Thursday 5 June 2014

My crazy little investment and life story towards 2 million

So I started this as a small insert to add to my about me page but I soon realized I was typing for a hour , then a few days working on it and said what the hell lets make this a post. Its a bit of my life and financial story as they both go hand in hand. It explains me quite a bit and how I got to here. First about my name Asset-Grinder. I thought it would be a funny memorable name as you immediately think Ass Grinder instead lol. I have been a grinder my whole life and I feel and my story somewhat reflects it. Its weird as I don't tell many people my story as it leads to many questions and frankly its kind of unbelievable. I usually just lie to most folks and don't give them many details to avoid the questions, judgements and the heartache I feel. I will keep myself somewhat anonymous on this blog for various reasons. I myself am pretty introverted and quiet but my story is not! Enjoy!

 My Investing and Life Story -

The Beginning -  I have always been a saver, from early on in my childhood I always enjoyed making and saving money more than spending it. I would hide it in various places away from my brothers so they wouldn't steal it. I would do weekly net worth balance and write them down on a piece of paper and then rip up the total and flush it down the toilet so nobody would know! lol! My parents were not well off but hardworking growing up. My dad was a roofer with his own business and his hard work payed off year after year as he put a good roof over our head and provided the basics with a few extras. We are eastern European family and often my dad ruled with an iron fist like Stalin. He was good with his money cause he bought only what he could afford never instilling any debt other than a mortgage. Year after year his wealth grew primarily with properties he would buy every few years. I worked as a roofer for my boss dad. It was torture but it paid well. Getting paid $15 an hour at 11 years old is not bad and slowly my pay increased. This continued till I moved out at 19. I always had side hustles as a kid as well, I sold firecrackers to all the local kids with a huge mark up, I sold cold drinkers to golfers at the course and passerby's at the beach. I would buy and sell hockey cards at profits. Basically I was always hustling and grinding.

The Hustle - In my early 20's I was out on my own. I had a strained family relationship and I did not see them for years. I had some crappy jobs but it wasn't enough and my back was against the wall. I started into a life of crime as many of my childhood friends were into it. I naturally excelled as I had a decent mind for money, very trustworthy and was bold. I wont get into what exactly I was into but it was illegal and profitable. This continued for a few dangerous years. The main problem in illegal business is people often live in the moment and splurge on fancy cars, clothes and material positions. We were all guilty of it and even me to a degree however my main focus was saving. I generally did not like the people in the business or the lifestyle so it motivated me to save more and finally get out. The greed got the best of me as I accumulated enough savings to do whatever I wanted 500k+ but I stuck with it into my my mid twenties. Then Boom disaster struck, got busted! My greed was the result of this and it was a hard lesson to learn. I couldn't continue my criminal career any longer as the police were all over me. I took some time off and enjoyed a couple years off, In that time many of the friends I grew up with either got busted or in the sad couple instances passed away as the result of being in the so called game. These are the life lessons I will always cherish as it was my trial by fire and really molded me as a person as they were very wild times. Looking back  I wish I took a different path in life and went to school to gain a career in my twenties. It wasn't worth the heavy price and risk received that I paid for . After all that drama it provided me with a little nest egg and a new direction in life. With my illicit gains I purchased my first property.

The Rise  - When I took a couple years off I was enjoying life but I did not have any income coming in. I had purchased my first property which I was living in and I did not know what to do next. I was pretty lost I admit and that is where some luck came in. The Vancouver BC real estate market was heating up. The place I was in was appreciating very quickly, I then renovated my place and put it in the market. Boom doubled my money in just a couple years! I was pumped. I then purchased two new properties and fixed them up as well and then sold them within a couple years. Then I took my time with a larger project and built a new home. Was a tough experience as it was more than I could handle at the time. Finally finished building it in 2 years which was a year too long and most of my equity was sitting in an expensive home that was not selling.

I have always invested into stocks here and there and never gave it my full effort. I had some big hits especially with Nintendo and early Apple but I cashed out too early on Apple and too late on Nintendo. Nerveless I made some good investments but they were at the time very risky and undiversified as I would go heavy into 1-3 stocks at a time. I had some luck with some private placement mining stocks my friends were into and I quickly cashed out to some big gains. With those gains I threw them back into real estate while still living in my pricey home. I bought another house and quickly flipped it for some good gains. Fearing the market was going to topple I held off buying anything more. The money in my life was majority made by real estate but I grew not to enjoy the business. I did not like the dance with contractors, suppliers and realtors. You couldn't trust anyone. Mostly everyone was a liar.  It was more cut throat than my previous illegal activities where people loyalties and words actually meant something unlike in real estate.

