So at this point, location independence is a dream; a dream that Rob and I are working hard to turn into our reality. Although the thought of being a digital nomad is somewhat terrifying, the idea of not pursuing the idea is even more terrifying!
When our children moved out, we thought our marriage was over. We had spent the last year of our son being home coexisting. We knew that the only thing holding us together was the love for our children and the fear of what would happen once they were both gone made us shut down.
Then the big moment happened. Our baby moved out. Rob and I sat silently in our empty home and searched for our next move.
The next step surprised us and our children. We decided that the time was now for us to invest in us! We worked together to pay off our debt fast, drastically increase our savings rate, and we kicked off our website: I Love Your Laugh.
Each of these actions’ intent is to provide us with the freedom we want; each decisions’ purpose is to bring us closer together and allow us the opportunity to spend time with one another.
You see, Rob and I grew up extremely fast. I was sixteen and he was nineteen when we said: “I do.” One month and a day later we learned that we were going to be parents. Our world was forever changed.
From two wild kids to two kids who were about to be parents, our world quickly changed. Now as two empty nesters in our mid-forties, we look at how much life we have left to live and we have decided that we are going to make the most of it!
The allure of location independence
If you would have told me two years ago that we would ever consider leaving our jobs, I am sure that I would not have believed you.
Rob and I have been all about being responsible. As young parents, our primary focus over the years has always been stability and consistency. The idea of being location independent with the lifestyle of a digital nomad is a far reach from the comfortable lifestyle that we have created.
But something happens when our children moved out and moved on. A bit of soul searching took place; many refer to this process as going through a midlife crisis.
Rather than fighting the midlife crisis phase of our lives, Rob and I are fully committed to embracing the process while reinventing our comfort, but this time, our comfort will include adventure.
This time we will:
- Make time with one another our priority
- Behave financially responsible
- Dream BIG!
I do it because it is the most exciting time to be alive. I’d rather be welcoming change than dreading change. – Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Early Retirement: Retiring in your 40s
The idea of retiring early sounds bonkers! Anyone that knows me knows that I hate to be idle. In fact, the few people in my inner circle that know that Rob and I are working towards location independence cannot help but be concerned.
“You are going to be bored!” is always the initial response.
If you get into the statistics of retiring early, they look a bit bleak. An article entitled “Early Retirement, Early Death?” published by WebMD refers to a study that concluded early retirees are at a “37% higher risk of death than counterparts that retired at 65.”
So, why are we going against the odds and working toward our dream?
Because time goes by so fast.
When our children were young, it felt like we would be dealing with skinned knees, strep throat, and messy rooms forever. Now looking back, the rhetorical question is: where has the time gone?
It is that realization of how quickly time goes by, coupled with the idea that we still have twenty years remaining before we hit the traditional retirement age. We realize that if we want to change, we need to make it happen now.
Our goal is not to retire, but to be able to see the world. Be able to visit our children when they want us to. Be able to earn an income regardless of where we live.
Exploring our options in gaining location independence
So how do you retire and not die of boredom or find ourselves completely penniless? That is what we are working on now!
- Debt free except for our mortgage
(Pay Off Debt Fast | 11 Things We Did to Pay Off $50,000 6 Months)
- Building our savings
- Developing multiple income sources
- Downsizing our personal items
- Consulting with our financial advisor
- Dreaming with those we care about
So after reading our to-do list, I am sure that you can see that this is not the traditional retirement plan. This is the retirement plan of two individuals that are not quitters and we will continue to work. The difference is…we will work for ourselves this go around.
The thing is, we do not want to postpone our opportunity to design the lifestyle that we want. So what options are there for empty nesters in their 40s?
How about becoming a digital nomad?
For a gal in her mid-forties, becoming a nomad sounds terrifying. When searching the term “Digital Nomad,” Google delivers article after article highlighting the life of kids in their twenties living out of their backpacks as they travel the world.
While I am sure that this is an excellent depiction of being a digital nomad, my vision of becoming a digital nomad does not entail carrying a backpack. For me, the definition of being a digital nomad is simply being able to earn a living with a wifi connection.
Becoming a midlife digital nomad
When we were kids, computers were only for the rich. Their capabilities were extremely limited and to image carrying a computer around in your pocket would be outlandish. But here we are.
We have kids in their bedrooms, recording videos and publishing them on YouTube becoming millionaires. We have influencers who are the masters of creating cult followings all by publishing pictures on their Instagram feed. Overnight successes and failures are all around us.
