Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Myles Wakeham from the Be Unconstrained Podcast...
In this episode Myles shares with you his journey from rags to riches and back again...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I talk with Myles Wakeham. I ask Myles to share his personal journey as an immigrant to the U.S. from Australia. He shares how he lives an unconstrained life today but how he reached that point by making, and losing, a fortune more than once.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS74 Interview with Myles Wakeham from the Be Unconstrained Podcast
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Welcome to tonights saturday night, special with Myles. Wakeham be unconstrained
[00:00:06] Myles Wakeham: [00:00:06] I'm Myles Wakeham. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time. Your talent, your treasure is to live out your calling. Having the ability to live an unconstrained life is key.
[00:00:20] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this. The inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.
[00:00:35] and I could analyze why the U S system didn't work for 78% of the people who were living paycheck to paycheck. Cause they were my tenants, right? Their success was my success because they paid their rent on time and they're failing was my failure because I didn't get my rent. So I needed them to win for me to win.
[00:00:57] Scott Maderer: [00:00:57] Welcome, and thank you for joining us on the [00:01:00] inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling in the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:30] Today's interview with miles Waycom is a little different. I asked miles to share a little bit about his own journey as an Australian, who's moved to America, who's made a fortune, lost a fortune and made money again. And all of the things that he's learned from that. One reason I like to bring you great interviews.
[00:01:50] Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. [00:02:00] But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read. And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible.
[00:02:09] Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.
[00:02:40] Miles Wacam is the host of the unconstrained podcast and the founder of be unconstrained.com. He lives the message that financial sustainability is a better goal than financial independence retire early miles' lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and daughter. He's an [00:03:00] expatriated Australian who has lived in the U S since 1989.
[00:03:03] Miles has through his journeys and moving, recognize that he needs to embrace everything in his grasp. Through that he's leveraged his computer programming experience to work with several startups. One of which went on to become Amgen miles has made and lost and made again, a lot of money through both his own businesses and investing in real estate and other items.
[00:03:28] He now has the ability to live an unconstrained life. And he's setting out to teach others how to achieve financial stability and sustainability, even in a chaotic world. Welcome to the show miles.
[00:03:42] Myles Wakeham: [00:03:42] Well, thank you for having me appreciate it.
[00:03:45] Scott Maderer: [00:03:45] So in the intro, we talked a little bit about how you got started on your journey to living out your current unconstrained life and.
[00:03:55] I know, cause I've had this conversation with folks when they're talking to folks that have done [00:04:00] well or, kind of doing these sorts of things and. Big pushback. I always hear is, Oh, they just got lucky, it was all luck. It was luck. And I'm sure, I'm sure you've heard that before. That's not the first time.
[00:04:12] And yet I also know from talking to you, your journey was far from a straight line, right. And not, in many ways, not what people would describe as lucky or. Or even great in some ways you've had some challenging things come up. So we talk a little bit more about your journey and maybe what you would share with people about why luck.
[00:04:31] Isn't really the factor that determines where you end up.
[00:04:35] Myles Wakeham: [00:04:35] Okay as your listeners will hear I'm from Australia. So my accent gives that away. Growing up part New
[00:04:43] Scott Maderer: [00:04:43] Zealand, right. People would guess. Yeah,
[00:04:46] Myles Wakeham: [00:04:46] that's true. I S I spent the first 25 years of my life growing up in Australia and became Australianized and the second 25 years plus of my life becoming Americanized and It was a very [00:05:00] interesting parallel to compare the cultures because one would think normally that they're very similar.
[00:05:05] They're both Western know Western economies and they both have similar. Well, maybe not similar backgrounds because one was a penal colony. But
[00:05:14] Scott Maderer: [00:05:14] well the race back to British colonies, different types. Yep.
[00:05:17] Myles Wakeham: [00:05:17] Yeah. It's a European ancestry of
[00:05:21] Scott Maderer: [00:05:21] law, things in common and things like that.
[00:05:24] Myles Wakeham: [00:05:24] Right. But what is noticeable that I came face to face with when I immigrated. Become an immigrant of of the United States was that the paths have diverged quite a lot. And they've diverge in a number of different ways, particularly in, in social culture and thinking and values systems and things are very different between the two at the same time, there are a lot of similarities, so it was a very interesting embracement of difference.
[00:05:52] Yeah. So for me when I was a kid I grew up in a, I guess you call it a lower middle-class family. My [00:06:00] parents were not atypical of parents at that age. My father worked my mother didn't they bought some land on the outskirts of the city where I grew up, which was the city called Adelaide in South Australia.
[00:06:13] And my father built his own house and, or he didn't do it. He contracted to have it built and eventually the city grew and we, came to us. We didn't come to it, but I grew up in a lifestyle where in my backyard, there were these natural national parks and my friends that were few and far between their neighborhood.
[00:06:35] We would ride our bicycles in the parks all the time and we'd have adventures. And we lived that. Stereotypical kids journey. And I grew up in the sixties. So it was a time when there wasn't that many distractions, there was no really there was not really even television for that matter. You made your own adventures.
[00:06:55]My parents didn't give me anything much as a kid. Although [00:07:00] surprisingly, I grew up as an only child you'd think they would, but they didn't, I guess that was by design and it kind of, in retrospect, I kind of feel very grateful that was the case. So when they, when I was growing up, the only thing I do remember yeah.
