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Just Hit $300k NW! 26 Years Old. $82k Income. Here's My Story.
Hi guys. I've been a subscriber and lurker here for over 5 years and one of my favorite things to read are the "how you got to where you are" stories. I told myself that once I hit $300k, I'd tell the first ~5 years of my FIRE story. I hate lack of transparency and ambiguity, so I'll try to be as open as I can. I tried to include everything that I would want to know if I was reading someone else's post. Feel free to ask me any questions. There is a TLDR at the bottom of this post. You probably want to read that first to see if you're interested before investing your time in conquering this wall of text. Also, you can skip the wall of text below about my childhood/college/relationship stuff if you're just interested in the "numbers". I just wanted to include this background to provide context and credibility.
Age: Current age is 26. Discovered FIRE via MMM in October 2012 at the age of 19. It blew my mind.
Childhood: I come from a rural, solidly middle-class background. I owe all my success with my academics, career, and finances to my parents. My dad is a mechanic and my mom is a nurse. Both are very frugal and they passed that down to me. They are natural savers and maxxed out their 401(k)s and IRAs every year on their modest incomes. We never had the "nicest" things growing up, but they gave me an amazing childhood. They also valued "experiences" more than "things", so we would grow up going on trips to Washington DC, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc. instead of buying me the latest video game console or Abercromie clothes. They also pushed upon me the value of education. They had high academic expectations for me and I was always at the top of the class because of it. #thanksmomanddad
College Years: I received a bachelors in business from a top public in-state university. I was in-state, so it was already a great value, but I was also very fortunate to receive a full-ride academic scholarship from the university. In high school I was valedictorian. I also had good test scores and very good extracurriculars. My parents saved about $20k for me to go to college in a 529 plan. They gave $10k of that to my sister since she didn't receive any scholarships and gave me the other $10k as a college graduation gift. This is the only "windfall" that I've ever received (other than my scholarships). I also received another ~$1,000 a year from a couple other small scholarships that I won. Those scholarships obviously covered my tuition and books, but I still worked a few jobs in college to pay for living expenses and save the extra. My last 3 years of college I was an RA for campus housing. The way this worked was that I lived in the dorm with freshman students as a student leader and in return I got my dorm housing and meal plan paid for. Since I already had a full scholarship, I essentially got to "bank" this money (roughly $4k a semester) for 8 semesters. Starting my 2nd year of college I also got a job working 10 hours per week at a local law office making $10 per hour. I did this job for about 2 years. After my 2nd year I got a summer internship working for a local Fortune 500 company making $19 per hour. I worked this job all summer and then convinced them to let me stay on part time working 20 hours per week for my entire 3rd year of college. So my 3rd year of college I worked as an RA in student housing (very little "work"), at the law firm 10 hours per week, at the Fortune 500 20 hours per week, and took a full course load (~15 credits). This was the first time in my life that I really started making money and was getting addicted to making money and saving money. At the end of my 3rd year of college I left my corporate internship and got a different summer internship at a different local Fortune 500 company making $29 per hour. I quit working at the law office around this time, but was still an RA. I worked this internship all summer and at the end of the summer I received a full-time job offer to work for this company once I graduated the next May. I really liked this company and this industry so I accepted the offer. I also convinced them to let me stay on part-time working 30 hours per week while I finished my last year of college. My senior year I was only working this internship and my RA job while taking a full course load. This only worked because I would work from ~7am-1pm every day because I scheduled my classes so that they were all in the afternoon. Because of all these jobs and the scholarships, I graduated with no student debt and was able to save ~$60k after my other expenses. I maxed out my Roth IRA my last 3 years of college and also put some extra money in a taxable account. The rest I saved in cash. I didn't graduate with a perfect GPA, but it was still above a 3.50.
Relationship: The most important part of my life is my SO. We went to high school together and college together. We've been dating for 9 years. She is (now) very frugal and a great saver. She comes from a low-income household and received a few grants and scholarships every year, which paid for most of her college. The other half was paid from her working a co-op ($16/hr), summer internship ($18/hr), and part-time job on campus ($8/hr). She graduated with no debt, an engineering degree, and $20k saved up. We've lived together for the past 4 years (splitting rent!) and are getting married in a couple months. Since this is a financial subreddit, I'll just go ahead and tell you that our wedding will cost $9k-11k. All of the numbers below about my budget/income/savings do not include her numbers. We split everything 50/50 even though my income is a little higher. She is dead-set on the path to FIRE (after a couple years of brainwashing ;D) and she has a similar budget. She just crossed over the $100k net worth milestone last week, so together we're right at $400k net worth.
Income: I graduated college at age 22. First full-time job was making $55k. Now I make $82k at age 26. I'm a typical "financial analyst/project manager" for a Fortune 500. It's a pretty low-stress, 40 hour per week job, with 10-20% travel to support clients. If I had never negotiated twice for more money, I'd be at ~$68k right now instead of $82k. I'm still at the same company that I started at and not necessarily looking to change anytime soon. I really love my team, boss, work-life balance, and the work that I do. I also live less than 1 mile from my office, so I walk to work everyday.
Home: We live in a lower-cost-of-living city in the south (not the crazy HCOL areas like NYC or SF). Our rent for the first two years out of college was $1,500 per month ($750 each) for a 1-bedroom apartment in the nicest area of the city (and walkable to my office). About 1.5 years ago we bought a 435 square-foot, 1-bedroom condo in the nicest part of the city for ~$125k. We did this as a way to maximize the efficiency of our monthly budget, not necessarily as a long-term investment. We plan on living here for at least the next 5 years (we want to have kids in our early 30s), then keep it as an investment property. After living here for 1.5 years we absolutely love it. It seems "too good to be true".
Food/Dining/Groceries: $100 (my half. Since it has been a common question, take a look at my replies to several comments below to see a deeper explanation on how we only spend $200/month for 2 people. TLDR: Shop at Aldi and Kroger, always buy generic, eat out less than once per month, cook every meal, and bring lunches to work everyday).
Car Insurance: $61 (2004 Scion xB with 180k miles that I bought for $4k in 2015. This will go up because I want to start paying for umbrella insurance soon...)
Gas: $0 (I walk to work, rarely drive, and when I do, its normally for my job and I get my miles reimbursed).
Vacation: $100 (carries over if we don't use it)
Fun Money: $100 (my catch-all category if it doesn't fit in a category above: video games, concerts, movies, Amazon Prime, Netflix, extra vacation money if we go over, etc.)
Debt: Our only debt is our $98k mortgage.
Net Worth: $300k
I have 11k in cash in an Ally savings account, $251k in index funds with Vanguard ($124k in my 401k, $54k in my Roth IRA, and $73k in my taxable account), $38k in home equity.
Here's a Mint graph of my net worth over time (going back to my 2nd year of college when I first learned about the concept of FIRE from MMM): https://imgur.com/GvsF7vM.
Age 20: $1k
Age 21: $20k
Age 22: $61k
Age 23: $84k
Age 24: $161k
Age 25: $213k
Age 26: $300k
Savings Rate: My savings rate has been between 70-85% pretty much every year since college. I don't have an ultra-high income, but I do have pretty ultra-low expenses. My SO's savings rate is around 50-65% because her income is a little lower and expenses are a tad higher.
FIRE Goal: $1.5-2.0 million. Right now our expenses are very low, but we expect them to rise in 5 years when we have kids and move into a larger house in a good school district. We hope to hit this amount by age 35-40, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Post-FIRE Aspirations: I've always dreamed of being a high school US History teacher. I'd like to at least try it once to see how I like it. Since I'm FIRE I could easily quit If I don't like it. I've also always dreamed of being some kind of not-for-profit financial adviser for the "Average Joe" American. More of a "financial coach" where I could help people everyday with the basics (budgeting, index investing, etc.). Never sell any products. Just share my story and try to inspire people to make positive change. And most of all, I want to be a great dad. One of the biggest drivers of our FIRE goal is to be very close to FIRE by the time we have kids in our early-mid 30s. I just want to be a part of my child's life every step of the way and just be "there" the way my parents were for me. And of course I have a ton of "bucket list" items that I'd love to try out (thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, thru-hike the John Muir Trail, thru-hike the Vermont Long Trail, summit Kilimanjaro, build a camper-van and road trip to all the National Parks again, etc.).
My Advantages: Amazing parents who taught me the importance of education, frugality, and having a good head on my shoulders; a frugal & fulfilling childhood that showed me what's most important in life; being born in the U-S-of-A baby!; a full academic scholarship to college; a SO who shares my values and aggressive FIRE goals; the 2013-2019 bull market; supportive friends; learning about FIRE at such a young age; and many, many more things.
General Habits Worth Mentioning:
I've maxxed out my 401(k), Roth IRA, and HSA every year since starting work, plus invested the excess in a taxable account.
I've never invested in bitcoin or anything like that, just boring old Vanguard index funds. Vanguard is showing my personal rate of return since 2013 as exactly 10.0%, which is only slightly better than the S&P 500 during that time.
We love to travel. We go on 3-5 trips per year to National Parks, European cities, etc. that we fund via "credit card travel hacking" courtesy of /churning.
Unlike a lot of people on this sub, we've introduced the idea of FIRE to most of our close friends. Our parents, siblings, and close family also know our FIRE goals, but we set clear boundaries. My family is very understanding (my parents are basically FIRE-ing next year at age 53). Her family still thinks we're a little crazy. We're pretty open about our journey and try to help others if they are interested. Because of this, our 10-20 closest friends are all into FIRE as well. We hang out with friends 2-3 nights per week, but instead of "going out for drinks" (we don't drink alcohol anyways...) we go over to each other's homes for home-cooked dinners, board games, and video games. I say this because we have a good social network, but don't have to spend a ton. Having a like-minded SO and like-minded friends have been two of the most important contributors to my happiness and high savings rate.
Saving this much and maintaining a 70%+ savings rate hasn't been "hard" for me. I don't have to try very hard to accomplish these goals - it's just who I am. I'm a natural saver. Saving EXCITES me. I don't feel like I make any sacrifices in my life to meet these goals. I buy everything that I want...I just find that I don't "want" a lot of the typical things that other people "want" (luxury cars, eating out, 5-star hotels, brand-name clothes, $30k wedding, huge home, etc.).......And the best part is that I can't believe that I found a SO who is arguably more frugal that I am.
EDITS: 1) Added a little more explanation in the budget section about spendng $200/month on food for 2 people since that has been a recurring question. 2) Added a section on my post-FIRE aspirations since that was another question that people kept asking. TLDR: Hit $300k net worth at age 26. Frugal, middle-class upbringing. Got a full scholarship to top in-state university. Worked 2-3 jobs every week while attending college to pay for living expenses and saved the rest. Got degree in business. Graduated with no debt and $60k saved up. Parents gave me $10k as a graduation gift. Made $55k/year at my first full-time job after college. 4 years later I currently make $82k at the same company. My monthly budget is ~$820/month. I have been dating my SO for 9 years, living with her for 4 years, and I'm getting married to her in a couple months. She's dead-set on the FIRE path as well. #blessed
36m, $2m, Last Day of Work Today. Lessons Learned from a 12 Year Road to FI
I was debating if I should post/celebrate this here, but after seeing /fierymillennialslessons learned from a break, and after posting here in /fi for the last 4 years, I thought I'd share some of my lessons from my career (and maybe sneak in a few questions while I'm at it).
