Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

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leo28
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Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by leo28 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:07 am

Hi,

Recently I came across a blog post by the financial sumurai on his passive income portfolio and alternative investments. As part of my follow up into what he wrote, I wanted to ask everyone here their thoughts and opinions. I have 200k in my 3 fund and a 100k CD maturing this year (29 yrs old). Am I going off track by considering these suggestions by the financial samurai?
Link to article: https://www.financialsamurai.com/financ ... date-2018/

1. municipal bonds - from my research so far, I gather that these are more suitable for people in the higher tax brackets?
2. Structured notes - seems complex and Im not sure if its worth it.
3. Venture debt - risk of default?
4. P2p lending - Lending Club www.lendingclub.com/- not sure about this, seems sketchy/risky.
5. Real estate crowdfunding - RealtyShares www.realtyshares.com/ - seems like a good way to expose myself to some real estate action without actually having to go out and buy physical property. I like and understand this the most from this list.
6. Wealthfront -seems just like vanguard, don't see why I would need this.

Any comments, suggestions, and criticism is most welcome.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Leo

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:24 am

His asset allocation[1] is (approximately):

20% stocks (often individually picked or sector funds, mostly growth)
30% municipal bonds
25% real estate
25% alternatives (venture debt, P2P lending, real estate crowd funding).

I read FinancialSamurai and it is occasionally interesting but even less occasionally useful. His career was in Big Finance and he still has that mindset. He thinks he can trade better than the market.

Look at his recent efforts to time "buying the dip" in February. He bought 9 lots of the S&P 500 across ~16 hours of the market being open, trying to buy micro-dips. (I'm not sure even Livesoft would do that!)

Image

His financial advise is nearly the polar opposite of Bogleheads. Like a lot of "alt asset" people he seems (to me) to commit the error of committing too little money to the alts. Take his real estate crowdfunding -- that makes up a total of 4.7% of his portfolio income. If the $100,000+ of stocks and bonds run into problems, do you think the $9,600 from real estate crowd funding will actually save him and his family?

P2P lending was under 1%.

His portfolio and investing decisions are those of someone who likes to tinker, likes to do things on his portfolio constantly. Look at the other recent post where he says he is close to hiring a money manager because his portfolio requires too much time & effort.

I consider Financial Samurai entertainment, not a source of investing advice.

Also keep in mind that he gets paid by Wealthfront, Lending Club, and RealtyShares.

[1]: Technically this is just his "income portfolio" and not his assets; I'm not sure he's ever posted a traditional asset allocation and not just focusing on income.
Last edited by AlohaJoe on Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by boglerdude » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:59 am

^ great write up.

If you're a busybody, rental property has worked for people, because of leverage and the fact that it's a second job.

WanderingDoc is the forum's real estate evangelist
viewtopic.php?p=3689852#p3689852

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by djpeteski » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:58 am

I did an experiment with Lending Club a couple of years back and it was a disaster.

First there is a lot of time involved. One should cherry pick the loans. How good at you at being a loan officer? Here is a hint: I wasn't.

Lending club does basically noting to try and collect on a late or default loan. Despite many payments being late, I never received a late fee.

Given that he still believes in lending club, I would suggest there are grounds to question his integrity.
Last edited by djpeteski on Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by wolf359 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:35 am

Also keep in mind that you're comparing your starter portfolio to someone who was in big finance, saved a lot of it, got lucky with the timing on San Francisco real estate, and is already financially independent and wealthy.

His realty shares portfolio has over $800,000 invested in it.
His stock and bond income of $100,000 is primarily from interest and dividends (according to his investment philosophy of ignore capital gains and don't touch the principal). That implies he has several million invested in municipal bonds and stocks.
His website and book and consulting projects generate all the income he currently needs, and his passive income sources are gravy on top of that.

Do his passive income strategies work? Sure, they can. However, he's an entrepreneur with large income streams, is in a high tax bracket, and has already achieved millions in savings and investments.

If you follow him, do it the way he did it (at the start, not the finish). Pick a very high-income career (like finance), focus on improving your ability to earn income, save 50-70% of that income for over 13 years, and start a successful business. As the savings pile up, invest them into income producing assets.
It looks like he started with stocks and bonds during his career, plus his San Francisco property, and added the other assets later.