[00:07:14] Of value that I was ever given as physical goods, that is because they always gave me love and they always gave me support. So that was great. But the one thing they always, they gave me, it was a bicycle. And mice kids back then a bicycle was a big thing today, not so much, right. Parents are reluctant to give their kids bikes, so they don't want them getting hit by a car and there's no way to ride and all that sort of thing.
[00:07:37] But back then it was a big deal. And I cherished my bicycle. I really did. And the funny thing was that after probably about the age of eight or nine, I stumbled upon an advert in one of the local newspapers saying they wanted some kids to do paper rounds. This is the tip, the stereotypical example of a kid in the sixties, on a bicycle [00:08:00] doing throwing newspapers in the morning.
[00:08:01]That was me. But what I, what was really bizarre and I don't, I didn't realize this at the time and it's probably taken me almost 50 years to realize it. With that I was somebody who was absolutely fascinated by systems. And what I discovered was that I could build a kind of a catchment holder using an old lawn mower catchment bin that had come off, somebody wrecked a lawn mower, and I turned it into this really kind of innovative way to store rolled up newspapers on mass.
[00:08:36] And having done that as this, eight or nine year old kid, I worked out that if I, the night before I had to do the newspapers, if I would fall hold them and then wrap them in a certain way, I could max out the storage on my bicycle and not lose balance and be able to ride it. So having discovered this, this seems stupid having discovered this I could knock over a paper around, in [00:09:00] half the time of everybody else.
[00:09:02] So what happens is the neighbor's paper around the kid gives up cause it's too hard for him or whatever, and it becomes available. So I guess, well, I snagged it and then I snagged the one next to it. And the next thing you know, I've got this systematized almost semi autonomous thing, throwing newspapers on people's lawns.
[00:09:20] So I had to get up at like three in the morning and go and do it because there was a lot to do, but I'm starting to make good money. Now, when you start off as an eight or nine or 10 year old kid doing this sort of thing, it sort of sets the stage because after a while, I started realizing that there were other ways to do things.
[00:09:40] And so in the, as the time progresses and we get into the seventies all of my friends got into CB radio. That was a big thing there. And so I did too, and I had some money cause you know, I'm making money on this paper. And so I bought. What I needed. And a friend of mine taught me everything about the electronics.
[00:09:59] Cause that's kind of [00:10:00] comes with being a radio guy. You learn a lot about electronics and you learn a lot about physics. You need to learn a lot about a lot of things. And he taught me all this sort of stuff. And his father owned a scrap metal company and they had this deal where they would take recycled aluminum cans, like beer cans and stuff.
[00:10:20] And they. Give money back to people who would recycle them. They needed people to count these stinky beer cans, horrible things, but no one would do it, but so he had to offer really good money. Now, at this point, I'm like a kid still, right? So I'm saying I can make even more money counting these stinky old, and what's the worst that can happen.
[00:10:41] I have to wash my hands. Wow was way worse than that. But at the end of the day, I did that as well. And so little by little, I was building up all of these multiple little ventures at the same time of going to school and being a kid and playing sport and all that sort of thing. Fast forward a few years, I get towards [00:11:00] the end of my high school period.
[00:11:02] And I start realizing that I'm not really learning anything. And what I meant by that was I started to understand how I personally learn. I was not somebody who could learn from observation. I had to be a participant. I had to apply what I learned for it to be able to connect. And so I ended up leaving school before I ever even graduated high school.
[00:11:25] And my parents, Oh, they were, must've been furious, but I did it with their consent. I managed to sell them on the principle that my uncle, who was the CEO of very large appliance company. In town wanted to take me under his wing, kind of give me an apprenticeship or something like that into the business.
[00:11:46] And I did that for a while, and that was fun. But in the back of my mind, there's this CB radio electronics, this, this technology thing coming about. And so that's, I'm trying to get to a [00:12:00] rapid advancement here in a story, but it's setting the stage, establishes the context at the same time when you're now a teenager growing up in Australia, one of the things that you do cause everyone lives on the coast is you go surfing.
[00:12:13] It's like in your normal. Pastime that you do with your friends. And I was no different. So a friend of mine had one of those VW micro buses, and we'd go down to the beach all the time and take our surf boards, go surfing on the weekend. And w what was really cool about that was I, I started to go out on the waves and I realized how I was battling against nature and getting nowhere.
[00:12:38] And what would happen as you go out there and try and catch a wave and you'd get frustrated and angry because you weren't in front of it at the right time, or the thing dumped on you or really hurt or whatever. And Oh, you wanted to do is smack that thing. We can't smack a wave. Right. So what happened was that over a course of time of doing this over and over and [00:13:00] over again and learning.
[00:13:01] About the way that the effectively the universe works, the cycles of things going up and down, you start realizing that you can catch a wave if you're positioned well ahead of it, you see it coming and you paddle like crazy and all you need is one of them because that one wave gives you the ride of your life.
[00:13:20] And it's like a spiritual experience. I mean, I can't explain it as anything more serverless, know what I'm, what I'm talking about. And the thing is that what that can I started connecting dots and I did this at a very young age. I started realizing the importance of timing and I realized the importance of being ahead of something before it comes upon you and that you can't fight it, you have to work with it.
[00:13:47] You can't ignore it. It will not go away, but you have to, if you want to have that ride, you have to learn how. You get in front of things. I took that knowledge. I took my knowledge of technology [00:14:00] and I found myself by, and this is where I wouldn't say luck, but maybe accident. I found myself at the cusp of the personal computer industry.
