It is amazing how much time I have spent over the last 20 years dreaming about being financially independent and one day living the carefree, jet setting, millionaire lifestyle. Those dreams continue to live and flourish today.
I think many people who would read a blog post like this have a desire of traveling and seeing the world. All of this seems possible because they can imagine themselves simply sitting back, making money passively, without exerting much effort, to afford and pay for their mobile lifestyle. The money just certainly pours into your bank account while you sleep – right?
No bosses, no schedules, no commitments, no financial worries or timelines. Well, I guess there would be some timelines. Let’s not forget about all those planes, trains, and ships to catch! Perhaps the biggest challenge is deciding what exciting place or adventure you wish to experience next! Why can’t we just live that dream now? Surely others have done it before and have provided us a road-map on what it takes to make that happen.
We all know deep down that it is possible to escape the 9-5 drudgery, enabling us to do something that we are truly passionate about. I have felt for years that I must remove the work aspect of my life to have the time needed to find my true calling. Maybe this is just an excuse for not taking more risks and living the life I want now.
For those that have the travel bug, being location independent is important. For others, staying home and volunteering may be more enjoyable. Either way, it takes some planning and focus to break out of the normal “working person’s” thought process of waiting until age 65 for retirement to roll around.
Something needs to change!
A Travel Opportunity Lifestyle
Life is made up of many big and little decisions and “trade-offs,” as my wife would say. We can’t have it all. So there are going to be decisions made that will affect your opportunities and the results of these actions in your life.
Our short-term goal is to travel extensively. With that goal, we definitely have some trade-offs for that location independent travel lifestyle.
We have had the desire for years to travel and visit places in the US and the world. The current short-term goal is to be able to spend extended time in our 24-foot RV trailer while exploring the West. In fact, we just spent 4 nights camping over the Memorial Day weekend in Arizona.
I have imagined my wife stopping work while I continue to work remotely from whatever travel location whim we find ourselves drawn to. The ultimate goal would be the ability to take off on a 2-month trip not knowing where we might end up only 2 weeks into the journey.
We have been following and reading the blogs of some people that have been doing this for years. We have actually met a couple of them and had some great conversation about their mobile lifestyles. Check out our resources page for their stories and websites under the lifestyle design section.
To mix up this travel bug idea, we plan on taking several cruises a year. In addition to cruising, our expectation is to rent through VRBO or Airbnb to find nice (and hopefully less expensive) places to stay.
We will be able to accomplish this as soon as next year (just one more year!) based on our savings and passive income stream from real estate. We have saved and invested for years to get to this point, and we see the finish line approaching.
What did it take to for us to get there?
A Solution for Location Independent Lifestyle
- Setting big goals. We have a habit of creating specific and measurable goals for monthly, 90-day, 3-year, and 5-year time horizons. We work these backwards from the long-term down to the short-term.
An example: We have been on our epic modified Debt Snowball, “a murderous course of killing all our debt”, for many years now. We know specifically that we wish to pay off a loan on a specific rental property by November 1, 2015. For years, we have agonized over calculations doing analysis/paralysis/fidgets in complex spreadsheets. That is, until we found an awesome app. It is called Debt free -Pay off your debt with the debt snowball method, and it is available through the Apple app store. It is the best 99 cents you will ever spend to do “what if” scenarios! This only set our snowball back a few seconds for this purchase.
We simply use this app to determine the order of the debt we wish to pay off and the amount of extra principle payment we wish to make each month. It gives us a great way of analyzing an approach, provides reports to see how long it will take with different payment scenarios, how they affect our time frame, and finally the interest cost.
I know that in 5 months we plan on paying off this debt, so that forms a 90-day goal, and we now have an exact amount we need to budget for our monthly spending plan. This creates a road map of what it will take to get the goal completed. We adjust the rest of our lifestyle to work around that goal.
- Get aggressive with spending on only what is important. You can see by our example how we are focusing on what is important. This snowball is now in the $5,000 to $8,000 amount each month – throwing every extra penny at the evil debt empire. Believe me, we can imagine all kinds of great things we could do with that money, rather than trying to kill the last bit of our debt. BTW, we think all debt will be destroyed by March 2016.
Wouldn’t it certainly be more pleasurable spending money on lifestyle inflation or simply investing to build a larger safe haven of income? But we have determined this is our number one financial goal, so everything else is on hold until this is accomplished.
- Invest the difference. When we set these aggressive goals to monitor our spending and focus our efforts on paying off the last of our investment debt, all of this happens after our normal retirement savings. What I mean is that we are already maxing out our employee-sponsored plans first, getting the employer matches, and this helps reduce our AGI for IRS purposes.
Once we have reached the milestone of complete debt freedom, we will continue to monitor our spending to stay in alignment with our lifestyle. The difference we save will be invested in another asset class to further diversify our portfolio and help ride out the multiple market gyrations we will probably experience in the next 30 years.
- Define a time to pull the trigger. Life is not slowing down as we age and plan for our future. We are now at the point of setting a date that we will not exceed to do some of our travel.
Our drop-dead date to start our RV chapter of our life is November 1, 2016. Ok, we are putting that out there and we now have to be accountable. Our friends “The Billy’s” will see this and call us for “BS” if we don’t do it by then! Mr. Billy just retired a few weeks ago at age 55.
Achieving Location Independence
I have already been working for an employer the last 4 years in a position that is location independent. I simply need a cell and data connection to connect my laptop and I am able to work. My schedule is somewhat flexible which allows me to complete many work-related tasks on my own time-frame.
However, my wife must go in every day to the office – nearly the exact opposite of my location independent lifestyle experience. She cannot work remotely with her present employer.
So you can see our driving force is to become investment debt free, enabling us to have the passive income in place to live the rest our lives without the need for paid work. My continued work for the next year after we are investment debt free will simply fund a bigger savings account, enable us to do our bucket list items, and give us the ability to build additional investment revenue income streams.
How about you, are you already location independent? If not, do you have a desire to become location independent allowing you to travel at will?