When I wrote a post on “how to get rich” I knew that it would quickly become one of the more popular posts on the blog…
… and I knew that many of you would have problems with the word “
rich” because many of you emailed me and told me so (this is why I love my readers and community)!
The truth is that I had this “Part Deux” that I was cooking up and wanted to make a clear distinction between the two words because they are, well, different.
You see, getting / becoming financially “rich” is nothing more than a (cheap) outcome; a description of having more than you really need. Sometimes people arrive at this outcome through intentional investments and hard work but many times it’s entirely by accident and through circumstances that you do not control.
More important is the fact that these so-called “riches” can be taken just as quickly as they can be received — one does not have to Google too hard to find mega jackpot lottery winners who end up dead-broke just a few years later or, even more sadly, professional athletes with million-dollar contracts who, without a functional financial system, are unable to maintain their wealth over the long-term.
This doesn’t have to be your story. It definitely won’t be mine. We need to increase
financial literacy for all and it’ll “rise all tides” as more folks understand how to become better personal money managers. And, on a personal note, I have found this type of work deeply satisfying because you can impact generations of people and their families with a little bit of knowledge, encouragement, and empathy.
I watched my father, post-corporate career, dedicate more and more of his time to help others with their finances and now I find the same calling just as rewarding… I’m just doing it on the internet.
Here’s the thing: Real, functional
wealth is a system, not an outcome and it is a
purpose-built program designed to deliver
peace-of-mind through financial sovereignty, independence, and executive control.
I’d love to share with you my own system and how bitcoin plays an important, fundamental part of it from end-to-end.
What is Wealth, Really?
Charlie Munger once famously quipped:
I did not intend to get rich. I just wanted to get independent.
I could not agree more! And, like you, I’ve been fighting my entire life for achieving true agency and full discretion over my life; like you, I wanted more independence and autonomy for myself and my family, not less. Right?
It’s never been about “stacking chips” or “net worth” or making “fuck you” money and silly stuff like that. It’s much, much more simple. I want to do whatever I want with the most precious and most limited asset that I have:
Being able to wake up every single day and decide, without fear or pressure from any outside / external forces, how I want to spend my time and money — and with whom! — is what real, authentic wealth is about. It’s about doing more of what I love with more of the folks that I love and spending our time meaningfully while we’ve got it.
That’s really it folks.
And, at least for me and my family, bitcoin has been a true “power play” in my financial system which has allowed me to control more of my time and my life. Consequently, I can spend more time doing the things that I really love, like giving my time (and life) away to others.
No, not literally, but rather I want to spend my time sharing what I know for the betterment of the human race — the very world — which includes my 3 amazing kids (and their families one day) and I’m desperate to make the world a better place for them; there’s a lot that needs fixing!
But that freedom costs something. All good things cost something. The laws around energy conservation is much more real than most folks realize. We are all more connected than we realize.
Consequently, my family’s future has to be financed in a way that makes sense, that’s sensible and fair, that takes advantage of our natural skills, our experiences, know-how, and all that we are and have for a reasonable exchange of value. The same is true for you, too. We need good, trustworthy, proven systems if we’re going to make it all work the way we want.
Practically-speaking, a system of wealth not just one where we stand to only reap the benefit(s), we must also give something back, putting in the work to create value for others in exchange for a usable, fungible medium of exchange for sustaining life — our basic, fundamental human needs — as well as saving for the future, fun extras, and room to spare for others in need.
In our family we call that “Give, Save, Spend” and so far we’ve been happy with the results; it’s not rocket science, to be sure.
In other words wealth is being able to determine, for ourselves, how we want to spend our time and capital and in the areas that we so choose. This doesn’t make us independent islands as we all have to participate, whether we like it (know it) or not.
Either you are a net-burden on the global, human economic machine or a net-positive, building sustainable systems for you, for the ones you love, and for those who will eventually and inevitably make the future an even better place. The next generation deserves a better shot than the one we’ve got and we’ve got to provide a better foundation for their launch.
Everyone costs everyone in a global, connected community, especially in the metaverse. This is our (digital) future; it’s already here.
