Tag Archives: General

2018: 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 2018.

Highlights

-spent more time with my best SF friend Tony this year, went on  Lake Tahoe trip
-Sold my SF apartment for a profit. Bought for $515k, sold for $835k ($748k after fees) for a 45% profit in 5 years.
-Took 3 months break to travel Korea and Asia for a much needed rest
-I broke up a toxic relationship I had with a friend who was never really a friend. see here

Lowlights

2018 lost money:
-$60 phone broke after shipped to customer
-$80 stocking fee for watch
-$80 extra for sony blu ray player
-$75 DVD/VHS player doesn’t work from ebay
-$40 for free watches that I never used
-$80 for Lyx Pro that I threw out
-$300 for defective Klipsch earphones
-$70 for coolermaster keyboard that I gave away to ebay customer
-$40 extra shipping for OQO model 2
-$150 for ebay fees that I shouldn’t have paid
-$2300 for screwing up a chanel bag usps delivery. Chose first class instead of priority – tracking number doesn’t go into Canada – package got lost – forced to refund.
-$1100 for lost Sony A600 camera + lens
-$100 for broken Hendrix statue
-$80 for extra airplane baggage fee
-$800 due to missing kickstarter items

36 wire transfers x 30 = $1300
First Republic service fee x 4 years = $1200
Crypto Insiders payment = $700
origination fee + loan interest + CC fees = approx $7500
Credit card interest = $1000
Parking space = $1400
repairs + fixes = $1250
Renovation = $8000

QuadrigaCX becoming bankrupt took away $405k of my money – almost all my savings.

-$16k of my money was lost (above) due to financial issues
-$10.6k in renovations and repairs were needed to sell my apartment
-$15k of fake ‘masternode’ ponzi coins and $8.5k worth of fake ICOs were scammed from me
-Lost a third of my net worth this year due to the crypto crash including the majority of the 3 loans I had taken out to dump into crypto (stupid I know).
-the rest of the my net worth was wiped out due to QuadrigaCX becoming insolvent as a result of the CEO suddenly dying. Really bad luck, I know.
-Korean gf broke up with me partly as a result of my financial setbacks and thus being unable to visit to visit her in korea.
-suffered through bouts of anxiety and depression this year as a result of both those financial setbacks and the breakup.
-forced to sell my SF apartment to pay off the loans
-Most of my good friends left SF
-My main phone died in Korea AND my replacement phone was lost leading to no data plan or phone number as of end of 2018 right now

Summary

This was easily my worst year in recent memory. If 2017 was the year I doubled my net worth, this was the year when I felt I lost it all. Financially it was horrible. At the beginning of the year, I had over $80k in profit from crypto and had the opportunity to send it to my gf’s Korean crypto account to make an additional 40% in profit at that time. I didn’t do it. When one of the ICOs I invested in last year debuted in Feb, I could have sold it for $30k profit. I didn’t do it. I instead took out personal loans and dumped it into altcoins in late Jan. I lost almost everything. I was selfish, and greedy and FOMO got me too much. I could have had over $100k if I had taken all that profit. But instead, I went down $150k. That’s a swing of over $250k!

On top of that, I though the rest of my net worth was safe right ? I had apartment but I was forced to sell it to pay off the crypto loans. I hurriedly tried to transfer my money back to Canada because I wanted to buy an apartment in Vancouver and take advantage of the USD-CAD exchange rate. Unfortunately I chose the wrong exchange at the wrong time. I chose to use QuadrigaCX which was Canada’s oldest bitcoin exchange but unfortunately their CEO suddenly died on his honeymoon months after I transferred my money over (and still waiting for withdrawal) and he was the only one who had the keys to the bitcoin wallet they were using which resulted in the company becoming insolvent, therefore losing the rest of my money (over $405k gone). I am obviously going to try to get as much of it back as I can, but nothing is certain.

That was enough to make me depressed and give me anxiety attacks for the rest of the year. I was on anti-depressants for a few months. In addition, my company didn’t let me take any vacation at the beginning of the year because they lied to me about our work getting ‘busy’ when really we were not busy at all! Instead I was doing the same monotonous tasks and most of the time didn’t really have anything to do. I spent my days surfing Quora when I was at work. Due to the combination of the crypto crash taking out most of my savings + my company not letting me take vacation, my gf got really impatient about me, and we starting having lots of fights, finally resulting in us breaking up. I am still broken because of it. I really thought she was the right person. I thought I had found my Korean wife at last. It turns out, I still had a lot of searching to do. I’m no closer to finding another gf this year, and that dream of marrying a Korean girl still seems as out of reach and as impossible as ever.

