As of today 27th December 2022, ARK Innovation holds / invested
5.8 million COIN shares (worth $205 million)
6.4 million GBTC shares (worth $53 million)
These amounts aint small, but they aint chump change either.
That’s serious money and some serious investing chutzpah.
Cathie Wood alleges that BTC will reach $1M in value per Bitcoin by year 2030.
What does this mean to me and you?
The thing to understand is what is Cathie Wood and ARK Innovation’s investment theory / philosophy — it’s unlikely they invested in COIN and GBTC at whim.
They assessed and judged that the potential reward for investing (or speculating) into GBTC and COIN shares will payoff once they reach the the bull market again, and poured money into those.
Myself, my investment thesis and philosophy is
Active cash paying business or job to pay the bills and with the extra:
75% into boring, cash paying dividend stocks and/or index funds
25% into higher-risk-higher-return projects such as selected blockchain / crypto projects
#3 is where I’m banking on “life changing wealth”
Some people call it “wife-changing wealth” lol, but I’m pretty happy with my current wife and family, and prefer not to change them at all. I’d rather die with and for them.
My thesis in speculating/investing in cryptocurrency is that
selected crypto/blockchain projects will revolutionize specific niches in the world
bitcoin is likely here to stay as money continue to be printed enmasse, more and more people AND institutions of wealth and finance will also help process the cryptocurrency holdings of THEIR clients, who want a slice of crypto, be it Bitcoin, Ethereum and top 10, 20, or top 100 crypto projects
at later stages “every rich dude or dudette” will want to own at least one bitcoin
I’m okay to lose that 25%. It IS high-risk-high-return, which is why for my wealth manifesto to work, I will keep working and keep investing 75% into boring stuff
I LOVE PASSIVE INCOME, but you know, passive income isn’t made automatic.
I mean, once you’d created the stream or the passive income portfolio, then the passive income comes automatically…but have you thought about
How to automatically create streams of passive income?
This is a couple of steps higher than just looking at the end result of passive income, and this is how I frame and structure my decisions such that it automatically creates more and more passive income for me.
Sounds complicated…but it’s really easier than you think.
Workflow and framework
You know, freewill is often touted, and it’s best applied when it comes to love and God, where God gives us full free will.
But when it comes to investing, I dont want too much free will involved because it can cause issues such as
And that’s why I prefer to not use freewill when it comes to creating streams of passive income. The easiest way for me, is to
Every $1 that comes to me (be it $1, $100, $10K or more), there is a flow in terms of %.
max 50%-75% to spend on living expenses
min 25% to max 50% to invest into dividend stocks (or global index funds, whichever rocks your boat)
reinvest at least 50% of dividends into dividend stocks
These are just 3 conditions I set myself, so whenever I get any forms of income, be it from consulting, management fees, treating patients, dividends, they are split into two groups #1 and #2 above.
Rinse and repeat.
#1 If I earn $5000/month.
at least $2500 to max $3750 goes into living expenses
at least $1250 to max $2500 goes into dividend stocks
FIRE meaning financial indepedencen, retire early….and it’s even more important today, in light of
COVID-19 that up-ended the entire world
Russian’s illegal invasion into Ukraine and terrorizing Europe and the world
China’s extended zero COVID policy (and not keen to bring in “western” vaccines)
the great resignation
how so many companies shrunk and terminated so many employees
If you have started your leanFIRE journey for at least 10+ years:
you’d have an overall lowered and leaner lifestyle of lower expenses
you’d have amassed an amount of cash-paying assets, be it dividend stocks, REITs, rental properties etc
which would help to make you a little more resilient towards these sudden world changes past couple of year.
Assuming you’d been living off $2K/month (so total $24K/year) and investing $2K/month (so also $24K/year) into dividend stocks.
Assuming the dividends are 6% per year, and you reinvest every single dividend dollar, by the end of 10 years, you’d have: $335,319.42
Your dividends of 6% of $335,319.42 from year 11 onwards will be $20,119.16. Divided by 12 months, that’d be $1,676.60 dividends a month.
