The other day I tweeted out “Has anyone written about the benefits of dual citizenship for financial independence?” and I didn’t get too many responses.
I’m considering applying for dual citizenship to open career opportunities in the EU and to hedge some of my future health care fears.
Plus, I think it would be amazing to spend time abroad without worrying about visa restrictions.
Tawcan responded that he is a dual citizen and has considered the benefits of dual citizenship for his family. I asked him to come on Millennial Boss today and share his story with us. Enjoy this guest post from Tawcan.
The Benefits of Dual Citizenship for the FIRE Lifestyle
The other day, we met up with Mr. Tako and his wife for lunch in Redmond, Washington. During lunch, Mr. Tako pointed out how unique my wife and I are, and how this has provided me with unique perspectives when it comes to the articles that I write on my blog.
I was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada when I was a teenager. My wife was born in Denmark, came to Canada as an exchange student, and decided to stay in Canada and became a Canadian because of me.
While you see a lot of interracial couples nowadays, it is still very unusual to see an Asian guy married to a Caucasian woman. So yes, I guess Mr. Tako was right, I think I just didn’t think about it that much.
The concept of financial independence early retirement (FIRE) is not a new concept for me as there are multiple members in my family that either retired or became financially independent in their 40’s. However, both my wife and I did not get on the same FIRE wavelength until we had our financial epiphany in 2011.
Since then, we have been working smart on becoming financially independent when we are in our early 40’s.
Although we have set an FI target, we don’t have a specific target date or a specific FI number.
One of our dreams when reaching financial independence is to explore the world by travelling and living abroad. We have always loved travelling since we were young kids as we both had many opportunities to visit different countries with our parents.
In our 20’s, we were fortunate enough to explore the world on our own. As a young Dane, Mrs. T worked as a tour guide in her early 20’s and this experience allowed her to work and live in Egypt, Lanzarote (Canary Islands), and Sri Lanka.
As a young Taiwanese-Canadian, I worked in Germany as a Co-op student during university and travelled all over Europe for 8 months.
We both have travelled to many different countries on our own, but we have only visited a few countries to together as a couple.
We want our kids to see and experience the world.
As parents of two young kids (4 years old and almost 2), my wife and I both realize that there is a lot of knowledge you cannot learn from reading books and sitting in classrooms.
We both want our kids to see the world with their own eyes and experience what it is like to live in different parts of the world.
One of the ways to achieve this, is to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time and be part of the community. Learn about the local culture, learn the language, become friends with the locals, and become one of the locals eventually.
With our plan of living abroad in different countries, we need to consider visas and the different rules each country has for extended stays.
Fortunately, both my wife and I have dual citizenship. I am Taiwanese and Canadian and she is Danish and Canadian. Our kids have Canadian citizenship, but they can apply for Danish and Taiwanese citizenship too. (Note: Having Danish citizenship may prevent the kids from getting Taiwanese citizenship, some complicated rules, need to look into that more).
Would holding dual citizenship provide any benefits with our travel and living abroad plan?
Traveling as Canadians – Baseline
As Canadians, the list of visa exempt countries is rather large. We can travel to 171 countries without needing a visa (Germany tops the best passport with 176 countries). When we visit these countries, we must enter the country as visitors. Depending on the country, we can stay anywhere from 30 days to 180 days without a visa. We can apply for visa extensions in countries like Belize and Australia. This is very similar to travelling with a US passport.
The key benefit of travelling the world as Canadians is that we can save quite a bit of money by travelling to these 171 visa-exempt countries. Applying visas for 4 people and paying for the application fees can certainly add up quickly.
Extended stay in Taiwan for Canadians
One of our travel goals is to live in Taiwan for a few years. This would allow my wife and our kids to learn more about the Taiwanese culture and learn Mandarin (and possibly Taiwanese?). Living in Taiwan would also allow me to reconnect with my Taiwanese roots.
Since I am a Taiwanese citizen, I can easily move back to Taiwan and stay there permanently. Taiwan does have mandatory military service for male citizens. However, this is only applicable to men between the age of 19 to 36. Since I am turning 36 later in 2018, this is not a concern for me.
For my wife she won’t be able to obtain Taiwanese citizenship (and potentially our kids too as mentioned earlier). As Canadians, they can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa.
Therefore, my wife and kids can stay in Taiwan for up to 180 days (or roughly 6 months).
Once this 180 day is up, they would need to exit Taiwan, go to a nearby country, then re-enter Taiwan to start the 180-day clock again, without a time limit of how long you have to be out of the country.
The ability to stay in Taiwan for up to 180 days can certainly allow us to involve ourselves in the Taiwanese culture. My wife would love to learn more Mandarin, and this would be a great experience for our kids to improve their Mandarin. I would love to give our kids the opportunity to learn about the Taiwanese culture and see where their dad came from.
Although Taiwan is a heavily populated country, there are still quite many natural, rural areas that can take your breath away. I would love to take Mrs. T and the kids to see the Taroko Gorge, experience the Ali Mountain sunrise, or summit Yushan, the tallest mountain in Taiwan.
One of the things that we look forward to living in Taiwan for an extended period is that we can easily explore other nearby countries like Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, etc. The close proximity of these Asian countries to Taiwan should easily allow us to get around the 90/180-day visitor visa limitation. The idea of hopping over to Hong Kong or Japan every 6 months or so sounds very enticing to us.
If the Taiwanese visa rules ever change, we can always stay in Taiwan for 90 days, and move around in the region. Staying in different countries for 3 months at a time isn’t ideal, but I am sure it would still provide sufficient time for us to feel like we are part of the local community.
Extended stay in Denmark for Canadians
We want to live in Denmark for a few years too for similar reasons as staying in Taiwan. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Since my wife and our kids have Danish citizenship, they can stay in Denmark and other EU countries for as long as they want. The plan of living in Denmark for a few years is slightly more problematic for me, since I do not hold a passport from an EU country.
When we talk about staying in Europe, we need to first understand Schengen and non-Schengen areas.
Schengen area countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Some non-Schengen area countries that are part of the EU or Visa exempt for Canadians: United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, Cyprus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.
As a Canadian, I can stay in Schengen area countries for 90-days within any 180-day period.
These days don’t need to be consecutive but the total is cumulative. This means I can stay in Denmark for 90 days consecutively. Once the 90 days limit is up, I need to be out of the Schengen area for 90 days, before I can enter Schengen area countries for another 90 days. I can either return back to Canada, stay in a non-Schengen area country (as an example, Canadians can stay in the UK for up to 6 months), or go to another part of the world to “reset” my clock.
But this method is slightly problematic when you have a family. I don’t want to be apart from my family for 3 months. I just couldn’t do that.
So, I need to look for other methods to allow me to stay in Denmark for longer periods consecutively.
