Financial Samurai Personal Year In Review 2014

Financial Samurai Year In Review Happy Holidays Everyone!

Year in review posts are one of my favorite posts to write because we tend to forget some of the things that happened in the first half of the year in favor of things that happened in the second half of the year. This type of cognitive bias is the reason why if you must slack off at work, you might as well do so from January – June and really shape up afterward. Almost every single company I know decides on bonuses and promotions in the second half.

I hope all of you have read 10 Helpful Financial Moves To Make Every Year, and checked off at least five of the ten items by now. I promise you that if you can go through all ten items, you'll be ahead of 99% of the population when the chaos begins again.

Here's a post about some things that went well, and some things that didn't go so well this year. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to find 10 of each. 


1) The bull market continued. The stock markets rose to record highs, rising by another 12% or so. With the S&P 500 over 2,080 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking 18,000 for the first time ever, stock investors have been handsomely rewarded all year. We had a bit of a scare in October, but everything rebounded quickly. The biggest triumph is to just be in the game. Having the appropriate amount of net worth exposure in stocks and real estate plus a healthy habit of savings will take you far.

2) Found my view home in San Francisco. I never knew panoramic ocean view homes existed in San Francisco at an affordable price since everything is so expensive here already with the median home price at $1-1.1 million. Once I started exploring the western parts of San Francisco (7 mile by 7 mile radius), a whole new selection of desirable property opened up. Finding a home with a view has been on my bucket list for over 15 years. I found a pretty park view in 2003, but haven't had one since I began renting the apartment out, until now. I've imagined my last days looking out at the ocean, sipping a glass of cabernet before slipping away forever.

3) Stayed the course with a new job. One of the hardest things I had to go through was deciding whether to come back to the work force after experiencing almost two years of freedom. I deliberated for months before I finally agreed upon a 25 hour a week consulting offer at a Silicon Valley financial tech firm. I’ve always wanted to experience what it would be like working for a startup since I spent my entire career working for two large banks with tens of thousands of employees. Consulting for one firm for a year is like working full-time for five years in my opinion. Admittedly, I often ask myself whether I should return to writing full-time on my own. It is fun working when you don't need to work. But it is also harder to continue working if you don't need the money to survive.

4) Saw Roger Federer at Wimbledon before he retires. Despite being a huge tennis fan who can watch tennis for 10 hours straight at the US Open, I never got to see Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal play live until Center Court this year at Wimbledon.The tickets cost $1,300 each, but it was absolutely worth it. I’ll write a post about my Wimbledon experience one day with more pictures. I also went to London to celebrate my good friend’s 50th birthday and hit with seven-time Grand Slam winner, Mats Wilander, for two hours. One of my sporting regrets was never watching Michael Jordan play during his prime. In five years when I return to London, it's highly likely Roger will no longer be playing.

5) Online business continued to grow. Organic online traffic grew by 50% and revenue grew by 70% due to some operational leverage. Organic traffic growth is the best type of traffic besides the thousands of loyal readers who insightfully contribute to the discussion because it's reoccurring and free. I had originally modeled a 20% decline in 2014 from 2013 because 2013 grew by even more than 60%. Eventually growth rates must normalize since trees don't grow to the sky forever. I never missed a week of publishing at least three posts (180+ posts this year), so the consistency is paying off. Let's see what Google has in store for the new year.

6) Diversified my investments. In 2H2014 I decided to invest a good chunk of change in a venture debt fund,which has a preferred return of 9% and a target return of 16%-30% per annum. I'm a huge fan of venture debt investing, which is kind of like P2P lending, just to high risk startups.

7) Reinvigorated a couple underperforming income streams. After doing a comprehensive analysis of my 2014-2015 passive income streams, I realized that my Lake Tahoe vacation property and P2P lending portfolio were sorely lacking. As a result, I've written a post about the Lake Tahoe vacation rental property to help market it online, and I've invested new money into my Prosper account to beef it up given it generates a respectable ~7.5% return with absolutely no effort after two years.

