Financial blunders – I never learn, do I?

I put up a post earlier this year showing how much money I wasted last year, and this year is no different! Since then! I have made just as many financial blunders…

So just to recap these were my biggest financial blunders last year (2015):
-BitTorrent stock options: $4200 – while not a terrible blunder, I still don’t think BitTorrent will ever amount to anything, so this money is basically wasted. I got a stock certificate that probably won’t be worth anything. So $4k down the drain
-I missed or changed 4 different flights last year. One from San Francisco back to Korea because I forgot my apartment key and couldn’t wake my friend up to let me in. One from Vienna to Croatia because the Austrian Airlines’s convoluted process where they botched my seat up, forced me to waste 1.5hrs going back and forth to clear up my seating arrangement. This caused me to miss my flight. One from Istanbul back to San Francisco, where my iPad showed the wrong local time, being one hour late in Istanbul time for some reason (it was connected to Wifi, but this convinced me to ALWAYS use my iPhone, not my iPad). I was stuck an entire day in Istanbul airport because my iPad messed up. And lastly, when I changed my flight from Toronto back to Seoul to meet my then-girlfriend earlier, not knowing that it would indirectly lead to my break up with her (see my Jan post for detailed info there). The total cost of missing and changing all these flights is about $1500.
-I shipped a TV to an ebay customer where it arrived broken, and I refunded the guy $500 the full cost out of my own pocket, when really I should have gotten UPS to refund it instead, since it was damaged by shipping, not by me.
-paid $500 for impounded scooter that was leftover from 2014, and that one really wasn’t my fault, because I think that was legal parking, but anyways I tried to argue with the SFMTA for 5 months and couldn’t convince them to give my money back so I gave up.
-paid $500 extra for my Asus gaming laptop because I made some extra customizations by Xotic PC, and needed it to be built and shipped express to my place in San Francisco so I could pick it up on time. Now you can find the same model on eBay for 40% of what I paid for it.
-repeatedly buying and selling things on ebay and shipping them via UPS probably cost me thousands. I can’t even calculate how much.
-When I was in Budapest, got scammed $700
-Wasted $700 on Kickstarter/Indiegogo projects that never shipped.

This year so far (2016):
-Lost $2500 on sports bets on Bovada. This is because I really expected the Golden State Warriors to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, and didn’t hedge my bet. Of course, I ended up losing the bet, and lost a lot of money on it.
-Paid $150 extra to ship 2 video games (Dead or Alive Xtreme 3) to my friends place earlier from Japan so that I could get it on time to play it with him. Thats the extra money just for express shipping.
-Missed 1 flight from San Francisco to Tokyo because I thought the ticket time showed PM but was actually AM. This one was a doozy – I had to pay $1100 for a new flight since it was last minute – and this was a one way flight too! I sold my scooter for about $1300 so basically I sold my scooter to pay for my flight to Japan. Yup… that was dumb.
-Also related to the upcoming election, I tried to bet on the election on Bovada, but for some reason they can detect that I’m in Korea even though I’m on a VPN now (I was able to bet on sports earlier this year tho?), so I tried all sorts of methods to try and make a deposit including asking my US friends. Nothing worked, and out of desperation, I tried using Bitcoin to deposit and incurred $500 in Bitcoin commission fees. Bitcoin ended up not working either, so that $500 is wasted + opportunity cost of not being able to make extra money from the election. But hey at least now I know to NEVER invest in Bitcoin because the commission fees are absolutely ridiculous.
-Lost $5000 from betting on Hillary in the election. Honestly, I’m not that upset about this one, because every predictor on the internet thought Hillary would win. Just goes to show anything is possible I guess. Its a lot of money for sure, but I’m not the only one who lost a lot of money on this bet. Congrats to Trump supporters though, they must’ve made a lot.
-Paid $500 for a wireless phone bill because I was too lazy to get a new Korea sim card after my old phone broke, and I decided to use an international plan instead. Bad idea, for ONE month I was charged $500 for using up a lot of data and I immediately stopped the plan and got a Korea sim card instead. Lesson learned. NEVER use international phone/data plans, they are always way more costly than a local prepaid sim.
-I shipped a laptop to an ebay customer where it arrived broken, and I refunded the guy $400 the full cost out of my own pocket, yet again because I didn’t purchase insurance. Another case of bad luck selling items. I originally bought the laptop for $900 last year, so it was a $1000 loss in total because I also gave him the $100 Kindle Fire free of charge as well.
-Had to throw away the Creative T4W ($400) and Synology DS415play ($400) as they were not working anymore. Should have returned them with warranty.
-Gave away my Dell USB-C dock ($80) away for free as well.
-$300 on currency conversion fees because US dollar is so high. Not much I could do about this one though.

