The End of Slavery – Why I Live Off Dividends

One of the reasons why I don’t like being around people most of the time is because they tend to say things that trigger me. Maybe I am too sensitive. Most of the time people just say whatever is on their mind, and they quick jump from one superficial idea to another. Most of the time human interaction is just an attempt to say something for the sake of saying something, so perhaps I take things too seriously.

I live with my mother, and a few days ago, someone at work commented that I should not live with my mother because she will become a burden on me as she grows older. The reason why this comment triggered me is because there are many assumptions made, and it simply isn’t true. I didn’t get much of a chance to explain myself before the topic of conversation moved on, but days after this colleague made this trivial comment, I am still thinking about it, and my colleague may have forgotten all about it.

If I moved out from my mother’s house, she could still be a burden on me because technology connects us all, so even if I lived far away from my mother, she can still call or message me if she wants something from me.

However, suppose my mother and I lived in different cities. It would be more difficult for me to get to her, so she won’t be as much of a burden on me. Regardless, currently I don’t consider myself to be too close to my mother even though I live with her. I work quite often, and she also works as well, so we often do not see each other. My mother and father divorced a few years ago, so my mother learned from experience how important it is to be independent and to never trust or be dependent on anyone. Even on weekends I may be out somewhere, and she would be as well, so we rarely see each other. The only time we regularly see each other is at night when I get home from work and she cooks me dinner, and this is a tradition that seems to just happen all the time. She has always cooked dinner for me, and I never objected to it, so it keeps happening. In fact, my mother cooked dinner from my whole family, but over time everyone moved out. After the divorce, my father moved out, then my brothers moved out, and now she only cooks for me.

Even though my mother is in the habit of cooking dinner for me, this doesn’t happen all the time. For example, last night I had dinner with a colleague at work, so I came back at around nine at night, had a shower, and went to bed. This tradition of my mother cooking dinner for me seems to be the only habit that keeps us together. My grandmother on my father’s side used to wake up early and cook breakfast for me. I didn’t like it because there were days when I wanted to go to work earlier, so I just wanted to make my own breakfast or skip breakfast and just drink coffee, but my grandmother wanted to make breakfast for me. After the divorce that ripped through the family, my grandmother left the house to live with my father, and now I rarely see her. Most relationships are based on dependence and habit. When you are a child and you’re dependent on your parents, you are forced to interact with them, and they become familiar to you, so you bond to them. The same applies with work. You provide skills to your employers, and employers give you a salary, so you are mutually dependent, and over time there are colleagues at work you see all the time, and familiarity breeds trust and bonding. But as people become more independent, that dependency goes away, and as a result, bonds break.

Going back to the topic of my mother and her habit of cooking dinner for me, there are many in my family who jokingly talk about how I need my mother to cook for me (or I need a woman to cook for me), but I think many people say this because many people are traditional, and they believe in the traditional family. They want to believe that the woman’s role is to cook. This includes many traditional women. However, in my opinion, modern technology has made cooking irrelevant. You can easily eat out at restaurants, but even if you consider that to be expensive, it is not difficult to cook simple meals for yourself using e.g. a blender or microwave. For example, it is not hard to microwave or boil beans or to throw fruits and greens into a blender. To clean up, there is the dishwasher. There are many traditionalists out there (mostly women, based on my observation) who want to go back to the days of old when they stayed at home and engaged in low-skilled cooking and cleaning duties, and I think the allure of this is that woman don’t need to go out into the workplace to make money, and this is what drives anti-feminism among women. These women are simply selfish. I would consider myself to be a feminist man, and I encourage all women to get out into the world, work, invest, and become financially independent. They should resist the temptation to glamorize slavery.

My mother does not always cook dinner for me. There are times when I eat out, e.g. when I had a girlfriend a few years ago I spent a lot of time having dinner with her. If I wanted a cheap dinner, rather than eating out, I can bring meal replacement powders (e.g. Aussielent, Soylent, Huel, or Joylent) to work, and after work I can simply mix the powder with water and drink it as dinner. For added nutrition, I can come home and prepare a green smoothie using the blender. Because these foods are simple to make, I am not dependent on my mother for anything.