Where I Am Now
As the title (and my flair says) I'm sitting right around FI now! Our household consists of me, my wife who's a year younger and our 11-year-old poodle mix, living in the western US. I'm a software engineer (full-stack web development) turned Product Manager working a career in tech - but never in what I'd "high tech" cities. Orlando and Salt Lake City have a great tech presence, but they're not exactly in the top 5 (or 10?). With around $2m saved up and yearly expenses somewhere between $60-$100k, it's looking like we're in decent shape! Over the last 2-years, our expenses have risen as we got married, fixed up a house, went on 2 honeymoons, moved across the country, furnished a new place and settled in. I'm optimistic it'll drop down closer to the $60k side now. Today is my last day at my job of almost 8 years (!). My wife is continuing to work at this time, with me on her insurance We've talked about it, and she knows she could leave as well. Her working right now makes this much more flexible as we test out our spending levels with one of us not working.
How I got Here Financially
Luck. Hard work at times for sure, and lots of planning, but no one retires in their 30s without luck (windfalls or high income) or cutting expenses so deep that your lifestyle borders some hobo-chic. My luck came in a few specific fortuitous financial events:
Had parents that raised me with a ton of self-control. Learning to have money (even if you're not rich) but not spend it from an early age is a huge benefit.
Went to a state school for college and graduated with no student debt. Scholarships and parents paid for everything for the first 2 years, then started working to take over all expenses by the end. I was soooo lucky to not get into the expensive colleges I applied for and have parents who could chip in that $1k/month to live on.
Started working on side projects non-stop starting in high school, which helped my marketable skills continue developing (even if they didn't make money).
Received an inheritance of $100,000 at age 24 when my mom passed away. Add to that another $150,000 from selling her house. That was in 2007, and the $250k promptly dropped to $150k a year later during the great recession.
Worked, without gaps and saved at least 50% of my income each year from age 24 on.
Also increased my expenses significantly during that time.
Went from startup to startup, eventually landing at one where I worked as hard as I could (sometimes 90 hours a week).
That startup was eventually acquired, which was a nice $400k windfall.
The company that acquired us went public, which was a nice $800k windfall.
There's a lot of luck to this. I was on my own FI path before this acquisition with a higher FI date in mind (40 if things went well, but probably closer to 44 realistically). Luck and events completely outside my control brought that date down 4-8 more years.
After years working at startups, I absolutely love creating things and providing value to people. One thing I'm most excited about is the time to learn and build things without the need for them to make money. I've done some side projects, but hope to do many more now. Other than that, the usual winter recreation! Playing Red Dead Redemption 2, rewatching all of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, going skiing and traveling to see family. Long-term though, time will tell. If our spending is low enough, then we won't need additional income. If it ends up being higher than we expect and we decide we'd rather now lower it, I'd like to find a way to make a little side income without a job through side projects. Luckily there is no rush on that today. We have options, and time to find a passion that makes a little money is one of the best ones. I do have a few things that I'm trying to do immediately. I'd be curious to hear how others have handled these:
Stop identifying myself by my job role, accomplishments or work.
Stop setting unachievable expectations for myself.
Stop trying to optimize every day and be OK with progress.
Start setting boundaries between side projects and personal life.
Being OK with the idea that there are days I'm going to wake up where I don't want to do anything.
These are the immediate things I'm working on in my head right now.
What Did I Do Well?
For things that I had control over at least, here's a few that stand out:
I think the number one thing was making myself invaluable to companies I worked for. I did whatever needed to be done strategically in the companies - even if that meant changing roles or learning new skills.
Stuck with low-fee index fund investing for 95% of my portfolio long term. I made investing mistakes (oh, hi Bitcoin), but they were limited to at max 5% of my portfolio.
Tracking spending quarterly.
Didn't try to over-optimize investments. Just let time do their thing (helps that this was the best bull market ever).
Developed a strong sense of what I wanted out of life outside of work. I have no shortage of things I want to do.
What Could I Have Improved On?
I didn't max out my 401k for about 5 of my working years. I didn't have access to a 401k for another 4 years.
My spending grew way more than I thought. I should've been looking at my spending monthly.
My wife and I have been together for almost 12 years, but we didn't fully join our finances until year 11. We knew about each other account balances/debts, but not as much each others cash flow. Would've been useful in planning to know each other's total spending.
Tracking spending monthly would've helped see trends faster.
Creating another source of income would have been really nice.
Thinking too much about FI at times was a distraction from other, more important goals and parts of life.
Whew, that's a lot. It's been 11 years since I started investing and 9 years since I opened a Vanguard account. Without additional lucky (in the form of those windfalls) I don't know how FI would've been possible without drastically cutting spending during my earning years far more than I did. That might not be the most optimistic takeaways, but it's an honest one. There's a sliding scale between compromise and luck for retiring in your 30s. I was able to lean more on luck, but that's not a reproducible takeaway. If you do what you can with what you're given that's all you can do - just do your best and be OK with the results. Edit On acquisition/IP money: From the comments, I realized I did a poor job of taking credit for my part in those events. As a long-time developer, I don't do a great job of taking credit for my accomplishments. As I mentioned in some comments below, I was an early employee at the startup and led the largest team which was responsible for our main product, and was a key part of why we were acquired. On windfall/Why don't you have more money: I wish I could say I just put the windfall money in low-cost index funds and called it day, but that wasn't the case. I bought a house (which I sold for a $70k loss), lost a bunch of money due to load funds and taxes on trades my financial advisor put me in (before I started managing my own money) and saw my investments drop by almost half in 2008. All that to say that in 2008 my net worth was much closer to $70k. Couple that with a lower income (since I was right out of college) and it's not too much being set aside each year.
IamA High School drop out that had a million dollar bet with his parents that if I made a million before I'm 18. I did not have to go to college! I won! AMA!
Hello Reddit! You may have seen me at the top of /technology the other day and I got a lot of messages telling me to do an IAMA about this article on CNBC so here I am! So I made a bet with my parents that if I turned 18 and was a millionaire, my parents wouldn't force me to go to college. I’m proud to say I won that bet! Thanks to some clever investments, making money from projects, and as is the case with everyone who has any kind of success (or even failure) a little bit of luck. Here’s the story of how it happened: When I was 12 years old in May 2011, my older brother showed me this technology that I fell in love with and found fascinating. The technology was called Bitcoin. At that stage in life I had a $1000 saved up, solely a gift from my Grandma to use for my scholarship fund. It did not go to my scholarship fund. I asked my brother to help me put it into Bitcoin at $12 because I knew it would be huge in someway. At that point I had about a 100 bitcoins. I continued to do ‘day trading’ buying low and selling high over the coming years as well and reinvesting the money. Fast forward to when I was 14 in high school I was not enjoying school. I was in a small town in Idaho living on a llama farm. So the quality of the school system, was let’s say, not the highest grade. I found the classes to be boring, valuable to some people, but at least for me boring and teaching me in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Lessons that did not seem applicable in my life. My teachers would constantly criticize people in the classroom. Especially me. One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald's because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. Another would force us to read other student’s grades out to the rest of the class to shame them for failing. Another roasted me (me in particular) for the full hour of class. No teaching. It was literally the “Roast of Erik Finman”. Which now seems kind of funny actually but still very bad to do. I went to a summer program to prepare me for the next year and found the best teacher ever in my life that changed my life who was from the UK. I got an A+ in advanced physics when I got a C- in basic physics the previous year. With that knowledge. Since I didn’t have access to good teachers in my small town in Idaho. I wanted to fix it. So I learned how to code and created an educational website that would allow you to connect with Tutors/Teachers/Mentors online over video chat to teach you any subject you wanted to learn. You could search for Spanish. And find someone to teach you from Ecuador. You could type in programming and you’d find a CS college student that is trying to pay tuition by doing this on the side. Or a retired expert who is a veteran in his field that just wants to impart his knowledge onto others. It became very popular in the local community! I told my teachers about it, but they did not like it because it felt like competition. Maybe they thought they might have to do better? At this point I was 15 and this got some initial traction and I was using it to teach myself. I asked my parents to let me drop out of High School to focus on this because I was miserable in school. They agreed and were supportive, but they made a bet with me that I can drop out of High School, but I have to go to college if I don’t make a million dollars by the age 18. I agreed and I dropped out of High School to work on this. A little bit after I dropped out of High School, and I had traction with my project. Bitcoin was shooting up! It was going big! $800! $900! $1000!!!! So I sold a lot of my Bitcoins which resulted in me gaining a $100,000. I used that money to put into my business so I could hire more professional programmers and I moved to Silicon Valley. I even caught the attention of Alexis Ohanian of Reddit because his book at the time Without Their Permission is what got me started. He helped me in many ways! Fast forward to early 2015. Eventually I found a buyer for the companies code & technology in January 2015. The investor offered either $100,000 or 300 bitcoin, which had dropped in value at that time to a little more than $200 a coin. I took the lower cash value bitcoin deal because I believed it was the next big thing and an official buyout would’ve been very difficult for someone under 18 and it was good tax planning to use Bitcoin. Also continuing to do day trading on a daily basis. I used some of that money in the coming years to travel the world. Going to London, Dubai, Australia, and more! I used that to start a VR company using crowdfunding and that did well. I shipped all those out. It was incredible! Now I’m doing a satellite as part of a NASA award which is launching in November out of New Zealand! I'll probably do another post about this soon because it's so cool. Elon Musk has always been hero of mine. He's such a talented guy changing the world with Tesla and SpaceX. I'm a great admirer of his and respect him immensely. He's the closest we have yet to a real life Iron Man. But who knows maybe I'll beat him one day haha ;-) After all we stand on the shoulders of giants right? haha that's a big goal though and I say it as such. It’s been a fantastic few years! I’ve used that money to learn how to do a business, invest, and learn about the world! I didn’t do investing all the time and I used that money to build things that I thought were important! I haven’t done everything perfectly, no one has! I’ve made some humbling mistakes, but had lots of exciting successes! I’ve really launched my career in exciting ways and have met mentors that help me and advise me along the whole way! Which I’m so thankful for! I’ve learned so much outside the education system and have been so much happier. Although I’m unique, I’ve met many many people that weren’t satisfied and unhappy — ranging from students with the lowest and highest GPAs. My GPA was a 2.1 in school! And I’m happy I’m not going to College! College wasn’t for me but it was the ‘life path’ you are supposed to go on and I did not want to go nor felt it would’ve helped me too much in life — especially the $250,000 in debt! Or $249,000 with my scholarship fund if I had not used it on Bitcoin and my projects ;-) I really believe the education system needs to be reformed and I think technology is the way to do that. I think it’s wonderful how society allows you to be a ‘student’ so that you can learn for many years and that’s your full time job. The infrastructure would just ideally be much better so you could do that without being in sometimes a bad environment and crippling debt. I can say today that I own 403 bitcoins which is currently valued at $1,092,678.08 with the price per Bitcoin being at $2,711.36 plus some other money invested in other things. Can’t have all your eggs in one basket! So I won the bet! If you have any questions let me know! And if you want any advice on cryptocurrency or your own educational route, or anything else let me know! Also on reddit! People have made Pepe memes of me! I feel like I've finally made it: http://imgur.com/gallery/06dWK If you want to keep updated with everything I’m doing! Follow me on twitter! Proof: Proof of the bet: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/erik-finman-botangle-after-100k-bitcoin-score-15-year-old-creates-startup/ Travel proof: http://imgur.com/a/kvlzR Proof: I went through rigorous proof verification and fact checking with CNBC as you can see with this article. I keep my Bitcoin is super secure places spread out across multiple wallets across multiple machines. I'm so paranoid after all this media attention someone is going to steal it all! haha Proof of growing up on the llama farm: http://imgur.com/gallery/6scF5 ---- ASK me about the time the llama came into my house! Proof of the 100k initially made: http://mashable.com/2014/06/10/botangle/ Proof it's really me: http://imgur.com/a/zc3eu Edit: Wow! Thanks for the gold guys! Edit: Was on for the first few hours of the AMA and had a meeting to go to and I just came back now to see all these great questions! Questions I all have answers to! I will respond to them tomorrow as it's midnight here now. Edit: That's it for me! A lot of great questions and a lot of great feedback.
