Welcome to Freedom 35 Blog
Hi. I’m a married guy in my mid 30s living in Vancouver, Canada.
I’m a graphic designer who has a lot of debt, but enjoys a comfortable standard of living.
I became financially independent in 2020. The secret is to work smart, not hard.
I plan to quit my 9 to 5 job in the summer of 2022.
I write about which stocks will likely outperform the market and put my money where my mouth is.
I’ve been doing this for over 12 years and usually get 20%+ annual returns.
Building wealth is all about understanding capital markets and controlling risk. Instead of being a workaholic I let my money do the heavy lifting for me. Between the start of my career in 2008 to 2021 I have earned a cumulative net income of $750,000 according to my tax returns. But my net worth is over $2 million today. 🙂
My name is Liquid, and welcome to my little corner of the internet!
How I got started
I moved out from my parent’s basement when I was 21 years old. Since then I’ve paid off $15,000 of student loans, quadrupled my home equity, built up a 1,000,000 investment portfolio, and acquired over $1,000,000 worth of additional assets such as real estate, private mortgages, green energy bonds, Bitcoin, and precious metals.
Obviously I couldn’t have bought all those assets with my own money, which is where leverage comes in! Over the years I’ve relied on cheap credit to pay for most of my investments.
Whenever I make a new purchase I usually explain my decision process on this blog, and document my steps. This keeps me accountable and transparent.
My financial plan
My primary mandate was to become financially free before my 35th birthday. I have achieved that goal a couple of years early. So now my goal is to have a $10 million net worth. I plan to do this by studying and implementing what other wealthy individuals have successfully practiced for generations. 🙂 I just have to think like the rich, and act like the rich.
These tactics may include but are not limited to, controlled leveraging, value investing, taking advantage of market corrections, working a part-time job, swing trading, dividend investing, alternative investing, multiple income sources, hedging, starting a business, options trading, etc.
I grew up in a typical middle class household. My generous parents contributed $10,000 towards my tuition.
I made $35,000 a year right out of college in 2008. Still living with my folks at the time I was easily able to save $13,000 within one year. I used this money as a down payment to purchase an apartment for $230,000 in 2009.
As soon as I was living on my own I began to discover the importance of financial literacy and how money 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 more 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 and started this blog in 2010 to track my progress. 🙂
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. 😀
My Investment Strategies:
I don’t have a secret formula to get rich through investing. But here are some guidelines I follow that has earned me a 20% annualized rate of return on my investments:
- Learn how to value assets. And purchase undervalued ones.
- Use leverage to invest, but only if the cost is affordable.
- Stay in the game. Do not sell your winning investments too early.
- Build up a strong asset column. Make your money work for you.
- Investing is more important than paying down low interest debt.
- Think outside the box. And don’t be afraid to seize opportunities when others are reluctant to act.
- Continue learning. Shadow other successful individuals. Do as they do.
- Focus on markets or industries that you have an edge in.
- Always keep an eye out for asymmetric bets where the odds are in your favour.
- Good strategies create wealth. Great strategies create even more wealth. Strive to be great.
- Do the math for yourself instead of relying on what others say. Everyone’s situation is different.
Despite being an investor for over a decade I’m still constantly learning new way to build wealth. I share all my stock holdings publicly under the “Portfolio” menu at the top of this blog. 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 – Borrowed money to buy high quality companies such as Enbridge, Apple, and Amazon.
- 2012 – Ventured into more exotic investments like farmland because I believed it to be an undervalued asset class. Farmland values increased by 28% in 2013.
- 2013 – My U.S. margin account outperformed the S&P 500 index yet again and returned 75% for the year.
- 2014 – I started to invest in mortgage securities, which are better at generating income rather than growth.
- 2015 – I expanded my investments in all financial asset categories and started to buy high yield bonds.
- 2016 – Focus on dividend growth stocks. My portfolio now generates $12,000 a year of passive income.
- 2017 – Passive income from stocks and bonds have grown to $18,000 a year.
- 2018/2019 Continuing to invest in opportunities whenever they present themselves and blog about them.
- 2020 – Bought $100,000 of new stocks during market correction. Became a millionaire and financially free.