In the future, I intend to rent a one-bedroom apartment in or near the city because I am quite tired of commuting to and from work. I love to just be able to walk to work. Once I grow my dividends, my dividend income should cover the cost of renting an apartment in the city. As my dividends grow even more, I may be able to work part-time and use the spare time to work in a coworking space doing projects that I enjoy. With the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, I suspect that a lot of business in the future will be done online and on the blockchain. It is a new frontier. Basically my plan is to transition gradually from living in the suburbs with my mother to living in the city and being self-reliant. I will also transition away from the traditional 9 to 5 job into more flexible work that gives me more control over what I do and with whom I work, and all this will be funded by dividend income. I recently performed a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and found that I am investing about $70,000 per year, which is a lot. A considerable amount of this (about one-third of it) is going into my superannuation fund, which means I will not have access to it until I am very old) but about two-thirds of it is going into dividend-paying stocks or ETFs, so I expect my dividend income to gradually increase, which will improve my standard of living. I want to use my dividends to fund a more autonomous life with more freedom. I want to be free from my family and from my employer.

I expect freedom to come gradually. Most people have a date when they simply retire. There is a clear date, a line in time when they are no longer slaves but are free. I will have no such date. I believe that slavery is a continuum. On one end you have total freedom, i.e. no debt, good health, and living off enormous amounts of passive income. Then on the other end you have total slavery, e.g. shackled and in prison. Then there are degrees of slavery, and most people have quite a considerable degree of slavery imposed on them by their jobs, their family, their children, their mortgage and car loans, etc. For me, there is no retirement, just a gradual move from slavery to freedom.

As my dividend income increases, I will eat out more for dinner (or drink Aussielent) rather than go home and get my mother to cook. As my dividend income grows even more, I will sleep at home less. Rather than commute back home, I may hire places to sleep at night using Airbnb or I will rent apartments in the city for longer periods of time. The same applies for work. My intention is to reduce my hours so that I work part-time, or I may be more flexible, e.g. I may work at coworking spaces or at cafes. I may even ask my manager if I can work at overseas coworking spaces. This is good for me because I get away from the office, but it is also good for my employer because my desk is not being used, so there are cost savings. If technology is good enough, working remoting should not make me any less productive. This will be my main digital nomad plan, which is to do what I currently do at work but to gradually do it remotely as my dividend income and skills increase. As dividend income and skills increase, I have more bargaining power, and technology will improve over time, which should make remote work be easier. There is also a broader push by feminists for more flexible working arrangement because women want to spend more time looking after their family, so this could possibly benefit me.

Basically with higher dividends, I have more power so that I can shape my life the way I want my life to be. This has been the intention since the beginning. Living off dividends is my guiding philosophy in life because it gives me the freedom and power to do what I want. The basic idea is that you increase dividend income so that you get paid without needing to work, and at the same time you reduce all obligations, e.g. debt, marriage, and children. You minimize responsibility, obligation, and duty. By not putting any future obligation on yourself, you are free to do what you want. You are free to experiment with what makes you happy, and dividend income will allow you to experiment.

At the end of the day, my belief is that freedom depends on the direction of flow of obligation. When you hold stocks, ETFs, government bonds, etc, then there is an obligation for others to pay you money. There is a legal obligation for companies to pay you dividends. There is a legal obligation for the government to pay you interest because you are a bondholder. The flow of obligation is from others towards you. However, if you have debt, then the flow of obligation is reversed. For example, if you have credit card debt or a mortgage, you owe money to the bank. If you have obligations to family, friends, spouse, or children, that also imposes either a legal or social obligation from you to others.

The flow of obligation from you to others makes you a slave. The flow of obligation from others to you makes others your slave and increases your freedom. Freedom or autonomy is dependent on the flow of obligation. Manage the flow of obligation and you manage your freedom, and freedom is happiness.

Technocapitalism, Human Evil, and Sedation Through Technologically Induced Dopamine Spikes

I am a misanthrope because I hate people. It is not one particular factor that makes me disgusted with humanity but various factors. At work yesterday a colleague spoke to me about how he loves to go to the gym to build muscle so he can attract women. He is so superficial and status conscious that it disgusts me, and he is not the only one who behaves like this. This is normal behavior. If you are not working to make yourself appealing in the eyes of others, you are abnormal. You are not trying hard enough to get a promotion, get a wife, and have a family. Society and its cultural norms promotes conformity, superficiality, and a culture of appeasement and slavery.

Something I have been trying to do more of recently is to be more anti-social. I have a habit of catching up with people. I have lunch or dinner with various colleagues and friends, but often these catch ups are nothing more than bragging sessions for others to go on and on about how great they are. Many complain about narcissism on Facebook, but social media merely accentuates what happens in real life, and at least most social media apps such as Facebook allow you to effortlessly block or unfollow someone whereas blocking or unfollowing someone in real life is far more awkward. Nevertheless, I have tried to reject many offers to catch up with people. Sometimes I will just tell people directly that I don’t like something e.g. someone invited me over to a wedding, but I told her that I don’t like weddings. Sometimes I will just make up some excuse not go.

