Take control of your life, your freedom, your finances, and your opportunities with lifestyle design.
What does your perfect day look like? What about your perfect week? Or month? Or life?
Now, how closely does that picture line up with the reality you’re currently living? You’re here, reading this page, so I’d wager it doesn’t. Yet.
You probably have made up a ton of excuses over the years, factors working against you – your business is getting in the way, your family isn’t supportive, or you simply cannot imagine how you’d ever move abroad.
Or, you still believe in the fun-deferment idea that has been fed to all of us in the form of ‘retirement’. Will you really go on all of those adventures when you’re 65 and your knees are sore?
All you want is to travel more, have more free time and spend more time with your friends and family doing the things you love. Now.
If that’s truly what you want, it’s time to forget ‘the grind’ and say hello to the concept of lifestyle design.
It’s more than just choosing the best places to incorporate your business or open an offshore bank account.
It’s all about making conscious decisions to live the best life – on your own terms. From the places you spend time to where you make friends to where you meet the love of your life.
Take back control of your life, your freedom, your finances, and your opportunities with lifestyle design. What will that be for you?
We can help you figure it all out here at Nomad Capitalist.
Take control of your life
1. Adjust Your Mindset
Adjusting your mindset for optimal lifestyle design is 80% of the whole process.
2. Take control of your income
Create multiple income streams that are each independent of location so you can be location-independent too.
3. Choose your location
In the 21st century, you have more locations and lifestyle design options than at any other time in history.
I’m not here to promote the laptop lifestyle; I won’t tell you how easy it is to make a $1,000 per month so you can live on a beach in Thailand for the rest of your life.
My version of lifestyle design is geared towards people who know that it takes a lot of hard work and plenty of trial and error to build a business.
These people could carry on doing what they’ve already been doing at home, but have chosen to travel and live abroad instead.
They’ve made that choice, not just for the financial benefits but for all the other benefits of lifestyle design as well.
I want you to know that traveling and living overseas is not always glamorous. There are definitely hard bits, but once you overcome those, lifestyle design is always worth it.
There is More to Life
If you’re no stranger to Nomad Capitalist, you’ll know that my team and I are generally known for offshore consulting.
We design holistic offshore strategies, but even so, most folks do not view us as your typical lifestyle design people.
However, I’ve gone through the stages myself and see the merit to lifestyle design.
My own personal story started with the yearning desire for a more fulfilling life.
When I was in my late teens, I couldn’t identify with my culture and I didn’t feel comfortable in the United States.
To put it simply – I couldn’t find people to connect with. And then I’d go to Norway and meet people from all walks of life who I could chat with for hours on end.
The decision to move abroad was basically made for me.
It all started with frequent trips.
I’d spend all of my disposable income on travel – that was the one thing that kept me going and kept me motivated to develop my businesses further.
I quickly realized that there must be more to life than the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ notion that we’ve all been force-fed. It’s a lie.
Many people get up one day and realize there has to be more to life, just like I did.
And this is where lifestyle design comes in. It’s the constant asking whether there’s more to life and what you can do to attain it.
It’s a process for people who don’t want to settle for something that’s ‘a bit above average’ or ‘make just a little more money.’
If you’re asking yourself ‘what’s next?’ and want to be fully impacted by the world, then you’ve come to the right place.
Step 1: Adjust Your Mindset
There are four pillars to lifestyle design, but this one is, by far, the most important one.
And if you’re thinking that this isn’t some groundbreaking advice, or it isn’t advice at all, let me tell you something: Adjusting your mindset for optimal lifestyle design is 80% of the whole process.
You need to make up your mind that this is really something that you want and for that, you’ll have to be completely honest with yourself.
Taking control of your life and decisions isn’t easy because most of us, even subconsciously, let others talk us into doing or not doing something.
How many of us have ever been manipulated or convinced by someone who doesn’t really understand what we want?
I see it play out all too often when we create and execute our clients’ holistic offshore plans.
People who agree to a move abroad or an investment later back out due to disapproval by their partner, spouse, or parent.
What’s worse, some never even start.
Why are other people getting in your way and holding you back from living out your dreams?
It shouldn’t be this way.
Ignoring the wishes of a spouse or trying to convince a parent who’s dead-set on their old-fashioned ways isn’t easy.
I did warn you that lifestyle design isn’t easy at the very beginning, didn’t I?
This is exactly why.
Dare to Be Different
You need to change your mindset and make decisions for yourself, and that will require differentiating yourself from the masses.