That’s not bad, if you’re “only” spending $2K/month, because $1,676 is “only” 16% short.
Is 16% short okay, Nigel?
I take an optimistic approach, because frankly, you’d already have 84% of living expenses sorted out with your dividend income. The shortfall is around $330 bucks. A MONTH.
ANY part time job or side gigs can cover that short fall, because you’re very close to leanFIRE / coastFIRE.
So yes, 16% short isn’t too bad in my books.
So even if I lose my job, I know and am assured that 84% of my expenses are sorted, I just need a little part time work to cover that shortfall. If I still have a job, I’ll keep investing $2K/month and reinvesting the dividends for a good 3-5 years (up to a buffer of at least $3K/month in dividends).
You can marry someone rich, or buy lottery or hope to chance upon a biiiiiiig bagga money…
I do not believe in marrying someone for their money. That’s so transactional and superficial; the person who’s rich will likely be able to see through you as well, unless they plan to be transactional and superficial too.
Chancing upon a big bag of money is similar to buying lottery, but the chances are waaaaaaay lower.
Bonus: maybe you may inherit a good inheritance, and good for you, that’s similar to #2 winning the lottery.
These 3 methods dont really work if you wanna get rich, but if you’re wanting to become and stay rich, and dont mind some work and effort to learn as well as are patient, you can likely get richer than you are today.
I feel that the word “richer” is overrated, I’d focus first on building enough investment that will increase in value over time (coastFIRE) and then towards leanFIRE where the returns of my investment can cover my living expenses. Freedom over wealth of money first.
3 key concepts:
This is the key foundation to accelerate getting rich. Cashflow will allow you to
have a decent living (roof over head, utilities, food on table, pleasures)
If earning more is a powerful skill to have, saving more is the supporting skill that’s vital to create that surplus cash, which is an underrated skill but equally important one that both provides
safety net in terms of rainy day funds and more importantly
warchest to invest
Investing and reinvesting your savings, without losing the principal amount is the third and equally important skill to learn. Here you will learn and apply concepts of
return on investment
internal returns rate
Basically, investing for passive income is investing into investments that will provide you a minimum of 4-10% returns year-on-year; using what you need form that returns and reinvesting as much as possible.
Done over a period of time, it’d compound well into growing your base money.
CoastFIRE and leanFIRE are very different in nature, and I’ll cover them separately, and then you decide which camp you fall under.
This financial independence retire early approach takes a “leaner” way of lifestyle to save enough money and retire as soon as possible. Mostly, you will choose to live very, very minimally and save/invest the rest, and your retirement will be more frugal overall. This gets you to retire earlier than most (late 20s or 30s) BUT you trade-off with a smaller investment portfolio due to less time involved.
LeanFIRE approach may mean that the passive income from your portfolio may not allow you lavish lifestyle (so no expensive cars / holidays / spendings) ie retire earlier frugal lifestyle.
The average number to calculate leanFIRE is to take your annual expenses and multiply that by 25.
So if your monthly spend is $3000, then annually you spend $3000 x 12 = $36,000. 25x of this will be $900,000. Assuming you
save and invest $1,000 a month into 6% returns per year stable assets
reinvest that 6% every year
You can reach your target $900,000 in 28.5 years.
This is a common strategy for people who are wired to retire earlier and/or have overall lower spending expenses than other households for example people who have no kids / single, senior citizens, living in tiny homes / vans etc.
LeanFIRE is generally about being willing to live simpler in retirement, and people who follow this approach usually try to live on less than $50,000 per year or lesser. They would be okay / willing to
move to a lower cost of living area
spend less on travel or experiences
cut back or simplify food and transport expenses
Financial independence, retiring early can be very tough for young people to save a large chunk of money upfront, especially when cost of living is higher now no matter where you go. LeanFIRE can take many, many years to achieve (even the example above is a good 28.5 years). CoastFIRE on the other hand, is another alternative.
The difference between coastFIRE and normal FIRE is that with normal, traditional fire, you have more than enough passive income from your passive income investments to cover your daily expenses. You’re “there”. CoastFIRE is more about the beginning or earlier journey of FIRE, and you focus on
Frontloading your coastFIRE number which will let you achieve FIRE in X years.