Fortunately, there are a few ways for me to live in Denmark. I can apply for a residence permit (i.e. family tie with my wife), study permit, or work permit. Since I work in high tech and have an engineering background, the easiest way method is to find a high tech job in Denmark and have the company help apply for a work permit for me.
This contradicts our FIRE goal of retire early eventually. But when we are financially independent, we are working because we choose to, not because we have to. The term work takes on a completely different meaning, and I believe our mentality toward work will shift as well. So really, “working” in Denmark may not be considered work at all.
Recently the Danish government is proposing to change the requirements for bringing your non-Danish partner into the country. From a quick look, it appears that we meet the minimum requirements. So, if this gets approved, then it would be easier for us to move to Denmark.
Extended Stays in Europe
While living in Denmark is a goal of ours. We understand there are other European countries that would be interesting to live in. Some of these European countries are much friendlier than Denmark when it comes to living long term for non-EU citizens. For example, France, Italy and Sweden all offer a long-term visitor visa for a period of up to one year. The application process and process timeline are slightly different for each of them.
In addition, Spain and Portugal also offer long-term-stay visas that are more targeted toward retired people, or people planning to work in the country. Therefore, Spain and Portugal might be good countries for long-term stays, especially given the warmer weather and cheaper cost of living.
Self Employment Visas in Europe
Interestingly, both Germany and Czech Republic offer a self-employment visa. From my quick research, to apply for the self-employment visa, you need to provide a business plan and supply other business related information.
While I work full time in high tech today, I have a few side hustles, including photography, cookbook business, and my personal finance blog. All of these side hustles are bringing in some side income. I can put more focus on these side hustles to increase our income level to allow me to apply for this self-employment visa in Germany or Czech Republic.
All these long-term-stay visas have their own terms and conditions, so we would need to read the fine prints before applying.
Many European countries allow people less than 35 to apply for a 1-year work-holiday-visa (some countries have an age restriction of 30). The work-holiday-visa can typically be extended once it expires. Since I’m already 35, this visa is not applicable for me. But if you are younger than the age restriction and want to stay and work in Europe, the work-holiday-visa might be a great option.
A thing to note is that once I obtain one of these long-term-long visas, I technically become a resident of the country. Because of Europe’s open-border policies, I can travel in Europe freely. However, all these long-term-stay visas require one to register as a resident and proof residence (i.e. rental contract). This would perhaps prevent us moving and staying in Denmark after receiving a long-term-stay visa with one of the countries already mentioned.
We want to remain flexible
Since we like to keep our options open, it means we can live somewhere else than Canada, Taiwan, Denmark, and other European countries. Both my wife and I have travelled around the world to realize that there are some very awesome places out there.
We are certainly open to living in countries like Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Belize, Costa Rica, and many more. Many of these countries are quite friendly to early retirees and offer great social benefits.
Rather than looking at visas as limitations, we need to learn to be flexible with our plans. When we are flexible and open to options, the possibilities are endless.
The Digital Nomads
Having dual citizenship do provide some benefits with our FIRE travel plans. But if you only hold one passport, it does not exclude you from the dream of travelling and living abroad. The key is to remain flexible and open to options. When you do, I believe it is easy for anyone to travel around the world and live in different countries for an extended period of time.
Bio: Tawcan is a millennial, frugalist, investor, photographer, author, and outdoor enthusiast from Vancouver Canada. He uses tawcan.com to share his quest for joyful life and financial independence. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Have you considered the benefits of dual citizenship to financial independence?
You can purchase the brand booster option, which teaches you how to set up a brand awareness campaign. This strategy is different and may be used for newer brands who want to get the word out there. It’s optional in addition to purchasing the course and you probably don’t need this one unless you want to go all in.
You can sign up for the technical support group which is a monthly membership that gives you access to Facebook ads experts to handle any questions you have that require deep dives. This is probably worth it when you’re just starting out.
What’s missing from the course?
I’ve taken many of these courses and I can say that Bobby’s course has the meat. You will like this course.
The thing that is missing though is that it requires the motivation from you.
There is no course out there (that I know of at least) that will do the work for you. You have to put in the hustle and you have to amp yourself up to get clients and really put yourself out there.
That last piece is the most important part.
I wrote about being brave enough to be an entrepreneur in my email last week, when I shared I sold my Etsy products in person last weekend at the Women’s March.
This stuff isn’t easy and it can be awkward and hard putting yourself out there. I know it first hand.
Financial freedom is worth it though. All the weird stuff I’ve done in the past 3 years has allowed me to pay off $100,000 of debt and save multiple times that in investments.
Picture where you want to be, bench those doubts, and get after it!
I’ll take a few awkward rejections for the potential to win big and gain financial security for myself and my family.
Today’s guest post is from Prosperly Way – a young investment banker who saves over 50% of their take home pay and shares financial wisdom on their blog, ProsperlyWay.com.
Working as an analyst on Wall Street is a tough job. It takes a certain type of person to suck up the 80+ hour weeks, deal with the impossibly unpredictable late nights, and eat at your desk with a plastic fork 3 meals a day.
I started my career in Investment Banking thinking I had finally made it. I knew it would be a long road ahead, but I also knew that the potential for big paychecks could enable me to shave years from my working life. Slave away in the near term, for total freedom in the long term. Makes sense, right?
The funny thing is that many folks on Wall Street have never created a financial plan for themselves. They spend all day thinking about money…but often it’s focused on all the ways they’d like to spend it.
The sad reality is that many of these high-income earners are actually quite poor. Without a clear plan to live below their means they end up depending on their high-paying job. It’s all too common to see these people continue to work a job they no longer enjoy in order to fund a lifestyle that doesn’t even bring them fulfillment.
Within a month of starting my career, I bought the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (a huge inspiration of mine too, Millennial Boss!). I was determined to not fall into the trap of living beyond my means and locking myself into a high-income job. Ironically, I didn’t have time to read the book until several years later.
I have learned a lot during my time on Wall Street. But I think the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have been about life and psychology (yeah, I didn’t expect that). In this article I’ll outline a few types of folks that I have encountered quite a lot and some of the unexpected lessons I learned from them.
The Poor Rich People I’ve Met on Wall Street
What has two thumbs and loves to party? This guy. He spends all of his waking hours doing only two things: working and going out. Bottle service and unnecessary gadgets are Chad’s mainstays. Budget? Ha, good one. Saving goals? Don’t be a buzzkill. Credit card debt? You betcha. Believe it or not, I actually knew several people who had credit card debt to the tune of $25k while making over $120k annually as a 24 year old! Facepalm.
What can we learn?
Don’t spend above your means, plain and simple. Get a grip on reality and create a financial plan for yourself. Chad-type employees tend not to last long, and they have no money to show for the long hours they put in. Don’t be that guy.