I hate being around people, but I cannot simply walk away from humanity because I need a job in order to build dividend income so that I can shield myself from humanity, so it is a gradual process. I need to learn how to be more assertive so I can be more anti-social so that I can isolate myself more, but at the same time I need to work in order to earn money, and I need to learn how to cope with being constantly exposed to the corruption of humanity yet not being affected by it by being fake and by numbing or sedating myself with technology.

I commute via train, and something that first shocked me about commuters was how fixated they were to their smartphones, but I realized that they are probably like me. Being around people takes its toll. You need to be fake, conform, and be a witness to the superficiality and vulgarity of humanity. When you walk away from work, you have a choice: dwell on it and hurt yourself more, or crowd out these thoughts by consuming something else from your smartphone.

Human history is marked by war and conflict. There is innate in humans greed and ego, and these emotions lead to conflict, violence, and oppression, which result in suffering and pain.

When you’ve spent your life trying to appease others and then when you stop because you realize that the opinions of others do not matter, then you feel an emptiness. You felt that life was all about impressing others, e.g. impress your manager to get a promotion or impress a girl to get married. But when you realize this is all a sham designed to enslave you, there is no point in your life anymore, and you must build for yourself a new reason for living. For me it is about escaping, being free, and being autonomous.

I need to learn how to clear my mind. I have heard that meditation is healthy because it allows you to focus and clear out distractions. I am mostly distracted either because I dwell on the evil of humanity or I am engrossed in stimuli that I have consumed in order to distract myself from the evil of humanity. I need to eliminate my exposure to humanity and then if thoughts of humanity emerge in my mind, I need to expel so I can focus on more important things rather than try to displace it with stimuli. The problem is that the evil of humanity is a potent stimulus, so to overcome it you need a stimulus more potent, e.g. pornography, and this is why I believe pornography is so popular. However, if you consume potent stimulus like pornography, you can become addicted to it. It distracts you from the evil of humanity yet it also distracts you from important tasks you need to do.

 

Quit Your Job and Go to Chiang Mai?

I love YouTube. In fact, if you still watch normal TV, I highly recommend you buy a Google Chromecast, attach it to your TV, and watch YouTube instead. I watch about two to three hours of YouTube per day while I eat dinner.

If you spend a significant amount of time watching YouTube videos about veganism, entrepreneurship, minimalism, and digital nomadism (as I do nowadays), a recurring theme is that of quitting your job to work on your online business. Most likely the recommendation is that you move to a place with a low cost of living, such as Chiang Mai, the digital nomad capital of the world.

I have recently been reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which is described by many as the bible of digital nomadism. This book gets mentioned frequently by digital nomads. This book seems to strongly recommend to its readers that if you don’t love your job, you must move. Two other digital nomad books I’ve read, Johnny FD’s 12 Weeks and Thailand and Life Changes Quick, seem to make similar recommendations. If you hate your 9 to 5 job, then just quit otherwise you are wasting your time, and you’re watching your employer’s time.

Of course, the advice to simply quit initially didn’t resonate with me. Everyone is different. I haven’t finished reading The Four Hour Work Week, but it’s clear based on reading the first few chapters so far that Tim Ferriss is not your average person. He has been starting companies ever since he was young and was likely already well off.

I have read all of Johnny FD’s books via Amazon Kindle, and his situation is slightly different to that of Tim Ferriss. Although Johnny FD makes close to $30k per month now, he spent about four to five years in Thailand not sure what he would do with his life. He dabbled with writing ebooks, Thai boxing, and being a divemaster. He finally started making serious money when he discovered dropshipping.

Everyone is different. If you are young and single, with no mortgage, car loan, or children, it is less risky to simply move to Thailand. If you are renting in a developed country like Australia, you will likely save money on rent. For example, US$1500 per month in Melbourne, Australia would only get you an average place to rent, but in Chiang Mai you can easily rent a place for US$500 or less. Even if you have a mortgage, you can rent your house out and use the rental income from your house to live in Chiang Mai.

As for me, I have not quit my 9 to 5 job yet, which is unfortunate because I hate my job! There are days when I feel like quitting on the spot, but my mood seems to go up and down. I remember I was very unhappy with my job about a month ago, but more recently I feel better. There are days when I wake up and dread going to work, and there are days when it’s not so bad.

