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I’ve been financially cursed since Jan 2018

Little did I know that Dec 2017 was going to be the peak of my life.

As soon as Jan 2018 rolled around I basically lost any semblance of my past life – no Korean gf anymore, all my SF friends split apart, I lost my SF apartment and I lost my life savings.

Since then, I’ve tried to recover from that by saving up money, getting a Korean gf again (long distance of course), and trying to mend my relationships with past SF friends.

But it’s been difficult – for whatever reason, my financial luck has been especially horrid – I have not made a single cent of capital gain since Jan 2018 – lets go through them:

Jan/Feb/Mar 2018 – $72,000 USD – took out 3 loans worth $85k USD (yes I know this was one of the stupidest decisions I made in my life) – crypto subsequently crashed and I lost at least $72k of this money by Dec 2018. That’s 85% of it. The reason I lost so much is not just investing in Bitcoin – had it been just Bitcoin I mostly would have recovered it all last summer. No, it had to be in altcoins – and those NEVER recovered and most went down 90%+. As if Altcoins weren’t enough, $8.5k was put into ICOs which were essentially all scams – out of that $8.5k I think I got back maybe $500 that’s it. Then Masternode coins scammed me even further – along with ICOs, the shittiest of shitcoins designed to scam people – lost at least $20k from these. So $20k from Masternode coins, $8k from scam ICOs and  the remaining $44k from Altcoins going down and never recovering. I put a total of $150k into crypto throughout 2017-2019 and didn’t get out until Feb 2020 – this loss was the total realized loss for me.

May 2018 – $500 USD – tried to buy a call option on NFLX right before their earnings to try and make a play – of course they reported good earnings, but the stock still went down. I lost all my money here.

Dec 2018 – $432,000 USD – yes this was the full value of the amount I lost in the QuadrigaCX scam. The proceeds had come from selling my SF apartment, and subsequently my financial luck was bad enough that I had transferred all my money over to Canada using the worst exchange at the worst time. There was only 4 months (Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec 2018) where I could have gotten scammed with this exchange – and I was in Oct. Talk about unlucky. It doesn’t help that the exchange went bankrupt in Jan 2019 – right when Bitcoin was at it lowest ($4k per bitcoin). Bitcoin subsequently rebounded to $13k in the summer – had I kept all my money in bitcoin on Bittrex instead of sending it to QuadrigaCX to cash out into CAD, I would have been a millionaire since I bought over 60+ btc to transfer all at an average price around $6500 in Oct/Nov 2018. In this case, holding all my money in crypto (which one would have thought to be more risky) would have made me a millionaire whereas trying to cash it out into fiat lost me all my money. Talk about cruel irony.

Mar 2019 – $1150 USD – this was money paid to my landlord for my first apartment in Vancouver as a security deposit. My landlord took advantage of my desperate situation and wrote an extremely strict contract that I didn’t read carefully enough. After I finally moved out in Feb 2020, he took my security deposit and basically scammed me, giving me a BS reason like ‘breaking too many house rules’ which doesn’t make sense as I wasn’t even in the house half the time. This was more financial bad luck.

Jun 2019 – $750 USD – made a bet that the Golden State Warriors (who were healthy at the time) would win the NBA championship. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson got subsequently injured, and the Toronto Raptors (out of all teams) won the championship. So yeah.. lost all my money here.

Aug 2019 – $1,000 USD – for some reason decided to get back into Bitcoin by putting $3k more into it. Bitcoin was $11k at the time.

Feb 2020 – $72,000 USD – I sold all my crypto holdings for $48k (could have sold for $58k had I done so in Jul 2019). 

Feb 2020 – My landlord scammed me of my $1500 security deposit by saying I had ‘violated house rules’ multiple times. I’ve never heard of a landlord with that kind of rule plus I wasn’t even using the place half the time yet still paid him the full rent. He also asked my copy of the contract back to him and took my last months rent; when I asked about the last months rent being taken from my security deposit he said ‘that’s not how it works’.

Mar 2020 – BTC dropped down to $5k and I did not buy it because I got burned too recently by crypto so I stayed out. Of course, it went back up to $10k the next month and I missed this opportunity. 