If some of his income strategies sound risky, it's because they are. But he can afford and handle those risks due to his assets, income diversification, and knowledge. As to whether they're appropriate for specifically you... That's up to each individual to decide prudently.
Last edited by wolf359 on Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by David Jay » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:02 am

Specifically on Municipal Bonds, these are only for those in high tax brackets. They are not appropriate for those in the 22% (former 25%) tax bracket and need a careful evaluation above that (how much tax-advantaged space do you have?).
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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:19 am

Specifically on Lending Club, you may want to read about their performance from about the last year onward. MrMoneyMustache has a spreadsheet of his investments there and over the last year, they're taking a huge nose dive, as in losses, not just lower gains. I bailed when the writing on the wall became a big EXIT sign and was lucky to not lose anything. That ship has sailed. It was a potentially good investment 5 years ago, but not anymore.
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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:59 am

djpeteski wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:58 am
I did an experiment with Lending Tree a couple of years back and it was a disaster.

First there is a lot of time involved. One should cherry pick the loans. How good at you at being a loan officer? Here is a hint: I wasn't.

Lending tree does basically noting to try and collect on a late or default loan. Despite many payments being late, I never received a late fee.

Given that he still believes in lending tree, I would suggest there are grounds to question his integrity.
I assume you wanted to say LendingClub instead of Lending Tree


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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Wildebeest » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:15 am

leo28 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:07 am

Any comments, suggestions, and criticism is most welcome.



Leo

I think Financial Samurai is legit as in that he most likely makes money of his blog. He is entertaining.

I do not see his accountant reviewed financial statements and without that, I have a cynical view: what he says he does and his outcomes are questionable.

Personally I stick with the Boglehead way.

If you would go for alternative plans, you may have a better road to riches following the White Coat Investor .https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:22 am

Everything you note as a possibility would (for me) involve a huge amount of research and time and effort. A huge amount. Why would myself or you want to go down that road. People can't even make decisions on the AA of a few Vanguard funds.
That is a lot of work and for this samurai I am sure someone else is doing the research for him. You, you would be hunched over your computer for months trying to figure it all out.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:25 am

Refresher course.

TAYLOR LARIMORE ON “SIMPLICTY”
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewt ... p?t=156505

Free Reading: "If You Can" by Bernstein
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... -SB3S580I5
Bogle Philosophy
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleh ... hilosophy

Solid basics, then later, alternative strategies with funds willing to risk, and lose.
The path of a Samurai in the Art of Budo starts with solid basics, "Bogle Basics" and often need go no further.

One option: Take the CD and further fund an Emergency Fund and long term portfolio investments in a proportion that meets your needs.
j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by dbr » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:32 am

Income is one part of the calculation of investment results. One needs to consider the return altogether including the risk of loss of assets. I think that blog falls in the category of "not even wrong." If you are inclined to invest in any of the things suggested there then do so only after understanding how they actually work and what is the risk and return.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by InvestInPasta » Mon May 27, 2019 8:48 am

wolf359 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:35 am
Also keep in mind that you're comparing your starter portfolio to someone who was in big finance, saved a lot of it, got lucky with the timing on San Francisco real estate, and is already financially independent and wealthy.

His realty shares portfolio has over $800,000 invested in it.
His stock and bond income of $100,000 is primarily from interest and dividends (according to his investment philosophy of ignore capital gains and don't touch the principal). That implies he has several million invested in municipal bonds and stocks.
Yep! According to his 2019 passive income table he should have roughly $2.8M in CD+short term bonds to generate a ~$70K passive gross income per year (I assume they yield about 2.5% end 2018/beginning 2019) :wink:

Image
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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by unclescrooge » Mon May 27, 2019 5:28 pm

I would be very vary of crowdfunding deals at this stage in the market.

Most of the deals are laden with fees, and the sponsors have not seen a down cycle. Also, there good deals never make it to crowd funding sites because they are snapped up by friends, family and former investors.

It's the subpar or riskier deals that usually make it up to the sites.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by mcblum » Mon May 27, 2019 6:19 pm

Sounds awful complicated. Bogle philosophy of simplicity and patience has worked for me for almost thirty years.
Marty

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by birdog » Tue May 28, 2019 6:48 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 5:28 pm
I would be very vary of crowdfunding deals at this stage in the market.

Most of the deals are laden with fees, and the sponsors have not seen a down cycle. Also, there good deals never make it to crowd funding sites because they are snapped up by friends, family and former investors.

It's the subpar or riskier deals that usually make it up to the sites.
I agree. I've heard crowdfunding referred to as "a junkier kind of junk bond" by a guest on the MadFientist podcast.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue May 28, 2019 7:46 am

Financial Samurai was initially very entertaining to read even if I wouldn’t act on his advice. I can tell you this much...it sure must be nice to be in your 30s or 40s and have so much money you don’t know what to do with it other than write about how to get even more money.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Wiggums » Tue May 28, 2019 7:47 am

Another example of a blog where the person says they are retired, but he is not really retired. I quickly noticed that the stated returns don’t match the reports. Meaning, he has a lot more money than he is not showing.

