You ever hit that breaking point at a job? Have a moment of clarity? Did you enter a state of nirvana where you just know you gotta find something else to do?
It happened to me after 4 years and some change in the U.S. Army. The Army had been great to me, the Army had been bad to me. I got through rough times in the past because of some intrinsic drive– I just wanted to be a soldier, and a good one. There came a time, though, when that drive faded. I had seen some good people get fucked, some bad people skate by, and put up with enough stupid shit. It was time to go. I felt simultaneously liberated and terrified.
What the fuck am I gonna do instead?
That’s the buzz-kill thought that came next. What the fuck am I gonna do now? The Army is all I’ve ever known. I also don’t like the idea of being some corporate sycophant. Most of the jobs I want to do doesn’t pay well, I like doing shit that costs money. Shit.
What I really want to do is travel the world on a sailboat, but middle class people don’t get to sail around the world during their prime wage earning years. This is an enticing fantasy though, and I let my mind drift to it frequently at work when I would otherwise be contemplating whether the ceiling in the battalion conference room could support the weight of my body.
The more I let the dream run, the more I convinced myself I could make it happen. I started reading: books, blogs, anything. I became convinced that I could buy my freedom– but how?
I ended up planning it like a military operation because the Army did a good job of indoctrinating me.
My mission is to build passive income through dividend-paying stocks and rental properties in order to buy my freedom from wage slavery. At end state, I will be able to lounge around eating cheetos and drinking PBR in the galley of my own small sailboat until the end of my days.
This would be a four phase operation.
Phase one is the twilight of my Army career, which was ongoing and would end the day I took my boots off for the last time (likely summer of 2019.) Key to this phase is setting myself up for the possibility of lean-years. I need to establish $1000/month of passive income before I get out, primarily through rental properties.
Phase two is corporate wage slavery, which would run me until I could semi-retire (target date of 2024). Key to this phase is building my passive income to $3000/month.
Semi-retirement is the third phase and is loosely defined: at $3000/month of passive income I can do whatever the fuck I want in terms of work. I’m not loaded, but I can live comfortably on 3k a month. During this phase I’ll still work, but only doing what I like. The only rule is that net spending each year must come from my labor, not my capital. Capital would be re-invested and allowed to grow on its own.
Phase four– Emancipation– begins once my passive income reaches $6000/month. Key to this phase is asset preservation, or living off the dividends and not touching the underlying investments.
Decisive to the operation is saving $50,000 before leaving the Army; it is decisive because of the exponential growth of investments (the longer you hold a good investment, the faster it grows.) I would assume risk by forgoing the job stability and medical/retirement benefits of the Army, I would mitigate this risk by lining up a job at least 4 months prior to my exit and maintaining a $10k emergency fund.
I’ve got a vision and I’ve got goals. The details aren’t solid, but I’ll figure it out in due time. I’ll write this blog along the way for three reasons. First, to keep myself honest and disciplined. Two, because I like writing. And three,
because I want ad revenue because I think I’m right about everything because I want to spread my radical theories of emancipation from wage slavery to the multitude of oppressed soldiers sweating in their kevlar, yearning to breathe free. And while this blog will include a special emphasis on achieving financial independence from a soldier’s point of view, I think many of the lessons learned can apply to anyone.
Let’s get started.