How Can You Travel The World For a Year?
How are you guys doing this? This is probably the most asked question since we began our 2019 travel journey. Honestly, if you had asked us our plans 5 years ago, 3 years ago or even 12 months ago leaving corporate America and traveling for a full year would not have been our response. Surprised? We were too! Rob and I were surprised at how 9 years of focus and discipline could completely change our lives! We married in April of 2009 and joined our finances in June of 2009. 😊 Our immediate focus was paying off debt and learning how to manage finances as a couple. At most, we hoped that I might be able to retire from corporate by the age of 55. My retirement age really hasn’t changed. We’re not sure when Rob will retire. After all, he is 3 years younger than I am. LOL! Yes, we are traveling the world but we both plan to continue working. In addition to owning Learn Hustle Grow Travel, Rob is a licensed Texas realtor.
If You Prefer Audio
If you’ve heard our podcast interviews with Bigger Pockets Money Ep 61 or House of FI Ep 20, you know that our union was one of a Spender and a Saver. When two people with different perspectives of how to handle money get married there are obvious challenges. If your goal is financial freedom and you decide to combine your finances the challenges are as follows:
- How to get both parties on page with the idea that being debt free is possible? Many people believe the we all die with debt.
- How to save and invest without making the Spender feel as though he/she is being deprived? There are various reasons that driving spending. Often, it can be tied to a feeling of lack.
- Deciding who will manage day to day expenses. Who is the most consistent at paying bills? Are both parties interested in this task?
No Car Payments
Anyway, this particular article is about how we are able travel for a full year. You might also be interested in our YouTube video, 10 Things that Helped Us Become Debt Free. Rob and I spent the first 5 years of our marriage paying off existing car loans and his student loans while paying down the $150,000 home I purchased in 2003. We also had the expense of maintaining a home and creating a college fund. In 2010, we purchased two pre-owned cars. In 2010, we purchased a 2007 Infiniti G35 Sedan and a 2007 BMW 335i Coupe. At that time, we were not focused on financial independence but debt freedom. I share this because we may not have purchased the cars if our focus was financial independence. Although the BMW provides a beautiful driving experience, every repair was quoted at $1,000 minimum by the dealer. We were fortunate to find a great mechanic who charged half the price of every dealer quote. Even still, if you have a paid for vehicle, who wants to spend $500/month on car repairs? With that in mind, we decided to trade in the 2007 BMW for a 2010 Prius in 2013. The Prius was 3 years newer with ½ the miles of the BMW and we found an independent dealer who made an even swap for the cost of tax, title and license. We paid approximately $335 to walk away with the Prius. We’ve been the proud owners of a 2010 Prius for the last 6 years and we are happy to report that there have been no major repairs. We don’t count the car accident our oldest son had in the car. LOL!
In addition to not having a car note since 2010, Rob and I began investing in real estate in 2013. Our first home became our first rental property. Over a five- year period, we purchased 4 single family homes in the DFW area and participated in a Waco multi-family syndication deal. Check out (How our Real Estate Adventures Began) We also invest in the stock market. While people generally find the multi-family sexy, we made our money on our single-family homes. The homes we purchased were in good school districts where the neighborhoods appreciated significantly. Everyone has heard the old adage, “buy low and sell high.” Unfortunately, most of us are so excited about our gains that we can’t bear to sell. Rob and I saw the appreciation in our properties and the growth in our stock portfolio as an opportunity. With that in mind, we sold 2 single family homes and a few individual positions in our stock portfolio. We reinvested a portion of the stock profits in mutual funds or sector funds. We reinvested the funds from the most profitable sell into a 6-unit multi-family property out of state. Why out of state? Primarily because we were unable to find a property that met our requirements locally. We’re not saying that it doesn’t exist. We’re saying that it was not available at the time we were looking. Timing was super important because we chose to defer our taxes through the use of an investor incentive called the 1031 Exchange. Finally, we executed a cash out refinance to pay off our primary mortgage. A few good investments, no car payment and no mortgage. It’s all starting to come together! Read (We Have A New Plan)
We also credit being young parents to our ability to travel the world in our 40’s! While we did not have our kids together, we were 22 (Me) and 24 (Rob) when the boys were born. While we gave them plenty, we simply could not afford to give them everything our hearts desired. Today, Americans are waiting until they can afford to have children. Unfortunately, for many people that means having children much later in life. In our observation, older parents spend more money on their children. From clothing to extra-curricular activities, education, birthday parties and travel. The expenses are endless. For many of us the desire to give our children more than we had growing up fuels our decision-making process. Just know that there are trade-offs. Let me be clear, neither of us our advocating for unplanned pregnancies. Rob and I are simply acknowledging that we might not be in this position if we had young children enrolled in private school and bleeding us dry for every dollar we earned. Yep, we called them blood suckers! LOL! Lovable, but blood suckers nonetheless. If you’re a young struggling parent know that there is hope for your financial future! Eliminate debt and keep your expenses low. For the middle class and upper middle class, take a serious look at what you’re spending to ensure your child’s “happiness”. You just might find that you can have healthy, well rounded, thriving children while spending a little less money.
Perks and Points
Sorry, if you were expecting a short cut or a faster route, we’ve got nothing. More interested in how we actually book travel instead of how we reached this point? That part is a little less complicated. Rob and I are not “backpackers”. Well, we carry backpacks but we also have 3 other pieces of luggage. How we pack might be another post. Upon researching our options for travel we also explored ways to reduce our expenses. As of this posting, we have been traveling for 3 months and we have not stayed in a hostel or slept on anyone’s couch. If this is your thing by all means go for it. It is probably a great way to save money. Instead, we take advantage of travel agent benefits. Owning a travel company allows us to share our passion for travel with others and book our own hotels or travel packages at a discount. Sadly, there are no Travel Agent deals on airfare. We book our hotels at an average rate of $100 per night or less. In some places it’s WAY less. In addition to our benefits, Rob and I use airline miles and credit card points to book flights when it makes sense. Yes, we use credit cards. We pay our balance in full every month. We never pay interest. At present, we are booking air + hotel or air + hotel and tours at least 30 days out. Keep in mind that we are also trying to keep up with weekly blog posts and YouTube videos! There you have it, over a period of 9 years, we created a blended family, paid off debt and invested our money jointly. It’s completely doable! Don’t forget to have your children early! LOL! Thanks for checking us out!
Were or are you a young parent? Are you investing for your future? Is real estate part of your portfolio? Please share your thoughts! We would love to hear from you.