10:05 AM, Monday, October 4th, 2013:
Finally. Finally the polite friends and family members will no longer think I'm a drug-dealer. They finally won't think I'm somehow cheating/stealing SOMETHING to presumably NEVER work. The day before Vienna's birthday, IMAX hit over $30, I sold my remaining stock and can now finally tell the incredibly fortunate story of the keystroke that changed 5 years of my life, nearly changed the entirety of my life, and that nearly didn't happen.
When Chris Nolan decided to use IMAX cameras for Batman, I was amazed. I thought:  "Wow, that seems like it could change that company forever if people follow suit." I started watching the IMAX stock that summer (2008). It was around $7.
The reason I was even looking at stocks was that earlier in the year I had no choice but to completely drain my home equity line of credit as I got a tip that they would soon be freezing it and I'd never be able to touch it. I had to take the FULL amount RIGHT THEN ($55,000) pay interest on that... or never have access again. For a guy who has zero credit card debt, this was a frightening proposition... but I knew with my line of work, I needed future access, so I figured I'd try and offset the interest by making some investments short and long term. I finally got the nerve in September of 2008 to buy 1000 stocks, around $7000. I opened an E-trade account transfered my money and when it came time to hit BUY, I stared at the screen for a looooooong time. $7000 wasn't too much but man, I just couldn't risk losing it. I felt good about my research, I had watched the stock for 6 months - I hit buy.
"We're sorry, but you need to have your brokerage account for 14 days before making a purchase."
FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. I was soooooooooo angry. So annoyed. I just shut my laptop in disgust and decided clearly investing wasn't for me if they have a freaking FAILSAFE for idiots with impulse stock buys. And guess what hapoened at the end of September 2008?
CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH. The market CRASHED. With my jaw dropped, I looked up IMAX days later and it was at $2.75. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I would've lost a small fortune...
...of course, this was one helluvan opportunity. Movies are recession proof. One of those universal truths. So even if directors using IMAX cameras didn't become the norm (which it didn't)? This stock shouldn't stay $2.75. With talks of this "Avatar" coming out in 3D and IMAX being set to profit from the 3D boom? You could say this was kind of a no-brainer. I had looked up a list of Pixar movies coming out? Every single one for the next several years would be released in 3D. I was now, not only sure this was a good buy? I was ready to go all-in. I mean, $50,000 all-in. I had saved a little from my job, my expenses were nonexistent (I'm a saving homebody) and I just KNEW that stock was not going lower.
So I put my entire $55,000 from my HELOC into my E-trade account and stared at the stock jumping around the $2.70-$2.80 range all day. Hell, even if it went to $5 I could make a fortune. I typed in $50,000/ I remember the way the screen looked. 50,000. It hits you the risk you're taking. I took off a zero and made it $5000, then put it back on. I mean, since it crashed? I could buy TWICE the stocks I was gonna buy weeks previous for LESS money even at $5,500... so I typed in $55,000. It felt right.
Guys, I stared at that $55,000 for so long I was logged-off probably 3 or 4 times. I am not a risk taker, I cannot stomach it and I have TWO MORTGAGES. It would nearly drain my savings...
...so I pussied out. I bought 2000 shares for only $5500. I saved myself $1500 from the initial attempt and got twice the stocks. It seemed like the smart, responsible thing to do. And believe me, it was...
...when it hit $35 a share however in the summer of 2011? It was tough to swallow. For those who aren't processing the math... my shares would've been worth $700,000 had I kept that $55,000 in. Nearly 13 times my initial investment. I could've paid off my house with hundreds of thousands to spare. Instead? Little by little I ended up making about 10x my initial investment (around $50,000 total). Which, believe me - is fucking spectacular. Because I piece-mealed it over the years? I kept my income low enough that mortgage interest write-off each year meant I never paid a dime in taxes. I played it smart, stretched every penny and it has allowed me to stay home all of 2011 and 2012 and redo the house, allowed me and Talya to stay home with Vienna and with this final sell-off? A good chunk of 2014 with Cameron. It has been the most peaceful, incredible few years of my life and I feel blessed beyond measure...
...but I was one quick, electrical, synapse in my brain from hitting that button with an extra 0 on it. I know people have those stories "Oh if I had just bought stock at this time, I'd be THIS rich!", but this story goes a bit further. I was playing with 2 numbers back and forth for a looooooooong time. And I did actually invest a lot, but wow if I wasn't a middle-class little bitch? I wouldn't have even blinked at $55,000. It's an amazing little twist... but if making $50,000 is that worst of the two outcomes? You're doin' good.
And truthfully? I'm done. When it was going up the people that knew (I kept it quiet on here simply not to jinx it) kept asking for tips and I had NONE. I basically said:  "Listen, if the entire stock market crashes? There's opportunities. But in a normal economy? I haven't the slightest idea. And a 1300% return? Uhm, yeah, that doesn't happen. And I'm done investing. I think it's a joke. Those with insider info beat the system constantly and it's 100% a gamble. I did make an educated gamble, but make no mistake - it was a gamble. Had IMAX not start investing heavily in China? They would've gotten their ass kicked when people soured on 3D. They were smarter than I knew they'd be. I was extremely lucky and a few days after I sold over $30? It crashed to $25. BOOM. For what I sold? That would've been $3000 I lost. I mean, it's so volatile. It's insane.
Anyway, now you all know the rest of the story. How I seemingly never work, take the time to build a GODDAMN GOLF COURSE in my backyard and stay home with the kid. But make no mistake, I live like the poorest mofo on the planet. Live, below, your means. It is the best piece of advice you can ever give. It is the key to a stress-free, happy life. It's freedom. It's time. It's floating downstream.
PS - I went back and saw that I wrote "Tape & Sticky" right around the time of buying the stock and figured, that was a good enough reason to use it for the score of this entry's video. Won't make a lick of sense to anyone who happens upon the video without reading this but all of you will smile.