The Next Level of Frugality
I love Mr. Money Mustache. He’s been a hero of mine ever since I stumbled upon his blog in late 2012, as I was starting my first full-time job following graduation. Because of him, I was able to save 60% of my income in my first three working years and avoid the status seeking impulse which inflicts most people my age. Without MMM, I wouldn’t have a two year fuck-off fund. I wouldn’t have maxed out my 401k every year. And I definitely wouldn’t have the luxury of writing full time today.
We share a lot of the same values: the importance of constantly exercising our frugality muscle and letting your money work for you through passive indexing. I also laid out a similar philosophy in my article, A Millennial’s Guide to Money and Long Term Investing.
So what I’m about to say is with all due respect to the huge impact he’s had on our lives. But it needs to be said:
The world has changed. We all got a healthy dose of this when we witnessed the last inauguration. With this change comes new return expectations and new ideas on what financial freedom really means. And the idea that our generation, millennials, can follow the same Mustachian prescription and get the same results is the very definition of complacency.
When something moves into the mainstream and becomes conventional thinking, it’s time to think again. Last year was a record year for passive indexing. True rewards can only enjoyed by those who dare to think different. Frugality is great (and still a useful tool for a majority of over-consumers), but there’s also a new frontier out there.
The hard truth is that this frontier no longer lies in America, where comfort has become the expectation and not the enemy.
Escape from Debt and Rising Cost of Living
As inhabitants of the wealthiest country on Earth, the faster we realize that America is only a jumping off point, the more clearly we’ll be able to see our own future.
Why are we crowding into large expensive cities in search of diminishing opportunities and stagnant wages?
Why must we lock ourselves into 30 year mortgages to buy cramped homes we can’t afford to make the hour long commute to some anthill of late stage capitalism?
The big picture doesn’t look so hot either. With a looming multi-trillion dollar federal deficit and wealth disappearing into the Cayman Islands, what’s the one asset that can’t escape future tax increases to pay for all of this?
Oh right, property. Real estate owners are about to become the bagholders of the 21st century.
While we think it’s great that Mr. Money Mustache can live in Colorado for under $2,500 a month, you know what sounds even better? Living in Bangkok for $1,333 a month. Ho Chi Minh City for $975 a month. Rio de Janeiro for $1,592. Here, see for yourself.
Sure, all of this sounds “risky” and “dangerous.” But how do we grow without risk? In 2017, comfort is the true enemy and change is the only constant. Nature rewards those who learn to adapt to their surroundings.
So keep your overvalued coastal properties. We're not interested. It's time to find out what the rest of the world has to offer us.
Global Mobility is the New Frontier
You might be asking yourself: what happens when it’s time to settle down and start a family? Don’t we all eventually have to return to the rat race? Better to stay put, keep your head down and work your way to the much coveted six-figure salary than to leave everything behind and not make “progress.”
Wrong. Why take a six figure salary in a city you can't afford when it’s possible to work digitally for at least $30,000?
A studio in New York costs half a million dollars, but a two bedroom in a city like Phoenix costs $100,000. With a dual remote income and a frugal lifestyle, we could pay this off in cash within five years. Our only requirement would be that this house be located near an airport. North America would be a home base to us, somewhere to stay rent free when we want to take a breather.
The world on the other hand, will be our playground.
That's the dream of The Origami Life. True simplicity, maximum flexibility. The ability to work, live and play anywhere in the world. A life completely without restrictions.
We, as millennials, don’t even know how good life could be if we dared to think a little different. We live in the wealthiest nation on the planet and there’s an arbitrage opportunity staring us right in the face. Something that will enhance both our financial and life experience banks. A life that’s self sufficient and semi-nomadic. A life where the choices you make actually belong to you.
There’s a reason why Genghis Khan and the Mongols conquered the world. So if any of our mad ravings make any sense to you, it’s time to saddle your horses.
Because we’re taking no prisoners.