Hi, I'm Adam.

Adam Parkzer   •   29   •   Las Vegas, USA   •   5'10" (178 cm)   •   152 lbs (69 kg)   •   Korean American

I was originally in law enforcement and planning on becoming a criminal prosecutor, but then I put everything on hold and moved to the Pa­cif­ic Coast to pursue my hobby as a full-time career. Now I help run Tempo, a gaming media production and game development company. I am currently the Direc­tor of Corporate Operations, primarily overseeing legal, finance, and hu­man re­sources ad­min­is­tra­tion.

My main interests include criminology and forensic psychology. In my free time, I like to write, train martial arts, and de­vel­op new prac­ti­cal skills. I used to be a competitive gamer, but now I just play casually. The easiest way to get to know me better is to read about INTJs on the Myers-Briggs Type In­di­ca­tor. I'm split between a Type 5 and 8 on the Enneagram; my CliftonStrengths Top 3 are Deliberative, Learner, and Analytical; and my top Big Five per­sonality trait is Conscientiousness.

Check out my social media profiles and channels: @Parkzer on Twitter, Adam Parkzer on LinkedIn, AdamParkzer on Flickr, Parkzer on Last.fm, Parkzer on Twitch, and Adam Parkzer on YouTube. If you want to write me a letter or send me a package, you can ship it to PO Box 2222, Las Vegas, NV 89125-2222, USA (though keep in mind that I'm on a cross-country road trip until mid-2022, so it might be a while before I see it).

Below, you can find my blog where I document my travels, organize my thoughts, and share snippets of my life.

 

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Goodbye Charleston, South Carolina

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, although I already departed Charleston a few days ago on the 13th, there are still a handful of photos left that I wanted to share from my experience in the city.

First up, of course, are some food photos. When my co-worker flew in from Los Angeles to Charleston on the day of the pre-party of the wedding we were going to attend, I picked him up from the airport and we went close to downtown Charleston to get some brunch. He picked Florence’s Low­coun­try Kitchen, and I think this was one of my first experiences with truly Southern food. He got shrimp and grits, while I had the quiche of the day with a side of potatoes.

Florence's Lowcountry Kitchen

Florence's Lowcountry Kitchen

I took a bite of his shrimp and grits and I thought it was actually pretty good—it wasn’t excessively flavored, and the texture was very interesting and satisfying. My quiche wasn’t really what I was expecting (though I also didn’t really know what I was expecting to begin with); it wasn’t anything par­tic­u­lar­ly special, but it was surprisingly filling. Afterwards, we went to the South Carolina Aquarium, which I already shared in my blog previously.

The day after this was the day of the actual wedding. We went a bit early because we wanted to explore downtown Charleston a bit. The wedding took place on Market Street, so while they were setting up, we crossed the street and walked down the Historic Charleston City Market.

Market Street in Charleston

Afterwards, we continued southeast to the Waterfront Park Pier.

Charleston

I usually don’t post photos of personal or private things, but I felt like I had to make an exception for this. At the wedding, the couple’s Bichon Frise Mochi was the maid of honor, and she was an active part of the wedding, walking around and interacting with guests. However, social interaction can get tiring, so Mochi decided that she needed a place to rest. After searching far and wide, she found a soft surface—the bride’s wedding dress—to use as her bed.

Mochi getting comfortable on Janice's wedding dress

The day after the wedding, we went to Husk Restaurant on Queen Street. I think this was the point in time that I started concluding that Southern food might not be my favorite type of food. The wedding had a lot of Southern-style food, some of which was good, and some of which was questionably sour and salty. After eating a three-course meal at Husk with proudly Southern ingredients and having a similar experience as the wedding, I realized that my taste buds might be a little bit too sensitive to properly appreciate Southern food.

The starter was Heritage pork lettuce wraps with marinated cucumber and red onion, glazed with Kentuckyaki and topped with Togarashi. It had an ex­tremely strong and piercing flavor such that I could barely tell that it was wrapped in lettuce, and even the pork taste was difficult to pick up.

Husk Restaurant in Charleston

For my main course, I asked the waiter what he recommended as one of the most iconic dishes of the restaurant, and he recommended cornmeal-fried catfish. It came with summer squash, fennel, and green tomato, sitting inside some Louisiana hot sauce.

Long story short, everything tasted like it was pickled to the extreme, and the vegetables were so salty and sour that the only way I was able to tell them apart was because they were different shapes and colors—otherwise, everything just tasted the same. By the end of the dish, it almost felt like I had just pickled the inside of my mouth, and I’m not sure if I was just imagining it, but I’m pretty sure the texture of my mouth had changed to what happens when you soak your fingertips in water for too long.

