% plus dividend paying preferred stocks. The original issues are priced at $25 each but their prices do fluctuate and there are some that sell for less then $25. The dividends show up in my accounts just like my Pension. The TD Ameritrade advisor likes those that sell under $25 because itโ€™s a safety level. Unlike buying an annuity that you surrender the cash to the insurance company forever-and have high fees, the preferred stock principal is still yours and can appreciate so you can sell higher and make more on. These however are a long term investment for me. Sincerely Lara


    • Lara, the new CD pays 3%. I’m good with that. I also finally set up 2 more baskets. One for bonds (70%) and the other stocks (30%). I am also in the process of setting up one more basket and that is for travel money. I’ll go a bit riskier on that and have fun with it. And the money I earn out of that is mine, mine, mine!
      It took me a while to figure this out. And now that I have, I should have done this sooner. But I had so much cash coming in, I didn’t bother. Silly me.
      Everything has to do with timing. I wasn’t ready before. I didn’t understand before. But that book by Quinn changed my life. I understood every single thing she said. It made reasonable sense and voila’……I did it!
      As for Trump, I will NEVER forgive him for what he did. He’s playing with our country’s economy, for his own advantage and he has ruined a lot of seniors ability to earn interest. He’s hammering for another interest rate reduction. Just so his theories work out. Shame on him. I don’t see him lasting for a second term. Once people stop spending money, because of fear, our economy will tank. He’ll bankrupt this country just like he bankrupts most of his businesses. As Trump said: “that’s the way I do business”.
      Nope. I’ll never forgive him.


  6. You seem to gravitate to banks but I have other Preferred stocks from companies paying 11-20% that have greater price fluctuation. The dividends smooth out the market volatility and when you donโ€™t need them for income, reinvesting them dramatically increases your income.My only regret is I didnโ€™t start earlier. Lara


    • Lara, me too. I should have done this sooner. But so much cash was coming in, I never felt the need. I am only using a bank for the FDIC security on the money that we will always need. At least till hubby officially retires.


      • I am shocked you were a huge Trump supporter! The election will be interesting. I wish you well on your diversification. My new investment strategy is definitely paying off. I hope yours does too. Lara


      • Lara, I’m shocked myself. The final straw was when he forced the Feds to lower the interest rates for no good reason, other than his own. For a decade, seniors were unable to make money safely on their money. Finally, when rates started inching back up, he destroyed many a life. And he blames the victims. They should know better, Trump says. It’s their fault if their not doing well. Really?
        Time to move on. I’m a registered Independent. I vote for whom ever is right for the job. I’m certain many other Independent voters feel the same as I do. I live in farm territory. What Trump has done to these farmers, because of tariffs, has been cruel. Dairy farmers here are suffering the most.
        Thanks for your comment.


    • Hi Simple Living. I agree. But there comes a time when you’ve made all the cuts possible and it becomes a bit difficult to cut any more. I’m nearing that set point and its not fun. Thank you so much for your comment and for reading my bog!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Simple Living. We have two Plan B’s. If it gets down to the wire, we will sell our home. It’s fully paid for and we should be fine. If not, the second part of our Plan B is to utilize our RV. It’s like a studio apartment in there and perfectly fine to live in long term. Hopefully, to us too, it won’t come down to that but as you said, it might be fun!! LOL.
        Thanks again for your comment.

        Liked by 1 person

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