My biggest fear with quitting and going to Chiang Mai is that I run out of savings, which means I’ll need to return to Australia and start applying for a job again, which is not ideal. Not only would I not be living my dream as a digital nomad, but it’s also quite shameful chasing your dream in a faraway land only to return defeated.

My advice is to follow Sean Lee’s advice (below), which is to only quit your job and go to Chiang Mai if you have set up at least one online business that is producing money.


I live off dividends

I would even go further. Sean mentioned in his video that you can live like a king in Chiang Mai for US$1000 per month, so you should not only aim to create income from an online business but you should also aim to invest in ETFs and produce US$1000 per month in dividends. This ensures that if your online businesses fails for whatever reason, you can draw upon your dividends, live in Thailand, and continue to keep building your online business. Your dividends should be your safety net.

Personally, I already make more than US$1000 per month in dividends, but I have no online business, and I do admit it’s difficult to get an online business going because there are so many ideas that it’s easy to get lost, but I believe that the first step is to simply devote time to trying different ideas out. If it fails, move on to something else. I am busy during weekdays with my 9 to 5 job, but on weekends I have spare time. I have discovered that I waste far too much time on weekends.

Don’t talk to your coworkers or your family about your digital nomad dreams!

Among just about everyone in a 9 to 5 job, socializing, travelling, and going out are seen as status symbols. On Fridays, everyone asks about what’s up for the weekend, and if you tell them you will stay at home and read The Four Hour Work Week, they think you’re a loser. They ask, “Don’t you have any friends? Don’t you have a girlfriend?” They may even attack you for reading a self-help book. One coworker said to me, “How can you work four hours a week? That cannot possibly work because you’re still working here!”

My advice to 9 to 5 worker is to not talk about your dream at all, and if people ask you what you’ve been doing over the weekend, you don’t need to lie, but you don’t need to be specific either. You can speak generally and tell them you are “relaxing at home, browsing the internet.”

The reality is that there is a crab mentality among most office workers. The office is filled with negative people who are fearful of being fired from their jobs. They are also envious (and fearful) of those higher in the hierarchy.

Most people look down upon status symbols like Ferraris, Rolexes, and Hugo Boss clothing, but personally I find these products cheap, especially since you rarely buy them. The worse status symbols are those accepted by society, e.g. going out with friends, taking a girl to a fancy restaurant, marriage ceremonies, having children, and getting a mortgage. Before you scoff at me calling these “virtuous” expenses status symbols, you must admit to yourself that when people talk about these virtuous expenses at the office kitchen, people are showing off. You can tell when someone is showing off. There is a snobbery vibe they give off. I have felt it, and I’m sure you have as well.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, I am not an expert in online business, but currently I am experimenting on or thinking of the following: blogging, eBay arbitrage, online stores, and buying/selling websites (e.g. using Flippa or Empire Flippers).

What is great about living off dividends is that you can live off dividends forever, which means you have a lifetime to devote to making your dreams a reality. If you simply saved up, quit your job, and moved to Chiang Mai, you’d run out of savings and you’d need to return.

 

The Problem with Udemy

To put it simply, Udemy.com is a site where you can pay for online lectures that teach you something. Using Udemy, I have signed up for various courses that teach you how to code, how to make websites, how to sell on eBay, etc.

I plan to quit my job in 2020 and live off whatever dividends I get from my investments, but I don’t want to spend my post-2020 years doing nothing. I want to be able to do what I love, and the thought of working online while travelling, supplementing my dividend income with income from online businesses–that appeals to me greatly! To help make my dreams a reality, I’ve been researching online. I’ve been researching various ways of making money online, from simple things like doing surveys online to dropshipping. I am a newbie in this area, so I am happy to try out different things and report my outcome on this blog. This blog will be a useful reference for those looking to see what online businesses work for an average person.

On the topic of learning how to make an online income, I have found that Udemy is filled with courses that may be helpful. However, one of the major problems with Udemy is that different people offer different discounts. I found a course by David Dang Vu that teaches you how to dropship on eBay. The price was US$35, which is discounted from US$50. I remembered reading an article on David Dang Vu from JohnnyFD.com, so I decided to do some googling, find the original article, and read up about it.

Johnny’s website provided a discount code for the eBay dropshipping course, so I decided to use that, but to my surprise, the price went up! The problem was that Johnny’s discount only reduced the course code from $50 to $40 whereas originally I had somehow stumbled onto some discount that allowed me to get this course for $35.

Not wanting to pay too much for the course, I decided not to buy it at all.

A few days later, I was thinking about eBay dropshipping, and so decided to google it, and this led me to a website that provided discounts. This website forwarded me back to Udemy and just like that the price of David’s eBay dropshipping course was back at $35.

