Ifyou're serious about improving your leadership skills, give Howard Schultz's Masterclass a go:
Howard Schultz is an American billlionaire. He was the CEO of Starbucks who lead the company to its glory.
Lessons include topics like: values and profits, self-doubt, curiosity, how to disrupt the market, finding the right investors, work/life balance, value-based teams, how to lead, staying ahead of the competition, how to handle crises, and the future of business leadership.
Can I convince you to read six books?
|Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us||1,929 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
|The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups||914 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
|Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries||339 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
|Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't||2,455 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
|Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World||1,138 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
|Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy||67 reviews||Check Price and Reviews|
Treat people like human beings and not numbers.
Be genuine with them and do not hesitate to either stand up for them when they need help, or correct/guide them out of trouble if necessary.
Treat the entry-level worker and the top manager the exact same way.
There's two ways to lead - by politics or by example. Whichever way you got to your position, keep doing it. Don't suddenly go from leading by example to dictating what people have to do or else, for example. If you're suddenly too busy to effectively lead by example and you think ordering people around is an effective shortcut, you need to reach up to whoever promoted you and explain the situation. Hopefully you can delegate better in the future before it gets to that point. It's possible they gave you the promotion more to get you to work harder than to actually learn to lead better, tho. if so, that's on them and you'll need your friends even more to help you get through it without burning out. You won't know for sure until the shit hits the fan.
Being alpha doesn't make you a leader. A true leader doesn't need to always be in the spotlight. A true leader doesn't need to have a hierarchal position to be a leader. A true leader is someone who keeps a straight head, can make good decisions in tough times, keep in mind his friends/co-workers/significant other and make decisions that benefit and protect them (not just himself), and whose ego does not get in his or her way. A true leader isn't worried about being popular, or fitting in with the majority or popular opinion. A true leader has his or her beliefs firmly fixed, and stands by them.
Your personality type has little to nothing to do with being a good leader. Stay focused on your goals and on understanding and improving yourself. Know your strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats. Find a mentor. Listen to people and treat them with kindness and respect. If you have a spouse or close friend, their feedback can be tremendously valuable over time. There are many different effective leadership styles, it's not necessarily about "being assertive and powerful over people."
It's not something you learn explicitly as much as it is something you live: have hobbies you do just for the enjoyment of it, be a decent person, and know how to read a room. Basically, do things together with other people. If you're in school, for example, join organizations that do things you like, whether that be building robots, playing sports, or whatever.
These things take time. Building soft skills especially.
You can't make a leader. You either are one, or you aren't. The time you will spend "learning" leadership is really time spent discovering if there's a leader inside of you. You need to be predesposed to do this thing well.
That's one of the biggest problems I encounter in the work-a-day world. Too many incompetent people promoted simply because they've put in the time. Not because they have demonstrated real competence and/or leadership.
Being a "leader" is a lot easier than becoming an job expert. The people that figured this out are at the top, and have reinforced a system that doesn't reward task proficiency or competence.
First off "leadership" depends on perspective and goal. There's no generic answer.
Once you've figured out what you may want find out who does that thing best and go with them.
It's also important to note that the concept of leadership and corporations has changed and giant monolithic entities are falling out of favor.
It’s never to late to learn! It’s not about being late, it’s about whether you tried or not.
These skills are very useful and I’d recommend you learn them because they improve you life in ways you may not consider.
I will say for some it’s going to take more work to become a good leader than others. But what’s important is not who the best leader is, but who makes the effort to be one. Do your best! And learn some awesome things!
There are millions of great books and articles out there. One that stands out that I liked was Good to Great, summarizing how successful business leaders made it to their positions. Basically, the most successful people in business were humble, unassuming and were good at picking great teams (subordinates).
I think it actually gets easier as you get older. When you're young, you care so much about what others think of you, but as you grow older you stop caring. Letting go of that fear of judgement is what I think is key.
A teacher leader or leader in general, is someone who leads with others in mind. A successful leader leads by serving the needs of the stakeholders involved through building relationships and trust.
Good listener, empathetic, persuasive, trusting, mentally and emotionally strong, good relationship builder
Factors that can inhibit school/teacher leader are a lack of mission or vision. Someone that is not goal oriented. An overbearing central district office. A toxic school culture, lack of community, relationships or trust among staff and peers.
The army doesn't teach you how to be a leader at all. In fact, unless you're doing it for free education later, or some other welfare scheme, I would strongly advise against joining the army. And I'm not talking about moral reasons. It's just a waste of time for mostpeople, and a big risk for your mental well-being.
Leadership skills come with time and experience. Army methods are authoritarian and regressive.
The army teaches you how to manage people, not lead them. This will work on a battlefield, but will not work at a startup in California, where your workers don't have to be where they are.
I'm quiet and shy, but I know what needs to get done and I convey it to my subordinates.
I also impart my knowledge on them when they have a legit question.
I still hide in the back because the only people I should be comfortable around is my section and my shop.
I have ADHD-Combined, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. I also suspect that I have a sensory disorder but I'm not diagnosed and it doesn't really matter at this point lol. I am medicated and have regular therapy, and have had everything from behavioral therapy to ADHD coaching to alternative schooling throughout my life.
Sometimes I feel like I'm kind of cheating in life because I landed in my dream job. I wake up every day excited to go to work and I enjoy most of the time I spend there. I didn't always want this career, but since I fell into it, I've really blossomed there and love it.
I am a manager of an office that supports individuals with a wide range of disabilities in their quests for higher education (which happens to be a love of mine as well!) So I think the career/industry that you're in has a HUGE part of whether or not you may be successful.
