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This week on The RV Entrepreneur podcast I interviewed Christian and Elisa Genco (husband and wife). They are 23 & 24 years old. They live full-time in their motorhome, they are debt-free, and have multiple online businesses that allow them to work from anywhere. On Christian’s website it says they are on track to retire by the time they are 30 years old.
I was intrigued, because, who the heck retires at 30? I’ve never met anyone in my life who was “retired” by 30 years old. It’s not a thing, right? Did I miss something in financial planning class (Kidding, I was never offered that class. Thanks a lot public school).
But after interviewing Christian and Elisa, I realized they weren’t full of smoke. Not only could they legitimately retire by the time they are 30 years old, they are pretty much living a retired lifestyle right now.
Let me explain.
The old school version of retirement looked something like this:
The traditional definition of retirement gave the promise of escaping the world on a beautiful yacht after working your butt off for 40-50 years. You can dangle your feet overboard, drink mimosas, and finally sleep in as late as you want.
The new version of retirement looks something like this:
Okay, so maybe not everyone will want to live in an RV during their 20’s to achieve the new version of retirement. But Christian and Elisa Genco do live in an RV and are on track for early retirement. So for the sake of this blog I will use their story as an illustration for how the definition of retirement is changing.
The new definition of retirement is being able to work whenever and wherever you want, and only on projects you truly love.
The new kind of retirement offers a couple of the same key benefits as traditional retirement (more time and travel), without the largest downside of traditional school retirement (old age). In the new kind of retirement you can still sleep in as late as you like, read, or work (if you want to). You can also travel as much as you want and live wherever your heart desires.
P.S I apologize in advance if this sounds too “Tim-Ferris-ish”. I promise Christian and Elisa are just two interesting people who decided to approach life and work differently. Stick with us.
How Will Christian and Elisa “Retire by 30 Years Old”
Before I explain some of Christian and Elisa’s plan on how they plan to retire early, let me make a couple things clear.
Christian and Elisa’s version of retirement doesn’t mean lounging on a yacht, joining a country club, or never working again. Their version of retirement is being able to work on what they want to work on (and when), being able to read books, self-improve, and travel. This isn’t the same definition as everyone else’s “retirement”, but it’s a version I can get on board with.
Plus, there is no quick route to get there. This is something Christian and Elisa have had in the works since they were in high school studying for the SAT’s. Let me say it again (because it’s worth saying twice), there is no easy route to getting there.
Okay, let’s talk about their game plan for early retirement.
1. Living debt free. Both Christian and Elisa received full-rides to college (Christian also has a talk on how he went to college for free, you can watch it here). Since graduation, they’ve intentionally decided to make decisions that would give them the most freedom. Instead of buying a new house or fancy apartment lease, they moved into a 1999 class c motorhome that cost them less than $12k.
2. Solving problems through code. Christian is a developer and is constantly building new online projects that solve problems for people. By providing value through his development skills, he’s built up multiple income streams through his online businesses (DbinBox & Textbooksplease.com). Watch Christian’s TedX talk on why you should learn to code (it’s awesome).
3. Constantly learning. Christian and Elisa are currently learning multiple languages and are avid readers. Most of Christian and Elisa’s skills are ones that can be turned into revenue in some form or fashion (if not now, at some point in the future). For example, Elisa recently took several yoga workshops and is now teaching private clients. Christian also knows several programming languages and is constantly learning more so he can continue cashing in on those skills through starting new businesses and solving problems.
4. Living within means. Christian and Elisa have a very simple philosophy, spend less than you make (not rocket science). It sounds crazy, right? But this strategy helps them continue to live debt free and keeps more money flowing into savings.
5. Valuing freedom above all else. Christian said the best thing about living in an RV at 23 years old was the freedom. I then asked him, “Once you have the freedom, what do you do with it?” He replied, “Anything you want.” Once you’re schedule is freed up, you can continue learning, exploring, and making yourself a better human being. The skills you learn during that free time are what will help you continue to solve problems and create more income.
I have to be honest, making this list made me feel like I was just rehashing things people have told me my whole life, because they aren’t very complex. These are things you’ve heard before (spend less money, always learn, etc), but they aren’t easy to implement and most people never do.
It’s the very reason why Christian and Elisa are so special.
Why Most People Will Never Achieve The “New Retirement”
In short, comfort.
Most people aren’t willing to give up their stuff or make the neccesary sacrifices that would help them succeed in the long term. Most people would rather spend more money on a new vehicle or 4th of July fireworks than spend money on a new book or online course that could earn them thousands more than they are currently earning. Most people feel pressure to have a secure job, even when they dislike their job and would like to be own their own. Most people also feel pressure to own a home, even when they don’t have nearly enough money.
Why then, do so people many stay in bad jobs and buy homes they can’t afford?
Fear (or at least that’s what I think).
They are afraid. Afraid to do their own thing, afraid to live within their means and be judged by friends and family for not taking the conventional route.
Opinions of the people in our lives can hold us captive, if we let them.
The Misconception About Early Retirement
The misconception about early retirement is that most people believe it’s all about working really hard now, building up passive income streams, and then hanging out on a beach for thirty years getting really tan (or sunburned in my case).
The people who believe that are naive and will probably never build up passive income.
The truth is this: people who are smart enough and work hard enough to build up passive income will always be working to some extent.
If you love what you’re doing, you won’t want to work really hard for a few years, and then never do it again. What’s the point of retirement if you don’t get to do what you love?
Pat Flynn is an online blogger and podcaster of The Smart Passive Income. His blog generates over $100k each month. I guarantee you that over the past few years Pat has worked 99% more hours than most people. Now that he still has crazy amounts of money coming in each month, he still continuously puts out new blog and podcast content each week and even recently published a new book. He hasn’t retired in the traditional sense, because he doesn’t have to.
The people who work hard enough to build up passive income, will rarely quit working once they achieve it. Since that’s true, the point of early retirement isn’t to never have to work again. The purpose of early (or “new”) retirement is to be able to do the work you enjoy doing and the freedom to enjoy your life.
What We Talk About In This Episode
- How Christian and Elisa graduated college with no debt
- How Christian monetized two different online businesses
- Why they chose to live in an RV at 23 years old
- Why you’ll be left behind if you don’t know how to code
- How to spend your time once you’ve become location independent
Links or references mentioned:
- Go, Go, Genco
- Derek Sivers
- Christian and Elisa’s article on how to downsize
You’re Awesome! Thanks for Listening
Each week I release a new episode of The RV Entrepreneur podcast. If you want to binge-listen to the first ten episodes, you can head over to iTunes and download all of them. While you’re over there you can subscribe to the show so you’ll be notified each time I release a new episode.
Also, a huge thanks to everyone who has left me a review so far in iTunes. (if you want to leave a review for the show, go here in iTunes, make sure you’re signed in, and then click on “ratings and reviews”)
I am loving all of these podcasts! Thank you for having such a vast trove of resources available for the young full-time. One tip that I would like to add to Elisa’s suggestions on how to sell items: download the Mercari app. As my family and I are preparing to hit the road full time I have sold a lot of our clothing, shoes, etc and made more money than I would have on Craigslist, Facebook, or a yard sale (over $1k so far). I hope it can help someone else too!
Great suggestion! Will check it out!
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