8) Built a client base of personal finance consulting clients. One of the most gratifying feelings is helping someone secure their finances on a one-to-one basis. I no longer advertise my services because I don't have enough time to meet demand, but I am absolutely thrilled by one client who more than doubled her retirement fund this year. Meanwhile, another client was able to sort through the madness of leaving a job he hates for a new opportunity with the maximum amount of exit money possible. If online revenue nose dives for whatever reason, I plan on ramping up the personal finance consulting business.

9) Got bumped to a US Tennis Association 5.0 ranking from 4.5. This was one of my biggest shocks after going a mediocre 6-5 in 2014. We won the 4.5 City Championships again in 2014 and came close to winning Districts. In 2012 I went 12-0, followed by 9-3 in 2013. As you can see, I'm on the decline! But the USTA algorithm decided to bump an old man like me up to 5.0. I'm probably going to do terrible in 5.0, unless I get an amazing doubles partner because 5.0 players are almost all division I college players, most of whom are still in their 20s. But who knows! It'll be a good challenge to try and play like I once did in high school. There are probably less than 5% of all USTA members who are 5.0 rated in the country.

10) Maintained a healthy relationship with all loved ones. I've been actively trying to be a better son, brother, partner and friend to all the people I care about the most by making physical visits, writing e-mails, and connecting over the phone. My family is dispersed throughout, and it sometimes makes connecting difficult. I still think I need to do a better job talking with my mom, but I'm pleased to realize we never had any arguments this year at the very least.


1) Spent way outside my comfort zone. Due to the purchase of a fixer property in May, I spent above my normal comfort zone for four months in a row. Even though I set aside some money for the remodel, it still felt horrendous not saving given I’ve been saving at least 50% of my after tax income for 15 years. I discuss my thoughts in The Natural Savings / Spending Balance. At least I paid down about $190,000 of my rental property mortgage.

2) Started to get stressed again. One of the big benefits of leaving Corporate America is the large reduction in stress. My TMJ (jaw tightness) and chronic golfer's elbow went away between 2012 and 2013. Even though I'm not trying to climb the corporate ladder at my consulting job, I wasn't able to keep stress at bay due to deadlines, production demands, and personnel changes. I sensed multiple times my TMJ and golfer's elbow come back as a result. Furthermore, I've begun snoring louder than normal. I'm so used to being a workaholic that I went way beyond my 25 hours a week contracting agreement for the entire year. I'll write about this in a future post.

3) Got swindled, twice! The first swindle was buying a fake home theater system that turned out to be a cheap knockoff. The upside is that it works fine and the overall cost is about $700 less than what I would have spent for an alternative system. I just thought I was getting way more. I'm just amazed at how people can feel OK with themselves for trying to con other people. I was also cheated by another ~$2,000 from an electrician who overcharged me for his work. He dropped by before I went to work and said he'd be done in two hours. Nine hours later, he texted me saying he was still working. He charged me, and I later find out he did the work wrong. Sigh.

4) Received my first moving violation ticket in eight years. What a burn to get a speeding ticket going 35 mph on a three lane road in a 25 mph zone. At least I made the most of the experience by writing three posts helping other people out who might be wondering whether to go to court to fight, and how to minimize getting traffic tickets.

5) Didn't travel as much. In 2010 and 2011 I traveled for six weeks each. In 2012 and 2013 I traveled for 8-9 weeks each. In 2014 I only traveled for three weeks due to my consulting gig. But I've realized that I've been an overachieving consulting dumb ass. I'm always responding to e-mails every single day and working way longer than my 25 hours a week mandate. I know a fellow consultant who gets paid an equal amount and hasn't come to the office in five months! I plan to follow his lead in 2015 and align my work with the contract agreement.

