I am writing this post on the ferry out of Calais on our way to London for a wedding. In the past week we have dined amongst the ferraris and Bentleys in Monte Carlo, had a gorgeous lunch with Mark’s sister-in-law in Provence and strolled through the winding cobblestone streets of Montemarte, Paris. Sounds decadent right?
One of the most common misconceptions about living the laptop life is that you have to be rich.
In fact, in the 7-8 months we spent full-time traveling last year we spent on average $3,000 per month (including accommodation). I don’t think that any of you would view a family living on $36,000 a year wealthy.
Therein lies the secret. You don’t have to be wealthy to be rich!
Here's how I define rich. A person is rich if they have enough of the resource called money to make constant choices that allow them to live the life they want to live. Now, if you tell me that you want to live full-time on a yacht, sailing the Caribbean with a staff of 20, I will tell you that you are reading the wrong blog… and probably mildly delusional. But, if you tell me that you want to live a full and satisfying life working when you want, where you want and how you want. All while spending quality time with your family and having amazing experiences, I will tell you that you are reading the right blog.
And I’m about to tell you how to get really rich.
Step 1: Know what you want
When clients tell me the amount of money that they want to make, “I want to make $30,000 per month.” I always ask them why. Few have an answer. You must know your “Ultimate Whys”. If you want to be really rich you must change your perception of money. Stop thinking of money first (the goal) and start considering it only after you understand what you want out of life (a resource). I can’t tell you how many times a client is surprised to discover that they have plenty of money resources to start pursuing the life they want now. They were just waiting to meet some arbitrary magic number. Know what you want.
Step 2: Know what you need
I know exactly how much money we need per month in every one of our laptop life locations (in Florida, in The Bahamas, in Edinburgh, in Italy, on the road).
Do you know exactly how much money you need? To the penny?
A good way to start figuring that out is to figure out exactly how much you are spending. Start today. Sign-up for Mint.com, download Quicken, create a spreadsheet or just grab a pen and a notebook. Track everything you spend for a month, I guarantee you that you will be surprised - both by how much you spend and what you are spending it on. Once you have tracked an entire month go through and highlight those things that you really need. We are looking for a baseline here so that you can move on to step 3. Tip: you need electricity, food and a roof over your head. Most of the rest of the stuff you have on your list are momentary wants or expectations… they don’t count. And they probably don't align with your list of "Whys from step 1. Know what you need.
Step 3: Know your priorities
This is the most important step. Once you know what you want and you know what you need to cover your basics, it’s time to start committing to your priorities. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me (usually those who have done neither of the above steps), “there just isn’t enough at the end of the month to do anything other than pay my bills.” If you are nodding your head in agreement, I say you just don’t have your priorities straight.
Please know that I am not directing this statement to those who are truly struggling like the unemployed or those living below the poverty line. If you are reading this blog I doubt you are in that category as you would probably have better things to do.
So I am speaking to you. Get your priorities straight. It’s easy if you know what you want and what you need.
Many people are surprised to learn that we don’t own a television, a DVR or a cable subscription. We don’t have a home phone, have only one cell phone and we share a second hand Toyota Yaris. We know what we want, we know what we need and we know our priorities. Every penny that we can re-direct gets sent to the resource bucket providing for travel and experiences.
Make sure you are funneling your valuable resources towards your own personal goals and choices. Don't just live the life that societal convention dictates.
Be tough. Be brave. Be ruthless. Do these 3 steps above and you will get really rich.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below.