Husk Restaurant in Charleston

For dessert, I got peanut butter pie layered with dark chocolate ganache, topped with peanut brittle, and with a side of buttermilk ice cream. The pie was great and ended up being my favorite dish of my meal, but for some reason, even the ice cream was a little bit sour. I haven’t really ever heard of sourness being a Southern characteristic, so I’m not sure why over half the things I put in my mouth in Charleston were unbearably sour, but it was definitely not what I was expecting or hoping for.

Husk Restaurant in Charleston

The day before my drive out of Charleston, I decided to go on a hike, as I hadn’t really had a chance to exercise much due to all the festivities. I picked the Wannamaker North Trail, which seemed to be one of the only moderate-difficulty trails I could find in the Charleston area without having to drive too far out.

It was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I got spoiled hiking in mountainous areas in other parts of the country, so I forgot how different walking a trail through a forest would be. Namely, be­side the heavy layer of humidity that felt like it was constantly pushing down on me, there were an insane amount of bugs. I got over 10 mosquito bites be­fore I realized that we had reached disaster levels and tried to figure out a way to get out of the forest as soon as possible.

Wannamaker North Trail

Luckily, this forest wasn’t very dense, so I was able to cut through some sections and make my way back onto a path straight back to the entrance. If you look at my GPS tracker, you’ll see that I completely skipped the entire eastern side of the trail after having gone through the west side.

Wannamaker North Trail

And with that, here is an updated look at my United States travel map. (Keep in mind that this is my historical map; these are not limited only to the places I’ve visited during my road trip this year.)

Adam Parkzer's travel map

My plan now is to fly over to the West again for a week to take care of some errands and visit our company headquarters to get some in-person work done. Afterwards, I’ll fly back and continue my journey through the remaining cluster of four states in the southeast that I have yet to visit.

 

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Hello, USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

I saved the best for last—for the third and final blog post of my trip to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, here’s the USS Yorktown.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

When my co-worker told me that we’re going on an aircraft carrier, it didn’t quite immediately click in my mind as to how large of a watercraft we would be visiting. After arriving at Patriots Point, I had a moment of just staring at the USS Yorktown in amazement at its size. It slowly sunk in that it was an aircraft carrier, as in, it carried aircraft… which meant it had to be big enough for planes to fit on—and take off from—it.

After entering, we spent some time just walking around the main deck and looking at all the aircraft.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

Our first tour was named “Living & Working Spaces, and the Engine Room Experience” (which I think is fairly self-explanatory). This took us through the more “active” areas of the Yorktown so we could see what life was like aboard the watercraft when it was still in service.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

Although this was nowhere near as cramped as the submarine, it’s still impressive how people would be able to live on the watercraft for extended pe­ri­ods of time in such close proximity without going insane.

After completing the loop of the first tour, we returned to the main deck and looked at some more aircraft and other exhibits on our way to the entrance to the second tour.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

The second tour was called “The Flight Deck & Bridge.” After navigating through a short path, we made it out to the upper level of the aircraft carrier to actually see some of the aircraft that it was carrying.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

I go into far greater detail about this in the blog post I already wrote covering the USS Clamagore and Laffey (and you should definitely read that if you want my thoughts), but in summary, this is how history should be taught. Walking through the USS Yorktown was an extremely intriguing and in­ter­est­ing experience, and as someone who has absolutely hated history classes in the past, I thought my visit to Patriots Point was a very valuable ex­pe­ri­ence.

As I mentioned before, we had a late start to our day, so there were actually two entire tours aboard the USS Yorktown that we were unable to complete—the “Yorktown Wardroom, Catapult Room, & Brig” and “WWII Carrier Rooms.” In addition to that, my co-worker and I only got general admission tickets; there were also some upgrade options available, one of which was an add-on for a captain’s guided tour, and another one that included a five-minute flight motion simulator experience.

Charleston is fairly out of the way and I’m not sure if I’ll have a reason to return anytime soon, but if I do, I’m definitely making another stop at Patriots Point. Not only do I still need to actually finish seeing everything that the museum has to offer, but this is also one of those spots where having a prior visit under your belt will enhance your future visits and allow you to notice things the second time that you didn’t notice the first.

And with that, my time in Charleston comes to an end. I have a handful of pictures that I still want to post as a photo dump, but my journey now con­tin­ues to the next destination.

