The 22-Year-Old Google Employee’s Costly Crypto Misadventure

The 22-Year-Old Google Employee's Costly Crypto Misadventure

The 22-Year-Old Google Employee's Costly Crypto Misadventure

In the world of finance, stories of triumphs and losses abound, but there’s something particularly compelling about the tale of a 22-year-old Google employee, Ethan Nguonly, whose ambitious goal was to retire at the age of 35 with savings of Rs 41 crore (approximately $5.5 million USD). However, a significant setback recently put a dent in his financial aspirations. In this article, we delve into Nguonly’s journey, his ‘biggest financial mistake,’ and the lessons we can all learn from it.

Early Investment Enthusiasm

Ethan Nguonly’s journey into the world of finance began at a remarkably young age, thanks to the guidance of his parents. Growing up in Orange County, California, he started investing in the stock market before he even reached his teenage years. This early exposure instilled in him the importance of prudent financial planning and investment.

The Google Dream

Fast forward to the present, and Nguonly is a 22-year-old software engineer at Google. His impressive compensation package includes a base salary of USD 134,000, a 15 percent annual bonus, USD 30,000 in restricted stock units, and an additional USD 10,000 in on-call pay each year. With a portfolio boasting over Rs 1 crore, two houses, and brokerage accounts set aside for retirement, Nguonly seemed to be well on his way to achieving his ambitious retirement goal.

The Cryptocurrency Misstep

However, as the saying goes, “Pride comes before a fall.” Nguonly’s journey took an unexpected turn when he decided to enter the world of cryptocurrency. Between November 2021 and June 2022, he made a fateful decision to invest approximately USD 80,000 (about Rs 67 lakh) in various cryptocurrencies. What’s more, he used borrowed money to bolster his investments.

The Downfall

Nguonly’s cryptocurrency investments primarily revolved around Bitcoin and Ethereum, with smaller sums allocated to assets like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. Initially, things seemed promising, especially with the surging prices of Bitcoin. Encouraged by this upward trend, he invested an additional USD 15,000, borrowed once again. However, this gamble would prove to be his undoing.

When the cryptocurrency market took a turn for the worse, Nguonly found himself grappling with substantial losses. His portfolio suffered USD 50,000 in unrealized gains, and he lost an additional USD 30,000 in invested funds. The decision to invest with borrowed money, which he didn’t necessarily have, amplified his losses.

The Hard Lesson

Reflecting on his financial misstep, Nguonly candidly admitted, “I was investing with some money that I didn’t necessarily have. Once the crypto market kind of reversed, my losses were amplified.” It was a harsh lesson for the young Google employee, one that underscores the importance of making informed and responsible investment choices.

Google’s Challenges

In addition to his personal financial woes, Nguonly’s story also coincides with a period of upheaval within Google. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, recently announced layoffs within its recruiting team, though the exact number of affected employees remains undisclosed. This follows Google’s earlier decision to lay off 12,000 employees in January of the same year, followed by layoffs in its Waze mapping app department as part of integration efforts into Google Maps products.


Ethan Nguonly’s journey from a young investment enthusiast to a Google employee with substantial financial aspirations is a tale filled with ambition and the harsh realities of financial markets. His costly foray into cryptocurrency serves as a stark reminder that while the allure of quick riches may be tempting, prudent financial planning and responsible investment strategies are the keys to long-term financial success. In the end, Nguonly’s ‘biggest financial mistake’ is a lesson that can benefit us all: invest wisely, within your means, and with a clear understanding of the risks involved.

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