Pay Your Past To Save Your Future

past-future1-e1343591276149   In the Asian culture added respect is given to the oldest children.  Men are most revered, especially if they’re the oldest.  My dad’s father started several businesses and was a big land owner in Vietnam.  They were well off, and so was my mother’s family.  I was born into a pretty wealthy family, since my father was the eldest son he was set to inherit the bulk of my grandfather’s estate.

In Vietnam women do all the manual labor work at home while the men often go drinking with their friends. In wealthy households you’ll have servants and help, but the women do most of the child rearing.  Since I was a small child I don’t remember growing up there, but my older cousins remembered that we had the largest house with a lot of staff. Our family was the “oldest”(by birthright) the wealthiest and most envied.

When the communists came and we left we had lost everything. My father’s first job was cleaning toilets and doing janitorial duties at a retail store.  He also had a side job being a gardener.  My father struggled with that, going from being a rich man to working a manual labor that he previously paid servants to do. He still drank with his friends, often would get hung over and call in sick.  He worked when he wanted, and partied just as much as though he was still rich.

There was a lot of money fights in our home, eventually my parents split up.  Our family was the first to get divorced (not Asian divorce).  Asian divorce is where they’re still married but live separate lives in different homes. Payback’s a bitch, we went from being the wealthiest family to being the poorest raised by a single mom.  My relatives prospered while we struggled financially while living in government housing.

There was family drama with real and perceived remarks.  I’ve had aunts asked why I always seemed dirty and offering us their kid’s secondhand clothing.  At the beach while I was eating an aunt commented that I eat a lot, doesn’t my mom feed me at home.  That led to some Hawaii Five O drama.

My sister hated being poor.  When she got her first job she spent all her money on the latest fashion.  All her money went to nice clothes, handbags and shoes because she didn’t want anyone to ever think that she was poor. She drove nice cars, took great vacations, had the nicest things.  She wasn’t ever going to let anyone pigeonhole her as poor again.

In the Asian culture you would invite friends and family out to nice dinners and pay for everyone to show how prosperous and generous you are.  Everyone thought of my sister as extremely generous, she must be doing well if she can afford it.  Despite a dual income, living a low cost of living state and having an income double mine they had six figures of negative net worth.  She spent 17K in six weeks in Vietnam, in a country where if you’re making $500 dollars a month you’re doing well.  Think of entourage and you get the idea.

The saying that we pay for the sins of our parents rings very true.  I get it.  I did the same thing. Living above my means, buying the BMW, trying to show the world I wasn’t that dirty hungry kid with the hand me downs.  Trying to show that I’m not poor was keeping me poor.  It wasn’t until I got sick and tired of having negative net worth and realizing that I will never have enough.  The world doesn’t care if I was rich or poor, only some relatives who looked down on us.  My friends didn’t care, and neither did most of my cousins. When I stopped being ashamed of my past and embraced the life lessons, I was able to rapidly grow my net worth.

We can talk about budgets and emergency funds all day, but none of that matters if you don’t have the right mindset.  Until my sister comes to terms with her past and changes her view about money, she will always struggle with it.  I’ve seen people in debt declare a plan to pay it off, yet continue to fail because they haven’t come to terms with how they truly view their money.  Pay your past, to save your future.

Do you agree that you need the right mindset before you can be successful with your money?  Are money problems rooted by past issues?


Stocks I Bought, Added, And Want

side hustles

In my previous post of stocks I bought I shared that I do love growth stocks and my index funds.  The problem with growth stocks is that it makes your overall portfolio much more volatile.  With Netflix, DDD, and FIG in my Roth IRA last year my return was 83%.  What goes up fast can come down just as quick, as earlier this year when the market dropped 7% my Roth was down 19%.  Ouch. To lower the beta in my portfolio I started buying dividend stocks which holds up well in volatile markets.

Here are some of my previous recommendations.  I bough Linkedin earlier this year at $146 per share, but so far most of my individual picks have been dividend stocks.  I’m getting clobbered on TCS (The Container Store) down 47%, I’m going to sell that at the end of the year to offset my tax liabilities from capital gains.

Whole Foods (WFM)  Price: $38.01   Bought this last Friday its down around 35% this year, as competition in the organic category continues to heat up.  Its still pricey but this is the “cheapest” Whole Foods has been in years, plans to internally finance their growth.  Whole Foods is a cult follwoing and not just organic, I say the stock will rebound to the mid 40s within a year.

Kinder Morgan (KMI) First bought 4/21 $33.88  Added at $38.48   Consolidated all their MLPs under one roof.  Jason at Dividend Mantra has a great write upabout it here.  Stock has a nice pop, but has some good years ahead of it.

My next purchase is SeaDrill (SDRL).  Current price:  #36.71   11% dividend Yield.  Provide oil rigs for deep sea drilling.  Rates are falling and the company just issued some debt.  Usually a high payout means a company is in trouble and most likely the dividend will get cut, but Seadrill is generating cash in excess of the dividend.

A growth stock I’m watching Invensense (INVN).  Should’ve bought at 18, getting too pricey but if it drops to $20 I’m buying,

Triple disclaimer:  These are not recommendations or a solicit to sell or buy shares from anyone.  Damn you lawyers.  Invest at your own risk. I’m posting this so in a few years down the road I can see if I had crappy picks or these stocks helped me towards FI.

Are there any stocks on your watch list?

Life Is Full Of Firsts


The first time I really saw and played in snow was at 22 years old on my first trip to Lake Tahoe.  I've seen snow before, but never up close.  For those who think that's strange I grew up in Hawaii and never traveled much growing up.  I thought it … [Continue reading]

How To Succeed At Work

Last year my niece secured her first part time job as she's still in school.  With that job came advice from various people (myself included) on how to do well at work.  It was a job at the movie theater for a little more than minimum wage.  It can … [Continue reading]

Six Month Mid Year Review

side hustle

With any measurement it's always good to have benchmarks along the way.  I check on my net worth once a quarter, with a mid year and annual review.  For 2014 our goals is to achieve a $250,000 net worth increase.  $250,000 is more than our combined … [Continue reading]

How I Had Everything When We Had No Money

As a kid I hated the end of summers.  It meant school starting up again and seeing some my classmates.  It meant hearing what everyone did over the summer, from summer camp to going to that magical place called DisneyLand, and for some Disney World. … [Continue reading]

Are You Getting Paid What You’re Worth?

side hustles

I've always been a firm believer in the make more money mantra as opposed to the cutting expenses to the bone when it comes to building wealth.  Within the make more money crowd I've seen numerous side hustles thst are done for the sake of making … [Continue reading]

Find Your Financial Freedom Inspiration

This past Easter Sunday at church it was so crowded half the people had to stand.  You had your holiday attendees, those who only attend church out of guilt on a major holiday.  Then there is the  devoted church goers who live their lives as close to … [Continue reading]

How To Travel For Free: Game Changer


Earlier this year when a family emergency came up I only had enough miles for a free plane ticket from Hawaii to the mainland.  I used it on my mom and paid around $1000 for my wife's ticket.  Those miles were accumalated during my travels from … [Continue reading]

Build On Your Missed Financial Opportunities


One of the most expensive things in life is regret.  We all have missed financial opportunities that would've helped immensely in improving our financial situation.  I had a costly car mistake and sold too soon some of my stocks that has cost me … [Continue reading]