hey. im posting this here because idk what else to do, and thought that someone out there could possibly help, or that my story could help someone avoid mistakes i've made i started playing poker professionally in mid 2017, and for a while it was pretty great. i started out grinding live 1-2 at a local casino while living at home, quickly spun up a roll, and eventually moved to one of the bigger 2-5 NL hubs in the u.s. my first month there was arguably the worst month of my life. my girlfriend of 4 years had just broken up with me, and that coincided with my biggest career downswing (almost 10k, probably had 55k at start of downswing). dealing with all of these external stressors was not easy for me. I have a history of depression, and all of these things lining up together threw me into one of the deepest holes i've been. there were days (prob less than 5) i spent 20+ hours in bed; only getting up to smoke some weed or find some shit food to eat. i took some steps to pull myself out of this zone. hired a therapist, regular exercise, attempting to eat healthier, self-help books, etc. all of this, and some run-good on the poker tables, had me back to a fully-functional (and arguably stronger) 2-5 grinder. i basically god-moded for the next 6 months or so. I prob made 45k with one or two 5-8k downswings thrown in along the way. I'd begun playing 1-2 on ignition (initially for practice/ studying, but then continued bc games were good my hourly there was comparable to my hourly grinding live 2-5) and consequently got my hands on some bitcoin. i was already somewhat familiar with what it was and was generally bullish (still am) so figured i'd hold on to a couple of the fuckers since the roll was so healthy and it seemed like a decent mid-long term investment. well, what fucking timing this turned out to be, as price soared from 4k to rougly 8k by end of may. it was around this time that i think my success began to go to my head a bit. i mean, not that i had done anything particularly grand, but i def had a somewhat constant euphoric buzz going on basically around the clock. I was 25, had over 100k nw, had investments that seemingly were going to be worth millions in the not-so distant future (/s), and worked my dream job in which i was able to get away with whatever the fuck i wanted. "Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta," was like my life theme song, playing wherever i went. is this kind of phenomenon experienced by other pros when upswinging? it's summer now, and the dreams of shipping a tournament are abundant. i create a ~15k package, and sell about a 1/3 of myself to maintain sanity in case things go poorly (net worth >100k at this point, abi mtt is probably 1100). my lease expires at my current spot, so i'm off to vegas to bluff johnny chan or something. ...or something indeed! i cashed just 1 out of probably 12 tournaments and broke even in cash. it felt not good, but I think i had/have a better understanding as to how big variance is (especially in mtts) relative to most, so I was pretty ok with this. not to mention, btc had topped at 14k, which def made dealing with the negative mtt variance a bit easier. the highlight of my wsop was day 1 of the main event (didnt initially plan on playing, but I was able to sell 75% and it'd been a dream of mine to play since i was a kid, so fuck it, ill take a shot). my table is a joke. it is unfathomable to me that these types of players both exist AND somehow have $10k to light on fire in a poker tournament. one of my table mates felt the need to heavily exemplify the lack of fucks he gave about this $10k. the dude showed up for the tournament pretty drunk (started at 10am, LOL). first, he has this weird interaction with the dealer where he sits down in seat 5 and dealer tells him he's in the wrong seat, and to move to 6. it takes the guy an abnormal amount of time to understand, but eventually he figures it out and moves over. ok, let's run it. few hands go by and the drunk guy scoops a small pot (probably less than 1k chips and we started with 50k). the seat next to him is unoccupied but there is a stack in front of the seat that is blinding out. as drunk guy scoops his pot, he "accidentally" scoops the chips next to him, in what appeared to either be an extremely slick (/s) attempt to find an early double, or an attempt at a bad joke. imo, it was most likely either a poorly timed joke or the dude was just so fucked up that he just didn't realize what he was doing, but we will never know for sure. either way, jack effel promptly dq'd the guy, which i think was absolutely too harsh. i still regret not jumping to this guy's defense, as i really doubt there were any truly ill intentions behind his actions. one more quick highlight from my day 1 : i mentioned my table being a dream, and it was, with the exception of one player. a former main event champ, joe mckeehen. i didn't know much about him prior to this except that he was a part of chance's Chip Leader Coaching team, which made me think he was prob a beast. and i was right... the guy undoubtedly had an edge on me (and ofc rest of table) and both played and carried himself extremely well. i played one hand vs him that was noteworthy, particularly because of what he said to me afterwords. cant remember exact sizing's so bear with me: joe opens hj 2.2x, button call, i call bb with td8h. flop: q67r. i check, joe cbet 1/3 pot, button fold, i call. turn: 4x (i think i could do some leading on this card since i improve to straights and 2p at higher frequency than joe, but who tf am i to just lead into the former champ??) i check, joe bets 2/3. i think x/c and x/r are both fine, but decide on x/r this time. sizing was something where i'd set myself up for 80-90% jam on the river if he called. joe takes a few seconds, and as he's picking up his cards to throw them into the muck, says something like, "i really don't believe you, but i'm not going to call you down. don't do that again, kid." what a thing to fkn say man, absolutely legendary. he folds. i think to myself, "i've bluffed the champ! call me mike mcd mother fkers." in all seriousness though, he obv did pick up on some sort of live read, but even with whatever that was, i think over-folding a high-variance, bluff-catching spot vs the only other competent player at the table makes a lot of sense given this is day 1 of the main event and our table is a complete and total joke. wp joe, and thank you for the story. a true legened, imo. anyway.. fast forward to day 3 of the main and i'm out a few hours before making the money. talk about maximum pain, man. i felt i'd basically avoided any real feelings of tilt/ disappointment prior to this despite a pretty brutal summer, but busting the main was a scratch on the surface of the negative emotions/ tilt i'd buried during the bad downswing i had after my initial move away from home. the roll is still healthy. the price of btc is falling, but my nw is still around 95k. even though i still have plenty of money and am well-rolled for the main game i want to play (1500 cap 5/t), i have this weird psychological block where it feels like i dont have enough. i think i began to feel this more so when i dipped below 100k. it's like my brain has this weird obsession or belief that i need to be over 100 to be complete (i know, sounds insane, but again, im curious if others experience this kinda thing?) somewhat dejected, i head back home to spend a few weeks with the family before i head out to boston to set up a new home-base. fast forward to now: i've been renting a room at an air bnb for a little over a month. i'm breakeven over my last 700 hours of live poker (about 175 of those are me losing ~15k at mtt's). i've played about 135 hours of 5-t since moving to boston and an stuck about 6k. pretty normal i think. btc price back down to 8k though, so that + life expenses has brought the networth down to about 85k (70k liquid). i know, i know... plenty of money, even for playing 5-t. but holy fuck man, it does not feel that way. i feel like i did a year and a half ago when i first moved to the 2-5 hub and was dealing with downswing + major breakup. it's quite difficult to even get out of bed and take a shower. forget getting my ass down to the casino and actually putting in some volume in the volatility-chamber. it simply doesnt feel possible. it feels especially risky. like i want to avoid even giving myself the chance to book another losing session because i know how much it'd hurt. do other pros deal with shit like this? if so, what kinds of techniques do you use to combat these feelings? is there a way i can trick my brain into thinking more rationally? idk how i feel about actually posting this shit. i'm pretty self-concision in general. i will say that writing this out has been therapeutic in some way, and i do feel a bit better. maybe tomorrow will try and do a low-volatility online session. going to try to get outside and get some sun while i still can today. enjoy the spew/ wsop main event weirdness
...as an investor who began my career right before the dot-com bubble burst and invested through the Great Recession, take some comfort in the fact that this experience is providing you younger investors with the perspective necessary to be successful over the long term. If you observe early in life that that there are relatively equal forces at all times trying to make money both on the long and the short side of any asset class, it will give you more opportunity to find long-term success. It's my opinion that without losing your ass once or twice, you can't possibly become a great long-term investor. Take heart in the potential that is being created in you. If you keep the memory of this and use it to grow, you'll have an advantage going forward, be better attuned to risk and speculative market behavior, and you'll give yourself more opportunity to generate higher long-term returns. I wanted to give it all up in late 2000...but for whatever reason I stuck with it, and it was worth it. If investing has called to you as a career or hobby, that is a great thing. Just my 2c. Good luck out there. P.s. I apologize if this sounds pretentious or anything like that. Definitely not my intention. Edit: I really hope the following is helpful, and sorry for the crap formatting. TL;DR - You all know FOMO/FUD really well, and that can be used in more established markets to make solid returns. Measuring risk is as important as measuring your potential returns, always compare. People with no investment experience jumping into an asset class/tons of top-down analysis on an asset class usually means its close to a top. Your experience has value, so don't look at your bank account as the only asset you have...you've all gained experience and that has tons of value, sometimes more than you've lost in money. More investor activity doesn't always equate to more buying, but more balance/rationality, which for an overheated/risky asset can lead to more selling. I was asked by u/Cryptomoolah about examples of investment learnings I have gathered over the years, so here goes…
You guys have experienced some crazy FOMO/FUD levels, so watch for that in more established industries. People still sometimes work themselves into a frenzy over really big markets…oil/gas, financials, pharma, retail…guess what? These are gigantic markets with insanely huge infrastructure underneath them, and they end up weathering BS market sentiment over time much better than people realize, but when FUD hits these guys, look the opposite way. This worked for me well during the recession…NFW all those giant companies were going out of business, and I got some great basis in some very established names. Works same for FOMO …people think we are going to run out of oil, and price of oil goes to $150 and oil stocks skyrocket? We aren’t running out of oil anytime soon, so good idea to reduce your position. Watch for frenzied thinking…you’ve all just graduated with a college degree in FOMO/FUD.