- 2021 – Annual passive income is $30,000. Continuing to look for value and optimistic about the future.
- 2022 – Earning thousands of dollars a month in option income. Preparing to leave the workforce.
I choose to blog anonymously so I can be transparent and honest about my financial details without the risk of attracting attention to my real life.
Below is a pie chart showing my current asset allocation.
The “Alternatives” category includes cash, bitcoin, and precious metals such as silver, and gold bullion.
About my income
My salary has grown over the years from $35,000 in 2008 to roughly $75,000 today. Here’s a letter of employment I obtained a few years ago to help me qualify for a mortgage on a rental property. It’s redacted for privacy reasons.
Very kool man, very kool!
I like your philosophy and have the same Freedom 35 goal. I stumbled on your blog just by chance.
Like yourself, I started in 2007 with around $25000 student debt, but now an getting close to 6 figure net worth. I have 2 income streams and various investment vehicles.
One avenue that I am strongly trying to tap into is the real estate market. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Have a great day,
Mark, in Moncton, NB
Heya Mark, thanks for dropping by. I’m glad to see others who have similar aspirations as myself (^_^). I personally think real estate is a great investment in the long run. Unfortunately as of now, 2012, interest rates are near historic lows, and the banks are very happy to lend, so this pushes up the demand for housing and artificially inflates prices to above market fundamentals. So for investment purposes I would not buy any real estate in major cities like Toronto or Vancouver today, but there may still be some opportunities in alternative real estate investments like REITs, or farm land, that has potentially less risk.
I came across your story on the Me and My Money column in the Globe and Mail which has led me to your blog.
Just want to say nice work and very inspirational story! I’ve been investing for about 6 months now, but it’s mostly been in ETFs. Hopefully after reading more through your blog and learning more, I’ll build up the courage to get more aggressive.
Patrick, in Vancouver, BC
Hey Pat, nice to hear from a fellow Vancouverite. I’m fairly new to investing myself, so we can probably learn a lot from each other. And if you’re reading financial articles and choosing ETFs instead of high cost mutual funds, then I believe you are doing all the right things so far ʘ‿ʘ
Congrats on your goals! It’s nice to see someone with a good plan and another fellow Vancouverite 🙂 I bet you’ll get ahead of me in your Dividend Progress, I am just above $5,000 now.
Yeah, there’s quite a few financial bloggers here in the lower mainland. Thanks for dropping by (^_^) I still have some way to go before getting to $5K a year in dividends, but congrats on reaching that milestone yourself. Passive income all the way!
I enjoyed reading your bio. Sounds like you are on the right track to get there!
Thanks for the support Sam!
Gonna be really cool if you can donate $1 million to charity!
Here’s a though, if you believe paying taxes is a form of charity since our taxes are redistributed, then it’s much easier!
I’ve paid more than $1 million in income taxes and now I want to go off the grid. 🙂
Love your plan and find it super interesting tracking your progress. My question is: where did you gain all of your financial knowledge?
Hey Nick, great question. Finance and business news sites such as BNN, MSNBC, Globe Investor, Yahoo Finance, etc are all great places on the internet to learn about personal finance for free. What I do is browse through the front pages of these kinds of websites every day and choose just a couple of interesting articles to read. And if there’s anything that catches my attention in those articles, I would go on Google and do some further research about the topic.
Great site – really inspirational. I came across it through ModestMoney.com and check back regularly to see how you’re doing. Great job dude!
I’m based in London but have pretty similar financial goals – you’re spot on about passive income!
Cool, I don’t get many readers from across the pond. Thanks for visiting.
Thanks for the mention Michael.
I really like your financial plan too. Having so much money saved up at your age is impressive, especially knowing it’s not due to some high paying job. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from you, especially since you literally live 10 minutes away.
Having a goal is the half of winning, congrats and good luck on your journey to financial freedom.
Thanks EFF. Good luck with your goals as well.
I recently came across your blog and I am very interested in reading it. I graduated from grad school in 2010 and I am making the effort to set myself up for financial freedom and starting a business down the road. I am a financial analyst so it will be interesting to read and follow the stock market with you. Best of luck, this should be a fun blog to interact with.
