Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts that I typed up quickly while on the plane heading down to the US… they are very RAW.

 

I am terribly sad and feel sick to my stomach to see what is happening in the US right now. The terrifying incident in Charlottesville was simply unacceptable. Why isn’t James Alex Fields being labeled as a terrorist? Similar incidents happened in Europe, idiots that ran over pedestrians with cars were all labeled as terrorists. Why is James Alex Fields being treated differently because he’s white?

Why are people now proudly waving the Nazi flag around, hanging Nazi swastika flag in front of their houses, and marching down the streets chanting pro-white messages?

It is so sad and frightening that there are so much hatred down in the US.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis, alt-right, etc simply cannot be tolerated and their messages are wrong and unacceptable in today’s society. I am extremely surprised that people are still flying the Confederation flag down in South. Come on guys, last time I checked the US civil war was over in 1865. It’s 2017 now. The South surrendered and therefore lost the war, let it go OK? You don’t see the Germans waving the Austria-German Axis flag (if there was one) from WWI, you don’t see the Chinese waving flags from the Ming Dynasty, and you certainly don’t see Adolf Hitler statues in Germany. So why are people protesting like mad dogs for removal of Robert E. Lee statues?

Guys, it’s time to move on.

Being Asian myself, I have faced some episodes of discrimination growing up in North America. The worst was probably someone that left a note on my parents’ car that said, “Go back home Chinks.”

Nice try buddy. First of all, we aren’t Chinese, we are Taiwanese. Whoever wrote that message sure was not very well-educated. Not all Asians are Chinese. I always chuckle a bit inside when people just automatically call all Asians as Chinese. Um you do know there are 48 countries in Asia right? You sure don’t see people calling all Caucasians British, or people calling all Black people Nigerians.

But the discrimination incidents I faced were none like what Sam encountered in Virginia one evening many years ago.

Although I have been discriminated in Canada in the past due to race, I do feel blessed to be living in Canada where multi-cultural is encouraged. Over the last 22 years I believe more and more Canadians are celebrating the differences and being different is now encouraged.

Unfortunately, discrimination will always be there. People have inherent biases and that result in discriminatory thoughts because someone else is different, whether it’s their skin colour, religion, sex, belief system, social status, finances, jobs, clothing, etc.

But deliberately carry out discriminatory actions is not acceptable and should be condemned.

Having traveled extensively so far in my life and encountered many things that I wouldn’t normally encounter in my typical home social settings, I have learned so many things.

To me, traveling is really the best solution to reduce and possibly eliminate these inherent biases and discriminatory thoughts.

Have you walked through a Nazi concentration camp and experienced the terror?

Have you walked on D-Day beaches in Normandy and felt chill down your spine knowing that thousands of men died at the exact same spot?

Have you read the terrifying and descriptive stories of the A-bomb victims in Hiroshima that died after suffering from radiation exposure?

Have you been to a place where you are the only minority and everyone stares at you?

Have you been to a slum and see how people live and how they are being treated by others?

I have. And through these experiences I have learned to how to accept people who are different than me. I have also learned how to think differently and live in other people’s shoes before judging them.

I am nowhere near perfect. I still have my biases but I am trying to improve every day.

For so-called narcissistic racists, grow up, or you can be left behind.

The stock market has been somewhat volatile the last few weeks due to tensions between USA and North Korea. Would the two go to war? Would a nuclear war break out?

Very unlikely. And even if North Korea does attack the US, the only way I see this being somewhat successful would be a surprise attack like Pearl Harbor. But I don’t see North Korea having a chance to win the war against the US. Having said all that, for the sake of humanity I hope there’s no war.

War is a terrible thing.

When it comes to the stock market and investing, does this mean there are opportunities to take advantage of?

Absolutely.

Generally speaking many stocks are down, so it is time to purchase some blue-chip stocks on a slight discount.

Perhaps unrelated to the war, the Canadian pipeline companies like Enbridge and Inter Pipeline are all near their 52 weeks lows. The Canadian REITs have been lowered due to the immanent interest rate hikes and some retail REITs have been taking a beating because the Amazon & Whole Foods taking over the retail world scare. These stocks might be worthwhile to take a closer look.

During turmoil times, price of gold and other precious metals typically will go up. Does it make sense to branch out from Dividend Growth Investing and start buying some shares of gold ETFs to make some quick money? The other day I had a long investing discussion with my brother and my dad. Both of them have started to buy gold ETF as they believe gold price will go up. Is it true? I can’t predict the future but I have never been into buying gold. Maybe that’ll change?