In the end, this behavior amounts to a bribe to yourself and is a fast-track to unfulfillment.
This guy is full of regrets and wishes he could do something more meaningful with his career.
One of the perks of Wall Street jobs is built-in promotion levels. If you are dedicated to the work, you can get promoted every 3 years (sometimes sooner), which comes with significant pay bumps and fancy stock options. Sounds great right?
The mistake Matt made is that he elevated his lifestyle along with each promotion, and thus never took advantage of his supercharged saving power. When he was promoted to Associate, he moved into a fancy new apartment. When he was promoted to VP, he joined a country club.
What can we learn?
Matt fell into the lifestyle inflation trap. These people are income-rich and liquidity-poor. By spending everything he earns, Matt has gotten his family accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
He wants to leave and do something more meaningful and less time-intensive so he can spend more time at home, but he needs the big paycheck to maintain his expensive life.
Work is life for Steve. Things you might hear him say:
– I haven’t stepped foot in my kitchen in 3 years
– I slept here (the office) last night
– Let’s get this 6-hour project done for the morning! (at 10pm)
Steve is thought of as a top performer, but he has never dedicated time to nurturing his financial (or life) situation. His wad of cash is bigger than most…but if he had committed to a plan earlier on, he could be lightyears ahead of where he is.
What can we learn?
Even if you work hard and avoid lifestyle inflation, if you don’t take the time to invest your assets and earn a solid return, you are leaving money on the table.
If Steve had created a better plan, he could be semi-retired at age 30.
And apart from the financial mistakes, what’s the point of living a life dedicated solely to work? It really is sad to see someone who has no interests outside of pleasing their boss.
These are real-life examples of high income earners who have BAD financial habits.
This is one of the things that truly amazed me when I entered the financial industry. How could highly educated, well-paid people who work with money be so bad at managing their own money?
I realized very early that 80+ hour workweeks are not sustainable for normal human beings. From the beginning, I put together a plan to get everything I could out of the experience (both financial and educational) and then move on.
My plan was simple. I knew that it would be very difficult to get creative with passive income streams while I was working 80+ hours per week. So I focused on the expense side. I built a detailed budget for myself, which you can download for free on my site. I made sure that I was hitting my savings target every month and investing my savings in income generating assets.
Investments I’ve made so far:
CDs for savings
A select few speculative stocks
Angel investment in startup company related to my industry
Pursuing alternative investments in structured products
When I started working, I was expecting to put my head down and earn my way to freedom. I certainly didn’t expect to learn so much about myself, my true motivations, and life in general.
Or maybe I’m just going through a quarter life crisis.
What about you? What financial/work/life lessons have you learned by seeing others make mistakes?
I smashed my 2017 goal of making $18,000 in side hustle income this year.
My primary income stream was from blogging although I did sell on Etsy for most of the year.
My goal with this extra money was to put it towards retirement.
I just opened a solo 401(k) with Fidelity and contributed over $5,000 to the account for my husband and myself.
I already have a 401(k) through my employer but a solo 401(k) is a way for small business owners to put more money away for retirement in tax advantaged accounts.
You can contribute up to $18,000 to all 401(k)s as an individual ($18,500 in 2018) but you can contribute an additional 25% of your business income “as the employer,” so that is how I contributed the extra $5,000.
I already max out my 401(k) for myself through my employer’s 401(k) plan.
It was pretty easy to open the account, although Fidelity is like most banks where you have to mail in the paperwork and the checks. Moooo.
The millennial in me struggles with that but it can’t be avocado toast every day, right?
December revenue was up due to holiday spending.
As you can see, revenue went up in December. That is definitely due to the holidays.
I had a holiday gift guide that I wrote last year that picked up again in organic search traffic and on Pinterest.
The post didn’t do as well last year, so it was nice to see it pick up this year.
I created a new, better pin for it this year so that helped.
I also buy my photos from Shutterstock now so that has made a huge difference in pin quality.
I pay nearly $100 per month in photos but I’m at the stage in my business that I can scale better with paid photos.
Are you following me on Pinterest? Follow me or request to join my group boards here.
My experiment with holiday gift guides worked.
I listened to a good podcast episode on the Simple Pin Podcast about holiday gift guides back in October and that inspired me to add a few more gift guides this year.
I created the gift guides in October and bought some Pinterest ads back in November, so they had some traction before December.
The gift guides definitely worked and contributed to the over $500 I brought in from Amazon and the display advertising revenue of nearly $1,000 for the month.
The key to making money on Amazon Associates is..
The key to the gift guide success was looking at Amazon Associates and experimenting with what products people liked and wanted to buy.
It is a waste to make a gift guide and have no one click and buy anything. That’s not helpful to the reader nor me.
If I saw that people were liking a certain product, I included that product in all of my other gift guides.
This active strategy definitely increased my revenue.
If you’d like to know which product on Amazon was a hit this year, click here.
I’m not surprised that this product did well.
I bought it back in April for myself and also bought it again in December for a holiday swap I was doing with my family.
I actually have it in my backpack right now. The price is right and it’s a good product.
If I had more time, I would have swapped out the items that weren’t performing well on Amazon for items that people actually wanted to buy.
Here is the list of items with a lot of clicks but no orders.
My husband and I are prepared to walk away, and have walked away many times over the past three months, when the numbers didn’t make sense.
Our House Search Isn’t Going Too Well
Unfortunately, we’ve done more walking away than actively bidding in the last three months.
We’re also exhausted from seeing houses (although Redfin does make viewing them convenient!)
We’re officially giving up on our home search in this market.
We’re trying a new approach to real estate inspired by an upcoming guest on my podcast, FIRE Drill podcast.
In celebration of the pause in our home search, I did want to share with readers what it’s been like the past few months.
Many of you don’t live in a high cost of living and/or hot real estate market. You won’t believe this circus.
List Prices are Insane Right Now..But Offers are Crazier
Here is a listing that I looked at in September. It was “priced low” to attract interest.
This 2 bed 1 bath home ultimately sold for $760,000.
That’s $73,000 over list price.
The house is in an attractive neighborhood and was livable, but no updates. It was clean and just got a fresh coat of paint. That’s pretty much it.
I mention the condition because the sellers in this market don’t bother fixing up or even cleaning their house before they put it on the market.
They don’t need to.
We’ve toured houses that smelled like they haven’t been cleaned since 1995 and saw later that they sold in the $600,000’s.
We put in an offer for this house and didn’t get it. Sad face.
This 2 bed 1 bath bungalow was in a good neighborhood further out from downtown but still close enough.
It listed for $489,000.
The inside had a really weird layout but it had potential. It definitely needed work and there was a water problem in the basement.
The backyard was huge.
We bid $578,000, almost $90,000 over asking price. We didn’t get the house.
The house sold for $640,000.