Mar 2020 – $6,000 USD – I decided to short the stock market because the coronavirus seemed very likely to cause a recession. I put $20k in. This seemed like a good play at the time. But for whatever reason, the stock market rebounded not long after I shorted it and so far I’m down $6k because I shorted the market too late, and because I bought stocks that were affected by COVID19 like airline stocks and travel stocks when I should have bought other cheap stocks that were not affected by COVID19. 

May 2020 – $350 – I bought a Motorola Razr Fold on ebay for $1100 which I thought at the time was a good deal (it retailed new for $1500 at the time) – and literally less than a week later, Verizon decides to cut the price of the phone in HALF with a buy 1 get 1 free deal, effectively lowering the price of the phone to $750. So FML, seriously.

May 2020 – found out I’m getting 8.5% – 12% back from the QCX lawsuit because 100% of the big whales that were using the exchange had filed a claim and EY apparently didn’t think any of them were suspicious and we are probably going by Apr 15 crypto valuations (date of the bankruptcy). Oh yeah and CRA is going after us too. Nice.

Jun 2020 – I STILL have not received my tax refund from the CRA – they mailed it to the wrong address, then I couldn’t get in contact with them – they kept hanging up the phone – until May, then the agent told me they would send me a replacement check to the new address. 3 weeks later, I called them again asking where my check is and they said oh they were supposed to send me this form to fill out and return to them. I have to sign it with a witness saying that I have not received my refund check yet and then mail it back to them. Then they have to do an investigation to prove that I didn’t receive it. So that’s going to be another 2 months of waiting. This is insane.

Jul 2020 – $17000 – CRA gives me a whopping $17k bill because they thought I was a non resident in 2010 and 2011 even though I clearly had my tax returns at that time. of course I disputed this but the fact that they messed this up is insane. 

Aug 2020 – $5000 – Went in on a strong signal for TSLA and AAPL literally an hour after I finally broke even on my stocks and of course these plays ended up putting me right back to where I was in July. I thought it would be fine because its the week before they split and the oscillator and momentum looked good, so I kept holding the options even though the prices of the stock went down and down. I was hoping that they would bounce back the next day – I mean TSLA/AAPL had literally been going up every day the week prior. Of course – because I’m financially cursed – the next day it goes down instead and I end up having to take a $5k loss from this. Just completely unlucky.

See? I’ve not made a single cent in capital gains since Jan 2018 – all stupid losses. My timing is just so horrible. I have a LOT of capital losses to report on my tax return…

 

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Update – Social Isolation

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual update right? I usually just repost my Quora answers here and don’t really do actual blog posts anymore.

Well, that’s probably because for the past 2 years nothing especially interesting has happened in my life besides depressing things. In Jan 2018, I made a life-altering mistake to take out 3 personal loans to dump into crypto – because I thought it was only a temporary dip – turned out to be a full on crash – I lost 80% of my crypto money – including $80k in profit. that means I had lost in total about $150k in crypto – a fact I verified by looking at my Gemini ballances. In order to pay back the loan, I was forced to renovate + sell my SF apartment. Then I subsequently lost the proceeds / profit of my SF apartment in a massive crypto scam (QuadrigaCX). So I ended up in Vancouver with basically nothing, no money/savings, no job, no friends, and desperate for a place to live. At the time I needed to find a place fast so I looked on craiglist, and found the cheapest place that was stiill in Vancouver and the landlord knew that I was in a desperate situation and took advantage of me. 

