With Miriam Cross, Staff Writer at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Steve speaks with Miriam Cross, Staff Writer at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, about “39 Great Ideas For $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000”, an article she wrote for the February 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Her article offers fun and smart ways to spend or invest amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 across six different categories:
- Smart Investing
- Money Well Spent
- Living Large
- Home Rewards
- Dream Travel, and
- Giving Back
Fun Things to Do With $1,000 or Less
There’s a lot one can do with a thousand dollars, which many Americans may have received as a tax refund this time of the year. For instance, you could spend it on experiences you enjoy, such as buying a ticket to Hamilton, the hit musical that’s touring the U.S., where you can nab a good seat for less than $200.
You could send a kid to camp for anywhere from $200 to $1,500 per week per child or donate to the American Camp Association Send-A-Child-To-Camp-Fund which provides scholarships so kids in need can attend camps and get a whole new appreciation for nature. Do good and feel good!
Alternately, you could take a culinary tour, where you sample local cuisine, check out local meat and produce markets, and take a cooking class.
For under $1,000, you could make your life richer through experiences or giving, with memories and satisfaction that will stay with you for life.
Moving Up—What $10,000 Can Buy
With $1,000 to $10,000, you could indulge the inner collector in you by buying things you fancy, such as well-maintained classic cars that start in the $7,000 range and go higher. If you’re a sports fan, Steve recommends a trip to Wimbledon or the Olympics, with tickets and good quality room-and-board included that might leave you feeling like aristocracy.
If you’re civic-minded, use your money to run for office and change the world, starting with your own local community or school board. $10,000 is enough if you’re campaigning in a small state like Montana or Vermont or in a medium-sized city with a population of 100,000 or less.
Top Tier Spending With $100,000
Big spenders have greater upscale options. You could buy a luxury Mercedes Sprinter Conversion Van to drive cross-country and around town, including a hook-up to serve as a spare bedroom when you’re not on the road. Traveling across the country is an enthralling experience that will leave a mark for the better on anyone who does.
With $100,000, you could even buy yourself a new small home, that hip category of homes with a low-cost and a low-environmental-footprint or a small cabin on an acre of land in places like Montana.
If roughing it isn’t your style, charter a yacht in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean for $100K or less and treat 10 of your best friends to their own private cruise.
If you’re feeling charitable and love your kids enough, help them out with a down-payment or closing costs on a home, pay for an upgrade they’ve long been wanting to do, or simply sign-up as a co-borrower.
Before You Spend It, Make Sure You Don’t Need It
Before you get all gung-ho and make spending plans, make sure your personal finances are all in order, that your retirement investments are well-funded, and that you really do not need this extra money for life’s essentials. Only then should you go out and spend it in smart, satisfying ways, and remember, money spent on experiences and giving will bring you far more happiness and satisfaction than blowing it all on a fancy purchase. Good luck having fun with it!
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: I came across this article, “39 Great Ideas for Spending $1,000, $10,000 and $100,000.” So I contacted Kiplinger, and I got on the phone with me, Miriam Cross. She’s the staff writer for Kiplinger Personal Finance, and she’s going to tell us about all of these fun ways and some smart ways to spend $1,000, $10,000, or $100,000.
Welcome to the show, Miriam.
Miriam Cross: Thanks for having me.
Steve Pomeranz: So, let’s start with $1,000. So, let’s say that you’ve got this extra $1,000. And I think the first thing that you should consider is to invest it for the long term, if that’s possible for you. Lots of good ways to do that. We discuss them on the show all the time. But let’s talk about some other ways. I got 1,000 bucks now, maybe it was a tax refund or something. Give me some ideas.
Miriam Cross: Sure, so one thing you can do is check if Hamilton is coming to your city or a city nearby. There are a lot more opportunities to see the show this year. It plays on a regular basis in New York and Chicago, but it’s also traveling all across the country and tickets are not necessarily as expensive as you might think. When I was searching for examples for the item, actually, I saw plenty of options for less than $200. I mean you often have to sit up in the balcony, but I mean I am personally going in June, actually, when it comes DC. We were able to get tickets for $100.
Steve Pomeranz: Cool. Yeah, we’re talking about having an extra $1,000, so you know what? Hey, have an experience, get close to the stage.
Miriam Cross: Exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: Get that feeling for being inside instead of just kind of watching it from far away, that’s a fun thing to do. By the way on the show we had a Tony Award-winning producer, Ken Davenport, talking about how to invest in Broadway shows. So, I don’t think you can do that with $1,000 but maybe you can do that with $10,000. We’ll talk about that. All right, so what is something else we can do with 1,000 bucks?
Miriam Cross: You can send a kid to camp. So, camps can cost anywhere from 200 to 1,500 per week per child. So, you can donate to the American Camp Association Send a Child to Camp Fund and the money is used to supply scholarships to kids, who need a little more financial assistance attending camp for the summer.
Steve Pomeranz: You know, I grew up in New York until age 12 and we lived in Queens, and you know we’d play in cement play yards and things like that. We had no money, and then one year, I was given a gift. Of course, I was so young, I didn’t really understand, but to go to camp in this wild area of trees and lakes and rivers, and it happened to be New Jersey— Butler, New Jersey. I’ll never forget it! But it really had a big impact on me. In my giving, I have given for that particular reason. Take a kid out of the inner city and send him to the country, it’s a great thing for their lives. So, that’s a great idea. Hey, you’ve got an idea here, too. Take a culinary tour. What’s that?