The thing is, this technology is not limited to our youth. The opportunity to reinvent ourselves and develop a new career is within our reach too.
As empty nesters, we have experience and resources that help to give us an edge. We know how to plan and how to make things happen.
Hell, we successfully raised our kids and sent them out into the world – we can do anything!
How to become a digital nomad?
Like most things in life, there is no such thing as a step by step guide to leaving your career and becoming a digital nomad. The great thing about any lifestyle change is that you have the opportunity to research and prepare.
Start taking care of business now, set a target date, and get to it.
6 action steps that will help you find location independence
Here are six simple steps that will prepare you for the location independence lifestyle.
1. Pay off your debt today
Paying off your past is the key to be able to fund your future. Now is the time to reduce your expenses and start teaching yourself how to live off of less. Although your goal is to enhance your lifestyle, you need to start teaching yourself how to enjoy life with less.
Location independence is a lifestyle of freedom. The more stuff you have, the less freedom you have. The minimalist movement is all about having more by having less.
When you practice living with less, paying your debt off quickly is a piece of cake. If you want freedom, paying off your debt is step one!
2. Build an opportunity fund
On this site we teach our readers the importance of preparation with an emergency fund and with sinking funds, but what is an opportunity fund?
An opportunity fund is where you stash the money that empowers you to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Rather than setting money aside for worse case, the emergency fund, or setting money away for a planned/known expense, sinking fund, you simply set money aside for your dreams.
This dream money can serve as your seed money for starting your new business as a digital nomad. As your plan becomes more and more realistic, your opportunity fund will be the money that will allow you to pull the trigger.
Once you are all done with paying off all of your nonmortgage debt, and you have established a healthy emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of expense, the time to start stashing cash is now! This cash is your dream money!
3. Speak to your financial advisor
Do not skip this step! Once you have all of your debt paid off, you must follow up with your financial advisor. It is their job to help guide you through the process of turning your dreams into your reality.
Financial advisors specialize in helping their clients identify financial responsibilities that will need to be met when their clients no longer report to an employer.
- Healthcare replacement
- Retirement funding options
- Defined-benefit plan (pension) impact
- Income required to survive
A good financial advisor will help you to understand the value of all of the benefits that you currently take advantage of and help guide you with replacement options.
4. Identify your interests and skills
The digital world is full of many opportunities to make money. The opportunities are endless when it comes to earning a living in the digital world.
- If you love to write, create a blog
- If recording videos brings you happiness, create a YouTube channel
- Afraid of the camera and hate writing? You can always create a podcast
- Create a dropshipping retail store with Shopify
- If art is more your thang, graphic design is an easily freelanced skill
You get the point. Now is the time to find you and what you like to do. The goal is freedom and you do not want to pick an arena in the digital world that you will not enjoy.
5. Start making money
Item five is not an item that you need to wait on. As soon as you have identified your interests and skills, it is time to get to work. When you chose to become a digital nomad, the sooner you start the better.
For us, walking into work tomorrow and saying see ya is not a risk we are willing to take. We are planners! We have established goals and income level requirements that dictate when we are ready to move on to the next stage.
The thing that you must understand is this is a process that takes time.
There are millions of people out there searching for millions of solutions. Time is going to be a requirement for success as your work is going to have to win Google to you and make your digital business profitable.
First off, it takes time for Google to find out that you exist. Then it takes even more time before Google trusts you and starts sending business your way.
The sooner you start this step, the closer you will be to location independence.
6. Research locations of interest
For us, living abroad is not the intent of obtaining a digital nomadic style. We are happy if we can earn the ability to avoid winter.
We do want to travel frequently and see what the world has to offer. While we are planning our future, travel is a budget line item we are not willing to sacrifice.
We are getting our business up and going and we still have our consistent income. We are using this time to making sure that we are getting out and seeing new things so that we know where we want to go when we are ready to take the plunge.
It is the mini adventures that keep us focused on the BIG dream of designing the lifestyle of our dreams.
Conclusion: Becoming location independent
Sometimes selecting the path less traveled is a good thing. When we look back at our lives, starting at such a young age was not easy. The important part is – – – it was worth it.
So rather than sitting back and accepting the status quo, we highly recommend chasing your dreams as you build the reality that you want.
Start today with getting your finances in order, identify your skills and interests, and jump. Today can be the day that you say that normal is not enough and that regrets and missed opportunities are no longer part of your life.
If you are looking to live a life that is not dependent on you living in a particular place, share your story below.