Archive from February, 2013
Feb 18, 2013 - Conscious Spending Plan    2 Comments

Fast and Furious Saving for Long Term Travel and a Strange Question from my Mother

My mother is lovely, she really is, but geez she asks some random questions. It is hardly her fault. She is over 80 after all. And please don’t be rude, I am not THAT bloody old, she just had me ridiculously late. It is challenging having a mother who is older than the grandparents of most people my age. Such is life though.

So I was having a quick conversation with her yesterday as hubby and I are taking her on a road trip later this week. He is bursting with excitement at the idea of 9 hours in the car with his mother in law. However, it is a good chance to catch up with her before we take off on our one way Asian adventure in a few weeks. I gently suggested to her that she might take some travel sickness tablets before we go. Being in the back seat of our V8 as it flies around hairpin bends up a massive mountain and back down again generally isn’t her idea of fun. She seemed to think she would be fine, but I have seen the wicked combination of her and winding mountains. Better to be safe than sorry.

Then the random question comes soaring over the phone line. This is in her words not mine: ‘How can you travel when you haven’t been working properly?’

Hmmm…

I couldn’t explain the answer to her, but I will explain it here: I am a tight arse. A woman on a mission.

If you have ever wondered how average, everyday people who speak of long term travel do it, being frugal is almost always the answer. In Ramit Sethi’s words, “You can have anything you want in the world, but you can’t have everything”. What I wanted more than anything in the world was time to spend working on my business whilst travelling with my husband.

In practical terms, this is what has been done to achieve up to 12 months worth of freedom:

  • I changed from part time work to full time temp work at a higher rate of pay
  • Hubby is on a full time wage too
  • No regular dinners out. We have had about three dinners out in six months
  • Takeaway food is off limits. We cook at home every single day. We also eat Paleo which is more expensive, but that is a personal choice and one we have been willing to pay for.
  • Long weekend drives were off the cards. Our only driving is to work and back. That is it. Outside of work, we stay in our small town and purchase what we need here.
  • Our savings plan is on autopilot. I worked out the maximum we can save and we pay that first.
  • If we don’t have the money to buy something, we don’t get it.
  • We consciously work on reducing our bills
  • Our savings level is about 2/3 of our income with 1/3 going to living expenses.
  • Every bit of overtime that has been made available has been taken up. All extra income goes into the travel kitty
  • We have also saved enough to cover our mortgage repayments for the next 6 months plus all expenses to ensure that our belongings are all well insured. Our mortgage is fairly low through years of shaving money off the balance.
  • We sold a heap of useless crap online and with a yard/garage sale.

 

Six months of saving this hard gives us up to 12 months of living expenses for travel through Asia. Yes we will still be on a budget, but we are able to travel. So the answer to my mother’s question is a little convoluted and perhaps even impossible. Maybe that is why many people believe it cannot be done, and why so few people do it.

Feb 13, 2013 - Fear Setting    3 Comments

Holy smokes Batman, I just had an epiphany

Costa Rica Toucan

Holy smokes Batman, I just had an epiphany. One could call it a brain fart, but in fact it was far more intelligent than that. At least I think so.

I would never admit that I am middle aged, merely thirty, flirty and thriving. OK maybe thirty something. Plus a little bit. And maybe only flirty with my hubby and a little cheeky with everyone else. Thriving? Hell yeah and loving it.

Occasionally my crazy little thirty something brain goes into overdrive. You would think I was an introvert. Someone who contemplates a lot. Actually  I am, but I digress. The thought of retirement scares the bejeezers out of me. In fact, to put it out there to the world, I don’t believe in retirement. (I do still believe in Santa Clause though because if you don’t he doesn’t come). I prefer to slide through life slightly sideways and enjoy mini retirements. I have been upping the ante on these. A two month retirement, and a four month one, with a couple of nasty little two week holidays thrown in. Actually these can be kinda fun because you can go all hell for leather and do everything all at once. And NOW there is the delightful little one way ticket that I hold in my hand ready for departure in a smidge under a month. Looooonnnnngggggggg mini retirement here we come.

