Re-financing your road to freedom (Tim Ferriss lifestyle design)

Regular readers of my blog know that I write in glowing terms about my “lifestyle guru” Tim Ferriss.  I’ve been promising for a long time to write about the principles of his brilliant text, 4 Hour Work Week.   (See e.g. this article last year on speaking your truth)

Though I don’t usually write whilst I’m in the middle of teaching a course, I felt inspired to write a peace about the Tim Ferriss approach to financial freedom.

Four Hour Work Week (“4HWW”) is a brilliant book about lifestyle design – how to build your road to freedom. It covers about 10 distinct and important subjects like email management, delegation, outsourcing, Pareto optimization and so on.  I could write a blog about each of them, but today I want to write about a subject that will be as beneficial to you as it was to me – finance.

Tim’s insight is very simple and for most people revolutionary.  He observes that most people are stuck in an “asset mentality” in which they count the number of dollars (/Euro/Pounds/etc) in their bank account and compare that to what their dreams would cost.  For instance they think “dream house, car and lifestyle cost $2 million, there fore I cannot retire until I have $2 million in the bank account.”

Most people I know are stuck in some variation of this thought pattern. I keep hearing people saying “I can’t afford to do X…”  where “X” is the cost of buying a particular lifestyle.

So what’s the Tim Ferriss approach to “Lifestyle Design”?

In short, Tim’s point is that you don’t need to pay up front for your lifestyle. The cost ($x) is not the important factor. It’s only the cost per month or cost per year that matters.

For example, don’t worry that a dream house costs $1 million if you could rent it for $3,000. It’s the monthly figure that is relevant.  Similarly look to the monthly figures for leasing your dream car and all the other aspects of your dream lifestyle.

Then, with a monthly figure in mind, set about creating a business model that provides this amount per month, with as little hours work as necessary and as much joy as possible.

How has this simple idea changed my life?

Prior to reading 4HWW in 2008, my life was extremely work-oriented.  Many of you knew me back then – I was teaching a different modality, and running as many as 3-4 seminars per month.  Despite making a lot of money, and investing all of it (more on that later), I never felt abundant. This was because I was stuck thinking about what things like my dream home cost.  I would/could never have enough.

Then the stock market crash in 2008 occurred and I lost basically all the money I had earned teaching TH courses.  There was certain “karma” to this and I was a lot less distraught that you might think about losing my life’s savings. Honestly it was quite cleansing.  It also helped me have some fantastic breakthroughs, which I have talked about elsewhere on my blog.

Evette and I worked very hard during 2009 to get back on our feet, but then in 2010 decided to adopt a Tim Ferriss 4HWW approach to our lives.  What this has meant for us is that we were able to calculate:

  • How much we need (per month/year) to cover our cost of living; and
  • How many courses / client sessions we need conduct per month/year to cover this.

The net effect it that we work a LOT less (most of my work is for charity, not income earning) and we are a LOT happier.  We have a millionaire’s (or billionaire’s) lifestyle, without needing too much money in the bank.

In short, we know that life isn’t about how many assets you have. It doesn’t matter what you have in your bank account. It only matters what you need this month and whether you can earn it.

If you can be happy and live like a king for say $2,000 this month, then that’s what you should aim to earn. Not $5,000 and not $1,000. Don’t worry about accumulating assets (house/car/cash).

Focus instead on creating a sustainable income that supports your dream lifestyle.

Minimizing costs: Living abroad

A key part of the “Tim Ferriss” lifestyle is what he calls “earn dollars, spend Peso.”  Mind you since he wrote 4HWW in 2007 the US Dollar is starting to look quite poor against the Peso, but the underlying logic is good.

If the cost per month of your dream lifestyle is too expensive where you live right now, consider what it would cost abroad.  Could you finance your dream lifestyle in another country?