Every investment comes with an implied risk measure associated with it. I think about this absolutely every day, every time I choose to deploy capital. You think something can go up 10x? Well, if there is an equal chance it can be down 90%, then (simplistically) you are looking at a 0% risk-adjusted return…and I’d look at other opportunities. There is no such thing as a financial return that didn’t have risk associated. Being a good investor means accurately assessing the risk associated with an investment, and measuring your potential return relative to that. There are complicated formulas around risk measures, but I personally like to think about it simply relative to volatility. It’s just a proxy, but it works…i.e. what is the maximum this asset could fluctuate in price before I’d really be surprised? That gives you a sense of the underlying risk, and therefore how much you need it to “return” to you for it to be worth it. It’s not perfect, but it can keep you out of trouble. For example, some people would say that venture investments usually have a 30-50% risk premium associated, so funds typically need to see a path to returns above that measure to have a positive risk-adjusted return
One of my go-to’s (which again, isn’t perfect but something I’ve seen happen) is when retail investors start pouring into an asset class, especially with margin, you are closer to a top than you realize.
Top-down analysis is a killer. Hearing how big the market could be and what percentage market share the product will take? That is empty analysis and it absolutely ravaged investors during the dot-com bubble. I mean annihilated. SO many investments based on that flawed thinking.
Business model sustainability can get lost during euphoria. Can the businesses being invested in ever really turn a profit, and sustain themselves? What happens when things get more competitive, outside capital dries up, etc?
To my earlier point about symmetric pressures on asset classes, one of my good friends asked for my opinion prior to the CBOE opening options trading for bitcoin. At the time, I advised him against investing, simply because options entering a “long-only” situation will pretty much 100% going to focus on shorting. I didn’t do a particularly good job of convincing him though, since he went in anyway. At the end of the day, more exchanges, more funds, more volume, more investors doesn’t just equate to more buying. It equates to more balance, which as the size of the asset class grows, the pressure for balance increases. Keep that in mind too with all this ETF stuff…
One very successful, smart PM I knew a long time ago said that if an investment you bought is down 20%, sell it regardless of how much you believe in it. What he meant was you aren’t as intelligent as you think you are, and therefore sometimes mistakes you make are not visible to you right away. An investment you went into that is down 20%, in his mind, is more likely a mistake than a temporary market glitch. He’s basically saying you got the risk-adjusted return wrong, so bail. I admit I have ignored this concept throughout my career, and I have usually been killed for doing so.
As far as making you feel better or dealing with being down big, look at it this way: Everything you have is an asset. Your money, your relationships, your reputation, your mind, your experience, your word. So you used to have $60k and now have $20k? You gained $40k of market experience. I could see betting long-term on an investor who has $10k after losing 90% of his/her original principal before I would bet on that same investor with $100k without that experience. Fact is, over the long term having a healthy respect for financial loss/down markets is absolutely necessary for long term success. Don’t throw that away, but cherish it, nurture it, and weave the experience into your evolving investment philosophy.
Couple other things to watch out for (not necessarily avoid, just increase the risk measure):
Investments where you are only investing in the quality of the “team” (happens in every market, not just crypto) but without a viable business model,
Investments where the business is providing a solution where there isn’t a problem,
Investments with fundamental structural problems (no leverage over the supplier or customer, investments where revenue growth is driven dis-economically with no path to sustainability)
Again, just my 2c. My mentor would say you never take 100% of what anyone is saying based on their own experiences, but usually in any person's experience there is always something in there that you can take that is valuable. I hope I have provided something of value to someone. Edit 2: Thanks to everyone for the kind responses! This is far and away the most engagement I've ever had with a post, and I so appreciate everyone taking the time. As a few of you pointed out, I was incorrect with my risk-adjusted return example. I used an incomplete example that I will often use in venture investing, but stated it incorrectly and I apologize. The base concept is still valid, I.e. think about downside and incorporate that into your thinking about upside. But the corrected version would be if your investment has a 10% chance of a 10x and a 90% chance of a zero (a stereotypical VC investment scenario) then it's basically a 0% risk adjusted return. In reality, and I touched on this in my response to u/Astrocat15 who pointed out the error, the average investor would also have to come to terms with the possibility of being wiped out and whether that was an outcome that could be accepted, which for most people is not... Personally, if something seems to have a ton of upside, a ton of downside and I can't get my arms around how to value the thing or weigh the scenarios, I lean towards overweighting the downside and will probably look elsewhere . I might still gamble for fun though... Thanks everyone, good luck!
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
My Entrepreneurial Journey from McDonald's burger flipper to Investment Adviser
I started at McDonald's when I was 17 years old in the hopes of saving up and buying a car. Sadly, this was just about my only significant financial goal for the next 10 years of my life outside of trying to save up for an ounce to save on weed money. I did what most a lot people seem to do today, live life by the minute. I watched tons of shows and put thousands of hours into video games. I worked as little as possible. I'd snicker at everyone and have my stupid little lines when people would point out my lack of career progress. "I work to live, not live to work, man!" In my entire 10 years at McDonald's, I had a surprising amount of opportunity for advancement. I met my best friend here, we started the same week and forged our friendship on the heat of the grease traps, side by side. The difference was, he actually had a little bit of ambition. Within a year, he was technically my boss as a crew chief. Not much responsibility, not much of a pay raise either, but he proved himself. Within another year he was a shift manager. I was making $7.35 because minimum wage had just gone up. So, after 2 years, I was still only making minimum wage. He had a $2 an hour raise and was up to $9.50 or so. No big deal I told myself, it's not worth the hassle and who wants to work 40 hours a week at a bullshit job anyway? This would continue to be a pattern. Every year or other year he would get some sort of promotion, and I would stay exactly where I was. He was an assistant manager making $36k annually, then a store manager making $50k after bonuses. He had finally made it I thought. He'd come in and everyone would try to look busy, and I'd just watch him walk back to the office while scraping the grease off the grill for the millionth time. I still continued to delude myself into thinking I was happy as I raced home as soon as possible after a 3-hour shift so I could get back to doing pretend work in my virtual escape. We still got along great, even hung out after work sometimes still. But his next promotion brought him out of the store and we lost touch around this time. As an area supervisor his pay went up considerably, I never asked what exactly, but he had a company car, and all the benefits you can shake a stick at. Meanwhile, it'd been 8 years or so and I was barely making $8.50 an hour and working 20 hours a week still.
The Bitcoin Bubble
Then I got my first break seemingly on a whim in mid-2017. I had been following Bitcoin off and on for years and noticed somewhat early on it was taking off. I started working a few more hours just so I could buy more bitcoin. I bought a total of about $1,000 and made over 10x that. Then I invested in some smaller alt-coins at the right time and made another 10x. For the first time in my life, I experienced financial success. Video games no longer mattered; I had found a new game and it was a lot more rewarding. I spent all my free time researching investment strategies for cryptocurrency. Then it all came crashing down. So I had made capital gains of over $100,000. Awesome right? Well, it would have been if I hadn't lost half of it thinking the market would pick back up. And you owe taxes on the full gains even if you lose half of it. You might think still have about $50k, and I would have if I hadn't spent all but about $5,000 on renting a nice house, weed, prostitutes (I'm not even proud of this, if you'd seen the quality in my area you wouldn't be either), clothes, and the beefiest home computer money could buy. I had made $100,000 in the matter of a couple of months, I went a little nuts okay? So $5,000, that's plenty to pay your taxes right? At my current financial status, I'd be homeless in 3 months because my rent was way more than I could afford. I had some work to do. Making money on cryptocurrency investments was seemingly over, so I looked to traditional investments. I opened a Robinhood account and was doing okay. It's very different from the wild days of Bitcoin though, no 1,000% gains in a matter of weeks. I was lucky to get 5%, and my McDonald's wages were laughable as always. This just wasn't going to cut it, at this rate I'd be in jail in a couple of years for not paying taxes… So I had a new set of skills, maybe I could take advantage of it. I was actively making money on investments and I had learned so much in the last year about investing. I was much more familiar with the jargon and I could actually hold a conversation about the subject. I knew more about investing than anyone else I knew personally, at least. Then I took these skills and did some research for jobs in my area on this job search site. I was amazed to see the kind of salary I could get with some of the skills I had been working on.
Senior investment support specialist $120k salary
Wealth management client service leader $95k
Associate Wealth Management Advisor $80k-$100k.
Digging My Way Out of this Hole
It took me a few weeks to put this together in my head. At first, I thought "Okay, I'll go to Community College and then transfer to the university and in a few years I can get one of these trainee positions at Wells Fargo." Then I remembered Uncle Sam was lingering overhead with the $20k that I owed him. I didn't have time to do things the right way. So I did things a different… way. I planned it all out. I got my Master of Finance degree in about 2 weeks for $180 from this company that prints diplomas. I was actually really impressed by the quality and customization options. They pretty much put whatever you tell them you want on it, so I made sure to do some research and put something that will hold up to a little scrutiny. I really considered just making a website for a private university, so I put together a limited budget and a list of things I'd need and went to have a few web designers bid on it. I was informed by a really nice team that this wasn't really a possibility since getting a .edu site isn't going to work. I was pleasantly surprised because if the tables were turned, I can't say I wouldn't have tried to milk me for every dime I had. I spent all my free time taking courses on Skillshare and read some highly recommended books from Charlie Munger that I found on /investing. I was absolutely determined to pass myself off as someone who had years of education and experience in the field. I even watched the movie "Catch Me If You Can". Then I shifted my focus, I was sure I had the basic know how to pass myself off as an "expert". Now I needed to just wow them into not digging too deep. I needed to have a stellar resume, knock their socks off in the interview, and the part I hadn't figured out yet believable references. I used this site to make a really nice looking resume. I didn't hold back on my qualifications either. I was going all out and presenting myself as the perfect candidate, well deserving of the position and the salary it commands. The professional references problem was actually the biggest wall I hit. At first, I thought I could have my friends do it, but they're all a bunch of McDonald's lifers like me and it would be immediately obvious they weren't the executives they were supposed to be. I thought about having my area supervisor friend help, but he'd only be 1 guy and we weren't as close anymore. It's actually asking a lot of people. Then I found a site that does exactly this as a service. I was skeptical at first, thinking they probably weren't native English speakers, or wouldn't sound any more professional than my friends would. So I reached out and asked if we could do a call to get a feel for them. They gave me the number, a US number I might add, and I called. A young woman picked up and answered "Office of Mr. Suchandsuch, how can I help you?" I smiled ear to ear, I knew then and there I might just be able to pull this thing off! I finally felt confident about it all and I really needed this confidence boost, because I was about to be sitting in a room with lifelong professional investors and convince them to give me a hundred grand a year when I spent the night before cleaning puke in the bathroom at the McDonald's across town. So to give myself the best chance, I knew I was going to have to apply to a lot of places. I submitted my resume for over 50 different positions and I got interviewed at well over half of them. I halfway expected to not get any calls at all, I thought "Surely it can't be this easy to become an executive investment consultant." So I rented a nice suit for all the days I was interviewing, I actually had a hard time keeping track of which places I had to be at and when. One day I went to 4 different interviews. I rented a nice suit and hoped no one would see me get out of my 20-year-old beater car. I interviewed at banks, investment firms in tall buildings, and even remotely for smaller angel investment groups. Then it happened. I got my first conditional job offer. I was already thinking about how I could negotiate the salary while I was reading the offer then it hit me like a sack of bricks. "This conditional job offer is extended to Gary Newman, it's contingent upon the candidate successfully passing the background check. Background information such as criminal and driving history, plus credit reports for some jobs will help to determine if the candidate is qualified to do the work." My stomach sank, I'm going to jail, "There's no way I'm going to get a job or pay all these taxes." I told myself. My first thought was to run, the guy from Catch Me If You Can managed to stay on the run for years and years, no that's stupid. Don't fold your hand just yet. Only one so far has said anything about a background check. So I called them and withdrew my application explaining I had taken another offer that I couldn't pass up. They understood, and I hoped they wouldn't take it any further. So for every place that said anything about a background check, I just withdrew my application and thanked them for their time. It was far from a perfect solution, but my back had been against the wall for so long now I was starting to get used to it. I wondered if all this effort was for nothing, I was so stupid for not thinking about background checks. Surely all of them would do them, right? They're cheap and it weeds out little scumballs like me.