I find that having specific goals is more of a motivator than in a position where I am just, say, hanging up shirts for a retail shift and then going home. Having goals means I can break those goals down and then have stepping stones to get to the end of the path and I, personally, am highly motivated to complete tasks. (Whether or not those tasks truly get completed depend on many other factors of course!)
When I first started working in this industry, my boss also had ADHD. She suffered from a lot of executive functioning issues and I was able to use my coping strategies to help her (and all of us) function better. That expeirence has lead me to a lot of processes that make it easier for me as a manager although I know a lot of my employees sometimes don't like it.
For example: Working Memory. We work in a very busy office, and are interrupted all the time. Many of the processes we do have an insane number of steps like creating client or student folders. The process I've implemented is that there is a cover sheet with a list of all the steps and when each step is completed, it gets checked off. That way when I (or whoever) is interrupted, it is easy to resume the previous task without having to remember which steps have been completed.
Maybe specifically in my industry because I do work with a lot of individuals that have issues with executive function I can use my experience to truly be empathetic and non-judgmental to both client/students and my employees.
I hate the phrase "overcoming" and perhaps "making peace" is a better term. Someone who is short and can't reach the top shelf in the kitchen never "overcomes" their "weakness". They can either find a step stool or they cry about how disadvantaged they are compared to tall people. Now, I'm not trying to say it doesn't suck to have weaknesses where others have strength, but everyone has their own burden and ADHD is one of ours. And where others see our disorganization or our "laziness", there is actually true creativity, flexibility, ability to multi-task, broad focus, incredible problem solving and ability to think quickly on our feet. Wait, what was the original question? Oh, right.
I think connecting with others comes from experience with others, not necessarily from my ADHD. But it does help that I empathize with people more and maybe that does come with my experience with ADHD. I'm not going to be judgmental if an employee forgets what task they're doing. But I will more more so frustrated with them if they lack the willingness to better themselves and their work.
Anyone can be a good manager and anyone can be a shitty manager. I don't thing ADHD puts you in either category automatically, it just depends on you as a person.
Don't get me wrong, you can still be a bad leader with ADD. Just wanted to add that perspective.
Am I a better leader than others? My latest employee just thanked me for helping so much with her professional development. I've doubled the $ coming in within a year of leadership. Would I be a worse leader if I didn't have ADD? I have no idea, but probably not. I compensate for my ADD with raw intelligence and I would probably feel less stressed if I was more organized.
So there you have it, an answer that's less self-indulgent, but as honest as I'd never be if I had my name on it.
Followers follow rules. Leaders break them and make them.
I became a leader when I learned not to follow anymore, break and change the rules, be willing to do what others don't have the guts to do, and start making my own way instead of following other people's way.
Once you're in the leadership, you need to be an effective leader that inspires people, and commands respect. Don't try to be their friends, don't try to be too harsh, just be someone they respect. If you're not sure how to do that, start by being consistent.
Treat people like adults.
Ask first and order second, I found great results (and this goes back to the adult thing) when assigning work and such. You use phrases " hey got favor" or "I would like you to" before telling them what to do. You then follow up and if you find they were fucking around then you escalate.
Tell people they are doing good jobs(if they deserve it). Praise in public, punish in private.
Last but not least, keep being an asshole to when you absolutely have to. If you scream all the time people tune you out.
Also, the quicker you learn to delegate, the better off you'll be.
Just so happens, I live for this kind of stuff. I've traveled around the states for some time as well. Depending on where you wanna go, and how you wanna get there and your time limit and etc... anyway. Here's some resources:
http://squattheplanet.com/ - Resourceful for free travel
http://www.couchsurfing.org/ - Awesome resource for a free place to stay...but use it actively and often otherwise it won't work at all. Make sure to get referrals and go to meetups if you can!
http://www.hospitalityclub.org/ - An less consumerist alternative to Couchsurfing
http://www.wanderingearl.com/how-i-can-afford-my-life-of-constant-travel/ - Great blog. Read some things, learn some stuff
http://www.reddit.com/r/iwantout - Check out this subreddit as well.
It all depends on how you want to travel the world! A lot of people get jobs teaching English, WWOOFing, you can get jobs cleaning hostels or pubs or what have you a lot. If you're in the U.S...you don't really need a job to vagabond across the country. We throw away enough food and shit for anyone to survive.
You can save about 10k doing a contract through something like Carnival Cruise Lines then travel with that money, do another contract.
If ya got any questions about visas or citizenships, you can ask me that too. Some people will just go to another country until the visitor visa is reset in the country they were in...different countries have different rules. You only have to leave Argentina for like a couple hours, but you have to leave the EU for 90 days.
I mean, really, it all depends on what you wanna do and how you wanna do it. OHYEA! Also, make sure to subscribe to each city's subreddit for meetups and stuff. I met some cool people that way... it's lonely in new cities and it can be daunting at times.
Now I'd quickly like to add that you can volunteer to crew on barge ships in harbors (if you walk around and ask) in exchange for transatlantic or transpacific transportation.
Many employees get access to cheap or even free flights.
Even if you work for on the ground, in an office or at a subsidiary you can get benefits. My brother worked for a delta subsidiary (pay sucks compared to the mainline operation, and you get a sort of 2nd class flight benefit, but I still get to fly to Tokyo for $47) and calculated the flight miles he and his wife used in one year. They had circled the globe 1.75 times.
It should be fine if you use basic common sense and not go traveling to places like Syria, or hang out in India or Pakistan in the streets at night alone.
My cousin is a woman and she first went to teach english in a rual area of India and then she ended up in Pakistan, Laos, Cambodia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Indonesia. She was basically on her own every time and forced to make friends on her own and learn the language and she pulled it off every time.
