I’ve been working for someone else ever since I was twenty-one.
I didn’t ever feel like I was a slave or that I was being exploited at any point, because going to work every day was just a normal thing to do. The majority of people in the world work for someone else. I never crosses their mind to do things any differently.
But I’ve never thought that I was meant to be like everybody else. I’ve always thought that there was something special about me. That I was meant for some kind of greatness. But I never knew what it was. And guess what? I never achieved anything truly great.
Every day, I’d go into the office and do just enough not to get sacked. I didn’t care about working hard, because I didn’t care about any of the companies that I worked for. Then 2008-2009 happened and with that big recession, a lot of people lost their jobs, including me.
I had been in the highest paying job that I’d ever had and I was living a relatively enjoyable life. That disappeared after I got made redundant and I was out of work for nine months. Living on the breadline is no joke. At one point I even had to go to a charity for financial assistance, otherwise I’d have been homeless. Once I’d finally extricated myself from that mess, I told myself that I would never let myself get into that situation again.
Luckily, a couple of months before my extended unemployment, I’d enrolled on an evening class that upon completion, would give me the necessary qualifications to get onto a degree programme. I finished the course with distinction. I scored a total of more than 90% in the coursework and exams. I chose an I.T. degree, because I knew it would be the one industry that would always have a demand for employees, even in a recession. When I graduated, I graduated with distinction again. I scored more than 90% in my coursework and exams.
Work for Others and You’ll Achieve Little or Nothing
I’m not trying to big myself up here, I’m just trying to prove a point. When I worked for other people, I didn’t give a fuck about working hard, I was just there to earn a wage and go home to concentrate on whatever pursuit I was following in my free time. As soon as it became almost a life and death situation (no job or job prospects), I worked super-hard and achieved great things.
Since I graduated, I’ve concentrated the vast majority of my spare time on learning game and getting as good at it as I can. Guess what? I didn’t really care that much about my I.T. job. I just did enough not to get sacked. Sounds familiar? Now guess what happened a month ago? I got fucking made redundant again!
Luckily, my plan worked and I managed to get a new job within three weeks, but I wasn’t as much in demand as I thought. The reason is that I.T. is a fast-moving industry and you have to be constantly learning new technologies. That’s why most computer guys are called geeks. They spend most of their time on computers learning new computer stuff. When I finished my degree, I was determined that nobody would be able to call me a geek. Bad idea.
Don’t live your life doing or not doing things because of what other people may think about you.
Anyway, I learned game, started to dress in a classy way and met and fucked lots of hot girls. The only the only time that I spent doing I.T. related stuff was at work. A few weeks ago when I was forced to start looking for another job, I got a shock. I knew that guys in my industry were in demand and I literally had hundreds of agencies call me up to talk about my CV. The problem was that most of the jobs that they were touting required skills that I didn’t have. My current skill set was out of date.
So the thing I learned from this debacle is that if you want to be good at something, you can’t learn it and then sit on your skills. You need to be constantly learning and evolving. This matters as much with game as it does with your job.
Money is Important, Don’t Let Anybody Tell You Otherwise
Which brings me onto the next point I wanted to make.
If you’re not earning money, you’re in a tonne of shit.
I was worrying about paying rent on time. I was wondering if I’d get a job at all. It took me back to those nine months of poverty and I got scared for a while, before my training kicked in and I started looking at the situation positively.
Then I started making plans. I attacked the problem. I updated my CV, called every agency back, went to interviews, argued about how quickly I could learn new technologies and what a hard worker I was. Of course I could back this up with my college and university scores. I made contingency plans in case I was out of work for an extended period of time. I was so glad that I had the foresight to eradicate my debts, which would mean my survival if I had to resort to unemployment benefits.
Eventually I got a job. I start in three weeks. I’m not going to sit on my arse playing video games though. I’m going to be working hard on my own money making schemes.
I was fucking annoyed with myself for having slipped into the same trap twice though. I’d told myself that I’d never get in this situation again and I felt like I’d let myself down. Also, I was still stuck in that cycle of being an underachiever. But that’s not to say that I’ve been absolutely complacent. I realised more than a couple of years ago that I needed to start doing something to earn money on the side. I knew that if I relied solely on my job as my only source of income that I’d soon find myself in the shit again. So I had decided to think about investments.