6) Didn't improve my writing skills. I have a fixed writing style that has not adapted over the years. There was no experimentation whatsoever probably because it's difficult to write in a way that you're not used to. I'm going to make it a point to write in a different way at least once a month next year while working on my podcast.

7) My business didn't become a raging success. I have a very warped sense of reality because I expect to make more online than as a Director or VP working at a bulge bracket Wall Street firm. If I didn't believe I could achieve this hurdle, I probably wouldn't have engineered my layoff for another six years until I was 40. It took about two years to firmly make more than my last year's total compensation in finance. But I've still got another 30%-50% to go to match my all-time high income figure.

8) Didn't reach peak fitness. There's a blue-sky scenario in my head that I'll be able to drop down to 150 lbs, re-gain four-pack abs, and comfortably wear a 31-32 waist pair of jeans at 5′ 10″ tall while eating as much as I want! I feel like the donkey who expects to get rich without saving or investing any money at all. I just went to the doctor the other week as part of my 10 year end things to do, and I'm a somewhat doughy 166 lbs. The ideal body weight for a man my height with a medium frame is 151 – 163 lbs. Nobody is going to call me fat. As an athlete, it just doesn't feel good carrying an extra 10 lbs on the court.

9) Found my first grey hair. Stress kills I tell yah! At the height of the home remodeling period, I was super stressed. There was work to be done at home and work to be done at my new consulting gig. But I think my consulting gig may have helped relieve a little stress because it forced me to get out of the house and think of something else. I was sitting in my favorite barber's chair and there I found a short silver strand of hair protruding from my left side. It's funny because I haven't found another strand of hair since July. I guess 37 isn't that young for finding my first grey hair. At what age did you first find yours?

10) Missed out on some massive investments. I've got ideas, but I either don't successfully execute those ideas or I sell too soon. For example, I've been telling myself and readers for the past couple of years to join Uber and Airbnb if they are looking for an exciting job with massive equity upside. If I took my advice for Uber, my equity would have more than doubled in just one year. But, joining these high demand companies is easier said than done. Someone mentioned to me that because everybody wants to join Uber, they pay way below market e.g. $60,000 for a marketing manager. I also didn't stick to a massive oversized position of Apple stock when it was at $500 pre-split. I felt it was too risky to have 60% of my speculative portfolio in Apple, so I cut the position to 20% and invested those proceeds in a stock that went down 25%. Sigh. Definitely don't punt around with more than 10% of your investments. It's very hard to outperform the market consistently.


Overall, I give 2014 a “B” letter grade. Whereas 2012 felt like a big step function since I left a long-time job to swim on my own, 2014 just felt like another average year. There was little excitement this year as I didn't take ANY big risks. The adventure I often crave was missing.

Out of all the wins, getting bumped to 5.0 is what sticks out the most because it came in November (late bias) and it was totally unexpected. Out of all the misses, getting swindled is the most annoying because people continuously disappoint me due to the desire for money. I refuse to stop believing in people due to several bad apples. But I can see why people get more salty as they grow older.

Readers, please share with us some of your hits and misses for the year! I'll be posting a neat infographic highlighting some of the top investments of the year, perhaps a recap of the best posts for 2015, and 2015 financial goals. 



About The Author

53 thoughts on “Financial Samurai Personal Year In Review 2014”

  1. Saw Fed and Rafa play at Indian Wells two years ago. Paid up for tickets in 2nd row for my son and I. Definitely a bucket list moment. At 58, I hope I never get bumped up to 4.5 in a league ;). It is depressing to not be able to play at the same level as when younger, but it is great to get out 2-3 times per year. Enjoying the binge reading of the last 9 years to find little nuggets that I can use.

  2. I am interested in your contracting gig. I work in Government contracting (I write contracts for the Army), and was curious if that was what you were talking about? Or if you are referring to being a contractor? Thanks!

  3. Valentina Bellicova

    Great post Sam!

