Early FI – Slow and Steady Progress (2 Year Update)

It’s been over 2 years since I got off the beaten path and ventured over to the “dark side”… As it pertains to early FI, there’s not a single soul that I’ve ever met who didn’t want to achieve that… With that said, early FI isn’t easy and for many people the journey from beginning to end doesn’t happen in a linear fashion…

Just speaking for myself, I got to early FI primarily through Real Estate Investing (REI), picking up gems at the bottom of a bear market, beginning in 2012… By summer 2015, next thing I knew, I was a millionaire

So yeah, you could say it all happened in a blink of an eye…

And similarly, in 2015, I really felt in my heart of hearts that: real estate, stocks, bonds, etc. were all extremely overpriced, and I saw zero appeal in loading up on more of those assets… I looked around, and saw tremendous deep value opportunities abundant in the mining sector, particularly in precious metals….

By the end of 2015, I had constructed a mining stocks portfolio that looked like the following.

Fast forward towards the end of 2016, and after a rip-roaring rally in gold/silver equities, my mining stocks portfolio grew to this.

Unfortunately, gold/silver lost their groove in 2017, but luckily I was diversified into some clean energy/EV metals (e.g. cobalt, lithium) that helped offset some huge losses my portfolio experienced in the precious metals sector…

Biggest mining stocks losers to date (realized and unrealized):

  • Alicanto Minerals (AQI.AX) down -$16,168.13
  • Cordoba Minerals (CDB.V/CDBMF) down -$14,548.10
  • Sandspring Resources (SSP.V/SSPXF) down -$12,473.70
  • Fortuna Silver (FSM) down -$11,348.22
  • Sarama Resources (SWA.V/SRMMF) down -$9,457.89
  • Northern Shield Resources (NRN.V) down -$8,722.17

Here’s a summation of the overall progress I’ve made in mining stocks…

December 2015: $223,326.39

December 2016: $678,023.72

December 2017: $1,285,037.40

Please don’t read too much into the “raw figures” themselves… In other words, it would be impossible to compute actual gains made from just those numbers alone, since over the years I’ve injected more and more capital into mining stocks as my conviction has grown… And exact “total percentage gains” is beside the point…

Why am I sharing this all with you?

Just to show you that the path to early FI isn’t always easy (you will not win every trade), or linear…

But importantly, I’ve made some decent gains and by and large the portfolio is moving in the right direction…

On the “human side of things”, I will let you know that my “second journey” to early FI hasn’t been smooth sailing at all… When I first made the switch into mining stocks in 2015, I received a lot of flak from naysayers, critics, haters, and a lot more people…

I lost a ton of readers…

I received a bunch of snide comments… Stuff like the following actually still occurs to this day…

I wouldn’t be surprised if this blog is seen as nothing more than a joke by a lot of people in the early FI community…

I’m way too much of a gambler, apparently…

Deep down, I think a lot of people were (still are) rooting for me to fail massively just so they can say, “I told you so you fking idiot!

Back in 2015, it was demoralizing at times, I’ll admit, but I tried my best to block out the noise, stay true to myself, and carry on with the plan…

The journey to early FI can be a very lonely road at times, especially if you’re going with unconventional investments that aren’t accepted by the mainstream, your peers, co-workers, family, friends, etc…

Here, check out this comment, posted earlier this year.

From Bigger Pockets.

OK, the above comment isn’t actually all the bad and negative… In fact, the commenter actually had some flattering things to say about me. 😉

But the bit that bothers me is the one about how “each new thought has the life expectancy of a fruit fly.

LOL!

Hey, I’m only human and I make a shit ton of mistakes, I will be the first to admit, but I would like to believe that I put in a lot of effort and research before deciding to jump head first from one investment idea into the next… I mean, I’ve poured thousands of hours into researching mining stocks… and before that, I did the same with real estate…

I would sincerely hope that I don’t just make investment decisions on a whim with no analysis at all…

Point blank — I think it’s extremely important to be open minded

Just this year, I was totally asleep at the wheel in regards to cryptocurrencies and I pretty much missed out on “the greatest wealth transfer in human history.