The Fall  - Its was 2009 and I was sitting pretty. Was sitting on a mountain of cash in the bank, small stock portfolio and living in a luxurious home that was up for sale. What could go wrong??? Boom got into a horrific accident. I was crippled. Was in the hospital for a month, in a wheelchair for 3 months after, on crutches for a year. My life literally stopped. Learning to walk again was the biggest struggle in my life. I had immense nerve pain as my nerves were severed and damaged in my leg. Things couldn't of been worse but then they did get worse. The famed tax man of the Canadian government came by and looked into my real estate deals. They deemed I did not pay enough capital gains on two of my properties and gave me a very intrusive  3 year audit. They wanted a big bill from me with back interest, mid six figures! ouch. I was already dealing with many medical problems then as I was in a lot of pain from my accident for years after. I hired a tax lawyer to deal with them which I recommend anyone being audited  to chip away at that bill they give you to negotiate the total owing down. I wrote out a monster check and dealt with those massive headaches. Then Boom my brother passes away. Rest in Peace. Was a tragic violent needless preventable death. Talk about when it rains it pours cause it was raining hard those couple years.

Alive Again - . Yes I was down for many years and in those circumstances it was par. I was mad at myself for all the mistakes I had made in my life. I needed to turn things around. My relationship with my girlfriend grew stronger throughout the massive blows and it was time for a change. We left our fancy home and moved out to small town Victoria to start a new and to aid my recovery. Was such drama my whole life in the big city Vancouver and it was time to move on (plus the traffic sucks there!). I needed to focus on my recovery and a new start. We decided to start a family. Was tough to change my old selfish ways starting a new family but you learn quick as stay at home parents. I never had a normal job since my early 20,s and I was still living off my savings for next couple years. I finally sold the home in Vancouver and we bought a cheaper home out here in Victoria. Since having another child and my slowly improving health I realized it time to start the next chapter of my life. I started taking some random local school courses to figure out what I am going to do now. I took some investing courses and it really sparked my interest. So much so I made some big changes in how I look at money and risk. I have trimmed down my expenses immensely and looking for multiple ways to grow my capital. I sold most of my depreciating assets and decluttered my life. I hired a fee based money coach and he gave me a good game plan. I now have all my money working for me efficiently with retirement, tax free and kids education accounts all set up.

Now and Beyond - I am now in my late thirties with a happy family containing my wife and two kids. I am much more on a minimalist now and gone are all my toys of my past (the cars, recreational vehicles, fancy watches, pricey dinners). Having a family really has changed my priorities. My finances is not just about myself but it affects my whole family now. I am now looking towards capital preservation and more mild capital growth in the long run. I am trying to achieve a sustainable life portfolio that can provide me with enough passive income to get my family by until I die. I am still prone to mistakes as I sometimes overspend or make bad investments but I am really making an effort not too make silly mistakes and become a more disciplined investor. Hell throughout the years I probably lost more money than people will ever make with bad investments but thankfully I never put all my eggs in one basket. I have recently become very interested in dividend growth stocks and I think its a perfect fit for me. Why take chances on high flying risky investments when I don't need to? I like the idea of investing in solid track record worthy growth companies that pay me every year their profits in dividends. I started this little blog here and its off to a great start. I intend to grow the blog and see how far I can take it. I also plan on increasing my financial education. I am already reading investing books, finance blogs , finance magazines and websites however I am now looking towards some more professional financial education. Maybe I will work on the Canadian securities course or work on becoming a certified financial planner.

Three Pronged Investment Approach - I think I can achieve my goals by setting a plan moving forward with these three diversified things.

1. Real Estate - I consider this portion my fixed income. I own a commercial warehouse which I have leased out with yields after expenses of above 4% with a total of over $16,000 a year. To me it is more attractive than bonds with the yield and potential asset appreciation. For now it is a long term hold and will re-examine every year. Who knows if I see another good opportunity come up in the market I might buy another property.

2. Brewery-  I am investing in a brewery start-up that looks promising and there might be a position available for me there if I want it. I was thinking maybe something part time there as I am still undecided. If things work out at the brewery I will have a very nice passive investment there and for years beyond. It might be 1-2 years before I see a return if there is one at all. It will be run by some very experienced guys and has great potential for growth and profits. Past years 1-2 I would conservatively hope to see yields in the 15% plus range. I don't have a large portion of my investments in this 10% as its still considered quite risky. I am also looking to start some sort of start-up business on my own but I don't plan to put more than 10% of my total investments into it. Just finding the right idea is my problem currently!

