What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% self su

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

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What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% self su

Post by Sins » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:19 pm

Here's the scenario. I'm in the middle of a lawsuit that could get me anywhere from $25,000 to $300,000 dollars. With it I plan to go off the grid if I am able too. I'd like to hear opinions on how much money you would need to do this.
Let's just assume you don't own a house.
(I own a home, but am considering moving)

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by woodsghost » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:27 pm

My opinion, is that self-sufficiency is a myth. Even if you had "all the money," you would still not be completely self-sufficient. You need people for self-sufficiency. Lots of people. A community could be truly self-sufficient, but it would have to be huge.

You need people to obtain metals, and medicines, and minerals (like salt!), and process all those obtained goods.

Now, creating a homestead which is fairly self-contained and independent of most of the world....that is doable. I"ll be interested to see what others suggest, as I'll hopefully be headed in that direction in the next 5 years.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Murphman » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:49 pm

Self-sufficiency is a myth.

If you already own a home that you enjoy, why would you not eliminate debt and purchase income producing investments that minimize your time working for others?
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by phalanx » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:55 am

Without getting into the philosophy of what "self-sufficiency" means, for baseline costs of regular living here in Oregon, my small family of 3 can get by with $2700 a month. This includes utilities (no cable TV), mortgage, food, insurance, gas, phones, and whatnot. I have no idea how this compares to others, but I feel like we live pretty lean and save a lot of our income.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by zero11010 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:36 am

So, let's be a little less literal. I think what he's looking for is as self sufficient as he can be. The wording is very confusing. "Self sufficient" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. However, living "off grid" is pretty easily quantifiable. There isn't really a direct dollar amount associated with it though, the cost of it will differ greatly depending on where you're looking to do it.

It's already been mentioned, but I think the first thing you should do is pay off all your debts so you have nothing hanging over your head (maybe you're already debt free). If you can do that, then use the money from selling your home, and remaining money from the lawsuit, then you can start looking into areas to get another home. But, if you're paying for interest on a student loan, mortgage, car loan or whatever, then that's usually where the smart money goes first.

It may help us a bit if you give us more details to work with. Is there an area of the world you're thinking bout trying to go self sufficient? Can you give us a better idea of what you mean by your topic? You seemed to be in a hurry when you typed it and it's a little unclear. Is it just you, are you looking to support a family?

Do you want to live on a farm in the middle of no where and churn your own butter from the cows and goats you milk yourself?

Do you want to continue living the live you have now, but reduce your monthly bills as much as possible and consider something like micro living?

How much all of these things cost will depend on where you are and what resources you have available. A lot of people will look to reduce and/or provide for themselves:
* power
* gas (specifically by using electric alternatives)
* water
* food

There is no set amount for the above things, because your ability to get them will depend on where you are. Maybe you're in an area that gets below freezing 10 months a year and the land you picked isn't suitable for solar/wind/water power generation. If that's the case, your ability to do without paying for gas/power is going to be very minimal, unless you don't mind the hardship (people have living in freezing places without electricity for tens of thousands of years - but it wouldn't be high on my list of things to do).


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I wouldn't plan too much about what to do with money from a lawsuit that hasn't been finalized yet. You don't have a winning lottery ticket in your hand (and speaking of which, never spend money on the lottery system).

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:53 am

$300,000.01

Because no matter what you make, you will always wish for a little more to make it just a little bit better...
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Sins » Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:01 am

Ok, a few more details. I still owe on my house and it is my only debt. I owe $112,000.
If I get enough to pay off my house, obviously I'll do that and any extra would go towards making my little five acre farm that much more self sufficient. I already grow and raise about 50% of my food. HOWEVER, I had a big life lesson this past year. I lost my job and was unemployed for nearly right months. I am just now catching up on my mortgage and nearly lost my house. I DON'T want that monkey on my back ever again.
I intend to move to Tennessee in ten years when the kids are out of school.
So... I'm thinking if I get any less than enough to pay off my house, I'm going to use it towards a place in Tennessee.
I know what you're thinking.. if you make 75k pay your house down. Honestly that sounds great, but it would still leave me owing for several years and in this unstable economy I really want to have the ability to say I own something free and clear.
Also, my definition of "off the grid" is basically how I lived when unemployed..minus the headache of worrying if I'll be homeless plus a few extras (perhaps power sourcing). I would love to work a 20hr a week minimum wage job to pay uncle Sam his taxes and provide me with a little extra

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:26 am

Do not pay your house down! You do that only if you have absolutely no other investment options. Your mortgage interest is deductible. You want/ need deductions.