On Becoming a “Bitcoin Pragmatist”
There are many types of “bitcoiners” out there, the more popular monicker being a “maximalist” and more recently I heard of a “bitcoin singularist” — I’ve lost track of them all, to be honest. The former believes in “hodling” forever and will never sell their “tickets to the moon” while the later believes in a more binary (and bloody) outcome: Bitcoin or death; a future where all other coins perish completely.
I’m neither of those camps, to be sure, because I definitely sell my bitcoin (
GASP!!) and I hold a bit of
doge… so it all reduces simply to being a
You see, I’ve always been this way. Theory is interesting but what I’m really interested in is what’s practically useful, today, and I wanted to learn more about those who had figured out the “mystical” dark art of living entirely on (or “off”?) bitcoin.
What I discovered is that a growing number of bitcoiners have configured their lifestyle (and livelihood) on btc in the perfect financial “holy trinity” where bitcoin is their fundamental:
- Store of Value
- Medium of Exchange
- Unit of Account
These folks bought in bitcoin. Sold in bitcoin. Lived in places paid and financed by bitcoin. Traveled in bitcoin. Accepted only bitcoin. Worked for bitcoin. Traded bitcoin. Gave away and donated bitcoin. Lived off food bought with bitcoin. They dream and count and make bitcoin the denominator on all economic transactions.
Yes… their entire life! 4 or 5 years ago this was rare. Now? Not so much. Encouraging, to say the least.
But even so I couldn’t find many public resources, blog posts, and/or easy-to-understand literature on how folks were actually pulling this off. You know, in a super-practical, this-is-how-I-really-do-this-to-feed-my-family sort of form.
So, like most things in my life I figured that I’d have to build it for myself. So, I did. Besides, I can’t honestly wait for someone else to figure out my own family’s finances, right? They wouldn’t have a clue where to start!
I committed to the process. I did the work. I got frustrated and confused, a lot. But I didn’t quit because I had compelling evidence that my investments were counting, even if the price-action didn’t always reflect that reality. And then I saw incredibly passionate, intelligent, and conservative practitioners, who I respected greatly, begin to change their lifestyles around bitcoin and I figured I didn’t want to miss out.
Then I saw my engineering friends change career paths and that was that. Why? Because if you want a clue about what’s “coming down the pike” (or “pipe”?!) you always necessarily follow the developers; these hobbyists are literally building the future and if you listen and observe carefully enough you might get front-row seat to the upside.
You can bet your ass that I’ve got my golden 🎫 for the 🚀 to the 🌝!
I learned a ton about what works and what certainly does not work and after 5+ years of experimentation and “hardening” of my math and financial strategy I can say that it’s standing up beautifully. In fact, it’s working better than I could have ever hoped.
And even more exciting is the fact that I’ve built a system that I believe is transferable and usable for others, something you can use as a foundation for your own.
You see, once I understood the game-changing opportunity that is bitcoin and what it not only stood for
technically but what it could
practically do for me and my family I began to thoroughly investigate and experiment with different financial modalities, products, and trading sequences that could achieve the purported outcome.
And although I’m not operating the “holy trinity” where my unit of account is bitcoin, what we have devised is working as-intended to support and provide for the needs of my family which consists of 5 humans who live in 2 different geographical locations.
How is this done? Well, as I said before, I’m a simple
bitcoin pragmatist which means that I’ll buy / sell my bitcoin on a predictable, bespoke, regulated schedule and I run full node(s) to validate my bitcoin with a combination of hot and cold wallets.
[Oh: I’ve tried most of the more popular services, wallets, and exchanges and would love to exchange notes with you based on my personal experiences, if you’d like. Just hit me up anytime in chat!!]
When my family needs localized (fiat) monies (there are many options) I’ll use hosted, custodial services and web-based exchanges to get enough USD to cover our operational costs and I keep a rigorous ledger in order to pay state / federal taxes on each and every transaction (I factor taxes as “costs” against the year-over-year average ROI of bitcoin).
It’s a system that works for us and based on our our experience (and sharing it with select others privately to see if they could achieve similar outcomes) it’s now clear-as-crystal that the wealth system that I’ve built for my family is one that we can use for the rest of our lives.
If that’s not “
peace of mind” then I honestly don’t know what is! Bitcoin did all of this for us — thank God for that wonderful btc!