So yeah, I never learn.. I wasted at least $8500 last year, and this year $12000 in lost money. That is ALOT of money I wasted or lost… Even going back to 2013 and 2014, $3000 wasted on stock option bets, $2000 wasted on parking tickets and impound fees from my scooter, etc Sometimes even though I try really hard to make the right financial decisions, sometimes these things always end up happening to me.

Anyways, I hope Hillary wins next Tuesday, I might be able to make back some of my losses (albeit a small amount).

Edit: She didn’t win. of course.

Holy moly, I spent $24k on shopping last year!

I am trying to be more financially conservative, of course its always been a bad habit of mine to spend money wastefully, but I’m trying to improve myself. The thing is this year, I’m actually on track to get my mortgage down from $286k at the beginning of the year all the way to $200k! $86k in one year which is far more than I paid down any other year. I’m quite proud of that, but it begs me to wonder… how come I seem to have so much more money this year despite my salary not changing. So I did some investigation.

I keep track of all my spending on Mint and I have my own spreadsheet to keep track of my investments + mortgage + net worth and was shocked to learn that my net worth went from $43,000 in Dec 2014 to $49,000 in Dec 2015. You mean after a whole year making $62,000 net income, my net worth only went up $6k? Thats crazy. Where did all my money go?

Well I had a look and the usual suspect is there: shopping. Mainly its my bad habit of buying useless things and selling them at 50-80% loss. I feel free to share what I spend my money on so here’s what happened last year:

Travel (plane/hotels): $8717
Amazon stuff that I kept: $10000
Ebay stuff that I kept: $10405

Stuff that I bought and sold:
Bose headphones: $270 – sold for $60
Nokia ngage – $40 – sold for $20
Firefox phone – $70 – sold for $30
HP touchpad – $80 – sold for $50
Asus MyPal – $55 – sold for $30
Palm Treo – $13 – sold for free
Cybiko Xtreme – $25 – sold for $30
HP iPaq – $20 – sold for $20
Nokia N8 – $80 – sold for $70
Helios Pantech – $20 – sold for free
Casio BE300 – $65 – sold for $40
Gizmondo – $30 – sold for $20
Pepperpad 3 – $165 – sold for $70
Razer Seiren – $170 – sold for $120
OQO model 2 – $450 – sold for $300
Asus garminfone – $38 – sold for free
HTC status – $62 – sold for $30
HTC Quickfire – $30 – sold for free
BB Torch 2 – $44 – sold for $20
Samsung Q1 – $80 – sold for $70
Motorola Droid 4 – $47 – sold for $30
Motorola Backflip – $50 – sold for $25
NEC Terrain – $85 – sold for $50
Samsung Alias 2 – $50 – sold for free
Motorola Flipout – $50 – sold for $25
HTC mytouch – $41 – sold for free
Dover drive pedal – $200 – sold for $150
Nokia E70 – $120 – sold for $50
Nokia E71 – $35 – sold for free
Olio model one – $500 – sold for $300
Sony Ericsson P990 – $150 – sold for $50
Nokia 5700 – $75 – sold for $40
Nokia N93 – $110 – sold for $60
Hermida Reverb – $180 – sold for $120
Casio Ravine 2 – $45 – sold for $25
Asus R2H – $110 – sold for $80
Sony XEL1 TV – $500 – sold for free because I shipped it in a fragile package and item was broken when it got to the buyer forcing me to refund it
iPod nano – $70 – sold for $50
iRiver – $45 – sold for $30
Viliv S5 – $125 – sold for $100
Keeley Oxblood pedal – $200 – sold for $150
Nokia E71 – $75 – sold for $35
Farcry 4 – $60 – sold for $35
AC Unity – $80 – sold for free
Duke nukem – $50 – sold for $35
Gundam seed destiny – $54 – sold for $15
Stardock 4bay SATA – $330 – sold for free (seriously)
DJI Phantom 3 – $800 – sold for $600
Philips headphone – $300 – sold for $220
Transcend SSD – $65 – sold for $50
Canon Camcorder – $290 – sold for $180
Marshall acton – $250 – sold for $200
Synology DS215j – $200 – sold for $150
Fallout Pipboy – $120 – sold for $110
Yakuza games – $120 – sold for $40
SW Battlefront – $60 – sold for $15
Gechic touch monitor – $360 – sold for $200
Zoom iQ5 – $100 – sold for $50
sony walkman – $100 – sold for $80
Nokia N900 – $150 – sold for $80
Samsung Galaxy Golden – $350 – sold for $200
Klipsch KMC3- $240 – sold for $200
Fiio E10K – $75 – sold for $50

