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August 4, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

For a time the Internet's own poster-child for irrational exuberance and underwater mortgages, Casey Serin (previously discussed on Metafilter), the blogger behind iaminforeclosure.com and millionairebychristmas.com, is interviewed by WalletPop about his future plans... which include living in a van and panning for gold. The real-estate market in the US continues to present post-apocalyptic stories.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (29 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
This article glosses over much of what led to his current situation. The fact that others have been foreclosed-on since he was is no excuse for the sheer extent of his venality and sociopath-level behavior... and he's still chasing the shortcut.

What a waste.
posted by Spacelegoman at 11:35 AM on August 4, 2009


I wish Serin would vanish into the metaphorical (probably) oubliette which swallowed Bernie Shifman.
posted by adipocere at 11:46 AM on August 4, 2009


From one scheme to the next.
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guy sounds like a fool.
posted by chasing at 11:51 AM on August 4, 2009


The best part of Serin's blog was when he met Robert Kiyosaki, who actually congratulated him for not being like all of the cowards and losers who have 9-to-5 jobs.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:51 AM on August 4, 2009


his future plans... which include living in a van

Perhaps he could become a motivational speaker.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


I have to admit that when I first read about the post-condopocalypse building in Miami my initial thought was that must be fucking awesome.
posted by The Straightener at 11:56 AM on August 4, 2009


his future plans... which include living in a van... down by the river?

Perhaps he could become a motivational speaker.

Well la-dee-frickin-da!
posted by empyrean at 12:04 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"They know I'm not going to get a job, a standard job," he says of his critics. "I'm an entrepreneur."

People who dream of being their own boss should consider the possibility that their boss may be an idiot.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:07 PM on August 4, 2009 [19 favorites]


Somehow I haven't had the pleasure of knowing about this guy yet. What an odd story.

It's clear that he's still trying to achieve the mainstream fame he thought would somehow save him three years ago. The Eastern religion, the van, the goldmining, they're his idea of the last chapter of the book. It's a little bit like watching a kid try to get a piece of candy by insisting that he doesn't really want it anymore.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:10 PM on August 4, 2009


Also, to anyone who hasn't heard of Casey Serin before, this series of blog posts gives a pretty good rundown of the whole story up to mid-2007.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:21 PM on August 4, 2009


I have to admit that when I first read about the post-condopocalypse building in Miami my initial thought was that must be fucking awesome.

Funny, when I first read it my initial thoughts were if you want to fill the units, charge less, you greedy motherfuckers.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:26 PM on August 4, 2009


Somehow I haven't had the pleasure of knowing about this guy yet.

As I've said before here, I was kinda neutral on the whole housing bubble thing in 2005-2006 [worst case: expecting declines on the order of the 1989-94 spindown] until Casey Serin hit the the bubble blogs in late 2006. It was only then was I able to put together the full casuality chain:

1) Securitized Mortgages means banks can reload their lending ability (I knew this from mid-2005)
2) Wholesale lending with retail frontmen with warehouse lines working on commission
3) Actively Lax bank underwriting at all levels
4) Lack of Government oversight WRT 2 & 3
5) Able & Willing buyers engaging in fully-leveraged fraud to their evil hearts' content

Later on I learned of the CDO and CDO-squared along with the ratings agencies failure to accurately model potential losses of these derivatives, but that was an implementation detail.

In 2007 bubble bloggers were running around with their hair on fire trying to get the FBI involved in obvious fraud cases like Casey. Sacramento and San Diego were hit hard, but fully 20% or more of the sales in 2005-2007 were total bubble speculation plays like Serin. My Mom's neighborhood in Fresno had half a dozen buyers from the bay area come in and pick up SFHs for rentals. Never paid a dime on the 2 year IO mortgages and let them go to the bank in 2008-09.

Free-market capitalism at its finest.
posted by @troy at 12:50 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine's father is essentially a Serin-like character (though with one big score among numerus failures), and gold mining fascinates him, as well. Can't say I'm shocked at this development.
posted by maxwelton at 12:51 PM on August 4, 2009


From the walletpop interview:
"Citing Thoreau's Walden and Sean Penn's film version of Into the Wild as inspiration, Casey is well-versed in the time-honored dream of living off the grid."
I predict more Into the Wild and less Walden, and not in a good way.
posted by 445supermag at 1:11 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I predict more Into the Wild and less Walden, and not in a good way.