It was fun to look at, but not much there.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by wolf359 » Tue May 28, 2019 8:21 am

Wiggums wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:47 am
Another example of a blog where the person says they are retired, but he is not really retired. I quickly noticed that the stated returns don’t match the reports. Meaning, he has a lot more money than he is not showing.

It was fun to look at, but not much there.
Actually, it's an example of someone who retired early. The type of person who can earn a high enough income and accumulate the type of assets it takes to retire early is someone who is pretty driven and disciplined. That person is not going to be non-productive for 60-70 years.

Financial Samurai candidly describes his site, books, training courses, etc. as an active business, and is not currently retired. While he early retired at 34, he only stayed that way for a year before he used his financial independence to start the site. He has recently been talking about selling the business and retiring a second time.

See: https://www.financialsamurai.com/in-sea ... io-review/

You seem to be accusing him of dishonesty. I disagree.

While I don't think everybody can follow his specific path, his general approach is pretty sound, and is consistent with Boglehead principles. Which part of his recommendations do you disagree with? 1.) Save until it hurts. 2) Focus on income-producing assets. 3) Start as soon as possible. 4) Calculate how much retirement income you need. 5) Make sure you are properly diversified.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by dcw213 » Tue May 28, 2019 10:40 am

I'm a fan of his blog and an active reader. As others have noted he has accumulated a lot of money through hard work and now has the opportunity to pursue things that interest him. I dream of being in the same boat one day. From my perspective he is very honest about his situation and does not claim that he got there through his investing prowess, quite the opposite actually.

That said, it needs to be acknowledged that he has the good fortune to be in the position to tinker with alternative investments and take risks that dont make sense to most. I would guess that the reason he invests in some of these peer to peer platforms is intellectual curiosity, getting paid to market the platform, or both. If I were financially independent and made money writing about personal finance I would likely try some of these as well. At the very least it would give me content to write about on my income producing blog. I am not in that situation, so I generally don't entertain much outside of the typical path.

I have posted this before but I did a small experiment in peer to peer and saw many things that concerned me. I no longer participate and think it will blow up soon.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue May 28, 2019 12:51 pm

Wiggums wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:47 am
Another example of a blog where the person says they are retired, but he is not really retired. I quickly noticed that the stated returns don’t match the reports. Meaning, he has a lot more money than he is not showing.

It was fun to look at, but not much there.
He sold his San Francisco properties, which is why his cash holdings jumped up. He's been honest with the numbers (I feel) but some of his advice is a bit batty for most people.

Plus, he's a market timer that got lucky.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by kardan » Tue May 28, 2019 1:06 pm

Be aware that RealtyShares basically went belly up about 6 months ago. Existing deals are being serviced by a third party, although customer service has declined from already abysmal levels. Financial Samurai is now promoting Fundrise and Realty Mogul. I'd stay away.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by ohai » Tue May 28, 2019 1:19 pm

I don't think he is dishonest, but clearly got lucky with the San Francisco real estate boom. Probably 40% of his net worth came from selling a house he bought in 2010. In other words, the path to what he is doing is harder now.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by jakehefty17 » Tue May 28, 2019 2:24 pm

leo28 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:07 am
Am I going off track by considering these suggestions by the financial samurai?
Link to article: https://www.financialsamurai.com/financ ... date-2018/
Financial Samurai is legit enough. It never hurts to read personal finance articles, but you have to consider who's writing it.

This guy has so much in assets that he can afford to take some hits in his portfolio. He started with very high income and some luck in real estate. He's very active at managing his investments. Many of his suggested "passive income" is actually very involved, and he constantly stresses the importance of work ethic and side hustles. He advocates dividend investing and doesn't consider capital gains as an income stream, which is silly. Capital gains and dividends make up total return, you shouldn't focus on one piece or the other.

However he DOES advocate certain Boglehead principles like high savings rate, starting early, diversification and financial freedom.

Municipal Bonds are something to consider if your tax bracket is very high and you don't have tax-advantaged space for your bonds.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Municipal_bonds

Personally I wouldn't consider any of the other listed investments. If you choose to do so, put in your due diligence to understand what you're investing in and why. Know before you go. They aren't necessarily bad, but they certainly aren't suited for most investors.