    My review 2014 and preview of 2015 was completed by end of December – there are both highs and lows for 2014, and if I had to pick just one for each,

    1. High would be developing a new source of residual income which keeps growing each month
    2. Low would be loss of major client who no longer needed my services as they went into a different phase (from pre-IPO to listing on TSX).

    Since first “meeting” you here in 2009, when I too blogged (I have since retired that blog), I have my own little start up – a digital media agency – which I launched two years ago. Between blog time and agency I sharpened up my offline marketing skills and transitioned to online marketing progressing to digital media agency.

    Preview for 2015.
    On reviewing 2014 and years previous to that, I came to the conclusion that it was time to reinvent myself (again). I started the re-invention process mid-2014 when I launched a publishing business which is paying me a small yet incremental monthly growth residual.

    My review process lead me to the realization that everything I accomplished in the digital media space was as a result of a little blog I ran (Blog Income Life), which took me on a path of discovery, growth and establishing a solid online business.

    The “re-invent” part for 2015 is focused on my entrepreneurial journey, past, present and future, and yes, it will be anchored in a new blog, The Entrepreneur’s Way. Not sure whether I should apostrophisize that (I know, no such word … now there is :-) ) That will run parallel to my digital media agency business.

    The “plan” for 2015 is simple with many fenceposts set along the way. The big difference this year is to put a strong emphasis on QI and make sure that the goal for March 31 is met & ideally exceeded. Hate catchup – seldom happens.

    Sam … always a pleasure to read your posts and next time I’m in San Francisco will be sure to connect.

    To an awesome 2015! … Valentina

  4. kudos on the tennis related achievements (and the financial ones)
    i went to Roland Garros last May to watch RF play.

  5. Congrats on making 5.0! That’s awesome!

    I just starting playing tennis again, 15 years since graduating high school tennis and playing a lot in juniors. I’m playing 4.5 now and I’m hoping to one day get to 5.0. Though I imagine it’s much harder to find leagues/tournaments to enter at that level.

    Good luck in 2015 with your tennis, financial, and personal goals!

    1. Thanks! 4.5 is a great level to compete in because you have some ringers who are ringers and ex DI players, and also others who just play a lot.

      5.0 is a level that contains simply no bad players. One can’t just get lucky winning a 5.0 match. Everybody is either naturally skilled ex DI college players are in super great shape. I’m doomed lol. But it will be fun for at least one year with little expectations.

      I will try to use the 5.0 bump as a reason to get really lean and lose 10 lbs.

      Have fun playing league tennis!

  6. You can tell you’ve had a great year when you’re ‘not so great’ list includes things like “My business didn’t become a raging success”, “didn’t reach peak physical fitness” and “missed out on some massive investments”. It’s like Michael Jordan saying after winning a 3rd championship in a row, talking about things that didn’t go well and including “I didn’t have a 65 point game this play-off season!” I suppose it’s good to set the bar high and try to stretch yourself though :)

    Great summary of your highs and lows for the year – hopefully you’ll have much more trouble coming up with the list of things that didn’t go well next year!

    All the best for 2015, look forward to reading more great posts from you!



    1. Haha, maybe. I can now view those “misses” as somewhat obnoxious then… or can see how others can see it as obnoxious.

      I do like to think big, which can be problematic b/c good is often never good enough. The results have to be excellent.

      I know that if I’m not hard on myself, then I would probably gain more weight, not write as much, and not take enough calculated risks. My tendencies are to just think “good enough is good enough,” ever since I was in high school. As a result, my backhand didn’t get better as I settled for a slice. Now I have a decent topspin backhand, but Im 20 years older now.

      It’s annoying to see opportunity staring you in the face every single day, and not be smart enough or have enough foresight to seize such opportunity. At least I know for certain that starting FS has helped me achieve more of my goal than if I didn’t start FS. Writing helps provide clarity.

      How was your 2014 Jason?