I pray for a Grizzly Man ending, complete with Werner Herzog refusing to play an audio recording to a tense group of IRS agents.
posted by Shepherd at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I wonder when Serin is going to head to Africa to look for diamonds and end up becoming an arms dealer.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on August 4, 2009


Casey is well-versed in the time-honored dream of living off the grid

Yes, he knows how to live off the grid, like a parasite lives off a host.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:16 PM on August 4, 2009


A friend of mine's father is essentially a Serin-like character (though with one big score among numerus failures), and gold mining fascinates him, as well. Can't say I'm shocked at this development.
What this likely means is that the bubble formed by the runup in gold prices is ready to pop.
posted by deanc at 1:20 PM on August 4, 2009


What this likely means is that the bubble formed by the runup in gold prices is ready to pop.

You know, it's completely unscientific & all, but I think you may actually be right. Hmm.
posted by aramaic at 1:51 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm convinced that wanderlust for gold is intimately tied to whether or not you're a crank. I was just reading this Newsweek article on "My Father was a Drug Dealer" about his father's drug running in the 70s. Where did he spend his money? Yukon gold mine. (Note that the article is a compelling look into drug dealing in the 70s, but spends too much time moralizing his father's choices and only at the end mention, by the way, he was a severe paranoid schizophrenic which explains the heavy drug use, and doesn't mention the many other people involved who, presumably did not spiral into a homeless existence.)

It seems like there was another article about a similar financial crazy talking about gold, I wish I could remember what it was.

I do think that we currently have a gold bubble. Gold has very little industrial value and is pretty much the definition of a speculation investment. People buy it, store it and wait for the price to go up. That said I've been wary of there being a gold bubble since the economy first started going shaky and stories about gold began to pop up. The thing about bubbles is, while they are easy to recognize, they are impossible to time. Spend some time really following the actual prices of shorts and your current cash flow, you'll begin to see what I mean. Spend time actually holding the short position, month after month, year after year, as the market and everyone tells you to take the opposite position, and you are a far stronger man than I (or have deeper pocket books). Sorry but around the 7-8 month of a bubble you know to be a bubble keeps on going the opposite direction and you start looking at how much money you spent, and it turns into month 13 or 14, it becomes increasingly a religions feat in abstinence.
posted by geoff. at 4:49 PM on August 4, 2009


and it turns into month 13 or 14, it becomes increasingly a religions feat in abstinence.

already covered: "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." I got into the shorting game late, in the summer of 2008. I had some early fun with SDS and SRS, then I picked up some healthy puts on C and LEH solely based on their level III asset exposure. I had exquisite timing but the stops got ran out in August, just a week before LEH tanked. C'est le guerre. At least the C puts paid for this MBP, LOL.
posted by @troy at 5:31 PM on August 4, 2009


From the article: "... condemning his actions isn't so simple anymore."

Wrong.
posted by mhum at 6:16 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


People should just mess with him. "Hey Casey, I have an inside tip. Gold is dead. But Beanie babies are back!"
posted by anniecat at 8:16 PM on August 4, 2009


My parents are hobbiest gold-panners, as well as amateur "rock buffs" - they like to hike in the old gold-mining regions where the prospectors leave a lot of quartz and other veiny rocks that were worthless to them.

There was a period in high school where my parents were out gold-panning every weekend. My dad even thought of building one of those sluice boxes. In all their years of gold-panning, they managed to dig up maybe a quarter ounce of gold, which is $200 bucks at today's prices and maybe $50 back then.

...so let's say the spent 4 hours a week for 52 weeks... that's $1 per hour.

But logic like this doesn't work for people like Casey Serin. All he sees is the "payout", without seeing the odds of success. He thinks that his "problems with details" and his utter failure to commit to one job at a time only keep him from 'real-life jobs', but really they are the cause of his failure at entrepreneurial jobs as well.
posted by muddgirl at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2009


He'd been making $50k/year as a PHP programmer before starting his real-estate adventure. Well at least that's what he'd claimed.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2009


He also said that he'd only consider taking another 9-5 job if they offered him 150k or more a year, in San Francisco, and let him take time off and take long lunch breaks to muck about with his (usually illegal) get-rich-quick schemes.
posted by muddgirl at 3:33 PM on August 5, 2009


This guy isn't a victim of the mortgage bust, he's a victim of his own delusions. His wife didn't divorce him because of the foreclosure crisis, she divorced him because he's got something very very wrong in the upstairs.

Lots of smart, savvy, focused people got screwed by the subprime lending bubble. And also a bunch of delusional loons with no impulse control whatsoever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2009


Too many wheatgrass smoothies, no doubt.
posted by calwatch at 8:59 PM on August 6, 2009


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