I only lived in that Vancouver place for like half the year, since I was traveling in Korea/San Francisco/Toronto other times and moved out early. The place was terrible, it was a one room that I had to share with 5-6 other housemates, the bed was crawling with bugs when I got there, and the landlord was a total asshole. I was so sick of that landlord. He was completely paranoid, he installed a kitchen camera to take videos of people to make sure they are following the house rules which is ridiculous and probably illegal, always blamed me for breaking house rules, fined me several times for things as small as leaving dishes in the sink too long, raised my rent because I ‘used too much electricity’, took all the rent in cash (probably evading taxes I figure), and to top it all off, he took 85% of my security deposit in the end. I should have known. He wrote in the contract that he was entitled to all my security deposit if I broke any house rules – I didn’t read the contract carefully enough as I was desperate at the time – and gave him two months rent ($1800 CAD) for first + last month’s rent. Then in Feb, he asked me to pay the month’s rent and I told him, I thought he just deduct it from my security deposit and he said ‘that’s not how it works’. In retrospect, I should have known he was trying to get more money from me. It doesn’t make sense for him to ask me for more money since that security deposit included the last month’s rent. Anyways like a sucker, I paid him. Later that month I moved to Burnaby as I found a new place – MUCH better – not only living by myself, but now in a nice high rise building with a lovely balcony and view as well – the space is also MUCH bigger – it’s a big studio and the rent was only $500 more. But my landlord kept hounding me. Somehow a piece of garbage I had thrown out before, came back into the house and my landlord of course blamed me for it, so I had to pay $40 in Uber rides just to go back to my old apartment and throw out that piece of garbage. Then later that month I had to give him back the keys as my contract was up. He asked me to also give back the copy of the contract he had gave me for some reason. This was weird – he already had a copy of the contract why would he ask  for mine? Anyways just like a fool – I gave him the keys and contract back and he told me he was keeping the majority of my security deposit because I had ‘broken too many house rules’ which makes NO sense as I was only in the house half the year anyways! and it’s not liike I broke those rules on purpose. What I should have done was kept the keys from him until he gave me back my security deposit – what could he have done? evict me? I was already out of that place. Call the cops? I didnt do anything wrong. I should have stood up for mysellf more. Instead I let my landlord bully me and take all my money – like a sucker. Got scammed right after getting scammed. What a fool I  am.

I also finally got my taxes done – it was really complicated because of the QuadrigaCX scam last year – I ended up writing off a total of $576,000 CAD – I can apply half as capital losses to my capital gains in the future indefinitely. In addition – I finally sold the rest of my crypto holdings for $48k last month – this was when BTC finally went back up over $10k. I took the chance and sold everything. This was much less than what I could have gotten had I sold last summer – I would have made at least $55k-60k had I sold last summer – but I was a fool back then and was waiting for $100k for some reason. This year I wanted to really make amends for some of my previous mistakes I made over the past 2 years. One of those mistakes was holding crypto too long. So anyways, I took a loss of about $72k USD – I had initially invested $150k USD in crypto, but after subtracting everything I got out of crypto during the last 3 years, my total loss was $72k USD (or $96k CAD). That’s additional capital losses I will claim on my next year’s tax return, giving me a total of (($570k + $96k) / 2) = $333k CAD I can apply to capital gains in the future. This is probably enough to cover any capital gains for the next 20 years for me. 

In addition, I also decided to reconcile my relationship with my old friend Ethan – the main reason being that it was difficult to meet a friend who shares similar interests. Yes, I know I wrote a massive blog post about this guy in May 2018 about how much of  a douchebag he was – but I came to realize that I can probably put up with this just to have somebody I can talk to about tech, asia and games – it’s quite difficult to meet a good friend like that actually. So this was another mistake from the past 2 years I mended. 

 Speaking of making friends – yes it has been very difficult to me making friends in Vancouver. Part of the reason is because I work from home, so there’s no coworker ties to introduce me to new friends, which is how I made my best friend Tony in San Francisco. Another reason is the meetups in Vancouver are not as big as the meetups in SF even, and definitely not as big as the ones in Seoul. The last time I went to a meetup was last Oct, and the last time I met up for an actual event with my Vancouver friends was last June. That’s a long time ago. After last Oct, I was consistently busy after then. Nov – I was in San Francisco / took a Bahamas trip with my family. Dec – I was in Toronto / Orillia. Jan – I was in San Francisco, then I had to take a trip with my gf since she visited me in Vancouver, to Banff. Feb – I had to deal with moving all my stuff over to my new Burnaby apartment – took at least 2 rental cars over the course of 2 weekends to do it. And now this month – first I had to take a trip to Arizona  for a company retreat and then – coronavirus pandemic – can’t really go outside or go to any events much. 

So yeah.. quarantined just like everyone else at the moment. It doesn’t affect me all that much since I work from home and  am an introvert so its not too much of a lifestyle change from me – but it does make it even more difficult for me to meet anyone new in Vancouver. In addition, I have no idea when I can visit my gf in Korea. We’ve been trying to do video calls consistently but of course, I need to physically meet her sooner or later. I really hope the COVID-1 9 pandemic will subside soon but who knows – currently it’s affecting everything from our social relationships to the stock market (which I am currently shorting at the moment because I think a recession is inevitable at this point). I haven’t met anyone I know physically in almost a month (last time was my co-workers in Arizona). We’ll see how much longer this can go on, but it really feels like we’re living in a dystopian / post apocalyptic world where everyone outside are essentially infected zombies. 