Most of my good friends (except for Tony) had moved out of the SF Bay Area, either to LA or back to Japan/Korea/China/Canada. For most of the year I was stuck living in a place where I had no friends, no opportunities to meet friends, at a job that I wasn’t doing anything at, and every paycheck going to paying off those 3 stupid loans I had gotten at the beginning of the year, and my savings were all devastated from the crypto crash. There were times this year I wanted to kill myself it was so bad. It’s hard to imagine a year being worse than this, but at the very least I can say that I’m still alive, and my family and friends were still doing well, it seems. Now I’m waiting and praying for my money to hopefully transfer successfully back to Canada so that I can use it to buy a place in Vancouver next year as was originally my plan for this year but got pushed back.

The root cause of most of this year’s troubles really was that crypto crash that started on Jan 10, 2018. Before that, I was riding high. $100k in profits. A beautiful sweet loving Korean gf. A beautiful SF apartment. All of it destroyed in less than a year. God really had it in for me this year, but hopefully next year I can come back stronger and wiser than ever. I learned a lot of valuable lessons this year. At least they were better learned early than later, I suppose. I am now starting over fresh, except getting a US job is more difficult due to me having lots of TN visas on my record, and I’m 30 years old instead of 23…

If you won 1 billion in the lottery, what would you do?

Interesting question, I heard that there was a single winner of the $1.6 billion Mega Million lottery today. After taxes and taking the lump sum that’s roughly $600 million dollars. That won’t get you into the $1 billion club but that’s a lot of money.

Now what I would do is actually very similar to what I did a few weeks ago. You see – due to some bad financial losses I had this year and some loans I had to pay back, I was forced to sell my San Francisco apartment. Luckily for me, my SF apartment had appreciated in value about 40% since I bought it back in 2013. So I more than made up for my bad financial losses – I actually came out with an overall profit. So basically I had lump sum of cash after I sold my apartment – not exactly $600 million, more like 0.1% of that ( $600k ish) – but that’s still a lot of cash, and here’s what I did with it:

roughly 2/3rds of it (66%~) – I converted to Canadian dollars to take advantage of the roughly 30%~ gain in Canadian currency you can get right now. Canadian currency is very low right now in comparison to USD so I decided to take advantage of that. Most of that money will be going towards purchasing a residence in Canada (I’m still going to take out a mortgage because Toronto/Vancouver prices aint cheap!)

another 1/6th (16%~) went to an online investment tool I use which is Wealthfront (www.wealthfront.com) which automatically diversifies that money into a pool of stocks/bonds/natural resources/minerals/dividends

another 1/12th (8%~) went to cryptocurrencies (yeah I know cause I’m a millenial and all, and I believe it will recover) but its pretty high risk

the remaining 1/12th (8%~) is sitting in cash to pay off my credit cards right now for my current spending. I am also taking a break to travel a few countries in Asia I didn’t get to travel to before using some of that cash.

If I had a $600m windfall, I don’t think I would use my money that much differently, although I would probably allocate a lower amount to real estate (oh I would buy a few places in Canada/USA/Korea but not that much because it would get hard to manage), I would give away a couple million to my good friends and family, and I would probably shift more money to stocks and dividends so I can generate more passive income off of those. I would also probably travel a bit more and grow my (already admittedly large) computer/phone/guitar collection.

But that’s about it. On the Mazlow hierarchy of needs, Money definitely solves the lower level problems like healthcare, food and survival, but for higher level needs like love and companionship it doesn’t really help solve it. Good relationships are hard to find, and those are priceless in a sense, you can’t really buy a really good friend or the love of your life.. you have to find that yourself. Really, the higher level keys to your happiness in life are not obtainable by any amount of money whether it be $600k or $600m. That’s what I realized, anyways but as far as money is concerned thats how I would use it.

The 7 year California journey comes to an end

“Time is our most valuable commodity. We can always earn back money, but we can never earn back our time. Stop worrying about the future, and treasure the present. Cherish the people we have around us and the time we spend with them,we don’t know when they might be gone someday.”

So finally my place did sell, (although the buyer came close to backing out for $1000 in repairs) but thankful to at least get 4% over asking for it.