Now she works for the US state department no doubt thanks to the skills she learned as a world traveler. All this is to say that women can travel the word it just takes a special breed to pull it off.
I retired in 2017 at the tender age of 30. I've never been happier. If you don't know who I am yet, check out my about page.
A lot of people were asking me how I managed to achieve all of this at such a young age. I'm not a trust fund kid. I didn't win the lottery. All it took was a few years of hard work, radically reducing my expenses and investing my income properly.
I've got lots of friends that were making more than I ever could, living paycheck to paycheck. There is a high chance they will keep working until they die and be miserable.
Although I've settled down in Spain, most of the things that I'm explaining here apply to US residents only. I still pay taxes in the States, and a lot of my money is invested there. Things are a bit different for European citizens.
Whether you choose to relocate with your family to a lower cost-of-living area, or just cut down on eating out, gaining control of your finances is a fulfilling goal accessible to anyone.
Financial independence is all about aligning your values with your consumption habits to get the most out of life. Safe investments, aggressive savings, and income optimization are all tools that will bring you closer to early retirement.
Read through this entire post before you start implementing any changes. Even better, read it twice. After you understand everything, get some books to expand your knowledge further.
1. Get a better job.
2. Radically minimize your spending.
3. You get up to two million dollars. It will take you 40 years. 20 if you do it with a spouse. 10 if you get some windfall or take risks along the way. 5 if you're frugal and only need 1 million.
4. Put 60% of your money into [VTSAX.](https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/vtsax) You now own a stake in every publicly traded company in the US. Every common guy is now sweating to make you richer.
5. Put 20% into [VBTLX](https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/VBTLX) fund to diversify your investment into lower-risk bonds for a smoother ride.
6. Put the last 20% into [VTIAX](https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/vtiax) fund to invest into international corporations for more diversity.
7. Use the 4% rule. Pull 80k a year and don't spend any more. That's your base. That's your fortress of fucking solitude. That puts you, for the rest of your life, at a level of "fuck you." Somebody wants you to do something? "Fuck you!" Your boss pisses you off? "Fuck you!"
8. Spend 5000 dollars on an indestructible Japanese economy shitbox.
9. Buy a cheap house with a 25-year roof. Or even better, rent yourself a nice place in a low cost-of-living area and let the landlord worry about the maintenance.
10. Have a couple bucks on a high-yield account for emergencies.
11. Don't buy shit you don't really want to impress assholes you don't really like.
12. Don't drink. Don't do drugs. Don't cheat on your wife.
13. These rules work for anyone on any social level.
—inspired by [The Gambler](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdfeXqHFmPI)
Don’t buy most stuff new. You can get most things you need super cheap at goodwill except men’s pants. And if you’re young and single, unless you’re already rich, there’s no reason why you should have a bunch of name brand, expensive stuff. Most of my clothes are from goodwill. Hilfiger, Polo, Jos. A. Bank, Brooks Bros, etc. you can find good stuff there. Not to mention dishes, wine glasses, books, old sports equipment, etc.
Make a comfortable budget that includes some amount of savings and stick to it as best you can. Taking your lunch to work instead of eating out is a great way to save extra cash. Just write out your monthly expenses on excel or a free alternative and figure out where your money goes every month. This leads to...
Cut dumb expenditures or figure out how you can share expenditures. There’s no reason, for instance, that you should be paying $15.99 a month for Netflix. Get a friend or three to share the expense with you and you can all have your own account within the account. Use Venmo or cash app to send each other money every month for shared expenses. Or read books. It's cheaper
Property is one of the secrets to building wealth. Location location location is the number one rule. Seriously. The second secret is index funds.
Companies don’t deserve your loyalty. If you can get insurance, cell service, entertainment, etc. better or just as good for less elsewhere, then do it! There’s usually no advantage to sticking with a company anyway. They have no incentive to give you anything better if you’re already their customer.
“Idiots do it every day.” This should be your mantra when you’re considering whether to pay an exorbitant amount for a “pro” to come do something for you. Unless it’s some super technical wizardry you need done, most likely you can do it yourself with a few hand tools and youtube.
Don’t buy a new car. It’s a terrible waste of money. Buy used. You probably already have student debt. Why pile a huge car payment on top of it? Don’t know anything about cars? Watch a 10-min youtube Video about them and what to look for in a used car. Idiots do it every day.
If you have one near you, grocery shop at Aldi. It’s an incredible deal. Another good deal is a loss-leader rottisserie chicken at a supermarket near you.
Invest now. 401k now. Start as early as you possibly can and start reading/learning about finance now. I wish I had started earlier. Passive investment can reap huge rewards over just 5-10 years. Just budget to save as in item 2 and make it happen. You are just starting out, which means you have something no one else does: Time. Don’t squander it.
The main reason is I wanted to work less to have more time to lead a more meaningful life. It's that simple.
Most people are stuck in their jobs until their mix-sixties. They think it's normal because almost everybody is doing it and they want the security of a full pension. When you look at what people are working for, things don't add up.
Modern culture almost demands that people radically overwork themselves for luxuries that are not really necessary. What if we freed up our time by leading more frugal lifestyles and focus on the most important things in life? In my opinion, time and health are the only invaluable things in life.
You might think that retiring early will be boring. Actually, many people who retire early do not stop working entirely. They still run their side-projects or small business. If they enjoy them. Retirement is only scary because you're imagining old people in nursing homes.
Financial independence means having access to sufficient wealth that you no longer need to work to pay for your needs. By retiring early you will be able to make all kinds of flexible career choices or starting the business of your dreams.
