2017: Year in Review

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays once again. And once again, I feel that 2017 has gone by way too fast lol. Perhaps its because I spent most of this year at home and not really going outside and meeting new people and making friends like I did when I lived in Korea..

-Saved and invested a lot. Made back all my gambling losses (and then some!) with cryptocurrency this year. The rise of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies this year has been truly astounding and imo a once in a lifetime event. Doubled my net worth this year.
-Finally made a Korean gf! and one that has lasted so far, the longest out of all my relationships. My previous longest relationship lasted 2 months. This one has been 3 months and counting! Yes it is a long distance relationship. I got to visit her in Korea for Christmas, we unfortunately only got to spend 4 days together, but it was an amazing 4 days and I can’t wait until the next time I see her (which might not be until next May).
-Went back to Korea twice this year, both times to meet a girl…

-I could have made more with crypto-currency. A lot more. But who could have expected Bitcoin to rise up 900%+ this year, or Litecoin to go up 7000% or Ripple to gain 10000%? And so on and so forth.. heck investing in ANY top 10 crypto coin this year could have made you rich. I was too timid at the beginning of the year, didn’t hold long enough, and lost my chance at becoming a millionaire. Oh well.
-Absolute boring-ness this year. Didn’t go out much. Didn’t make many friends. Work was just so-so. I was quietly dying on the inside this whole year.
-Donald Trump. Yeah I hate him. In San Francisco, who doesn’t? I’m no liberal but even as a conservative I can’t stand the guy. Especially when he’s threatening North Korea (and by extension the safe being of South Korea) all the time!
-6 times going back and forth between Canada-US border to get my TN visa processed. 6 times getting harassed at the border and getting treated like a criminal! this is partly the reason why I don’t want to get a new US job.

2017 is a year that won’t go down as one of my more exciting years. This year was all about making money and saving money. Granted, I did do a lot of that. Due to the great performance of both the stock market and cryptocurrencies, I doubled my net worth this year. I also tried my best not to spend *as* much as last year. 2015 and 2016 I bought countless electronics and gadgets. I think this year I bought one new laptop (Thinkpad TP25), 2 new watches (Frederique Constant Moonphase and Orient Star GMT), and some phones (BlackBerry KeyOne, Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, Google Pixel 2) as well obviously games and stuff but those were the only things I bought at full retail price. Last year was far worse (I bought 3 new laptops in Dec 2016 alone!).

So yeah I know I have to do more. My best friend in SF is my idol; he not only made tons of gains by holding onto his Litecoin / Ripple holdings, but he’s always frugal and never buys anything unless he absolutely needs it. Would be nice to be like that.
Aside from that, not much else has happened this year. San Francisco is becoming a wasteland. More and more homeless people. Higher and higher prices. Less Koreans/Japanese/Taiwanese/Internationals in exchange for the only race that seems interested in staying here which are mainland Chinese. And some mainland Chinese are alright, but its no secret that I don’t get along with the majority of them. I find most of them pretentious, materialistic, and overly ignorant / prideful.

The main purpose of this year really, is to gear up for the monumental changes to my life that will happen next year. I’ve already prepared for it. At a certain point in time next year, I will sell my apartment, leave the USA, and finally after 7 years of living here, and the first time really ever in my life, give myself some freedom, with no obligation to study or work. No more TN visa hassles. Just meet my girlfriend (which I also have big plans for next year, if it all works out with her), travel to different countries, and settle back down in Canada. Big changes are happening next year, and partly the reason why 2017 *had* to be a boring, stable year is because this was a preparation year meant to save up money and gear up for next year. And in that sense, I felt that this year was a success.


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.