Would be great to get the professional opinion of a financial analyst on this site :). Feel free to comment on anything you like. You seem really career driven. I know you’ll be successful with your investments and future business some day. Looking forward to connecting with you as well.
Even if you do not make it to that magical million, just know you will be ahead of so many 35 year olds….It can be done and good luck!
That’s true. I’m aiming for the moon… but even if I miss, I’ll still be amongst the stars. It’s all about the personal journey. 🙂
Wow…..I like it 😉 Good for you! I’m rooting for you to reach your goal! You can join “Mr. Money Mustache” with the retire by 35 goal 😉
Yeah, that would be amazing. 🙂 MMM is a big inspiration for me.
Good to read your story! I’m sure you’re going to do well! Sam
Thanks Sam. After I reach FI my following goal might be to earn $100,000 a year from passive income. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your story. From your day job income $25+/hr you have an impressive savings rate! Good stuff.
Thanks! Saving money is the first step to building wealth. Without that I wouldn’t have reached financial independence today. 🙂
An interesting perspective – and one might say the right perspective – hard work, sensible investment decisions and a smattering of luck! Well done on being perhaps a little more level headed and committed to your future rather than just the present as most today seem to be.
I’d love to write you a guest blog post – we cover alternative real estate – we have bought and sold farms on 3 continents on behalf of Investors, as well as participating in a range of structured real estate investments that have delivered ahead of expectations.
DGC Asset Management
I’m a big fan of real estate. Send me a message through the contact page if you would like to discuss more. 🙂
Love your blog! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to sharing your blog with friends (late 20s and early 30s) – It’s nice to find a relatable financial perspective. Best of luck with all of your short and long term financial goals!
Thanks for spreading the word around about my blog (^_-) Send me a message if you or your friends would like me to cover any specific topics 🙂
Great blog and congratulations on your progression!
26/M from Ottawa currently working in the financial industry, previously as a financial planner. I hope to have reached a $1,000,000 NW by age 35 and, coincidentally, my current NW is about equivalent to your last fiscal update.
I hope you won’t mind my questions;
1. You are currently leveraging aggressively with limited liquid assets (given your aggressive holdings’ time horizon) and limited cash flow from a currently lower employment income. Have you considered which steps you are currently, or would take to hedge the risk of a potential increase in financing rates in the coming years?
2. You appear to have limited exposure to international equity in your current holdings – you are heavily weighted in Canadian securities in spite of a lagging economy. Could you please explain your rationale?
Lastly, seeing that your goal is to be an accredited investor, I would highly recommend completing the CFP (along with CSC)
Your blog is a great inspiration for others our age that aspire to be wealthy. Thank you for investing the time to educate others financially.
Hi J. I’m 26 as well. It’s nice to see we have similar goals 😀
I believe low interest rates are here to stay for the next 7 to 10 years. We’ll probably see small incremental increases by 25 or 50 bases points every year, but I don’t expect mortgage and bond rates get back to historical 6% or 7% until 2020 or later. This is because we have eased for so long that any change other than a small amount could slow down the economy which neither Poloz or Flaherty would risk doing in my own opinion. Consumers are carrying a lot of debt compared to historic times and the amount of credit around the world including US/Europe/Japan is so high right now that it’s not likely we can afford to pay higher rates. Europe is still mired in debt. China’s growth is slowing down. Inflation is still very tame at the moment. And overall there doesn’t seem to be a catalyst for growth. Even if the economy in North America does well in the short term and the unemployment rate falls below 7% we may still see continued low rates because of the currency war going on right now globally. But having said that, I feel like I’m properly hedged against “potential” higher interest rates with the ownership of my farmland, gold bullion, gold/silver stocks, and bank stocks. I believe higher rates will only come at a time of higher inflation. The gold and farmland investments will benefit from higher inflation as they are hard assets. And banks should outperform in a rising rate environment because all the bloated credit that people have took on during the low interest rate years will have to be refinanced at a higher rate (larger spread for the banks.)