Miriam Cross: Yeah, that’s a really fun twist on doing a regular tour, where you dabble in the food, and museums and culture and things. You can also take tours that focus on food. So, you will sample a lot of local cuisine, you tour the market, do some food shopping, take a cooking class, and we found one for 10 days in Vietnam for less than a $1000.
Steve Pomeranz: Wow, so for $859, Go Asia Travel, you get meals with the local cuisine, I’m reading here, a cooking class. You get to fish for squid during a cruise and ride to the floating market. You also have words here written for people who understand how to read Vietnamese, so I skipped those. But anyway, especially in a place like Vietnam, you can do quite a bit for under $1,000. Let’s move to $10,000. So, got a bonus, got my savings set, got everything in place, and I’m going to really enjoy all of the fruits of my labor. What are some ideas for spending $10,000?
Miriam Cross: So, if you’re a collector you can look into classic cars. It’s definitely possible to find some for or under $10,000. So, for example, mid -1970s to mid-80s Chevrolet and GMC pickups, 60s Buicks, or Oldsmobiles. And Japanese cars from the 70s and 80s are all up and coming models that are likely to increase in volume in the future, and we found some examples of those for about $7,000 to $9,000.
Steve Pomeranz: Like Mustangs and—well, no, the Camaro’s and the Mustangs, those go for quite a bit more. So, you’re looking at another subset of cars in the $10,000 range.
Miriam Cross: So, yeah.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, here’s one that I really liked, see the finals at Wimbledon or catch the Winter Olympics.
Miriam Cross: Yeah, and that could apply to the Summer Olympics as well. Again, for $10,000 and you can actually do it for under $10,000 depending on whether you’re going by yourself, whether you’re going with two people. So for Wimbledon and for $10,000, you can see the final matches, get a three night stay at a hotel, get afternoon tea, evening drinks. But if you want to spend less than that or go with someone else, then you just will see the early matches instead.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, so you get to stay at a swanky hotel, just a few hundred yards from the tennis stadium. You can eat at the All-England Club, and as you said, sip afternoon tea where you can also eat brunch, and you can feel like an aristocrat.
Miriam Cross: You can.
Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH] All right, what’s something else? I noticed one here was run for office. Wow, so $10,000 you can pony up some bucks to run for your local school board or something, I guess.
Miriam Cross: So, we actually found ways you can run for office for $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000 and for $10,000 that should be about enough to run for a seat in a small state’s legislature such as Montana or Vermont or a city council position in a medium-sized city. So that means a city with the population of less than 100,000.
Steve Pomeranz: All right, let’s move to seven smart ways to spend $100,000. We’re only going to cover a few of them, of course. One that I liked is buy a camper van.
Miriam Cross: Yep, so we were looking at the Mercedes Sprinter Conversion Van. And, let’s see, you can use it either just to drive around town, or you can also hook it up to electricity and transform a kitchen to a bedroom. You can also customize the layout a bit also.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, you know, I think the first thing my parents did when they retired, and I came down from New Jersey, and down to South Florida. The first thing they did was buy a camper van, travel around the country, Good Sam places and the KOAs, they had a blast. They loved that. Here’s another one, buying an off-the-grid cabin. I don’t know about that one for me but describe that.
Miriam Cross: I mean, some people love not getting any cell reception or roughing it a little bit. So, depending on where you are, for example, Montana, you could find a small cabin on an acre of land for about $100,0000.
Steve Pomeranz: All right, and does it have electricity? How off the grid is that kind of thing?
Miriam Cross: These are pretty rustic.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, yeah, what about chartering a yacht. For $100,000 what can you actually get to invite your friends and family in some exotic location. What kind of yacht can you get, and where would you put it?
Miriam Cross: So, you can charter one in the Caribbean, you can look to the Mediterranean. You’ll get about a week for maybe 65 to $70,000, a little more in the Mediterranean. And you can sleep say 10 to 12 guests on it, so it’s a great alternative to taking the family on a cruise.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, if I were to run for public office and I had $100,000, what kind of public office could I buy? So that could pay for a city council bid in a large city. That’s enough to cover like Miami, or maybe Boston, that type of kind of thing?
Miriam Cross: Yeah, maybe, so you’ll have to buy voter files, mailers, digital and radio ads and then you might also want to hire an experienced campaign manager at a certain point, and that can cost about 20,000 a month.
Steve Pomeranz: I guess you can help buy your kids a home too with a $100,000, right?
Miriam Cross: Yup, there are a bunch of things you can do; you can help them with the closing cost. You can help them with like upgrades and little renovations, or you can also become a non-occupant co-borrower if they can’t qualify on their own.
Steve Pomeranz: So the idea is to sit down with this found money and make sure that you’ve got everything else intact, your expenses are covered, your investments are set, and you’re on a good path. And now you’ve got this extra money and you know what? Don’t save it, spend it, enjoy it. Do something to enhance your life whether it’s buying a thing like an old car, or whether it’s experiencing some kind of a great trip on an African safari or buying a camper and exploring our wonderful country.
These are the ideas, think creatively, have some fun with your money. I mean I have a saying, save a lot and spend the heck out of the rest. That’s my personal investment and life philosophy. So I think we can do that. You can do that here as well.
My guest is Miriam Cross, staff writer for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. And, if you have a question about what we just discussed, don’t be afraid to ask us. Give us a ring, or write us a note on our website. Go to stevepomeranz.com, ask anything that you want we will try to answer it for you. That’s stevepomeranz.com and, while you’re there, sign up for our weekly updates, where we’ll send you weekly commentaries and interviews straight to your inbox. Miriam, thank you so much for joining us.
Miriam Cross: Thanks for having me.
Steve Pomeranz: All right.