That’s 30% over asking price.
I’m not kidding.
Do you follow me on Instagram? Check out my real estate search LIVE via @millennialboss.
Bidding wars, escalation clauses & frenzy are the new “normal”
At first, I was doing this house hunt for research to get a sense of the market – and what I found FREAKED ME OUT.
Bidding wars are happening with every property, people are waiving contingencies left and right, and agents are advising clients to be super aggressive with their offers.
And by advising, I mean encouraging clients to stretch and push higher and higher.
Not pressuring, but strongly advising.
The agents make that line very clear. They’re not telling you what to do. You are in control. Are you in control?
Our first agent was very clear with us regarding what it would take to win a home in this market.
She said reassuring things like “don’t worry, you’ll get a house eventually.”
She didn’t understand when I said, “I’m not worried. We won’t get a house if the numbers don’t add up.”
Our agent never drew up our first offer
True story – when we first picked a property, our agent at the time actually wouldn’t put in our offer because she thought we had no chance of winning, even though we waived inspection, offered over asking, and agreed to release earnest money early.
She didn’t want to waste her time hustling with the paperwork since we were close to the offer deadline.
Offer deadlines are usually within a week from when the home goes on the market and we were less than 24 hours out from the deadline – which is admittedly close but probably normal since most people don’t put offers in until day-of.
Our agent actually called the lender (without our knowledge) and told her not to rush to get our pre approval in either.
SHE WAS RIGHT in that the house went for way over what we were willing to pay. We would have lost by about $50k.
Should I waive contingencies to win a house in a competitive market?
In a hot market like this one, you have to waive most of these contingencies to win and compete with cash buyers.
Clear title & more
I’m not saying you should waive them.
I’m just saying that people are waiving them to make their offers more attractive.
I get it. Last year, we tried to sell our home and our buyer was unable to get financing at the last minute. I can see why sellers want to pick a more “sure thing” offer. If someone waives financing though and is unable to get it, what happens?
Many people waive the inspection contingency by paying up front
You can get a pre-inspection done before you put in an offer but they can be $400+ in a hot market. That’s a gamble when you may not even get the house and you could easily be out thousands of dollars in a few months.
You may be able to split the pre-inspection cost with other buyers by buying their report (the selling agent usually arranges this one).
This arrangement was actually offered to us when we put the offer on the bungalow.
How else can you make your offer more attractive?
In addition to waiving as many contingencies as possible, our agent also advised that we put down a big downpayment, release earnest money early, offer way over asking with escalation clauses of 3-5% of the property value (meaning our offer goes up by those amounts automatically if there is a competing offer up to a max amount), among other things.
What about not working with a buyer’s agent?
We thought about not putting our offer in with an agent. Perhaps if we bid the same price as another couple, our offer would be more attractive because the sellers would pay less in commission and make more on the sale, since there is no buyer’s agent.
It also feels weird to give a buyer’s agent tens of thousands of dollars in this market.
It seems that there is not much the buying agent has to do.
Homes are on the market for less than a week, there is little negotiation between buyers and sellers since the buyers waive everything, all the information is on the internet.
I’m not saying it’s not hard work and stressful – I want to know if it’s worth tens of thousands of dollars of work?
Please tell me I’m wrong.
Or maybe I should become a buyer’s agent on the side? Dead serious.
We ended up using an agent for our offer.
We learned from research that selling agents don’t like that arrangement since they were entitled to the full commission in that case from their contract.
They would lose out on tens of thousands of dollars they feel they were entitled to if we try to do something sketchy and don’t use a buyer’s agent (but is that even sketchy?)
We didn’t want to give anyone any more reason not to consider our offer.
We also looked into using an agent in the same office as the listing agent. That definitely would bring about conflicts of interest but I had a suspicion that agents like to keep the commission within the family.
Maybe this doesn’t even matter in hot markets like this one.
Real estate is weird.
This is what it takes to “win” a home in an expensive market
Okay, you’ll find this interesting.
These agent insights are publicly available on Redfin.
Hear directly from the agents what it takes to win a home in a hot market.
This is what it’s like out there in this circus.
Side note – I wonder how much data transparency online is contributing to price escalation?
When a couple reads something like the above on Redfin, what do you think that makes them do? Bid higher? Waive more contingencies?
It’ll get worse before it gets better
Our lender told us that the maximum for a conventional loan in our area is going up from ~$595,000 to ~$650,000 in 2018. This is to “address the rising house prices.”
Conventional loans are desirable because you can put 5% down and don’t cross into jumbo loan territory, which requires a bigger down payment and can be harder to get.
People can now borrow more at 5% down. They’ll be increasing their bids, jacking up prices some more.
The crazy thing is that these houses can’t rent
When I was googling the address of some of these homes, I saw that a few were listed for rent for a few months before they went on the market.
The desired rent was listed in the $2,000’s whereas the mortgages would likely be in the high $3,000’s, if not more.
They weren’t able to rent the homes, but they were able to sell them.
What is going on here?
House flippers are having fun right now
Another fun thing is to see what the houses looked like just a few months ago on Google maps.
Case in point, this house is pending for $595,000.
It looked like the above just four months ago. Whoa.
This is what the flipper did to the inside of the house.
I don’t doubt that the flipper did high-quality work but it does make me a little nervous that the house did a complete 180 in just 4 months.
It would be fairly easy to just do some cosmetic changes and make a big profit right now. Buyers wouldn’t know the difference and are probably waiving their inspection contingency anyways and don’t care.
I’ve decided that renting is not so bad
I’m currently writing this article in a coffee shop that is one block from my reasonably priced (for a high cost of living area) apartment.
I’m probably saving thousands by renting, and also losing the ability to make thousands in this ‘play to win’ real estate market.
I’m okay with that though.
I have a new real estate venture that I’m going to dive into next year with the inspiration from a guest on FIRE Drill Podcast.
It only takes thousands in capital to get this one going.
I’m really excited to share this guest post today from The Happy Philosopher. I first heard The Happy Philosopher on the Mad Fientist podcast, where he talked about finding happiness along the path to FIRE. I asked him to expand upon that subject in today’s post. Enjoy.
I have a confession to make. I’m not a millennial. And due to the laws of space and time I will never be one. As a formerly burned out gen-Xer physician, you may find it odd that here I am writing a guest article on Millennial Boss, after all I had to google the term ‘woo girl’ when I read this post, but there is a method to the madness.
You see, oddly enough millennials are my largest demographic of readers. I don’t know why this is exactly, but in my mind I imagine it is because I am just a step or two ahead of them on their journey. My purpose here is to step on the financial land mines and report back to you (if I survive).
If you are reading this, you are probably on the path to increasing your degree of financial freedom. Maybe you are in the phase of paying off debt, or building an emergency fund, or have a small pile of FU money. What happens next though? Maybe some of you have noticed that as the journey progresses, the experience changes.
