It started the day after the election. Barack Obama had been elected. A dramatic change was taking place from the Bush/Cheney era. The world sighed in relief. America wasn’t as crazy as it looked. The ‘it’ in this case is this blog, the blog based on my book, Dream. Invest. Live., which I should’ve subtitled – “personal finance for frugal folk.” It is hard to imagine such dramatic changes could take place, and a reminder that ten years from now we may look back and be similarly surprised.
My book was published as the market crashed. Even before Obama became President, the economy was already inexorably falling into the Great Recession. My investing philosophy of long term buy and hold (LTBH) of stock in positively disruptive companies helped me retire at 38, and looked like it would weather the market’s upset. That history and my evidently reasonable way to describe finance inspired friends to inspire me to write the book. Rather than draw a crowd as people sought solutions, the book languished (as most books do regardless of topic) partly because people avoided the suddenly painful topic.
About four years later, two or three stars in my diversified portfolio were beginning to shine. That’s when My Triple Whammy hit. Regardless of the economy:
- AMSC had its renewable energy intellectual property stolen and its market gutted by a Chinese customer turned competitor,
- Dendreon achieved FDA approval for a cancer vaccine which was than assaulted by apparently felonious actors who bankrupted the company and impacted the lives of patients,
- MicroVision had a key supplier back out just before a significant product launch as the supplier decided to work on smartphone glass instead of green lasers.
My portfolio dropped 80%, and then dropped more as I tried to keep my house and pay my bills. The housing market meant no buyers for my house. The job market meant no jobs for me. Evidently, I didn’t win the lottery jackpot. My Backup Plans weren’t backing me up. I dove into the gig economy to swim through, somehow. Last year, I was finally convinced to become a real estate broker because I couldn’t be considered to be over-qualified, and the hurdles of age, gender, and address (really) wouldn’t be an issue. Now, those years of effort are switching from potential to reality – possibly.
This blog has chronicled that path and is acting as notes for a possible sequel; From Middle Class to Millionaire to Muddling By – A rollercoaster ride through America’s wealth classes. Stay tuned. I’m not sure how it ends.
Along the way, readers implicitly voted for their favorite topics. Writers take note. We may think one set of topics should be most important; but readers decide for themselves.
Here are the top ten posts from the last eight years. (Apple dropped support for the first few years, so the only data available are for the years that WordPress has hosted the blog.)
- One Confused ObamaCare Applicant
- A Bow To Drewslist
- Micro Vision
- Apple Pixar Dendreon
- Will Zillow Make Me Move
- Weed Changes Whidbey
- My Spreadsheet For Tracking My Stocks
- PicoAir Meets ShowWX
- MicroVision Begins 2018
- MicroVision And CES2017
I thought I was writing about personal finance for frugal folk, and what readers wanted to read was about: how to sign up for healthcare, a community-based version of craigslist, the little company that may someday succeed called MicroVision, Dendreon, marijuana, and a spreadsheet. I also wrote about writing, Whidbey Island, housing, consulting, and a wide array of future scenarios – but they didn’t rank, yet. Old posts can gain new readers.
Just as this blog inspired the possibility of a sequel, it has also inspired two more focused blogs:
- PretendingNotToPanic.com – news for people who are eager and anxious about the future
- AboutWhidbey.com – island living from an islander’s perspective
Some may notice that, instead of posting twice per week to this blog, I’m posting once here and posting others over there as appropriate.
A lot has happened in the last decade. A lot will happen in the next decade. Someone today is guessing right, but we won’t know who that is for ten years.
That first post included this;
“The universe tends to disorder, chaos. So goes entropy. Order, construction, takes far more energy than destruction.”
So, here’s to the next ten years, a ride through ever-shifting scenarios and schemes, a journey that can benefit from some simple ideas that won’t change:
Spend less than you make.
Invest the rest.
Live according to your values.
Oh yes, and VOTE! It does make a difference.