[00:14:11] And by taking this, this kid and, and my willingness to go out and do things and my willingness to learn things and that I had no. There were no limits because I had no one imposing limits on me. I was, if I was going to impose a limit, it would be myself and I wasn't going to do that. So I, I could, I could see this new technology.
[00:14:31] I could appreciate it, understand it. I could also see the value of being ahead of everything else. And all of a sudden I had this gut feeling that said, these computers going to be something. So I, I took everything I'd made all the money I'd saved up. I took, I borrowed from my father, which was a really rare thing, cause he'd never lend me any money.
[00:14:54] But anyway, I managed to convince him that I should get a personal computer. And so [00:15:00] in 1978, I bought one of the first. Tandy computers. And I learned how that thing worked. I learned how to program it and I learned everything about it. And I got the bug and that led me into a whole slew of different smaller jobs that and electronics stores.
[00:15:18] And eventually I worked for a computer dealership. So as the years went by, there was always this thing looming in the future about this mythical computer called the IBM PC that was supposed to be coming out. And in 1980 I got my first taste of what that might look like. Having worked in a computer dealership, one of the guys I worked with who was a friend of mine, said to me, one day, he said, why don't we start a business?
[00:15:43] Well, what do you mean? He goes, well, why don't we go and rent some office somewhere and get when these computers come out, let's be the first guys in the country to learn these. I'm not sure I'm game. I didn't care. So we did, and I quit my job and he quit his job. And we [00:16:00] went down to the bank and borrowed a couple of thousand dollars and got a office and then waited for these computers come out.
[00:16:07] They came out. Now we got first in line, we bought a couple of these machines. Rest is history. I rode that wave because I, I mean, here's the thing. I rode that wave. It's Freudian, you can see how. That term applies to where I come from and where I was going. I was always ahead of what was happening next.
[00:16:29] I was the, what the Canadians would call skate, where the puck, the puck is going, I think is the term. I was that kid and I didn't have anybody stopping me. So I started to find myself as being one myself and my, my buddy, we started being the only game in town that knew how these machines work. You could program them.
[00:16:48] And the next thing I've got businesses and government departments knocking on our door. We're a couple of kids. I must've been 19, 20 years old about now. And we've got forensic [00:17:00] science labs calling us up and giving us work, fortune 500 corporations, the attorney General's department, my city defense contractors.
[00:17:08] I've got city council offices. I've got everybody coming to me and there's only. Two of us. So we had to hire people. And the next thing, you know, we've got like six guys working for us with the same sort of passion and hunger to learn this stuff. And that went on for five years until eventually we sold the company.
[00:17:26] And that was my first little foray in that, but that was just, just getting started. Anyway, that's where it all starts.
[00:17:35] Scott Maderer: [00:17:35] So, you know, the lesson from that again is. Cause you, you said, you know, there was a little bit of an accident of you were in the right place at the right time, so to speak. But at the same time, I think if you'd been at a different time, it may not have been personal computers, but your mindset was such that you were looking for.
[00:17:58] Scott Maderer: [00:17:58] the next thing coming? How [00:18:00] can I get in front of this and how can I turn it into something? You know, that aligns with my passion, aligns with my interests, but also. I can provide a service. I can do things for others and they're going to pay me for it, you know? So I think in a different day and time, it may not have been personal computing, but do you think you would have found something different?
[00:18:20] Myles Wakeham: [00:18:20] absolutely. I, I look for in things and I think I did discover that I was a bit of a, an addict to systems, which probably is what drew me into software development. But what I also realized is that when I was five years old, my mother stuck a violin under my chin and told me I was going to be a great musician.
[00:18:40] And I didn't realize. How easy that was because I happened to be blessed with being able to be a musician. And before I, I mean, before I finished, I guess would be the equivalent of elementary school. I was in the junior Philharmonic orchestra in my S in my city. It, it wasn't intentional. It [00:19:00] was a side thing you did at school to try to get out of having to do math or something.
[00:19:04]I did music and it was so easy. And I think that that. I started opening up at a very young age, a sense, a sensitivity and that sensitivity to, I guess we have that sort of right brain left brain thing going on and all of this. And I had this weird system where both sides of my brain wanted to be dominant.
[00:19:26] Sometimes it was the. Pragmatic problem solving left side of my brain that wanted to, to be the controller of me. And other times it was the right side that wanted to be the sensitive, warm feeling, musician type artistic guy. And I was always battling. And to this day, I still battle with these extremes because they're both very, very strong elements of me.
[00:19:50] And I started to work out that I could take the sensitivity that comes from. Being a musician, being an artist, being able to sense [00:20:00] things that were not being presented back to me in sort of rational form. And I could take that sensitivity and apply it to the left side of my brain, which was the ability to solve problems.
[00:20:12] So if I could go out there with that sensitivity and sense something and then apply the problem solving side of my, my brain to solving that thing. There isn't necessarily even here yet. I could then also be ahead of it. And those are, these might seem like very high level psychological, spiritual, whatever you want to call it traits, but they've been reliable.
[00:20:41] I all my life I've been able to rely on these simple. Tenets that are part of me. And so I need to do was to be presented in a place where there was opportunity and to draw upon these things and the answer is present and it's very simple. It's just a matter of. [00:21:00] Not having fear to be willing to go where you sense there's opportunity and to pull these resources upon you and then to deploy them.