The Journey to Financial Freedom
At first, you discover this weird place on the internet where people are actually living debt free and saving money. Some are even retiring early and achieving financial independence at ages you thought unimaginable. You dive in head first, reading blogs and books, aggressively throwing money at debt and savings.
Life is awesome. You are excited for a year or two.
Then something changes.
You are not sure what it is, but suddenly it’s hard to stay motivated to keep saving in this weird place between financial security and financial independence. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you start to second guess yourself. Funding the Roth IRA brings us about the same amount of pleasure as scrubbing the toilets week after week, and frankly you wonder if it is all worth it.
I’ve noticed this too, and upon reflection I think this is related to a concept that you may already know.
This is commonly known as the hedonic treadmill which according to Wikipedia is:
“The observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes”
We spend more money to get something a little better, and indeed it makes us a little happier. Unfortunately that feeling soon wears off though, and we are right back where we started.
There is no end to this cycle as our spending increases to fill this unfillable void.
This is FIRE 101, and we all know about it. There is a post about it on any self-respecting financial independence blog (Note to self: write post about hedonic adaption). We also know that we need to interrupt this process if we ever want to become financially independent.
What is sort of non-intuitive though is this also works for saving money, though slightly different. Let me give you an example.
The Psychology of Saving
Pretend you have a pile of money, let’s say 10k. You did something super impressive at work and your boss gives you a 10k bonus. We just increased our net worth by 100%.
BOOM! There is a big hit of neurotransmitters turning on all the pleasure and happiness centers in the brain. We run around the house screaming, nearly giving the cat a heart attack as she tries to figure out what is happening.
Life goes on. You plug away at work and life. Eventually that pile is 200k.
You get that next 10k bonus and make the deposit, but it doesn’t have the same feeling as that first time. It doesn’t move the needle as much; after all it’s only a 5% increase.
The psychological effect is less, and by this point you have built up a tolerance to the feeling of happiness you get by saving. The newness has worn off. If you think of this as a marathon, those middle miles are not as exciting as the start when the adrenaline is pumping and everyone is cheering.
The cat is happier though.
As time goes on things get worse though. When you get to a million (which is probably close to FI for many if you use the 4% rule as a proxy) that 10k is only a 1% change in net worth. It is almost imperceptible. In actuality your portfolio can easily change by more than this in a day just due to market fluctuations.
And yes, your cat is laughing at you.
Another example: Let’s say you save up enough money to be able to quit your job for 2 months.
This may feel amazing to you if you just emerged from debt. It may be the first time in your life you have experienced freedom like this.
It probably feels amazing.
But if you already have enough money to stop working for 4 years…well increasing that to 4 years 2 months doesn’t really feel any different.
Why This Matters
You may lose motivation. As a species we crave positive feedback, and avoid negative feedback. This is a survival mechanism.
Once we lose that good feeling we get from saving money, we are tempted to use it on something that does feel good. In other words, when buying that new pair of shoes feels 10x better than saving for financial freedom, we may suddenly find ourselves with a closet full of shoes we don’t wear at the end of a particularly stressful month.
My point is it is hard for most people to really stay motivated, and if you stumble and fall you are not a bad person. You are simply human. This is normal.
The concepts of personal finance are simple and easy. It is the psychology and human behavior side of things that is hard. I’ve seen people stumble on the path to financial freedom, and I think hedonic adaptation to saving is a big part. If you want to avoid this it is mandatory to put systems in place that manage this risk.
Automate and Forget
The best single tactical way to do this is simply to automate the savings.
Do not make it a choice.
Take the possibility of doing something contrary to your goals out of the equation.
I know this sounds simple enough, maybe even too simple, but it is effective. Put a percentage of your income into your savings and retirement accounts and then forget about it. Let the magic of the capital markets, or real estate income, or whatever you invest in compound over time.
The less often you look at the overall numbers, the bigger the changes you will see, and probably the more motivated you will remain.
Go worry about other more important things
I know what you are thinking. This idiot spent a thousand words telling to pay myself first? This is like the most basic financial concept ever. I already know this. And that’s the dumbest bullet point list on the internet.
Fair enough. Let’s move on to a more difficult problem then.
When Motivation Dies
Where do you find that motivation to keep going when you hate your job, or are completely burned out? When I was in the maximum zone of burnout, my paychecks were at their largest. It felt empty though. Dumping piles of money on an even larger pile of money became an abstraction. They were just numbers on a spreadsheet with no meaningful impact on my life in the immediate present.
recalibration of other parts of life outside of work
The wrong answer is pretty consistent though; giving up on the journey to financial freedom. It is so easy to get discouraged and want to give up. I have been there. Remember, there is a future ‘you’ who has to live with the consequences of your actions now. You can try and outrun the treadmill, spend your money today; stop saving and go back into debt, but it will probably not bring lasting happiness.
The Big Picture
The more important question though, and something that is much harder to answer in a couple thousand word blog post, is why are you seeking financial freedom in the first place? There has to be a why, because financial freedom is not a goal in and of itself. This is why it feels empty at times. This is why the excitement and enthusiasm wanes.
“Financial freedom simply creates the space for something else. If there is no something else the freedom doesn’t matter”
I encourage you to keep wandering down the path of financial independence. It truly is a great way to live life, but it is not everything. Financial freedom is just a means to an end – the end being happiness and contentment.
This is where the real work begins. When I came to this revelation it shifted my thinking from being happy later (when I was financially free) to being happy now. If you cultivate happiness, freedom is the byproduct.
Instead of dwelling on the spreadsheets and trying to push your savings rate from 43 to 43.7% (which will not make you and happier now) try these things instead:
Start meditating 10 minutes a day (or 5 or 1, whatever works for you)
Start a gratitude journal for 5 minutes a day
Write your goals on a piece of paper and put it away. Come back to it in 6 months and be amazed at how much progress you made.
Examine your relationship with food and alcohol and start experimenting
I could go on, but the point is take action. Start making small changes in your life to be happy now. If you are on the path to financial freedom, don’t dwell on the details too much. This mental model helped keep me on the path because it took the focus off the financial side of things. Financial freedom is not meaningful if you are not happy, and I know plenty of financially free people that are miserable. Happiness is entirely possible without financial freedom though, and this is the place you want to be.
Bio: The Happy Philosopher is a father, husband, and physician who occasionally downloads his thoughts onto the internet at thehappyphilosopher.com. Although he thinks social media is mostly evil and unnecessary clutter, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and he will not judge you.
