Climbing on Borrowed Time
As the other young adults make a career out of chasing young dumb girls or looking for the attention and affection of lonely men, eating chips in front of the TV, making poor financial and life decisions, and living a life lacking of ambition, I take the opportunity to become as much of a force to be reckoned with. As they run each into the ground, I am becoming more powerful after every battle. In my spare time, I read about equities, real estate, success and failure stories, and pieces of economic news to enrich my knowledge and seek new opportunities. I train in the gym to make my body and mind more powerful. I go to useful school to suffer a loss today for increased earning power in the future. I look over my finances to accordingly adjust my advancement strategies. I do jobs most people will not do, so I can keep cash flowing in the absence of intense competition. However, my current pace of (relative) advancement hinges on two premises: the competition continues to lack ambition and risk-appetite, and my youth, and consequently, the mental and physical capacity to endure the above. I am climbing the social and self-development ladder on borrowed time.
Job and business-wise, the work I do is work most do not want to do- trucking, heavy equipment and oilfield equipment operating, and pipeline work- typically 10-15/hrs a day, sometimes in excess on busy projects. Associated rigours and concurrent undesirability keeps the competition out and hence somewhat of a price floor on wages/rates and work availability. Those who perform this work are usually older family people looking to feed their women and kid(s) rather than seeking investment and credential capital; I have free roaming in this area and the ability to work longer and more rigourously with no responsibilities. Those with a similar degree with financial literacy, especially the highly educated and academically-nurtured offspring from wealthy Asian or Old Money families, are usually too lazy being used to the Golden Spoon. Some are also bounded by cultural perceptions of white-collar superiority to seek this work. Common perceived racial superiority of the former also pushes them to associate mostly only with their own kind. The Canadian blue-collar industry contains a demographic with few of them, and for obvious reasons, they’d lack the networking opportunities that will be otherwise gained if they associated with people of all backgrounds.
When it comes to what to do with the money, my youth allows a longer time horizon for investment purposes, and consequently the ability to take more risk, as I have more time to learn and make back my losses. Having no family responsibilities also means losses only hurt myself rather than a family as a whole, and I have no one to listen and cater to; I can be much more aggressive. Nevertheless, this advantage of quickly diminishing with time. My body is also gradually tiring and aging, and can withstand less work and rigour. Most financially-educated people are very narrow-minded and risk averse. They hold the belief their education presents the ultimate logical framework that automatically assumes superiority over everyone else, and they have the eyes to see the “evils” of the financial world, that coincidently corrodes their risk appetite. Their narrow-mindedness also makes them redundant to adapt to changing economic conditions. This is most seen among bankers who think they are your Mom and Dads, when really they are only stuck at their desk jobs that pay mediocrely because of these negatives.
My main competition of concern is the academically and career-nurtured offspring of wealthy Asian and Old Money families. Though few in number in Alberta, they are commonplace in Greater Vancouver and Toronto areas, with an abundance of resources and training over the years to compete for work and investment asset acquisition. Their high cash reserves allow them to afford to work and invest just as something to do, keeping a lid on wages, rates, and returns, and ruining it for the rest for us. Now one day if I ever return to the ladder in Greater Vancouver Area, I will once again find myself in a head-to-head battle, whether in seeking work or investments. The fresh memories of my past war against them keeps me fighting to make the best of every day of my life. If I do something fun and relax today, it is to fight harder tomorrow. Otherwise, I ensure I advance everyday by learning something and becoming more powerful. Everyday as I advance, they are also advancing under their nourishment.
Other related industry job-seekers are somewhat of a concern as they keep a lid on wages and rates, especially the ones just grateful to have a job and will take anything, giving the bargaining and fear-instilling power to the employer/prime contractor. But their goals are different, as I want to advance, while they usually want a paycheque to feed themselves and/or their families.
In 2013 when I made the decision to leave Greater Vancouver Area and university to seek a future in Alberta’s oil and gas sector in the blue-collar lines of work, I was banking on more efficient, faster, lower-entry-cost earning power. Blue collar in Alberta is normal to pay $100,000+/year to those in their 20s, while white collar is often lucky to pay that 10 years later. While the white collar competition is busy racking up and then slowly paying off student loans and making near-0 income after 4-8+ years, they are gradually starting low in the $40,000-50,000 range. But they live a more comfortable life, and gradually the blue-collar financial advantage diminishes over the years as the white collar incomes climb. At some point they’ll have similar or more earning power while having a more enjoyable lifestyle.
The white collar line of advancement is generally short-sloped and relatively linear, while the blue collar one resembles more of a half-parabola or an inverse natural logarithm; initially steep sloped, albeit quickly flattens. The products of wealthy Asian and Old Money families and other similar privileged offspring follow a short-sloped and relatively linear line with a high y-intercept. The investor and businessperson’s line is more exponential, though with a lengthy low-sloped start, representing gruelling beginning years that reward him/her with a prosperous future. Getting the earning power to acquire the starting capital, to learn and grow more powerful from mistakes, and to be a fearless risk taker, are the most difficult. The competition I left behind in white-collar Vancouver Region and the other young people making a career out of chasing dumb girls or lonely men empty of ambition, eating chips in front of the TV, and living a life otherwise lacking ambition, will gradually sort themselves up and re-join the climb of the social ladder. So, it is paramount that I take these early years of advancement to their fullest, investing and working aggressively to increase future earning power to get to the steeper-sloped portion of the investor and businessperson’s advancement curve.