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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blogging for Growth

I was reading a fascinating story about how a person quit their job and started to blog full time and now is making over 100k a year with that blog. Check out it is an amazing blog with a lot of good information as well as some subjects that is normally taboo. He talks about everything in his blog as well his net worth which he updates on a monthly basis. It is a level of disclosure that very few of us are willing to show to others, but yet it works for him.

His blog is where I want to eventually take Growth Unleashed and stuff it full of great content that people are willing to spend their time reading and enjoying, all while providing me with a great way to compensate my time and energy. I think it will be quite a long time before I start to earn anywhere close to what he is getting. The author of that blog has spent the past 4 years getting it off the ground and creating content for it continuously as he writes in it almost daily.

I will set some modest milestones for myself in the near future and continually improve upon them so one day 4 years from now, I can partly blog my way to financial freedom.

Goals for Growth Unleashed
1. Post at least 15-20 times a month
2. Write at least 250-500 words a post
3. Read other blogs and comment on them
4. Establish main topics of discussion and post regularly about them
5. Always spell check and grammar check

Am I missing anything?


I think that I am becoming a workaholic. On top of my usual 40 hour work week, I am actively pursuing a blog and also becoming an investing guru. All these topics requires a lot of reading and comprehending before I can fully understand the subject, which necessitates a lot of time. That is not including some recreational activities and working out at the gym.

As much as I think that there are enough stuff to do, I want to do more... I need to do more. There are still so much more to do with my life such as becoming a good cook and an active singer. There are days where I wake up full of energy and ready to take on the world. But even on days where I am tired and dreading getting out of bed, there is still a hunger in me to try and do as much as I can before the day is done. I get a great satisfaction out of completing so much work and maximizing each day. Weird, but it works for me.

From an early age I always knew that I was a workaholic, but it was truly defined as one of my traits in college. I believe the pressure that got me through school also conditioned me to always keep my mind focused and on a goal. It didn't matter if they were big or small goals, as long as it was doable then it was good as completed in my mind. So I had a lot of goals and it never seemed to end.

I enjoy working hard and continuously challenging myself to do better. Over the long term, by putting time in now it can save me years during my retirement by not having to worry about finances or accomplishments.

Now if I can only do just enough work not to get burned out is another story...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Failed System

Well the March 1st sequestration is approaching rapidly and yet Washington has not found a way to resolve this and solve one of the biggest issues that this country has faced. 85 billion dollars will be cut from  many government programs which means that people will lose their jobs. The worst part of this mess is that the two sides are firmly entrenched on their stance and are willing to see this thing through to the end.

We as Americans lose. If anybody stalls and refuses to do their jobs at a company, they wouldn't have jobs for long but, in congress this is the norm. All they do is kick the big problems down the line until some else solves it. How can the leaders of the most powerful nation on the planet act like irresponsible children?

Real lives that depend on the government programs will suffer needlessly due to inaction. Congress isn't playing with a simulation or an intellectual game, congress's actions will directly affect people. The impact will be unknown but it will most likely put us in a mini recession for the next year or so.

I understand the need to back your party and support your constituents but at what cost? If you satisfy a couple of people in your party while the rest of them are drowning in debt and unemployed, how likely will they back your party without food or a roof over their heads? There are more primal needs to be met first.

I don't presume to know these people in Washington, I assume that they wanted to change the world when they first entered politics. But at some point, I think they lost their way and do not fully understand the world that regular people live in. We care less about the politics and ideals if we are to busy paying off loans and scrounging for a living. 

Let the inaction begin!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I like to start hopefully an important thread in this blog that is near and dear to me. On the way towards perpetually growth and its subsequent unleashing, we have a lot of time in between. I want to begin to explore my world of 20-somethings a bit more, specifically the life, times, and struggles of 20 year olds.

I have been think a lot about my purpose in life and what that means to me. The only places I can start to look are from my peers and what they are doing with their lives. HBO's Girls probably would most accurately exemplify the struggles and hardship of our generation. It is quite interesting to watch people that are in their 20's try to define their lives and careers while working to make ends meet. Although they are not my real peers, I feel their struggles are certainly related-able, albeit in a different city and opposite gender.

It is tough for any person of my age and experience (or lack thereof) to know what they truly want out of life. For those that have found what they are looking for and are chasing their dream, I applaud you and wish you luck. Those like myself that still have many more questions than answers at this point, I say, time is still on our side and we have a bit more time to solve them. Others that are still searching for what they want to do in their lives, I can offer them some  advice to never quit reaching for their goals. 

It is my hope that this post and the future posts about this subject of 20-somethings will be as  amusing as well as inspirational to many. Your future is not written in stone, until you decide it is.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Budgeting on a budget

Going off yesterday's post, I have decided to share a tool that has helped me craft a budget as well as keep track of all my expenses. I have used Mint for a few months now and I have to say that the overall experience has been great. It is a great one stop shop that for all my financial needs. It keeps tracks of all your accounts in one location which includes credit cards, investment, and also my favorite student loans.