 

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Hello, Medal of Honor Museum and the Vietnam Experience Exhibit

As a continuation of yesterday’s blog post about the USS Clamagore and Laffey from visiting Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, today’s spot­light is on the Medal of Honor Museum and the Vietnam Experience Exhibit.

The Medal of Honor Museum was inside the USS Yorktown (which I’ll show tomorrow). The Medal of Honor is the United States government’s highest award, and it is given to members of the military who distinguished themselves from others through great valor during combat.

Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point

Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point

Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point

Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point

As I mentioned in my previous blog posts, I don’t really have much background knowledge in history, so I didn’t really know anything going into this museum. My co-worker did, though, and he said that this museum was fairly biased—which is unfortunate, but also expected, seeing as this is an A­mer­i­can award in a museum in the South, and featuring Medal of Honor recipients of ethnicities of past United States war enemies might not yield the best reactions from some people.

For the final exhibit before closing time, we walked through the Vietnam Experience Exhibit. This was a hybrid indoor and outdoor exhibit, with the in­door section resembling a traditional museum with items on display, and the outdoor portion being modeled to try and emulate what it actually looked and felt like during the Vietnam War. They had speakers set up in inconspicuous locations to pump “war sounds” into the area, there were a hand­ful of huts that were designed to look like the ones in Vietnam, and a lot of the aircraft and vehicles were accessible so visitors could see inside.

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

There was a photo opportunity at the top of the watchtower; my co-worker eagerly told me to get in position and man the machine gun.

The Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point

 

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Hello, Cold War Memorial in the USS Clamagore (SS-343), and the USS Laffey (DD-724)

For the next tourist activity of Charleston, I was joined again by my co-worker to go to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The museum is ba­sically four museums in one, with three ships and an experiential exhibit.

We attended a wedding over the weekend; I didn’t join in on the afterparty, but my co-worker did. This meant that he slept in and had a late start, so we only had about four hours to experience everything. The museum(s) is/are massive, and four hours wasn’t enough to see everything, even though we weren’t standing there reading all the information on all the placards. If you also want to go, I’d recommend a 4-6 hour trip at the minimum; if you’re an enthusiast who loves the topic, this is honestly an amazing place to spend the entire day from open to close.

Because the museum was so large, I decided to split it up into a few separate blog posts. The first two museums we went to were the Cold War Memorial inside the USS Clamagore (which is a submarine), as well as the USS Laffey DD-724.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

The submarine exhibit outlined what underwater life was like during the Cold War so we could see it first-hand.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

The main takeaway I got from walking through the entirety of the length of the submarine was how large and small it was at the same time. I had never been on a submarine before, and I’m not sure where I got this impression, but I assumed that a submarine would be more like a smaller boat, but capable of being completely underwater. I imagined the interior would reflect something like a private jet. I’m sure there may be some submarines that exist that are like this, but the USS Clamagore was quite literally an entire house crammed into a watercraft.

As I walked through all the different rooms, I realized that this was built for people to live in here for extended periods at a time—all the essentials were directly in the submarine. However, it was also extremely space-efficient, meaning, there was very little open space that wasn’t already being used for some important purpose. The one long hallway stretching across the length of the submarine required a good amount of flexibility and agility to nav­i­gate because of how narrow and short it was.

My co-worker asked me whether or not I thought I could survive in one of these for a long period of time. I do well with small spaces, so that wouldn’t be much of a problem, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the smell and heat. The submarine had a section where it showed the en­gine and had a speaker emitting the sound of one engine… and apparently during normal operation, there are ten of them running at the same time, resulting in ten times the volume. They also produce an insane amount of heat, and it would be normal for it to be ~120°F (~48°C) in that room.

 
Next up was the USS Laffey, nicknamed “The Ship That Would Not Die” due to how resilient it was during the most relentless suicide air attack in his­to­ry during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, better known as D-Day.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

During the tour, I found my locker.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

You might not know this about me, but while I was still in school, I passionately hated history. It was my least favorite subject, I failed my Advanced Place­ment exam in history during high school, I took no history courses as an undergraduate university student while earning my Bachelor’s degree, and I quit my graduate program for my Master’s degree because their breadth of knowledge requirement forced me to take eight history courses to make up for my lack of exposure to history.

My opinion on the topic of history is slowly changing. I started feeling this way when I started going to more historical museums during my road trip, but I think the USS Laffey was the “tipping point” that made me realize that history isn’t actually really that bad, and the thing that’s bad is actually just the American education system.