Did you catch the latest FIRE podcast episode with Mrs. Adventure Rich, Ep. 33 – The Unequaled Power of Flexibility for Your Family and FI? In the episode, we chat about how modern couples handle work, finances, and family on the path to FI. The episode received such positive feedback that I asked Mrs. Adventure Rich to come on Millennial Boss today and shed more light on the subject. (Plus, I always enjoy a good female breadwinner story since I am one! I had Liz at Chief Mom Officer guest post recently about Managing Resentment and Stress as the Female Breadwinner and loved her advice). Thanks to both of these inspiring women for giving us the ‘behind the scenes’ on life as a female breadwinner pursuing FIRE.
Mrs. Adventure Rich on pursuing FIRE as the Family Breadwinner
From the day I met my husband, I have been the higher earner in our relationship. Hired by a Fortune 50 company during my senior year of college, I began working part-time as I finished classes prior to graduation.
Six years later, I have created a career out of this first job, working at the same company and in the same department, though a few steps up from where I started position-wise.
My husband, on the other hand, graduated from college with a good, solid job as a Maintenance Manager. He managed a team of part-time workers at a non-profit for 10 years before taking a job across the country as a Facilities Manager at a local business in northern Michigan (where we currently reside).
Due to our career paths and despite being a bit younger than my husband, I have always made the lion’s share of our family income. This is our “normal” but I realize this is certainly not the norm in many relationships. I often field questions about how we manage our time, our work and family duties, and our money in light of our disparate incomes.
A Little Background
My husband and I met shortly after I graduated from college. He was 6 years into his career and I was a mere 6 months into mine. We have been married for just over 4 years now and have an energetic 2 year old son. We lived in California for the first few years of our relationship and marriage. Last year, my husband received a job offer in Michigan so we made a cross-country move after I negotiated a work-remote arrangement with my employer.
How We Manage with Me as the Female Breadwinner
I have learned a lot through our relationship and marriage as the primary breadwinner for our family. My husband and I are in a constant state of tweaking how we communicate, how we manage various areas of life, and how we balance or juggle the various responsibilities we each have.
Today, I would like to share my perspective on how I approach these topics from the
standpoint of a female breadwinner.
How We Handle Opposite Work Schedules
My husband and I both work hard at our jobs. And just because my job may pay 2.5x his salary, this stat does not mean that I have free license to say that my job is more important or my schedule takes precedence. Instead, we work to coordinate schedules as best we can in advance. If he knows that he will be working extra hours during the holidays (often the case) and will need to leave the house at 6am everyday for 2 weeks, I block my work calendar and plan to be “on point” for getting our son ready for daycare and dropping him off. At other times, I have early meetings or work travel and need my husband to take over the household and parent duties.
I view both of our jobs as equally important to our family and treat our schedules accordingly.
How We Split Child Duties
I am incredibly fortunate to be married to a man who sees parenthood as a partnership. Sure, there are certain things only I can provide as a mother (breastfeeding when our son was young comes to mind!), but in other areas, we tackle parenting duties as a team. We both need to wake up for work in the morning, we both have household duties, we both have “extracurriculars” or things we like to pursue on the side (exercise, social life, etc.) and we are both parents to our beautiful boy.
As a result, there is no “your department” or “mydepartment”.
We both change diapers, make lunches, do laundry, teach our son to ride a balance bike, kick a soccer ball, sing silly kid songs with him and wake up in the middle of the night (though, if I’m honest, I usually sleep through our son’s nighttime cries… so my husband is usually the first to respond here!) .
Parenthood has been one of the most intense challenges I have faced and I cannot imagine facing it without a hand-in- hand approach with my husband. We certainly have our ups and downs, but our approach seems to be working for us so far!
How we Handle Money
Here is a big one. Money. I make more… a lot more. But I do not (and cannot for the health of our marriage!) lord this over my husband or use this fact as a pawn.
I view our money and salaries in the following way. Yes, I make more. But I only make more and am able to maintain my career progression and salary level as one half of a partnership with my husband.
He is my partner-in- crime, my other half, my strength and backbone at times.
Likewise, I am there for him to lean on and find strength in as his partner.
I owe a lot of my career success to having a partner who supports and encourages me, who picks up extra household or parenting duties when I am on big projects, and who sacrifices for my success. So when we sit down to update our net worth or pay our bills, I do not and cannot say “I deserve more spending money” or “I deserve more credit for our progress” because that is not the whole story.
We both work hard, we both bring in money, we both manage our household, and we both parent our son. For us, the money that results from our hard work is both of ours.
How We Handle Financial Decisions
When it comes to making financial decisions, we typically defer to the “expert”. My husband and I each have different interests and passions. I happen to love learning about personal finance and different financial vehicles. So when it comes to managing our money, I will do the research, present my findings and perspectives to my husband, and we will discuss the options and make a decision together.
In a similar manner, if we need a household appliance, lawn equipment, or other mechanical item, my husband is the “expert”. I would be bored out of my mind researching the specs of these items, but he loves it! He does his research, combs Craigslist and secondhand markets for good deals, and presents his findings to me for joint-decision making.
This method allows my husband and I to research the areas of life we enjoy, prepare our suggested approach, then present our ideas and proposed path so that we can make an informed decision together.
How We Ensure We Get Enough Free Time/ “Me Time”
With our busy lives, my husband and I both need quality “me time”. It is great to spend an evening together or a Sunday afternoon as a family, but we also need solid time either alone or pursuing our own interests. To that end, we try to periodically give each other “nights off” or “project time”.
As I am writing this article, I am taking advantage of my own “project time”. I am sitting at a coffee shop in town on a foggy Sunday morning, writing and working on the blog. I arrived here at 7am and I will leave at about 9:45am to meet my husband and son at church by 10am. My husband is getting our son up, fed and ready for church while I am enjoying my alone time.
Later this week, I plan to give my husband a “night off”. I will pick our son up from daycare and spend the evening with him, allowing my husband to do whatever he would like with his evening. He can choose to grab a drink with a friend, go to a coffee shop and read a book, go for a walk, work on projects in the yard/garage/house, or whatever else he chooses.
Balancing work, family time, parenting duties and alone time is incredibly important for our mental health and relationship. We both need times to just be us… to think, to pursue a hobby or to meet up with friends without the constant “where is my child/what is he destroying now?” thought or concern with whether an evening event will be “kid-friendly”. So we work to consistently give each other alone time or time off!
One Caveat – I don’t Represent All Female Breadwinners
I want to take a moment to recognize one important point. The perspectives written above are just that… perspectives. They are my personal perspectives as a female breadwinner.
They are not meant to be “The Way” or a “How To” for women who make more than their partner. Instead, I only intend to share how my husband and I personally manage and view various areas of our lives.
I would love to hear about other perspectives and paths (comment below!).
The Bottom Line: We are Partners in Crime
When my husband and I agreed to get married, we agreed to become one unit. To that end, we see our income, household duties, parenting duties and financial decisions each as joint tasks we need to tackle together.
