When I graduated from college, I did what society expected: I got a job.
I landed my dream gig: I was a newspaper reporter in a scenic Colorado town. I loved my colleagues; I had a blast everyday in the newsroom.
I didn’t earn much — $21,000 per year — but I enjoyed my work. Life was awesome.
Except for one teeny-tiny little problem: I lacked freedom.
I was required to come to the office five days per week and sit in my chair from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. — regardless of whether or not I operated at peak productivity during those hours.
If I wanted to spend a week at the beach or mountains, I needed to “submit a request.”
That irked me. Why should arbitrary rules govern the hours of MY life? Why couldn’t I control my limited hours on this earth?
I wanted escape.
So I saved money. Like a maniac. I hustled during the evenings and weekends, writing freelance articles, and saved every dime. I landed a few promotions with commensurate pay raises, and tucked this into a savings account.
I earned extra money on the side, and put it straight into savings — $50 here, $100 there.
Slowly, hundreds turned into thousands.
In April 2008, I handed in my resignation and bought a one-way airline ticket to Egypt. I held $25,000 in the bank.
I spent the next two years backpacking across Asia and Australia. I rode camels in Cairo, scuba-dived in Thailand, explored Indonesian islands, hiked Tasmanian mountains, drove 27,000 kilometers across Australia … you get the idea.
When I returned to the U.S. in 2010, I had a terrifying thought: I might need to get a job again.
No. No. Never!!!!
I couldn’t go back to a crappy cubicle. I wanted sustainable, long-term freedom.
First I built a six-figure income as a self-employed writer. This took a few years, but I eventually earned a well-paid living from my laptop. Nothing could be better. Right?
I wanted financial independence: the ability to escape trading time-for-money.
I wanted to build investments that could support me 100%.
Let me be clear: I’m not a beach bum who wants to drink margaritas all day. I wanted freedom to work on purpose-driven projects, instead of relying on a paycheck for groceries and gas.
I decided to build this through real estate investing.
I saved my “day job” money and bought a house. Actually, I bought a triplex, which is a building with three units. I moved into one of the units (with my significant other, Will) and rented out the other two.
Thanks to this rental income, Will and I lived “for free,” with zero out-of-pocket housing costs.
I kept saving money, reinvesting as much as possible into my fledgling real estate business.
The flywheel started spinning.
I made many mistakes, but over time, I created systems. I hired a team. I built a business that generates profits while I sleep.
After I felt confident that my team can manage the properties, I moved 2,000 miles away from my investment properties.
The money that flows into my bank account while I’m sleeping / traveling / hiking is enough to support Will and I for the rest of our lives.
I don’t live a bling-bling-BMW lifestyle. I’m not poppin’ corks at the club ’til the break of dawn, or whatever those rap lyrics say.
But I can pay the bills with passive income.
I don’t need to answer to a boss.
I don’t work in a cubicle and I never sit in rush-hour traffic. I live life exactly as I want. I’ll spend 4 hours hiking on a random Tuesday if the mood strikes. Or I’ll stay up all night writing blog posts. Or I’ll travel to Bali on a whim.
I’ve broken the shackles of paycheck-dependence.
On this website, Afford Anything, I want to show you how I did this — and help you do the same. Join 30,000+ people who get free email updates.
Welcome to an online community that’s building financial independence. I’m glad you’re here.
P.S. Download my free book, Escape.