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2019: 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 2019.

Highlights

-I found a great job at a great company with great co-workers at Kong
-Had a great time in Korea this year, met all my friends again, made a Korean gf
-Went on a nice cruise with my family this year

Lowlights

-Still recovering from all the financial issues I suffered last year mainly losing the majority of my life savings because of the QuadrigaCX crypto exchange collapse
-More difficult to make new friends in Vancouver than I expected

Summary

I don’t have a whole lot of updates for this year, because this year was pretty much a recovery year from the disaster that was last year. Last year took away my San Francisco apartment, my life savings, and most of my best friends away from me. I started out this year with almost no savings, no house, unemployed and with no friends in Vancouver.

The start to this year was really rough. I was told that the exchange that I used last year to transfer my savings over to Canada, QuadrigaCX had gone under with over $215M CAD owing to creditors once the CEO died under mysterious circumstances in India. The rest of this year was basically waiting for updates from the ongoing lawsuit – Ernst&Young being the bankruptcy trustee and Miller Thomson being the lawyers.

So far they are still processing claims, and have been doing so for the last 4 months with no updates to us creditors so far. They have roughly $33M + $12M (the CEO and his widow enriched themselves by purchasing Nova Scotia property so there’s extra assets here) for us but roughly $7M I estimate will be in legal fees paid to EY and MT. After that there’s roughly $38M left in the pot for us creditors, depending on how much people claim. There’s $215M in total claims outstanding but me and several other creditors theorize that at least half of those claims are not real or left on the exchange by money launderers. And then there’s the CRA (Canada’s IRS) waiting to take even more money from us.
So I calculated it and I think roughly we’ll get back anywhere from 15% (worst case scenario) to 40% (best case)  with 25-30% being the most likely percentage we’ll get back. I have no idea how long this process will take but hopefully sometime next year we’ll get it back.

So that being the backdrop, a hammer that was dropped on me at the beginning of the year, you can see the rest of the year takes a backseat to this whole lawsuit thing.
I did manage to luck out finding a great SF company to work for (Kong Inc) that I could work remotely for, and everything about that company I liked better than my previous company. My manager, coworkers, the type of work I was doing etc I learned way more in 6 months than I did in a whole 1.5years at my previous company.
And I did manage to have some time to travel to Korea for a bit and that was a really great experience, much better than last year (God really had it in for me last year), got to meet all my friends again and dated a bunch of girls, etc it really transported me back to the days when I lived there (2015-2016). I also got a chance to go on a cruise with my family (to the Bahamas) which I haven’t traveled with since late 2013 and especially getting to see my brother again is nice since he’s usually busy and very isolated since he lives in Winnipeg.

But once I got back to Vancouver, it became lonely again, and I think it might be just because its hard in general to make friends once you’re out of school but even harder when you work from home and have no co-workers to really talk to. At least in San Francisco I still have one really good friend to hang out with. In Vancouver I didn’t know anyone. I tried going to some language exchange meetups but the people I meet there are always very transient, they change every time so its hard to meet someone stable.
I did get into a relationship with a girl I met in Korea but its long distance and that’s always really difficult to maintain. I hope I can though, because she seems much more stable than my ex gf was, and much more mature (she’s 3 years older than me). On top of that, I don’t really like my landlord and am looking to find a new place to move to next year. He is incredibly strict with his house rules and seems always ready to fine me since he blames me for  everything that happens around the house (I have 6-7 housemates) and raised my rent by $100 because he said I ‘stayed at home too much thus using more electricity’ which is ridiculous. 

So yeah this year is mostly a recovery year, but after the initial shock that happened early this year and lucking out into finding a good company to work for, the rest of the year went reasonably smoothly. Let’s hope that next year will continue to go smoothly and hopefully I’ll have some luck finally with crypto (I still have some reserves but its down a whopping 80% and I missed a good chance to sell it in the summer, hopefully it will go back up next year), and with the lawsuit as well (oh please don’t let that $215M in claims be a real number, hopefully most of those big claims are fake).

Otherwise I’m just slowly saving up money again trying to afford a place in Vancouver eventually. This process might be considerably faster or slower depending on how much crypto goes up/down next year and how much/when money I get back from the QuadrigaCX lawsuit…