Okay, more details now…
1’s and 0’s: The Decisions / Behaviors That Keep Us Afloat
The financial system that I’ve built operates around bitcoin as the common, financial denominator in every equation. It’s both a long-term
savings mechanism and mixed-
medium of exchange.
These aren’t hard calculations and anyone can do them, regardless of lifestyle and geography. It’s worked for folks who live in expensive metropolitans and it’s worked for folks who live in cheaper areas of the world, relatively-speaking. And my private, shared experiments with friends span the gamut of those who have never had long-term savings and those who have developed sophisticated systems in their own right.
Consequently, the humble and not-entirely-scientific conclusion that I’ve arrived to is this: A bitcoin-based financial wealth system can work for everyone, everywhere.
The “why” and “how” this works is because the wealth system that I’ve built is based on percents, not hard and fast figures; it’s based on transferable, replicable
values instead of rote and mindless copying of someone else’s behaviors. This is necessarily the case because finances are always personal and no two people’s / family’s financial needs are the same!
Being able to “live on less than what you make” is possible for someone who makes $30,000 USD a year as well as someone who makes $300,000. The difference is the (quality of) systems that they use and the happiness that it ultimately affords them.
Note: This will be an easy-to-read but hard-to-digest because thinking and behaving in this way won’t be natural for anyone who’s been born into a fiat-dominated world — don’t worry, me too.
This will take some time so it’s okay to give yourself a bit of time and space. Bitcoin works best when you engage with it calmly, cooly, and with introspection rather than a “quick flip” or emotionally-bound decision.
Ready? Let’s go.
For starters, here’s the drum-line: I’m obsessed with “
stacking sats” (satoshis) and I try to minimize the amount of time any and all of my fiat-based “shit coins” are sitting as dry powder in my traditional bank accounts. Consequently, I try to reduce this “shelf life” by calculating a predictable, operational overhead for everyday items as well as one-off purchases and surprises.
We’ll start with the nuts-and-bolts (
behavior) and then cover the underlying
value systems that power them a bit later in the post.
How all of this actually works for a family of 5 is captured in 5 simple — and hard-earned — steps. I hope this is a useful frame:
- We calculate our family’s monthly “burn rate” and build a functional and honest budget. We do this by determining the average monthly cost of operating our family which includes everything: Food, clothing, rent, utilities, gifts, celebrations… everything. This is our
spend. We review this every year and make adjustments accordingly. More important is the fact that we make our financial status a topic of public and shared conversation at the dinner table and will openly discuss how we’re moving our operational and reserve capital in light of (opportunistic) market movements. Transparency is a value system that bitcoin necessitates so just lean in and enjoy greater financial literacy in your home!
- We then exchange time and labor for value, usually in the form of fiat currency like USD as monthly
incomeand my wife and I work hard to make sure that our total earnings are more per month than we spend; but that hasn’t always been the case as there have been times earlier in our marriage where I was working 2 (or even 3) jobs to make ends meet. I have tried a lot of different things for that matter. Whatever works and is available, to be honest — I simply don’t have that much ego about how I make money.
- We then take the difference (
spend) and invest what we have left into bitcoin through Dollar Cost Averaging, historically on a weekly basis. This process is so good it’s better than a life insurance policy. We try to keep as little as we possibly can in fiat!
- We sell a dollar-equivalent in bitcoin every 3-4 months to cover our planned, budgeted expenses. The reason for the range is because volatility can impact price and I try to sell near a peak if I can. My current at-bat is > 95% against relative ATH per calendar quarter! Meaning, if the all-time-high of that quarter was $20k, I sold a small portion at a price greater than $19k thus maximizing my fiat gains and reducing the amount of total satoshis on the sale. My math does allow for a generous range and so even at 70-80% off the contextual ATH we’re still covered and feeling good with our cash allowance conversion.
- Finally, I will also spend time weekly doing in-depth research and
on-chain analysisthat gives me insight into opportunistic entry and exit points outside of our boringly-simple DCA and quarterly exchange. If the pricing / timing is right I’ll go one step further and “collateralize” my bitcoin to buy more. I’m conservative on derivatives (even though my math allows me to be much more aggressive) but sober-thinking has never let me down in practice so I keep my mathematics tight: I’ll never risk more than 15% of principle for a 5% gain over a 12 month time horizon with anything more than 10-12% APR. I love and prefer single-digits, of course.