Laziness Creeps Up Even the Tallest Towers
Lucky for me I was wrong. Not even half of the companies I applied for did background checks or if they did, they didn't do it very thoroughly. I was flabbergasted. So I negotiated with the 6 job offers I ended up with, out of over 50 that I applied to. I was very happy with the numbers, especially with the salary I was being offered. I negotiated up to $105,000. Not bad considering the year before I had pulled in a whopping $7,000. I saved as much as I could and worked as hard as I could. This whole experience had taught me so much. With enough effort, it's pretty incredible the kinds of things you can pull off. I still sweat every day thinking someone is going to find out and I'm going to lose it all even though it's been over a year. I just tell myself all I can do is work hard and try to be so valuable that they won't care if they ever do find out. And who knows? Maybe this writing thing will help me write a book while I'm in prison. For now though, when the couple of closest friends who know the story of how I went from a burger flipper to an investment executive overnight ask me how Vandelay Industries is? I tell them in my best Costanza impression: "I can't complain!"
My journey to a quick FIRE path after unproductive 20s
Anyone else planning on FIRE thanks to Bitcoin? Don't worry this post is more than about Bitcoin, it includes all the greats - frugal living, wasted college degree, low paying jobs in my 20s, minimalism, vanlife, not even thinking about saving for retirement until my 30s, lots of debt, lots of ups and downs, and now working on a happy ending and FIRE! Note for the haters: The post is mostly about my story but does involve talking about how I am achieving a very fast FIRE thanks to Bitcoin. I’m sure my post will get a lot of hate since Bitcoin is an emerging asset which means 99% of people don’t yet understand it, and people tend to dislike what they don’t understand. Bottle that hatred up inside you or just move on. This is for people interested in FIRE journeys and doing FIRE fast, not for judging how people get to FIRE based on their own personal bias. My Story: Middle class upbringing, parents paid for college. Got a history degree, didn’t use it for anything, had no idea what I actually wanted to do for a career. Spent most of my 20s working low paying jobs. In my mid-20’s I left my home state and started moving around a bunch, living in 8 states in about 8 years. I was always frugal because I never had good jobs so never had much excess money, a very valuable lesson in money management. I think things would be totally different for me if I came out of college with a career and a good job - I probably would be the typical high spending average American. Because I started moving around once every year or so by my mid-20s, that meant I didn’t have a job a good amount of the time as I would just pick up and move somewhere, take some time to relax at the new place, then slowly start looking for a job, not the smartest thing to do haha! So the most I ever made in a year (pre-tax) before 2016, the year I turned 33, was just $17k! That was when I was like 24/25 and had an $11/hour paying job to start the year and then moved to a $12/hour paying job for more than half the year. Both my highest paying jobs in my 20’s, That was 2008, I then left that job and started my nomad ways as previously mentioned. In 2008 when I moved across country on a whim, that meant I had to get rid of most of my stuff, including my car cuz it sucked. And as I continued moving I desired having to ship less boxes each time. And so I went from being frugal out of necessity from low income, to being a minimalist out of necessity of nomadic choices. It would be another three years until a girlfriend at the time introduced me to the idea of minimalism (and tiny houses, which are cool!) so by the time I discovered that minimalism was a thing I had already been practicing it for a few years. Reading about minimalism would eventually lead me to discover FIRE another few years later. In my late 20’s I decided to go back to school to get into tech, this involved me eventually getting up to $100k in debt, and I had some bumps along the way (mostly thanks to choosing what ended up being a crappy school) but finally about a year and a half after leaving school, and 3 moves later, I got a job at a startup in mid-2015, where I worked for 3 months and promptly left (don’t worry they went out of business two months after I left). I then moved again, spent a few months not working, again was about to grow broke for the Nth time when I got a job at a startup and I’ve been working full time the past almost 3 and a half years ever sense - longest by far I've ever worked in my life. This year the company got acquired so now I work at a big tech company and got a decent payout ($74k after taxes) and my salary was doubled. To show you how little I was thinking about retirement, and I knew nothing about FIRE, at the time I was going back to school to study computer science I remember telling my best friend that since I am so frugal once I start working in tech I figure I will be able to give away/donate around half my money every year to help others. So altruistic right!? Of course I had never thought about saving or investing for retirement and I was planning on just giving all my money away instead of preparing for retirement (at any age)! At some point before I got out of school probably I discovered FIRE and started for the first time thinking about saving for retirement. Just before I got out of school I also learned about Bitcoin in late 2013 from a coworker at an internship I was doing that Fall. After many ups and downs with crypto investing, the biggest mistakes of which was trying to day trade for a long time and in 2015 at the bottom of the market deciding to stop believing in Bitcoin and sell everything that I still had that I didn’t lose to day trading. In the spring of 2017 I saw Bitcoin had returned to its old peak price and promptly started investing it in again, just putting all my spare money into Bitcoin and to a lesser extent Ethereum instead of paying off loans - obviously I was still paying the monthly minimum on my loans. My main problem that year became that I got back into day trading as well and ended up losing a few bitcoin. Nevertheless my portfolio soared to around $270k in December 2017, just before the latest crypto crash happened. So with my roughly $100k in debt I very briefly reached a net worth of around $170k. The final couple mistakes in crypto I made was not realizing a full on crash was coming so I didn’t sell any, but then continued to day trade in 2018 losing a bunch more bitcoin as the price went down. By mid-2018 I had just under $100k in debt, still a good amount of Bitcoin but far far less than the $270k worth that I had a half year earlier. At this point, 11 months ago, I decided to try out van life! Not as some hardcore way to FIRE by sacrificing everything and living a dismal life in order to FIRE quickly, but because I loved the idea of vanlife! I had started watching van life youtube channels around the Fall/Winter of 2017/2018 and it appealed to my nomadic ways. I don’t even know how I came upon the first one, probably by complete accident and I was like woah this seems cool. In June of 2018 I made the decision to do it. The plan was to leave my job with a few thousand dollars saved and be working on some side hustles and scrape by living and traveling in the van full time and hopefully get up to the point where I’m making a living on my own, away from the daily grind of a normal job. Over the next couple of months I sold some of my Bitcoin to pay off my largest loan which had a monthly payment that was just too much of a burden to hold if I was going to quit my job and risk everything by working on my own with minimal savings. I was now down to less than half the Bitcoin I had bought in 2017 with the bear market still in full swing, and I was planning on leaving my job with only $6000 in the bank at some point in the Fall. I bought my van in July, and two weeks later the boss of the startup I worked at said we might get acquired in the Fall. Since that would be financially beneficial to me I decided to stay long enough to see if the acquisition happened. I built out my van and moved into it Sept 30th last year, and been living in it ever since. We got acquired in January this year. Thanks to the money I made for the acquisition I paid off the rest of my debt and invested the rest in Bitcoin, which was unbelievable timing because Bitcoin was at the bottom of the market at the time! Really this fact alone - acquisition while Bitcoin was at the market bottom - put me on a path to very quick FIRE. Also I should mention my parents lent me $20k for schooling, which they took out of whatever trust they have for my inheritance (no idea how much is in there), but late last year they gave my older brother and his wife $16k to help them get a new car when one of theirs suddenly broke down, so they forgave $16k of mine and my other brother’s debt to them to even it out for everyone. They had taken it out of our inheritance anyway so now we all just have $16k less in our inheritance, which I assume is a significant portion of it. Anyway, now I’m making over $100k at the company that bought us out, living in a van, debt free as of January, the past 5 months I’ve put all my spare money from the acquisition and my salary into cryptocurrency, vast majority into Bitcoin. I also for the first time in my life have some money invested in the stock market through my 401k at this new company, but its only a few thousand dollars, just enough to pick up what the company matches. For the next few months I will save up a good amount of money in the bank and do what I had planned to do last Fall - quit my job and travel full time in the van. I’ll be working on side hustles and trying to make money on my own building software, could be freelance, or occasionally taking remote contract jobs, I dunno, gonna see where a life of no 9-5 job and lots of van life travel takes me! Super excited! Not FI yet but will leave my job and work on income streams on my own and travel full time, which is the life I’m looking for right now. I’m sure at some point I’ll settle down (maybe…) but very excited to soon be post-job thanks to the savings I’ll building up in the next few months. Meanwhile now that the Bitcoin bear market ended and the bull market started a month and a half ago, my portfolio is getting is around $230k as of today (I put in about $76k this year I think, and still had probably like $15k left of the 2017 buys after selling stuff and bad trading). So I’m quickly coming up on a quarter million dollars net worth, and I have high confidence before the next bitcoin peak in the next couple of years I’ll have enough to sell, diversify into stocks, use some of the money to buy back into bitcoin on the next bottom in a few years, and have enough in stocks to live off just dividends, taking a 0% withdrawal rate and have completed FIRE. In the meantime starting in a few months I’ll already be living a FIRE-ish lifestyle, no job or boss, still working hard though to try to make my (low) cost of living through side hustles working for myself, and traveling full time. I just turned 36, never invested in stocks before this year, less than $5k in stocks now, ~$240k NW and growing rapidly, went from $100k debt to $0 debt (with $16k of that forgiven, thanks parents!) in a single year last year, slowly working on making money on my own, will quit my job and travel full time in probably less than 4 months, and looking to FIRE in a couple years. That’s my story! Thanks for reading!