If you're not interested in working at all, you can use that time to travel, volunteer, or pursue other creative passions such as painting or writing. In the end, how you spend your free time is up to you! Personally, I always have a million little projects going on, and I'm never bored.
Frugality is all about making savings wherever you can and spending money according to your means. The key to frugality is finding ways to make the most of what you have, rather than spending everything on stuff that is not essential.
The first step is tracking where your money is going right now. Figure out how much you saved and spent in the last year, and see if you can make any improvements. A typical goal for financial independence is saving and investing around 50 to 80 percent of your overall income.
It seems impossible, but when you realize how much you're spending on housing, groceries, transportation, and non-essentials, you will look at things differently.
What kind of car is early retirement friendly?
Unfortunately, we've got no Eric Andre to help us.
A good pick will be a Japanese, used car in the $5,000 range could last a decade without putting a lot of money into it. Japanese economy cars consistently rank among the most budget-friendly cars on the market.
If you're busy working, a slow cooker and a rice cooker are your two best friends in the kitchen. You come back from work, and you got a hearty stew and some healthy brown rice warm and ready.
Don't over pay. These machines are all the same. They are just simple heaters. Buy two of these and use one as a rice cooker and the other as a slow cooker.
Financial independence affords you to have the opportunity of not having to work for money.
The math behind early retirement is easy: you just needed to cut down on my spending and accumulate enough assets to be capable of living off the returns. Now it's time to put the theory in practice.
So how much cash do you really need to retire? Let's take a look at the numbers.
According to the highly-acclaimed study by Trinity University, I'm following the "4% rule."
The Trinity Study was a financial study published in 1998. It analyzed how different investment portfolios held up over each 30-year period from 1926 to 1995 based on various withdrawal rates and fund allocations.
The study concludes — A retirement portfolio of 50% large-cap stocks and 50% long-term bonds survived 95% of all 30-year periods from 1926 to 1995, considering that 4% of the entire portfolio was withdrawn at the beginning of each year.
The study was updated in 2018 with current data by Wade Pfau.
This is where the famous "4% rule" originated. Many people use it to determine how much money they need to accumulate before they can retire.
To make things simple, you can reach financial independence by saving and investing twenty-five times your annual expenses.
How should you invest your savings then? I was completely new to this. I didn't want to invest directly in the stock market, as single stock investments are inherently risky.
After months of reading books and available online resources on safe and diversified investments, the answer was pretty clear. I decided to put my money into low-cost index funds.
It's the biggest provider of mutual funds and the second-biggest provider of exchange-traded funds in the world.
In 2007, famous investor Warren Buffett wagered $1 million against Protégé Partners, claiming that hedge funds won't outperform an S&P index fund, and he won.
Buffett advises index funds as the most reliable way to finance your retirement:
Consistently buy an S&P 500 low-cost index fund. I think it's the thing that makes the most sense practically all of the time.
The trick is not to pick the right company. The trick is to essentially buy all the big companies through the S&P 500 and to do it consistently. Costs really matter in investments.
If returns are going to be 7 or 8 percent and you're paying 1 percent for fees, that makes an enormous difference in how much money you're going to have in retirement.
Low-cost index funds use strict rules to decide which stocks on the market to buy. The capitalization of the stock market increases at a general pace of about ten 10 percent annually.
Index funds behave in a similar fashion. They are also cheap. You don't want to pay enormous fees for someone to manage your fund. It will eat up most of your returns.
Index funds are also, historically, one of the safest and most profitable choices when it comes to investing money. They are a great alternative to hedge funds. You can survive typical market ups and downs by following the "4 percent rule."
If you're very risk-averse, have a big family, or are planning a retirement longer than 30 years, you should adjust your retirement fund goals and withdrawal rates to something that you're more comfortable with. Essentially it means accumulating more money or reducing your spending further.
When considering early retirement, think about your core values first.
Once you realize you want to retire early, for sure, you will be excited about the prospect of not working anymore in the near future. You will want to share it with your spouse and your loved ones.
Try to sit down with your significant other and discuss the list of things that make you both happy. In case of any conflicts, try to negotiate a common goal.
I made my own list of things that make me happy. I was surprised. I found that the list was strictly non-commercial. Spending time with my friends and family, volunteering, being active outdoors, and working on my DIY stuff didn't cost a lot of money compared to buying a brand new BMW.
It was obvious that my current spending habits did not reflect my values.
If you're planning to share your early retirement ideas with your friends, avoid being too preachy and know-it-all. Nobody likes being told how to live their life. People might benefit from your ideas, but they need to do their own research and realize some things for themselves. Truth is sometimes hard to swallow.
Like most young people today, ever since graduating from college, I've been overworking myself to afford a luxurious lifestyle I thought I needed to be happy.
I took overtime so that I could afford my trendy lifestyle. I was convinced I needed luxuries like a brand new BMW or eating out on a nightly basis to be happy.
With an annual income of high five figures, I felt that I was doing well enough financially that I could afford these splurges. And besides, wasn't I contributing to my 401k and Roth retirement accounts every time as well?
I felt trapped by my unsustainable habits. Then I discovered that I don't have to work for the rest of my life, and it is actually possible to retire early.
One day I read an article about a group of young people who were trying to make lifestyle changes so that they could retire before they are 40. It inspired me in a big way.
There were new significant expenses on the horizon. I was planning to buy an expensive house and start saving for my future family. At that time, I realized how small my $10,000 annual savings really were, and I was confused.
Should I stick to my company for the rest of my days and try to go up in ranks to make more money just to afford basic things like owning a house? Or should I try moving to Silicon Valley to get a really high-paying job?
This would also mean giving up my entrepreneurial dreams, as I wouldn't have time for that. I knew I need a big break if I ever wanted to change my situation.