And that’s about it! Even with a dramatic (and intentional!) 50% tax hit on each exit I’m still historically up against bitcoin’s year-over-year average return.
Consequently, I’ve been able to systematically increase my principle store over time, even while selling some every quarter! I try to make it a bit of a game, if I’m honest. For instance, if I started the calendar year with 10.00 BTC I try to end the year with 10.50 to 11.00 btc, even after liquidations.
Magic internet troll money? Sure, it kinda feels like it at times, but, my two places of residence aren’t fake or magic and the food tastes the same when it’s bought with bitcoin… so… yeah.
Although this sounds overly-simplistic I can assure you that the simple outline hides the deeper and more difficult complexity. Behaviors, superficially, are easy to copy but authentically applying (a new set of) principles and values is really hard.
The results speak for themselves! For comparison and proper due diligence, I have also tried most of the more popular financial instrument flavors and nothing has given me the quantitative (and qualitative!) returns of the almighty BTC.
It’s been so good in direct head-to-heads that over the last 5-6 years I’ve gone all-in and bitcoin now accounts for more than 90% of my greater investment portfolio. I used to have ETFs, (meme)stocks, a 401k, ROTH / Traditional IRAs, 529 college funds, and life insurance policies that have all been cashed-in/out, suffering consequential penalties along the way. No worries because all of those losses have vanished and are a growing and distant memory. Time and patience are bitcoin’s intrinsic superpowers.
Bottom-line? I have not been disappointed. Why? Because it’s clearly working.
Gratitude is the operating word because bitcoin has helped me build a simple yet sophisticated wealth system through intentional planning, conservative spending, a long-term perspective, hard and honest work to earn value through traditional income streams, and quarterly bitcoin liquidations with opportunistic entry / exit points.
🛑 — But here’s the good (and even better) news: It can do the same for you because this system isn’t special nor does it require more than what you already have to get started.
But! It will require a significant mental shift followed by real (and challenging) behavior change. Trust me, this will take some time to get used to and for it all to play itself out as you grow in knowledge and wisdom around a bitcoin-financed life.
You could start by executing against the 5 steps above but those are my steps, of course, and you will eventually / ultimately want to customize your approach to fit your own specific needs.
Consequently, here are are the more important underlying values / principles that drive the behavior above as well as a few uncategorized and unsolicited thoughts. None of these are prescriptive, of course, but I’ve found them very helpful in my quest for financial freedom.
10 More Bitcoin-Based, Wealth-Building Thoughts:
Hopefully you can instrument these and use them as a foundation for your own financial literacy, growth, and progress towards real liberty:
- Save more than you spend. Your parents told you this and you read it on mainstream media every (other) day. The thing is that it’s actually true, but, most folks can’t seem to do this. This means that you should “live within your means” which is essentially the same thing said another way. Financial freedom always starts with sobriety which means (re)gaining (self)control. We start here because this is the only way you’ll have any available funds to buy bitcoin! This is so basic and so easy to calculate which is why you should start here. And, if you can’t do this then you should stop reading this blog post right now.
- An honest budget is hard to determine not because it’s hard to calculate but because most folks do not want to know the truth because it would make them accountable to it. Most folks have a “budget,” when pressed, but it’s usually nothing more than a loosely jumbled figure that is “directionally correct” but upon which they would never stake their life on. That’s kind of sad when you think about it considering the fact that so much of our unhappiness is due to our inability to simply sit down and figure out current and present financial standing. Building an honest, usable, realistic budget almost always requires significant lifestyle and behavioral change which makes also makes this exercise unattractive, at best. Do it anyways.
- A budget is only as useful as its ability to build progress toward meaningful, calculable goals. Ergo, you should spend time developing real, meaningful financial goals for you and your family which directly inform and impact your risk tolerance, budget, and revenue-generating strategies for income and the purchase of more btc. Shortly after my wife and I got married we began to build future plans for our “retirement” — we didn’t call it this but we knew that we wanted to live in certain places on the planet with a certain lifestyle. We believed we could financially achieve these goals before we both turned 60 years old; 50 if we got lucky. But the more important point is that we had them and we aligned our skills, built a plan, and began to execute.
