As a young man I worked a few years for a small city. Then in refinishing before startingmy own refinishing business. The DIY craze created my own personal recession. I had to go anothet direction and that turned out to be grunt work in the restaurant industry. Hard work opened up a management position in a small Mom and Pop. My success led Mom and Pop to sell out. I became a high priced do nothing who was let go when my existing business agreement ended. By that time i had 2children and a mortgage and we were in a recession. My wife and i divorced and with child support, etc. I was not saving a penny. I moved to another state, got into a famous restaurant as a cook and waiter. Tips were good and i could finally save a little. By the time gold and silver started moving i was in a new relationship and my partner and i bought a little gold and searched rolls of coins for silver. We saved up about $4,000 in silver,had 13oz of gold and $2,000 in Small Savers Certificates (the goverment savings program designed to help small investors save-interest rates ultimately killed that so we took about $4,000 and put it into cd's and when the next recession came we moved to another state. Un able to find work, we opened a gourmet restaurant. It provided a living but little else so after 10 years we sold it and purchased a house. By then interest rates had fallen again so mortgages wererelatively cheap. Our savings continued to be silver, gold, and cd 's. I presently work as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. I set up a self directed IRA in 2007. Putting 15% into my Postal plan didn't leave much for the IRA at first, but over time I found a few dollars here and there and started putting $5,000 a year in in 2008. When I turned 63 (late 2012) I took $150,000 from my Postal tsp and rolled it over into my IRA That gave me $240,000 in my IRA. I had bought a little Alcoa, Regions, Regal Cinema and Scripps Newspapers. I turned $10,000 into $90,000. Well, time did. When the market timing seemed good for me i sold those companies and bought JMI, AT, CIM, T, FTR, and WIN. Also SIRI and FSGI. The past year I have traded little other than the occasional foray into something that looked like a quick dollar or so. In and out of T as it fell and rose. I consider myself to be a very small investor. In the past year my port folio has done well but i have grown nervous.