After watching all the videos on the ship about what happened to it, seeing all the rooms and some of the equipment that the military used to fight to defend the United States, and literally standing in the same watercraft as the veterans with my own two feet, it somehow just occurred to me in a very surreal manner as to how “real” everything was.

This isn’t to say that I was doubting that any of these historical events happened; it was just that, when I learned about it by reading out of a textbook and taking exams, I felt many degrees of separation from the topic. By seeing all this in-person, it hit me as to how important and significant all this was, and how relevant this actually still is to modern-day life.

These museum exhibits were built in a way such that both history enthusiasts (like my co-worker) and history idiots (like I) could learn something new and have a nice experience. What made it even better for me was that, as someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere in the Chicagoland suburbs, and then lived east of the Santa Ana Mountains in California before moving to the middle of the desert in Las Vegas, I didn’t really have much exposure to water. The fact that I was just even on a tremendously large boat to begin with was an exciting experience, so being able to walk through both these watercraft was amazing.

 

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Hello, South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston

After a few more days of catching up on work and staying indoors to escape the humidity, I emerged from my hotel room to go on my first tourist ac­tiv­i­ty of Charleston. One of my co-workers flew in to Charleston in preparation for the wedding that we will be attending this coming weekend, so I went with him to the South Carolina Aquarium.

I’ve been to the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Henry Doorly Aquarium in Omaha, so this was my fourth aquarium experience (as far as I can recall).

The first area we walked through was the turtle hospital, where they were nursing injured turtles back to health. This was an interactive experience where recovering turtles were visible along the walls, and there were exhibits showing what it’s like being a doctor treating a turtle.

South Carolina Aquarium

After the turtle hospital, we moved onto the main section of the aquarium. Like all the others I’ve been to, it is particularly difficult to take good-quality photographs in aquariums due to all the reflections on the glass.

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

There was a section of the aquarium where you could reach into the water and pet some of the fish. I personally am not really the biggest fan of dipping my hand in water touched by hundreds of different people during a pandemic, and I also didn’t want my hand to come out smelling fishy, so I opted not to participate, but I took a photo.

South Carolina Aquarium

The aquarium also had a random area near the escalators that housed a bald eagle. The photo looks a little weird because the eagle’s body was facing me, but it had turned its head nearly 180° so it looks like its head is facing away from me.

South Carolina Aquarium

I have extremely bad eyesight, so when I saw this tiny bird eating something, I just assumed it was a worm, though I was wondering how the worm was so short and fat. Well, after opening the files on my camera and reviewing my photographs, I found out why—the bird wasn’t actually eating a worm, but rather, what appears to be a mouse fetus.

South Carolina Aquarium

Next up was the reptile and amphibian section.

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

The last area of the aquarium we went to was the outdoor section.

South Carolina Aquarium

There as a bird sitting outside that I think was a pelican, and it kept on dipping its beak into the water and trying to snap at the pufferfish. Needless to say, it wasn’t very successful.

South Carolina Aquarium

There was a lot of boat activity that was visible from the aquarium, so I snapped a photo of the largest boat.

South Carolina Aquarium

It took right around two hours for us to get through everything at the South Carolina Aquarium, and that’s without reading all the text, so if you’re a marine life enthusiast, this could easily become a 3- or 4-hour trip. This was one of the more interactive and education-centric aquariums I’ve been to, and there are many opportunities to learn new things through kinesthetic means.

 

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Goodbye Charlotte, hello Charleston

My week in North Carolina is already over, and as of yesterday, I’ve arrived on the coastline of South Carolina in the city of Charleston. Apart from a few hiking trips, I’d say North Carolina was also somewhat uneventful. One of my favorite parts of the state was driving through the Appalachian Mountains when I was traveling in from Tennessee, but otherwise, I spent a lot of this time catching up on more of the “mundane” parts of my life.

My hotel of choice in Charlotte was the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Huntersville. I’d say it was probably my favorite hotel room so far throughout my road trip. As you might already know, I’m not really the biggest fan of flashy or fancy hotel rooms, and SpringHill Suites gave me all the es­sen­tials and none of the extras. The hotel was new, the room was large, the location was great, the gym was decent, and the staff was friendly and help­ful.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Huntersville

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Huntersville

The first week of each month is usually the busiest time for me, and my time in Charlotte basically coincided nearly perfectly with the first week of Oc­to­ber. I had to get end-of-month finance tasks done for September, including cash flow transaction itemization and independent contractor payroll, and I also had a few special legal projects that I needed to wrap up leading into the launch of the closed beta testing period for The Bazaar coming up soon.

