Howdy. I’m a single guy in my early 30s living in Metro Vancouver, Canada! I’m a full-time graphic designer who believes it’s perfectly okay to stay in debt, enjoy a comfortable standard of living, have an excellent work/life balance, and still achieve early retirement by adopting a holistic approach to financial management. The secret is to work smart, not hard. 😉
For example I earn about $75,000 a year from investment gains alone, which is even more than my full time salary from work. Building wealth is all about understanding the capital markets and managing risk. Instead of working harder, I let my money do the work for me.
I moved out from my parent’s basement 8 years ago, taking with me only some hand-me-down furniture. Since then I’ve paid off $15,000 of student loans, quadrupled my home equity, built up a $250,000 stock portfolio, and acquired nearly $400,000 worth of additional investments such as farmland, private mortgages, and precious metals.
Obviously I couldn’t have saved all that money on my own, which is where leverage comes in! Over the years I’ve developed a habit of relying on cheap credit from large banks to pay for most of my purchases. 🙂 Whenever I make a new investment I usually explain my decision process on this blog, and demonstrate my steps, often with documentations. This keeps me accountable since I can’t just make up random numbers when I post my net worth update every month. So far it appears I have managed to consistently beat the markets every year since I began blogging in 2010. I plan to become financially independent when I’m 35 years old by investing and continuing to make double digit annual returns. There will probably be some bumps along the way, but I’m optimistic about the future. I’m Liquid Independence, and welcome to my freedom 35 blog!
I grew up in a typical middle class household. My generous parents contributed $10,000 towards my tuition in college. 🙂 I’ve received no other financial aid from them since then. After graduating with an art diploma in 2008 I began working at a local design company for $35,000/year. Still living with my folks at the time I was easily able to save $13,000 within one year, which I immediately used for a down payment to purchase a $230,000 apartment. As soon as I was living on my own in 2009 I began to discover the importance of money and how it represents power, potential, security, influence, hope, and of course freedom. I vowed to make saving and investing my top priorities so I can retire early, and have unlimited free time. Time and freedom are the epitomes of real wealth. Money is simply a means to attain them. After this realization I decided to embark on a financial journey to freedom 35. 🙂
My financial activities can often to be a bit controversial. In finance, a one size fits all strategy doesn’t exist. But we learn by broadening our minds. So even if readers disagree with my personal choices I hope to at least show them a different way to look at the world of personal finance. 😀 I’ve shared my income tax statements from previous years to prove that financial independence is possible with the right knowledge, planning, and leverage, even for someone with an average wage.
About My Investing Experience:
I’m still a beginner investor and there is much more I want to learn about personal finance. Here’s a summary of my finances from previous years.
- 2009 – I purchased a home with a 6% down payment. A couple years later my apartment’s value had risen by $40,000 above my purchase price. So my equity jumped 200% in just two years!
- 2010/2011 – I invested heavily into the Canadian and U.S. stock markets, even borrowing money from the bank to buy high quality companies such as Suncor, Enbridge, Apple, Google, and Amazon. My 2 to 1 leverage proved to be fruitful as I was able to double the performance of the stock markets during the bounce back years from the great recession.
- 2012 – I ventured into more exotic investments like farmland because I believed it to be an undervalued asset class that would probably experience strong demand in the future. I blogged about spending $20,000 of my own money to purchase a $150,000 farm, and secured a long term loan for the remaining balance. Farmland values increased on average by 19% in 2012, and 28% in 2013, which means I’ve made over 200% return on my initial $20,000 investment thanks to my 7.5x leveraging strategy.
- 2013 – My U.S. margin account outperformed the S&P 500 index yet again and achieved a whopping 75% return for the year. I share all the holdings in my U.S. account under the “Portfolio” menu near the top of the site.
- 2014 – I started to invest in mortgage securities, which I believe are great options for investors who are looking for income rather than growth.
- 2015 – I expanded my investments in all financial asset categories and started to buy high yield bonds.
- 2016 – I continued to focus on dividend growth stocks and interest producing bonds. At the end of this year my investment portfolio is generating $12,000 a year of passive income.
- 2015 – My plan is to continue investing in opportunities whenever they present themselves and blog about them. 🙂
Below is a pie chart showing my current asset allocation. Fixed Income category includes bonds, and mortgages such as MICs. The “Other” category includes cash and precious metals such as silver, and gold bullion.
I typically save about $18,000 a year from my primary job. But finding lucrative investment opportunities and using other people’s money is how I’m currently growing my net worth by over $100,000 per year. I don’t have a secret formula to get rich. But here are some guidelines I follow: Purchase undervalued assets. Use leverage to invest, but only if the cost is affordable. Stay in the game. Build up a strong asset column. Investing is more important than paying down low interest debt. Think outside the box. Mimic the behaviours of other financially successful individuals. And don’t be afraid to seize opportunities when other are reluctant to act. 🙂
These are my life long goals.
- Become financially free
- Donate at least a million dollars to charity.
- Become part of the 1% wealthiest people in the country
- Start a company and create jobs for my community.
- Qualify and become an accredited investor.
- Fly into space
The first step to success is believing that it’s possible.