About Alexis Assadi

aa-beach-instagramYou probably stumbled upon my website as a result of a Google search, a link on social media or perhaps even a referral from a friend. Regardless of how you arrived, I appreciate you being here.

This is the “About Me” page, where I’m supposed to talk about myself in a manner that’s self-flattering, yet not boastful and – according to internet marketers – should help me build trust with my readers so that I can later on sell stuff to them.

So let’s get on with the trust-building, and you’d better have your wallet open.

Who am I – and why do I have a girl’s name?

I’ll never be able to explain why my parents called me “Alexis.” I’m their oldest child, so perhaps they got it wrong on the first attempt. Everyone makes mistakes. Though it was a nuisance in elementary and high school (“Why do you have a girl’s name?”), it worked out in my favor later in life. Now when people meet me, they remember who I am (“That’s the guy with the girl’s name”). That’s what I call a competitive advantage.

If you ask them, my parents will tell you that “Alexis” is a name commonly donned by men in Europe. That makes a bit more sense considering I was born in Geneva, Switzerland. But it only explains the first few years.

At the age of two or three I moved from Europe to Thailand, and then again to Hong Kong and Australia until my family finally decided to settle down in Vancouver, Canada when I was 12. Just like most others in North America, I am an immigrant (gasp!).

Since we’re on the subject, I may as well address the other two parts of my name and share my ethnic background with you. If you’ve done business with me before, you’ll have probably noticed that I sign contracts as “Alexis S. Assadi.” Including my initial makes me sound badass, which is why I do it.

The “S.” in my name stands for Shahriar, which was given to me by my grandfather. It translates roughly to “the king’s closest friend” in Farsi. Both Shahriar and Assadi are Persian names, since my father’s side of the family is from Iran. If you’re reading this and are Persian, yourself, I’ll answer your questions in advance: No, I don’t speak Farsi and I don’t plan on learning it. Yes, I love Persian food and eat it regularly. No, I haven’t been and don’t intend to visit. My grandfather was a Member of Parliament in Iran until he fled the revolution in 1979. I could probably get into the country, but I might not get out.

My mom, on the other hand, is from Sweden. I’ve been there, but I don’t speak the language.

The result of my conception from Persian and Swedish parents is that I’m tall, pale, skinny, blue-eyed, hairy and I have a pointy nose that’s bent a bit to the left. I can’t breathe too well from one of my nostrils.

What’s my education and professional background?

I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I struggled during the first two years of school, earning both a 16% in Geography class and a spot on the Academic Probation list. I did better in the latter half, though, after taking more subjects that interested me.

During those years, I began to develop an eye for investing. At 19 I received a phone call from a banker, who convinced me to put my life savings ($1,000) into a mutual fund. That decision sparked a small flame, causing me to take an interest in an otherwise foreign world. I bought my first stock while in university, Exxon Mobil (XOM), at $72.39. I had neither the capital nor the knowledge to pursue it further, but a new interest was spawned.

After graduating, I moved to New York to work for my two uncles for about a year. Both worked on Wall Street. One owned a law firm and the other had a real estate company. My original plan was to get experience in law and business before moving back to Canada and applying to law school. Becoming an attorney made sense for a Poli Sci major, though I was never passionate about the idea. It just seemed smart.

While in New York the concept of investing grew increasingly tantalizing. I felt empowered knowing that I could make money independent of employment. I moved past mutual funds and started trading stocks with the little money I had. My next purchase was $500 into Sisco Corporation after a poor earnings report prompted a 20% price decline. I found myself coming home from work at night to read articles about investing, not the law. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to be a businessman.

I returned to Canada in 2011 with two goals in mind: get experience-building employment and then get an MBA two years later. After applying to several banks and investment firms, I landed a job at a small, privately-held sales company. I worked there for five years and eventually became its CEO, until we parted ways in mid-2016.

Though I never got my MBA, I spent those five years honing my craft as an investor. By 26 years-old I had built a portfolio that produced more income than most earn from employment. I could have quit my job in 2014, but the experience I gained from work was invaluable.

Thanks to my colleagues and associates there, I developed a passion for investing in private ventures, like real estate deals and small businesses. I found that I had more control over variables and risks than I did in the stock market, and could thus mitigate them and increase returns. By 2016 I had made over 50 investments in that space. I had been financially free for two years, owned multiple companies and decided to set out on my own.

What’s my day job, today?

I run a few different businesses, but my two primary ventures are Assadi Capital Partners and Pacific Income LP. They operate in a similar space, but there are some key differences.

Assadi Capital Partners is essentially a family office, to which I am the Chairman. It’s the umbrella for a group of privately-owned corporations that invests debt and/or equity in various companies. We have funded over 50 deals with small businesses and entrepreneurs, ranging from real estate, wealth management, health care, advertising, landscaping and cryptocurrency ventures.