      1. 2014 was pretty good, but I probably haven’t taken the time to reflect on the good and bad yet. The two things that stand out are starting my blog, and recently buying our new home. I’ve got so much more out of starting my blog already than I ever expected, and am particularly proud that I’ve kept it going, and actually feel like I’ve got some positive momentum!

        The work year was a bit topsy-turvy, ranging from loving my work, to wondering ‘what am I doing with my life??’, but I feel like I’m back in the zone now, with some really solid goals for 2015 (and a big mortgage as extra incentive!). Seeing how you’ve pushed yourself to achieve what you have has been a great inspiration for me, and has helped clarify where I should be putting my time and energy right now.

        I think I can relate to your big goals and high expectations in some way. I’ve been trying to adopt a ‘simpler’ focus in life, but through that process I’m learning that I do really value achievement and discovering my own potential! I’ve never thought of myself as the hardest worker, but I seem to get antsy when I just sit at home for a couple or hours doing nothing! At least if I could spend half of my days playing golf and tennis rather than working, I could be improving and working hard to be as good as I can!

  7. Those ambitious goals and high standards are the source of your success and your stress! Spending way outside of your comfort zone? I wonder how many Americans put aside 50% of their earnings into savings/investment. Make more in your personal business than your VP job at a giant Wall St firm? Many folks would be thrilled to make half that salary in the first few years of their business. Gray hairs are just your genes speaking–but if hair is falling out that might be a different story…

    Anyways, sounds like you’re doing great! Happy 2015!

    1. The thing is, everything is relative and each person has their own expectations to deal with. The problem lies in putting one’s expectations onto others, which is why I’ve evolved my financial advice over the years to make it more flexible to different people.

      It’ all about progress imo. It doesn’t matter where you are on the financial spectrum, so long as there is some type of progress, that is what equates to happiness.

      Oh, and my hair is slowly falling out too :)

      Good luck to you for 2015!

  8. Dude! Slow down! You’ve won at the game of life, you’re just running up the score now. ;)

    Maybe you thrive on stress. It sounds like you are always on the go and don’t have a lot of time to “sit back and sip on a cab”. Maybe that can be one of your 2015 goals – take a chance every day to sit back and proverbially sip on a cab while enjoying the view. Or maybe not? Some people get bored easily.

    Congrats on hitting some key milestones in 2014 and best wishes as we head into 2015!

    1. Howdy Justin,

      I do like a little bit of stress and the pressure of trying to achieve a goal, for sure. Without stress or pressure, I feel bored and useless. The need to feel useful is definitely one of the key takeaways during the two years of early retirement.

      Part of wanting to build the two ocean facing decks off my house is to be able to just sit back, tan in the sun with that drink and relax. But dang…. the contractor is taking his sweet time getting the plans through, probably b/c he is working on another job!

      How did 2014 go for you?

      GL for 2015!

      1. That deck and the house attached to it sound pretty awesome.

        My 2014 was a great success. I eased into the early retirement lifestyle. Investments are doing well. Tax strategies have worked out so far.

        We took a nice long road trip up the east coast to Canada with the kids. Then booked a last minute cruise to Mexico, Honduras and Belize.

        We also finished a major exterior renovation on the house including new siding, new windows, and fixed some recurring roof issues (hopefully).

        I read dozens of books, played a bunch of games, walked many miles on many trails.

        In a way I accomplished a lot I guess.

  9. Great Post! Here’s my list…

    +Paid off all student loan debt ($80k of debt – had a plan to pay off by July ’15 but was able to achieve it by Dec ’14 – thanks to being laid off see below).
    +Bought rental property #4.
    +Got laid off from one startup (that was sold) with another job in hand (at another startup) and was able to time it perfectly. Got a sizable sum from negotiated severance (see debt paid off from above).
    +Got almost 4 weeks off between jobs and spent with family and re-prioritize life.
    +Landed a new side IT consulting client with solid revenue for 2014 and matching or greater revenue for 2015.

