A 27-Year Old trapped in Alberta, gone back to school after 7 years in the oilfield, and road construction.

I grew up in Maple Ridge, BC before I moved to Vancouver for a few years to attend UBC for a Math, Economics and Computer Science degree until 2013. I completed a bit north of 3 years of university by the time I was 19.

In May 2013: I sought Alberta for an oil patch job to make money and go home. I put all my belongings in my car and drove it to Alberta, and I have been here ever since.

Then I moved to Alberta to work in the oilfield and road construction industries until 2018: trucking and operating equipment. Afterwards, I became a finance and IT consultant for an oilfield service company.

Unfortunately, beginning 2019: clients and employers stopped paying me or were otherwise attacking me. I also then separated with my business partner, and the economy collapsed shortly after.

I was part of an oilfield service firm, and partnered with its former owner in a digital marketing startup from 2018-2019, before our relationship deteriorated and became involved in 4 active cases (3 Civil Claims in Alberta Provincial Court; 1 Tax Court of Canada).

I lost over $100,000 to Alberta real estate – and then another approximately $100,000 to my former business partner, a home-builder from a real estate deal gone bad, and to being involved with the wrong employers and clients. I returned to the oilfield driving oilfield trucks, but then was laid off in February 2020. I also had owned 2 vehicles over $100,000 beginning from when I was 22 – now which I no longer have.

COVID-19 only complicated matters with its shutdown of Courts across Canada. After having my net worth wiped out, and inability to pursue my debtors: I returned to school in March 2020 to complete an accounting degree – aiming to do so within a year. Then along with recovering as much of my losses possible through the Courts, my objective is to go to law school, and/or pursue a CPA, and/or become an accountant and insolvency trustee.

Prior to COVID-19 and my misfortunes beginning in 2019? The following was the old me, written when I was 24 years old (2017).

A 24-Year Old with former big Dreams in Alberta

My ultimate goal: to have a self-sufficient, self-growing diversified investment portfolio so that I can neither have to live to work, nor work to live. My current strategy is to finish my apprenticeship and using that, moving forward in the oil patch to increase my earning power to further grow my portfolio. Hopefully one day it will have grown enough to not be dependent on working for someone else anymore. For instance, a $1,000,000 portfolio returning annually 10% produces $100,000/year income – though only half of it being taxable, and/or being taxed at a lower rate, being investment income. It is easier to make money when you are young and single. Overall, my current strategy involves 6 weapons of battle:

(1) Oilfield trucking income.

(2) Road Construction income.

(3) Self-employment (contractor) income of the above plus that of various city work.

(4) Investment income.

(5) Rental income.

(6) Education

Where at least 4/6 are all working together at the same time to maintain adequate cashflow. If I am performing road construction one moment, but the work suddenly dries up, I pick up the phone and immediately jump to either oilfield trucking work, and/or self-employment income (#3) to prevent a fall into the red.

My Class 1 will open me to various job opportunities as a fallback, and will earn me money along the way before I have progressed far enough in my apprenticeship to be making more than I would trucking.

Education trades current earning power for a higher probability of increased future earning income.

I’d like to keep an open mind and keep trying, seeing, and hearing new things… most people are narrow minded; for instance, most people absolutely refuse to believe there is a future outside employment, or to associate themselves with different kinds of people…

Now for the short-term, my goal is to become something better everyday. If I’m taking it easy today, it is to make a better tomorrow, which is used to become something better. I do not believe in “being happy with what you are”; there is always better, and through that pursuit of such, you usually will learn something…

Originally I was a 4th year university student at UBC with a Math and Economics major (Initially I was acquiring commerce courses to transfer into Sauder, but my admission revoked because I opted to remain in Alberta). I completed a bit north of 3 years of university by the time I was 19. I was an early graduate from high school and took up to a 140% courseload during my earlier university years, and always took summer classes. At the time of writing, I’m 24.

Then I had this idea of coming to Alberta for an oil patch job to make money and go home, so I put all my belongings in my car and drove it to Alberta, and I have been here ever since.

My work began in some labour work up in Fort McMurray. Unfortunately going up there with no skill set proved to be only a financial loss and a blow to morale, so I ended up working on the service rigs until Spring Breakup. From there on I’ve moved on to a construction role in Edmonton as I finished my Class 1. Later 2014, I assisted in running a hydrovac unit before hauling heavy equipment and water in-town until that winter, where I then I ran vacuum and water trucks for pipeline and rig work. Nowadays I’m in trucking either on the road or in an oilsands plant while trying to find gigs pulling cable on the side.