3. Equity Investments - This is my bread and butter I hope. I want to be primarily invested into diversified dividend growth stocks to increase my earnings year after year. Maybe like only 5% or less in pure growth stocks. My current portfolio is yielding 3.5% in dividends and does not include potential for equity growth. Conservatively I aim for avg 7-10% average growth of my portfolio every year including dividends. I wish to maintain a long hold portfolio of solid dividend players. My earnings from my rental property , brewery and side hustles will go towards this category in the near future so my equity portfolio will only get larger and larger as I want it to be my core holding. I am also looking to downsize my house and the difference would go towards equities I am thinking as I am too house heavy right now which is hurting my growth potential. When the right opportunity comes up I will capitalize on it but I am not in a big rush right now as I am being quite picky.

With this plan I hope to achieve growth every year of my net worth and passive income. Hope you guys enjoy this experimental blog ride with me as I plan to update and develop this blog regularly. My plans are not concrete as life never is so who knows where I will be in the next year, five or twenty? To quote my 2 year olds favorite movie "Too Infinity and Beyoooooond!"

Thanks for reading my zany little story and for now I must say

Good Day and Grind On!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Hi Asset-Grinder
    Good to hear your story. You've certainly turned your life around and kudos for that! Mine is not as colourful but still a bit gritty! I'm gearing myself up to self-manage my investment portfolio so will be interested to hear your tips and tricks.

    Debs, a fellow Canuck

  2. Very interesting story! Wow I'm really boring in comparison.

    I assumed "grinder" was a poker reference, guess not!

    1. My story is fun and colorful but I am as boring as hell personally. I don't drink , smoke or go out really. Haven't been to a bar or nightclub in over 10 years. I am quite the nerd, I rather stay home and watch tv or play some video games. I don't have many friends as its hard to relate to most normal folk. I hate crowds and I find it hard to communicate with people but I am trying. One has lots of time to reflect upon ones flaws over the years I ignored in my youth. Slowly trying to work on them. My young daughter has many of my same traits so I have my hands full !!!!! ruh roh! Time for military school if she veers to far off lol!

      Thanks for dropping by debs and compound! Good Day and Grind On!

    2. Thanks for sharing your story Asset-Grinder. Glad to see you found the light and starting/working on this awesome new chapter of yours. Life and Success is always under construction eh?
      Thanks for sharing this Blog. It's awesome.
      Thanks and take care. and You got an awesome Portfolio bud. Just Wicked.

    3. Thanks for the kinds words Tyler. You talk like a Vancouverite. You must be local!

      Drop by anytime and grind on my friend!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. You did a 180 and heading in the right direction. I am new to your blog and will continue to follow.

  4. Crazy interesting, man! Way to put it all out there and OWN it. Makes your site stick out from the others pretty easily - well done :)

    1. Thanks for droppin Jmoney and FF. Yah I am a lil different than most I would agree. Quite hard to relate to most but this blogging community is quite open minded and a cool bunch.

      Good Day and Grind On boyz!

  5. Very cool story. Look forward to reading more of your posts. Holla from Kelowna!

  6. Thanks for giving us an insight into your interesting background. It also takes some guts to put all of that out there for everyone to read. I wish you well and will continue following your journey.

  7. Thanks for dropping by Underdog and AAI. Yes i was debating for awhile whether to put this story up or not. My finger hovered over the delete button a few times even. Mind you this is the edited version , I left out a few juicy side stories and details that molded me along the way. Tired of living like a shadow for so many years really.

    Grind On fellas!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. I always like to hear the backgrounds behind the bloggers that I follow because it gives me some more insight and ways to relate. Although admittedly I can't quite relate to a lot of your story. I'm glad you've been able to turn your life around and the injury from that car wreck sounds horrible. That's awesome that you were able to recover even though I'm sure it was a long road to get back full of ups and downs. You've got a great plan.

  9. Thanks for the kind words PIP and thanks for stopping by. I agree all these numbers don't mean anything without a back story and context as every bodies situation is unique.

    Good day and grind on!

  10. That IS pretty incredible. I liked reading it though :) You started really young, even if it was illegal gains that got your net worth up, it's admirable you had the foresight to save it.

    You've been through a lot.

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