When I graduated from college, I did what society expected: I got a job.
I worked at a newspaper in the same small town where I went to college.
I was overworked and underpaid.
My starting salary was $21,000 per year in 2005.
I sat at my desk from 9-to-5 everyday, even on sunny days when I’d rather be outside. If I wanted to take a long weekend off, I had to “submit a request.”
I made the best of the situation. I told myself that everyone is broke. Everybody tolerates their job. This is normal.
There was just one problem: I felt trapped.
Why should I live by someone else’s rules? Why can’t I decide how to spend my time?
I didn’t want “normal.” I wanted extraordinary.
I planned my escape.
I picked up freelance gigs during the evenings and weekends. I landed a few raises.
Any extra money that I made — $50 here, $100 there — went straight into savings. After three years, this turned into $25,000.
In April 2008, I quit my job.
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, learned to scuba-dive in Thailand, explored the islands of Indonesia, hiked in Tasmania, drove 27,000 kilometers around 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 freedom forever.
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 ultimate 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 cool, 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 — a building with three units. I moved into one of the units and rented out the other two.
The rent from the other two units covered my mortgage, repairs and maintenance. I lived “for free.”
I kept saving money and reinvesting it back into my fledgling real estate business.
It started slowly. I went through a lot of trial-and-error.
But over time, I created systems. I hired a team. I built a business that creates profits while I sleep.
When I felt confident that my systems are strong, and my business can operate without me, I moved 2,000 miles away.
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.