[00:21:11] And the answer is just stop pulling out on their own. And that's what I started to do. I did that at the end of the the time I had this software company, one of our clients was a submarine manufacturer. I ended up writing a big billing system for them. It was something that I was the only person who knew how to program Macintosh's at the time.
[00:21:31] And that was they, they decided to outfit 500 people with max when there was no software for it. I couldn't understand why they do that, but whatever I could write software, I could take care of it. So I wrecked their billing system for a five sorry, $50 billion defense contract. I was 22 years old.
[00:21:49]But. I didn't know any better. No one told me I shouldn't do it. I just said, all right, I'll learn this. So I sensed what they needed. I documented and [00:22:00] codified it. And I engineered that. And in three, four, five months they were sending invoices to the Navy. I mean, it was, it wasn't hard. Again, nothing told me I couldn't do it until I would realize, Hey, I can't do this a bit.
[00:22:13] Not try. But I didn't, no one told me that. So I just did it well, anyway, at the end of that, they offered me a job and I said, I want a job. Last thing I want is a job. But they said, well, we'll give you a secret clearance. I'm like, Ooh, that sounds like James Bond. Right. All right. Yeah. Okay. Count me in. And so I went ahead and worked in the logistics and started building life support systems and, and ship to shore.
[00:22:40] Telemetry systems for submarines. And, and at that time it was 23, 24, something like that. And then I got bored with it, to be honest with you. It wasn't that that was something that was complicated. And I, I just was, no, it was just retail government, right. It was like every, it was your [00:23:00] document, 50 pages of work to do.
[00:23:02] Five simple tasks and it, to me, how, how does that mean? Can you say it's not so many anybody's problems here I'm writing about it. That wasn't my job. So eventually I I built up all this paid vacation leave and a friend of mine said, do you want to go to Hawaii for a vacation? I said, sure. So we got to get on a plane to go over there.
[00:23:24] I meet this girl, right? I'm 24. He is old. I think 25 at the time, she's from Los Angeles. I'm from Australia. Anyway, we fell in love, you know, the whole story. And the next thing you know, I find myself in California and so I get there and I didn't know what to expect. I was just there to see her. I had no idea why I was even in the United States.
[00:23:45] I mean, it just happened to be that way. And as it happened, one thing led to another, we ended up getting married. And one of the things that happened with us, immigration, it certainly did at the time, was that if you were changing your status from being a, a tourist [00:24:00] into being a a green card holder or a married person, you can't leave the country until the paperwork's been processed.
[00:24:09] So here I am in California on the phone, talking to my boss in the submarine place going look, I'm sorry, boss. I'm quitting. I can't come back. I'm talking to my friends saying, can you sell my car? Can you, you know, I'm talking to my landlord at the down there and I'm saying, look, I'm sorry. I can't not coming back, not coming back.
[00:24:31] Right. And and that B game became a journey of, Oh, look, I'm in a new place. I better learn how to survive a better, find a job. The hard part about that was you go into any employer in Southern California and you say, Oh, hi, you know, I'm this guy, I've just started companies that I've done this, and I've done this with the IBM PC.
[00:24:54] And I was kind of like the, the early guy in that whole thing. Oh yeah. And I wrote this billing system for $50 [00:25:00] billion corporation and they look and they go kid, get the hell out of my office. You're full of it. And I was like, no, no, no, trust me. I mean, I can't validate anything. Because I'm on, that was all done on the other side of the planet.
[00:25:13] So the next thing you know, I literally did try, I think it was about 22 interviews. And no, every time, no, no, you, you, you don't have a college degree that matters. You don't have this, you don't have that. It's like, yeah, but, but I've done. Okay. And so I took this low grade, eventually took this low grade tech support, a job in a small business in Southern California running a little Unix computer for this company.
[00:25:44] And then I got a chance to show what I can do. And they started seeing what I could do and it was like, Oh, Oh, okay. So anyway, the word got out. And the next thing you know, I get calls from these headhunters wanting to. Send me all over [00:26:00] the country and consult and all this sort of thing. And one of the guys that I met when I was working for the submarine corporation was a very high level guy in the software quality and software engineering.
[00:26:13]Business. And he was set on the board of Canadian Mellon university and it was a big, big wig, but I didn't know that he was just a friend. I met him because he helped validate all the work we were doing on the boats. And he says to me, why don't you come and do a couple of consulting gigs for me, I'm like, sure, not a problem.
[00:26:30] What do you need? He says, well, I'm going to send you to Philadelphia, to the GE defense and aerospace group up there. And you're going to teach him how to do you know, a high level. What they call computer aided software engineering. And so I did that and our next thing, you know, he's this kid telling these big wigs.
[00:26:48] Doing secret stuff how to write software. And then that led to working for banks and working for healthcare and working for this and that. And as a consultant and eventually one day I [00:27:00] got asked to go to a startup in Southern California and see if I wanted to do some work there. And they were in this trailer.
[00:27:08] They, they didn't even have their buildings built. I mean, it was like they they'd got these mobile trailer things and parked him in a, in some land they bought in this parking lot. And I go in do this interview if that's what you call it. And I'm not sure if they thought, well, I wonder if he thinks that we're legit and I'm thinking, I wonder if they think if I'm legit and in the end we got along pretty well.
[00:27:32] And so I became one of the very first consultants for this place. I was in the very, very early days. And that led into a job six months later because they, they offered me a down payment on a house, which for a newly married guy in Southern California and the cost of real estate there, I was like, yeah, bring it on.
