It was two months before my 28th birthday, I remember the day so vividly, almost like it happened just last week. I stood up from my desk at work, and immediately felt like something was going horribly wrong, and it was happening quickly. I remember having the most uncomfortable, unpleasant sensations coursing through my body. I felt like I was going to pass out, vomit, empty my bowels, have a heart attack, and have a brain aneurysm all at the same time. And little did I know this day would lead to the most intense struggle I have ever experienced. For the last 3 years, I’ve been battling everyday trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
“Healthy people have one hundred wishes, sick people have only one.”
There’s a great quote that says something like: “Healthy people have one hundred wishes, sick people have only one.”
With all consuming focus I tried literally anything and everything I could think of to get my life back. I saw every doctor, from regular MD’s to cranial sacral therapists. I cried almost every other day out of sheer frustration and sadness at not making any real progress. What I now know to be panic attacks has caused me the worst suffering of my life thus far. And little did I know how big a role investing would play in my recovery…
I started investing in stocks roughly five years before this ‘burnout’ event – or whatever you want to call it – happened, and I couldn’t be more grateful that I started when I did.
I haven’t been able to work in any way, shape, or form, for the last three years. Thankfully, because of investing, and starting early, my wife and I, and our two, now three kids, were able to survive financially. It also allowed my wife – who by the way is the most amazing woman you’ll ever meet – it allowed her to not have to go to work and really hunker down and take care of me and our kids.
Over the previous 5 or 6 years or so, I had taken roughly $50,000 my wife and I had saved over that time, and with no prior investment experience, coupled with a little work and some good reading, I was able to multiply it to about $200,000, by investing in 5-8 stocks that I felt I could understand reasonably well. Stocks like dollar stores, restaurant and hospital software, and kids television shows. I definitely made my major mistakes, but the good stocks far outweighed the bad. I was able to do all this by simply using principles taught by great investors like Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger.
Having these savings grow from investing allowed us to not have to worry as much about where our rent would come from, or our next grocery haul. I was also denied sick benefits because like so many people these days, I was told I was ‘healthy’. It was only after years of trying every pill and treatment, that I saw a psychiatrist, who heard my story and told me I had a severe panic disorder. So having that diagnosis in hand, and not being able to do much physically except read, I did a search on my kindle and quickly stumbled across a book on Amazon called ‘Dare’ by Barry McDonagh, which ended up being the main thing that all but cured my panic attacks. Now I still suffer from much more milder symptoms, but I feel very close to full recovery. Really, I’ve gone my whole life without truly taking care of myself and I’m paying dearly for it. So if you’re struggling with panic attacks that don’t let you leave the house for months on end, I highly encourage you to check out this $4 book. It’s what helped me the most, after spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on supplements and treatments. I’ve also been able to stop taking all medications! So…that’s awesome.
Investing early was a game changer. Along with being debt free, it allowed us to weather an unimaginably difficult storm. I’m so thankful to the friends and family that supported us along the way, but I’m also glad we didn’t need to be a greater burden because of finances.
So you might be asking, am I now an expert on investing? I would say I’m right there on this journey with everyone else. I see anyone reading what I write as my peer and someone I can definitely learn from. Having invested my own money for the last 9 years or so, I can tell you I’m learning more now than I ever have. I hope to share things I’m learning, as well as my personal experiences applying these principles with my own money, and distilling it all down into easy to digest, practical, and actionable information for you to use in your own journey.
Life has gotten so real for me enduring these last three years of suffering, and I see such a need out there from people who want to take control of their finances and their family’s financial future, to equip themselves not only for retirement and fun times, but also for when the storms come, and as most of you know well, it’s not “if” the storms come, but “when”.