April Philosophy of an Oilfield Risk Taker
As the ominous prairie wind blows in a time of economic uncertainty, I cannot help but wonder about my present financial state.
It was only in 2013 where I was at the brink of emotional and economic collapse admist a battle against the elite academics and wealthy immigrant and Old Money offspring in Vancouver. Thereafter, upon my decision to throw everything in my car and drive to Alberta for a new life, the previous inevitable end morphed into a new world of opportunity: numerous job offers throughout each year, and the following incomes:
2014: $61,500 (approx. 65,000 if to consider non-reported income)
2015: $72,012 (74,000-75,000 if to consider non-reported)
2016: $84,040 (96,646 equivalency) (101,821 if to consider non-reported)
2017 (average based on current YTD; excludes capital gains): $112,104 (128,920 equivalency)
2018 (projected as by lenders, equivalency; excludes capital gains): $152,920
In which 2018 should be even higher as my employment income increases every year.
However, frequently I dance with the devil and tread ever closer to the limits of risk. I have narrowly missed death many times, and played securities/instruments from 20x leverage real estate and $0.04/share penny stocks, to a “stable” salary job and more traditional, higher market capitalization and volume dividend-paying stocks. I have jumped ship several times in search for higher earning power, only to find myself in disappointment and temporarily unemployed many times. Several times I narrowly missed repossession of my assets and hence bankruptcy. The oilfield income instability has been a prime example of “no risk, no reward“.
Ever since the crash in oil prices, left and right I’ve been told:
“Just be grateful you have a job.”
“You’re lucky to still be working.”
“I can easily replace you.”
“I wouldn’t buy a property right now. It might crash.”
“I don’t want you to be skidded.”
“There’s not a lot of work right now. You should be happy you even have a job and paycheque, rather than not be happy with the wage.”
“I know people who would call just to laugh.”
“Alberta is done.“
When I look back, 90%+ of those who directed me those quotes are today now financially behind me and only a minor nuisance in the grand scheme of things. For me, lower asset prices and people packing their bags going home, was a glorious opportunity.
On average, if you take the number of women I’ve dated ever since I’ve arrived in Alberta, and divide by the amount of time I have been here, the average Albertan woman lasts 2 months. I filter though several women every year- partly due to my lifestyle and attitude required for such aggressive economic growth, and the sheer number of time-wasters here due to the abundance of desperate, lonely tradesmen with high incomes.
Nevertheless, Warren Buffet once said:
Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.
In short, the fear of the public and downfalls of the common person only have strengthened my earning power. Sometimes, like at the time of writing this post, I worry about bankrupting myself. For instance, it was only 11 months ago I purchased my last condo of $328,000, and this week I sign my legal paperwork for condo #2 of approx. $300,000- during Spring Breakup- the construction and oilfield slow period where people are typically laid off. I made this move to beat the pouring of the masses during the real estate trading season in hopes of acquiring another asset below market value, and so I have ample time to perform calculations, make additional financial projections, and undergo the required formalities. The extra time allocated for my fitness (1-2+ workouts everyday) also helps clear my mind and provide more brain power.
Finances aside, my mentality is to fight on until utterly destroyed, and to become more powerful after every battle. Strangely enough, that has not failed me yet.