Focus Bec!…How is it that I keep digressing? Are you sure you aren’t out there being all sneaky and throwing around bright and shiny objects at me?

So, back to my epiphany. I had a teeny little freak out a month or so back. It went something along the lines of this:

“So, you are nearly 40 you know, what about retirement. You just aren’t planning for your future.” Then there is this long and boring conversation about cash flow, pensions, saving for retirement. Blah blah blah. My brain switched itself off immediately as you can well imagine. It is not that I am an ignorant biatch, I just didn’t feel inclined to buy into someone else’s fears. And nearly 40? Not in my head. Then the foolish brain waves started and I did buy into the fear. Albeit briefly.

The remedy?
 

Firstly there was a phone call to my older sister. She is a bit of a hippy and was like “who cares about retirement – just go have fun. I couldn’t give flying fluff about it. Planning? Hell no”. I immediately loved her even more at this point.

Secondly, I heard Natalie from the Suitcase Entrepreneur interview Nadine Hays Pisani from Happier than a Billionaire. WOW light bulb moment. I read Nadine’s book “Happier Than a Billionaire: Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica, and Living the Zero Hour Work Week” about 18 months ago and clearly missed the crucial element of the book: The Zero Hour Work Week. The bit where she tells the devious little secret that divulges how she could live in Costa Rica working zero hours. Seriously I can be that stupid. In the podcast interview however, it was all so clear. Her and hubby sold everything, the business, the house, the whole shebang and moved to Costa Rica. Selling her stuff meant ten years of living in Costa Rica without working a single hour. 10 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t believe I didn’t put two and two together – dumbass. That got me thinking…

I whipped out the calculator, Excel was overkill for this kind of excitement, and tallied it up if hubby and I were to do the same. The answer came out at 21.5 years.

I was stunned.

That estimate hadn’t even taken into account compulsory retirement savings that are forced in Australia through Superannuation (401K if you are doing it American Style – I have no idea what the equivalent is in Gangnam Style…. PSY might know).

Now I am not saying that I am going to sell everything and move to Costa Rica, though it would be nice. Being blissfully married means a certain level of compromise and a groovy travel partner who also happens to double nicely as a 6’4” bodyguard. This newfound information immediately made me feel deliriously happy about the future. All of my concerns about the immense changes in our life this year magically faded. In fact, I bounced in the door after work with a big fat grin on my face. I am sure hubby thought I must have been possessed by Tigger. And he might just be right

Feb 10, 2013 - Fear Setting    3 Comments

Take Life by the Balls

Taking Life by the Balls

Have you seen the expressionless crowd of faces?

I see this scene around me here at work. Team mates just going through the motions. Barely a smile. Barely even acknowledgement that those around them exist. Their quiet, hushed conversations can be heard if you listen intently. Their last day of work will be the beginning of their life. Ahhh the promised land of retirement. That sunny, golden place that makes their tired eyes light up and their heart skip a beat with pure joy. The glorious day that they can finally start living life.

Waking up on their first day of retirement, they realize that many of the beautiful dreams they once had, are now impossible for whatever reason. Retirement becomes a time of regrets, of ‘I wish I had done’ moments. Of lost opportunities and broken dreams and promises. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen it or how it makes me feel.

This whole heart wrenching scene is the reason why I am reaching out to the world. I want my readers to start taking life by the balls, and even giving a bit of a tight squeeze just so it is a little uncomfortable, instead of suffering from ‘what if’.

People all over the world, ordinary everyday people, are embracing the discomfort, facing their fear, and charging towards fulfilling their dreams. No rich family. No massive inheritance. No golden handshake. Just a deep urge to make a positive change in their life.

The one certainty in life – death – is inching ever closer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but frankly some people just kind of forget that today or tomorrow could be their last day on earth. Tell me, if you knew the exact day you were going to die, and it was sooner than you imagined, what would you change?