Please see my post on Finding Freedom for resources on moving abroad. You can start by asking where in the world would I love to live?  You can scratch off the super-expensive places like Bora Bora (unless you already are earning the big bucks), and look to places where your income will go a long way.  Thailand is an extremely popular example, as are many Central American countries.  If Western lifestyle and first rate hospitals etc are important to you, Chile is the leading choice for American freedom seekers (but be prepared to learn Spanish unless you live in a close expat community).

The Sovereign Man website mentioned in my Freedom post is a good resource on this topic.

Earning location-free income

Once you’ve calculated how much you need to earn per month to live in paradise, you need to find a way to earn it.  If your dream requires you to move away from where your current job is located (for instance to move to paradise), then you will need to create a new income source which is not dependent on your location.

The 4HWW book is a fantastic resource and I highly reccomend you buy this book.  It will be the best $12 investment you ever make.  That’s why I put my Amazon affiliate button on this page so you can buy it in one easy click.

I’ve covered this topic to some extent in my post on Freedom. Highly recommended income sources include:

  • RPT coaching – become a RPT practitioner and work from anywhere;
  • any consulting work; and
  • any internet business.

If there’s interest from you I’m happy to research and write more about earning an income from any location including starting an internet business.

What would you like to know more about?

I’m going out on a bit of a limb here, writing about subjects well outside the scope of therapy and spirituality.  That’s because I write the best material by focussing on what I’m passionate about on any given day.  But this blog is for your benefit not mine.  Are you interested in this?

Please let me know whether you are interested in further blogs about Tim Ferriss concepts of “Lifestyle Design” or do you prefer the focus on spirituality and therapy?

I welcome your comments and questions – don’t forget the free healing session competition is still running, one “ticket” per comment left or “Facebook Like.”



May 26, 2011 in Financial freedom / Lifestyle design
Tagged , , , , ,

15 Responses

  1. The book is wonderful. It makes my heart ache and my feet itch to read it so I obviously haven’t cracked it yet. I’d love to read anything you post on this subject Simon, especially since you’re actually doing it.
    Thank you.
    Sue x

    ps 4 Hour Body is very different but very much worth getting. Check out the website. Easily found by googling Tim or the book title. I particularly recommend ketttle bells and cat vomits.


    Renee Hawkins Reply:

    Hi Sue,
    I have started to use kettle bell training as my primary training model and I love it. Combined with walking and stretches, I have found my perfect body routine. How are you going with it?


    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Renee and Sue
    I am currently finishing 4 Hour Body and absolutely love it. Brilliant stuff. I can’t say exactly what I have and haven’t learned (yet) but I just love Tim’s approach to life.

    I didn’t like his chapter on homeopathy and wanted to write him a rude email… but since he doesn’t “do” email that would be pointless!

    I know I’ll write some blog articles about 4HB later this year. But let’s all master the 4 Hour Work Week first! :-)



  2. Renee Hawkins

    Hi Simon,
    I share your love of Tim’s work too. I brought his revised edition last year, which is great with all the updated info. I would love to read anything you have on lifestyle design. But what I would love to read about more, would be what you have up your sleeve regarding RPT and Marketing, Coherent Communication and any other new RPT methods you have been working on.
    Love and Light to you both.


    Simon Rose Reply:

    Well there’s so much to say – and only a certain amount of time for blogging…. but yes those are important topics.

    Re marketing and communication – have a look for “neuro-marketing” on youtube and on TED. There’s some really wonderful stuff on the relationship between the triune brain model and communication / marketing. A student put me onto it after learning our Level 3 communication methods, it was great to see some of the science behind it. I’ve been meaning for ages to write about it, will do soon.

    BTW Renee, I know I promised you a Level 3 in Vanuatu or Australia this year, it just doesn’t look like it will happen because we are booked solid with Eastern Europe having taken off so fast. Not that I really wanted a European winter (I live in tropical Vanuatu for a reason!), but we have just so many students there keen for the work.