    -Sitting on the rental property for 3 months and haven’t had it rented. Being too stubborn to accept local market conditions and focusing on my side consulting project has cost me several grand since I haven’t adequately marketed it.
    -Wanted to start an online business this year but did not execute. On the flipside I landed side consulting which sucked up my time (also see miss #1).
    -Not properly manage my equity investments and most likely got a pitiful return (haven’t even evaluated that yet).

    2015 Goals
    ~Get property #4 rented ASAP.
    ~Start an online business to test the waters on another revenue stream.
    ~Buy rental property #5.
    ~Work on my “brand” including speaking at local professional chapters and perhaps creating a blog around my IT/Finance skillset to give back (your site has really inspired me).
    ~Evaluate investments and build monthly schedule to evaluate and re-allocate – I’m working with the Personal Capital app on this one. Spoke with P. Dinan over there who mentioned he interviewed you. Nice guy.
    ~Plan out the next few years including when I can leave my job and become 100% entrepreneurial.
    ~Start scaling my consulting with partners so its not so dependent on me.
    ~Have fun.

    Overall a good year.. maybe a “B” with the highlight being the student loan debt being taken off the balance sheet. That’s a monkey off the back that was “mentally” holding me back.

    I’ve been lurking on your site for about 3 months and wanted to say thanks for all the awesome content!


    1. Wow, awesome list!

      As an enthusiast on severance package negotiations, I particularly liked how you were able to get a severance, then get 4 weeks off, and then get another job!

      I remember paying off my business school student loans early too, and felt how much freer things were afterward. The interest rate was under 3%, but I didn’t care. It felt so good to get that liability off the balance sheet, which is why I will slay my longest standing mortgage this year.

      Sounds like you need to start a site and chronicle your journey! Writing things down and feeling the accountability definitely helps get things done more b/c you don’t want to fail in front of everyone!


  10. Mr. Captain Cash

    Only a B letter grade FS!

    I think a B+ would be more appropriate. I will be checking out your advice on how to minimize traffic tickets as I have recently received one in the past month. Great job this year, I enjoyed following your progress throughout the year and look forward to see what 2015 has in store!

    Mr. Captain Cash

  11. Nice year in review! The weight should come off quickly, although you might need to slow your workaholism.

    I’d say the only relative success I have compared to yours might be the lack of a grey hair (at the moment).

  12. Sam – can you tell us the details of the electrical rip off? Electrical and HVAC is my business and I’m always concerned about the image of both industries.

    1. The electrician took advantage of me by coming to my house at 8am and telling me he would only have to do two hours of work at $50 an hour in the garage. Nine hours later he texts me saying he’s still working, while I’m at work. What am I supposed to do? Not pay him? So he ends up working 10 hours despite saying he only needed 2 hours.

      MY MISTAKE for leaving him alone to go to work and trusting him.

      I then fired him, and an inspector came and said all the wiring in the garage needs to be conduited (cannot be exposed). So I hired another electrician to fix cover all his wiring, which cost another $500.

      One other thing, the electrician agreed to come to my house to finish about 5 hours worth of work if I paid him the remaining $1,000 on our contract. I did, and he never showed up, so I was able to reverse the $1,000 check.

      Awesome, and so cunning. I wish people did things right, and did what they say they would do.

      Related post: Why Home Remodeling Always Costs More And Takes Longer Than Expected

      1. I’m very sorry to hear that Sam – hate to see the industry get a black eye by hack “electricians”. It is odd (to me in my region at least) for licensed electrical contractors to work for an hourly rate – and $50 an hour is pretty cheap for a real professional electrical contractor that knows the code – beware of the low bid guys.