If you can or need to, refinance your house to 3 or 3.5 percent. Do you owe on your car? Pay that off. Zero out your credit cards, those charge anywhere between 14and 29 percent.

Find a good Certified Financial Planner and put the balance in a no load mutual fund with a twenty year return of 15 to 20 percent or research it your self. I would never say no to any money, but as far as getting off the hamster wheel, 300k is chump change. You need 3 - 5 million for that.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Sins » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:58 am

I already have a 3.5% interest rate on my house. Everything else including my cars is paid off. I had a nice savings, but 8 months of zero employment ate that up pretty quick.
Also the lawsuit is a FLSA lawsuit (and probably one of the reasons I lost employment)
The employer has admitted to negligence in the sum of $25k I'm fighting for more. It's complex...
Please understand, I don't want this to be a "plan my life" thread.
I was thinking more along the lines of..
.
"If it were me, I'd need 25k for some land and I could put one of those tiny houses on it for 10k.
Then I'd need a well system, fencing, a tractor, etc etc etc which I estimate would cost xxx
So I would need a grand total of $xxx to be self sufficient"
.
Really I'm looking for ideas of what people consider self sufficient and how much they feel it would cost.
Last edited by Sins on Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Sins » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:05 am

Evan the Diplomat wrote:I would never say no to any money, but as far as getting off the hamster wheel, 300k is chump change. You need 3 - 5 million for that.
Four years ago my brother picked up 40 acres and a small house for 50k he invested another 20k into improvements. He now lives 90% off what he grows and raises. He sells some of what he grows and raises to pay for other necessities and taxes.
It's not a glamorous life, but he is pretty much off the hamster wheel

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by phalanx » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:53 am

Sins wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:I would never say no to any money, but as far as getting off the hamster wheel, 300k is chump change. You need 3 - 5 million for that.
Four years ago my brother picked up 40 acres and a small house for 50k he invested another 20k into improvements. He now lives 90% off what he grows and raises. He sells some of what he grows and raises to pay for other necessities and taxes.
It's not a glamorous life, but he is pretty much off the hamster wheel
Well, then there's your template. It would great to hear about what works for him and what doesn't, and fleshing out those costs would probably be useful for you and other people on the board. Does he live in the same geographic area as you?
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by raptor » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:26 am

The key to answer your question about how much for self sufficiency is not a matter of income but rather outflow.

Sit down and see where every dollar you spend goes and ask yourself how do I reduce or eliminate that.

I have a friend who lives on 40 acres of land the middle of nowhere MS and pays nothing for property taxes since the homestead exemption covers the value of the land. Pays $40/mo +/- for power. He does not use AC and uses the power mainly for lighting and the water well. He has no cable or sat TV and listens to broadcast TV and radio for amusement. His car is paid off and runs well but it is 15 years old. He uses a tank of gas a month to buy groceries. He has no income so he pays no taxes. He has health insurance though Obama care for ~$5/mo. He has a cell phone but no internet.

He lives alone with with a dog off of some money ($300,000 +/-) from an inheritance. He does not believe in or trust banks so he has no investment income only cash. I would estimate that he spends maybe $500/mo on living expenses. I would note that vodka is big expense item for him.

If you are willing to pare your life down to the absolute bare essentials you can live pretty cheap.


I have another friend who earns $1mm +/- per year and has all of the toys, perks and expenditures of such an income. He has about same amount as the person above despite the steady cash flow ($300,000 +/- in savings) since his outflows often exceed his income.

If you are unwilling to keep spending in check, there is no amount of cash that will make you self sufficient.