I can freely admit I was dead wrong about cryptos (I underestimated their growth potential by a country mile and then some)…

 

Pride.

Ego.

Being right.

 

I don’t care about that stuff… Self-obsession gets in the way of learning and improving… F that.

 

Straight up — I was dead wrong about cryptos… I’ll own up to that, dust myself off, and now figure out a way to get properly educated.

 

As readers know, I try my best to be an agnostic investor… Again, it’s not always easy, though, because when you flip the script and attempt something new, it creates all sorts of dissonance…

 

From family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

From readers.

From yourself.

 

Everyone is out for that simple, straight-forward, linear path to riches…

 

But in so many instances, I’m finding that the “real path to wealth” was achieved by those who were daring enough to be bold when nobody else around them had the stones to even risk a single penny…

 

These days, I could easily just sell out of every last mining stock that I own, and just pimp out Dividend Growth Investing (DGI) and REI 24/7 until the cows come home as being the “holy grail” to getting to early FI… and I would make way more $$$ on this blog by doing just that…

 

But that would be disingenuous… I would be selling all of you out… for a quick buck, promoting something I don’t genuinely believe in.

 

Honestly, I don’t think those strategies (DGI/REI) are gonna be the most efficient vehicles for getting to early FI in the foreseeable future (baring some kind of crazy market crash to reset things back to “fair value”)… and even as someone already in early FI, I find myself struggling to find those investments anywhere close to being compelling enough to sink serious capital into at this time…

 

I put my money where my mouth is. Looking into 2018, I’m very bullish on: clean energy/EV metals (cobalt, lithium, nickel, copper), precious metals (gold, silver), and cryptocurrencies.

 

Anyway, just sharing this post to give you all an update on my current progress and where my head is at… For anyone who is on a similar path to early FI, I hope you found these thoughts interesting and useful… If you feel discouraged, alone, alienated, pretty much a pariah in your own social circle, well, all I can say is you’ve got company and I totally understand where you are coming from.

 

You’ve got my support and a friend in me! 🙂

 

Haters are ALWAYS gonna hate…

 

Just keep pressing on!

 

Fight On!

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Scott
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Scott

Thanks, Jay. Your blog is priceless.

You have a friend here in Indiana too, just so you know. Even though we have never met personally, I speak of you in my household as if we “go way back.” I might say, “Jay likes Nzuri Copper, but he got in at a better price than we did and now he is going to Manila to get out of the cold. I am not sure if we will hear from him regularly this winter since he is out of the country.”

Seriously, it is weird to talk about someone you have never met like that, but your personability shines through in your writing and connects to your readers.

Good luck, Jay.

Adam
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Adam

I must say i’m glad you are different from the other FI blogs. I love reading your stuff and have somewhat changed the way I invest since finding your blog.

I don’t see any difference between what you do with finding deep value compared to what some of the others bloggers did with big gains early on in facebook, google, and with RE also. Tech stocks and housing must be more respectable than mining!

For most people, saving hard and index funds will get us to FI no problem, since its the saving that does the heavy lifting… But making it quicker would be nice!

Malanko
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Malanko

Jay,

I was really skeptical when changed your strategy from REI to mining. I genuinely thought what is this guy doing? Why is he shifting to mining he’s doing such a good job in real estate.

I watched from the sidelines and back then i didn’t really believe in precious metals mining at the time. Until i saw you putting attention to the EV paradigm shift. This totally resonated with me and I was (and still am) truly convinced that investing in this sector would be a good decision. So i started doing research and got more and more convinced that this is going to happen. I started investing in the Lithium space and more recently the Cobalt space.

Now i’m shifting my attention to Precious metals and monitoring the Lithium/Cobalt space. Long story short, you really helped me opening my eyes and taught me to be more open minded about things. I really want to thank you for taking up the courage of changing the course of this blog and pushing this through despite all naysayers.