WSB101 - THE BOOK OF YOLO: BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TRADING LIKE A DEGENERATE AND EVERYTHING WSB
The Book of Yolo: COMPLETE GUIDE TO WSB The goal of this is to actually create something that all of you WSB newbies can read - because we’re all tired of seeing the endless wave of uninformed and unavoidable stupidity from those who have never touched the stock market. CALLING ALL NEWFAGS AND NORMIES. If you can’t read, GFY now. Now that we will be on the popular section of reddit, this has become pertinent. WSB can't avoid newcomers, so we might as well explain how the clock ticks here. This one is for you all. This is to serve as a reference what values we hold, what instruments we use, and as a general place to educated the uneducated. First off, this is the LEAST helpful stock market-based community for newcomers. Sarcastic answers are the only thing of true value here. It isn't a place to learn, but a place to plan out where you will dock your yacht. Newcomers are usually berated upon asking the inevitable stupid questions that they could learn slowly from reading here, or just using a damn search engine. Instead of embarrassing yourself here, you now have the opportunity to read this and get what we’re all rambling about. This will help you understand what to expect if you make the decision to undertake a WSB style trading career, so you can stay here and contribute to the yolo lifestyle or otherwise GFY. I will edit in any suggestions that our frequenting users or mods want to add to this as well. To begin: Here are our topics for WSB101 -Basics (Equities/Stocks) ; -ETF's ; -Options ; -Futures Trading ; -SubCulture ; BASICS/EQUTIES Skip if you understand basic stock stuff Okay, so what is an equity/stock? An equity is essentially what you’d think of as your “vanilla” trading tool. They move up or down depending on market forces, and can range from pennies to thousands of dollars per share. To explain how stocks work, let's define a few terms. Volume: The number of shares of stock traded during a particular time period, normally measured in average daily trading volume. Spread: The difference between the bid and the ask price Bid Price: The current price in which someone wants to buy at Ask Price:The current price in which someone wants to sell at Volatility: The WSB favorite. Volatility is referring to the price movements of a stock as a whole. The higher the volatility, the more the stock is moving up or down. Highly volatile stocks are ones with extreme daily up and down movements and wide intraday trading ranges. Margin: A margin account lets a person borrow money (take out a loan essentially) from a broker to purchase an investment. The difference between the amount of the loan, and the price of the securities, is called the margin. Margin is one of WSB’s popular instruments of wealth and destruction. Dividend: This is a portion of a company’s earnings that is paid to shareholders, or people that own hat company’s stock, on a quarterly or annual basis. Not all companies do this. PPS: Acronym for “Price per Share” Moving Average: A stock’s average price-per-share during a specific period of time. Bullish: Expecting the stock to go up Bearish: Expecting the stock to go down Any raised hands can redirect themselves to here: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082614/how-stock-market-works.asp?ad=dirN&qo=investopediaSiteSearch&qsrc=0&o=40186 Now that these terms are defined, let's move into the details of why this is even useful. Most people know what a stock is, but how and why stocks move is a different story. The stock market is essentially a big virtualization of supply and demand - meaning that usually high positive volume creates upwards movement in the PPS, where high negative volume does the opposite. This creates a trader’s opportunity; Generally, the most effective time to buy or sell is where the candlesticks (volume data) are thinning out. When you are ready to take an entry point or execute an exit point, waiting till the volatility (candlesticks) thin out is one method to give you best trade possible. WSB FAVORITE EQUITIES: Of many equities, WSB favors the riskier ones - but avoiding penny stocks is a policy. AMD - CEO Lisa Su, Next Gen Processors, chips, graphics. It’s the gamers gambit. Up roughly 1400% as of 2/7/2017 since WSB first mentioned it NVDA - AMD’s sister? Mother? Daddy? Who knows. NVDA has been a sexy semiconductor leader. Is up 400% since gaining traction on WSB. FNMA / pfds - Mnunchin, Trump, Big fat fannies. Get your self deep in the fannie. We all want it. WSB 10 bagger candidate for reforming the housing market. WSB holds a large cumulative position that can be seen below. Also a good read is the beginners guide to FNMA. Any post by u/NOVACPA is very often VERY informative on FMNA/pfds. https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/5oissp/results_wsb_fnmafmcc_holdings https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/5t7gba/beginngers_guide_to_fnma_fmcc_read_this_before/ ARRY - A biotech champion that prevailed after a lot of failures and huge losses in the biotech sector. Dark times for WSB. Up ~300% since getting traction on the subreddit. TWTR - WSB likes to buy put option contracts on her. Exemplary of a social media platform that is unable to monetize itself. TSLA - Maybe not unanimously a favorite, but loved for it’s sexy volatility, Elon Musk, and ridiculously expensive options. GILD - A Shkreli pump and dump? The greatest large cap pharma recovery of all time? Who knows. Martin took the time to make a post on this reddit and it is up $5 dollars since. ETF'S Welcome to the world of investing made easy. Exchange traded funds (etfs) are devices that can be traded like stocks, but often track the value of many companies by investing in their listed assets accordingly. Specifically, An ETF, or exchange traded fund, is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. Unlike mutual funds, an ETF trades like a common stock on a stock exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. ETFs typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than mutual fund shares, making them an attractive alternative for individual investors. ETF’s come in beautiful and delicious varieties, often with a BEAR form and a BULL form of each; but the most delicious to WSB are the 3x etf’s. A 3x ETF is one in which the underlying movement of the ETF is leveraged 3:1. Meaning for every movement within the underlying index or stocks, the 3x ETF moves well.... 3x as much.. WSB FAVORITE AND USEFUL ETF’S: JNUG - 3x Gold Miner Bull - A hit or miss, has extreme intraday movements and essentially tracks GDX (gold miner’s index). Jnug will usually move with a pretty strong correlation to gold, which is affected by the mentioning of rate hikes (negatively), movement of the US dollar (inversely), uncertainty (positively), and supply and demand. NUGT - Jnug with a different price tag JDST - The inverse 3x etf of JNUG - or the bear etf. It does almost exactly the opposite movements of JNUG by the tick. Moves for the same reasons, but obviously opposite directions. DUST - Jdst with a different price tag. UGAZ - Natural Gas 3x Bull ETF - essentially tracks the price value of the commodity Natural Gas, but more specifically the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index ER. The index comprises futures contracts on a single commodity and is calculated according to the methodology of the S&P GSCI Index. Natural gas is most affected by Weather temperature conditions (use your brain), petroleum prices, and broader economic conditions. DGAZ - Inverse of UGAZ UWT - Crude Oil Bull 3x ETF - extreme intraday movements, closely follows the price of oil. More specifically, it tracks futures. UWT seeks to replicate, net of expenses, three times of the S&P GSCI® Crude Oil Index ER. The index tracks a hypothetical position in the nearest-to-expiration NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures contract, which is rolled each month into the futures contract expiring in the next month. The value of the index fluctuates with changes in the price of the relevant NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures contracts. DWT - Inverse of UWT FAS - Financial Bull, specifically FAS seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% of the performance of the Russell 1000 ® Financial Services Index. The fund creates long positions by investing at least 80% of its assets in the securities that comprise the Russell 1000 ® Financial Services Index and/or financial instruments that provide leveraged and unleveraged exposure to the index. Can be used when bullish on US financial services - so banks, lenders, etc. FAZ - Inverse of FAS UPRO - S&P500 Bull 3x ETF, essentially tracks the S&P500 and multiplies it’s returns by 3x. BRZU - Tracks Brazil (in its most basic form). It creates long positions in the MSCI Brazil 25/50 Index. LABU - Tracks the Biotech sector, or specifically 300% of the performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index ("index"). It should be noted that LABU has doubled since just before the election of Donald Trump. LABD - Inverse of LABU RUSL - roughly creates 300% of the performance of the MVIS Russia Index. RUSS - Inverse of RUSL SPY - Tracks the S&P500, but is not 3x. OPTIONS: Alright, so half you are going to understand this, and half of you are not. Pull up an options chain now on any stock (penny stocks and specific stocks do not have chains because of their market cap). Options are truly the ultimate way to achieve maximum risk/reward. An option is a contract that gives the buyer the right to buy or sell 100 shares of a stock at a certain price, on a certain date. This concept makes options a commodity themselves. KEY TERMS: A CALL - is the right to buy. Buying calls is taking a bullish position in its most extreme form. A PUT - is the right to sell. The underlying - is the stock that the option is covering i.e. AAPL, GOOG, AMZN Strike Price - the price at which a put or call option can be exercised. ITM, In the money - In the money means that a call option's strike price is below the market price of the underlying asset or that the strike price of a put option is above the market price of the underlying asset. Being in the money does not mean you will profit, it just means the option is worth exercising. OTM, Out of the money - a call option with a strike price that is higher than the market price of the underlying asset, or a put option with a strike price that is lower than the market price of the underlying asset. ATM - At the money - Strike price at the same price as the underlying Expiration - Expiries for options are every friday of every week usually, with exceptions such as every month, or every other day - depending on the underlying. SPY and SPX are great examples of very active option chains with expiries every other day. On the expiry date or any time before (with american options), an option can be, but doesn’t have to be exercised, meaning the holder of the option can use it to buy or sell shares of the underlying stock at the strike price. Most people on WSB do not exercise the contracts, but merely flip them for increases in value as the underlying moves. For example, when AAPL was at 120 before its earnings report, Joe Shmoe Yolo buys 10 FEB 17th CALLS at strike 127 for .60 , each. Now .60 cents is really 60 dollars each, because the contract is multiplied by 100 (the right to 100 shares). In total, Joe Shmoe Yolo spends $600 dollars + commision on this trade. The next day, AAPL leaps to 130 upon great news. These same option contracts are now worth 3.50 each. $350 dollars per contract, times ten contracts is $3500 dollars. Joe Shmoe Yolo just turned $600 into $3500 dollars. MAGIC. Spoiler alert: Joe Shmoe Yolo was me. That same Joe Shmoe later buys FEB 17th XOM calls at 90, hoping for similar results. However, XOM ends up never reaching anywhere close to the strike price, and the options expire worthless. Get it? Now what determines the pricing of options? OPTION PRICING: Below is sourced from investopedia Intrinsic Value: The intrinsic value is the actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Additionally, intrinsic value is primarily used in options pricing to indicate the amount an option is in the money. Time Value: Time Value = Option Price - Intrinsic Value. The more time an option has until it expires, the greater the chance it will end up in the money. The time component of an option decays exponentially. The actual derivation of the time value of an option is a fairly complex equation. As a general rule, an option will lose one-third of its value during the first half of its life and two-thirds during the second half of its life. This is an important concept for securities investors because the closer you get to expiration, the more of a move in the underlying security is needed to impact the price of the option. Time value is basically the risk premium that the option seller requires to provide the option buyer the right to buy/sell the stock up to the date the option expires. It is like an insurance premium of the option; the higher the risk, the higher the cost to buy the option. Makes sense, right? Time value is determined by the expiration date. An expiration date in derivatives is the last day that an options contract is valid. When investors buy options, the contracts gives them the right but not the obligation, to buy or sell the assets at a predetermined price, called a strike price, within a given time period, which is on or before the expiration date. If an investor chooses not to exercise that right, the option expires and becomes worthless, and the investor loses the money paid to buy it. Volatility: In an options pricing, you see IV. This stands