I do, however, see huge growth potentials for Lithium and Cobalt producers. Lithium and Cobalt are needed for cellphone, laptop, tablet, and electric car batteries. As electric cars become more main stream and the price starts to go down, I believe more and more people will start purchasing electric cars. The shift is already happening. Is it time to ride that wave on the investment front? Perhaps? Jay at FI Fighter sure have pounding this drum hard the last little while.

To be perfectly honest, I have been struggling lately.

As you may know, we are aiming to become financially independent in 9 years or so. Although we have not set a specific date, deep inside I really want to achieve this goal earlier. This year has been a bit rough when it comes to expenses as we had several large, unplanned expenses. They suck. While we are already quite frugal with low annual spending for the past number of years, I really think we can do so much more to increase our savings rate, and therefore, add more dividend growth stocks with additional saved money.  I have preached the idea of finding the right balance between spending and saving. But this year especially, I seem to struggle a bit when it comes to finding the right personal balance…

“I just really like to become financially independent earlier,” I said to Mrs. T the other night.

“What do you plan to do once we are financially independent? You still plan to work, don’t you?”

“Yea I think so, but at the same time I don’t know.”

Perhaps the problem is that I don’t have a set plan when we are finally financially independent? Perhaps I need to have more concrete plans?

This discussion came on the day of my 11th year work anniversary. I was a bit surprised that I have been working for the same company for 11 years. I joined the company fresh out of university. Since then I have had 4 different job titles and saw an increase in my responsibilities. Do I see myself working for the same company for another 9 years? Perhaps, perhaps not. What’s important is that I am still having fun at work and enjoying what I do. At the same time, I want more flexibility so I can travel more or go for outdoor adventures.

If I were still single I probably could have been financially independent already or in a couple of years. But maybe I wouldn’t even have had a financial epiphany? It’s really hard to say. What I know is that marrying Mrs. T and having kids have provided so much joy and rewards and I can’t think having my life differently.

Enjoy the financial independence journey, I have said this on the blog many times

Perhaps I have been thinking too much about the end goal and I am forgetting to enjoy the journey along the way?

I need to keep remind myself this important message.

Time for some soul-searching.

Time to talk and connect with other people on the similar FI path…

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    FI Fighter
    August 17, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Great thoughts. It’s absolutely crazy what’s going on in the world right now, and especially in America… When I saw that I was like seriously wtf in this day and age…
    Anyway, totally agree with your point about traveling and seeing/experiencing different environments… It helps open up your eyes and mind.
    And in regards to investing, I’m a total gold, lithium, cobalt bull
    Lithium in particular, for anyone interested, compare these two stocks: AVZ.AX and BGS.AX
    I see great opportunity emerging shortly with the latter (the former has already re-rated) as soon as it comes back online and exits out of trading suspension. Ping me if you want more details.
    All the best,
    Jay

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      It is absolutely crazy right now. All the terrorist attacks in Europe are pretty insane too. Make me shake my head wondering WTF is going on.

      I have been looking at both AVZ.AX and BGS.AX. Buying Australian shares in Canada is a bit tricky though. Hoping BGS.AX will lift the trading suspension soon.

  • Reply
    Miss Mazuma
    August 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Very well said, Bob. What is happening in the US right now is shocking. There is no other word to describe it. I too have traveled all over the world and hace learned about the many cultures and issues that arise within other countries. I have been a proud to call America my home even when we have made mistakes (politically or otherwise). I have never been ashamed as I am at this moment. We are going backwards in time to fight battles that have already been won. To have a leader who doesn’t take a stand against such hatred is embarrassing. In 1964, members of my family had a cross burned on their lawn for assisting African American men in their workplace. My uncle would be rolling in his grave to see what happened in Charlottesville. I can only pray that love speaks louder than hate. That we come together to take a stand and cut the poison from our communities, cities, states, then country.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      You’re absolutely correct. What’s happening in the US right now is shocking. A leader should always stand up against such hatred.

      That’s crazy members of your family had a cross burned on their lawn for assisting African American men in their workplace. You’d think the society has improved over the last 50 years but clearly we still need a lot of improvements. We need to heal together.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Adventure Rich
    August 17, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Thank you for sharing the thoughts, Bob. I have been feeling sick thinking about the events in America recently. In a lot of ways, I just don’t get it…. I have always been (and I still am) proud to be an American, but it is deeply unsettling to see such hatred in our country.