Thank you for all your efforts and keep up the good work!

Income Surfer
Guest

Nice recap Jay. I seem to recall Warren Buffett praising “lumpy” returns as well. Your journey has always been authentic and transparent, even when we disagreed. lol. I’m also bullish on commodities in 2018….and to a lesser degree European and Emerging equities. Time will tell…….
-Bryan

Tawcan
Guest

Your honesty and rawness are 2 reasons why I will continue reading your blog regardless what kind of investment you’re doing. There are multiple ways to FI, I can careless how you, person A, person B, and person C utilize to get to FI. If you are so close minded on how to achieve FI, then maybe you need to look at the mirror again.

Be true to yourself. 🙂

John
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John

Don’t let the naysayers bother you bro. It is easier to stick to what one knows and feels comfortable instead of taking the time and energy to research new frontiers. You already know about my Citibank moonshot and I am a big believer in that approach. Looking forward to joining you for gym and dim sum soon!

BigSnacks
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BigSnacks

Time to get on the shitcoin train. I demand you invest into at least 20 and blog your way thru the journey. Choo Choo!!!

Mike
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Mike

I get all the naysayers…what you are doing is far from the conventional. With that said, I personally love what you are doing here. No one’s forced to follow what you are doing. I’ve learned quite a lot from your posts and continue to do so.

REI, Gold, Lithium, Cobalt…you have been more successful than most…maybe the haters are just a tad jealous?

Anyways, whitenoise, am I right? Keep fighting!

Sebastian
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Sebastian

Long time lurker, first time poster. Don’t worry about it bro. Like you said, there are many ways to skin a cat. Whether an investment thesis works out or not, and whether it’s more efficient than say passive, low cost index funds — time will tell and the numbers are easily quantifiable in the end a few years down the line.

What might be worth blogging about more (imho) is how you approach risk. Perhaps obviously, DGI on large cap stocks has a lower risk profile than what you are doing. Related, others who have already reached FI seem content with stable 3-4% gains on top of inflation since they have no need for more.

Sundeep
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Sundeep

Hey Jay,

Being a long-term reader, I have to admit I was a little confused in the shift from DGI/RE to mining, but I hung on because the value you gave out was so good I wanted to see what the big shift was all about…glad I did.

If anyone of the readers who left bothered to read your mining analysis, they would have first learned something and second had a chance to create a good deal of wealth, much faster than DGI and non-appreciation market RE.

I sadly couldn’t pull the trigger on your mining plays, but am eager to see what 2018 holds for you as you’ve broadened your investment horizon to crypto-currencies and who knows what else is the next big market. Love your analogy of the next train coming into the station any time now. Cryptos are still kind of early in the game in spite of the monster gains over the past month or so, but I’m more curious to see what the next train will be.

Thanks and keep fighting!

Richard
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Richard

In my mind, right or wrong is better than what if? At least you have the courage of your convictions. Great blog

JPCDeman
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JPCDeman

Jay, I am a big fan of you. I hope you always remain yourself like that; honest, open minded and sincere. My apreciation you have …

Joe
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Joe

Jay,
Been reading your blog for a couple of years. You are *killing it* this month on your portfolio holdings. Congrats!!

I am early retired with an 8 digit net worth, love your ideas that are different from other FI blogs out there.

TFR
Guest

Happy New Year, Jay! I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and love your work and your cohones! While I don’t go as daring as you in finding value, I recently moved from 100% stocks to mostly cash, wanting to take a breather from these overheated markets and get back in after some modicum of a correction – however small it may get engineered to be! Mining stocks is way out there for me but still within my range of cohones compared to crypocurrencies though! I don’t think your investing method is crazy at all – this from a DGI proponent for years but even DGI stocks aren’t immune to crazy valuations. Know that you have another friend in Texas and soon to be in India. If you do plan to travel in the next couple of months to India – not too far from Manila! – let me know and we can have a drink together.

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