I’m heavily invested in Canada mainly because of the preferential tax treatment on eligible dividends and capital gains. In a global economy I don’t believe the performance of a country’s economy is directly related to it’s stock market index. From 1987 to 2010 the Canadian economy (measured using the GDP) only had a 12% correlation to the TSX 60 stock market index. So if the GDP and stocks only move similarly 12% of the time then there’s pretty much no correlation at all. In 2008 our economy was doing fine, but the stock market fell. The following year in 2009 our economy shrank but stocks bad a comeback. Similar findings were discovered in the US. Holger Sandte, an economist from BNY Mellon said “Over longer time periods, the statistical correlation between the quarterly change of real U.S. GDP and the S&P 500 is virtually zero,” The same is true for emerging markets as well. China’s stock market index, the Shanghai Composite is still down more than 60% from its 2007 high. But the S&P500 and Dow Jones in the US meanwhile have been hitting record highs even though the US economy is growing at just a fraction of China’s pace. Last year the Greece stock market index rose by over 30% despite all the poor economic news about unemployment and debt defaults. It’s a mystery to me why there’s practically no correlation between stocks and the economy but it seems to be true world wide. But I still believe there are investment opportunities to be had in developing countries with better growth than North America. And my plan is to gain exposure to them via Canadian and US companies. 46% of the S&P 500 Company sales were derived from outside the United States. I think by owning large multinationals like Walmart, Chevron, Pfizer, and Disney with globally recognized brands I’m doing enough to diversify geographically. Same with Canadian companies. Scotia Bank makes 50% of their revenue from outside of Canada. They have a large presence in growing economies like Latin America. I think our oil sand companies like Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources is in the business to ship our fossil fuels to other countries as well so I also hold them in my portfolio. Investing indirectly into international economies this way is also less politically and geographically risky since all Canadian companies have to follow strict compliance rules and are liable to shareholders. Although this doesn’t stop them from breaking regulations occasionally when partnering with other countries of more questionable business practices. I lost a bit of money in SNC Lavalin when the scandal was reported last year 😐
I will look into taking the CFP maybe during my sabbatical or some time. It will probably broaden my investment knowledge 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion.
Qualify and become an accredited investor: what is your reason for this?
Great question aj 😀 The reason is because accredited investors are given access to certain types of exclusive investment opportunities that’s out of reach for the average retail investor. Due to federal securities law higher risk investments such as seed money, limited partnerships, professional hedge funds, and angel investor networks cannot be marketed to the general public. This is to protect people from getting into something they don’t understand and lose all of their investments. The minimum investment required for angel investing for example can be $10,000, which is a lot of money for the average citizen to risk losing.
On the other hand mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, and other types of common investments that most of us are already familiar with have tougher regulations around them because they are deemed to be less risky, easier to understand, and more transparent. Although it’s true that any publicly traded company can still go out of business, investors at least have the choice to sell their shares at any time. But with higher risk investments like a hedge fund for example, the investor’s capital is usually locked in for 3 to 7 years. There’s also a lot of fees associated such as a 2% commission, plus 20% of any profits, commonly known as the “two and twenty” fee structure. Hedge fund fees are much higher than a mutual fund because hedge funds are permitted to trade options, futures, or other high risk securities, which if managed correctly should outperform the general stocks and bond markets. Mutual funds however are restricted from buying those fancy types of derivatives.
In the US to be an accredited investor you’ll need to have a net worth of $1 million or more, or make over $200,000 a year. Similar rules apply in Canada. The reason the security regulators allow these high risk investment funds to be marketed and sold to accredited investors is because if a millionaire loses $10,000 or even $100,000, chances are he or she is still doing a lot better than the average investor. In other words, accredited investors can afford to take the extra risk.
There’s a lot of interesting investment opportunities out there that I would like some exposure to. For example there’s a crowd funding company called OurCrowd that pool’s investors’ money together to help fund small tech companies in Israel. They work kind of like Kickstarter, or Indiegogo. Investors can research all the companies on their site, and choose specific ones that they want to invest in. The risk is high, but so is the reward if you choose a good one. There are some very cool innovations coming out of Israeli startups right now. It’s a fascinating space to explore for sure. The crowd funding company is currently looking for investors worldwide, including Canada. But you need to be an accredited investor to contribute.
