Welcome to Freedom 35 Blog
Howdy. I’m a single guy in my early 30s living in Vancouver, Canada. I’m a full-time graphic designer who has a lot of debt, enjoys a comfortable standard of living, and became financially independent in August of 2020 by capitalizing on market volatility. The secret is to work smart, not hard. 😉
Building wealth is all about understanding the capital markets and managing 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 2020 I have earned a cumulative amount of $680,000 of net income (after tax) from all sources according to my tax returns. But my net worth is over $1 million today thanks to my investments. 🙂 I’m Liquid, and welcome to my blog!
How I got started
I moved out from my parent’s basement in 2009 when I was 21 years old. Since then I’ve paid off $15,000 of student loans, quadrupled my home equity, built up a $500,000 stock portfolio, and acquired nearly $600,000 worth of additional investments such as real estate, private mortgages, Bitcoin, 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 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 with documentation. This keeps me accountable and transparent.
I plan to continue making double digit annual returns with my money. There will probably be some bumps along the way, but I’m optimistic about the future.
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, rational 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, etc.
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. I used this money as a down payment to purchase a $230,000 apartment 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. 😀 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:
Despite being an investor for over a decade I’m still constantly learning new way to build wealth. 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.
- 2017 – Passive income from stocks and bonds have grown to $18,000 a year now.
- 2018 – 2019 Continuing to invest in opportunities whenever they present themselves and blog about them. 🙂
- 2020 – Took advantage of a market dip to buy over $100,000 of new stocks. Became financially independent and got married. Started to buy Bitcoin again.
- 2021 – Passive income is now at $30,000. Continuing to buy new investments at reasonable prices.
I choose to blog anonymously so I can be transparent about my financial details without the risk of attracting attention from people who know me in real life. Below is a pie chart showing my current asset allocation. Fixed Income category includes bonds, and mortgages such as MICs. 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 $70,000 today. Here’s a letter of employment I recently obtained to help me qualify for a mortgage on a rental property. It’s redacted for privacy reasons.
I typically save about $20,000 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. And don’t be afraid to seize opportunities when others are reluctant to act. 🙂
These are some of my life long goals.
Become financially free.
- Donate at least a million dollars to charity.
- 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.