#Should I be able to retire at age 34?
I want Freedom
Freedom is great right? Wouldn’t it be great to be free to work from anywhere? To have complete location freedom? What if you also had time freedom? What if you didn’t have to work to earn money?
That has been my dream since I heard about interest income when I was at a Chicago pizza restaurant in the 7th grade. I have no idea what the name of the restaurant was, but the conversation stuck with me forever.
I’ve been a risk averse investor most of my life. A few years low stock market returns coupled with low interest rates left me struggling with how to hit my retirement goals. Reading 4 hour work week changed my perspective.
Now I realize that not-taking risks can be riskier than taking risks. That is how I feel about bitcoin. If I don’t participate and bitcoin is successful I will regret it for the rest of my life. If I do participate and bitcoin fails my life will continue on nearly unchanged.
##The Seed was Planted in the 7th Grade My uncle and cousin were talking about a basketball player who had just signed a multi-million dollar deal. My uncle asked my cousin what would you do with 1 million dollars?
I don’t recall who, but one of them said that 1 million dollars would pay $60,000 interest annually. My mind was blown. At the time my measly allowance of $104 per year more than exceeded my needs. It blew my mind to think I could earn lots of money without lifting a finger.
##I Made my First Investment in 2000 Unfortunately I did more thinking than acting. While I did save most of the money I earned in the bank, I didn’t earn much money to put in the bank. Before leaving for college I’d probably earned less than $1k in my lifetime from work.
However I had been given some money and not spent a lot. I entered college with around $3,000. Additionally my cousin’s friend Adrian Salas had gotten me a job interview for a computer internship with the State of Michigan. I was hired making around $600 a month.
That semester my dad advised me to open my own savings account and Roth IRA. I put $1,500 into a savings bond style Roth IRA paying less interest than my saving account.
##Doubling Down At the end of my freshman year I had spent about as much as I’d made. I thought what is the point of working if I have nothing to show for it?
The one thing I did have was that Roth IRA account earning interest.
I decided to build my wealth.
Somehow on my student salary of $10-$12 an hour I was able to max my Roth IRA every year of college, contribute the max matched amount to my 401K, and pay off two car loans (used cars of course).
I Made Mistakes
Unfortunately I was investing my money in mutual finds. From 2000-2010 my money was growing, but not at the rates I had hoped for. The second problem I started to realize was that a lot of my money was tied up in retirement assets and not available to use for today’s expenses.
Also while in school I also was able to scratch together $20K. 13K from government bonds $4K from a loan against my car and $3K from savings to lend a business at something like 7% / year.
Unfortunately that loan went bad although it was repaid in full a few years later.
I also bought a house the year I graduated (2005). I thought the house would appreciate in value, I’d be able to have renters, and then sell it in a few years. Unfortunately that house is still underwater.
##Change of Plans In 2011 I realized I was going to be working until retirement unless I did something different.
That year I made my first stock market investment into an individual stock - Groupon’s initial public offering (IPO). I thought the stock was hot and I’d buy in the morning and sell at +10% later that day.
That morning when the market opened I was surprised to see Groupon wasn’t available for purchase through my Scottrade account. Early that afternoon when it was available it was about 50% higher than what I’d expected to buy it for. Frustrated I decided to bail and try later.
Adding salt to the wound Groupon surged over 10% that day so in my mind it seemed my plan would have worked.
##A Big Mistake Focused on work I didn’t pay close attention to the market. 5 weeks later one of my friends messaged me asking if I was buying into the Zynga IPO.
Without thinking much I logged into Scottrade and bought around $3k worth. Over the next two hours I proceeded to lose 10% of that.
At this point it is important to remind you my investing experience had been long term investments. I’d never had a 10% loss the day I made a new investment. Besides the 08 crisis and my house my investments overwhelmingly trended up.
This $300 loss shook me even though it was a fraction of a percent of my net worth. I worried about the stock, watching it daily and wondering if I should get out or stay.
##The Silver Lining That mistake may end up being the best thing that ever happened to me for my investing career. One of my friends who I was complaining to asked me if I could sell covered calls on my upside down Zynga.
Shortly after that conversation covered calls were available for sale on Zynga. A few weeks later even though Zynga was trading for less than what I’d bought it for my Scottrade balance was higher than the $3,000 I’d put in! To say it another way selling covered calls had allowed me to make money on a stock that had declined in value since I’d purchased it.
December 2011 also happened to be the time I first head about bitcoin. I spent a couple hours one weekend trying to mine some.
For the next two years I learned a lot more about options and felt comfortable putting a lot more money on the line (around $60K) and was pummeling the S&P returns.
On April 14th 2013 I had lunch with my dad and brother. My dad mentioned bitcoin had crossed over $200 / coin. Doing quick math in my head I realized if I had put $10K into bitcoin in 2011 I’d have hit my magic $1 million dollar mark and would be able to retire.
I was so shocked I decided I had to learn more.
##Taking the Plunge I decided to buy $10K worth of bitcoins seeking a 100x return over the next 2-5 years. Buying bitcoins was a lot harder in 2013 than it is today. I completed my $10K purchase in August 2013 and began my bitcoin investing journey.
Change of Strategy
After owning bitcoins for a few months and going to two bitcoin conferences I decided I wanted bitcoin to succeed.
The people in bitcoin are so great. They are freedom lovers just like me. We feel bitcoin is the most empowering force since the Internet.
My new goal isn’t to get a 100x return and exit. My new goal is to have the ability to retire on bitcoin income. What does that mean concretly? My current personal expenses are low. How low? Around $2k per month. My goals is to have bitcoin investment income of 3x my expenses each month.
Simply put: I want to earn $6,000 in bitcoin each month.
##Follow my Explorations To achieve my goal with my current holdings I need two things:
- The bitcoin price to hit around $4,000 / coin
- A safe mechanism or interest bearing account that generates 7% interest per year.
Bitcoin Changed Me Forever
No matter if bitcoin succeeds or not bitcoin has changed me forever. It has been fantastic being in this industry. I’ve meet fantastically interesting people, traveled to cool places, and had my eyes opened on a lot of issues.
Bitcoin is going to change the world forever. It has let a genie out of a bottle. People like me have experienced the standard of living improvements digital assets provide. We realize it is just as profound as the Internet improved communications.
As a Bull I’m braving the new financial frontier hunting for a return on invested bitcoins. I will happily share my experiences with you. This way we can avoid scams and grow our coins together.