We both benefit from and sacrifice for our relationship. We rely on each other, we support and encourage each other.
And above all, we love each other.
We strive to maintain a healthy balance, but we often find ourselves out of whack and in need of re- balancing or re-assessing our time and roles.
It is a constant journey in communication and relationship building.
But hey, that’s what we signed up for and that is why our motto remains “Always an Adventure”!
I’m obsessed with the idea of living in a tiny home. That’s why I love Kristin at the Wayward Home’s blog because she features amazing people who live in vans, sailboats, tiny homes, and campers.
Kristin actually lives in a sailboat in San Francisco and is planning a big round the world trip. I asked her to come on the blog today and share some of her adventure with us. Don’t forget to check out her awesome blog, The Wayward Home, for some tiny living inspiration.
How we’re planning to live on $40 per day next year so we can travel the world
Every time my boyfriend and I go out to eat, we look at each other and say, “Well, there goes our daily budget!”
That $40 we just spent on pizza and beer in the San Francisco Bay area will have to last us an entire day when we start cruising the world on our sailboat.
And that’s not just a day’s worth of food, but diesel, boat maintenance, internet, phones. Everything.
When you think about it, $40 per day really isn’t all that much for two people to live on. But I think we can do it, and here’s why.
We’re used to living with less – we’ve been living aboard a sailboat for a year
Going from a fancy lifestyle to living on $40 per day would be a culture shock, but luckily, my boyfriend and I have been living aboard a 41’ sailboat for a year-and-a-half now.
Everything I own in the Bay area is stuffed into the trunk of my car, with a few boxes of childhood mementoes stored in my Mom’s’ garage.
Living on a boat saves us thousands of dollars per month in San Francisco
We’ve gotten used to living in a small space and saving money; typical rent for a one-bedroom in San Francisco is $3,300, which adds up to a whopping $40,000 per year!
Our slip fee is around $400 per month and we only spent $5 on utilities.
We’ll save money on energy since we’ll be off grid
Once we start sailing, we’ll be mostly off-grid, powering our lights and heating water using our diesel engine.
One battery charge from a little bit of motoring is days worth of lighting aboard the boat.
We’ll mostly cook onboard & catch our own fish
From the years 2015 to 2016, the amount Americans spent on restaurants and bars ($54.8 billion) was higher than the amount they spent on groceries ($52.5 billion).
That’s a whole lot of dining out, which can wreak havoc on the pocketbook.
On the sailboat, we’re hoping to catch a lot of fresh fish and crab, and learn to dig up clams.
We’ll supplement that by stocking the boat full of fresh fruit and veggies and containers of grains, beans, pastas and canned goods.
I’ve also recently fallen in love with astovetop pressure cooker, which cooks food so quickly it will reduce the amount of propane we’ll need to buy.
Cooking at home more often means we’ll also need to drink our booze at home.
We calculated that a beer that’s $6 at a restaurant costs just $1 when you buy it in bulk at Costco.
We’ll have no utilities or TV
When we’re traveling, we won’t have to pay for utilities or a TV service like Netflix, Hulu or Comcast.
This will save us loads of money every month. My plan is to bring a bunch of DVDs cruising and also learn how to burn movies to a small USB-drive.
Our only monthly bill will most likely be phone bills, but I use Google Fi so my bill is crazy low.
A basic plan using no data goes as low as $20 per month, with each gig being $10. It also works internationally, so this phone is a win-win situation.
We’ll get rid of both our cars
The other day, my boyfriend and I were calculating just how much it costs to own a car. With the price of the car, insurance, gas, maintenance, tolls and wear-and-tear, it costs a boatload of money. I’m excited to give up my car for good, and I’ll rent or use Zipcar when I need to drive around.
How we’ll pay for a life on the water
My plan to help fund our travel is to work remotely, by freelance writing and blogging. Right now, my goal is to write something every day that’s worth $100, which is way over our daily budget.
With that goal in mind, I’ll be able to pay for almost everything while also setting some aside.
Possibly, we’ll fly home for a couple months per year, so my boyfriend can put in some time working as an electrician to fill the cruising kitty.
Then, we’ll head back out again to explore a different strip of ocean.
Our $40 per day budget is on the high-end in the sailing community
In the sailing community, even $40 can seem like a high per diem. I’ve heard of sailing couples that barely spend anything to get by, using a beat-up old boat and surviving mostly on fish and donations.
Then there are others who spend a fortune on a swanky sailboat, and can’t imagine living on a low budget.
How much does it cost to buy and renovate a sailboat?
Our sailboat hasn’t always been the cheapest investment. My boyfriend spent $30,000 on the two-masted boat, which he then trucked down to the San Francisco Bay area from Vancouver Island, BC.
He’s spent the last two years and up to $70,000 restoring the boat for world travel.
It’s been back-breaking work, and I remind him that even though the upfront cost seems like a lot, it’s still cheaper than paying for a couple years worth of rent around here. It’s cheaper than a house.
It will provide years and years of exploration, freedom and travel. It’s our tiny, moveable home. And that seems like a pretty good deal to me.
We’re setting sail this winter!
I can’t wait to cut the lines for good and drift along in the mighty and endless sea. We hope to start in Mexico this winter, then the Pacific Northwest next summer, then after that?
Who knows. The world will be our oyster.
Kristin Hanes is a journalist and writer who lives on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. You can follow her adventures at www.thewaywardhome.com
I’m excited to share this guest post with you from Scott at I Dream of FIRE. He told me about his stepson’s incredible side hustle and I asked him to share the details on Millennial Boss. I LOVE hearing about side hustle ideas and think you’ll enjoy this one.
How to Resell Supreme Brand Clothing Online As a Side Hustle
A few years ago, my stepson did something a lot of teenagers do: He bought a $200 pair of sneakers online.
Then he did something awesome that very few teenagers do: He sold them for $600 before they even left the warehouse.
It wasn’t the last time he would triple his investment on a high-ticket piece of clothing.
Since 2012 he has been buying and selling low-supply, high-demand clothing, primarily the New York-based Supreme brand. He became interested in the line after seeing several celebrities wearing it — skaters, rappers, rock stars — and went to go buy something from the website.
“Everything on the website was sold out,” he told me. “That was a little weird to me. I’d never seen a website where every single thing was sold out before. I checked it every day to see if new stuff showed up. One day there was some new stuff. I bought a hat. That was my first foray into the brand.”
Step 1 – Find a clothing company that sells based on scarcity
Supreme’s business model is based on scarcity. It releases new items in well-choreographed spurts and intentionally keeps production lower than demand, which feeds the huge hype around each “drop.”
A lucky few snag the new hats, T-shirts, jackets, and odds-and-ends like salt shakers and mini baseball bats at retail prices from $30 to several hundred.