for implied volatility. The higher that is, the higher the options will be priced Volatility is the extent to which the return of the underlying asset will fluctuate between now and the option's expiration. Volatility, as expressed as a percentage coefficient within option-pricing formulas, arises from daily trading activities. How volatility is measured will affect the value of the coefficient used. Decaying Nature of Options: Decay refers to derivative trading (i.e. options). When you sell or buy a call/put (using those two for simplicity purposes) you don't get an infinite time frame to make your dreams come true. Time is your enemy; the further out the expiration date, the less time decay there is. Time decay really hits the worst the week of expiration. Sound confusing? Say you're buying options of the stock WSB (I hope you're seeing what I did there) - and the option costs $1, the expiration is this Friday. Say today is Monday. You buy a call expecting WSB to take you to the moon and beyond. Each day the stock doesn't move closer to your strike price or remains stagnant/drops, you lose value on your option + the time decay. Meaning if it finishes closer to your strike price, your option could be worthless because of that time decay. Questions? Ask away. A great example of these factors in action is TSLA. TSLA’s options are among the most expensive for companies in its price range, why? An in the money TSLA call expiring this week is worth around $1100 per contract. Insanely expensive. But for a reason. TSLA has extreme intraday movements and calls have an implied volatility of 40.92%. Which is fairly high. In addition to that, it holds high intrinsic value / price per share, and a week of time value. -Futures 101 - The Ultimate YOLO Guide (thanks to u/IncendiaryGames) Okay, a lot of you have been YOLOing on faggot delights on SPY options. How would you like to trade something with the same or more leverage, 1.0 delta, and no time premium costs? Have you considered futures? What are futures? Unlike options, futures is a contract where both the buyer and seller is obligated to perform the transaction by the expiration. Conversely, in options, only the seller is obligated to perform. That means you can lose more than your investment. Originally they were used by farmers to sell future crops early and guarantee some amount of sales. Since then futures have expanded not just to commodities but currency and equity indices like the S&P 500. Why the heck would I want to trade futures? Here are the advantages: Leverage $5k is the margin requirement for most contracts. For example with the E-mini S&P 500 with 5k you're trading $120k worth of stuff. 1 contract = 500 spy shares. Some brokers offer intraday daytrading margin rates too - TD Ameritrade is 25% of the overnight margin rate($1,250.) Some brokers go as low as $500 an /ES future. SPAN Margin If 24x overnight leverage and 240x day trade leverage didn't give you a hard on there is also SPAN margin, which is like portfolio margin on steroids. The beauty of SPAN margin is you don't need a $125k+ account to be eligible. SPAN will greatly reduce your margin requirements if you hold uncorrelated or inversely correlated positions (up to an 80% discount, here is a list of groups that give discounts) and if you hedge with options. Hedge with the right option or asset and now you have up to 500x day trading margin. 23/7 and day trading Ever get in and out of an equity only to have your broker yell at you to stop doing that or deposit $25k? There is no pattern day trading restrictions on futures. Feel free to day trade and blow up your account as often as you want! You can also trade 23 hours a day. Get trading on how the S&P 500 index will react to news from China right away. Taxes No matter how long or how short you hold you always get taxed under the 60/40 rule. 60% of your profit from futures will be taxed as a long term gain and 40% will be taxed as short term gain. No wash sales. Trade your hearts out. Just remember holding past Dec 31st will treat you as if you closed all your positions that day and you'll be taxed on unrealized gains. Long/Short No need to pay interest or borrow shares as being short a future contract is being a writer, just like an options writer. Options Of course there are options. What fun would it be without options? Unlike stock options each contract gives different number of future contracts. Research what you're trading. Ok. I'm convinced. I want to strat trading futures! What are some good strategies? YOLO Strategies Swing trading Trying to guess/predict/ride sudden market momentum. A low volume average day in the S&P 500 (/ES) for one contract can swing +- $500. Get it right and you can see a huge appreciation of value. /ES is usually highly liquid during regular hours with average volume of 1 million trades and usually bid-ask spreads of one tick. One approach is to buy or short in your direction and put in a stop loss to an amount you're comfortable to lose (say $200.) Since it's so liquid you'll likely be filled at or near your stop loss during the day if your trade goes against you. If you can guess the direction 50% of the time and have trades like this: trade 1 - gain $800 trade 2 - lose $200 Then you may profit over the time period. If you have a 50% chance of being wrong and losing $200 or 50% chance of being right and gaining $800 then over time you'll gain more than you lose. Also, since the present value of your futures contract is included in your margin calculation then if it goes strongly in your favor your position can quickly grow to cover its own margin and you can let it ride for a while. You'll want to be sure you enter a combo buy/short order along with a stop loss order simultaneously, like this for Thinkorswim. Futures can move suddenly and a sudden movement can make you lose a ton of money. Exploiting outdated SPAN margin guidelines There are several out of date correlations between popular futures like oil and say things like wheat that SPAN gives you margin credits on. Take whatever position you want in oil (/cl) then take the opposite in something that doesn't move much day to day with less volatility such as /w (wheat)) and your /cl and /w positions will get a 75% credit, giving you 50% more buying power on crude oil. (2 positions * .25 = 0.5). Trade your heart out on the more volatile future then when you're done close your safer future pair. SPAN is constantly changing but such a complex system definitely has its exploits. Automated/algorithmic trading For you programmer geeks out there it's really hard to algorithmic trade on small accounts due to pattern day trading rules and economies of scale with broker fees. Futures is probably the best way to get your feet wet. Join us on /algotrading if you want to explore more! Boring safer strategies I'm including these for completeness but these belong on /investing. Scalping With high frequency trading scalping is less guaranteed. Basically scalping is using tiny momentum as usually there are small micro patterns in futures buying and selling activity where it will rise or fall a couple of ticks. Since the notional value of each tick is $12.5 it's profitable for retail investors and small accounts to act as a market maker after fees at the smallest bid-ask spread possible. Spreads Just like you can trade spreads in options, you can trade calendar spreads in futures. Futures have contracts with different expiration dates and the prices are different for each month of expiration based on the market's expectations. You can go long or short the near month expiration and the opposite for the far month. This will hedge out any sudden market moves as that would likely affect both months. Bull markets in general tend to increase the price of the near month faster than the far month. Basically with a spread trade you're making a long term bet on bull or bear for the underlying future. Pairs trading You can go long in one future say the dow jones (/ym) and short the S&P 500 index and profit off the relative growth. This is a hedged trade as any market ups or downs will likely affect both positions with the same % value. For the past 180 days /ym - /es has been really profitable. Even if you don't do a full perfect pairs trade it is still a great option to reduce the leverage too on whatever index future you're trading so you can stay in longer or overnight. Interest rate and optimal leverage plays Since the $5k investment is equal to $120k of the S&P 500 index currently then you'll likely beat out the market by buying one future contract and putting $115k in safe treasuries or bonds or uncorrelated assets. Some people choose to leverage their stock portfolio and you can get the exact leverage ratio of liquid investments to future ratios. In probability theory the max leverage you can gain is determined by the Kelly Criterion which modeling shows indicates the S&P 500 index to be leveraged to 1.40x. Yes, you could do the same with options but even on SPY deep in the money call leaps are illiquid and have a time premium. Even today they are so deep ITM that the options you would need to use have 0 open interest and a bid-ask spread of $5 per share (so $500 per contract.) You'd need ~5 contracts per 120k so you're already eating $2.5k/$120k - 2% interest rate a year for that leverage. SPX isn't better, it's bid ask is 22 so you'd be eating $2.2k/$120k - 1.83% interest rate. It's doubtful you won't get much past the ask as its only market makers providing liquidity and guess what the market maker will do if you buy/sell the option? They will hedge with the underlying futures until their minimum profit is the risk free interest rate. Hedging Going long and short in various non correlated or negatively correlated assets to seek out a high sharpe ratio and have a higher risk free return that is market neutral. Basic hedge fund stuff. The variety and price efficiency of futures makes things pretty attractive in this area. SUBCULTURE Wallstreetbets is a community that has become infamous for the most wild west, moon or cardboard box trades on the planet earth. WSB is a place where you can take out thousand dollar loans, refinance your homes, cash advance all of your credit cards only to put it all on JNUG, and we will still love you. Your mother won't. Your father will never understand your spectrum of autism, but we will always love you. It is a uniquely beautiful community focused on praising its biggest losers as much as its biggest winners. To begin on the subculture, we should define some key moments in the sub's history. HISTORY: (As made by u/digadiga) + my additions 2012: Jartek [+1] creates /wallstreetbets, and word slowly starts to ooze out. 2013: americanpegasus discovers pennies. AP has seen the light, and is a penny stock evangelist. Jartek & AP have an epic options vs pennies battle - they both lose a couple of hundred bucks, but we are entertained, and WSB is officially born. AP blows up his retirement, swears off pennies and moves onto bitcoins. 2014: fscomeau [+3] discovers options. He repeatedly bets five figures on AAPL calls before earnings. FS claims a supernatural clairvoyance of AAPL. FS then posts about his chest pains and ER visits. He finally suffers an epic loss. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is he is mother? Is he banned? Who cares? 2015: Photos from the 3rd annual meetup are posted. Where a bunch of dudes hang out on the romantic beaches of Guerrero Mexico. In a completely unrelated event, the wsb banner is changed to thousands of ejaculating dicks. Modpocalypse occurs. Hundreds of random users are added as moderators for a few months. None of the new mods can change the CSS. The constant whining about how "wsb isn't what it used to be" continues. Someone attempts to show how selling covered calls is idiot proof, but gets lazy, bets all six figures on Apple, and suffers significant losses. Robinhood gets popular. Should you buy one share of AMZN or one share of GOOGL? Who gives a fuck. 2016: Everyone starts saying "go fuck yourself." Except me. Because I am what I am. And if you don't like it, you can all go fuck yourselves. u/World_Chaos performs one of the more impressive yolo's of the sub, starting with 900 dollars, and turning it into 55k. https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/414blh/yofuckinglo_900_to_55k_in_12_days/?ref=share&ref_source=link 2017: u/fscomeau preforms what he calls "The Final Yolo", a 300k trade against AAPL before earnings (that I, u/thor303456 inversed), supposedly supposed to net fscomeau 2.5 million or so, in which he will finally stop trading. FSC is featured on several market related articles and newspapers, showing up on yahoo, etc. Later we find proof during his livestream of AAPL earnings that he was paper trading. Even later, FSC writes a near 200 page book called "Wolfie Has Fallen" describing how he trolled the entire internet, some following him into that AAPL trade. Martin Shkreli visits the sub and proclaims that GILD pharma is worth over $100 a share and is deeply undervalued. KEY FIGURES: Donald J Trump - He is the Marmalade Manchurian, the Tangerine Tycoon, and our spray tan Stalin. Unbelievable night of election. WSB demographics show a primarily capitalist and right wing (or at least joking to be so) point of view, and thus we are generally pro trump. In actuality though, WSB is focused on pro-market, which Trump happens to be. u/Jartek - Founder of the sub, original yoloer. Believe he has retired from reddit for the most part. Mostly inactive. u/Fscomeau - The Canadian as some call him, and perhaps one of the most profound internet trolls of 2016-2017. A French-Canadian trader who deals with mostly options. The man has been called "The Great Inverse", and for a good reason. Nearly all of the