Most people in your life don’t get that you want to move to Bulgaria or that you want to invest in Cambodian real estate. And they don’t want to get it.
They’re perfectly happy living their little lives out in the same town where they were born and cannot understand what drives you to want more from life.
Also, most people don’t want you to win.
You might have heard of the ‘Crabs in a Bucket’ mentality that drags people down. This is the same notion at play – if they can’t have it, neither can you.
They’ll even go as far as to shame you for making the decisions that you’re making.
One of the hardest parts of this lifestyle design journey is to stick to your guns and shut the noise out. Ignore the naysayers and the jealous family members.
It’s them who are afraid and who are projecting all of that onto you.
Your new-found mentality of wanting to live in an environment that ensures that you thrive is what matters.
Full control over how you live your life should be a given.
It’s all about doing what you want to do, going where you want to go, and enjoying your wealth and your life today – not in 30+ years.
Step 2: Take Control of Your Income
Forget the notion that everyone wants to move abroad. In reality, most people don’t want to leave their hometown and they certainly don’t want to move to a different country every month.
Just because you would love this lifestyle doesn’t mean that the majority of people would jump at the opportunity. Most folks love their country and don’t want to travel long-term.
It’s not our job to sit here and judge them.
But it is our job to figure out a way to take control of our own income.
To start with lifestyle design, apart from having the right mindset, you need to figure out the income generation aspect.
When it comes to lifestyle design, it’s commonly understood that you need to be running an online company of sorts.
That’s not the entire picture.
Can you be a self-employed contractor and move around the world, living out of a suitcase?
Sure you can, and that’s part of many people’s lifestyle design.
Another misconception is that it must be an online business. In reality, it doesn’t.
Back when I still lived in the United States, I had a number of physical businesses, but I was still location independent.
I deliberately set them up so that I could have my freedom.
Sure, a few of them required physical pop-ins, but generally speaking, I was free to do what I pleased with my time.
Having a business that’s grounded locally makes it a little harder, but it’s not impossible to set up systems within your business that allow you to take your hands off completely.
For example, if I ran my swimming pool business now, I’d only take credit cards. But back then, people wanted to send in checks.
As part of my lifestyle design plan, I’d set up a system to route those checks directly to the bank and let them deal with it.
Essentially, you need to set up systems in your business that allow for you not to be there. When you think about it, any business can be location-independent.
And what about people with professions, such as lawyers or doctors?
If you don’t have a business, but rather a profession, then you need to work on ‘fixing’ that and making your income location-independent.
For example, a doctor might try out telemedicine, which is a massive trend now, and the lawyer might consult his clients online too.
Another reason you need to structure your profession as a business is for tax reasons.
US citizens who have a profession have a tax disadvantage. You need to run a business so you can take advantage of the non-taxable foreign income allowance.
And you need to make it independent of location so you can be location-independent too.
Step 3: Choose Your Location
I’ve talked a lot about location independence, but where exactly do you want to go?
That’s the next step in mapping out your lifestyle design.
And now that it’s the 21st century, you no longer have to be a slave to geography. That’s great news for all of us lifestyle design aficionados.
There are four ways you can live as a nomad:
1. The Perpetual Traveler – Bounce around the world, live out of a suitcase and visit a new country whenever you feel like it.
2. The Base Cities Strategy – Pick two or three base cities and visit each of them annually. You can also use this strategy to implement my Trifecta Method.
3. The Bases + Focus Cities Strategy – Pick a few focus cities you can easily visit from your bases. Focus cities can also be countries where you have planted important flags.
4. The Expat Strategy – fully relocate to one new location, get a long-term property, and become a tax resident.
While perpetual traveling works for some, usually those with no family and running independent online business, people with families or those yearning for more stability would go for the expat life or at least a few bases.
To each their own.
Even though we are all united in our desire to gain more from life and design our life in a way that would benefit us the most, we can’t all get there the same way.
And that’s OK.
You won’t get the location or locations right the first time around. Even if you decide on something and go do it for a year, you’re most likely going to change your mind.
Perhaps perpetual travel will feel draining and you’ll just want to buy that handmade whiskey tumbler you saw in London and have a place to store it – a place you call your own.
That’s what makes a place homey and no Airbnb will ever be that.
Or maybe your lifestyle designing will make you a Bali expat? Let me tell you, that’s not a smart tax move, but it may feel right for you.
Stay open-minded when choosing your locations.
One Big Thing to Consider
There are many different ways to pick the location or locations where you want to live as part of your lifestyle design.
