If you spend anytime around the location independent and passive income sphere of the internet, you've heard all of the stories of the guys who dropped out of college or left their jobs. These guys took a huge risk by setting off abroad with next to no money to their names in the hopes that they would find passive income along the way. They took a huge risk and were successful and I give these guys a lot of credit for that. And it's true, a lot of times in order to be successful, you have to take risks. The guys that took these risks and failed? Well they're not tweeting or blogging about it.
Today, I'd like to talk about a strategy that I personally used to reach financial and therefore location freedom that involves significantly less risk. This strategy assumes you already have a high paying job. This is due to the fact that the decision to leave a high paying job is much more difficult than it would be to leave a low paying job. When you're working a traditional job with dreams of living a life abroad, you're constantly weighing the pros and cons of staying and leaving. The more money you're making, it is much more difficult to make that decision to leave it all behind, the "golden handcuffs" as they say.
The Career Phase
As stated previously, this strategy assumes you are already working a high paying job. Perhaps you're finishing a university degree in a high power field such as engineering, law, finance. This first phase of the strategy is to continue working. However, while you are working, make yourself indispensable. Learn from your superiors and develop skills that will lead to promotions and also could be transferred to other companies for more pay.
The other side of the coin to this phase of the strategy is saving money. If you're making over 100k per year, you should be saving a decent chunk of that. I don't care what city you are living in. If you're not saving anything and you want to buy your freedom later on, you need to change your lifestyle now. There are plenty of personal finance and financial independence blogs that cover the topic of saving in depth, so I won't go into it here.
Once you have savings, the next step is to invest those savings. If that money is sitting in a savings account, or worse a checking account, you are losing money every year to inflation. In order to stay ahead of inflation and earn some extra, you need to be invested in the stock market. You may have heard the stock market is risky. In the short term if you're not diversified, it can be risky. However, if you keep a diversified portfolio and your outlook is 5+ or even better 10+ years, the amount of risk is greatly mitigated to near zero levels. In my opinion, it's a whole lot riskier to leave your money in a savings account and lose ~3% per year to inflation.
Robinhood is a great app to start investing. It's interface is intuitive and it allows you to simply buy and sell stocks, invest in index funds, and even trade options. Check it out by clicking on the banner below and receive a free stock that could be worth anywhere from a couple dollars to a couple hundred dollars! The best part is that Robinhood has no trading commissions!
Want to save more money by paying less in taxes? Check out this article I wrote on utilizing retirement accounts to save on taxes (You don't need to wait until your 60+ to access the money).
The Negotiating Phase
After some time, you will have accumulated a large amount of savings and have made yourself highly valuable within your company. This gives you a level of leverage that most don't know exists because they are afraid of losing their job. You are not afraid, you have money and transferable skills. You could move abroad tomorrow and start your new life or find another job easily.
You are not afraid, you have money and transferable skills
You can use this leverage to negotiate several things:
A raise within your own company
Turning your job into a remote role where you can move abroad and not have to come into the office
A leave of absence to try out a location independent lifestyle
A higher paying job elsewhere
Depending on how far you are along in your journey, you may be interested in different points from the above. If you are still in the early phases and still have some gas left in the tank, you probably just want to focus on number 1 or maybe 4 if your current company is not fulfilling. Once you've got some more experience, and therefore skills and money under your belt you can get a bit ballsier and go for 2 or start negotiating for even bigger raises you never thought were possible.
The End Goal
After you've put in your time, you'll reach a point where you have a large amount of savings and have developed skills so valuable that your company can't afford to lose you. You are now ready to make the decision to leave your job in pursuit of a location independent life. This is where you take full advantage of the leverage you have earned. You inform your company that you will be leaving. Give them sufficient notice that is appropriate for your field. You want to keep a good relationship. If you've done the work to become invaluable to them, they will offer you a raise, likely a very large raise. 99% of people should not accept this offer. You are not 99% of people. In this scenario with your average employee, you should not accept the raise. Why? Because even if you are valuable to them, you have shown that you are no longer loyal and are at risk to leave at any moment. They will pay you more for a few weeks or maybe a little longer while they search for your replacement.
99% of people should not accept this offer. You are not 99% of people.
You don't care if they search for your replacement. You are ready to leave and move abroad with your savings. Thus, if you'd like, stay another few weeks or months and collect that raise for a while. Alternatively, say screw it and start your new life.
Life After Your Career
You've now left your job and are sitting on some savings that will hopefully last you more than a few years, hopefully many years. You also have some highly marketable skills. The combination of these two provides you with endless opportunities. You could take a hiatus and just enjoy yourself traveling the world or living in a new city. You could use the long runway that your savings provide to develop a new business or passive income online. You could contact your old company or similar companies to land consulting jobs. The option is yours and that is the power of leveraging your high paying career.
Need Some More Help With Your Move Abroad?
If you are interested in taking your newfound freedom to Latin America, but still have some reservations or questions about life down there, I highly recommend using Vance's services from My Latin Life. Vance has spent over 7 years living and traveling throughout Latin America. He can help you with your move abroad by answering common questions such as how to find an apartment, start a business, meet people, and stay safe. He can also answer any questions more specific to your personal situation. This guy has done it all down there, if you have any doubts or reservations, Vance can definitely help you out! If you'd like to learn more about Vance's services, click the banner below to go to his consulting page.