- Goal(s) necessarily require a long-term perspective which is equally as rare. The challenge is that bitcoin demands this as an entry fee because without it you’ll show up with “weak hands” and panic sell before it matures into something useful. I know this because I did this myself. If you’re going to do this then you need to have, at a minimum, a 5-year time horizon. Do the math and calculations yourself, if you’d like, since all the price data is public and available but here’s the TL;DR: If you had invested at any point in time since bitcoin was first created and held it for at least 5 years you’d have a very healthy (and growing) net-positive return (and you wouldn’t be reading this blog post). The math is stunning, to be honest.
- Calculate acceptable risk by determining how long you can go without having to dip back into your bitcoin (e.g. selling some to cover costs) and/or the amount of time you’re willing to hold your local fiat currency which is being debased every waking and sleeping moment of our lives. Unless you’re doing doing the bitcoin trifecta you’re more than likely combining income (fiat and bitcoin) with earnings via your btc gains on a regular, predictable schedule. Some can live “on the edge” based on geography, access to local exchanges, and general infrastructure and hold less than a week of fiat while others may dip into btc once a quarter (or longer).
- Don’t fuck with taxes. I pay my taxes on all my transactions because that’s the cost of doing business in the US of A. Although I disagree with many of the taxation laws here I have, for many personal and practical reasons, accepted that as an acceptable tradeoff so that my family has the lifestyle that we desire. I am, above all, a bitcoin pragmatist and I’m certain that I will not be as useful to my family (or society) from a jail cell.
- Selling your bitcoin is a discipline and skill that takes time to master (and for you to emotionally stomach). This is because the more you know about bitcoin the more you never want to give it away! But the reality is that a real bitcoiner in my book is one who actually uses bitcoin day-to-day, not just someone who hoards it in cold storage until they die. This is why it’s important to have a predictable, scheduled liquidation workflow so that it doesn’t become an emotional decision. And don’t forget that volatility is a feature, not a bug; it’s a gift to the bitcoiner because that’s where we have the opportunity to “recoup” the bitcoin we sold in the last scheduled transaction! “Buy the dip” isn’t just a meme; it’s a functional, proven financial insight and strategy. The meme was always the message.
- Work hard for every satoshi and do right by others. I mean this. This is especially important if you’re not going to mine crypto via your own (full) node and validate blocks and earn btc rewards from algorithmic hashing. Rather, your “Proof of Work” is paid via sweat, blood, and tears from working hard for others and exchanging your time and talents for (local) fiat compensation. If you’ve done this right and you’re saving more than spending then you’ll have plenty left-over for buying bitcoin.
- The system will take time for you to build and even more time for you to see the results. I first encountered bitcoin in mid-2015 and it took me a few years later to really “get it” and to finally start building the principles that power the system that I’m sharing with you. This is partly due to the slow swap from ignorance to enlightenment through education and community but also due to the fact that no one jumps into bitcoin by throwing their life savings into it — or at least I didn’t. I started with small, functional experiments and over time I gained the courage to buy more while customizing a bespoke financial system that works for our unique family needs. It’ll be the same for you and you can’t expect to “get this” immediately. Bitcoin changes everything and it’s so dramatic that you wouldn’t want to get it all at one time because it would melt your face.
- A bitcoin-based financial system is about freedom from anxiety, not studying charts. Although I speculate for fun (I hold some
dogecoin) all serious transactions rely on a combination of fundamentals and on-chain, historical analysis to mediate any short-term FOMO or price-shock. The fundamental, disciplined nature of bitcoin should help the disciplined
bitcoin pragmatistto make disciplined buy / sell decisions that are based on a real budget for real humans with disciplined spending habits. If you’re watching daily TA livestreams on YouTube then you’re doing this wrong.
Bitcoin isn’t for everyone, now, but it might be for everyone eventually and my belief is that it will happen sooner rather than later.
As such, my use of bitcoin as a store of long-term value and a mixed-medium of exchange for my complex family dynamic is distinctly and intentionally pragmatic (and strategic!) because our ability to operate in a bitcoin-dominated world sooner rather than later will create long-term moats and additional systemic layers of protection for my family that must be built today, not tomorrow.
In other words, we’ll simply have more real life experience not only using the medium but also the ecosystem around it (wallets, exchanges, privacy / security needs, etc) and be far-more prepared and equipped. Experience is one of the more important and meaningful competitive advantages in a natural market economy. This is what bitcoin teaches, by default.