I found a simple online retirement calculator. Turns out, if I cut my expenses in half and invested most of my savings, I could retire in over 15 years.
That was when I realized that I didn't need a successful startup or a windfall. I just needed to change my habits.
I knew that I could cut my expenses down to $40,000 a year, meaning that I would need to have precisely $1 million to retire.
If I invested my potential savings, I could expect at least a five percent rate of return, on average, earning me $50,000 per year. I also knew I will always work on some side-projects, so I would probably have additional income.
By spending a maximum of 4 percent of my $1 million principal each year – the $40,000 I had budgeted for my expenses – I could build up a cushion by saving the extra one percent of returns leftover. This way, in the long run, my principal of $1 million should not diminish. In other words, I could live off of those savings until I die!
Here stood a massive obstacle in front of me. I had to figure out how to cut down my spending to the estimated $40,000 per year. I already knew that the key to early retirement is to make radical changes.
I started doing cuts.
I was paying over $3200 just for rent. I was living in a very high cost-of-living area. What could be more radical than moving back to live with my parents? I guess not much.
It wasn't a perfect solution, but their house was close to my work and, anyway, I just wanted to stay there for a little bit. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong about living with your folks.
My next issue was transportation. I own an almost brand new, gas-hungry BMW. Buying it was one of the worst decisions of my life. I decided to sell it at a considerable loss.
I got a decent used Toyota Corolla for about $5,000.
I was spending over $1500 monthly on food. I was eating out every day. I quickly learned cooking on the weekends and, surprisingly, I enjoyed it. With the help of meal prepping, slow cooking, and Soylent, I was down to about $500.
Financial independence has allowed me to do a lot of things, including retiring early, making excellent career choices, pursue projects that I was enthusiastic about, and make my life simpler. In the end, I discovered that this kind of lifestyle isn't reserved only for the ultra-rich. Turns out anyone can live a more intentional life with a bit of persistence.
When I first got into the financial independence game, I got caught up in the stock market and lost a lot of money. I wanted more control over my investments to start putting my money into long-term, diversified funds.
When I was younger, I liked to read a lot. Many of the books I was reading were about investing and entrepreneurship.
A few of them made a big difference in my life.
The books described here are not just the best way to learn the importance of investing; they can also help a few other areas of your life.
I sincerely believe early retirement is suitable for people of all social classes and all income levels.
If you don't make a lot of money, you might be thinking about all of this as just a sassy trend for rich folks, but you don't have to retire in 15 years. Even if you retire 10 years earlier than your friends, it's a huge win!
While having a six-figure salary typically allows you to achieve financial independence much faster, people with higher wages often struggle with reducing their spendings significantly. I've often seen people with mid-range salaries live very frugally and be able to retire before they're 40.
I know working hard until you're 65 makes you feel depressed and tied-down.
Whether you can retire early in 10 or in 30 years, the true lesson here is that we all can value our happiness over consumerism. That's available to anyone — regardless of our wealth.
Sometimes, your new frugal lifestyle will feel like a massive pain in the ass. You shouldn't push yourself too hard in my opinion. Look for a long-term solution that makes you happy. You can be as flexible as you want to.
Don't wait for financial independence and early retirement to enjoy your life right now!
Living on the road for several years is a surefire way to alcoholism. You will always be drinking, especially if you're an outgoing person. At the time, I already knew that I'm drinking way too much, but still, it didn't seem like a real problem.
I was always a diligent worker. Even if I drank like hell one evening, I could always find the strength to get up in the morning, go to work or do whatever else I was supposed to do. Now I realize I was a highly-functioning alcoholic. It all changed a few days after New Year's Eve. I was still on Koh Chang island.
Like I mentioned before, in the morning, I used to smoke weed with Derek, then I took care of my remote business on my laptop, and in the evenings, we would help Will at his beach bar and keep the clients' company. We were drinking a lot since New Year's Eve. You know how it goes.
I think, subconsciously, I already knew I'm hitting rock bottom. I was puking every few nights. My remote work started to suffer a lot. I just couldn't concentrate. My stupid travel blog wasn't going anywhere. I was too lazy to write anything substantial other than my journal and way too lazy to promote it online. I was sweating at night, and I was restless all the time.
One of these evenings, Chloe messaged me. She wanted to catch up. I invited her to join us at the beach bar. She was a pretty Australian girl with flowing, light-brown hair and blue eyes. Her cheeks had a pinkish hue. And she came from money. I've always preferred sleeping with either piss-poor or wealthy girls. Guess I'm fucked up.
Chloe came up to the bar later this evening with an attractive girlfriend.
She was pretty shy and cold when sober. Luckily she drank like a fish. She didn't mention the beach incident at all, and I wasn't planning to. She was in a good mood. We joked and gossiped a lot, while Derek entertained her friend.
— Do you guys want to go back to our hostel? — she asked.
— Girls, that would be awesome, but we've got to work here, and I'm trying to avoid drinking after midnight.
— I've got a problem with alcohol. I'm getting drunk almost daily, and in the morning I've got some stuff to do. My productivity is virtually non-existent. I did jack shit today.
— You're going to be fine. So you want to refuse two young, beautiful women that got an eye on you? Come one, Kemo. We'll take care of you. You won't regret it.
— Girls, I can't.
Not sure if she did it on purpose or by accident, but she slid her hand up and down a tall glass. I clenched my teeth and agreed. Who wouldn't?
— Fine, but you need to give me a minute.
I had to ask Will to let us go earlier. He didn't care at all and wished us good luck. There was a good party going on the beach bar already.
The girls looked at each other and smiled. Before heading out, I went to the toilet to buy a condom from the vending machine. Better to be safe than sorry.