[00:27:50] I'll take it. What you, what do you need? So that company was company called Amgen and today Amgen's the world's largest biotechnology [00:28:00] corporation. And when, when you get a job there, because again, they didn't, they didn't even have approval to sell a product yet. Right. They had to give a hell of a lot of an incentive to, for somebody to come and want to work there.
[00:28:11] So they gave away as is traditional in California, probably everywhere else. These days stock options, lots of stock options. So I got a lot of stock options and average salary wasn't much, but I really wanted the house. That was my thing. Anyway, I stayed there for about five years because the longer you stayed, the more the stock options vest.
[00:28:31] And eventually they had, they, they got approval for their product only about two weeks after I started working there. And they went from a company with these little mobile trailer offices into a big corporation with offices, big multi-story buildings everywhere, and kind of like a Microsoft level, you know?
[00:28:53]Huge place and went to from, from basically zero sales to $3.8 billion [00:29:00] sale in the first year. And I was like, wow. And the here's the cool thing about it. I actually was able to convince my boss and her boss all the way up the chain. If you give me the freedom for me to build my own little business inside of your organization.
[00:29:20] I will write the software that you've always wanted and guarantee all I need is budget and a team of guys who are willing to do it. And don't tell don't don't in any way. Tell me how to do what I do. Just you wait and let me produce the output and this company, let me do that for years. I built this team of like, Epic software developers who produced great work for this company and assisted them becoming the company they are today, back in those days, I'm sure a lot's happened since I left, but you know, that's, that's the freedom they gave us and I respected that and I took advantage of it and, [00:30:00] and then everything was looking really good.
[00:30:02] And one day, and this is where everything sounds like an upward journey at this point. Right? Well, In about 1995, I got a phone call from my hometown in Australia. Your mum's been in a car accident. I'm like, Oh no, what happened? I don't know, but you better come. So I'm like, okay. So I get on a plane back to Australia and Yeah, she had a pretty bad car accident.
[00:30:28] But what I didn't realize was that the reason why she had a bad car accident was that she was suffering from early stage dementia, which no one saw coming. And all of a sudden I realized that I could not abandon her. She was fine when she was able to be self-sufficient that she wasn't anymore. So I said to my wife we're going to have, I have to, I have to move back to Australia.
[00:30:54] And she's like, Oh, that sounds like a great idea to me, crocodile Dundee and all that. I'll [00:31:00] get in a plane, I'll come with you and we'll have a great life. And you know, so we did, and we, we, we went there, I sold all my stock options to Amgen and I literally had more money than I could ever spend ever. I thought that was the end of me.
[00:31:14] I was 32 years old. I thought I've retired. Right. This is retired early before they even had a name for it, but I done this thing and I thought, wow, what a success? So we bought a home, bought a house with cash and, and it was fun well for about three or four months. And then, and then all of a sudden, my wife sort of thinks like, is this as good as it gets?
[00:31:42]He's not working. Is there going to be what, what's the next adventure we're going to be doing now? And I'm like, well, right now, okay. My job is to make sure my mom's under control and that everything's stable and I have to be here for her. And look, I realized that there [00:32:00] aren't the same prospects in Australia that I had when I was in Southern California and flying all over the place consulting for these big corporations.
[00:32:08] And it really didn't have big corporations there. I was like a big fish in a small pond. And it wasn't a good fit for me, but at the same time, I didn't care because my mission was to look out for my mum. And she ended up losing faith with the whole thing and the next thing you know, she left.
[00:32:26] And so I went from being this sort of successful. 32 year old, retired early with more money than he can spend living in this beautiful freehold house. The whole bit to divorced lost half my wealth. The house had to be mortgaged for paying her half out. And next thing you know, I was basically, I had some money left, but most of it had gone up in flames with lawyers and divorce proceedings and selling things, fire sales of things that shouldn't have been filed, sold, and stuff like that.
[00:33:00] [00:33:00] So I, I was, I was pretty depressed and towards the end of 1995 all my friends back in Australia sort of came and visited me from time to time. And so me living in this house in the dark, basically just sort of in this depressed place going you shouldn't have to spend Christmas like this.
[00:33:22] How about this? You have the Chrysalis with your mom, like you will. And then straight after that, we're all going to go and drive to the gold coast, which is that a two day drive from where I lived in Australia. And we're going to have new year's Eve there. You better come along. We don't want you sitting around here lonely and depressed and, you know, come with us.
[00:33:42] And I'm like, okay, whatever, you know. So we ended up jumping in a car and driving for two days up there and spent, you know, new year's Eve up there. And we were driving back and on the second day of the driving my friend took the first shift, the first morning shift. And by about lunchtime, we stopped had [00:34:00] lunch.
[00:34:00] And then I'm sorry. No, I'm wrong. I took the first shift. On the second day we stopped for lunch. We had lunch, I handed him the keys and I said buddy, it's your turn. We're in the middle of Outback, new South Wales, which is like there's nothing out there. It's just, it's scrub, scrub, land, eucalyptus trees and, you know, crappy roads.
[00:34:20] But we had to go through this to get back to Adelaide and on the way back we got about 20 minutes into the journey I settled into the back seat of the car, started reading a book and he went over the crest of a Hill. And I wasn't really paying much attention until I heard this big splash.