Transformation can be immediate, or they might take a little fine tuning and a little time to plan. But you can adjust your mindset now and move towards the life you have always dreamed of.

Take life by the balls. Make your dreams happen.

10 Motivations to Become a Location Independent Entrepreneur

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan

  1. Potential to meet like minded people. Nothing would be more inspiring for a budding entrepreneur than to be able to meet up with another location independent entrepreneur. Someone who is already leading the lifestyle you want to live. Being able to have a conversation with someone who gets where you are coming from would be like winning the lotto.
  2. Choice of location. This one is a no brainer. If a business can be run from anywhere, than you can choose where you want to spend your business and free time. This location could be your regular home so you can be with your family, it could involve a road trip to see friends and relatives (no more rushed weekend only trips), you could relocate to a different part of your home country for a few months to see what another town or state is like, or you could move to the other side of the world.
  3. Freedom of time. Generally when we work for a company, we have no choice in the structure of our hours. So often, people can be working when they are the least productive. For example a morning person being forced to work night hours. Lack of productivity means that companies need to spend more on employee time to get the desired outcome. If you have freedom of time, work output generally increases. Think about it. If you have a busy job with constant phone, email and co-worker interruptions, you are going to get less work done than if you worked in  a quiet, interruption free environment. Freedom of time makes perfect financial sense.
  4. Working on projects that inspire you. Many location independent muse business owners have a couple of projects on the go at once. Often their main source of cash flow is a low energy input business that pays the bills, allowing them to work on more meaningful projects either for income or just for fun. Having the choice to work on projects that inspire you is a key ingredient in happiness.
  5. Balanced life. By choosing when, where and how your work is completed through being location independent, you can adjust your work/life balance to suit you better. Exercise can be broken up throughout the day, there is time to cook nutritious meals rather than grabbing fast food 3 hours after you were supposed to finish work, you can juggle your workload around important events in your life etc. The list for gaining better balance in your life is endless.
  6. Health benefits are high. If you are sick, you can be kind to your body and rest it properly rather than trying to work through the illness or pain. If your business is set up correctly, it can be easy to prepare for such times so they aren’t such a big issue when they happen. Sometimes a company can make employees feel incredibly guilty for any time off. So the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can take time out if you do get sick, often means you don’t get sick in the first place.
  7. You can work in your PJs or a suit – whatever suits your style. Not having a business wardrobe can also save you some serious coin. You can be comfortable whilst you work and therefore more productive. Making a concerted effort to get properly dressed is a good thing for your mindset. It is nice to be relaxed at the same time though.
  8. You can take breaks whenever you want. If your brain is fried and you can’t think straight, you can head out for a walk and some fresh air without feeling guilty. A more flexible work environment provides a massive increase in productivity.
  9. You can’t get fired. Unless you decide to fire yourself of course. You hold the power to your own destiny. You can decide how many streams of income you wish to create. If you want to go back to working for someone else you can if you want to. Ultimately you have the choice of how you swap your time for money.
  10. You can leverage your time and therefore money/income through using virtual assistants to help you run your business. Taking some of the workload out of your hands means you are free to do other things. This could be more meaningful work such as for charity, just having fun and enjoying your life, or even moving into other business ventures. Through leveraging comes choice. The right virtual assistant is worth his or her weight in gold and can seriously help your business. If managed the right way, your stress is reduced, you have less menial jobs to do and you can focus on the important aspects of running your business.

What are your tips for being a successful Location Independent Entrepreneur?

Feb 2, 2013 - Fun Stuff    No Comments

Aussie Summer Fun

I have a serious post sitting there ready to go, but heck this is just a heap more fun. Here in Australia it is summer and as you may know, Aussie’s don’t generally take themselves too seriously. This guy Spandy Andy originally from Canada and now a glorified Australian is showing the world how to have some serious Aussie Summer Fun. Andy is spreading positivity and fun around the world.

Here is one of his videos:

Enjoy!

Bec

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