— Eat this, you little slut! — said the vending machine.
— Thanks a lot! — I answered.
I hid them in my wallet and got back to the girls.
We got a cheap local ride-share taxi and arrived at the hostel. We sat on the terrace, opened a large bottle of Thai whiskey, and started smoking cigarettes.
I enjoyed talking to Chloe, and she seemed to be into me too. Derek was taking care of the other girl. I asked her if she wants to go somewhere. The problem was we were at a hostel. We couldn't have sex in her bunk bed. I was never a fucking degenerate.
Lacking a better alternative, we went to the shower, and she went down on me.
— Chloe, can we have sex? — I asked after a while.
— No. — she replied.
— Why not?
— Are you not enjoying this?
— It's okay, I would just like to try the regular business.
— No way.
— What? Why?
— That's reserved for my future husband!
I almost believed her. I never imagined I would hear something so ridiculous from a twenty-two-year-old Australian backpacker. Still, I thought she would change her mind eventually. Oh, how wrong I was.
After we were done, we went back to the terrace and drank whiskey together until the early hours of the morning.
The next day was a legit fucking nightmare. I woke up at one p.m. and barely managed to get out of the bed. I couldn't stomach anything, and so I figured I'll have a beer to kill the hangover. I sat in front of my computer and started checking my email. I had a lot of work to do that day. I had to help my dad with his important Ad campaigns. When I looked at the graphs, I knew there is no way I can do it.
I understood that this was it. This was the end of an era for me. I couldn't think straight. My head was throbbing. I just wanted to have one more drink. I closed my laptop and went outside. A single tear ran down my face for the first time during my travels. It's really difficult to explain how I felt exactly.
I was dizzy, and my hands were shaking. I admitted in front of myself that I have a major alcohol problem, and I can't carry on like this for much longer. Having the opportunities that most people can only dream off, I reduced my life to a series of blackouts.
It's a vicious circle. When you're living on the road with other backpackers, nobody treats you seriously when you say you have a problem with alcohol, and you need help. Everybody thinks you're just a drama queen. Until you can party and you're not particularly violent, everything is just fucking beautiful.
This especially rings true in the more impoverished areas of the world, where the tourists are dead-on focused on only two or sometimes three things—getting drunk, getting high, and getting laid. Sure, you can always say no, but what are you going to do then? Hang out with these drunk bastards sober?
I started thinking about death again. I wrote up a page in my journal. I'm pasting it here without any corrections.
I'm dying. With every particle of my body and every particle of my soul.
I was bumming around the world just like that. Maybe because I'm an exile. Not an American, not an Englishman, not a Pole. I cannot feel the ground under my feet, the land—as they say—my own, my family, my motherland.
When I'm writing, it gets better. So I write. I can write for several hours.
Who has planted this seed of constant doubt and anxiety inside of me?
I would be lying if I said that I don't often think about suicide as a means to free myself from my mind. But it's not clear what I should do. There is not a single obvious thing in my head. I am looking for a place in this world that I care for, and I can't find it, although I would love to.
I've traveled half of the globe. I've been to so many places. Me-the-nobody felt good everywhere. Me-whatever-his-name-is felt decent here and there. I, the-shadow-of-me, didn't feel right anywhere. I can't find my place.
How hard it is to take this first step. I've been getting up for a long time now and telling myself: "I'm going to be perfect from now on!" But I never changed anything.
All these people who wished me the worst all my life can relax now. I won't be coming one day to take their women away anymore. I'm done. Fuck me.
— Heard about this bald fucker that drank himself to death? He traveled so much. Didn't work a day in his life. And then just died in some piss-stained alley in Saigon. Wonder how he fucking looked like then.
And this will be the end of all my popularity and recognition that I craved so much. A few people will come to my funeral and forget about me while doing the dishes next week.
I felt relieved. The next morning I decided to change something. I knew this line of thinking would push me into real depression and eventually kill me. I don't know what it is—my genetics or upbringing, but I'm lucky enough to be capable of change. I needed a long, sincere talk with myself to decide what I'm doing next.
I wasn't mature enough to address the root of my problems, but I could at least fight with the symptoms. I've decided to spend some time outside of the usual backpacker crowd. Little did I know that getting better would take years. But that's a story for another time.
Have you ever tried to imagine what the best job in the world would be like? After I've been robbed, I decided it's time to do something with myself. While browsing through the multitude of offers available on Koh Chang, I found what was probably the best job in the world.
My responsibilities consisted of sitting on my ass and drinking Thai beer. And I got paid to do it.
After the beach incident, I had to come up with a new plan. First thing's first—I needed to get some cash in hand. Luckily my buddy Derek was around at the time, and he also had a Revolut account. I sent him five hundred dollars, which he received instantly and paid out the cash for me minus the commission of the Thai ATM.
Still, I had to wait for up to three weeks until the new card arrived. Instead of doing nothing, I decided to get a real-life job. I was thinking about working on the street, but considering my face looks like a bucket of smashed crabs, I probably wouldn't see much action.
The only way out was to find some legit side-hustle that doesn't involve selling my body for money. Turns out, I had more than one option.
Job numero uno. The first opportunity was a waiter gig at the Zap. Derek knew the owner. The only requirement was a strong head and fluent English. There was no salary, but you could keep the tips. They also offered free food, a place to sleep, and free drinks. Not bad at all, but I thought I could find something better.
Job numero dos. The second job came up by accident. I met up with Derek, and we went to our favorite beach, just to hang out. We walked around for a while, and to our surprise, we met a guy who was making a huge sand sculpture. It depicted a woman with enormous tits. The sculptor was pretty talented too. We struck up a conversation. His name was Will. The beach and big tits were some of his biggest passions.