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I decided to buy the course in case the price the price went up again.

I understand the psychology behind discounting and why it works on customers. When there is a discount on a product, customers tend to act quickly to buy the product. There is a sense of urgency. The customer has no time to evaluate if he needs the product or not. Hence if you have an apple you wanted to sell for $2, it may be better to sell it for $5 and then offer a 50% discount to bring it down to $2.50 every now and then. I remember hearing that studies show that customers are more willing to buy more expensive items that are discounted compared to the same items that are priced cheaply but have no discounting.

That being said, the random prices and myriad discount codes at Udemy really turn me off. I understand that recently Udemy forced all products to be prices between $20 to $50 so that there are fewer instances of people paying $300 for a course that is normally discounted to $10.

What may be bold is just getting rid of discounts completely as this will help customers feel more comfortable, but for the reasons above that may result in fewer sales.

Sean Lee Makes $30k per Month Passive Income

Sean Lee from MinimalPro.com makes a six-figure passive income from a fully automated online business (HDpiano.com). His YouTube videos teach viewers how to live as a digital nomad.

I currently have zero income from businesses. All my passive income comes from investments, the bulk of which are from dividends and distributions from stocks, ETFs, and managed funds. However, once my dividend income reaches about $30k or $40k, I plan to quit my job (or significantly reduce my hours) to focus on earning income online.

I currently generate about $15k per year in dividend income, which I consider to be enough to live in, say, Chiang Mai. Although there is great freedom to be able to escape to Chiang Mai and live off my investments, I wouldn’t rely on $15k per year because it is a very mediocre standard of living. It is enough to survive, but little else.

It makes sense for me to reach for something higher, say, $30k to $40k per year in passive income, which is my goal now, and after this I will focus on income from online businesses.

Passive Income vs Laptop Income vs 9 to 5 Income

You do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, wherever you want, how you want.

I am a strong believer in passive income, which is defined as income you earn from doing nothing. Passive income includes dividends from shares, interest from savings accounts, or even revenue from Amazon eBook sales or Adsense revenue from YouTube videos.

However, passive income tends to be low. Interest from a bank account will give you about 3 per cent. Depending on which shares you buy, dividend yield tends to be around 6 percent or so, although it varies across companies and across countries. An investment that I invest in that currently pays a yield of about 12 per cent is the Betashares Australian Dividend Harvester Fund.

While passive income is excellent because you don’t have to work for it, I do not hate working. I hate my nine-to-five job, but it’s not the actual work I hate. I just hate having a manager tell me what to do, and I am not the only one. Studies show that about 70 percent of Americans hate their job and their bosses and are disengaged.

This is why it is important to earn money online. I call this “laptop income.” It is not as good as passive income but definitely better than the salary from a 9 to 5 job.

Earning money online is not necessarily passive. You may need to post videos on YouTube, run an eCommerce store, send emails, write blog posts, trade shares online, and so forth, but it is work that can be done on your laptop while you are in a cafe. It is work that you can do anywhere where there is internet connection, and you don’t have a boss watching over you.

You do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, wherever you want, how you want.

If you are new to working online, here are three ideas.

  1. Work online: This is not that great because freelance work is a lot like a 9 to 5 job in that you have a client you work for, a client you need to keep happy, but working online means you get to choose who your clients are. Filling in surveys (e.g. at Pureprofile) and completing projects at Upwork or Freelancer can earn you money, but the amounts are not huge. Freelance work can make you serious money if you are talented in a specific area.
  2. Create or build something: This includes blogs, ebooks, YouTube videos, websites, eCommerce stores, etc. This is the best way to make money. You must be a creator rather than a consumer. Rather than watch YouTube videos, make them instead. Rather than read articles, write them. This is where it is important to get rid of distractions because too often distractions from Facebook and other social media can make you too much of a consumer rather than a creator or a builder. I manage distractions by simply putting it off. For example, suppose I am browsing my email and I see a link to an article I need to read. I use the app Pocket to save it and read it later. This is a very useful app. If there is a YouTube video that I feel I need to watch right away, I save it to a playlist where I can watch it later. Put off distractions for later and focus on building and creating things of value.
  3. Monetize what you create or build: This can be achieved using advertisements with, say, Adsense (I prefer to use Anonymous Ads, which pays you in bitcoin and allows you to remain anonymous). That being said, advertising does not make much money. Other options include affiliate links (e.g. via iHerb and Amazon) or even creating your own product or eCommerce store and advertising your own products on your products. Creating and advertising your own products allows you to make the most.