I made my first real estate investment in 2007, but didn’t get serious about investing until 2009 when my husband and I sat down and decided that we were going to figure out a way to reach our version of financial freedom through real estate investing. The big goal was to become millionaires by the time we were 30 (which we achieved at 29) and the first milestone was to replace my husband’s income.
My husband Travis worked in construction since he was 17 years old. A career in construction allowed him to earn a high income, and because he worked for the union he received great benefits including a pension and full medical and dental for our family. He also had to work out of town every summer, and because he was an equipment operator it took a toll on his body. Aside from him having to work out of town, taking time off for vacations was frowned upon…big time. Most construction workers worked hard from their 20’s until 55, at which point they could take an early retirement. This was not the kind of life we wanted, and it was pretty easy for us to decide when and how Travis could walk away.
You can read more about how we acquired our rentals, but the long story short was long hours and a lot of hard work. Travis would work 10 hour days in construction, and then remodel our rentals after work and on the weekends when he was home. For us it was worth the sacrifice if it meant we could get Travis to retirement sooner.
That time was January 2014 when our daughter was born. That was the last month my husband earned a paycheck for his time working in construction. His co-workers and boss expected him to come back after a few months, and they did not realize that we had a plan for his early retirement.
That plan was our rental properties.
At 30 years old we knew Travis couldn’t stay retired and have nothing to do, so the rentals provided a perfect opportunity to him to run the business and since his income was replaced there was no worry about money.
Now that both Travis and I have no employer to answer to, we can travel whenever we want and wherever we want.
In the past few years real estate has really allowed us the freedom to travel, we’ve traveled to Mexico (a few times), Bahamas, Caribbean, Fiji, Italy (twice), France, Spain, Hawaii (twice), have taken road trips from Florida to South Carolina, New York, Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon Coast (three times) and most recently Switzerland.
This is our two year old enjoying a hike in the Swiss Alps.
If we both had regular jobs there is no way we could be able to travel like this because we’d probably be fired for taking so much time off, and we wouldn’t be working enough to afford it. That’s the downside to trading time for money, when you’re not logging hours you’re not earning an income.
It’s a great feeling being on a vacation knowing that you are still earning an income.
Sure we gave up a high income and great benefits, but the ability to do what we want far outweighs the security we left behind.
The other benefit of having Travis retire early is that we’ve been able to buy more rental properties and get back into new construction development.
So if you’re at a point where you want more freedom while still earning an income, we are proof that real estate is a way to make this dream a reality!
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