I gave an earlier coastFIRE example with Jake here.
The two top principles of coastFIRE are:
you will still need to work to cover the basic living expenses BUT
you no longer have to worry about saving money and investing for retirement
Because you frontload the coastFIRE investment amount as early as possible AND let compounded investment return work hard for you over a period of time (usually the time you choose to retire).
Example, say 25-year old Jane has saved $100,000 and wants to retire at 55. Assuming Jane doesn’t spend much, around $2,800 a month (total $33,600 per year) and Jane’s money grows at 6% per year, she will have $574,349.12 by 55. 6% of $574,349 is $34,460.94. Jane would have achieved her coastFIRE number at age 25.
If I’m 35 want coastFIRE and retire with $1 million at 65, and say I’ve $200,000 to invest. Assuming annual returns of 6%, with the 6% reinvested over 40 years, I would have achieved it
within 28 years, by then I’ll be 63 years old. 2 years early.
Thing about this coastFIRE approach is that I will still have to work to cover living expenses as my investment work its compounding over time, but I will be on point for retirement without needing to add any extra savings – this is what it means to
coast into retirement
Of course, knowing myself, I will want more buffer, so I will top up / add in additional monies over the years to grow the principle more, and this will lead to
shaving off the years to hit $1M but more importantly
I’d have a larger (and more defensive) amount above $1M for buffers
What I like about coastFIRE is that it takes a lot of mental stress away from the get-go, and I can choose to work simpler or less hours at my work, knowing and having confidence that I can retire at X amount and years which is working for me. This is the biggest benefit in my opinion. To add on to that, secondary benefits are less sacrifices upfront:
no longer have to be stressed by counting dollars for vacations or big spends or small spends
dont have to choosing higher yielding projects with a lot more stress or tolerate rubbish people at work
even if I lose my job, I can choose a simple low paying job to pay the daily expenses and I’ll “still be okay”
It’s true, this idea of financial independence, retire early can be such a big idea that we start to shut down cos we get overwhelmed right? Here’s how I do it.
I call it the eat-the-elephant-one-bite-a-time method.
The “normal” FIRE means that you have enough passive income from your passive income investments to cover all your living expenses, and it can take quite a chunk of money and time to get here; but for us who are just beginning, let me introduce you the idea of
Yeah, it was nice to find out that there’s different stages of financial independence retire early, which makes sense once you think about it. After all, no one “suddenly” becomes financially independent retire early right?
Lol, so true but I didnt think about it earlier?
So coastFIRE is basically an early stage milestone for financial independence retire early dudes (and dudettes). The goal at this point is so save very, very aggressively as early as possible so that you can invest aggressively such that the compound interest of your investment will carry you all the way towards retirement.
To break down coastFIRE is 3 steps:
is saving to investi as much as possible as early as possible
reinvest the compound interest over a period of time
to achieve financial independence / retirement at a particular time
CoastFIRE calculation example
Say an example of person A, let’s call him Jake. Jake is 24 this year, and he wants the usual:
He calculates and finds that he “just” needs $72,000 a year to retire. In today’s number’s that’s actually decent, around $6,000 per month to spend. Working backwards, assuming a standard 6% return per year, $72,000 / 6% = $1,200,000.00. That’s a big chunk of change, but he knows that he has time on his side, which takes off stress.
Two approaches to coastFIRE
Save like mad and find $279,590 and put into a stable investment that will provide 6% return on investment; and reinvest every year for 25 years.
What I really really like about this approach is that it FRONTLOADS everything: once off $279,590 and let the interest keep compounding and growing by itself. Jake will save like mad and earn as much as he can, then frontload the entire $279,590 ONCE OFF and then just leave it be.
The amount will compound and keep compounding and after 25 years, Jake would 49, and he would have $1.2M in his account.
Every year, he can draw out from the 6% which translates to about $72K/year. If he can draw out less, then more can be compounded for the next year.