Hi, I currently live in Chilliwack, BC and just bought a home in Manitoba with 160 acres and was looking for info on the internet regarding renting the land out to farmers. I found your info and it was very helpful!! Also liked your goals, especially the one to fly into space!! Regards, Annette
Thanks for making a comment Annette 🙂 Congrats on buying your new property! The farms are probably more expensive in Manitoba but they’re probably better quality too. Yes, going into space sounds awesome doesn’t it 😀 I plan to post an article next week about how I’m going to do it 😉
These are great goals and if more of your age bracket thought like you we’d all be in much better shape financially. The best advice I received in my early 20’s from my financial advisor was, “save every penny you can now and invest because once you start settle down and start a family your expenses will increase considerably”. I heeded that advice and I lived very frugally from age 22 to age 30 and saved and invested as much as I could. I am proud to say that we (my husband and I and our 2 kids) now have a net worth of $1.7 million and we are 35 years old (and I have been a stay-at-home Mom with no income for the past 4 years). That is on a good 6 figure salary, but with a lot of saving and making financial freedom our goal. Now we feel free to give back and have increased our donations to charity. Good luck in your endeavours – it can be done!
Great story 🙂 It’s really inspiring to hear other people’s success stories. I don’t make anywhere close to six figures (yet) lol, so I don’t expect to have $1.7 million by age 35, however I do think $1 million by that time is certainly achievable for me as long as I continue to get high returns on my investments and save diligently.
Really great website, I have been a big fan of financial blogs featuring average Canadians striving towards financial freedom, and the detailing of this process. I just turned 25 myself, and just began working and actively saving and investing ( I currently have a TFSA comprised largely of strongly performing mutual funds, and a seperate account for swing trading where I can take advantage of moves on a shorter time frame). Although I am quite abit behind you net worth wise (sitting at about 25k now), I have no debt, and a near term goal of a 100,000$ net worth by 28. Im not sure if it is overly ambitious, but sites yours are certainly inspirational!
Very nice site with a ton of quality content! I’m practically in the same boat as you…graduated at the same time. My income has probably been a little higher than yours, but I’ve also striven to save and invest. I’m a value investor by nature and trade, with a goal for my wife and me to have a net worth of $1m by the time I turn 30 (2 years to go!). I love your goals, as they align almost in lock step with mine. I’d love to talk further sometime…drop me a line or visit my site!
What’s been your best strategy to build activity on your site?
All the best,
Hi Wes. It’s nice to bounce ideas off people who think alike. I hope you and your wife made it to $1 million net worth. Heck, it’s been 7 years since your comment. You may even be closing in on $2 million now, lol.
I think you can easily find other finance bloggers who are much more active in building internet traffic for their sites. I just never got into it myself. I don’t do any promotion or marketing for my blog. I simply write new posts once a week and reply to reader’s comments. 🙂
26 M North Van here and living on blogging income. I bet you could spin this blog into something that captures a good bit of nice passive income if you play it right. Email me if you want some pointers
Thanks t. Congrats on your blogging success. I don’t have that many visitors reading my site yet so I don’t think I can successfully monetize it just yet. I currently run a couple of ads which pays for the cost of hosting. But I will let you know once I have more internet traffic 😀
Thank you. 😀 Let me know if there’s any particular financial topic you’d like me to discuss in more detail. I’m always open to future blog post suggestion.
It’s my first time on your blog and wow! You are just a smart guy! It took me a while to understand all those principles and still… I can honestly say that I don’t have your guts.
Also, your strategy is pretty diversified. I like it.
I’m a more conservative investor than you are but still aim to be financially free at 45. I currently own a house and a very small portfolio worth 33k and yielding me a little more than a 1000$ in dividends but I just started this journey a year ago so it’s not that bad. Dividend growth investing is my main approach to reach financial independence.
You have great goals! Giving 1 million to charity… my goal is to have a net worth of at least a million so I don’t aim as high as you do 🙂
I wish you success. You already are on the right path!