One of the best functions of Mint is the ability to check your account for any fees and unauthorized spending and it will text you if anything is suspicious occurs. With this, I have been able to hone in on my spending and watch carefully what I am being charged on a daily basis. The only downfall is that privacy is an issue with this tool as it does need the accounts and passwords of all your financial information. This alone is the only if not significant problem with the tool.

I would personally advise that a person trying out Mint for the first time start out slowly. Maybe start by adding your student loans and/or credit cards until you get comfortable adding other accounts. There are always risks in having in your accounts in one place so do take caution. For me not knowing what is going on my accounts on a weekly basis is worth the extra risk.

Happy Budgeting!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Growing Debt

I don't know how many of you out there have student debt, but I bet you know someone that has a ton of it. Like many, I funded my way through school by getting easy to access government money. It was as easy as filling out a form and e-signing your life away. Going to USC for a master's degree was completely worth the debt but paying it off is another story.

With a federal loan that racked up to more than 40k for just two years of school I felt that 20k a year was a bit excessive. I know many of you going to law or medicine can only wish for such a low amount to pay back as the debt can easily extend pass 100k. Paying back the loan in a reasonable amount of time has been the toughest problem for me to solve. I have to consider either paying off loans faster or save up for a bigger expense later down the line.

Usually, I tend to want to pay as much as I can to loan each month, but a series of unfortunate events and pleasure trips has forced me to reconsider. My current plan is to make minimum payments as I use the loan money to pay off credit card bills and other expense. My current minimum payment is about ~$600 a month to Sallie Mae and Nelnet, at that rate it will take around 6.5 years to pay off everything. So I guess, I am not buying a car for 6.5 years. 

I think the key thing to take away from this was that I didn't realize how much of a bite loans take every month. The money literally can go to something more useful for the long term such as a car or house. Instead I have to delay those things to possibly after I am 30.

For those of you that are taking on loans that are greater than my amount, just know that when you get out and have to start paying them back it will hurt in your pocketbook for a long time.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tired Post

Sometimes there are just those days that take so much out of you that you just can't fight it. Well folks, today is just one example of a hard fought day and I lost at the end. I think there are days and weeks that a person just needs to mentally clock out and refocus on something else for a while. Lately, I have been focusing on a couple of big things that take up the majority of my mental and physical energy, leaving me with very little extra to work with.

After full days and nights the only thing that I want to do when I get home is sleep. When I am hungry, I go out and buy gloriously unhealthy junk food as a way to tide the hunger pangs. I am constantly reminded of how similar it was to my school life, although thankfully less homework. I don't know if at this point I am too conditioned to live a more relaxed life. I feel that life is more of a battlefield and that we always need to keep fighting to win and move forward.

I think the biggest hurdle is the internal pressure that I put on myself to always succeed. I tend to burnout every once in a while due various things hitting me at the same time. When that happens I feel a never ending need for sleep which is a sign that usually tells me to back off a bit and recuperate. I only wish that it was possible to know a week or two beforehand, so that I can mitigate a burnout.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend, hope yours will be as uneventful as mine.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blogs Unleashed!

I would have to say the best way to keep audiences coming back for more is to entice them with new content and expand on previous hot button topics. The hardest part about blogging is to post something every few days to keep viewership up. A great blog can die a slow and painful death if there is too much time in between posts. People in this day and age are all for the instant gratification and novelty seeking. I myself was like this way as well.

A while back when I was first researching blogs, I would always go to a few select blogs of people I knew and read weekly or bi-weekly. After a while some people would stop blogging and their blogs would disappear from my mind and I would ultimately forget that they even had a blog. They were not entertaining me and therefore was not worthy of my time. Sad but true. Keeping people's attention is extremely hard! I had to think about this every time I blogged, knowing that my audience is in it for the small boost of dopamine my blog offers. So every once in a while I would think of something crazy to blog about, it is almost like a promo ad for my blog.

What brought about this post, is that I have recently seen a couple of people that I know, create blogs of their own. I hope to see them flourish and gain viewership and hopefully many followers as well. But I must caution them about the difficulties of sustained efforts into a blog takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. I created this blog years ago under a different name and intent but it sat idly for years before I decided to really work on it.

I blog because I enjoy the experience, and hopefully they will find joy in their blogs as well. Cheers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Renting out a lifestyle


For those of you that have been with me from the start, I've always complained about the rent being too damn high. People that live in Mountain View and the surrounding areas(Palo Alto/Sunnyvale), know exactly what I am talking about. With the influx of the world's finest engineers to Silicon Valley, it has not been easy finding an affordable place to live, technology companies have been on a hiring frenzy as of late.

