Depreciation gone wild

August 26, 2013


I dumped the gold – all of it. I still have it but I’ve depreciated it down to zero. The car is at zero — still have it too. Also, both condos I own are now depreciated down to their lowest honest point. I like to be close to the actual worth but I am a little under it in both cases because who knows what sort of tax I’ll have to pay on two places here when I sell.

Every other asset is depreciated down to zero. The only thing left is cash and my brokerage accounts. They are at actual value, so I can’t depreciate them down anymore. That number above, 64, has no fluff in it at all. It represents that I have 64% left from my original number to reach an unambiguous million.

Oh, I guess I also have my pension here. I can’t really depreciate it down to zero because it has a cash value of around $12-14K (not sure – haven’t checked in years). I have the option of taking it as a lump sum when I go, but I can also somehow fold it into my Social Security in the US (which I will get – did my 40 quarters – part-time counts you know!). Not sure how the combination works but I may not cash out that credit so fast before I learn anyway. I can’t depreciate it down to zero because I don’t want to forget about it!

Just for fun I ran a few numbers. When I was 23 I quit my job (actually quit and was not fired or laid off) and packed up my junk in a 1970-something Buick LeBarge, fully determined to take another stab at college. Turns out that was a good choice but 18 years later, whereas I had seen a a big chunk of the world and had lived on four continents, folks I was broke!

Then came my idea.

I didn’t know it when I was 23 (so young!!) but since then I have averaged just about $3000 in savings monthly. Of course I was pretty much broke right up to 2007 so that average is skewed mightily. If you look at those many months, the ‘mode’ is zero or maybe a negative number. But starting in early 2007 the chart comes alive and from there it’s a gentle slope upward. My work took off, I learned about investing at that time, but mostly I worked, diligently. No customer has ever been upset with my timing, attitude, fees, work, or communication. I have not missed it once. That led me to one million (or soon will).

I have been LUCKY! I am no longer young and on some days I feel it. But during my youth, in the late 80s and early 90s, when I was independent, had full energy, had enough money but not ever too much, I want to say that I had fun. I had a nice car, I had really fun girlfriends and great friends — all poor like me – living in apartments with roommates or shacking up with a girlfriend (both of which of course I did too).  I was young and didn’t care. I worked a full-time job AND a part-time job too – just to pay the insurance on my car!

I did not waste my youth – not one day. I don’t regret it a bit. The experiences I had every young man in America should have. It’s our birthright, or it was. The thing is: I wasn’t born rich and never thought I’d be rich. In fact, one million isn’t rich so I’m still right there. Like most American guys of my age, I thought at that time that if I wanted a job I could easily go out and get one, or even two, without too much fuss. Getting an apartment was easy, as was finding a roommate who was pretty much like me. I probably had half a dozen such roommates and what fun we had! Motorcycles, beer, girls, beaches, staying up all weekend at Myrtle beach (before it was so well known).

However, that path leads to misery in most cases. I know friends of family members who kind of stayed the course and they’re no longer young and life is kind of grim. If they work they may hate their job, and want out. Or, they’ve gone from job to job, developing a hodge-podge of skills, or not.  What I am saying that the trade-off for them – partying much during one’s youth – came at full price. For me, I feel I’ve had the best of both worlds. I certainly didn’t worry about entering a career all through my 20s and even into my 30s. I managed to get my education and then, later, my graduate degree. I have had many cool ideas (as you have too) but developed only one.  One thing: I worked very hard to develop my skill which allows me to do what I do here. There are few others with my particular language-related skills. That didn’t come easy.

Don’t know if I mentioned it but I went to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Another trip is in the cards for October: yet another to the USA and this time I’ll probably put in a few offers. The housing market is just starting to cool from its echo bubble and sellers are nervous about rising interest rates — which do not affect me.

And the new car (the one in the USA)… some trouble there. I don’t want a car that’s 1) angry-looking, 2) phallic-shaped, or 3) only available in various shades of black or white. That really narrows it!