In the summer of 2001 everyone was in the business of selling hard drugs. When I say “everyone” I mean the 2% of who society considers low-lives. At the time, I was working one day a week at my shitty retail job because that was all I could bear.
An old friend and I hooked up again because of similar circumstances. At his place one day he mentions how he was offered a job in a dial-a-dope business that would pay him $20,000 a month delivering crack to end users.
“I don’t know if you want in or not,” he said.
I did’t know if I did or not either. You might be questioning my 21-year-old morals but where I came from there was nothing wrong with anything if it meant $20,000 in your pocket every month. The way we saw it was someone was going to do it. If half the drug dealers died tomorrow it would just mean the other half would make double.
Laying in bed that night I was contemplating the pros and cons but really I was just trying to talk myself out of it. It’s just in my nature or maybe nurture to take the chickenshit route. Getting murdered by a junkie or some other dealer was a possibility but what worried me more was getting a criminal record. In my mind a criminal record meant that I would have to be doing dirt for the rest of my life or have to work a lowly job.
In my savings I had $7000, I owned my car which had insurance for the year and I also had plans of travelling in the near future. At 21 years old I had never even been on a plane before or your typical family vacation. So I decided — no drug dealing. I pictured being in jail and thinking to myself that I didn’t have to do it. Having ambition is considered a desirable trait but the funny thing is, if I had ambition I would have embraced dope dealing with open arms.
Having ample time though and being curious I went on runs with my friend. We picked up an ounce of crack that was broken up into grams and away we went. Damn phone would not stop ringing. It was too many calls for a couple of dope dealing novices. We were slow but at the end of the 8 hour shift we still brought in enough for a $500 profit. Hmmm, $500 x 30 = $15,000. Holy shit, he wasn’t kidding about being able to pocket $20,000 a month.
He offered me $100 a day to just sit with him in the car but I declined. I figured if I was going to do that then I might as well just do it myself. Most would say that they would never sell drugs but most people also never have the opportunity. As for the morality of it — no one has an issue with the liquor store clerk who sells you unlimited bottles of poison.
Many financial bloggers and professional investors have a bias against speculative investing. Speculating is not investing it’s gambling, they say.
Gambling is going to the roulette table and hoping you hit the 1 in 36 odds of winning without any reason other than hope or I have a good feeling. Speculating is making an educated decision based on the information available, your knowledge and life experience.
If you had put $1000 into Amazon stock at the IPO you would have over $1,000,000 today. Even $1000 ten years ago would now be over $20,000. You won’t get those kinds of returns in 30 years from buying the index or through blue chip dividend stocks. That’s just the reality.
Since the beginning of time the one who was able to see further into the future with better accuracy has always been valuable. Picking successful speculative stocks or even blue-chip stocks is a play on being able to predict the future better than others. Some people believed online shopping was going to be a thing and others didn’t. People will never put their credit card information online! It’s not likely you’ll have a good understanding of multiple industries but once in awhile something comes along that might be in your field of competency.
The majority of people are really good at following conventional rules and only being able to see what’s in front of their face. To them, if a stock doesn’t meet the criteria of being under 25x P/E and having several years of profit then it’s not worth looking at — if the company’s vision is not producing the numbers yet then it’s garbage. Home Depot was a speculative stock until it wasn’t.
It’s not fair to give the advice to never buy speculative stocks. Saying speculating is not investing is just semantics. It comes down to a matter of risk vs reward. You have to be careful though and know your limitations.
Where I live in Vancouver, BC, real estate is ridiculously expensive. Anyone who could have got in before 2010 but didn’t is kicking themselves. If you were born in 1990 and after then there’s not much you could have done. There were many though who were 30 or 40 years old in the beginning of the millennium and did nothing.
We all know by a fairly young age that real estate will eventually go up but many don’t pull the trigger until they feel they have to(about to get married or have kids) or when they have too much money sitting around.
Evolution is slow. People like to move slowly because it’s more comfortable. They put off buying a home so that they can save more money or they tell themselves that the market might go down. If you want to be ahead of most people your age then you have to move faster than them.
When the water is calm people lounge around. When the big wave hits or the sharks are circling, people piss their pants, panic and herd in. Once prices go sky high people are now eager to jump in. It’s just human behaviour.
So are you sure you want to wait? “Expensive” is a relative term.
Sometimes I eat potato chips multiple days in a row. I’m torn between buying small bags or bigger bags. It’s a dilemma of economics or health. Small bags at the local convenience store will cost me $1.75 which doesn’t sound like much but imagine that being an everyday expenditure. In a month that would equal $52.50 and this is assuming you don’t buy anything else. You’re already eating potato chips every day, what makes you think you’re not going to be a bigger loser and buy a soda or a lottery ticket?
That $52.50 would equal over $600 a year. It doesn’t sound like much but at the same time all you’re getting is potato chips. It’s the small habits that can chip away at your money. If you’re filling up gas you don’t have to come out of the gas station with anything else but fuel for your vehicle. There’s probably a long list of daily habits or bigger weekly habits that you can cut out.
Most people have accepted that they will never be rich. Most people have also accepted that they will be working full-time until they are 65 years old. The reason for this is because the #1 priority for people is to conform.
Don’t be so down on yourself for being afraid to be left out because it’s perfectly human. We may be a civilized society with the luxury of being able to urinate in perfectly clean drinking water but our brain still has the same wiring as it did 100,000 years ago. To be left out of the tribe basically meant death back then. The instinct to fit in makes sense since it would be paramount to survival.
If you do what most people your age do then you’re likely going to end up on a similar path as them every step of the way which means working an undesirable job until you’re 65. It doesn’t sound so bad, right? It doesn’t sound so bad when you’re 20 or even 30 but soon after you’re going to get pretty sick of the daily grind and by that time you might be handcuffed to that life.
Even if you gave most 20-year-olds a recipe to be able to retire by 40 they wouldn’t follow it even if they believed in it. People don’t want to “miss out” on life. Life: nice stuff, vacations, eating out, big wedding, “friends,” you get the point. They’ll just tell themselves it’ll be okay to follow the traditional path. Maybe they believe this or maybe it’s just comforting.
I was 25 years old once. Financial independence in your 40s was too abstract an idea for me to handle. I didn’t want to miss out on life. I didn’t want to make sacrifices or take risks that could potentially oust me from the tribe. I thought following the traditional path was what life was all about.
Financial independence at a relatively early age puts you way ahead of everyone. If you want to be exceptional then you can’t be doing what everyone else is doing.