Kickstarter/Indiegogo: $1110
HOA fees: $7200 (mandatory)
Mortgage interest: $9600 (mandatory)
Rent: $9600 (mandatory)
Bug/pest control: $3200 (mandatory)
BitTorrent stock options: $4200
Property tax: $6500 (mandatory)
UPS Shipping: $791
Steam/Nintendo games: $3260

So yeah.. no wonder I had no money in 2015. First off, I bought $24,770 worth of electronics and games. And My 5 trips last year to SF (2 times), Toronto (2 times), and Eastern Europe cost me $8.7k in plane/hotel fees. Furthermore, I lost thousands of dollars by buying and selling items and shipping them at a huge loss. So last year was probably my worst year in spending yet. This year I seemed to have learned my lesson by reining in my spending. I regret not doing it sooner, but I will put up this post so that I can look back on it and learn from it.

If I had 100 million dollars…

During your lifetime you must have been asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if you had a million dollars?”. Well turns out a million doesn’t really buy much these days, so lets say 100 million. What would you do if you had 100 million dollars?

I got the idea for this post from the near 1.5 billion dollar Powerball Lottery (biggest in history) thats been going on. While I’m not a believer in lotteries, we can always dream right?

But although I haven’t been known to be the most financially sensible guy in the past, if I had 100 million dollars, I actually wouldn’t do that much differently.

Here’s what I would do, in order:
-Pay off my mortgage for my SF apartment
-Give away a couple million each to my parents, relatives, brother, cousins, and really close friends
-I would invest a third of the remaining money in the stock market
-I would invest most of the remaining money after that to purchase real estate. Right now, my prime choices are Vancouver Canada, San Diego USA, or Seoul Korea.
-I would use the leftover million dollars or so to splurge on electronics and guitars. This would probably include a Two-Rock amplifier, a Fender Custom Shop guitar, a collection of Sony/Nokia equipment, some good camera equipment by Canon/Nikon/Zeiss/Schneider Kreuznach, and some custom made Falcon Northwest or OriginPC laptops. Maybe invest in some kickstarter projects to help others. Creating my own custom UMPC is another thing I’ve always wanted to do.

So yeah.. nothing too exciting. I already said I didn’t really want a huge mansion for myself or a nice car or anything I’m not really into that materialistic stuff. I know I have a lot of electronics but thats more for my hobby and interests rather than showing off. I don’t really like to show off anything, contrary to how rich Chinese people like to flaunt their wealth. I’d rather just have a nice scooter maybe a convertible for those road trips down the coast, and a medium sized condo. And a nice cute Korean girl to cuddle with 🙂 and I’ll be happy with that.
I know that money doesn’t buy happiness and really the main thing I would do with money is to invest it in some stocks or real estate anyways. I don’t really really want any of those electronics and guitars or anything, those are just something if I have a lot of extra money after those investments, but not necessary.

But yeah.. if I had 100 million dollars, thats what I would do 🙂 I definitely wouldn’t spend it irresponsibly like alot of lottery winners end up doing.