This is Who I am

Who I Am

Who I am first and foremost is an aspiring investor. My dream is to follow in the footsteps of many great investors that walked the path laid by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and start a hedge fund. A hedge fund in the style of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Mohnish Pabrai, Bill Ackman and a few others. Here’s a link to my post “This is an Overview of My Investment Style“. I am also a father, husband, brother, son and friend.

I have listened to The Tim Ferriss show quite a bit. One of the most common shared habits I’ve heard from the top performers of multiple fields being interviewed by him is journaling. Journaling along with meditation, morning routines, exercise and reading. He also summed all of this up into his book Tools of Titans. So, this is my journal. The other reasons for me starting this blog is to keep a fire lit under my butt and force me out of my comfort zone. Maybe me talking about my journey could even help someone else too.

I have been learning investing for years in my free time. My free time has been between full-time college with full-time blue collar work and remodeling a house myself with full time blue-collar work. I have also tried to be a good husband, brother, son and friend. I have lacked in that department. Now I am a father and I realize if I don’t follow my dream now, it’ll never come true.

I Can’t Afford to Not Do It

The least I will let myself accomplish is financial freedom. Financial freedom is what I have to accomplish for my family. My definition of financial freedom is: not having to work a day job that isn’t my passion just to provide the necessities for my family, not drowning in debt, not having to worry about medical expenses and having sufficient time/energy to be there as a father, husband, brother, son and friend.

Where I Come From

I’m not special in any way. My mother was a waitress for most of my life. My father has built cabinets for my entire life. I’ve heard many times that “hard work hasn’t ever killed anybody” and I agree. I’ll disagree with anyone that says a life of standing on a concrete floor for 10-12 hours daily doesn’t take a toll on your body though. Both of my parents have some medical problems now and that isn’t uncommon for blue-collar workers in their 50’s. Although divorced now, I don’t think they ever had a combined annual income of more than $75,000. Neither went to college and one didn’t finish high school.

I followed in their footsteps for the most part, except I didn’t finish college. I work a blue-collar job. I stand on concrete for 10-12 hours daily building cabinets. There’s nothing wrong with being in Georgia and not having air conditioning in the summer months, heat in the winter months, breathing in sawdust constantly or standing on concrete for many hours. Some people enjoy doing just that. My grandfather loves it. It’ll make you tough, to a point, but then it just starts tearing your body down. My body feels that way at least. I might just be weak.

My parents taught me everything they could. Finance or investing just wasn’t one of them. It’s not their fault. Finance and investing isn’t properly taught in school and unless someone has a desire to learn about it on their own, they’ll never learn. You can listen to the greatest investors in the world today, investors who have outperformed the market for 70+ years, agree that proper investing is not taught in school. K-12 or college. I believe I have the desire.

Much of what is taught in modern corporate finance courses is twaddle

Charlie Munger

Since high school I have always dreamed of being a business man. I can still remember a time when some men came to speak in one of my classes and asked me what I wanted to do for a living after high school. I told him I wanted to be a business man and own things. When he asked me what kinds of things I wanted to own, I didn’t have an answer. I just didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know what kind of business man just owned things or how to get there. I haven’t had anyone to teach me, nor do I know anyone in that position.

The Only Businessman I Really Know

My grandfather is the closest thing to a businessman type role model I have. He is a self-made small business owner, and the hardest worker I’ve ever met. He comes from that hard-working Vietnam war era of men. He owns the cabinet shop my father and I work at. It is a small family business. He enjoys working with his hands and would prefer to be in the shop all the time instead of in the office. I prefer to be in the office treasure hunting for wonderful businesses.

Researching the greatest businesses in the world for a chance to purchase shares of them at a discount fascinates me. I am completely happy spending 10 hours per day doing that. When I spend my weekends doing that, I have energy built up from sitting all day. I can spend that energy doing all the adventurous things I love. Some of the things I love are exercising, cliff diving, rock climbing, snowboarding, swimming, etc.

When I turned 18, my grandfather advised me to get a credit card and build my credit, because “Credit is all a poor man has”. Following that, he immediately advised me to never let the balance get so high it becomes unmanageable. He also advised me to start giving a portion of my paycheck to a mutual fund manager for retirement. This can be solid advice and he has a lot more of it. My passion is centered around investing though and I am confident that I can outperform 96% of the professional fund managers in the long-run. I could be wrong, but that doesn’t stop my confidence that eventually I will outperform them.

I can remember sitting with my grandfather after discovering Warren Buffett. I was telling him that the life of an investor is everything I’ve dreamed of and I wanted to buy businesses for a living. He told me “It’s impossible to manage that many businesses. Someone will take advantage of you”. I just took his advice knowing that he was probably right and even Warren Buffett agrees with him.

Buffett has said that there’s likely some form of corruption in all his businesses, whether it be someone just stealing a pencil. It’s not detrimental to the company though. If it is, the company management will find the corruption and fix it. If management is the corruption, Buffett will just fire them. Although he doesn’t like to, Buffett has had to fire managers before.

I try to invest in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will

Warren Buffett

Why Haven’t I Started Before Now?

I can come up with a list of excuses to why I haven’t started investing until now. It boils down to me just being lazy. I believe I have also listened to/followed too much advice from others. You can benefit from anyone’s advice, positive and negative. That doesn’t mean to follow it though. Not even the good advice.

Some of the advice I’ve been given has been “You have to be born with money to be financially free”, “You don’t know how to invest and you’ll lose everything”, “People get rich on the backs of hardworking people”, etc. This sort of advice can be given to you by people who genuinely care about you and want the best for you in life. They tell you how they have come to portray the world in the hopes it’ll help prevent you from doing something stupid. Something stupid like losing your entire life savings.

Life also has a way of getting in the way. Especially when starting something new. It probably has something to do with the fact that getting started is the hardest part of anything. You have a dream, a goal, a desire and life throws something at you. Something like having to get a job, losing a job, trying to afford college, having a family to support, a death, etc. The things life can throw at you are endless. The easiest thing to do is put off following your dream and pour your focus into whatever is happening now.

There are people who come from way tougher backgrounds than me and accomplish amazing things. This is why I will just agree that I’ve been lazy.

The Goal of This Website

This is where I come from and where I am in my life right now. I am getting started on my path to becoming a successful investor. I am going to work towards my dream of starting a hedge fund and write about my journey. Showing what I learn and how I think is an attempt to follow my gurus. Many of them have written books, teach classes, have blogs, publicize their letters to investors, etc. this is my attempt to give back as they have.

All the gurus I follow have proven track records. I don’t. So take from this what you will, whether it be my stupidity or success. Most will probably be stupidity, but I have confidence. I hope this will give someone else the courage to take the leap into managing their own money.

The Only Options I Have

I have only 2 options. They are: to become a successful investor or be a complete failure. I’m tired of being the failure, so it’s time to force success upon me. Success to me means that I will be following my dream while creating a financially free life for my family and having the ability to be there as a father, husband, brother, son and friend.

This is my journey. If I become successful, I believe anyone can.

I am no genius. You will see that for yourself. I am confident that I can become a successful investor though. Through this website, I am going to show you what I’ve learned, the process of me learning and how I portray the world in the hopes of this helping someone else to have the confidence to take control of their life through investing. I am putting out there all my successes and failures. I guarantee there will be more failures to learn from.

An essential component of our education is to learn from our mistakes—and if we don’t make mistakes, sometimes we may not learn at all

Guy Spier

Becoming a successful investor is the only path I see for me. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even take over a public company or take a company public and use it as my investment vehicle to buy both public and private companies.

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