    On the FI stage, I think you are going through much the same thing Mr. Adventure Rich and I go through now and again. We are probably closer to 15 years from FI (depends on a lot of things, including how many kids we will have in addition to our son and how many unexpected expenses pop up along the way) and it can be a bit discouraging to see our goal that far off. And even when we reach FI, we only have a fuzzy “maybe I’ll do this” plan… not a solid, actionable plan. I think we have some work/soul searching to do as well!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      I don’t get it either. I don’t know why people are so divided in the US right now. It’s so scary.

      Yes I guess it’s a bit discouraging to see our goal that far off when other bloggers might be closer to the goal. But everyone has their own FI path I guess.

  • Reply
    Rob
    August 17, 2017 at 9:24 am

    It got so bad, that, me a political junkie I finally had to get off Twitter for a fews days. What got my goat was people like Laura Loomer, a Jewish right winger. First few posts were sheer anger but she quickly pivoted when she discovered she could blame Bill and Hilary for everything. She’s a total piece of

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I don’t follow the news that closely so I have no idea who you’re talking about. Instead of blaming someone for the events, perhaps we should take up the responsibility and try to change the world somehow.

  • Reply
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance
    August 17, 2017 at 10:22 am

    It is indeed really sad what just happened in Charlotte and Barcelona. I have faced racial discrimination in America myself and just had to let it go and move on. But I fear that when my son grows up, he will face the same kind of treatment. Sometimes I feel powerless.

    You will get to financial independence one day, I’m sure. Sometimes I also feel like I’m in a rush and don’t get as much done for myself because of family duties. But that’s life. I think I’d desperately want a family if I were still single. The grass is always greener on the other side…

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I just read about Barcelona. What a terrible event. Someone needs to come out with a device to cut ignition to prevent this kind of attacks.

      Very true that you’d desperately want a family if you were still single. I remember when I was single all I wanted was a girlfriend. Grass is always greener on the other side I suppose.

  • Reply
    ChrisCD
    August 17, 2017 at 11:12 am

    These days it just seems too easy to be offended by something. Interesting that after your long rant, you are wondering how you can profit from the turmoil instead of helping change it. In America, you do have this crazy thing called the First Amendment. You have the right to say unpopular things and you have the right to assemble, peacefully. It seems to me that some people on both sides were looking for a fight.

    Most people do not believe in hate. They do not believe the color of your skin makes you superior in anyway shape or form. Let those that are wrong dig their own hole. Let them waist their breath. But if you go punching them in the face, haven’t you just helped their argument? If they physically attack you, you most assuredly have the right to defend yourself.

    Those that claim their forefathers would be rolling in their grave, miss that there are many things besides that, that would cause them to rollover in their graves. I guess that is for a different comment/post some time.

    Speak Love and Truth. Build up instead of tear down. Bring Hope to an often hopeless world. Change a heart, change a life and potentially a generation. The only way to do that is to actually sit down and talk to one another.

    cd :O)

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t meant to profit through the terrorist events. What I meant was finding some potential profit through the market volatility due to this potentiality of war between North Korea and USA.

      No I am not saying we should punch these people in the face. That’s the wrong approach. What we need is help these people to improve and get rid of their discriminatory beliefs. One of my favourite movies is American History X. They do a really great job of telling a story of a extreme white supremacist coming around to the other side.

  • Reply
    Oldster
    August 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    When you watch the news these days it is easy to believe that everything is falling apart. I ask you to take a step back from the brink and look at what is really going on here. The events in Charlottesville were awful, but remember that it was a few hundred very stupid people out of a nation of 350 million. The other 349,999,500 of us were not marching and carrying on like idiots. We should find some comfort in that. There will always be crazy people who do ridiculous things. But don’t think for a second that that is who we truly are. It is not.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Very good point when you put it to perspective. But what’s scary is there are a lot of people cheering these white supremacists secretly.

  • Reply
    John R
    August 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    patience and time …

    Don’t get caught up in the media, propaganda or conspiracy

  • Reply
    Passivecanadianincome
    August 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    No question whats happening in the us is crazy. First black lives matter then this. Why are we so divided based on color of skin….. We all need to unite and focus on what really matters.. a sustainable future. We should be making launch arcos now. =) (sim city) I try not to follow the media as its alot of negative stuff. Shots got fired, stabbings etc they never report on goood things. Sorry for the chink comment btw. It wasnt me but in behalf of us white ppl. My wifes philipino and sometimes I hear some stuff but never when im around. Like you said north korea cant do much and it created some great opportunitys. Dont stress about fi so much. You are doing great! Whats one more year if need be.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 18, 2017 at 11:09 am

      We absolutely need to unite regardless of the differences.

