Secrets to getting out of the Rat Race

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Economy, Finances, Investments, Passive Income, Retirement

A year ago, before COVID hit, a young couple stopped by home to chat about investments and how they could plan their life to work towards financial freedom. In a lot of ways I saw myself in them years ago – I was married young at 23, out of college and ready to take on the world. This young couple seemed ready to build their fortunes with grand plans for their future and wanting to learn about investments and what would be the right choice for them.

Would I give them canned advise like a financial advisor tell them to do the 80-20 split in stocks-bonds and just wait 40 years till retirement?

Hell no. Why on earth would I regurgitate a lazy’s man approach to “wealth” and ask them to wait for 40 years to retire?

As Tim Ferriss rightly says time is as much a currency as money is. So why do we undervalue it?

Why do we lose the best years of our lives trying to hoard for a future we might never live?  

I once had a manager named John in Corporate America. He was about 60 something. John worked hard, was an awesome guy who was very well-liked throughout our office. He cared about the people around him and genuinely made work a great place to be. He waited a long time to retire after he felt had made enough to retire – he was 65. So off went John into his “retirement dream” after a nice party was thrown in his honor. Less than a month later we learned that John passed away from a heart attack. Here was a man waiting a long time for the right “package” to retire only he never got to live his dream of retirement. It was truly heartbreaking for me. 

So why not retire yourself early, don’t call it retirement because honestly you don’t want to be 40 and sitting on your butt doing nothing. You are bound to get bored and your idle mind will get the better of you. If you are genuinely not deriving joy from what you do, don’t let the job hold you there but rather figure out how you can invest without relying on your advisor but rather by taking  an active role in your finances. Seek to replace your income or cover your expenses with passive income and then go out and do more of what makes you truly joyful.

When money is not longer the reason for working it’s amazing how many creative ideas come to your mind about what you could be doing with your time, and what your new career might be. So retirement is over-rated, a new career might be just what you need if you’re feeling uninspired or bored of what you are doing right now!

So here are some not-so-secret secrets to get out of the rat race!

#1 Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses

No one wants to hear this one – most people constantly want to “upgrade” their life which leads to constantly increasing their living expenses. A nicer house, a nicer car, a nicer neighborhood, a nicer TV, a nicer bedroom set and the list never ends. Spend that money on experiences instead. Take nice vacations with your family and make memories. You can never keep up with the Joneses it’s a never ending quest. Sooner or later we take all material things for granted. It loses its charm. The nice house in that swanky million (or 10 million neighborhood if you’re in California) sooner or later just becomes another house you don’t notice much and take for granted. 

Define what you consider a good quality of life, don’t let that be defined by peer pressure but what you genuinely want for yourself. Plan for that and work towards it but don’t be caught up in the constant upgrade mode. Love what you have. Simplify your life. Keep it minimal. It’s amazing how little we need to be happy and how complicated our lives become when we crowd it with material things.

If this whole COVID situation has taught us one thing it should be that. Stuff is just fluff. 

#2 Take an active role in your financial life

You might not be a financial whiz but take an active role in tracking and sorting where your money is going. News flash folks – You’re not getting RICH based on advise from financial advisors. They are recommending those mutual funds, stocks and bonds to pretty much everyone who walks through that door. It’s a cookie-cutter approach and they make a decent cut out of the investments you make.  Every advisor is giving the same canned advise and we should be creating a bunch of multi-millionaires retiring at 40 if their advise was that good. But sadly it is not. Financial advisors are not in the business of making you WEALTHY, they are in the business of making sure you can retire at 65 with a decent nest egg and not completely rely on Social security income or GoFundMe campaigns for a health crisis you might have in your advanced years. Again it targets a “comfortable” retirement at an advanced age. If you have other plans for your future it’s best to start looking at alternative investments. 

#3 Don’t take advice from people who haven’t made it themselves 

That includes your financial advisor unless he or she is retired and doing it because it’s their passion. Seek out folks who are enjoying the financial freedom you want and surround yourself with people who are already there so you can learn from them. The rich are either born rich or become rich. The ones that become rich didn’t get accidentally there,  they worked towards it. The secrets of the rich generally never trickle down to a middle-class salaried employee because let’s be honest our economic system and tax laws are designed to penalize a salaried employee and to cut massive breaks for those who run their business, create jobs or invest in the economy. Learning about these strategies is imperative to building wealth. Otherwise Uncle Sam is always getting a big chunk of everything you make.  

You can never stop working to maintain the lifestyle you’ve associated with success unless you put in time to figure out how the rich do things. And trust me it’s not like the middle class or poor do things.

Fresh from a divorce 14 years ago, I bought myself out of the first home I had bought with my ex, with the payout which was quite low in 2008 considering the real estate crash, I saved what little I could from my single paycheck, invested aggressively (in stock options against every financial advisor’s advise -oops!)  to create more capital. Once I had enough capital I bought my first house in the downturn. Refinanced it in a few years to get some cash and bought the next one. Slowly but surely by learning about different strategies to invest in real estate (click this link to download a free E-book on different strategies you can use in residential real estate),  I built a portfolio of rental homes.

Would a financial advisor teach me that? Hell no! 

I had to actively seek out knowledge, attend meetups, connect with my local REIAs to surround myself with people who thought differently and most important DID differently, I scoured the Internet looking for investment ideas, I read books on how people get rich, I invested in myself going to seminars which attracted the wealthy (and wannabes like me!), I hustled, I drove 200 miles almost every other weekend to learn and grow my network of folks that inspired me to be my best self because they showed up as their best selves.. I spent a good part of the last 13 years slowly but surely figuring out how to get myself to where I am today- FINANCIALLY FREE! 

Was it easy? Hell no. Was it worthwhile? Hell yeah!

Remember – Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Nothing easy is ever worthwhile. Give yourself  some quiet time to think about what you want your life to really look like.

In summary, a few things along the way that might guide your journey out of the rat-race

  1. Seek out folks who are  already where you aspire to be. Surround yourself with them. Spend time actively learning what they do. This means spending time after your day job is done whether that’s evenings or weekends.
  2. Figure out a few things that make you happy and excited to be alive. Figure out how to do more of it and less and less of what doesn’t light you up. 
  3. Don’t let others dreams become yours. Define you own!
  4. Keep your life simple. Don’t chase wealth. Chase your dreams and the wealth will manifest. 
  5. Keep yourself rooted in an abundance mindset. Don’t buy into scarcity. There’s plenty to go around. For ALL OF US!
  6. Help people, create value, share knowledge. The money follows.

I hope that was useful and some food for thought?

If you want to learn how to create passive income to fast-track your retirement goals- check out how you can invest in Syndications to create truly passive income and setup a call with me after to discuss your personal goals and invest!