[00:34:38] Like what the heck? I mean, this is Outback. Australia is like desert. It's not, there's no spot. You're not going to
[00:34:44] Scott Maderer: [00:34:44] run into a pond right
[00:34:45] Myles Wakeham: [00:34:45] now. Exactly. I mean, maybe on the coast, but not inland. And then I look up and we're in this Lake and he's traveled into this Lake at like, 80 mile an hour. I mean, high speed.
[00:34:57] And if you've ever sat on [00:35:00] the side of a Lake and with a stone and you sort of throw it across and it bounces where you, you realize that there's no one, there's no friction that slows down that stone, it keeps going at a pretty decent pace when it hits the water, because there's really nothing slowing it down.
[00:35:17] Well, that's exactly what his car did. So we, when we hit we, we ended up We had a head on collision with a car waiting on the opposite side. What had happened was there was a wash from a flash flood that had occurred. We didn't know that he went over the crest, hit the water, bounced over the water and, and head on into an RV coming in the opposite direction.
[00:35:38]It killed his girlfriend who was sitting in front of me in the car. He had some injuries. I had really bad injuries. I, everything went black hose in kind of like a coma state for awhile. When the guy had to cut me out of the car and they kind of wake you up a little bit of somehow I woke up and I realized that I was still alive and I still had the use of all my limbs and everything.
[00:35:59] So [00:36:00] that was good. But there's this jewels of life on the side of the car pulling me out and the guy there and my buddy's girlfriend lying on top of me. And I said to the guy. Help her, right. Don't worry about me. I'm fine help her. But he just ignored me and it didn't, I didn't realize until they pulled me out of the car and put me on a stretcher and threw me in the back of an ambulance to take me to the local country town country hospital that she, she was dead.
[00:36:29] And so she had died. I was in the, or they ended up putting me in one of those medical induced comas for about six days. When I woke up, I was back in my hometown. They airlifted this back there and I started coming to grips with my injuries and what I had, and I'd lost pretty much, most of the left side of my body particularly from the shoulder down.
[00:36:51]As the car is sort of spun after hitting head on it spun and the side of the car whacked itself into the side of the, the RV. And [00:37:00] that was the side I was sitting. So it took a lot of damage and didn't realize at the time, just how much I still could use my hands. The nerves were not damaged, but my shoulder was shot.
[00:37:09] My arm was broken in six places. My elbow was shot. I was pretty much useless. I thought, well, Okay. So, you know, you take stock, I'm divorced, I've lost half of my I've lost half my money. I've nearly been killed in a car accident and this is happening in the matter of a few weeks, by the way. Well let's deal with this.
[00:37:35] Let's work out what we have to deal with here. And I just. Went through the process of healing and. The a unfortunate situation here was that you'd normally think that they put you through multiple surgeries and fix you up and everything it'd be good. But the reality was that my friend's girlfriend who died there, his, her parents were I mean, you can [00:38:00] imagine what they would be like.
[00:38:01]But they threw all of the blame on my buddy who was driving. And they ended up convincing a magistrate or, or somebody in, in law to charge him with negligent homicide. They wouldn't let me testify. Even at his court case on his behalf, because he did nothing wrong. This was an accident. It wasn't, I mean, it was forced mature, right?
[00:38:22] I mean, this is like an act of God. You've got water on a flash flood. How can he be responsible, but that didn't help them get over their, their pain and their suffering. So he copped it. And what happened was there was a standard practice back then that if the insurance company, which was actually a government insurance company that insures the vehicle for all of the People including myself.
[00:38:44]If there was a CA a criminal case on his behalf, they pulled all the insurance money. So they wouldn't pay for my, the, my care. They wouldn't pay for subsequent surgeries. They wouldn't pay for anything. It all came down on me. And [00:39:00] so that's where all my money disappeared to paying lawyers, paying medical bills, paying everything, and nobody would take responsibility for anybody else's work, because it was a criminal case involved.
[00:39:13] It was like a black Swan event for them. And for me, it was just. Nothing, nothing works. So that happened for years. And for years and years, I was disabled crippled. I going from one extreme of a high to one extreme of a low. And I wouldn't say I was suicidal, cause I'd never been in a situation where I felt like I couldn't get myself out of it, you know, but I just felt like this is about as low as it gets.
[00:39:39] Well, as it happened, I met another girl. We ended up getting married. Years later we had a daughter. And even though I couldn't still get any closure on this whole legal case we eventually in 1999, decided to move back to the United States because the.com boom was on and it was [00:40:00] calling my name.
[00:40:00] And so I went back there and that was great, but we had, no, I had no money. So I had a bag of clothes. My wife and our little 18 month old toddler girl. And I'm like, don't worry. I got this. So, so I get there, I look up all my friends who were still around and remember me, remember what we did back then?
[00:40:23] You know, that sort of thing. Next thing you know, I managed to score a consulting gig here and there doing some work and that worked for a while. And then the.com crash happened, which was How other story. But anyway at this point in time, we bought a house in Southern California on the advice of a friend of mine who was a accountant.
[00:40:43] Cause I was paying a lot of money in taxes. And shortly after that I lost all my consulting gigs. So here we go again. You go from one extreme to another, you, you, you end up now carrying around millions of dollars of debt that you didn't have before thinking that, you [00:41:00] know, Everything's fine.
[00:41:02] Thankfully I sold the house. Didn't lose any money on it. We ended up getting a big U-Haul and we moved to Arizona and that's where I've been ever since. So that's kind of a, the middle stage of the adventure. And then the final part of it, which leads me to where my, my life conclusions in my current teaching is.