BTW if you received $300,000 after your legal fees and invested it in a conservative 10 year bond ladder you would expect based upon today's yields for that amount to generate about a 3% after tax return of about $9,000 per year.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Sins » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:30 am

phalanx wrote:
Sins wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:I would never say no to any money, but as far as getting off the hamster wheel, 300k is chump change. You need 3 - 5 million for that.
Four years ago my brother picked up 40 acres and a small house for 50k he invested another 20k into improvements. He now lives 90% off what he grows and raises. He sells some of what he grows and raises to pay for other necessities and taxes.
It's not a glamorous life, but he is pretty much off the hamster wheel
Well, then there's your template. It would great to hear about what works for him and what doesn't, and fleshing out those costs would probably be useful for you and other people on the board. Does he live in the same geographic area as you?
In all honesty it will likely be my template. I was curious to see other people's experiences and thoughts. As far as what my brother does and where he lives. He's about 10hrs north of me in the mountains of Tennessee. Of his 40 acres about ten is used for agriculture. The other thirty
is comprised of goats, horses, a pond, a range setup something like hickok45 which incidentally the compound is close by, and chickens...lots and lots of chickens.
A few minutes south of him is this Amish people town. Some are Amish and some use electricity. It's a weird town and you must dress conservatively or you'll be shunned from bartering with them.
Anyway, he brings some stuff there to sell in a local market where tourist sometimes visit. He also trades a lot of stuff off.
I can tell you a lot of what he has comes from bartering and trading work for goods
Sometimes he'll put a fence line up in exchange for new goats or he'll reload ammo for some money etc... Just little stuff here and there to get by.
In all honesty, I'm not sure I could live entirely like he does. In my dream world I'd have what he has plus an actual job that I worked 15-20 hours a week tops so I don't have to barter so much.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:54 am

Sins wrote:Here's the scenario. I'm in the middle of a lawsuit that could get me anywhere from $25,000 to $300,000 dollars. With it I plan to go off the grid if I am able too. I'd like to hear opinions on how much money you would need to do this.
Let's just assume you don't own a house.
(I own a home, but am considering moving)
Don't count your chickens before that hatch.

Just to open your eyes a bit, since part of my career in insurance was I was the guy who would negotiate with the attorney and cut the settlement check in a civil lawsuit....I can't tell you how many phone calls I got over the years from claimants outright crying that they got completely hosed by their attorney post settlement.

You got a $200,000 verdict in your favor in a lawsuit....fantastic.

Then when you sign the release form you will notice the check is made payable to you and your attorney. No big deal your agreement with the attorney was he gets 40% plus fees.

40% of $200,000 = $80,000
That leaves you with $120,000 right???

Then the "FEES" kick in

Filing fees, Copy fees, Travel Expense, Parking, Medical Experts, Medical Liens, etc. Even if your attorney is an honest decent guy expect at the least another 10% to 15% percent taken out. I have seen scumbag attorneys chew up another 30% to 40% in fees so a $200,000 settlement they only walk home with $40K. Also don't get me started on plaintiff attorney's and their "structured settlement" deals. It sucks when some of that money is supposed to go to future medical care, or someone who can't work anymore.

Expect to get less than half in any litigated settlement.

In terms of what is the money amount you need to be self sufficient, it depends on the property values, startup cost for "trying to go off the grid" , your age, family status (single, married, kids?) and what type of yearly disposable income you need to pay taxes and other expenses.

For a Single guy at 30

Pay all your bills = ?
Buy 40 acres for cheap = $100K
Build a self sufficient house, and buy tools, farming equipment, seed, animals, etc for cheap = $150K
Money in the bank to have a disposable income of $15K a year (current minimum wage), to pay taxes, fees, upkeep, repair cost and healthcare cost and to buy basic stuff for the next 50 years (age 80) = $750K ($15K x 50)

So that is 1 million you can live a frugal, lonely, hard working, but self sufficient life. I can think of better things to do with a million bucks.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Sins » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:14 pm

Sent you a PM don't want to talk too much about the legalities of it... But it's nothing like that

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Murphman » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:56 pm

Sins wrote: Also the lawsuit is a FLSA lawsuit (and probably one of the reasons I lost employment)
Non-injury lawsuits are "typically" taxable income, so even if you have no attorney fees (which would shock me), you have Uncle Sam to deal with.

