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 5 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 be the master of my limited hours on this earth?
I needed 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 was 24 years old, and I held $25,000 in the bank.
I spent the next two years backpacking across Asia and Australia, sleeping in cheap hostels or guesthouses, riding bumpy buses, and camping on the beach.
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.
I occasionally wrote freelance articles while I traveled. Nothing major; just part-time work for extra pocket change.
I returned to the U.S. in 2010, with a few thousand remaining in my bank account.
A terrifying thought came to mind: I might need to get a job again.
No. No. Never!!!!
After NOT sitting in a crappy cubicle, I couldn’t go back.
I wanted sustainable, long-term freedom.
First I cobbled together freelance gigs and created a modest-but-comforable existence as a self-employed writer. At the time, I thought “earn a living from your laptop” is the dream. Nothing could be better. Right?
I wanted more.
I wanted financial freedom: I wanted to live on passive income.
I wanted investments that gave me the freedom to NEVER. WORK. AGAIN.
Let me be clear: I’m not a beach bum who avoids work. I wanted FREEDOM to work on purpose-driven, interesting projects, rather than punching a clock for a paycheck.
I decided I’d pursue 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 roommates) and rented out the other two.
The rent from the other two units covered my mortgage, repairs and maintenance. I lived “for free,” with zero out-of-pocket housing costs.
I kept saving money and reinvesting it back into my fledgling real estate business.
It started slowly. I endured a ton of trial-and-error.
But over time, I created systems. I hired a team. I built a business that generates profits while I sleep.
Once I felt confident that my business can operate without me, I moved 2,000 miles away from my properties.
The money that flows into my bank account while I’m sleeping / traveling / hiking is enough to support myself and my partner Will for the rest of our lives.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that our investment income could support a bling-bling-BMW lifestyle. I’m not poppin’ corks at the club ’til the break of dawn, or whatever those song lyrics say.
All I’m saying is that, with minimal input from me (less than one hour per week), my investments create enough passive income to pay the bills.
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.
And on this website, Afford Anything, I want to help you do the same.
I want to show you how I did this — and how you can do the same. Join the free email list.