Exactly 5 years back in 2017, I was in a mid-life crisis. Looking back at what I have accomplished in my life both personally, professionally, financially and even spiritually. What is next? Lot of people ponder that situation. Especially after the pandemic hit. People had that pause in their life and what is more important in life than the endless rat race and being swamped with a never ending todo list.
At that time, we finished a major project for a large company in one of the glass buildings of the Bay Area with great views of the SFO airport and the busy 101/ 280. It was a 2 ½ year project with a total of 40 developers. Last 6 months were daunting including weekends and 2 AM nights at release time. We stayed at a hotel nearby so we could avoid commute times. Was interesting packing my bag to stay for 2 to 3 days in a hotel in the Bay Area itself where it's 30 minutes to commute. At the end, the project was successful and everyone sent Kudos messages (especially you know the higher management - who only sends those Thank you messages after major release - no offense for Directors/ VPs/ CXOs who are reading :). After that a week passed and they announced another project. So life goes on in a professional space.
In my Personal space, I was blessed with 2 beautiful daughters and getting pressure to buy my primary home in the expensive (Not so at that time in 2017 If we look back :) in the bay area.
Financially, (After sending a lot of money to India for investments at lower 40 to 45 Rs per dollar over time :), Created a nest egg for down payment for a big home in the Bay Area, There came a point, Is this what I want? Do a 500k down payment and buy a $2 M property and keep paying the mortgage for 10 to 30 years? (Especially since I wasn't working as a Full Time Employee in a publicly listed company or a startup to anticipate that so-called stock/ IPO success for everyone in the Bay Area. It's like everyone wants to become Shah Rukh Khan when they enter Mumbai to become a bollywood star).
I was following these thoughts, And i decided to not pursue the generic path. I was reading about the FIRE movement. I decided to become financially free and come out of the 9-to-5. That is more important for me than buying a home. I was against all odds both personally, as a society and also the system.
The system is almost like the Matrix movie, Do you want to take the Red pill to know the truth of the system and how to achieve financial freedom or take the blue pill and continue to be in the rat race. It was an aha moment for me. I decided to take the Red pill. I explored ways to become financially independent. Explored several ideas and eventually landed on Real Estate and decided to do it out of state, not in California due to several reasons. Bought a townhouse in Raleigh, NC which was cash-flowing and didn’t look back. Bought several properties like Apartments and Land development projects in 8 states. Still a long way to go and have to be prepared for the storm ahead in the markets in the next 2 years and sustain the portfolio.
To be specific, Financial Freedom does not just mean sitting on the beach all day long (which you can do anyway when you are financially free!) but it can be having the freedom to do whatever you want:
I had several ideas but it was difficult to implement them as I cannot quit my job because I have to take care of the bills. But if you are financially free, you can pursue those ideas. In the next few years, I will focus on my ideas and nonprofits to grow them. Real Estate helped me in achieving this. But real estate might not be the only path. See this article by financial samurai for different paths you can achieve passive income. You do the research that is best for you and choose the path to achieve it. I’m not sure if you love your current job or not, But choose the path that you love or are passionate about.
I have faced numerous challenges in my last 5 year journey - Several times I want to quit and stick to the 9-to-5 job. Because Society is designed that way. The System is designed that way - You have to pay the insurance, rent or mortgage, college fee, high health care and retirement costs. Hard to break the Matrix.
But as an entrepreneur who wants to take the red pill, you have to take that difficult path where you can see the future. To conclude, As in this article by Allen Klary, "So, here’s to the dreamers and the leapers. We need you. The world needs you. You take on great risk, but you unlock great reward – not just for yourself, but for everyone you employ and all who purchase your product or service. The pursuit of happiness is one of our most precious unalienable rights – seize the day, but look and learn before you leap!"
To your Health and Wealth,