I’m The Money Outlaw
I am the Money Outlaw, not to be confused with an actual outlaw. I chose the name because the lifestyle and philosophies that are laid out here are considered alternative and not necessarily “mainstream.”
Think of the legend of Robin Hood. He was branded an outlaw for his beliefs and forced to live outside of society, but he was free and lived life on his own terms. If you are new here, I would recommend starting with my Money Outlaw Philosophy that outlines my approach to business, investing, and life.
As a kid growing up, I was always a bit of a dreamer, some would say I still am. I hope to stay that way forever. I was always thinking about the future and what it would be like and how I would fit into it. I dreamed of what I would one day do, where I would live, and if I would be financially successful.
Then life happened. I went to college and thought when I graduated, I would get a fantastic job at some large company, scale the corporate ladder with amazing grace and speed, and become a multi-millionaire.
Ah, the dreams of Mice and Men . . .
I am old enough to have learned a lot and wise enough to see how much I still need to learn. I am humble enough to admit I don’t have all the answers. I am ambitious enough to keep seeking them. I am stubborn enough to not give up. I am inspired enough to know I can live life on my terms.
I am a passionate reader and spend an average of 2 hours per day reading, sometimes more. My personal library is almost at 4,000 physical books, hundreds of Audible and Kindle Books to boot, and growing daily. I have bookshelves on every level of my home from top to bottom with various piles laying on counters, desks, and end tables throughout. My wife can tell my path through the house by the trail of books I leave behind.
I met my sweetheart in college, and we have been married for 24 years. My wife is Greek and much better traveled than I ever will be. She speaks 2 languages fluently and a third reasonably well, while I have difficulty with one. I am also a father of two and consider being a parent the most difficult and rewarding job I have ever performed in my life.
I finished college with degrees in finance, economics and eventually earned an MBA with concentrations in marketing and information systems, which is how I eventually wandered into the technology field. I was around for the birth of the modern Internet and had some adventures in early tech startups. At the risk of dating myself and thus giving younger readers the impression, I am too old to have any useful advice I will say I identified with the characters from the AMC series, Halt and Catch Fire.
I am a history buff and unapologetic nerd that loves reading history, biographies, science fiction, fantasy, and other arcane topics that might bore the pants off others. I have a quirky sense of humor and consider sarcasm a second language, which you will see come out in my writing. I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits.
“Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.”
– Daniel J. Boorstin
Large Public U.S. Corporations
Number of U.S. Businesses
Journey of an Entrepreneur. . .
My corporate ladder-climbing years were very short-lived. I did in fact join a few large companies, but I didn’t make it past the first or second rung of the ladder! In fact, at one point in my career, I went through 5 jobs in 5 years. I also bounced around some smaller companies and a dot com start-up.
I figured out that employment in a rigid corporate structure, no matter how well paid, basically sucked! So, I did what any disenchanted corporate ladder climber does, I started my own business. That suited my personality much better. I have been a full-time entrepreneur for 19+ years. I still believe becoming an entrepreneur was one of the best career decisions I have ever made and think it has become the cornerstone of everything else I have done well after.
I love what I do every single day and I do it on my terms. I work on creative projects that inspire me. I build, plan, and execute business opportunities that I choose. I never ask for permission for the choices I make. I take the risk and realize all the rewards. Being an entrepreneur has given me incredible personal freedom and high quality of life. I will discuss what that is and how I do it.
Alternative Investor. . .
When I still worked for various corporations, I decided saving money for the future seemed sensible. So, I joined most of the company-sponsored retirement plans available to me. These plans were rigid, stuffed with crappy investment choices, run by incompetent advisors, and riddled with fees that sucked my hard-earned money out of me like a vampire!
When I started my own business, I set up a Solo 401(k) plan and a Roth IRA. I designed the plan I wanted and my investment choices and returns got markedly better while the fees I paid went down. However, this still always felt like a one-dimensional choice to me. ETF (Exchange Traded Funds), stocks, and bonds, are OK but are still too limiting for me. Then I discovered the fantastic, colorful, and expansive world of alternative investments…
Alternative investments are what Wall Street calls everything that isn’t a stock, bond, ETF, or mutual fund. So basically, everything else. It includes things like real estate, private lending, notes, private equity, discounted mortgages, options, private businesses, startups, cryptocurrency, limited partnerships, and so many other wonderful things! I was hooked. I started studying this incredible new world of investing and I have included these types of investments in my portfolio for the last 15 plus years.
Amateur Economist. . .
The one force in the world that has the most profound effect on your life is economics and all the elements that weave into it; including law and tax policy in a giant tapestry that makes up our economic world. It surrounds us, binds us together, and controls so much of your everyday life. Too many people have no idea what it is and how it works. Most people give all these things very little thought and how it impacts their financial life. Don’t be that person. The small entrepreneur and investor has speed, maneuverability and the ability to fly below the radar. Use them.
Economics and its sub-topics of law and tax policy are just systems. If you understand how they work you can make them work for you or maneuver around them. If you don’t understand it, you will find you are a victim of forces you don’t understand and can’t control. It is quite literally a force that surrounds and binds our society and life together. The Jedi Master Yoda might have been talking about a supernatural force from the Star Wars universe, but he could easily have been talking about economics.
My Way. . .
You have probably noticed a couple of trends showing up here. I have a strong streak of independence and want control over most aspects of my personal and business life. I want to choose my own projects, investments, relationships, and routes I will travel. I want to build and create on MY terms. I want to dream. I don’t want to ask for permission from other people. I don’t conform to rigid ideas or plans dictated by others, nor should you.
The late, great, Frank Sinatra said it best when he sang “My Way.”
In short, I live the life I built, and I am still building, my way. It is a constant work in progress, which is why I enjoy it so much. I love what I do every day. It hasn’t been without its challenges, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Unlike the F.I.R.E. movement enthusiasts, my future life isn’t necessarily different from my present except it has more wealth and more choices in it. It is however a life that requires active management, intense curiosity, lifelong learning, a willingness to constantly ask why, and the backbone to push back on things or ask how you can do something differently.
My approach is NOT a lifestyle for people that want a “set it and forget it” approach to their career or investments. It is not one where you go to work each day, save your money in investments you didn’t choose, spend the weekend binge-watching Netflix, and let others take advantage of you while dreaming of a better future. It is about building the life you want today and enjoying the journey as much as the end destination on YOUR TERMS. Understand that life will happen whether you are actively managing it or doing anything I suggest here. I would rather be an active participant in my life. I hope you believe the same.
I take orders from just one person, ME!
– Han Solo, Star Wars