[00:41:22]Was that after we got terrorism, China, we discovered ourselves in a place that had very inexpensive, real estate. And we had been we had actually bought some properties back in Australia after we had, we'd gone back there and after the 2000 period to see my wife's family and to see my mom had passed away.
[00:41:42] So at this point I was kind of free, but she still had family there. So we went back to see them and we discovered there was this property boom going on in Australia at the very early stages. And, and because the exchange rate of us dollars to Australian dollars was at the time extremely strong [00:42:00] one, us dollar was with two of their dollars.
[00:42:02] We started buying houses. So we did, we bought three, I think, three houses in outside of the city where we lived because I, while I was there and this again goes to this whole, I call it the surfer mentality. The, the looking ahead of yourself somebody told me that there was a massive government project to build a tunnel through a mountain that would interconnect the city with the the country suburbs.
[00:42:30] And I realized if I could buy the country suburbs before this tunnel got built, I'd do pretty well. So we couldn't buy the suburbs, but I could afford three properties. So I bought three properties. And at the time, you know, we're talking 50,000, $75,000 a property, not that much. And most of it was financed.
[00:42:49]I put a little bit of money down and we bought these properties and the tunnel got finished built, and the prediction paid off and it flourished. And next thing, you know, the [00:43:00] $50,000 house was worth $350,000. So it was like, okay, pretty cool. So we did that and we realized that we could do the same thing in Phoenix.
[00:43:10] So we started buying some properties in Phoenix and all of a sudden we went from coming into the country with nothing in five years later, we were millionaires again. And okay. Why? Because I'm looking at where the puck is going on ahead of the curve. Well, that's great until 2008 happened didn't I didn't see that one coming.
[00:43:33]And all of a sudden we lost a huge amount of a net worth fact. Everything we had in, in Arizona was pretty much whittled down to zero, but I still had these properties in Australia and Australia had changed the dynamic in Australia. They started selling all their natural resources to China. It bolstered their currency, it bolstered their economy.
[00:43:54] And all of a sudden Australian dollars were almost a parody with us. So I can take these [00:44:00] $350,000 properties sell off the payoff, the 50 K O ring take the 300 K, bring it into the us and pay off like settle all of my underwater assets that I had here. And there was still a ton of money leftover and That are realized on a sitting outside in the, under the veranda Pammy, a cup of coffee one morning with my wife.
[00:44:25] And I said, you know, people are going to recover from this 2008 recession. And the one thing that we both knew having grown up in a country where pretty much the buck stops on your desk and survival is. You're taught that. I mean, you're taught how to survive against snakes that will kill your spiders.
[00:44:45] It'll kill your jellyfish. That will kill you. If you, if you have that attitude, you kind of look to physiological needs for sure. Food, shelter, clothing okay. Studied Maslow's hierarchy of needs is sort of a psychological experiment in my younger [00:45:00] years. And I realized that it was kind of a pathway towards a self-growth.
[00:45:05]Self actualization, where you, you take care of all those basic needs, and then you gradually move yourself up the chain. And I felt like even in the co in a time of crisis, people are going to need a roof over their heads. So we took every dollar we had, and I went down to the County auctions and I was just buying foreclosures, like.
[00:45:28] Just like crazy. There's a property. I'll have it. There's another one I'll take that. I'll take that. I'll take that. Well, has it happens? My wife loves refurbishing properties. So we went in there and we did them up and we turned them into rentals. And two, three, four years later, they were worth five times what we paid again.
[00:45:49] So we had gone from, I go on the journey, a kid to being a millionaire, to being dead broke. To coming back, being a [00:46:00] millionaire to being dead broke again, to then coming back again and being a multimillionaire. And it was like, okay, I'm over this. Okay. I'm done now. I don't need to be doing this rollercoaster adventure anymore.
[00:46:15] I realize I've done it. Okay. And it's time to get off the train. And at that point I did and everything has been good. Since pretty much copacetic. And we raised our daughter, we put her through college. We did all the things that we were told by us culture. We both got our citizenships and we became Americans and we did everything they told us to do, and it didn't work and it didn't work.
[00:46:43] And I'm looking at it going well, I know from my own experience, what works, I know what I can trust that I've learned in my own life. I know what has worked for me, and I know what hasn't worked for me. I feel confident that I can get myself out of the worst possible situations. I've [00:47:00] done it before. I also feel confident that I can embrace myself and deal with people at any length, whether they be an outer work person on skid row to the CEO of general electric.
[00:47:12] I don't care. I can deal with anybody because I just treat them all as human beings with some respect at any level, it doesn't matter to me. And I also realized that I didn't come into this world chasing. The, the goal of being, you know, Jeff Bezos. I didn't want to be a billionaire. I wanted to have a life that was safe and secure, and I wanted to be able to have passion of what I did and I wanted to have control of my time.
[00:47:44] And, and so establishing those sort of that as a mission meant that. I needed to change the way I was doing things. And so I discovered that if I could look at all of my experience in [00:48:00] business and all my experience in, in systems and I could analyze why the U S system didn't work for 78% of the people who were living paycheck to paycheck.
[00:48:12]Because they were my tenants, right? Their success was my success. Cause they paid their rent on time and their failure was my failure. Cause I didn't get my rent. So I needed them to win for me to win. And so I sat down as a systems analyst with my right brain sensitivity. If you like in my left brain, pragmatic problem solving skills.