Aside from that, I’ve said all my goodbyes to the few friends I have left in SF, gave away most of my furniture, and gave my company notice. I’m actually a little bit bitter about my company, because I thought I would have been able to work part time remote for them, just like previous co-workers have, and my direct manager thinks I’m valuable enough to keep, but the upper management rejected the request. For whatever reason I don’t know. Half of our team is remote, a lot of them are full time remote, and other than the front end team, which is me and 2 other people, the rest of the engineering team come into the office only twice a week. Front end team comes in 4 days a week, and I haven’t missed any days. I’ve been pretty loyal to my company the past 1.5 years, and they are probably just going to replace me with someone from India who works full time remote anyways. It doesn’t make any sense.

Plus, its not even about money. I’m asking for my salary to be cut in half here. So apparently they are willing to pay me full time salary just to be able to come into the office (where I don’t really talk to anyone anyways), rather than pay me part time and have me be remote. It’s unfair and it doesn’t make any sense to me.

In other news, crypto is still having the blues, and I’m still 90% down so its highly unlikely I’ll get anything more than 50% of my money back even if it recovers. ICOs have lost me at least $25k and Masternode scam coins have lost me another $25k. So that’s $50k (a years worth of savings) lost in scammy coins right there, neither of which will ever recover. At this point, I’m not sure what I will do. I will probably take most of the proceeds from my apartment sale as a downpayment for a future Canadian home (most likely in Vancouver), and invest the rest in Wealthfront. No more crypto currency / gambling for me. It’s way too risky. Can’t believe I lost 90% of my savings ($150k turned into $15k). Lesson learned, I guess.

I’ll definitely miss California/San Francisco, and I’ll definitely miss my apartment as I had many good memories there with my friends. I think more than just missing the scenery though, is missing the moments I shared with my friends and other people. That’s what I kind of regret. I regret not taking more pictures / videos with my friends, I regret not saving any of my Kakao chats from 2012/2013 (they were erased when I switched from my iPhone 4S to 5S in late 2013), because 2012-2014 were probably the best times of my life. 7 years of California memories, 2011-2018. I had so much fun meeting people (especially from San Francisco ESL group meetup), and traveling to places, just wish I had some way of remembering it better. I rarely took pictures/video back then compared to now. I never even took a selfie until I first went to Korea in Sept 2013. That was the first time I took selfies with anyone. As I grow older, I realize more and more that time really is the most valuable resource, and it’s not the scenery or the environment or the atmosphere I should cherish, but the people I shared it with.

As for where I’ll go next, I’ll probably head to Korea for a few months, meet all my Korean friends, and then go back to Canada. My grandpa is becoming senile, and my grandma has really bad dementia now, so this might be my last time seeing them, unfortunately. Of course, I also want to see my parents + my brother who I only see once a year. Sometimes I wish time would pass by slower, or even stop. I don’t really want to get older, I’m 30 already and felt like I wasted all of my 29 year old life and half of my 30 year old life due to my savings being annihilated and I haven’t really got anything from this year at all. I originally planned to take a trip to Singapore/Bangkok/HK/Shanghai/Osaka and go to Seoul/Busan early but that all changed because of crypto.
I’m glad I could hang out with Tony, my best friend here more, but everything has to come to an end. Since my work doesn’t want me remote, I’ll probably have to find a job in either Vancouver or Seattle but most likely I’ll try for Seattle first since the pay is much higher for engineers there, but its not guaranteed because this would be my 6th TN Visa, and knowing Trump and my horrible experiences applying for a TN last year, it’s probably not going to be easy to get another Visa again. If not, I’ll probably just have to settle working in Vancouver for roughly half the salary. Or maybe I’ll think about teaching programming in Korea, who knows… I need some time to think, and this would be the first time I’m unemployed since I graduated (I also haven’t taken any PTO this year since my company gives so little), so I need a well-deserved break from work for a while.

As for a gf or wife, I don’t know. (this is at a time when most of my friends are in stable long term relationships and/or married now). At the beginning of the year, I had a gf who was beautiful and sweet to me, and I thought I was going to marry her. Later on in the year, I found out that she was kind of crazy, and definitely not the type of girl to marry. We’ve been broken up for over 4 months now. I don’t know if I can find another Korean girl, because I can’t think of any good way aside from remote work (which I don’t want to do unless its on my own hours this time) to live in Korea long term again. Will I find a Korean girl in Vancouver or Seattle who isn’t a student and who is interested in me and won’t leave in the long term? Who knows. It’s all uncertainty in my life at this point, but I hope I find some answers soon.