Financial Velociraptor is intended as entertainment and education. Your head velociraptor “retired” early from the corporate grind at age 40 on 5OCT2012 to trade equities full time. He loves his new life and wants to help as many people as possible break the shackles of corporate wage-slavery.
I had a pretty typical lower middle class upbringing. The neighbors had more stuff than my family but I was largely happy. But I also learned from the 80’s oil shock (that hit Houston particularly hard) that it is perilous to depend solely on an employer for your bread. Dad had an extended period out of work but we made it by OK because he was a miser who had sandbagged cash. Lesson two learned!
I came out of high school without much direction and attended Junior College majoring in Accounting because I had a bookkeeping class before graduating and didn’t hate it. Two years later, I had an AAS – Accounting and was essentially unemployable. I futzed around for another four years doing minimum wage drudgery (but still managing to save anyway) before getting serious about getting a four year degree. Two years later (1998) I had a BBA – Economics in hand. Student loan balance – $0.00 thanks to the previously mentioned savings.
I quickly found work with an oilfield services company in Houston. Oil was at $18 a barrel and everyone was convinced that was the bottom. The bottom was actually closer to $12 and I experience a lot of professional misery as a result. I went from Accounting to Database to Dispatch, dispatching trucks on a seven 12’s on, seven 12’s off swing shift. It was awful so I just up and drove to Huntsville (my old College Town) after one weekly shift and signed up for Graduate School to get an MBA. I didn’t have a career plan, I just wanted to spend another year in the forgiving world of academics.
Two years later (2000) and ten years after completing high school (I walked for my diploma the same day as the 10 year reunion), I had an MBA – Finance in hand. This time my student loan balance was $5,500.00 but I had about three thousand in savings so I wasn’t worried especially since payments didn’t have to commence immediately. Work had to wait as my mother was terminally ill. I cared for her for about 9 months and then found that Houston post Enron was a tight market for Accounting and Finance professionals and also that I was now “overqualified” for entry level work!
I eventually got on with a Cemetery and Funeral Home Consolidator on the strength of MS Access database skills that a sudden resignation left them in desperate need of. Did that for a few years, tried my hand at consulting for about year, and finally ended back up in the oil patch in 2004 as the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act had made accountants of any stripe a hot commodity. The Oilpatch treated me much better this time. I was far more productive than my last time and promoted quickly.
I discovered that more money truly made me happier each time I got a raise…until I hit about 50,000 a year. Then I noticed I was trading away the most cherished parts of my life to buy worthless plastic crap I didn’t actually need. I remembered my goal from the end of my undergrad days to one day be able to live entirely off investment income and decided to make that my primary focus.
I raised my savings rate to about 40% of my after tax income. My student loans were already dead and so was my care loan (some raptors are just naturally frugal), so every penny I could spare went to retire my mortgage. By the time of the 2008 financial crisis, I was debt free! Without a house payment, I was able to increase my savings to about 65% of after tax income. That went to an emergency fund first until I had six months of cash.
Once I was ready to invest in the market, a raging bull market was just getting underway. It was a good thing because Mr. Market was very forgiving of some newbie mistakes. I soon discovered I hated losing money more than I loved making it. A change in strategy was in order. I moved into dividend centric investing and then discovered there were uses for options that both generated income and reduced risk.
Not long after my 40th birthday, I turned in my final notice at work. I have a stockpile of dividend paying stocks that pay about 80% of my expenses and I pick up the rest handily writing options contracts. I started a 2014 goal to develop a source of income outside the market. My first attempt was to import goods from China via Alibaba and sell them on Amazon for a profit. I never broke even as shipping costs ate all my margin! In 2015, I have decided to try publishing. Thus, http://velociraptor.cc
This is only partly about making a little extra cash though. It has always saddened me that friends and family will not follow my lead. I am so happy with my new life and wish others could enjoy the same. There are just so many excuses. The internet gives me a much broader audience and will presumably lead to those who actually want to hear what I have to say.
And whoever you are, you can do it too! Despite a late start (it took 10 years to get out of college and 11 to start a proper career path), I was able to “retire” roughly 15 years out of undergrad. You’ll have to kick the latte habit but I remember reading Morgan Housel over at the Motley Fool, “Money can buy things or security and freedom, choose wisely.”
Devour your prey, raptors!
Contact me: financial [dot] velociraptor [at] gmail [dot] com