Side note -
I always found this particular article interesting. Seems a little disconnected from the average person. Entertaining though.
Link to article: https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-av ... ge-person/
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence." -Charles Bukowski

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by SoonerD » Wed May 29, 2019 10:07 pm

wolf359 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:21 am
Wiggums wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:47 am
Another example of a blog where the person says they are retired, but he is not really retired. I quickly noticed that the stated returns don’t match the reports. Meaning, he has a lot more money than he is not showing.

It was fun to look at, but not much there.
Actually, it's an example of someone who retired early. The type of person who can earn a high enough income and accumulate the type of assets it takes to retire early is someone who is pretty driven and disciplined. like a professional athlete or a president daughter? That person is not going to be non-productive for 60-70 years. Some do some don't. Blogs generally fall under non-productive but he seems to be among the 0.01 percenters of the blogging and self publishing crowd. Do we know if any of his statements are true - I wonder if some bloggers (don't know about this guy) aren't just dweebs in mommy's basement pretending to be retired Canadian bicycling microbrewer moguls or maybe pretending to live the non consumerist life on $30k/year while really flying 1st class to south America for frugality conference which of course doesn't count as spending

Financial Samurai candidly describes his site, books, training courses, etc. as an active business, and is not currently retired. While he early retired at 34, he only stayed that way for a year before he used his financial independence to start the site. He has recently been talking about selling the business and retiring a second time.

See: https://www.financialsamurai.com/in-sea ... io-review/

You seem to be accusing him of dishonesty. I disagree. based on what I've seen in the thread he does seem dishonest or at least disingenuous. He shows his income as a model to others but doesn't disclose the capital gains/losses - is that correct? He promotes sketchy schemes like P2P lending and other enterprises while getting paid to do so - is that correct?

While I don't think everybody can follow his specific path, his general approach is pretty sound, and is consistent with Boglehead principles. his 10 or so purchases in a single day to buy the intraday dips doesn't jive with anything Bogle promoted Which part of his recommendations do you disagree with? 1.) Save until it hurts.I disagree - that's a ridiculous recommendation - save to meet your goals yes, until it hurts is beyond stupid advice 2) Focus on income-producing assets. bad advice. Boglehead principle is total return matters. 3) Start as soon as possible. 4) Calculate how much retirement income you need. 5) Make sure you are properly diversified.seems like he recommends improper investments like p2p for mass readership. proper diversification yes, follow his lead no
To the OP, I would not spend any more time on his site. I would focus on understanding sound investment practices and be sure to understand how these pretend gurus made their money before trying to undertake anything they recommend. Did Mr samurai make his fortune as an investor or did he make it from his day job and by getting lucky on a single real estate purchase that was like a lottery ticket?

I don't know too much about him. I read his blog a couple times and remember not being impressed by his claims nor his ideas. By what I see above I think I have not missed anything by not returning to his site.

You are in a great place here. Keep posting and read the wikki. Good luck.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by miket29 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:38 pm

leo28 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:07 am
Hi,

Recently I came across a blog post by the financial sumurai on his passive income portfolio and alternative investments. As part of my follow up into what he wrote, I wanted to ask everyone here their thoughts and opinions. I have 200k in my 3 fund and a 100k CD maturing this year (29 yrs old).
The comment I'd make is that your fixed-income percentage may be a bit high for someone who is 29. At best you are 60% equity and as someone with decades ahead of them it may be worthwhile to take more market risk. I've learned a lot from William Bernstein's book "Rational Expectations: Asset Allocation for Investing Adults" who would recommend a higher equity allocation, depending of course on your risk tolerance.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by softwaregeek » Fri May 31, 2019 3:37 am

Entertaining blog, but all of these realty crowdfunding things and P2P loans are quite risky in my eyes.

I was one of the earliest investors in P2P loans on a pre-lending club platform in 2006-2009. When the cycle turned, it was absolutely brutal. Fortunately, I had invested only an 'experimental' amount of under 1% of my assets in it.

All of these private realty things? It's not like the SEC has vetted these. The SEC is there for a reason; you know what you are getting, more or less, when you buy a marketed security.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by Jags4186 » Fri May 31, 2019 4:05 am

jakehefty17 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:24 pm

Side note -
I always found this particular article interesting. Seems a little disconnected from the average person. Entertaining though.
Link to article: https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-av ... ge-person/
That’s because it’s for the above average person.

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Re: Financial Samurai Blog -Passive Income Portfolio - is this guy legit or am I going off track?

Post by InvestInPasta » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:09 am

birdog wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 6:48 am
I've heard crowdfunding referred to as "a junkier kind of junk bond" by a guest on the MadFientist podcast.
:mrgreen: I agree!
When studying English I am lazier than my portfolio. Feel free to correct my english and investing mistakes.

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