2016 Reflections (December 24, 2016)

by FI Fighter on December 23, 2016

in Real Estate Updates, Thoughts

Happy holidays everyone! I’m still writing to you all from Hong Kong, where I have been based since October (after returning from a month long stint in Japan). As the year winds down, I think now is a good time for me to reflect on everything that has happened in 2016…

As readers may recall, I quit my job earlier this year, and decided it was due time for me to walk away from Corporate America so that I could pursue the next chapter of my life… For many years now, my biggest fear has always been, “One day when I’m old and gray and reflect back on the years of my life, will I have fond memories to recall, or will I instead be consumed with deep regret for wasting away my precious time on this earth?

Here’s something that I’ve harped on for the longest time — Imagine that someday off into the distant future, you’re forced to sit inside a movie theater and watch the highlight reel of your life… Will you be engrossed with everything that’s happening in the film, or will you be bored beyond belief, anxious to hit the fast-forward button because every freekin’ scene is essentially the same shit, different day?

When I used to perform that kind of exercise back in the day, my conclusion was ALWAYS one and the same — I really need to work my ass off and get to early FI ASAP!

Now that I have spent close to half a year “living the dream”, it’s kind of crazy, but even now, I find so much of what’s happened all so surreal… Like, every morning I wake up, and it takes me a few seconds (minutes) to really grasp the reality of my situation… So many times, I look out the window and really can’t believe that I left everything (essentially) behind to embark on this new life off the beaten path…

Everytime I meet locals in HK, they always ask me, “So, what do you do for a living?” To which I reply with, “I’m a writer/blogger“… and that usually leaves the other person speechless as they struggle to find words to say…

I’ve come to embrace that type of “shocked” response… To me, it means that I am in fact leading a “different” kind of lifestyle from the norm… No, it’s not that I embrace being a contrarian just for the sake of being a contrarian, but as we all know, change takes a lot of time… One day, it would be totally AWEOME to see the early FI movement catch full steam and become a hit with the masses… Until then, we early freedom fighters will be in the tiny minority, so leaving people speechless just kind of comes with the territory…

Moving on, I’d like to address the topic of investing. Although the concept of saving money and trying to make it compound and grow each and every year can be rather dry and uninteresting to many, the reality of the situation is — Unless you come from affluence, you’re gonna need to do it!

And that’s why I focus so much time and effort writing on endlessly about investing… Over the last year or so, my emphasis has been almost entirely centered around precious metals, clean energy, and their corresponding mining stocks… Quite frankly, that’s just where I see the most value right now, so until the tide turns, I most likely will continue to fixate on the opportunities found in those sectors…

But I do realize that my “bread and butter” is real estate investing (REI), and there are still many readers (thank you for sticking around!) who have been following this blog long before it transitioned into Mining Fighter its current state…

These days, I don’t talk too much about REI, but here are some quick insights for you…

There’s a saying, “If you really want something in life, you should stop spending all your time thinking about it…

As it pertains to REI, I think the above expression is most fitting… Bottom line — I have not completely lost my marbles over the years… In fact, there’s nothing that I would like more than to liquidate out of ALL my mining shares (patiently waiting for the right time, of course), so that I can parlay the proceeds towards acquiring more (many more) rental property units, which in turn will increase (substantially) my semi-passive income stream each month!

The above paragraph has gone unsaid on this blog for a long while now, but really, nothing has changed on that front at all… Early FI is all about cash flow/passive income!

Unfortunately, the markets don’t always cooperate with us… and I for one refuse to overpay and chase real estate assets up to the moon…

I strongly believe in market cycles and have full conviction that they move like sine waves, not straight lines… Often times, the speed in which they oscillate and alter course is entirely too slow and frustrating (for the eager buyer), but it is what it is…

I can’t force the markets to go up or down… They will do so on their own accord, when they think it’s the right time and place…

All I can do is wait for the turn… which is what I have been doing for the last two years in the REI space…Simply, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines… Hence, the obsession over precious metals, clean energy, and mining stocks… I’m gonna stick to what I believe is the much better value play until it no longer remains the better value play…

Again, waves and cycles… The macro picture…

But make no mistake about it, although real estate is no longer on my mind 24/7 like it used to be, subconsciously, it absolutely is!

