Hello! Welcome to “Location Independent, International Jobs,” the Wednesday series where I showcase stories from people who have become location independent, work internationally, and/or continuously travel. If you haven’t already, check out the posts from Ruby from A Journey We Love or Adriana from Italy. Guest posters will be sharing how they became location independent or how they got jobs abroad, but most importantly, they’ll share how their lifestyle has positively or negatively affected their finances and how they got to the life they’re living now.
The reason for this series is to showcase people who have already achieved what the ThreeYear family is working towards: location independence and/or securing international jobs. Since we’re not sure which route we’ll take, we thought we’d hear from people who’ve already achieved one or the other, so we can learn more.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Pete from Do You Even Blog, where he interviews bloggers and online entrepreneurs on his podcast, and teaches people how to blog on the website. Pete and his family have been fully location independent for about six months and he runs his own business from home. I’ve gotta share his “official bio”–what a wordsmith!
Pete McPherson writes killer bio paragraphs. But when he’s not doing that, he’s a full-time husband and dad, idealistic entrepreneur, purple cow thinker, blogger, marketer, CPA, data nerd, STAR WARS nerd, web and iOS developer…and really fast typer. He spends his days teaching people how to blog better as well as drafting and validating various project ideas.
So get ready to hear a story about bravery from Pete, who took a leap of faith to create a location independent business to give his family a better lifestyle.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I have two kids (aged three and three months), and I have a super-corporate background in Accounting and Finance. I worked for huge companies in Atlanta, Georgia [Laurie: hey! us too!] for a few years before venturing out on my own 100%.
Oh, and my wonderful wife and I have been married four years!
How did you and your family make the decision to become location independent?
It was based on two things:
- I’m a terrible employee (meaning I truly believe I was meant to be a full-time entrepreneur, be my own boss, all those cliche ideas).
- We desired more freedom.
My wife is from Michigan, and we live in Georgia. Being tied down to a full-time job here meant we got to visit her family MAYBE twice a year.
Who wants that??
We really aimed for a life with the freedom to visit them for extended stays (as well as travel elsewhere!).
Savings was obviously a key part of how I became location independent. We saved for about two years, and also sold our house (giving us a nice little chunk of change to live off.)
What was the process like for you?
- Plan the financial situation.
We had a beautiful house and corresponding mortgage. We had car payments. We had students loans.
The first step in our process was figuring out how to get rid of monthly expenses. We ended up sacrificing a lot of our old lifestyle in exchange for eliminating the mortgage all together, many bills, etc. It was worth it!
Once we decided we were going to “do it” (travel more, become location independent, etc.)…we immediately implemented a separate savings account to begin putting money into.
We also moved to Rome, Georgia, to my grandmother’s old house (it was vacant), so we’re able to crash here mortgage-free as long as want. Though this might be unique to us…there’s something to be said about creative living arrangements!
2. Find income.
My wife raises kids full time, and teaches piano part-time. I didn’t have a remote job lined up, and didn’t have any side businesses.
(Another reason why slashing expenses was mandatory).
I had to plan out and find some freelancing and side-hustle opportunities before we moved into our new lifestyle.
I started a marketing agency in my hometown to do some freelance work. This has allowed us to generate a bit of income while I grow Do You Even Blog.
3. Pray and jump in.
At the end of the day, we were still terrified that we wouldn’t be able to make it work. We prayed, and eventually took baby steps to the end result.
The best thought we kept repeating was “What’s the worst that could happen? And it it happens…could be get back to our current situation?” The answer is usually “of course we could.”
Where do you travel? (within the country, internationally, etc). Favorite place? Least favorite?
At the moment, we have a three-month old….so we’re not really traveling at all. However, we do live back and forth between Michigan and Georgia (where our families are from).
When we’re in Georgia, we live in my grandmother’s vacant house.
My wife’s parents are retired, and MORE than happy to accommodate us while we’re in Michigan (they want to see grandkids more than us probably ).
One of our plans for the future is buying a full-size RV (an Airstreammmmm) and using that in Michigan as well! We plan on parking it at our relatives’ house, yard, or wherever they will let us!
However, Turkey and Cuba are at the top of the travel list, once our kiddos get a bit older!
How have your kids adapted to the moves? Best part of traveling for them? Worst part?
Kids are way more adaptive and resilient than we give them credit for.
Were there hard times when the kids weren’t quite sure what was going on in our lives? Of course there were…but we pushed through that.
In the end, they’re healthy and happy. They learn to adapt just as we do.
Why would you recommend this for other families? Why would you not recommend this to other families?
There will always be fear of failure, change and risk. Managing those fears and taking action for location-independent living is not for everyone.
If fact, I’d say it’s for less than 5% of Americans. A hard truth, sorry.
Everyone wants to travel more. Everyone wants more free time. Everyone wants to work day jobs less. This is not the differentiating factor.
What separates people who actually achieve this in their family is the relentless pursuit of the lifestyle.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you talked with your ideal lifestyle with your spouse?
- What steps have you taken (NOT just read about on a blog)?
- What are you willing to give up in return for the lifestyle?
- Is this, really, truly, you?
How has becoming location independent positively (or negatively) impacted your finances? (since this is a personal finance blog!).
Whelp. We made about $90k a year in guaranteed income before we moved…and that dropped to roughly $0 guaranteed income.
However, we planned for this by eliminating a huge chunk of our debt and expenses (we sold our house, saved up a big chunk of savings to live off of for a while, quit cable, etc).
It’s definitely forced us into frugality, and made up a lot sharper about what we spend out money on.
Anything else I may have forgotten?
For anyone considering switching up their lifestyle, I’ll just leave these two things here:
- There is absolutely nothing stopping you besides yourself.
- All the sacrifices will be worth it and then some.
Laurie here! That is a very inspiring story Pete! And brave! How cool that you downsized your lifestyle and just did it–started your own business so you could become financially independent. I also love the idea of living half the year near Pete’s family, and half of the year near your wife’s family. What an optimal scenario while the kids are young!
He’ll be answering comments below so ask anything on your mind!