And until something better than it arrives on the scene, I’m going to work this system for my family until it’s no longer my system to manage. At that point my kids will have to take over and continue the journey — hell, we’re already on our way! I’m proud to share that my teenager decided to convert, on her own volition, her entire savings to bitcoin just a few weeks ago on The 4th of July!
The future looks brighter already.
Finally, a “bonus” tip but perhaps the most important thing that you do if you’re interested in diving in further: Get involved a bitcoin-curious community. I have listed a few near the bottom of this post.
Community is the real “unlock” for all of this. Besides, how else did you really figure it out? That’s right, community. Relationships. Someone helped you figure it out. Can I (and my awesome community) be that for you?
Let me know if you have any questions and how I can help you make this transition to a bitcoin-powered lifestyle. It’s better on the other side.
🦄 🦾 💹
OKAY! Now Do It With Real Numbers This Time!
Let’s say you’ve figured out that you need, conservatively,
$100k a year to live (i.e. living expenses, operating costs, entire budget, etc.) for your
family of 4 and you make
$120k a year in combined income via you ($80,000) and your spouse ($40,000). You all live a modest lifestyle in suburbia, outside a major metropolitan.
This leaves you roughly
$20k a year to invest in bitcoin through something simple like Dollar Cost Averaging. Let’s say you decide to take half of that ($10k), as a hedge, and invest the same amount over 50 weeks — that’s
$200 per week.
Yes, I’m making the math simple here folks. 🤦🏻♂️
In addition you’ve created a few financial goals for your family which include buying a new home in the next 5-10 years because you’re almost out of space for the 4 of you in your current place and your partner wants to quit their job around that same time to homeschool one (or both) of the kids full-time, which is something both of you wanted from the very beginning. The homes that you’ve budgeted for in the next upgrade would require at least $80-100k down with a total cost of ownership budgeted (up to) $500,000 USD. You hope and plan to also get a bank loan with a “decent” interest rate on a 30-year fix to finance the purchase.
If and when this happens it would reduce the net yearly income by $40k (spouse who was earning this amount) which means whatever financial system you choose must simultaneously succeed as a long-term savings vehicle — for a modest down payment — and a usable mixed-medium of exchange to cover daily, operational needs.
You do the research and you figure that your best bet is to put your money in a place that continues to out-perform every financial asset in its comparative class with a historical 200% average of year-over-year growth and return.
In other words, you bet on bitcoin.
If you started this process when I bought my first coin in May of 2015 you’d now have over
50 bitcoins worth, at today’s market value (~$33k), more than
$1,500,000+ USD. The total cost to you outside of patience and time? Approximately $64k invested over those years for a mega 2,400%+ return.
[Now do the math as-if you put all $20k into your DCA march (instead of just $10k) and do the omfgwtfbbq! dance.]
Wow! It only took you 6 years to pull it off! Much sooner than the 10 year time horizon that you had initially estimated. If you didn’t lose your job(s) or experience any major financial hiccups / emergencies and continued to stay within budget, you would have far-exceeded your financial goal and would have plenty left-over to recycle and continue to grow.
In fact, you could buy that new, larger home in cash; no money down and no interest-bearing loans required. Your partner could put in their 2-week notice.
A few final things to note:
- The longer your time horizon the more you are rewarded due to compound effects. Bitcoin is a real test of patience but it’s worth it every time.
- You can accelerate the pace of growth and purchase of bitcoin by changing your lifestyle and adjusting your overall spending habits and resulting budget. This is honestly the fastest path to wealth, if you’re looking for a real “shortcut”.
- This system works for all types of income (sizes) as long as your inputs (work, income, investment sizes, time horizons, cost of living and relative geography) are as disciplined and instrumented as your outputs (your financial goals). You can adjust everything as inter-dependent parts as-needed. It’s a bit of a fun puzzle! There are a number of ways to get bitcoin to (fiat) cash as well.
Okay, that’s it. This was my story. Now, it can be yours.
To infinity and bitcoin!
And here’s some even more thought as I walk through this:
More “advanced” trading strategies via
on-chain metrics? Okay! Here you go:
Good luck and godspeed!