I want to increase my cash flow so badly that these days, I don’t think about it at all!

I really hope that makes sense to you… because that in essence is the fundamental strategy that I’m employing at this time.

In regards to my own rental portfolio, everything is still chugging along like before… Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to locate some pretty terrific tenants, so for the most part, 2016 has been a “hassle free” experience… With rentals, I strongly believe that in order to garner respect from your tenants, you’ve got to dish out the same degree (if not more) in return… In my own experience, any good tenant worth retaining will be more than happy to meet you half way… I’ve never liked to treat real estate as a “business”, even though it kind of is for me as I’m reliant on the monthly income, but instead like to think of it as a “mutually beneficial” relationship between two parties… In other words, I’m not out to bleed my tenants dry, trying to milk them for every last drop that they’ve got… There’s a lot of give and take involved (c’mon, we are dealing with human beings here!), but I think the overall results are worth it… No, not everyone agrees with my approach or methodology (many landlords are cutthroat and only care about the bottom line… which can, ironically enough, end up costing them the bottom line b/c they’re too damn rigid and inflexible… and lots of tenants hate that shit so will look elsewhere to live), but I’m going to continue sticking to the gameplan that I believe works best for my own unique situation… YMMV.

Anyway, as we wrap up the year, I will just add that I feel extremely fortunate and thankful to be in the situation that I’m in now… Although I’ve only been traveling for about half a year, in all honestly, I truly believe that I have created more memories during this timeframe than the previous 10 years combined… When you are out having fun, experimenting with new things practically everyday, the concept of time gets altered quite a bit…

Each day is a unique experience…

When I reflect back on what I’ve done and accomplished each month, it’s no longer a big fat blur with no real distinctions worth noting…

 

This is what I’ve ALWAYS wanted out of life… So, I will keep fighting for it! And for anyone on the journey to early FI, you should keep on grinding away at it too!

 

It’s totally worth it!

 

Happy holidays and fight on!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar December 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Happy new year! When are you going to come back from Hong Kong or leave to a new country? I enjoyed Hong Kong, but the prices and congestion and density is a little too much for me after a couple weeks.

No Thailand, Vietnam or any of those other countries?

Sam

Reply

2 FI FighterNo Gravatar December 23, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Sam,

Happy holidays! LOL, I’m leaving for Vietnam next week 🙂

HK is wonderful though, I could probably live here long-term… I’ve been having a blast, so haven’t been eager at all to pack my bags and move on to someplace new…

But the world is a big place and there’s a lot to see and do… Perhaps Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia after Vietnam, we’ll see…

All the best!

Reply

3 SamNo Gravatar December 24, 2016 at 7:49 am

Awesome! I can’t wait to read about your experiences in Vietnam. I’ve never been. Only for a stop over.

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4 No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar December 23, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Great update! You are correct, a great tenant is worth quite a bit. This year for me has been great since quitting my job too. 25 tenants, 12 months, only 2 months total vacancy. Even though I had 5 turnovers.

As you are, I am traveling too, although I am staying here in the USA. Work is definitely overrated.

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5 Investment HuntingNo Gravatar December 24, 2016 at 10:10 am

It was truly a life changing year for you. I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels and learning a bit about the mining space. Wishing you a fantastic 2017.

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6 EnriqueNo Gravatar December 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Hey there buddy! I really enjoy reading your blogs about your investments and experiences. I too want financial independence. 2016 was pretty exciting, bought a few houses and dove into mining stocks. I’m excited for what 2017 could bring…Gold, Silver,Uranium and all other metals. Lets do this shit!!!

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7 SharonNo Gravatar December 25, 2016 at 1:08 am

Happy for you! 😀 The next chapter will be an exciting one

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8 UnluckyGuyNo Gravatar December 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

About real estate, when will you update us about that? How is to manage it from such distance?

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9 theFIREstarterNo Gravatar December 31, 2016 at 2:29 am

I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventures in your first year of FI.

Happy new year!

TFS

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