Look under compensatory awards:
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Bus ... c305586648

In General:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4345.pdf

and to further your light reading for the evening:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p525.pdf

I wish you well.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by s.leinicke » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:47 pm

Since you already grow and raise 50% of your food, you could work to get that to 100%. I obviously can't completely answer how to do that for you, but there's a couple of books that could help you figure out how. I found these to be pretty helpful. (I don't have a house, but I've put some thought into what I'd like when I can afford it)

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Acre-Pract ... 1599218854
http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Pe ... 1616086440

I'd also look into aquaponics with tilapia. They can be packed much tighter than other fish and only take about a year to be mature enough to eat.


Other than that, solar panels can help you cut down on electricity costs, but are pretty expensive to maintain and require sophisticated setups to even store a small amount of the power you can harvest from them. Plus, you may need to really rethink some of your appliances. (washing machine, dryer, hot water heater, dishwasher, heat/ac, etc.) They can be a big drain on your power.

Then if you don't have a fresh water supply available on your property you can get a well. Or if you plan on moving you can try to find somewhere with a fresh water supply. It'd be nice to try to be as close to the source as possible to prevent contamination from upstream or find a place where you can have a well that isn't likely to have the aquifer contaminated.

That covers your food, water, power. Shelter is a given. Then you just need to get a internet hookup and you're home free.

EDIT:
I realized I didn't really answer your question, but it's hard to do so. If you look up your power consumption you can figure out how many solar panels you need, but you can easily spend your full 300k on solar panels especially if you have a bigger house. Plus, I have no idea where to start to figure out how much you'd need to spend to get livestock and such to take care of your food. Chickens, goats, and tilapia should take care of your protein/dairy needs. Then whatever you throw in your aquaponic systems, plus regular types of crops should take care of the rest.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by zero11010 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:40 pm

You may find value in these:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 82342A7415

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 7A2E900CFC

Those two playlists have examples for how to do things like:
* live in less than 400 square feet (in many cases less than 200 sqft or even 100 sqft)
* finding appliances using fewer resources and fitting in a smaller space
* maximizing potential space
* creating your own set ups for power
* building your own home
* creating systems for hydroponic or aeroponic gardening used to minimize resource expenditure


The theory is, if you use less, and have less you're then paying less. The person who put those playlists together is Kirsten Dirksen and her youtube channel is pretty outstanding (those two playlists have a total of almost 200 videos).


Watch some of that stuff. You'll start to get an idea for which ideas you may be able to borrow. Most of these people are just everyday folks who were looking to maximize potential from minimal resources and were doing everything themselves. This usually means there is a bit of room for improvement. Things you see as an issue in video A may have a resolution in video B by a different person.


Power - power solutions commonly come from solar, wind, and water (if you're very close to a decent and constant flowing water source). Another key factor is reducing your daily power usage. I think that the average home in America uses 4 times more power than the average home in the rest of the world (when only looking at homes with electricity).

Water - water solutions are basically be by using municipal water, or a well, or a combination of other sources. These can include rainfall or natural springs/rivers. As with power, a key factor is in reducing the amount of water you require. There are also all kinds of solutions to make use of grey water from your home to be repurposed elsewhere.

Gas - Reduction can help. But, if you want to look for a more self sufficient way to continue, you will want to look for alternatives to systems that use gas.

Food - This isn't an area I've paid a lot of attention to. I've seen systems for fish that people rave about. And, some of these systems are able to basically filter greywater from your home to run without requiring you to go through a lot of extra water. I like the few things about aeroponic gardening that I've seen. I imagine it costs more to start, but it looks like the maintenance costs are lower, and the yields are greater.

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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Stercutus » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:35 pm

I think you just need to figure out how you want to live your life and what level of comfort you want to enjoy. You may also want to consider how much you want to contribute to the world that you live in. In America you do not have to have any kind of job to get by at a minimalist existence. As soon as you start wanting things that is when you start needing the money. I could show you houses for sale for $5K which are a step down from camping. But you can live there and never pay a dime in rent (although the taxes and insurance will cause a small out flow).

