Berlin: I was born into a middle-class family and after my parents separated when I was six, grew up with my father. During my teenage years, I realised that academic qualifications are essential. So is financial education. But schools are forgetting one of them. Instead of reading novels and fiction books, I developed my financial literacy by reading books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I set my life goal to find a career I love and become rich.
Money without financial intelligence, is money soon gone. – Robert T. Kiyosaki
I left Berlin after high school to do my military service. Afterwards, I decided to study Real Estate Management in the south of Germany. As part of my bachelor degree, I went to Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town. That’s when I developed my passion for real estate and the international lifestyle.
During my final bachelor year, I started a master degree in International Real Estate Management, with cross-border studies in Germany, London and Switzerland.
After my studies, I got offered an asset manager position in Germany at one of the Top 3 global property service companies. However, I loved living and working abroad and ended up taking another offer from a leading company in Ireland instead, with a considerably lower starting salary but high commission. I took the chances. I took the risk. It was the best decision ever!
The rich invest their money and spend what is left. The poor spend their money and invest what is left. – Robert T. Kyosaki
I qualified as Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. As the only German in property investment in Dublin, I found my niche by helping Irish high-net-worth private and institutional property investors to diversify their portfolio into the European continent. During the Celtic Tiger boom years from 2004 to 2008, we became the market leader in Ireland for German commercial investments, and my department, the most profitable within the company. I transacted over EUR 700 million during my 5 years in Ireland. Right time, right place, right passion & luck!
We can only become truly accomplished at something we love. Pursue things you enjoy doing and then do them so well that people will pay you for doing them.
In 2008, it all came to an end with the Global Financial Crisis. Ireland (and most of the world) went from top to flop within a couple of months.
Luckily, and financially smart enough, I didn’t own a fancy penthouse with a mortgage or a Porsche with a car loan. I still lived in a small rented studio apartment in one of the not so fashionable districts of Dublin. My car was a second-hand VW Golf. I was debt-free with considerable savings.
That doesn’t mean I went around like a beggar. I just didn’t spend my income on excessive luxury items, always keeping in mind the Robert Kiyosaki principle of Assets vs Liabilities.
Often, the more money you make the more money you spend; that’s why more money doesn’t make you rich – assets make you rich. – Robert T. Kyosaki
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money. But you cannot get more time.
I was at a cross-road. One option was doing something else I am not passionate about or following my second passion, travelling.
Most people want to travel but end up working until pension age. At that time, the type of travel will be different. Others have families and won’t be flexible enough.
At 30 years of age, after just having worked for five years in my entire life, I decided to quit my job, stored my few belongings in a storage facility and left Ireland. I founded an offshore company to optimize my tax structure as a Perpetual Traveler. I planned to work in the mornings and travel and enjoy life for the rest of the day.
In 2014, after five years of just travelling and no work, I had spent around €250,000, the most expensive holiday ever!
Yes, Berlin is exciting, but the world is full of exciting places.
I approached one of my former Irish clients and sold a commercial property in Berlin for him. From the profits, we partnered and bought another commercial property in Germany together. The surplus rental income plus monthly management fees provided sufficient passive income to continue living a comfortable life as a Permanent Traveler. In 2017, we bought a second property together, which further increased my passive income. Besides, I invest in the stock market. This constant passive income stream and wealth-building have enabled me to enjoy my international lifestyle to the fullest with no end in sight, yet.
I don’t do the fast tourist track of just snapping pictures and getting as many stamps in my passport as possible. Most of the time, I stay for as long as my visa would allow. Some places I have visited several times. I love renting cars and doing road-trips over several weeks or months. Wherever I go, I stay in hotels, guest houses or rent apartments.
7 years school + 5 years university + 5 years work = 13 years travelling and counting…