Usually, I like to go to the most popular tourist attractions in each city, specifically focusing on what the city is particularly known for. Charlotte is best known for NASCAR and is home to its Hall of Fame, which acts as a museum. However, seeing as I’m not really that much of a racing enthusiast, and I also recently went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I decided to pass on the NASCAR Hall of Fame in lieu of going on another hiking trip.

Clarks Creek Greenway

Clarks Creek Greenway

This was at the Clarks Creek Greenway, which was nestled in more of a residential area and was an out-and-back type of trail. I ended up parking at a local middle school near one of the trailheads, walked all the way out to the edge of the path, and came back.

Clarks Creek Greenway

After arriving in Charleston, there was basically only one thought I had in my mind, and it was how unbearably and debilitatingly humid it was. The rain was obviously making things worse, but the weather apparently said that the relative humidity was 98%, which is literally the highest I have ever seen in my life. The worst part is that my hotel is in North Charleston by Charleston International Airport, so I can’t imagine how bad it’s going to be in the actual city of Charleston, closer to the Atlantic Ocean.

Although nowhere near as nice as the newly-constructed SpringHill Suites I mentioned above, my hotel for this week of my trip is still pretty good—I’m in the Courtyard by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston. The room is definitely much smaller, but the good news is that the cost per night is much more affordable than being in Charleston, and even better, air conditioning works very well, so the humidity is actually bearable inside my room. (Though, if I literally just open the door to my room and step out into the hallway, the humidity becomes overwhelming again.)

Courtyard by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston

Courtyard by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston

Because of the rain, I’m not quite sure how viable it’s going to be for me to squeeze in some hiking trips to what I imagine will be extremely muddy trails. However, I’ll be attending a wedding in Charleston this coming weekend, and another one of the attendees is one of my co-workers, so we will probably be going on some indoor tourist activities before and after the event.

 

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Hello, Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville near Charlotte, North Carolina

Continuing my trend of outdoor activities, I decided to explore the Latta Nature Preserve after arriving in Huntersville, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. The Latta Nature Preserve is a large nature preserve that supposedly has 1,460 acres of land and 16 miles of trails. I obviously couldn’t explore it all in one day, so I took two hiking trips spread across two separate days to see as much of it as I could.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

I started by going to the waterfront near the Historic Latta Plantation and hiked the Buzzard Rock Trail. At the end was Buzzard Rock and a little plat­form that had a nice view of Mountain Island Lake.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

After retracing my steps for a bit, I continued onto Laura’s Trail which led me to Wash Rock, another lookout spot that had a view of Mountain Island Lake from a different angle.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

From there, I got a little lost and started taking any trail I could find, which ended up being the Shady Trail up to the Carolina Raptor Center, then back via Catawba Trail. After returning to my parking spot at the waterfront, I continued going south to check out the beachy area.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

On the second day, I started at the Latta Plantation Nature Center and headed north on Hill Trail before connecting onto Cove Trail and returning via Split Rock Trail. This particular route didn’t have as many spots with nice views, but I did catch some of the Catawba River from the Cove Trail at the tip of one of the peninsulas.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

In total, my adventure spanned across just over eight and a half miles and took right around three hours to complete.

Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC

By the way things are looking now, it seems like I might not have time to go on any other tourist activities, but at the very least, I’m hoping I can squeeze in another hike on a different trail before I head to my next city.

 

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Investment allocation breakdown for 2021 Q3

The last time I did a breakdown like this, I hinted at the fact that I might want to start doing this on a quarterly basis, depending on how much I’ve shuf­fled around my investment allocation. I figured I would follow through with that and do a breakdown for the third quarter of 2021.

Like usual, keep in mind that I am not a registered investment advisor, and even if I was, I would not be your advisor—I am nothing more to you than a guy on the Internet writing on his website. This blog post is intended to be strictly anecdotal, and I am in no way suggesting or implying that you should copy my strategy. Everyone’s situation is uniquely different, so be sure to consult with a certified professional if you have any questions or need any guid­ance.

 
With that being said, here is a revised breakdown of my investment allocation:

Cash

I like to hover around 5-10% in cash reserves, so 12% is a tiny bit over my target.

This quarter’s cash reserves are about the same as last quarter’s. As a reminder, “cash” here includes stuff like my savings and checking account, but also includes settlement funds, i.e., money waiting to be used to purchase stocks, or money set aside in a cash reserve mutual fund in case I need to use my HSA debit card.