The guy came from South Africa to Koh Chang about four years ago. He had a Thai wife and a little kid here. He owned a tiny beach bar and thought a sand sculpture would be a good conversation piece to lure clients in. To be frank, it worked on us. We sat down to have a beer with him.
A word about the beach bars—on Koh Chang, there's a beach bar every twenty feet, and they are all pretty much empty, outside of peak season. There's just too much competition, and most tourists choose the bars along the main road. You really need to be on top of your game to make a profit here.
We were the only customers there. Will was a nice guy who loved smoking weed with passion. Just like we did. He told us all about his life in South Africa and here in Thailand. He had a 10-year lease of the beach spot from the a local Thai businessman.
We've had a couple of beers, and it was getting dark. Several more backpackers appeared, and we had a decent beach party going on there. Fast-forward three hours, and I was so fucking shplonkered from smoking weed and drinking beer that Derek decided we have to get me home, or I might puke on someone again (another story). He said our goodbyes and we called it a night.
The morning after. I opened my eyes to an empty, unfamiliar ceiling. I could only see a single disgusting lightbulb dangling up above me. Its light was killing me. Where was I?
Turns out, I was so drunk that Derek wasn't confident enough in my abilities to get back alone to my hotel, so he took me in and went on to party and later sleep with his neighbor. Derek was the kind of guy that always got your back.
We went out to eat and had a beer to kill the hangover. It was going to be a rainy day. I promised myself that if I don't find a new occupation in the next two days, I'll take the job as a waiter at the Zap. And you know, I'm really not the waiter-type.
We did jack shit until it got late again. Bored and hungover out of our minds, we decided to see how Will is doing.
We got to the beach bar and saw Will sitting alone with a massive grin on his face. Once he saw us, he started fixing us some iced Bloody Marys.
He told us that last night had been one of his best nights of the month. His bar made a decent profit. To be fair, I probably had a dozen beers. Will had a crazy idea.
He offered us both jobs. The best jobs in the world. We were supposed to sit with him and drink beer. You heard me right. Sit on our asses and drink beer. And we would get paid for doing that.
The job wasn't hard, and I'm sure for many, it would be the dream job. According to Will, we were real tourist magnets. We were both white, dressed decently, and looked like we came from money.
The beer! We would sit at the bar, talk with him and the other guests, and pour insane amounts of beer down our throats. Every day from seven p.m. until midnight. He also offered us a place to sleep at his house nearby and a ten-dollar daily salary. We negotiated a bit and managed to strike a deal. Instead of money, each of us would get an eighth of weed every morning. We'd rather take the weed as we didn't have proper connections on the island.
In the mornings, we would get stoned and fuck around on the beach. In the afternoons, we would help Will get the beer from the supplier back to the beach bar. In the evenings we would get wasted again.
All in all, the plan worked out well both for him and for us. After a week, he expanded his venture into hiring some ladies of the night who would hung out at his bar, too, and that turned out to be even more profitable and attracted a vastly different kind of clientele.
I "worked" there for two weeks and gained ten pounds of beer muscle. I stopped being hungover, which is never a good sign. At any given time, I was either high or drunk. I met a few nice girls, and in general had the time of my life.
Conversations at the bar. I spent countless hours talking to Will. Still can't entirely figure the guy out, but he was always kind to us. He liked to talk a lot. I guess that's why he was running a bar. Some of his best stories were shared when he was drunk. I will never forget this one in particular.
— Listen to this, Kemo.
— I'm all ears.
— Years ago, I worked in London. It wasn't the best job in the world. I was organizing bus tour guides for tourists and accommodating them in hotels. One day we were supposed to do a day-tour to Whitstable. We boarded the bus, and I started talking to the passengers about the usual boring sightseeing stuff. Right away something felt off about the bus. The driver was speeding like crazy, sometimes driving on the wrong side of the road. People started panicking. Suddenly my phone rang. It was the driver!
— Did somebody kidnap you?
— No. Listen. I decided to act. I ran to the front of the bus, almost falling when the driver took a sharp turn. When I was close to the front, I started shouting, ordering the guy to stop. I was afraid it was a terrorist or something like that. I felt responsible for these people.
— So what happened next?
— Surprisingly he slowed down and stopped immediately. Then he looked at me with a blank stare and told me in broken English that he isn't really the driver and that, in fact, he doesn't even have a driver's license. Turns out, he was just a completely knackered Polish dude who wanted to drive a bus for once.
A few years later, I came back to Koh Chang, but I couldn't find neither Will nor his beach bar.
There's one more thing. One of these nights, when I was "working" at the bar, Chloe messaged me. She was still on the island and wanted to catch up. But that's a story for another time.
I arrived on Koh Chang three days before the New Year's Eve. It wasn't my first time here. I had a few days to kill before my Vietnamese visa was active.
Koh Chang is Thailand's not-so-hidden-anymore gem located in the east. The name, due to its shape, translates to "the elephant island." Useless fact: elephants are actually not indigenous to the island. They were brought in later to please the tourists.
My typical day on the island consisted of curing a hangover, pretending in front of myself that I'm working, and partying my ass off until early morning hours.
Rinse and repeat.
Who would have thought that a trip to the beach will completely change my life for the next several weeks.
I was hanging out at my go-to beer bar, the Zap. I met an Aussie girl. Her name was Chloe. She was in her early twenties, doing her compulsory gap year world tour. She was stuck on the island for a few days because one of her girlfriends experienced the famous Thai brush with death on a rental bike. As it often happens, the girl was drunk, had no driver's license, and no insurance either. Contrary to popular belief, healthcare in Thailand ain't cheap. The girls had to chip in and wait for a few days until their friend was released from the hospital.