That’s because lots of different aspects of life come into play. But one of the more important ones – and one that many people overlook – is tax.
Tax optimization possibilities, to be exact.
I’m different than other lifestyle design coaches because I tend to focus on the tax side of things just as much as your emotional and psychological well-being.
If it doesn’t make sense financially, the less resources you’ll have to do the things that you love doing and to grow your business.
Sorry to say, but that lovely apartment that you were thinking of buying in the middle of Paris?
That’ll come with a huge tax bill, were you to be deemed a tax resident, so it’d be wise to think again.
Meanwhile, if you could see yourself living in a place like Dubai or Panama City, you could pay very little tax.
I also recommend that you buy property for investment as well as a base for yourself to live in, wherever that is.
Confused? I can help.
Important: Mind the Little Things
Once you have gotten the foundations down – the mindset, portable income and a place to live – you can start looking into the details.
It’s like building a house and then having to decorate it. Most people love picking out what throw pillows they should get.
Don’t diss throw pillows.
It’s the little things that make all the difference – the difference between you carrying on with your new lifestyle or stopping and returning ‘home’.
For me, I wanted to date a while back. Then I wanted to get married, so I made my lifestyle design decisions based on that.
Where would you like to make friends? Form social circles and support groups?
But don’t think of it as decisions that will be set in stone.
Get options and keep them all open.
If, one day, I decide I’m sick of Kuala Lumpur, I can go to my home in Bogota or Tbilisi. Or choose another base altogether.
With all of these little things and decisions, the most important thing is you. You as a person matter.
Sure, you can save on tax. Yes, you can see the world. But what’s most important is that you feel comfortable doing it.
If you’re hating the places you are going or are miserable in yet another hotel that doesn’t really give a crap about you, dare to make a change.
Maybe opt for the expat life or invest in a property that you can decorate as you please and make it feel like home.
Lifestyle design isn’t easy.
You need to be willing to push through immense pain and unfamiliarity to get the desired result.
And keep in mind, if something doesn’t feel right, change it or you’re going to quit chasing your dream lifestyle pretty soon.
Just Do It Already
Now that I have covered all four steps, let’s bring them all together. None of this will work or matter if you don’t have an action mindset.
You can read as many articles about lifestyle design as you want, but it won’t amount to anything if you don’t take action.
Most people aren’t cut out for it. It’s painful.
I remember the first down payment I made on a cheap property. It was $5,000 and it seemed like a fortune back then when I was a 20-something year old kid.
It was hard to swallow, but I followed through with it. Step by step, the action mindset has gotten me to where I am now.
Want to have home bases around the world? Start with buying your first one.
If you’re just talking about wanting to have bases around the world for years, nothing is ever going to come of it.
It’s always going to feel uncomfortable the first time – trust me. You’ll struggle to adapt in a new locale, learning how things work in Malaysia, for example.
But once you figure that out and get going, you’ll be better off.
It’s like everything in life, setting up a business or building muscle mass. To get results, you need to be uncomfortable, even suffer at times.
So, take control of your own life, embrace the learning curve and the pain, and start your journey towards your dream lifestyle today.
The Beauty of Lifestyle Design
With all we’ve discussed about lifestyle design and the practicalities of it, we still need to ask:
What’s the point of it all?
For me, it’s this: you’ll get to live life on your own terms. You won’t have to do anything that you don’t want anymore.
For example, if I still lived in the United States, there is no way I wouldn’t have a car. I would’ve been shamed by my successful friends if I didn’t have a Mercedes or a Porsche in my garage.
I don’t need any of that.
The beauty of lifestyle design for me is flying my parents to my home in Montenegro for their wedding anniversary.
It’s spending $1,000 for a dinner at the best steakhouse in Mexico City, and hitting the 7/11 the next morning for a hot-dog, because I want to.
In all honesty, it reminds me of the days when I worked from my tiny apartment and tried to figure things out. I’d go out and get a 7/11 hot dog – it’s the taste of my 20-year-old life.
There is no ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ when you design your life in a way that you want to live it. That feeling is liberating.
Saving money, experiencing the world, having the freedom to travel whenever, wherever… this is the true power of living life as a true Nomad Capitalist.
Go on – start living life on your own terms.
READY TO GET STARTED?
I’ve been living, investing, and doing business overseas for over a decade. I understand the human element of offshore lifestyle design just as much as I understand what it takes to reduce your taxes and grow your wealth. Learn how my team and I can help you design (and achieve) the life of your dreams.