Since I set off on my cross-country road trip, I also keep a few hundred dollars of paper cash with me in case I run into a situation where credit cards are not accepted (such as exchanging for quarters to use a washing machine), which is not something I have ever done before until now.

 12.75%

Index funds – Domestic

I have put a marginal amount of more money into United States domestic index funds, but overall have avoided doing so because I spent this past quarter focusing on other investment objectives. You’ll notice that the percentage that domestic index funds take up in my portfolio has decreased because I have put a substantial amount of additional money in other categories.

Within domestic index funds, 39.48% of it is in the total stock market, 36.31% in stocks geared specifically towards growth, and 24.21% in stocks geared specifically towards high dividend yields.

 30.97%

Index funds – International

If you scour the Internet for investment advice, there’s a lot of speculation out there. One thing that I do believe is that the United States stock market is unusually high right now, and I am slightly concerned about putting more money into domestic index funds in case there is a sudden crash. However, I also believe in the fact that you should not try to time the market, because even professionals will miss more often than not.

With that being said, I still wanted to keep a steady stream of money going into investments, so I decided to diversify a little bit more by opting to put more money into international index funds. My allocation went up from 6.28% to just shy of 10%.

  9.99%

Target retirement funds

I make marginal tweaks to target retirement funds based off projected income, and I incrementally add more money throughout the year depending on how much I think I will be able to put into my SEP-IRA. However, this category generally only gets a hefty in­crease twice a year—on January 1, when I dump several thousands of dollars in for the new year, and when taxes are due, once I know precisely what my net income was and how much in qualified SEP-IRA contributions that translates to.

 24.03%

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

This category was my biggest increase, up from just 2.56% last quarter. In a similar vein to the topic I touched in the section about international index funds, I want to diversify and not commit too hard to domestic index funds.

In a stock market crash or a recession, there are a few categories of investments that are more resistant to the drop than others, and real estate is one of them. No matter how bad the economy is, you still need a place to live, and REITs will continue to pay dividends as long as people continue paying their rent and transacting in real estate.

Buying actual real estate (i.e., a physical property) is something I considered, but I decided I wasn’t ready for that yet, so I concluded REITs are the next best thing for my current situation. I mentioned websites like Fundrise last quarter and how I didn’t follow through with using their platform; I’ve maintained that same strategy for this quarter as well, and have my exposure through the Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund Admiral Shares (VGSLX) instead.

 15.15%

Cryptocurrency

I’m not one of those religious believers in cryptocurrency, but I think that’s mainly because I don’t really know that much about it, so a lot of it still seems borderline foreign to me. I’m also not a non-believer either, so I’m continuing to invest a small slice of my port­fo­lio into crypto.

Since last quarter, cryptocurrency prices have recovered a noticeable amount. Since last quarter, I also invested into a new crypto­cur­ren­cy, Ethereum Classic, which now composes 1.44% of my cryptocurrency allocation (i.e., a microscopic sliver). The remainder of my cryptocurrency allocation is composed of 58.54% Bitcoin and 40.02% Ethereum.

  5.23%

Speculative stocks

I’ve more than doubled my investment allocation in speculative stocks, but it’s still a tiny portion of my total portfolio—not even 2%. If anything, this should be considered my “gambling budget,” where I pick stocks that I think will do well, and trade them more for fun than for profit. Like last quarter, a majority of these holdings remain mostly with companies in the travel industry.

  1.75%

Private companies

I bundle together the shares of publicly-traded companies that I hold in the “speculative stocks” category, but there are a few private companies whose stock I have purchased as an early investor.

Again, this should mostly be considered my “gambling budget,” but this specifically is on the extreme end of “high risk, high reward.” This is money that I am pretty much expecting to lose, and if one of these companies happens to make it big, I will get back an as­tro­nomic return.

One thing to note is that this does not include stock options for my current employer; I have opted not to include those stock options at all as part of this investment portfolio breakdown, and will likely continue to avoid doing so unless the company hits some mile­stone where they become liquid. I’d say this is sort of like how I don’t include the value of my paid-off pickup truck in this either—I don’t really consider either of those assets as something I would include in an investment portfolio.

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I can’t promise that I actually will end up doing this every single quarter, but if I have any notable portfolio changes, I’ll make another breakdown… if anything, mainly for me to be able to look back and see how my investment strategy has evolved over the years.

 

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