We’re an Australian couple with a young son on a journey to live a simple-yet-rewarding life by committing to low-cost living and earning diverse, non time-place bound income.
We both grew up in average households, with normal middle class parents, and an average amount of opportunity.
Kate did really well at school and Brad did average.
We went to university, got jobs, saved money for retirement, travelled a lot, got married, purchased a property, got pay rises, went on more holidays, owned ‘exercise clothes’, and spent time studying to get a pay rise.
Too much stuff
We started acquiring stuff, both physical and psychological.
We had all the normal, yet incredibly meaningless, household items that people start to get. For example, work clothes, an iron, ironing board, ironing board cover, iron water filler, iron cleaner, etc.
Kate was spending three hours a day preparing for and travelling to and from work, before doing her 40 hour weeks.
We spent two hours a day preparing for, travelling to and from and at the gym each day to stay ‘healthy’ because we mostly had sedentary life styles.
We both had ‘capital city’ careers, which meant we had to pay a premium to live in a way which was important to us (i.e. by the beach).
We loved to travel but because we only had four weeks holidays a year we would pay more to go back and forward on short trips each year.
High incomes but we weren’t happier
Sure we earned a lot of money, and we were by no means frivolous with our spending but there were a lot of things that we ‘needed’ to keeping this lifestyle going.
We ‘needed’ to pay ‘experts’ to do things for us because we ‘didn’t have the time’ or knowledge to do them ourselves.
We ‘didn’t have time’ during the week to do much.
We were ‘too tired’ most of the time to pursue too many activities.
We had high incomes, lots of stuff, not much time, were conventionally healthy but a really just a bit imbalanced, tired and injured.
Long term, we were lined up to pay someone else to look after our children, spend more than AUD 1 million on a family home, save an unquestionably large amount to contribute to our children’s education, and retire at the blissfully youthful age of 65.
It seemed as if life was in a perpetual circle with no real ability to just enjoy life.
The big change
Then we just stopped.
We wound up our commitments, left our jobs, and left Australia.
We moved somewhere new, committed to living cheaply, started learning new skills, begun to develop skills to diversify our income, and spent more time being active.
All of our previous needs just started to unravel: irons, gym memberships, car washing, international flights, expensive ‘ethnic’ food experiences, hair styling and work travel time.
Now we earn less but are happier
Currently, we live in Malaysia (cheap but great quality).
We no longer need very much money to live because we live somewhere that has a low cost of living and we don’t need to spend much money to earn an income.
Our income is less than a third of what it was before we started this journey but we spend about ¼ of the time and effort to earn it, plus our cost of living is about half not ¾ of our annual income.
In total we have more time, real savings, skills, opportunities, vibrancy in life, and are in line to retire before 45.
A bright future
The world is a very large place and there are many opportunities to live an amazing, alternate life that is on your terms.
Do not accept your country of residence, skills, work or commitments and all the ‘needs’ that come with them as fixed but choose them based on the life you enjoy and the future you want.
This blog is a record of our journey so far and a reference for people that want to free themselves from their ‘needs’.
It hasn’t all been fun, it wasn’t easy and there still are responsibilities, commitments and annoyances, but overall we are much happier, healthier and wealthier.
Brad and Kate