Pacific Income LP focuses exclusively on lending. The firm provides up to $250,000 to small businesses and real estate transactions in Canada and the US. I am a director and the CEO of Pacific Income Capital Corporation, which manages Pacific Income LP.

I also blog frequently. Basically, I try to give an authentic opinion about various investments, markets and wealth-building strategies. I also review private placement/exempt market offerings and comment on financial news and legal/regulatory considerations. Whenever possible, I show people the mistakes I’ve made in business, especially in my mid-20s, and how they can lead to positivity. I’m a man of many flaws and don’t pretend otherwise.

While this website has a respectably-sized readership, I purposely avoid the “money guru” image because it’s corny and fake. I don’t have all the answers and I can’t help anyone get rich overnight. I also know and have done business with a lot of people in the financial training industry. I can confirm that most of them got rich by selling information about getting rich. They weren’t wealthy beforehand.

Lastly, I started a mentorship program in June 2016, which I spend quite a bit of time on. That’s been really fun for me. My objective is to help others build passive income so that they can work towards financial freedom. It also instills a sense of self-purpose beyond merely being a guy who invests in companies and writes blog posts about it. I love working with investors and entrepreneurs regardless of age and experience. If you're motivated and are willing to hustle, then I want to be on your team. One of the perks of having members internationally, too, is meeting up with them when I travel. You can learn a lot about someone over dinner and drinks.

My general opinions about investing

I believe in investing for monthly income, using complex strategies like employing leverage and pursuing a lifelong commitment to becoming a great investor. I try to show my readers that wealth is built by acquiring income producing assets, as opposed to through a job or by getting a university degree. While I support people’s decisions to pursue academia, I think it should be done to acquire knowledge rather than fortunes. If you go to school to get rich, you are making a mistake.

Looking back at some of my articles, I’ve noticed that my older ones are a bit more opinionated and braggadocios than what I would write today. My views have also changed to some degree as I’ve matured with age. Rather than removing them, however, I’ve let those posts remain for your viewing pleasure. I have no shame in admitting that I’ve been wrong in the past. If anything has been edited since, I note that therein.

I did not create my wealth conventionally. I don’t have a financial advisor, I don’t have a retirement account and have only a small amount in traditional securities like stocks and ETFs. I also don’t believe in blindly trusting your money to licensed professionals, many of whom have little more experience than a paper certificate.

Instead, I perceive investing as a craft. It takes years of practice, refinement, trial and error and study before one can be consistently successful at it. To me, it’s similar to becoming a professional athlete or a doctor, dentist or engineer. If you don’t dedicate a big bulk of your life to it, you will probably fail to achieve your goals.

The problem I see is that most people rely on bankers and financial advisors to manage their affairs. Instead of taking their wealth into their own hands, they hire others to do it for them. The result is that they make fee-heavy, sub-par investments. I’ve never met a person who became financially free without at least being actively involved in her portfolio. Using licensed professionals is probably better than doing nothing, but I don’t think it’s as effective as being hands-on.

As a general rule of thumb, the more people who get their hands into your portfolio, the more diluted your returns will be. For instance, if you buy mutual funds from a financial advisor, you will pay a series of commissions and fees that deflate your earnings. In fact, most funds (mutual funds, ETFs, private placements, etc.) come with management and administration costs that take away from what you might otherwise earn.

That’s why I prefer to do things myself. By taking the time to learn to invest, I’m able to enter lucrative ventures with minimal risk. 100% of my capital is also put to work. I don’t pay any fees, commissions or bonuses to anyone.

Despite the foregoing, I’m not on a crusade to denigrate financial advisors or anyone else in the industry. On balance, think they do a lot of good for people. I’m simply of the opinion that one should take the initiative to learn and study, and seek to become an expert themselves, if they want to reach financial freedom.

On life (and living it)

At some point in my 28th year, I realized that life is not all about making money. I noticed how obsessed I had become with advancing my own interests. How much time had I wasted on the stresses that accompany business? How many years of pleasure with my family and friends did I lose? I noticed that while I spent a lot of time physically with my loved-ones, I usually wasn’t present mentally.

I realized that, in the grand scheme of things, none of it matters much. My life will last about 100 years. When compared to the 14 billion years that the universe has existed, the 4.5 billion years that Earth has been around or the 200 milennia that humans have inhabited it, I am virtually nothing. My problems, failures and successes are less than insignificant. When looked at from afar, my sole contribution to history will be a tiny spec that was part of the broader collective. When I die, only a generation or two of my family will remember me. And nobody will recall my struggles or stresses.

To that end, I believe that there are only two logical goals that one should pursue in life. First, to enjoy it while we can. If our anxieties are ultimately worthless, it makes little sense to let them consume us. We should just do things that bring us joy. Second, to improve the wellbeing of the organisms with whom we coexist. That includes our own species, animals and the environment. There is no god or higher purpose. It's us, alone, for a limited period. We may as well all try to be happy.