The ones who miss out either walk away with nothing or find themselves in bidding wars on the resell market.
“For a majority of pieces, they peak right after it comes out. If an item comes out Thursday morning and you didn’t get that piece, Friday morning comes around and you still really want it because you had your heart set on it. The whole season you’ve been waiting for it to come out. You’re willing to spend double what it costs because you’ve been waiting for it for so long.”
Step 2 – Check out the market for used items
Because of the scarcity, much like the antiques market, even used items can command high dollar.
“I realized people were selling their used hats and used shirts for more than they paid for,” my stepson said. “Why were people selling the hat I just bought for $40 for $80?”
That led him to the resell game.
“Literally every piece of this brand has so much marketability because of scarcity that everyone always wanted everything. It didn’t matter what it was. So then I just started buying hats I didn’t like. I’d look at the page after I bought it to see if it sold out within an hour or two, and if it did that meant I made a good decision on it.”
Not everything went at a huge markup. Some items he held onto for six months with the idea of selling them for big money after the inventory dried up. It turns out a lot of the rabid hype died out, too, and he ended up selling those items for a $10 or $20 profit instead of $100.
Step 3 – Look for limited-edition collaborations with other brands
What really draws big profits are Supreme’s collaborations with other brands or artists, such as The North Face or Stone Island. These limited-edition pieces feature the Supreme branding on another brand’s products, and they capture the interest of both sides’ collectors.
“Buyers want a high-quality North Face jacket, but they want the flamboyant Supreme branding on it,” my stepson said. “So an already expensive $350 North Face jacket is going to be selling for $900 a week or two later just because people know they’re getting a quality product with North Face, and getting the branding with Supreme pushes it over the edge.”
A Supreme collaboration with Nike first got him into the shoe game. Everyone on the forums was talking about the Supreme Nike Air Force 1 High. That’s the pair he bought for $200 and sold for $600 the same day.
Step 4 – Find products with the “cool” factor and unique features
“I realized if this shoe was selling for a lot, I’m sure Nike also does a lot of other collabs with other hyped brands. I didn’t really know what those brands were at the time. The biggest thing that helped me was actually becoming interested in it for myself. I would buy the cool Jordans that I liked and see what everyone else was finding cool. If I found it cool myself, I would buy it and sell it.”
“I realized a lot of people like shoes I thought were really ugly. But because they had some really unique feature — they were made out of different leather or a color you couldn’t buy in stores, just things that made certain products vastly unique from others — those were the most hyped and rare. So it was based around doing research in the communities I was already frequenting because I wanted them. It was reading between the lines and seeing what was popular with others.”
Step 5 – Increase the demand for the product yourself on forums
Marketing your items is another key aspect. Sure, you can just post an item for sale and hope for the best. Or, you can build more interest in an item before you sell it. One way to get people interested in an item is to first make a “looking for” post. Maybe you have a rare item, so you make a post saying does anyone have this, I really want to buy one.
Hopefully people will find it interesting, because you’ve uncovered some older piece that many people haven’t seen before. That interest seeds demand. Later, you make a post showing you got the item. Whether you bought it right then or you’ve had it for years, no one knows. But now they know it exists and it’s rare. Then once you’ve built that hype you can sell it, and you’ve pushed up the market because now there are more people looking for it than there would have been before.
How do you buy a scarce product that sells out in minutes?
As the Supreme brand has grown, getting products has become more difficult. It’s not uncommon for certain styles of an item to be sold out minutes after a drop.
My stepson lays out the process:
“On a typical Supreme drop, you’ll get on the website in the morning, right at 11 a.m. Eastern, and you have to pick your item, pick your size, fill out your shipping info and your credit card info, tick a little box that says you agree to the terms and conditions. Generally, you need to have that done in 5 to 6 seconds if you want a shot at getting a shirt.
“So that means you have to know the layout of the website, how it’s going to change when the new items come out. You have to have all your info saved so you can really quickly paste or autofill everything. You even need to know the order of the colors of the shirt. So, if a shirt comes out in 4 or 5 colors and you want black and black is the third choice, you need to do all those motions in 5 to 6 seconds in order to have a chance to get it.”
It’s so competitive that people are using bots to automate purchasing
The resell market is so cutthroat that some resellers will use bots, or automated programs, to speed up the online ordering.
“What bots do is they automate that whole process, and you can get that shirt in 1 second or 2 seconds. I definitely understand the appeal, but Supreme does do their best to cut down on bot usage. If it’s 5 to 6 seconds, I can buy a shirt in 5 to 6 seconds. It’s taken me a lot of practice to get there, but it’s still possible for me to do. But there’s no way I’m going to beat a bot at any time.
“I think the game is going to become more filled with bots as people realize that they need to use them to even get the items they want. I’m somewhat in favor of bots for reselling purposes to be able to get multiple items you wouldn’t otherwise get, but it’s taking away from kids who just want to buy a shirt.”
Resell Supreme clothing because you love it first, profit second
For now, he still enjoys being a fan and consumer of the Supreme brand, and the reselling is a way to make a little cash on the side while spending so much time interacting with other fans.
“It’s hard to quantify the profitability of what I do because I do it because I like it. I’m in these communities because I like to talk about these things,” he said.
How to get started reselling clothing online
If someone else is interested in picking up the same hobby, there are communities for every type of clothing, every type of brand, every type of shoe. My stepson recommends they get in these niche communities and see what people are enjoying and talking about a lot. Keep up to date with official brand statements and leaks and rumors. Keep a tab on what is going to come out or what has been spotted on celebrities and might go up in value soon.
“It’s really entwining yourself, getting deep into the community to know which models sell well and which models don’t come out as often, so they already have some extra value on them.”
Where there’s interest, he said, there’s money.
“If everyone’s talking about it, I know they’re going to pay for it.”
Tips for a reselling side hustle
Scarcity drives pricing. If people can buy it easily, there’s no value from a resale standpoint.
Choose a product or market you enjoy. You need to be a part of the community to do market research and sell your products. If you don’t like what you’re buying and selling yourself, it makes it much more difficult to make a profit.
Look at what everyone is clamoring for and buy that. If you’re in it for reselling, don’t just buy the things you like yourself. Follow the market.
Pay attention to celebrities. If you’re in a fashion or luxury market, celebrities being photographed with certain products can drive up the demand for that item.
Ride the hype wave. A hot product now may not be hot in six months. It’s better to make a guaranteed doubling of your money today than sit on inventory past its prime because you thought it would keep going up in value. (Think Beanie Babies.)
Be smart about your marketing. Analyze ads for items that sell high to see what might have brought that better price. Is it the item itself, the description, or guerrilla marketing the seller did in forums before the sale?
Always be looking. Do a daily search for hot items going for a discount and snatch them up yourself.