Travel or invest?

Ryan from Planting Dollars asks:

Having been raised by self made real estate millionaires it’s not shocking that I agree with the vast majority of what you have to say.  The reason I’m emailing you is because I was wondering if I could get your advice.

As a 23 year old recent college graduate I understand the power of real estate investing and building businesses, but at the same point would like a nomadic lifestyle and be able to travel while living frugal at a young age.  In my experience real estate and most business ventures aren’t possible with this lifestyle.  So I’m simply wondering:

If you were in my situation, how would you perceive this challenge and what types of businesses would you pursue?

Simple: anything internet!

Specifically, anything internet that trades in downloadable products and services (information products are ideal), or of the ‘virtual infrastructure’ type (e.g. FaceBook) … of course, once you become successful, you will need staff and support of the financial kind, and these require phyical access more often than not [AJC: Venture Capitalists are soooo 90’s 🙂 ].

That’s the short answer; now for the long answer 😉

The first thing I would suggest that Ryan do is to ask the “self made real estate millionaires” who raised him for their advice … after all, they’ve been there / done that … know Ryan better than possibly anybody else … and, being a parent myself I have no doubt that they ABSOLUTELY have his best interests at heart!

As to the second part of Ryan’s question, which asked whether I would “place travel and new experiences in [my] twenties as more important or less important than investing and capturing the time value of money?” 

The easy answer is that (by some coincidence) I just addressed this in some small way in yesterday’s Video-on-Sunday post …

…. but, the harder answer is “it depends”:
– I would rank those Life Experiences very highly


– If the desire to be an entrepreneur burns bright, and you have a rip-snorter of an idea just bursting to get out … well THAT can be the “new experience” that Ryan mentions, and it may very well more than make up for itself by funding your future travels.
I would be willing to delay a boringly ‘normal’ savings plan a little for those one-of-a-kind of Life Experiences.
Let’s say that you do decide to compromise, by being that nomad, yet starting a business; what’s the ideal business for this sort of traveling, hands-off lifestyle?

As I said above, anything Web, however I suggest that you buy a copy of the 4-Hour Work Week first!
But, I would also say not to be so quick to discount real-estate …

… I maintained 5 condo’s and a small’ish office block in Australia whilst I was living in the USA.

Buy anything by Dolf De Roos and Dave Lindahl, both of whom claim to own real-estate in far flung places (Dolf across the world, and Dave across the USA) and learn all you can about ‘hands off’ real-estate ownership; it can be done.
Of course, Ryan still has direct access to Millionaire RE mentors … so, he should first ask his parents what they do with their RE investments when they wish to travel?

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8 thoughts on “Travel or invest?

  1. Why not do both?

    The “OE” (overseas expedition) is something of a rite of passage for a lot of young people. Recent graduates often head off to work/travel for a year or two to see something of the world. Why not combine travel with working on something real estate related? Lay bricks or whatever you can on a building site on the other side of the world.

  2. At 23 Ryan should be focused on getting a great education – ideally both in a class-room and out in the real world.

    Don’t wimp out and be lazy, don’t think you are better than everyone else and can pull a Bill Gates (make millions w.o. college – he did go to Harvard BTW). You have to invest up front to learn, only then do you have a good chance later in life to do something great.

    I think travel is a great way to learn, but there is a difference btw working or studying abroad vs. being a beach bum abroad. Pick wisely.

  3. @ trainee investor – that makes sense from the angle of gaining skills to use later on in regards to sweat equity. However the dilemma is much more from the angle of losing time value of money. Early retirement at say age 40 is a lot more of a challenge if one decides to travel for a few years.

    @ jake – Being a beach bum is soooo boring! I’m weird in that I enjoy working so I like Adrian’s advice to do internet based projects, which I’ve also started learning over the past year after graduating college. Maybe travel photography, internet marketing, and writing a book about the experience would be a way to kill two birds with one stone? Just wandering around the world without working towards anything specific seems like it would get old really quick. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Great answers Adrian. Go to the People who know(the parents) who most certainly did their own travels ,maybe before Ryan was born,or when he was still quite young.Surely they had some plan to care for that Real Estate while gone.

  5. @ Ryan – The experiences that you gain whilst traveling (esp. if you also undertake some of the activities that you outlined in your comment) may MORE than make up for the loss of time 🙂

  6. I real Dolf’s book “Real Estate Riches”. Very basic, and very disappointing (for what I wanted).

    It may be fine for people considering real estate and wanting an overview, but not a lot of practical and actionable stuff there.

    I see Dolf’s real business is in the selling of books and seminars (not that there is anything wrong with that – it seems to be a very successful model for some – and pretty scaleable).

  7. @ Neil – I have read some of Dolf’s other stuff, including a course on Commercial RE … not rocket science-level stuff, but I still found it useful; on the other hand, I found Dave Lindahl’s course VERY specific and ‘how to’ and very useful.

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