Having a $33K portfolio is a great start considering you’ve only been at it for 1 year. I didn’t see my finances really take off until the 7th or 8th year of investing. Good luck and happy investing. 🙂
Awesome. Just awesome. Getting a TD e-series account, and will start investing in index funds right away. I’ve been postponing it for waaaaay too long now.
It’s never too late to start. Index funds have done well this decade, especially in the US.
Hard to consider taxes as charity as they are SOOO mis-spent or wasted. But then a lot of charities have very high administration costs so maybe you have a point there
The best charity is what you can do with your own time since it’s a direct and personal service. Becoming financially independent gives one more opportunity to do this. 🙂
So is the farmland actually producing anything? Or is it just vacant land that has appreciated in value? It an interesting allocation of capital.
The farmland produces wheat and canola. I had it rented to a farmer who paid me rent every year before I sold the land. 🙂
Great blog with so much helpful information!!
I too am considering investing in farmland because like yourself, I watched Jim Rogers on YouTube recently.
Please let me have your view whether to invest in Sask, or Manitoba. and what else to keep in mind when searching for a farm
My guess is that minimum size ought to be 160 acres, what do you say?
I think there is value to be found in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It depends on where you are comfortable owning. It’s generally easier to buy farmland in the province you live in. But if you live in neither, you can search for suitable land in both provinces. Farms that are closer to cities or main roads tends to grow in value. You also want to look for relatively flat terrain and not too many bushes. 160 acres should be the minimum to buy, which goes for about $200K to $300K for a good piece of land. It’s not worth buying anything cheaper because those are usually lower grade soil and don’t grow in value as much over time.
Just wait until you are married with kids…might be a bit hard to hit the freedom 35 mark!
I just reached financial independence last year at 33 years old. I got married recently as well. Kids will certainly be a question mark in terms of how much time and money they will need. We’ll see what happens. 🙂
Hi Liquid, I just found your blog once I created my plan to also become financially free by 35! I wanted to just let you know that I think your work here is truly incredible: the information is REAL, and I totally jibe with your philosophies. The courage to publish everything as you go and share with anyone who is curious to understand is amazing, and I really really appreciate it. Keep fighting the good fight, and rock on Liquid!
Thanks Megan. That’s great to hear a fellow FIRE enthusiast. How many more years do you have left until you reach freedom 35? Do keep us posted on how things are going so far with your goals. I’m curious to hear more about your story.
Hi we are very like minded I am 37 years old grew up in a immigrant family in Toronto started with nothing today I am self made millionaire I am worth approximately 2,700,000 in total assets maybe we can trade ideas as I like to talk with someone who is like minded in the same age group to see on how I can diversify my assets I am pretty much solely invested in Real estate and some RRSPs, my fortune has been made solely in real estate
Wow, congrats on becoming a multi-millionaire in your 30s. That’s really impressive. It does seem like we have similar thinking patterns. I also have a large portion of my investments in real estate and RRSPs. I sold my farmland a couple of years ago and bought a rental apartment in Vancouver.
But if it wasn’t for real estate I don’t know if I’d have as much wealth as I do today. Diversification is great once you’ve built up a sizeable portfolio. But concentrating on what you know best is better to build wealth in the first place. 🙂
Great To Connect with you. I’m from Goderich, Ontario. definitely sticking around to read more.
Happy to have you here. 🙂 I hope you will continue to enjoy the content.
WoW Liquid! 😳👏 You are an exemple to archive “financial freedom” ! Can’t believe it 30k$ in dividend income, I’m still far away, but I will save more and invest more ! Keep good man ! 👌📈💲💰😃
Yeah this blog is one of the best Canadian blogs I read. And also a big inspiration for my own blog.
I have only used student loans but I think I have to consider taking investing loan also, because in Europe it’s almost cheaper than water.. I only pay 0.5% for my student loan which is ridiculous! Not to mention I get 30% of it free if I graduate in time.
Oh man. That student loan interest rate is dirt cheap, lol. Financial knowledge is often the best return. Starting a blog is great. I’ve learned so much just by writing my thoughts down and reading other people’s take on personal finance topics.
So cool to stumble along onto your blog! Will enjoy reading. Best of luck on your journey and hopefully you keep the earth in mind!