We danced for a couple of hours and had a few beers. Suddenly we realized the bar was almost empty, so we decided to go to the beach. I rolled a massive joint with all the weed I had left on me.
It was a perfect moment. We were alone on a tropical beach surrounded by palm trees. The ocean was calm that night, making almost no sound. I could only feel a slight breeze coming from the seaside. She started to talk.
— You know, Kemo. I'm not here because I'm into you. I'm here because I can't stand being alone anymore. I'm sorry I said that.
— It's fine. I understand.
— Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? — She asked.
— No, but I always wanted to try. — I lied with a huge grin on my face.
We stripped down, she took my hand, and we slowly walked into the ocean.
The next several minutes were surreal. I was swimming naked with a beautiful girl, high as a kite, in one of the warmest oceans on the planet, while the first rays of morning sunshine were hitting my back.
— This is why I travel. — I thought.
Then I briefly saw something out of the corner of my eye. Some shape was moving around where our clothes were.
— Oh, for fuck's sake. Couldn't they give us a few minutes?
I stopped kissing the girl for a second. I clearly saw that the person is walking away. I ran out of the water as fast as I could, my dick out and all. The dude on the beach started running, but I had to try and get him. It turns out, he was way more drunk than me, and I managed to catch up to and throw him to the ground.
I was sitting on him naked. I searched him but didn't find anything that belonged to me. The guy was terrified—probably thought I was going to rape him or worse. He explained that he wasn't trying to steal anything. He couldn't see anyone in the ocean and was just curious. I apologized and ran back to the beach.
It turns out all the clothes and my belongings were already gone. Only the girl's clothes were left. My wallet, $50 in the local currency, the key to my room, and my only credit card was gone too. Without it, I couldn't pay out any money. Never travel with only one credit card.
I noticed that there was a group of guys with bikes standing not far from us and one of them was driving away. I had a feeling he might have my wallet, but there was no way I could ever catch up with him. A few others were still there. I walked up to talk to them, naked as I were.
— We don't know anything.
— Right. And If I give you a hundred dollars, will I get my credit card back?
— Sure, but tomorrow.
— Guys, you can't use it anyway. I'm going to block it in a minute with one phone call.
— Tomorrow doesn't work for me!
— Then we can't help you. Sorry.
— Give me at least some of my clothes.
— Ask your girlfriend to share some clothes with you.
— Give me my clothes, you cunt!
The boys started laughing at me. Chloe came around too. This whole situation made me so angry that, for the first time in my life, I felt like physically threatening someone. I looked around and grabbed a rock from the ground, which now I realize was a dumb idea. The second I started walking towards one of them, they all started to laugh again, said something to each other in Thai, and quickly took off.
I was naked, with no money, and with a rock in my hand. A brand new hangover started to materialize in my head.
On top of that, the girl looked at me, got scared, and started walking away. Things didn't look right. I realized that chasing her naked, with a stone in my hand, isn't the best idea. I had to come up with a plan. I couldn't just go to town like that.
I walked around the beach and found some banana trees. These plants have some truly enormous leaves. I took a few of them and sat down in a popular spot on the beach. I waited for an hour before the first tourists appeared. I waved and shouted!
— Help! Help me!
A Russian guy rushed over. I told him what happened and asked if he can give me his towel. He agreed. I gave him my email address so that we would keep in touch. Finally, I had something to cover myself with.
I got to the main road and tried hitching a ride to my part of the island. After a while, an old Thai man picked me up. Pretty sure I wasn't the first white dude in a towel he's seen in his life. After all, it was a tropical island. I introduced myself and told him what happened. He spoke perfect English.
— Don't worry, kid, I'm going to take you to your hotel.
We started driving. The guy wasn't saying anything, so I had to keep the conversation going.
— Can you imagine how the world would work with no roads? No paved roads, no paths, and no railroads.
The high was wearing off, but my head was still full of weird thoughts.
— No roads? What are you talking about? I come from the village and as far as I remember the roads were always here. How else would people drive to other people, to weddings, to the temple, to the shop, to work? Without roads? You must be a city-slicker asking weird things like that.
— Not really a city-slicker. More of a road-bum than a city-slicker. So, anyway, what is a road?
— Kid, the easiest way to understand what a road is is to use your legs. Preferably barefoot. The road has to be sandy. You want it to be some decent sand. And hot. It has to be hot. Or cold. Like during the winter. But you won't find that here. And the legs—they have to be young—for old hoves don't feel a lot. You also want a puddle in the middle of your road. A root. Or a rock. And hurt your toe or your ankle. To know well what a road is, you have to walk for a long time. And when you face crossroads, you have to choose the wrong way. Walk into dense bushes. Oh god, how good it is to see a fellow human being then, say your greetings, and ask them for the way home.
— And what will they respond with?
— Home? You're going in the opposite direction! Come with me. I'm going there too.
— And what's next?
— And then it's good. You walk, and you talk, and it's good.
— Alright. We're there!
— Thank you so much.
He took me straight to my hotel, where they gave me a new key on credit.
I checked my assets. I had about thirty American dollars in cash, a laptop, my clothes, and an extra towel. I Skyped my bank, blocked my card and ordered a new one. It will take about three weeks until it arrives in Thailand.
I went out, exchanged the dollars, and ate some Pad Thai. My head pounded like a drum. I could still feel the taste of last night's alcohol in my mouth. It turns out the trip to Vietnam would have to be delayed for an indefinite amount of time. I also had to figure out some way to get cash in hand as soon as possible.
The next day I got a job. The best job on the planet. But that's a story for another time.