2020: Year in review

Every year, I do a year in review, with highlights and lowlights and a summary so this is my year in review for 2020.

Highlights

-I traveled back to San Francisco in January and hung out with Tony and my Kong co-workers
-My Korean gf came to visit me in January and we went to Banff together
-Went to company retreat with co-workers in Arizona
-I visited my friend Patrick in LA/Pasadena and we hung out almost everyday
-I purchased a condo in Vancouver with what remained of my savings + a loan from my parents 
-Got closer with some of my existing Vancouver friends Eric and Lok
-Still have my job, and even got a raise at the end of the year

Lowlights

-The obvious one is the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected everyone but for me it meant: Unable to meet any new friends in Vancouver due to all the meetups being cancelled, Unable to travel to Korea to meet my Korean friends or my gf, Unable able to visit my American friends much either, Unable to visit my family for Christmas.
-Lost a lot of my Korean female friends due to various reasons.
-Missed out or screwed up many financial opportunities this year, and just generally had bad financial luck again.

Summary

This year I think is easily the second worst year of my life that I have experienced, only behind 2018. 2018 of course, was the year I lost $160k from the crypto crash, and the rest of my life savings / my SF apartment from the QuadrigaCX scam, so it’s really hard to top that one. 

2020 is a bad year for a lot of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result for me I was unable to make any new friends, unable to travel to Korea (the first year I haven’t been to Korea since 2012), unable to meet my gf, unable to hang out with existing friends most of the time, etc it just totally screwed up the entire year. My original plan was to go back to Korea in May. And then I pushed it to Aug because of the pandemic, but when I went to the airport I was told I couldn’t since Korea stopped accepting short term tourists from Canada. I was devastated. Then I decided while I had all my stuff packed, might as well go somewhere and the USA was the only place I could go, so my friend Patrick just happened to phone me at the time, so I ended up booking an airbnb in Arcadia, California and hanging out with him in Pasadena and LA for a whole month, which was one of the highlights of my year.

I also managed to purchase an apartment in Vancouver and saved $22k USD / $30k CAD off the listing price thanks to my friend Eric, and taking advantage of low interest rates (which are 1.6% right now in Canada compared to the normal 2.8%). And it’s already tenanted, which is nice. I was fortunate to purchase an apartment where my rent already covers my mortgage payments.

But most of this year was spent alone, working at home, not being able to hang out or meet anyone. As a result this year went by pretty fast, with very few ‘event’ markers. Mainly in Jan when I visited San Francisco and my gf came to Vancouver, in March when I went to the company retreat, and when I visited my friend in LA in August. That was it. There was no other significant events of the year to really mark the year by, resulting in a fairly boring year. 

I also lost a lot of my Korean female friends this year. Due to various reasons. First of all, when a Korean female friend marries and/or has a baby, their attention diverts to their baby and they basically stopped contact with me. This happened to several of my good Korean female friends. Sunhee Kim (knew her since 2013), Jimin Jeong (knew her since 2015), Minyeong Jeon (knew her since 2016), Aielee Yu (knew her since 2016), Sinyoung Lee (knew her since 2015) basically all stopped responding or messaging me because of this. Juhee Ko (knew her since 2015) even blocked me after she got married.
Then I had a friend, Songyi Park (knew her since 2015) who blocked me because I made an insensitive joke to her last year and no amount of apologizing could get her to forgive me.
Then I had female friends who I asked some weird personal questions too. I didn’t think it would be that offensive, but they took it the wrong way and as a result blocked me as well. Min (knew her since 2018) and Nuri Jeon (knew her since 2015) both stopped talking to me as a result.
Then I had female friends who just randomly de-registered themselves from KakaoTalk and don’t have any other social media presence, which basically means I cannot contact them anymore. Euijeong Hong (knew her since 2012) and Narae Kim (knew her since 2015) both vanished from my contact list. And it’s sad, especially Narae because I contacted her a lot and visited her every time I went back to Korea, and now she’s gone and I have no way of contacting her anymore. So that makes me sad.

On the other hand I did establish a connection with my previous friend Ethan again (who I de-friended for being an asshole 2 years back), but since this year I was so low on friends, I tried talking to him again and we connected again. But he still has a lot of the same problems as before (complains/whines all the time, has virtually no EQ or empathy for others etc) so I have to keep this in mind in order to tolerate him.

