Start. 2:18 A.M. writing a review on my life in 2007, an entrepreneur’s thoughts, stop.
January 07′ started out pretty good. I changed shops on my ship and immediately become happier with the new people since they treat me with a lot more respect. The vibe is a bit more positive even though half of the shop is anti the other half. I make a couple of trades losing and winning with no real outcome. I’m currently on patrol in the south pacific. I go see some homes in Mexico oceanfront to consider buying a 1 bedroom bungalow with ocean views around 600sqft for $65,000. Cheap now that I think about it. The realtor their originally from Canada with partner treated me really nice. I just thought the town was a bit too dirty, but what isn’t in Mexico? If the water would have been crystal clear maybe I would of completed the contract and went through with the deal. She seemed trustful and she moved to live there.
Feb 07′ was an awesome month for my trading. I saw a solid trade went after it with $2000 and made a huge return of $38,000 profit, but ended up losing half of it by the beginning of March. Sad, but true. I wish I would of had a partner to stop me from trading it and instead forced me to put it down as a big down payment on some type of real estate in my home town. I could of easily got me a 2bed/2bath condo 5 blocks from Virginia Beach with that down payment and collect a profitable rent until I could move into it yet I made the decision to keep trading. By the end of Feb 07′ I thought I was on fire but the burner was burning out all the fire.
Mar – Aug 07′ was in port and made a great new friend in Honolulu. Problem is that the friend originally which was bonded on music ended up turning into a weekend party warrior instead of a weekend music warrior. He’s older not much older but was a lot more stable then I and how he lives his life compared to mine. What I tell him about what I do blows him away, but how he can just live such a simple lifestyle spending his money and enjoying his the present makes me just dream about that life. He had past bands and really got to live the rockstar life I can only dream about and now its mostly behind him. He enjoys writing music and jamming out but thats about the extent to it. During this time period I probably moved to two different places to live and lastly ended up moving in with a co-worker from another CG unit. It started off fun and never really went bad. We were two guys living a super simple cheap life in a 1 bedroom apartment in a pretty sweet location. As time went on another person moved in and then it got pretty weird. Just too many dudes. He was a bigger drinker then I was too and we had different values. I wanted to be cheap and have no TV, he wanted it so I just made it work. During this time frame I started to work with a woman on a fashion design yoga clothing business but it ended up strange. She was older and I guess she thought I was too young and unexperienced to work with her to get it going. She might of been right but her website is still not up so I suggest that means she is still struggling by herself.
Aug 07′ I thought I was leaving for a patrol south then ended up being a north one. I found out my home I bought 2 years earlier was a adjustable rate mortgage not a fixed rate as I thought I signed. Luckily I paid off the 2nd mortgage of $15,000 in the beginning when I made a big profit on 1 trade. That was smart. Now why did I take $40k to pay off the mortgage from my Feb 07′ trade worries me. Now I’m paying the same amount as before in which I had two mortgages. I plan on refinancing or selling. In beginning of August I bought a 11 unit mobile home park in Savannah, TN and put $10,000 cash down on it. After buying it I had the errie feeling I just totally fucked up. I was ambitious and 100% convinced I could turn it into a 100% success. I soon found out even with all the money I put into repairs, advertising, and two property managers I was having “grave” problems. During this process I probably only collected $1500 in rent income over 6 months while having to evict crystal meth drug dailers with the sheriff department, go through two embezzling money property managers, and putting an extra $4000 in renovating trailers. I also paid over $5000 in mortgage payments. Crazy enough I was about to buy a second 18 unit mobile home park in another park of Tennessee at the same time!!! What was I thinking? I had daily contact with both property managers but I guess it was a really dirty park so I got dirty property managers. It happens I suppose? My first property manager I’m still using in Hampton, VA has been extremely helpful and honest and I feel I can trust her since its been over 2 years and I haven’t missed one rent for not even one month. She collects any missed rent with interest. Back to my first mobile home park I bought – well I just ended up selling back to the previous owner recouping $5000 of my $19,000+ investment. I guess I was even considering just giving it back for free but he offered me first $3000 then I negotiated him up to $5000. What made me most miserable about this attempt to own a multi-unit income property was that the previous owner tells me after he took it back he had ALL the units rented at the same when he sold it to me meaning a $2800 income which is what I figured into my plans or even half that and it would of still have been a good investment. So whom am I to believe? I felt everyone in the town kind of scammed me. It really made me not trust my second property manager because I paid a lot for good big advertising adds and he says he got 300 calls but only had 1-2 rented the entire time! Well I guess its what you learned when you can rent them yourself and you are 5000 miles away and on top of that I never even saw the property!!! Most people think I’m stupid or crazy but I don’t think it was. I calculated the risks. I just had two bad property managers in a row and after 7 months I couldn’t keep a property creating a negative cashflow of -$1500/month. It builds up real fast I tell you. My life really hit a low going into 2008. This is okay though. Now I’m more in debt then I ever have been but it is giving me more motivation to stop making bad choices or at least not wise enough choices in investments for real estate and trading options.
