Sep 022007

It is now possible to have a millionaire lifestyle without being a millionaire with the help of modern technology. This has been part of a realization I’ve had recently.

You see, I’ve originally wanted to become a millionaire soon as I could so I could withdraw about $40,000 a year (or ~$3333/month), giving me enough time and money to do whatever I wanted. I was stuck in the time = value = money mindset, though, so my thoughts were focused on providing finite value for an employer (or even, really, myself) where I would get paid essentially by the hour. Lately, though, and mostly through the influence of Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Workweek) from this 30-minute speech he gave, I’ve come to some realizations:

  • The three currencies of personal freedom he talks about–time, money and mobility–are essentially what I’m after with my goal of becoming a millionaire, and
  • there are ways to achieve those currencies without becoming a millionaire, and
  • I can achieve a substantial amount of those currencies much faster than becoming a millionaire. Rather than waiting about 10 years, at least, I could setup multiple streams of income much, much earlier than that.

This signifies a major change in my financial goals. My top priority is no longer working as hard as I can, for as many hours as I can to become a millionaire as fast as I can (which presented certain difficulties, anyway). My top priority is not building streams of residual, automatic (in the sense very little time is required) income. There are a number of benefits of this new approach that I would like to highlight:

1. Down with frugality!

I don’t need to be as frugal anymore, because I don’t need to put away as much of my income to savings and investments. I currently save around 25-30% of my paycheques. And most of that ends up paying for university tuition anyway.

Since I don’t have to be as frugal, I’d imagine it’d be a bit easier to build an abundance mindset, which seems to be very useful in creating abundance.

2. Enjoy Life!

Since less of money would be going towards long-term planning, I can enjoy life more today, right now. I don’t have to worry as much about small ($10-20) purchases, as long as they’re not totally inane.

3. Totally possible as a student!

As a full-time student, I’m not always available during regular business hours, nor do I have a lot of time in general to go to a job. I am currently searching for a job in the financial sector, but I can only do that part-time. Not being able to work during regular hours seems to be a bit of handicap in finding a job that there are other people (such as university graduates) are just as qualified to do, but they can do it full-time.

4. Still be a Millionaire!

As long as I keep to a minimum of savings–say 10%–I can still become a millionaire in my lifetime. It’s just not the top priority anymore.

As I explore creation of multiple streams of income a number of ideas pop out at me:

  • Investing: I already do this and its an excellent way to make money.
  • Residual sources of income: Something like writing a book. Once you write it, you’re done. You can write another one or you can update it, or just spend time marketing it every week, but it doesn’t really require a continuous time investment.
  • Business sources of income: This is a category that requires investment on a regular basis. The business Tim Ferriss runs, for example. Or this blog. I need to write articles and invest time marketing it (something I would like to get better at) on a somewhat regular basis.

I’ve already started doing something in that last category (other than this blog, which I haven’t started to monetize yet), which is buying tapes for cameras and selling them where I work (we rent out cameras). So, when someone comes to pick up a camera, I can just ask, “Would you like some tapes with that?” (sometimes I’ll ask if they want fries, but that’s purely an amusing accident).

My bibles on this matter are:

Main Points:

  • Don’t trade time for money, instead trade value for money.
  • It’s possible to have the time, money and mobility you desire now, rather than having to wait until you become a millionaire, financially dependent or retire.

As always, comments are invited and encouraged.

Edit: More quick tips in this short Tim Ferriss interview.

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