This year had a lot of financial opportunities for people who were interesting in making money. In March, due to the pandemic, the stock market hit 5 year lows and bitcoin went to $5k. Unfortunately, I did not take the opportunity to buy any stocks. I went the other way and shorted the market – the reason being that I thought that the pandemic would lead to a recession and stocks would go down further (it did lead to a recession, but stock market instead went up like crazy). I could not have predicted that it was just a temporary dip and the stock market went back up like crazy, so instead of making money on the recovery, I lost money since I was shorting the market. The stock TSLA especially would have been a nice buy since it went from $300 pre-split this year to $650 post-split (there was a 1:5 split so it’s basically equivalent of the stock going from $300 to $3250 which is crazy). I did not buy TSLA until July/Aug and unfortunately I sold right after the split, and the gains I made were all erased from the stock options playing I did in the market. I ended up with a loss of $1500 in the stock market when I took all my money out in Oct to fund the deposit for my pending apartment purchase in Vancouver. And to add insult to injury, the stock market further went up an additional 9% after I took all my money out. I was fuming at this, but I could not have predicted the Biden election causing the market to jump so much (after all, wasn’t Trump supposedly ‘better’ for the market? didn’t stocks go up like crazy under his watch? apparently the market doesn’t care)

And that’s just the stock market. Let’s not forget the crypto market as well. So, I held my remaining crypto from Feb 2018 (when it crashed) to Feb 2020 (this year). I decided to sell all my crypto this year because I had been holding a long time already (2 years), in 2019 when all this good news about crypto had come out it hadn’t budged at all, it was causing me constant stress because it reminded me how much I had lost, and when the crypto market rose slightly in Feb I took the opportunity to cash out. Bitcoin then dipped to $5k-$6k in March, but I didn’t get back in because at that time I had just gotten out of crypto and did not want to get back in and cause me stress again. That turned out to be a mistake, because starting from Sept, bitcoin and the crypto market rocketed up, and as of now Bitcoin is sitting close to $24k each (surpassing the 2017 all time high of $19.5k) and the entire crypto market is nearing the all time market cap of $800B. Obviously, I should have waited until the end of the year to sell all my coins. But how could I have predicted this? For the last 2 years crypto was not doing anything and my coins were just sitting there virtually worthless. If you had told me last year (when Bitcoin was around $7k) that Bitcoin would be at $24k now I would not have believed it. It’s not like any news changed or anything. Sure the halving happened, but that was in May and Bitcoin prices didn’t budge at that time. So who would have thought the crypto market would go back to all time highs just a few months later seemingly randomly? Obviously if I had a held all my coins, I probably would have recovered most of my losses and would have maybe even broke even. 

Then comes the gambling part. I did bet on the 2020 US election, as I do every presidential election cycle. To recap – in 2012 I bet on Obama winning the election and I won $5k from that. In 2016, I bet on Hillary winning the election and I lost $5k from that. This year, I bet on Biden winning the election and I lost $1600 from it. How is that possible you may ask, if Biden IS the winner of the election. Well, what happened was that on election night, I panicked when I saw Trump pulling ahead in most of the early vote counting, and I sold my Biden shares at a cheap price. I thought the polls were off again just like they were in 2016 and Trump might pull off an upset victory again. If he had then I would have lost my entire betting pool of $3200. So I sold all my Biden shares, but then a day after, I saw that Biden was actually winning Michigan and Wisconsin. The early votes favoured Trump but the later votes favoured Biden. I realized at that point that Biden didn’t even need Pennsylvania to win the Election, he only needed Arizona and Nevada. Everyone else realized this too – so Biden’s share price had gone back up and I bought back in but at a loss since I had sold my Biden shares for a really low price the day before. So that in a nutshell – is why I lost $1600 despite having the correct bet. Lesson learned – do not panic.

And on top of that, is all the other miscellaneous financial issues I’ve been having this year, like the CRA holding my tax refund hostage while I filed a dispute for them when they miscalculated my TFSA and amount owing to them. They miscalculated my taxes, thought I owed them $17,000 CAD based on me not being a non-resident in Canada in 2010 and 2011 but the fact is that I was a Canadian resident in Canada in 2010 and 2011 (I filed tax returns those years how could the CRA not know this?) so I filed a dispute, but while the dispute is ongoing (they said could take up to 18 months for someone to look at it), they hold my tax refund ($10k worth) hostage and will not give it back to me until the dispute is over. So.. basically that’s additional money I had that’s being tied up right now. 

That’s in addition to the QuadrigaCX lawsuit, which when the bombshell dropped in May that the total amount of claims were MORE than even initially predicted, turns out we will likely be getting back around 14% of our money (that’s roughly $80k CAD for me). The distribution can’t happen until the CRA audits everything, so now I have roughly $90k CAD (or $67k USD) tied up waiting on the CRA. So that’s the other shitty financial issues I’ve been having. At least I got a raise from my job (given all the overtime I’ve been doing, I should), so that’s something.

So yeah.. I would say all the financial bad luck I had combined with not being able to make new friends, not being able to visit my gf, not being able to go back to Korea, and losing a lot of my good Korean female friends, results in this year being easily the second worst year of my life. I think I didn’t appreciate 2019 enough and I didn’t realize that it would be the last time I would see a lot of my good Korean friends and I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to go back to Korea this year. 2019 I actually had a trip with my family, met all my Korean friends, had a great time in Korea, made new Vancouver friends and saw my San Francisco friends again… 2020 made me realize I should have appreciated last year more.

I really hope next year a vaccine will come out so that we can all travel again and I can see and meet some of my friends again. And I do hope my financial luck will recover sometime as this year just proved that since Jan 2018 I have had virtually no financial luck whatsoever and it’s ongoing.