  • Reply
    wealth from thirty
    August 18, 2017 at 1:08 am

    One of the things the craziness going on has made me realise is just how decent most every day americans (humans) seem to be. The number of people I’ve seen speak up about their disapproval of what’s gone on, what’s been said (or not said) and what they stand for has been heart warming.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I was just down in the US and talked about the craziness with my American co-workers. I think the “extremes” that we see on news lately are a very small percentage… the media just needs to show more of the goods.

  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    August 18, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Hate will always be with us, it’s not just in the US. I’ve seen it in other countries too. Most of the time, these hate groups are completely fringe and get no mass-media air time.

    For some reason, these groups now feel emboldened to act upon their ideas. That in itself is scary and terrible, but then the media gives these people air time… it almost legitimizing that hatred.

    The reason these ass clowns demonstrate is to be seen and heard. To voice their opinion. I ask the question: Why do we give them what they want?

    Society should be shunning them for these backward ideas.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 18, 2017 at 11:11 am

      I just read the other day that these groups exist in Canada too, just not getting as much news coverage. Rather than legitimizing that hatred, we need to focus on the quality and goodness in society. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dave
    August 18, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    It is beyond unfortunate. It unbelievable what is going on here. I had a great-uncle who fought against fascists in WWII. It is shameful how much hate is being spread. On an individual level, all I can do is to try to be positive and be helpful to others. That, and vote.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 21, 2017 at 9:53 am

      It’s shameful how much hate is being spread that’s for sure. But on the other hand, there are way more level-headed people out there.

  • Reply
    FerdiS
    August 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    What is so sad is that these people are emboldened by the POTUS.

    Financial Independence is a good goal, but I believe it is important to LIVE (and enjoy) life to the fullest while working towards that goal.

    Take care and keep up the good work!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 21, 2017 at 9:54 am

      I just need to constantly remind myself that it’s important to live and enjoy life to the fullest while working towards the FI goal. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ten Factorial Rocks
    August 19, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Bob, Honest post. I have lived and worked in many countries of the world, and there are always fringe, hate groups organized around race, religion or “sons of the soil” mindset in every place. What I found common among most of these group members that is they have never left their state or province, leave alone their country, not even once for a brief vacation. This is like that “frog in the well” that proudly declares the well it is in is the biggest water body in the world and drives away a new frog that came from the ocean that tries to reason with it. One day. I hope all frogs in these tiny wells get to expand their horizons a bit – every human being’s journey begins with a cradle and ends in a grave, and even the dreams, hopes, challenges and pains are similar in many parts of the world. Why some people are consumed by hate in these limited years we all have on this planet is beyond me.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      August 21, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Very true that many of these people never left their own state/province or their own country. That’s one of the many reasons why they have such limited view to the world.

  • Reply
    Tazi Bnu
    August 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    The Charlottesville issues were completely avoidable. The police knew about the alt-right march ahead of time and beefed up their resources for deployment on the day. However, the counter-protests were allowed to get permits on the same day and in close proximity. When the two groups started acting violently, the police requested but were not given permission to deploy, contain, and disperse the protests/riots. If they had, I would speculate, we would not be talking about it, it would be a non-issue, and the alt-right would have less momentum, because they would get less coverage. Societies have always had ways of dealing with anti-social people, by slowly distancing and isolating them, but encouraging those who want to reform and participate. This would diminish their power and send them back to the dark corners of the web, but violence will just make it worst, no matter who commits it. Anti-Vaxxers are a legit threat to lots of children and reversing lots of hard medical work in disease eradication, but no one is organizing a “Punch an Anti-Vaxxer” march.

    However, the news item that is worrisome is that Trudeau’s government has met Trump’s list of NAFTA demands, with his list of NAFTA demands. Trump’s list includes some bat shit crazy, some hard ball, and some easy demands, but at least they were on the topic of trade. Trudeau’s list has some on topic demands, ex. less buy american policies, easier movement for professionals, but it prioritizes getting chapters on environmental, labor, women’s, and indigenous’ rights. The environmental part can be a part of trade, but the other 3 are in the domestic policies realm, that Trudeau could do something about now, with his majority government. (For some reason he keeps telling us that he’s going to but he hasn’t even started yet, and I suspect he’ll make those same promises in the next election.) Instead it appears he’s using his off topic priorities to sand bag the negotiations, but look like the honorable party. If this negotiation falls through it will cause far more damage than North Korea or the alt-right.

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