This has made the average cost of living around this area go through the roof. It has to be said that the law of supply and demand is clearly at work here. There is a whole lot of demand for apartments close to where I live, but not a lot of places that are relatively affordable. There a few construction sites that will try and alleviate the pressure of the mini-apartment boom and provide a couple of multi-story complexes, but these buildings are only available to those who will pay 2500+ for a single bedroom apartment.
There is only so much I can do before its not worth it to live in Mountain View. Honestly, I love the city, it is the cleanest and safest out of all the cities that I have lived in. It is located in a climate sweet spot and is near many of the biggest retailers. I can see why people flock to this place. 

Eventually, I'll have to do a cost benefit study to see if it is even worth the hassle of moving farther away. I may find that the cost savings might not be worth it in the short term, although if the rent keeps going up I'll have no choice at all but to move. 
If any of you are looking for a place to live check out <-- I wish I got some ad revenue from this.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

We are the 99%

After taking a gander at the wearethe99percent tumblr, I felt an eerie sadness for people that posted their stories on the site. It was like a never ending stream of people tormented and shackled by massive debt and on the verge of being homeless. Every race, creed, and age was represented with heart breaking stories that one can only pity.

Of all the people that posted on this tumblr, there were two primary types. One type is the college student with heavy debt and no job prospects and the other is people who are in their late 50's that have just got laid off with very little saved for retirement.

I fall under the "college student with heavy debt" category but I cannot possibly compare to those who have lost everything and cannot find work. I am extremely lucky to find employment and I do everything I can to make sure I stay employed, but others are not so fortunate. I know many people that are struggling to find a job after graduating from college. They are competing with others for simple part-time jobs, most being snatched up by recent grads trying to stem the tide before they find other work.

I wish I can help those that are suffering under these conditions, but one man does not have enough resources to help everyone in America. These problems are structural and requires new laws and regulation against those who would prey upon others. I don't know what needs to be done to solve wealth inequality in this country, but we cannot just sit back and watch the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I did it "My Way"

There are four singers that I really want to aspire to. They have such a unique voice that is impossible not to be amazed at their talent. In no particular order, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Robbie Williams, and Michael Buble. They have a classic voice that one does not hear to often in today's music.

The video above is Robbie's version of "My Way," a Frank Sinatra song that he did at the end of his career. The reason that I am showing this because I would like to perform this for my singing class exactly how he did it. This song is bravado and arrogance at its best, telling listeners that he lived a full life by doing things his way. 

Hopefully, I can do some of the dance moves Robbie does on stage as I am singing this as best I can. The ultimate goal is to make my audience weep in amazement... I got a long ways to go.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Count of Monte Cristo

If I wanted to base my life on a piece of fiction then, The Count of Monte Cristo would be the perfect example. In a nut shell, it is about a naive man (Edmond Dantes) who gets double crossed and is sent to jail for crimes he did not commit. During his time there, he meets a man that teaches him the ways of the world and helps him discover who his enemies are. Once he escapes his prison, he seeks his revenge on those that have betrayed him and nearly loses his own sanity in the process.

Now to be fair, nothing in my life compares to the extremes that the main character goes through during the often bleak story. Shades of the struggles and hardships that the protagonist experiences can be related in my own life in quite similar ways that I felt a special connection to the story the first time I saw it. What I most saw parallels in myself was the inner conflict and anger that had developed when he was in prison and had finally figured out who had betrayed him in the first place.

There was no person that betrayed me per se, it was more of a collective series of events that stymied and frustrated me as I grew up and forayed into the adult world. I believe it was the jarring realization that the world I was the taught and the world that actually was, were too much for me to handle. It can be summed as such, my expectation of the world was not in line with what I had believed and thus causing me to be disillusioned with how to proceed forward.

To understand me is to understand struggle. There is a need for me to continuously prove to myself that I am able to overcome any and all challenges in my way. With Edmund, his need for revenge against his former friends became an obsession that drove him to plot and plan with every waking moment that he had. I can see parallels in myself, when it comes to pushing myself to succeed and having wildly ambitious goals in life.

The fact is, my motivation to push myself comes mainly from proving to my high school classmates that thought so little of me all those years ago. Kinda sucks being marginalized all those years. It is absurd that events occurring almost 10 years ago could have such a huge impact me now. But as someone once told me, "we are our own experiences." Edmund spent 13 years in jail, learning and planning for the day he gets outs and starts his revenge. Likewise, I have spent most of the 10 year learning and gaining status so that one day I might come back and prove my worth.

I have thought about what this blog has helped me done in the past couple of month, which is to catalog my thoughts but also to grow as an individual. But part of that growth is to also realize that I must learn to eventually let the past go and look towards the healthy prospects in the future as Edmund finally did in the conclusion. Until then, the need to be better than my contemporaries is fueling the fires of success, but I must make sure that I don't get burned in the progress.