My Resume of Failures

The initial title for this post was “What’s wrong with my investment portfolio?”, but a recent post chain that caught my eye is expressing the idea of “failure” from a more holistic point of view. The history apparently started from a Princeton professor’s “CV of failures“, following up by Elon Musk, and a few personal finance bloggers #1 #2 (possibly others that I’ve missed).

While my age did not allow me to have any catastrophic failures yet, I still have three challenging steps that I have to follow, to write this list:

  1. The Oh, damn, that was bad moment: Identifying what is a failure – what had a long-term bad outcome
  2. The Oh, damn, that was me momentAccepting the fact that a conscious decision lead to that, and that I am responsible
  3. The Oh, damn, that was stupid moment: Accepting that the failure could have easily been avoided


And here’s everything I can think of:

  • 2009 – While building websites, I’ve planned starting up a web hosting business. Bought the equipment, arranged the location, negotiated network contracts, and … nothing happened. It stopped without reason #lazy
  • 2012 – Started an online shop with a friend. Got hung up on the fact that I put up more work than he did, and shut it down. #lazyAgain
  • 2013 – Graduating university with 1 job application. Yes, one. Through dumb luck, that application was successful and I got a job #lazyYetAgain
  • 2013 – Joined the company, went on the “graduate training” trip to New York, spent about £8000 in 2 months on entertainment and expensive food.
  • 2013 – After joining the company, I signed up to a few credit cards. And maxed them out in 2-3 months, relying on the end-of-year bonus to pay them off. That bonus turned out to be less than £1000 for new joiners. That debt lasted for another 12 months.
  • 2016 – Stayed 3 years with the company, with almost no base salary increase (specifically, 3%, 1% and 6%). Took me long to pull the plug and move on.
  • 2016 – Sat on £60.000 in my bank account, gifted by my parents to be used as a deposit towards a mortgage. They were not invested, and I did not buy any property. Lost £10.000 due to Brexit (FX swings), and had to cover that with a loan.
  • 2017 – With an average monthly post-tax income of £4000, I’ve only managed to save an average of £600/mo.
  • 2017 – Did little-to-no study on investment opportunities, so my average return for the year is (roughly) around 4%. While the S&P is up 10%, FTSE 12%, and my favorite global fund, 25%. More on my portfolio mistakes, in another post.
  • 2017 – Made some career mistakes that lead me to a very insecure position within the company. In the last 3 months I’ve been constantly wondering if I will be let go. This is what generated one of my new year resolutions, to re-evaluate my position and consider contracting, in case that reduces my stress level.
  • 2017 – Contracted a $3000 side hustle, which I did not start due to bad time management.
  • 2018 – I own about $2500 in stock from my previous employer, and quite a bit more restricted equity options from my current employer. However, I forgot the details for the brokerage account for the first one (they were on my work e-mail), and if I will leave my current position, I don’t yet have the cash to exercise the vested options (which will otherwise expire).


There it is! This took a while to write, but I can see why people may want to write this. It feels almost therapeutic, and it sets a benchmark for future failures :).

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