        Your “electrician” should have known the wiring was required to be installed in conduit. I typically bid the full job, in a written quote, and the customer agrees prior to the start of the job. Most locations require a permit before starting the work and an inspection upon completion. The only exception would be a situation where the customer fully understands there may be hidden electrical problems behind walls in troubleshooting scenarios, and it is impossible to give a firm quote – those jobs are completed on a time + material basis.

        Poorly done electrical work can burn down your house – glad you were able to get it done right eventually. I’ve played clean-up for quite a few hack-jobs over the years.

        1. For sure John. The electrical inspector in my SF district is super strict, and rightly so. The electrician was giving me a discount/friend/tennis rate, but it ended up costing double in the end.

          He should have known that all garage wiring should be installed in conduit, and when I asked him why he didn’t, he baffling said, “I know.” I didn’t want to argue with him so I just moved on and salvaged what he’s done so far.

          Next time I need electrical help, maybe you can work on the job!

  13. FS, congrats on a great year, and benchmarking 2015! Running, golf and tennis are the sports at which one can improve well into adulthood. Those 20-somethings peel off, as they get married/have kids, get a serious job, or injuries hit a tipping point. Hall of Famer and Grand Slam champion René Lacoste competed well into his 70s, and was asked how someone could become a national champion in the 75-and-overs. His answer…

    “Don’t ever stop playing!” – René Lacoste

    1. Thank JayCeezy. I donno man… there is a term “old man double” for a reason!

      The funniest thing is, I used to watch my buddies at W&M play their Division I matches back in college against UVA, VCU, Florida, etc. I was amazed by their abilities since they hit the ball so much bigger than I did. About 10 years later, I began hitting with my friend who played at W&M and who went something like 123-60. In other words, he was a 4 year starter. He was till much better, but we could at least rally competitively.

      But he started getting heavier and heavier and he and his tennis teammate who trained at Bollettieri in Florida decided to challenge my 4.5 teammate and I in doubles (we went 10-0 in 2012), and we WON in straight sets 7-5, 6-4 in 2013. It was one of the greatest sports achievements of my life.

      It’s so funny how so many thing come full circle. It also helps that I only gained about 5 lbs after college and he gained 35 lbs. :)

  14. Do you remember when Clinton dropped an incredible amount of weight and the media was wondering what was going on with him? He was doing a diet called Love Life Diet. Some lady in Austin named Love came up with it. My dad did it and I swear he is probably about the same size as he was in high school. His doctor told him that in 35 years he had never seen someone correct their cholesterol levels that drastically in the amount of time.

    1. Hmmmm… will have to take a look at the Love Life Diet! I do strongly believe after my own testing, that 80% of being physically fit, or at least looking physically fit is due to diet. Exercising more just makes me more hungry!

      How was your 2014 Austin?

  15. Sounds like a great year! Congrats on your success, on the court and off

    2014 was a good year for us too. We made a baby, I biked 900 km around Taiwan, we checked off two more countries from our travel list, my Mandarin is now almost as good as a native 2 year old, the blog grew by leaps and bounds, and we enjoyed our 2nd year of early retirement

    If you happen to pass through Taipei, dinner is on me

    Happy Holidays


    1. Good tuff Jeremy! I’ve been meaning to go back to Taipei for a long time (been maybe 8 years now), and I’ll definitely hit you up when I’m there. I might go for two weeks in 2015 and/or Beijing for some Mandarin training.

      I miss Din Tai Fung so much. Can’t believe they don’t have one in SF. A no brainer small business idea!!

      Good luck for 2015.


      1. Taipei is a lot cleaner than Beijing. Every time I’ve been to Beijing, I feel sick just after a couple days of breathing that air

        Din Tai Fung is great. If you are really in desperate need of some DTF, there is one in Arcadia just outside LA. Road Trip! :)

        1. I’m going to call DTF HQ and just ask to start one here in SF. Easier, and likely much more profitable! There’s a dumpling restaurant across from DTF that I went to a lot as well. Just as good, and cheaper. It’s in the alley.