Sept 07′ It’s been one year since I bought my new Honda 05′ element. The high payments with everything else are catching up with me. I still have $19000 left. I’m starting to have regrets but the car is great with zero problems. Around the end of September talking with my property manager in Hampton, VA says my home realistically can sell right now for $120-130k. I am completely blown away. I never thought my home would appreciate this much within 2 years. I immediately tell her to put it up for sale for $120,000. The tenant wanted to buy it but being on a fixed low income I ended up not selling it to her or I’d actually really lose money in the process of closing costs and agent fees at the price she could afford it. By the time it gets on the market in mid-November it seems the market suddenly cooled off. An investor offers me $105,000 for it. My current mortgage is $58k with it having upgrades of about $92,000. I wanted to sell it but the investor went over seas? So the deal would of gave me back my initial investment, upgrades, and paid for costs but it didn’t go through. I end up taking it off the market early to refinance and take that money to pay off my bad debt to reduce my monthly payments to only find out I’d have to wait 6 months since its been listing on the MLS. Can you believe this? I couldn’t. So now refinance time is mid-May 08′ for me to reduce my mortgage and take out some money to reduce debt that has high interest rates. Did I also mention that in August 07′ I took out a $42,000 student loan at 12% rate for 30 years to use as collatoral on my big real estate investment expedition? Man that was a wrong move.
Nov 07′ Leave for north patrol after long waiting period and indecision with problems with our boat. This patrol I’m currently on will be a long 4 month one since we were in port for very long. I really don’t care I actually enjoy long patrols to save money, see new places, and you sleep a lot believe it or not with all the rolling waves. During this month I start to become suspicious of my second property manager on my mobile home park I bought. Good reason to be I suppose.
Dec 07′ I’ve seen some cool places on patrol San Diego, CA – Victoria, Canada – Juneua, Alaska – Kodiak, Alaska – Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I tell my property manager I’m planning on selling the park or giving it back to the previous owner if I can turn to make a profit. He doesn’t sound too happy about this trying to convience me to keep it and give it a chance. I tell him I’ve gave him and it a chance. He tells me its my fault. I couldn’t believe it. He keeps telling me there are renters but never seems to get them to rent the trailers and fill up the park even when I’m paying for all utilities for tenants and offering extremely low rates to live in trailers just to get them full… By the end of Dec 07 the previous owner heres my troubles and offers to buy it back for $3000. I negotiable the price up to $5000 and in a weird way feel “lucky” to get out of an investment which I thought would set me financially free one day. Was I set up? Now that I think about it I guess anything is possible in Savannah, TN.
Jan 08′ Present day, actually starting Feb 08′, I feel a lot of relief selling the park and having $5000 in my bank account to use to pay for debt or use to do something else crazy and likely stupid compared to most older investor standards of easy, small, and slow. In my trading for 2007 I ended up taking $10,000 of my student loan to trade. I broke such a huge rule and I derserve the pain I’m getting now from losing it all on 2 trades. Oh, yes, of course before I lost it all I actually made $10,000 on 1 trade. Now I could of took the money I put in and pay back off the loan but instead I trade all $28,000 I increased over 3 months from around $5000. Finally my call options end Jan 08′ and both my Scottrade and OptionsXpress accounts are both at a $0 balance. So putting that in thought I basically gained around $58,000 in 2007 in profits (which I could used to pay off a $58,000 mortgage) and lost all my my initial money + the profits. Wow. Congratulations to myself for doing such a wonderful job managing my money!!! I somehow became my own worst hypocrite. Reading the bible and preaching to people who don’t save or invest their money I sure am the hypocrite now aren’t I? I can’t seem to even manage and conserve my own. Now yes yes yes I do go after making my money work hard, maybe too hard. Most people never try all the things I do and maybe never will and maybe that is what really sets me apart even being broke right now having a higher chance of being wealthy in the future; just because I try. Just that one factor that I’m willing to do which others aren’t willing to do.
So start this new year I’m trying to create a new me. Now I’m already dabbling into other money making ideas. Hey that is just me! This is who I am, but when I do make a big trade I’m going to work on conserving that profit instead of blowing it. I’m also going to trade smaller amounts of money to force myself discipline instead of trading with bigger and bigger amounts of money which I have proven to myself I can not keep without losing. Condo prices in honolulu, HI have come down a lot so if the opportunity comes up I might try. I’m even interested in offering money out to be a partner in someone elses business who I think might become a success and my partnership would bring me financial reward. I also came up with a real estate trust company idea and I hope it pans out and works. It could be a big step in finally having a team instead of just me trying to do everything myself. Another big thing in trying to make a better me this year is trying to find people I can talk with who are better then me and already successful in real estate and trading. Although I remain continually in a worried state about money and retiring I will try to refocus on just becoming a better disciplined person increasing my knowledge level. Well thats my life in 2007, a review, of an entrepreneur’s thoughts and actions.