Originally I wanted a very high level of education, and some sort of financial corporate role, something in investment banking, or something in law. Like the typical finance student wet dream, I have sought the prestige and glory of a big-shot title boldly presenting itself on a business card as I walk away from a glimmering corporate building after a long day at the office – where a top-name university degree sits on the wall, and its abbreviations proudly listed beside my name. Finally I drive home in the Ferrari down the city landscape to proceed to pick up the trophy wife as the public eyes stare in awe. There are the few fortunate enough to land an opportunity at a “target” business school and be recruited into either an elite investment bank or a prestigious position at one of the Big 5. Similarly, very few survive the bloodshed of higher academia to slot into the higher percentiles as a bare prerequisite for admission into law school, med school, etc. The remnants get the scraps and the Vancouver dream– after 4-5+ years of expensive university, live in Mom’s basement or rent a $1,800+/month condo, lease a BMW, work in an office for $30,000 – 40,000/year. Maybe try a failed startup funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad. Post pictures on Facebook/Instagram of attempted millionaire lifestyles of $400 steaks and glorious trips around the world. Or live the hippie dream to smoke weed in Mom’s Basement and work at Starbucks.

Most people desire a similar outcome in their grand venture of life: nice cars, nice houses, nice clothes, nice food, nice fun, nice travels of the world. Most exhibit little divergence compared to this commonly accepted dream. However, there is a difference between actually pursuing a dream than just thinking about it. The hard working take pride in being the perfect worker, guaranteeing the consistent writing of their lives by the employer and corporate family.

Most then next will attach a certain benchmark in their lives, whether it be a certain x salary or the first house, second house, the Ferrari, fucking and shitting out kids, etc… Now here I aim to become something better everyday – regardless of whether I make $30,000/year, or $130,000/year, whether I have no home, one home, two, etc… Usually we only live once, so the idea is to make the best out of every day. If we fail, then we would have learned something. If we decided to just have fun, then we would had still lived life, as then the next day, we will hit it even harder. Grow more powerful after every battle.

Lastly, very few become creative and think outside that realm of employment and corporate family reliance, where their lives and social ladder progression are only written by the employer. I want to achieve financial freedom; a self-growing and self-sufficient portfolio generating passive income, where I can enjoy life as I please without being victim to the scrutiny of the employer and corporate family. I want to be able to take a trip to Europe and then when I get bored of that, then be a full-time athlete – that without worrying about a paycheque to pay the bills. I have no desire to spend the remainder of my life trying to kiss the ass of my boss to write my lifestyle, growing at only a pace dictated by the scrutiny of the corporate family. Financial freedom in turn becomes emotional freedom – the ability to spread and fly your wings without a chain around your neck.

The problem is that you don’t always get what you want, and you have to play the best with the cards that are handed to you. In this present economic landscape, we share the common enemy of the government, banks, and financial regulators looking to stamp out risk takers, and the general public attempting to rise out of the indebted employee cycle. We share that common enemy looking to tax bleed the working citizen to feed the people who only aim to fuck and reproduce, and do not want to work. Desperate labour is rapidly lowering worker standards and compensation. We fight for every dollar. A lack of aggression is quickly taken advantage of by the enemy at the bargaining table. Many say “just be grateful to have a job”; these are the same people who ruin it for themselves and everyone else, giving the other party the power. If that’s what you’re going to ask for, then that’s all you’re going to get. We stand up for ourselves and approach life with a hustler, pry-it-out-of-your-hands mentality. If you don’t give me what I want, and I still can’t get it, then I’ll gladly get it form elsewhere. 

During my university years, I went through some bad women who interfered with my studies and morale. I didn’t get along with my family due to ideological splits; one followed an extreme risk-averse, prestigious higher education-focused, perfectionist, white-collar culture loving model of life – with a heavy foreign-to-Canada culture influence. The other favoured a risk-taker, failure-tolerant, and open-minded business and investor philosophy focusing on economic efficiency and flexibility rather than aging cultural traditions and perceived white-collar superiority. Also, BC had little economic opportunity unless you were born into Old Money or a wealthy immigrant or foreign family, especially given the extreme living costs and little, low-paying industry.