  16. Wow you had quite the well rounded year! Buying a house and seeing Wimbledon are super cool accomplishments. Congrats on your business and career successes and what a cherry on top to get that tennis bump up. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  17. I’ve mostly been a lurker for the last couple of years, but I’m a faithful reader and love learning from your advice. Your decision to join a startup definitely influenced my own, and I’m loving the experience so far.

    1. Hi Elliott,

      Nice to hear from you and great to hear you’re enjoying your startup experience. Just manage your expectations for what the startup can do given competition is probably fierce and the successes we continuously hear about are so rare for the most of us.

      Good luck for 2015!

  18. Another great post!
    Sam, I have always enjoyed your articles and have learned so much. I only wish that I’d known your site long ago.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

    1. Thanks for reading all this time Kiko. It’s always nice to work and plan during the holidays since traffic and comments are down. Can get a lot done.

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  19. Sam,

    I hope all is well and you are having a nice Christmas day. Thanks for yet another insightful and interesting read. I can certainly relate to your post and particularly the regret of not taking any big or meaningful risks. I think my appetite for risk is quite similar to yours, but did not take any substantial risks this year and do not have any “home run” like investments currently working for me. I was curious what you would constitute as taking more risks or even a high risk investment. Any thoughts or feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks again for your time and great posts!!


    1. Any feedback? Perhaps, you could write a post in the future regarding the concept of risk and what are appropriate ways to take risk, etc.

      1. Risk is a tough one because it’s hard to know until you start losing money on a sustained basis. A lot of people have started invested only in the last five years, and they feel invincible as a result:

        I would read this post on asset allocation:

        Taking more risks for me, means seeing a binary outcome of total loss and amazing achievement…. or at least it trend towards that end of the spectrum. I’m thinking about my goals for 2015 and will see if I can incorporate this example.

  20. Great year end wrap up, Sam.

    You are lucky- I found my first gray hair around 29 or so.

    2014 has been an interesting year for me:

    1. I built up a solid diversified dividend stock portfolio from scratch that is yielding about $50k a year with strong potential for future growth.
    2. Got our extra space rented out earlier in the year.
    3. Changed jobs from a supplier in the HDD industry to working for an leading hospital in the region.
    4. Wrote a patent with my father (who is 70 years old) that should have some future business potential.
    5. Our baby is a happy, healthy, well developing 18 month old.

    Minor issues faced during the year:

    1. I cracked a tooth eating some bee pollen. Fortunately there is an evening clinic here and that got treated within 1 hour for $20. This was on Friday night at 6:45pm. Gotta love living in Bangkok!
    2. My laptop computer screen cracked when my bag fell from a shelf while traveling in the airport.
    3. My old employer was facing cost challenges and was trying to cut salaries… time to pull the ripchord, baby!
    4. Found leaking water in several places in our residence and have been going through making repairs and renovations. Total cost spent so far is $5K but there is another $25K of expenses in the works, as we remodel our kitchen.
    5. I made some big investments in a start up that later faced some financial challenges until a few days ago, and it looks like they have a solid runway for several more months. The saga continues.

    All in all, it was a fine year. May 2015 bring you more progress and enjoyment.

    Hope you can visit us in Thailand soon.


    1. Financial Samurai

      That’s cool you created a patent with your dad. Going from tech to hotel seems like quite a leap. Hope you enjoy the change.

      I plan to make it out your way in 2015 and will look you up. I’m not sure the email address you have in your field works? Shoot me an email when you get a chance.


  21. Merry xmas all.

    FS we probably crossed paths at Wimbledon. Hope you had some champagne and strawberries.

    Biggest hit has to be discovering the concept of financial independence through this site and cycling the length of the country.

    Biggest miss. Too much time watching TV.

    Mr Z

    1. Financial Samurai

      Wow! Nice job cycling the length of your country! That would be quite a feat here in the US. Cheers

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *