Until I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad“, I thought there was only one way to retire.
The path to retirement in my house was this:
Give it to someone to invest for you
Remove choice so you don’t screw it up (set up auto-withdrawals for 10% of your salary)
Work until age 65
Slowly draw funds from your investments. Try not to run out of money before you run out of life.
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was an epiphany: I learned that purchasing buildings and collecting rental income would give me consistent cash flow without an end. Here’s how it works:
Buy a building
Rent the space in the building
Pay off the mortgage
Continue to collect rent to infinity.
After I finished the book, I immediately began searching for a building to buy. I didn’t have any money, so it took me a few years to get the downpayment together. Now I own three buildings, and the rent I collect from them is over $12,000 per month. To receive that same dividend from investments, I’d need to save $3,600,000. But my buildings cost $900,000 combined; I only needed 1/10 of that amount as downpayment money; and they pay for their own mortgages. I’m 43 and retired.
We call this “functional retirement“, because I don’t depend on a “job” to pay me anymore, but continue to work because I love my vocation. Being a mentor to other business owners is part of my legacy.
But there’s actually a THIRD way to retire, and ONLY entrepreneurs can do it.
As soon as I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, I began to wonder: can a business become a cash flow asset?
I was reading both The E-Myth and The Four-Hour Workweek at the time. It seemed crazy to think your job could require only 4 hours of work per week–but I wondered, could it actually go to zero? Could I build systems that would replace me entirely?
(The answer is yes, but only for entrepreneurs. And only if your business is completely independent.)
For a few years, I thought about how to build a completely autonomous business in the service industry. Was it possible for a business to run completely without the owner’s presence or oversight? Could a business really be a cash flow asset, even in the very-high-touch business of fitness coaching?
My initial progress was slow, because I didn’t really WANT to stop coaching. I also kept a very close watch on the money, and didn’t trust my staff to create it. I couldn’t detach, because–well, what if we had a slow month? Someone needed to stay up worrying all night!
Of course, that isn’t true. The solution to the panic problem is to not have slow months. Eventually, I began delegating growth, retention and sales to my staff. And in May 2018, I decided that I had to do the ultimate test: a full year without setting foot in my gym at ALL.
The test was prompted by a few Facebook posts from other gym owners. They claimed to be “retiring” and selling their gym. But I was skeptical: their posts on LinkedIn told a different story. And their gyms didn’t appear to be worth much. In fact, they weren’t really retiring. They were just giving up. I wanted to prove that there’s no need to close your gym to retire from day-to-day operations.
You don’t have to quit YOUR gym, don’t worry. Consider this my 4-minute mile: someone has to prove it’s possible to set the scale. Then we can all choose how detached we really want to be.
I missed doing CrossFit with my noon group. But removing my last connection to the gym–and having my GM run it–meant that I was free to work on my Tinker-level projects, like building Two-Brain Business. Yep, I still got paid my full salary in my year away. The gym grew without me. Rates were raised, customers were fired…all the hard stuff still happened without me. Because it had to.
Listen to Kaleda’s podcast. She’s 29 and retired too.
There’s a new way to retire. Your mission can continue when your working life ends. Follow the steps in Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief. You’ll get here far faster than I did!