During this 25 years, he of course must work to sustain his day to day, but he can look forward for a pay day in 25 years time with confidence. This method frontloads a lot, but at the same time, offloads financial strain from the early stage.
Jake can keep adding to this amount in the meantime to either shave off years needed to hit the coastFIRE amount, or have more than enough at the end of the 25 years.
Risks or downsides to coastFIRE and how to manage
Risk of investment tanking. What if the % returns drop?
What if he loses his job?
Investor as the risk: what if he sells early due to something happening (medical, mental issue, fraud etc)
As you can see, coastFIRE is a very powerful long term stress reliever, but there are a few risk/weak points as I mention above. There are workarounds for these potential risks, as I write in orange.
Risk of investment tanking. What if the % returns drop? Jake should buffer at least 20% in the total invested amount AND instead of fully withdrawing 6% yearly, to instead only draw 3-4% to allow compounding to account for inflation, market downturns and growth. Only invest in very stable asset classes such as global ETFs or index funds
What if he loses his job? This isn’t the biggest issue in my opinion, especially after Jake has front loaded the entire coastFIRE amount needed to grow in X years. Even if he takes a basic job to survive or for less stress, the model will work.
Investor as the risk: what if he sells early due to something happening (medical, mental issue, fraud etc). This is very advanced and much more complex stuff, and I have thought about it, The only workaround for this from my current understanding is to create a trust and place the entire amount with specific instruction and conditions into it. The biggest risk of any investor is himself, and it’s the investor’s responsibility to not only protect his investment from others but also from screwing it up himself. It costs money to create and maintain a trust fund, which will need to be paid from the returns of the investment, so this will need to be computed as well.
I dont believe in eating all my yearly profits and income. That’s like the apple farmer selling every single apple tree – it’d make more sense to sell the apples for money, and take the seeds of the best 20% of apples to plant better and better apple trees.
In the same vein, I take every dollar that I save from my businesses and investments as an employee, and as my employee, I have just one job for them: to work harder and harder for me to produce more money.
That $1 needs to either earn
or double to $1
every, single year, year in, year out.
Let’s relook at that again.
$1 making $0.05 = 5% returns
$1 making $0.15 = 15% returns
$1 doubling to $2 = 100% returns
At scale, say for example $100,000
5% returns is $5,000 + original $100,000
15% returns is $15,000 + original $100,000
100% return is $100,000 + original $100,000
And I hadnt even touched on reinvesting the returns, which will make my mind go blurry mad with excitement.
I learnt the concept of cashflow from Robert Kiyosaki’s rich dad poor dad, and since 2003, I’d learnt again and again how important cashflow truly is. I try as best as possible to create streams and streams of positive cash flow into my bank accounts.
Like the example I gave earlier, on smart money tactics, I immediately split money into different baskets with specific functions. An example if my income is $5000/month, I will take out 20%, which is $1000/month to be put into assets that will pay me regularly be it
This will be an every-month-process, and I’ll do this month-in-month out. Let me extrapolate on the example above.
Year 01: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $600
Year 02: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $12K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $1200
Year 03: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $24K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $1800
Year 04: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $36K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $2400
Year 05: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $48K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $3000
Year 10: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $108K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $6000
Year 20: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $228K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $12000
Year 30: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $348K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $18000
And I hadnt even calculated if I
increased the amount I put in every month as my pay goes up / business grows
reinvest the dividends
The name of the game is to keep investing into cashflowing assets again and again.
If you dont have a plan for your money, you’d become broke.
And that’s precisely what happened to me, because I lived on whim and spent on whim, so there’s always not enough and too much month to live on my last couple of bucks, until I learnt this concept of money tactics.
In a nutshell, whenever any money comes into my accounts, they’re immediately segmented and divided into specific use departments, for example
Mortgage / rental 20%
Charity / tithe 10%
Spend the rest
You can tweak the percentages as you see fit, but do not decrease your investments and savings rate less than 20%. Once I had paid for investments, savings, roof and whatever, I am “allowed” to spend whatever is left, guilt free.
Even the balance is split into weeks, so the balance 40% I can use 10% per week.