I haven't quite mastered the task of advancing the wellbeing of others. My hope is that my investments have improved the lives of those involved. I try to pay my employees well, treat them fairly and provide a stimulating work environment. I also try to share honest material on this website that I think will help others gain. Aside from that, however, I've not gotten far. My next step is to begin volunteering, which I’ve rarely done in the past.

What do I do for fun?

I’ve always enjoyed reading about people’s private lives, especially if they’ve got a semblance of publicity. The chances are that you and I have never met, so you might be interested in what I’m actually like.

Disappointingly, my life is quite normal. I’m not like those other gurus on the internet who “live the laptop lifestyle” and spend their days gallivanting around the world. I’ll usually spend four days a week in the office, for a few hours a day. I’ll take phone calls with partners, write articles and try to stay out of people’s way. I play basketball in the evenings three times a week and lift weights occasionally. I can't bench-press, though, because of a shoulder injury I got in college. You'd never believe it from looking at me now, but when I was 21 I weighed 240 pounds and was a wannabe powerlifter.

I read quite a bit, too; both the news and books. I actually don’t care much for material about business, finance and entrepreneurship. My shelf is crammed with biographies about Stalin, Mao, Mandela, Schwarzenegger, Pol Pot, Bernanke and Jay-Z. I’ve also taken an interest in modern science, law and American history.

I hang out often with my wife, our dog, our parents and our close friends. My idea of a perfect night is having drinks with my wife, then joining our parents for dinner, followed by whiskey and cigars with my boys on a warm summer evening. Of course, the dog would be there the whole time.

I'm also a voracious listener of rap music, particularly from 2000-2010. My iTunes playlist has songs from DMX, Xzibit, Bone Thugs~N~Harmony, Eminem, Jay Z, Nas, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Big Pun, Ludacris, 2Pac and Biggie Smalls.

What can I do for you?

For a long time, after reaching financial independence and quitting my job, I struggled with what to do next in my life. Semi-retiring at age 28 gets boring quickly. Believe me, there are only so many YouTube videos and dog walks that a person can occupy their days with.

Eventually, I decided to dedicate myself to investor education. I know from my own experience that the best way to consistently earn strong ROIs and avoid losses is to become a sophisticated investor. As such, I devote a lot of my time to writing articles that people can use to make more informed purchases.

I publish every two days, but I don’t write traditional personal finance material. You won’t see much about “10 quick ways to pay off your credit cards” or “4 super cool things you didn’t know about your mortgage.” Instead, I focus on the fine-print that most people don’t read, and that most other bloggers don’t have experience with.

Ultimately, an investment is a legal contract – a piece of paper – that is made between two parties. It’s an agreement based on some offering of shares, units or a creditor position in exchange for capital. For example, you give me $50 and I’ll give you 5 shares in my company. Or you give me $50 and I’ll give it back to you with interest.

The reason people lose money or earn lackluster returns is because they are uninformed. They don’t understand the basics. As such, I try to break down complex concepts, simplify them and tell investors what I think they should know.

I’m fortunate to have an audience of all ages and levels of experience. For that reason, I write about a broad range of subject matter. I encourage you to download my free 150+ page “Getting Started” package for my core content.

Conclusion

A lot of businesspeople are afraid to be controversial. They box themselves into whatever they think their customers will appreciate. They may appear to be disruptive or forward-thinking (that, in itself, is a popular image), but will only go so far as what's safe or what sells.

One of the perks of financial freedom is the ability to be unbridled. I can be honest and frank about my views without fear of reprisal or monetary loss. Nobody can fire me. No investor will push me out from the board of directors. Occasionally, one of my companies will lose a sale because of something I write, but the impact is small enough for me to not care.

The truth is that in business, especially in the financial training space, people promote a lot of stuff that they don't believe in. They'll make up narratives to fit a product just so they can sell it. To avoid being painted by the same brush (and to preserve my dignity and self-respect), I take the opposite approach. I share my countless mistakes, flaws and regrets openly. I even discuss some deeply personal issues, like my struggles with chronic anxiety. I also try to respect my readers by not running advertisements on this site or emailing them for money.

If I can say so myself, I’m a good investor. I’ve made a decent living by financing small business owners and entrepreneurs. My best material discusses research and due diligence, which is what I suggest you pay the most attention to. I can’t guarantee you financial freedom or promise you riches. But everything I write will be real. You can take that to the bank.

Thanks for taking the time. So it was worth your while, I invite you to download an e-copy of my first book, Rich At 26. I wrote it in 2014, so my views have since changed a bit. I’m also a bit less cavalier today. But I think you’ll find it informative nonetheless.

Alexis Assadi