trades or statements he made on WSB were completely wrong or mostly wrong. Truly the strongest technical indicator. Martin Shkreli - An idol to many WSBers, Martin stands as the master of the biotech sector. A very debated character for very stupid reasons. Martin regularly tweets about the stock market, occasionally does a youtube channel, and livestreams fairly regularly. u/theycallme1 - Educated trader, and mod of WSB. Roasts people often and roasts them good. Ask him the questions that aren't stupid. One of the most active mods. u/world_chaos - some fucking college student with some real net worth. Sits on 100k or so (needs verification), and was an inspiring yoloer to all, with his 900 to 55k yolo with options. Lingo, Terminology, and Nomenclature: The Faggots Delights - Truly the most suicidal, yet clearest shot to the moon. This term is usually used to define either weekly, or daily option plays on the SPY/SPX. Some users trade them very profitably, such as u/MRPguy and many in the past. Cuck - Truly the worst thing you could be. A cuck is a man who likes watching his wife/girlfriend fuck other guys. Weak, spineless, and a term often throw around here. The YOLO - You only live once. This is something that is, and should be realized as undeniably true. Why are you sitting on a 5k emergency fund that is making you less interest in a year than what I just made in 10 minutes? Why haven't you used all of the credit on your 5 credit cards or used your testicles as collateral for a loan yet? YOLO or YOLOING is as much a psychological decision to embrace absurdism, and win with everything you have while risking it all. Yolo is what it means to be a WSB trader. Bagholding or a Bagholder - When you're stuck with the most ass trade of your life, because you know it'll go back up. A bagholder is the 59 year old guy at the grocery store who won't quit his Job because he knows he only has to wait another year until he gets a return on his investment (of his life). Anyone holding SUNEQ is the definition of a bagholder. Autists - Something we embrace, something we call each other, something we all are. Autism isn't used in an offensive way as much as it is a generally accepted term that defines us. The best traders have autism because of their distance from emotion. I bet you never made it to this part of the reading because you're such a damn autist. Tendies - Tendies are what you get after you make a small amount of money. "I SOLD AMD TODAY FOR A $13 DOLLAR PROFIT, GOING TO MCD's TO GET MY TENDIES". Tendie money is usually shameful and insignificant, but at least it got you tendies. Chicken tenders at McDonalds are the least expensive for the most cholesterol. I know some of the writing was half ass, full of errors, or otherwise not the best explanation. But I believe this will serve its purpose, and maybe help to promote new ideas from moderately educated traders. WSB has very strong traders, and the most uniquely risky trading styles on the planet. Hopefully this can serve to better the overall community. You guys are all faggots, upvote this so we can get the noobs to stop trying to bite on our cocks. Also I'd really appreciate input on anything to add to this overall. It took my over 3 hours to write up, so I eventually grew tired and probably have missing spots. Enjoy your time here at WSB. EDIT: Added a shit ton of stuff, fixed errors. THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR INPUT, ACTUALLY MAKING WSB GREAT AGAIN MODS: Can we make this editable by others mods or something? My fingers aren't enough. Seems like this could serve as a good "official" thing. Paging u/theycallme1u/CHAINSAW_VASECTOMY etc
Bitcoin enthuthiast has a meltdown after meme accuses him of being a pedophile and of cheating others out of what would be their money. (apparently unironic)
How it actually happened: This is Ann. Ann started her career at 16 when she blew the manager (a creepy pervert who forced her into it, she #MeToos to this day) at the local grocery store so she could immediately get a position as a cashier instead of having to start off in the storeroom stacking boxes "like some Chinese slave worker". Ann, who believed in "treating" herself for her hard work, did not save any of the money she earned, instead spending it on expensive clothing, fast food, movie tickets, smartphones, and nights out with "the girls" (as she never paid while on an actual date). Her parents took care of the bills anyway, so who cares? It's okay though, because Ann was able to get financial aid from the government to attend the university of her dreams and study sociology, because "I'm, like, just so interested in how society works and how white men oppress women and are so racist and stuff, you know?" It only put her $100K in debt too. "You can't put a price on the college experience," thought Ann. Ann did no research on what degrees were in high demand before deciding on her major and sadly, "due to the patriarchy undervaluing the so-called 'soft' sciences" Ann repeated (as her women's studies professor had told her), her sociology degree did not open up as many doors for her as she'd hoped. Luckily, however, one of Ann's old beta orbiters became the CEO of a new tech startup and, after finally hooking up with him a few times (her little secret from her then boyfriends Tyrone and Jamal), she was able to snag a position as their chief diversity counselor. "Good thing that fat black bitch who tried to steal MY job was too full of fried chicken and gravy for any man to want to fuck her," she tipsily joked about the only other applicant (always forgetting to squelch her offensive quips when drunk), eliciting howling guffaws of approval from the pack of thonged, dyed-hair hyenas that surrounded her at the local bar in celebration of her new job. "Bartender, get us another round of appletinis!" Ann boomed. Cheers abounded. Life was good, Ann's salary was high, and her mortgage for an $800K home in the Bay Area was approved. Unfortunately, it was eventually revealed that her company's "enterprise cloud blockchain solutions" were actually vaporware. It lost its VC funding and was forced to shut down. Poor Ann had to leave her dream home, accept a lower paid HR assistant position at a boring non-tech company ("They make plastic water filters or something. I don't even know."), and move into a mere 3 bedroom apartment. "We're told to save," wrote Ann on a piece of paper that she posed with in an image posted to her Instagram, "but Oreos and Netflix are the only comforts poor people like us have. Don't we deserve nice things too? I AM the 99%!" Ann's looks are already starting to fade due to ravages of a rough Haagen-Dazs by day/party slut by night lifestyle, and, though she'd never admit it to herself, she can tell that her "feminine charms" aren't as effective at creating opportunities for her as they used to be. Things have started to sag that never sagged before and even a Sephora warehouse couldn't get rid of the bags under her eyes. Strolling down the sidewalk, she takes a sip of her daily Starbucks triple pumpkin dessert cocoaccino latte (only $27 and 1500 calories, and don't even think about talking to her her in the morning until she's finished it). "I guess there's just no way to escape this male-dominated society where sexist techbros live in the lap of luxury while marginalized people like me subsist on crumbs," she thinks to herself as she steps over a homeless man. Meanwhile... This is Bob. Bob was bullied by the other kids at his school (like his first crush Ann) as a child for his slightly odd-looking face. This caused him to retreat into the more anonymous world of the Internet where nobody could know his appearance. The other kids mocked him for that too, and his parents didn't understand why he'd want to "waste" his time talking to people he "didn't even know", but he ignored them. It didn't entirely cure his loneliness, but it did expose him to ideas and opinions that he would not have otherwise explored. Sure, he went through an embarrassingly self-righteous atheist phase as a teenager, but ultimately he developed into a sharp free-thinker with nuanced opinions. Bob found out about Bitcoin in 2012 from a Linux forum he was browsing. Already a firm believer in privacy, cryptography, decentralization, and technological freedom in general, the idea of Bitcoin immediately excited him. After carefully considering the economic viability of the concept, he concluded that Bitcoin's deflationary issuance curve and the possible applications of an enforceably scarce digital asset made it a worthwhile and likely quite valuable investment. He thus resolved to accrue as many of them as possible in order to save for his future. He cut down on his favorite hobby of gaming, reserving his GPU cycles for Bitcoin mining and his Steam sale money for buying Bitcoins instead. His IT job didn't make much and his one bedroom apartment wasn't cheap but he always found a way to set some money aside to expand his growing cryptoasset portfolio. His enthusiasm for Bitcoin was endless, and he wanted to share the positive potential of it with the world too, so he wrote guides, created infographics, and made YouTube videos about how to buy, use, and mine Bitcoins. Due to his efforts, thousands of people were able to get in on the craze early like him. Parents created college funds for their children. Young adults his age secured their financial futures. Impoverished folks in oppressive shitholes learned how to transfer money via their smartphones to avoid their corrupt governments confiscating it. He even endured the eye-rolling and snickering of his family members at Christmas time to make sure that they were all gifted a bit too. "Gee... thanks." The 2013 crash crushed Bob. He considered recouping as much of his money as possible and exiting the Bitcoin world permanently, but ultimately decided against it on principle. He had taken a risk and was sticking to it. He still believed in Bitcoin. Bob's bet on Bitcoin has paid off. He is now a multimillionaire, at least on paper. Other than a few donations to various organizations, his Bitcoins have stayed in the original addresses they were first put into. After all, he is still prudently considering exactly how to spend and grow his newfound wealth, and since he's now the manager of his company's IT department, his salary more than supports his modest lifestyle by itself, so he's in no rush to "cash out". While trying to chat with Ann on a whim after running into her at a grocery store, Bob mentioned Bitcoin to her in 2012. It made her finally look up from her phone. "That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of!" she shrieked. She would know too, she thought, since she's a college-educated woman, unlike Bob who had skipped college because "government subsidies have distorted the higher education market and lowered the value of a college degree" (as if using fancy words made him smart like her). Nevertheless, he persisted, offering to show her how it worked and even set up a wallet for her. Bob's Bitcoin evangelism could certainly be a bit aggressive at times, but he meant well. He would gladly send 10 or 20 dollars worth to anybody who wanted to get started. She responded that he was creeping her out and needed to buzz off before she called security. Of course she wasn't really going to waste such an effort on this harmless loser, but she just couldn't stand hearing his nasally little voice anymore. He probably just wanted to creepshot her yoga pants anyway. Briskly sauntering away, she giggled to herself: "How could a file on a computer be worth anything? I could just copy and paste as many 'BitCoins' as I want," she concluded, forgetting about the idea as soon as she had first heard of it. Plus, her company was already working "with blockchain", which its CEO had told her was the only important part of "BitCoin" anyway. "He has actual money too and not just fake Internet coins so he clearly knows more than Bob." Ann took slight notice of the 2013 bubble, but she was too busy moving into her new home then to pay much attention to it. When Bitcoin was hacked and the government shut it down (as Ann interpreted events), popping the bubble, she texted Bob: "Told ya so." There was no response. She figured he had probably already killed himself or something. Oh well! She had to get out of her sweatpants and ready for the club anyway so she didn't have time to worry about it. In fact, she didn't have a single thought about Bob again until... In 2017, Bob once again crosses Ann's mind. The network miraculously revived, one Bitcoin is now worth over 10 thousand dollars, and Bob is almost certainly loaded. She stares at her phone, thinking of how to best break the ice with him. "Hey Bob I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for some of the things I said to you in the past and how I treated you when we were kids and all. I know this is out of nowhere but I'm just kind of feeling guilty lately soo.... maybe we could meet up sometime and talk about it?? You could tell me more about those bitcoin thingies you we're so excited about back in the day haha" Again no response comes and she whips her iPhone X on to the bed in frustration. Retrieving it, she switches over to Safari to look Bob up on social media, only to find that he's dating a shy 18 year old Finnish girl he met online. "That pervert!" she gasps as she glances over the girl's milky skin and youthful face. "She is WAY too young for him! He should want an ACCOMPLISHED, MATURE woman like me, not some little girl! I bet the freak looks at child porn too!" Her fingers drip with venom as she texts one of her remaining beta orbiters. "Hey," she begins, "you know how to draw funny cartoons right" She hits send.
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