Ahh I am sitting here, in my sunny apartment in Playa del Carmen. Why am I inside you ask? Avoiding sun today, because I got really burned couple days ago having too much time on the beach hahah :) ahh the challenges of being retired. you know, we still have them, they are just different ;)
4-5 months ago I retired from my corporate endeavors. And by retired I mean I created enough passive income to give me the comfortable income to live so I don't need to work. Ever. Unless I want to. But then it's not work, is it? :)
First things first.
HOW DID IT ALL STARTED.
First seeds were planted many years ago when I read a book by Tim Ferris "4 hour work week". That book changed my life, as when I read it I realized that what Tim describes is exactly what I want to do. He talks about freedom lifestyle, how it's so unnatural to work the whole life deferring your fun life till retirement and retire when you are old and your health is not the best, so you can't even enjoy much of it. He on the other side suggests mini-retirement throughout life, conscious lifestyle design and creating a source of income that gives you enough $$ to sustain the lifestyle you want without having to work 40 hours a week (hense the name).
Having read that book, I knew without a doubt this is what I want to do, and this fits my free spirit much more than 9-5 job forever..
But... nothing changed overnight :) for many more years I worked as a project manager consultant, and not much changed. I had the inspiration but nothing further....
Couple years passed by. I grew a lot in many ways, attended lots of personal development workshops, even got certified as a life coach and started doing it as a side business. One day I woke up and a thought crossed my mind... I achieved many goals in many areas of my life (moved to US from Russia, became a project manager, had a house, a car etc etc. Tremendous progress in relationships, finances and career achievements but not much movement as I could see in creating freeedom lifestyle. And then I asked myself "Why?". And it got so clear to me! I "wanted" it very much, but i never really set it as a goal with a timeline, and haven't really COMMITTED to it (be and do whatever it takes, thanks Lisa Kalmin and Lynne Sheridan :-)). Then I asked myself: if I were really commit to it, what would I do differently and how do I BE different to create a different result?
The answer that came to me was a bit scary (as anything would be that stretches comfort zone), but I also knew I had to go for it. The answer was: I had enough savings to sustain me for a few months. I need to quit my job, unplug, go with the flow, travel around, have lots of free time, and pursue my life coaching as a full time endeavor. That way I can do coaching on skype or phone, will have my locational freedom (live anywhere), time freedom (choose my own hours) and financial freedom (make enough money to sustain my lifestyle). If it works, great! If not, I can always come back to consulting and find another project. So next day, I told my boss in my consulting company and my boss at the client company. They were both shocked but understood me. And then I got a surprise offer: my client boss wanted me to stay working for them, even if it meant me working remotely and work less hours so I can do what I want. That was unexpected and was so delightful! As that meant I didn't have a timeline to run out of money and can really do it for longer.
So I took the step towards my dreams, and the universe supported me with surprising creative "how" that I myself didn't think of or plan.
Lesson 1: Trust your gut, take inspired action and don't be attached to the "how" or specific outcome. :)
A YEAR OF RESET
I packed my Audi with essential things, rented out my townhouse on airbnb and took off travelling in US. I didn't have a plan, just woke up every day and asked myself what I want to do, where I want to go and followed it. My car was perfectly equipped for sleeping there: when I lowered back seats it created flat sleeping space, plus I had tinted windows and also membership for 24 hour fitness for restrooms and showers :). So if I stayed at places were I had friends, I stayed there, and if not I was perfectly fine in my "mobile home" :D I drove around quite a bit through western US coast (Seattle, crater lake, Oregon, San Francisco, LA and Las Vegas and Sedona, AZ.
It so aligned that I decided to stay in AZ for longer. I rented a place with a friend, then also unexpectedly met a guy and ended up just having fun, sleep, rest, hike, and not doing much coaching at all LOL :D I thought I would enjoy my freedom, but surprisingly for myself I felt very stressed not knowing my plan, even waking up in the morning and not knowing what I want to do felt stressful, I also put pressure on myself to be productive and to pursue my coaching (since I felt like I quit my job for it). But also I realized in a short time that pursuing coaching full time didn't feel right. I didn't want to depend on getting clients to be able to pay my bills. It took me many months to release that pressure I put on myself, let go of predetermined plan and go with the flow and actually enjoy it, replace stress with fun and amazement. I even bought a house there. It made good financial sense and buying monthly was waaay cheaper than renting. I bought a beautiful spacious house, rented part of it, and lived in it as well.
So as I figured if coaching is not my way to financial freedom, some other business might be. And I really knew not much about it.
Another discovery I had around financial freedom attending their free Millionaire Mind intensives was my internal block that was in the way. I noticed that no matter how much or how little I worked, I always kept the same amount of savings.. I knew very well by then, that my belief system as my comfort zone creates my reality. So I wondered why didn't I save more? Thinking about that, surprisingly I felt stressed! And I realized that I felt fear and heaviness around investing. And my smart subconscious decided that if I don't have much savings I won't need to deal with that :D So then I figured the only reason I am afraid of it is because I don't understand it. So all I need to do is to learn more about it, and the fear would go away, and I can start saving move. Then I dedicated that year to learn all about it. I took courses in business in general, marketing, real estate, stock market, tax liens and deeds, you name it....Little that I know that in one of those courses I will come across my retirement strategy only couple years later...
And around the time that I finally started to get used to it, enjoy my life, and let myself be lazy when I want to, universe threw me another curved ball: my project that I was working on remotely was ending. I got a generous two months notice, but this was it. I had a choice: stay in AZ without a job (in a small town with no IT PM gigs whatsoever), or come back to Seattle and look for another job. It actually felt right to come back. My time in Sedona AZ was magical, nurturing and transformative in so may ways, and I also felt very complete.
LESSON: it's important to have a clean slate before inviting something new into your life. And being lazy is not a bad thing :D
To be continued...
Read the follow up parts of my retirement story here: Part 2, Part 3.