Investing Whilst Working at Your Day Job
When I was eleven years old, my parents emigrated to Spain and took me with them. I was never a big fan of the country and didn’t make many friends. I ended up spending most of my time on my own, playing with computers, swimming in the sea and reading. One of the companies that my Dad worked for had a library for other expats to read English books. I read all sort of books, most of them not for kids. I’m glad of this time, because you can learn anything from reading. Whatever goal you want to pursue, someone else has already done it and written a book about it. You’ve just got to buy it, read it and copy their actions.
One of the books that I read was ‘Kane and Abel‘ by Jeffrey Archer. In it, the character Kane is the son of a banker and he grows up living in a world of investments. I know it’s a book but I always remember one thing that happened in the story. Kane is due to get a one million dollar endowment from his father’s estate at the age of twenty one. However, he is was so financially savvy that he had makes more than a million dollars himself, through investments, before he reaches that age. Ever since then I’d held the idea that one day I’d start investing money in the stock market and I’d make millions.
That would mean that I’d have freedom and not have to work for someone else ever again.
After I moved to London a couple of years ago, I finally had some disposable income every month after years of debt. I opened an account with a broker and started investing. I’d been reading about investing for years and decided to follow the route of Warren Buffett. After all, if he could become a billionaire from investing, then surely I could become a millionaire?
After a year I’d done pretty well. None of the stocks I’d bought had lost money. I’d actually made money, but not much. In the whole year, I made a total of £60.00 for my efforts. I’d had big dreams of harnessing the power of compound interest and living off the dividends paid by the companies I’d invested in. Those dreams were shown to be false.
So I had to rethink my plans entirely. I actually did some maths and worked out how long it would take for me to achieve financial independence by investing in the stock market. Here are my calculations:
- Living in London, what are my monthly outgoings? They’re a little less than £2,000 per month.
- What is the average return on the stock market at the moment? Let’s be generous and say 10%.
- How much of my spare income would I be able to invest every month? Let’s say £800.00 per month.
- Let’s assume that inflation doesn’t stay at 0% forever and that it follows the last 25 years’ historical average of 2.75%.
So, how long would it take me to accumulate enough stocks that I would be able to live off the dividend returns?
The answer is fifteen years. In fifteen years I’ll be almost 55 years old.
I want to be financially independent in the next two or three years, not fifteen years. So I sold my investments and went on a series of holidays instead. I had a really good time, but that wasn’t the most clever of ideas either.
Now, let me state right here and now that I still believe that investing in the stock market is a great idea. It is possible to live off the dividends from your stocks or the interest from your bonds, but you need to have a massive amount invested. For me to be able to pay my inflation-adjusted living costs, I’d have to own approximately £410,000.00 in stocks. And that is a return of 10%. You’d have to be invested in some pretty risky businesses to get that return.
So how long would it take and how much money would you have to have invested, if you only expected an average return of 5% (which is reasonable)?
The answer is 45 years. I’d be almost 85 years old (so statistically I’d probably already be dead) and I’d have invested £1,800,000.00.
Work for Yourself and You Can Achieve Anything
So what is the answer?
How can you become financially independent and go off travelling the world while living on the returns of your investments? Well obviously the answer is to invest in the market or some other income producing asset, such as property, after you have already made a small fortune.
Of course, how you achieve that is another question entirely.
The strategies I’m currently working on involve two things:
Geo-arbitrage, as discussed in Tim Ferriss’ book, ‘The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich‘, and owning my own business.
It’s entirely possible to earn the £1,800,000.00 I’d need within three years, by working on my own business.
That’s what I’ve been doing for the last year and if you haven’t started yet, I suggest you begin right now.
Some suggested reading, to get you started:
- ‘The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime‘ by M.J. DeMarco
- ‘The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future‘ by Chris Guillebeau.
- ‘Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth‘ by T. Harv Eker.
- ‘What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars‘ by Jim Paul.