Figuring out what you want out of life is often the most difficult part. Once you figure that out then you will know what "stuff" you need to buy in order to support that lifestyle. Going out and buying stuff and then trying to fit that into a loose vision will likely be less successful.

Personally I am a in a position where I don't have to work anymore and I still enjoy a nice standard of living by American standards. We have been this way for several years. I still work though because I believe that what I am doing is important and helping to make the world a better place. I also like to set a good example for my children instead of living a life of sloth and leisure. What is unique about that is that the moment I don't want to work anymore then that is an immediate option with few repercussions. This type of freedom is much more liberating to me than the whole "flipping the bird" to the world and going off to live off of the land somewhere. Because I can always do that.

If you go the "self-sufficiency" route just keep in mind that you are simply trading one hamster wheel for another. Except it is worse than that. If you don't keep the wheel spinning you will run out of an essential; like food, shelter, water.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by JeeperCreeper » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:12 am

I can agree with Stercutus above me to a great extent, not that I have as much real world experience as many on this forum. But what I can say is: there is a reason why 99.99% of America do not want to be 100% self sufficient or off the grid... because it is hard. the onld saying is "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it". I think moving towards a smaller "footprint" and doing things to save money and live healthier is great, but there will be a tipping point where gardening will turn into relying on crop yield, and not having enough fire wood for a nice warm fire will turn to freezing to death.

Example time for my experiences: family members moved out of the town and into a farming/rural area. It had pasture lands for horses, small plots for micro farming, and woods for hunting and gathering. The soon realized that they ran out of fire wood because they did not cut enough in the summer because they still had lives. So they had to buy some and use regualr gas heat. The many crops and veggies they grew began to taste very bland after eating the same things everday. They got no deer, turkey, bear, or any game this year because their lives got busy and could not dedicate time to doing it.

So for me, its cool to have the ability to be more independent, but at what sarifice?? I think it would be more wise to put that money into savings/retirement/investments and maybe spend some on things that cut energy and other costs... but selling everything and moving?? Not unless your dream job is being Jeremiah Johnson
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:08 am

Sins wrote:"If it were me, I'd need 25k for some land and I could put one of those tiny houses on it for 10k.
Then I'd need a well system, fencing, a tractor, etc etc etc which I estimate would cost xxx
So I would need a grand total of $xxx to be self sufficient"
.
Really I'm looking for ideas of what people consider self sufficient and how much they feel it would cost.
Ah, I see. I'd need 3-5 million dollars. Being a subsistence farmer does not appeal to me or my family. Being a gentleman vintner does.
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Murphman » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:30 am

Evan the Diplomat wrote: Ah, I see. I'd need 3-5 million dollars. Being a subsistence farmer does not appeal to me or my family. Being a gentleman vintner does.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :rofl:
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Squidi » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:11 am

Evan the Diplomat wrote:...put the balance in a no load mutual fund with a twenty year return of 15 to 20 percent or research it your self.
Do you have a couple of examples of that? Last time I looked at mutual funds was during and shortly after the 2008 thing, so the 20 year returns were pretty awful.

Murphman
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Re: What's the minimum dollar amount you need to be 100% sel

Post by Murphman » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:28 am

Squidi wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:...put the balance in a no load mutual fund with a twenty year return of 15 to 20 percent or research it your self.
Do you have a couple of examples of that? Last time I looked at mutual funds was during and shortly after the 2008 thing, so the 20 year returns were pretty awful.
Look at the Vanguard Family of Funds. I am not affiliated, but switched about 20% of my IRA to the ETF below a few years ago. Returns have been great and costs are negligible. The other link is one of Vanguard's most popular index funds. Remember that ALL publicly traded securities have inherent risk. Do your own due diligence before making any purchases, and remember that no returns are ever guaranteed.

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (Exchange Traded Fund).:
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/ ... =INT#tab=1

Vanguard 500 Index:
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/ ... IntExt=INT
"If you are prepped for pandemic flu, you are more than prepped for Ebola. And pandemic flu is hella more likely, that's the one that scares me, personally." - Duodecima...and she's a freaking doctor. What are you?

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