    We will stay in Vanuatu Jan-April during cyclone season. It’s not really tourist season but might be a good time to run some courses from home. Stay tuned…



    Renee Hawkins Reply:

    Thanks for the info- will check it out over the next week.
    No problems with not doing level 3 this year- things have worked out for it to be better done next year. Keep warm xxx


  3. Mats Grensemo

    Hi there, Simon! I also have read the 4HWW, and I love it! Especially the idea about a ‘muse’ is one that fascinates me. I was actually introduced to Tim Ferriss’ blog through your post about the benefits of pissing people off, so thank you!

    I’m hoping to be able to set up a muse in near future, but I don’t feel abundant on ideas on what to sell/offer. How do you get great ideas? Advice like “think outside of the box”, and “go nuts” is great, but what about people that don’t know how to get out of the box or how to go nuts? Could you maybe share some thoughts about how to train yourself to go nuts?



    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Mats

    The wisest words ever told to me about business were this: “People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems.”

    Find a problem, offer a solution. Or for that matter, find a solution, create a problem that it solves.

    People don’t buy RPT courses because they like the sound of my voice. They buy courses because I solve their emotional problems.
    People don’t buy Tim Ferriss books for the pretty covers. Rather the books solve specific problems they have.

    Got it yet?

    Start (as Tim says) with an industry you know something about. Research the industry well enough to see where things could be done more profitably/ enjoyably / conveniently. Then tailor a solution, whether it’s an invention or an idea taken from a different industry.

    It’s actually not hard. It does however take time and energy. It’s well worth it, this is your freedom we are talking about.

    Let us all know how you go! Good luck.


    PS thanks as always to my personal “business guru” Richard Swift for the words of wisdom in the first paragraph!


    Mats Grensemo Reply:

    Ah, that is very valuable! Thank you for sharing that insight. I need to sit down and think hard about what solutions I miss in my life, and then make something out of it.

    Will let you know when I’ve created something! :)



  4. Great stuff Simon, thankyou for writing it and I would definitely be interested in reading more about ‘Lifestyle Design’. It seems I’m going to have to buy that book!
    Thanks again.


  5. Dear Simon,
    thanks a lot for your article! I found that book. I have read only 10 pages, but I have recognized meaning of my life. Also due to this book I found my secondary gains of having no money. The puzzle is complete now! And that is only first 10 pages!!! WHat would be the next?:)
    As result – I found job, which I like (Or maybe I liked job first, and after I found it:) ) and which gives me freedom! Thank you very much!

    With great unconditional love to you:)


    Simon Rose Reply:

    Congratulations on the new job Nika! Sounds like you are doing great stuff.


  6. Hi Simon/Evette

    Thanks for the info on Tim’s books. So glad you mention things on the blog as I don’t come across books or information that would benefit/enhance me/us, so your experience and insight is highly sought after, thank you.

    Looking forward to more wonders.

    M x


  7. Ilona Goltman

    Hi Simon,

    Just wanted to thank you so much for recommending this book. I liked it from the start but today just happened to come across something that makes it worth my while even if it will be the only thing I will take from this book to use in my life. And I wanted to quote it here:

    ”What is the opposite of happiness? Sadness? No.
    Just as love and hate are two sides of the same coin, so are happiness
    and sadness. Crying out of happiness is a perfect illustration of this.
    The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness
    is—here’s the clincher—boredom.
    Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is
    precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all”

    and shortly after:

    The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would
    excite me?”

    This is a definition of happiness, which I was looking for the most of my life and would embrace wholeheartedly. It is priceless. And so is your recommendation to read this book.


  8. Hi Simon, thank you for the information and recommendation for Tim’s books. I will enjoy ordering and learning from it. Best look out for the 4 hour body as well……it sounds like fun. I enjoy all your topics Simon
    , some I really have to think about as not scientifically minded and get little lost but I stick with it and always look forward to reading your blogs, whatever they are about. They always have meaning and experience within the knowledge, Thank you


Leave a Reply


Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>