[00:48:34] And I sat down and worked out, why exactly are they not succeeding? And what I did was I did everything in reverse. And what that meant was I looked at the, their burn rates, their expenses, what it was costing or my own as well, but what it was costing anybody to live in the United States and realizing how much of that was wasted.
[00:48:58] There was spending money on wasted [00:49:00] things that didn't give them any, any ROI. There was no, there was no return on what they were doing. And at the end of the day, I sort of sat down and thought, if you could get this down to a reasonable level, And I'm not, I'm not saying you have to go and live like Gandy or anything, but you get yourself to a point where you're living a reasonable life.
[00:49:18] Then all of a sudden you take a lot of pressure off your bill, your need to spend your labor to generate income. And, and the problem here was that everybody was told subconsciously and consciously that in order for you to have wealth in the United States, you had to sell your labor. It's told to us in government, you know, news articles on the TV, like this guy's a job creator, or like, it's good for jobs.
[00:49:49] We need more jobs. No, what we need and more people who can pursue their calling and their passion. And if that means that they create businesses where they [00:50:00] need help and they need to employ people. So be it. And that's great for those that haven't yet begun that journey, but wouldn't it be better if everybody.
[00:50:08] Fulfilled that journey. And I started to my daughter who was graduating college, came to me and said she did a business major. I put her in there because everyone told me all these kids have to get a college degree. You know, it's, it's, it's part of the social mantra. She can't enter the middle class without the permission slip of a bachelor's degree or whatever.
[00:50:28] And so I just, I just said, okay, fine, whatever. Here's a hundred thousand dollars go go, you know, I paid cash for it. I mean, because, so therefore I had some. Some skin in the game here. I wasn't putting on debt or anything. I wasn't going to burden her with debt. I hate debt. And then I, when she came out of college, there's no jobs, there's no prospects.
[00:50:48] And I look at it, I go, okay, what's wrong here? Did she learn the wrong thing now? She's a business major. She's she's got a bachelor in business administration. She worked for any major [00:51:00] corporation. The problem is that. Everything was all about excelling your labor. And I never made my money selling my labor.
[00:51:10] I made my money solving problems for people, and I made my money buying assets, particularly real estate, but a lot of other things as well, I invested in data centers in the middle of the two thousands before there was a thing called the cloud because I saw it coming because the surfer mentality. And that did very well for me.
[00:51:32]In 2011, I had a guy working for me, a software developer in Bangladesh, who I was having an enormous problem, trying to pay him for his labor. And he suggested we try this thing out called Bitcoin. I bought a ton of it because at the time I had to wire money to Japan to buy it and then give it to him.
[00:51:52] So I just stocked up on this stuff. Only to find out that this became the, I bought it at [00:52:00] $7 each or something, and it's worth nearly 30,000 bucks today. And I bought a lot of it that, that might've been lock, but I didn't buy it because I was looking to speculate an appreciating asset.
[00:52:10] I bought it because I was trying to solve a problem. And the problem was how do I pay this guy without having to spend $50 in wire transfer fees to send him $200 of money to Dhaka Bangladesh? Again it's a solving a problem. And I think that if I could connect dots, it's about having the time having the vision, having the passion and not being stopped by having to report to a job on time and answer to a boss.
[00:52:41] You'd probably don't respect and sit in a cubicle. That's uncomfortable looking out the window. Wondering why the hell are you doing it? If that's the world that 78% of the population are dealing with, or even more than that you have to have a good reason to do it. And I sort of looked at well, why would people have a good reason to do it?
[00:52:59] And I thought, well, [00:53:00] maybe they want to retire. Okay. 32 year old me wanting to retire. How'd that go? It didn't go very well at all. And I should have known this because I saw my own father died two years after he retired. And I started seeing a pattern. Everybody was selling their present for a mythical future that never came.
[00:53:25] And then I looked at the statistics and they were really shocking, like 80% of people can't afford to retire at 65. And those that can, are relying on government assistance. I've never relied on one dime from the government. The government has been my enemy for most of the time. They're the ones who never paid for my medical care.
[00:53:46]And so I'm like personal responsibility here, guys, you don't need that. What you need to realize is if you are living a life where you take on debt at the age of 18 to get a degree, And then you [00:54:00] use that as a basis of limiting your options, because now you don't have any time you've got a corporate job or something and you you're limited.
[00:54:09] And you perpetuate that for the next 40 years on the myth that at 65, you'll have a big 401k, winning an IRAs or whatever else. And then you can go live in The Bahamas. The problem is. That statistics doesn't work like that. There was a study done by Boeing corporation, a number of years back, which I affectionately, they call the Boeing study and it was Boeing's ability to rank how much money they needed to keep in reserve for their pension program.
[00:54:40]Now it didn't, it's been. Attacked and chastised by the financial services industry. And when you understand why you'll know why they're an enemy of the study, but what Boeing discovered was that if somebody retired at the age of 55, they had an average life expectancy of think about 83 years old.
[00:54:58] And they were using [00:55:00] us males as the basis of their numbers. This was a study that I learned about actually through the UK, through the BBC. They also did the same. So they knew that somebody who retires at 55, they're going to fund their pension until probably 83. Then they look to somebody who retired at the age of 65.
[00:55:17] And what was shocking to them was they found that the average life expectancy of those people was only two years after they retired. They were dying at 67. And I thought, Oh, that's scary because that's exactly what happened to my father who did exactly the same thing. And just so happens. I was speaking to a group here in Phoenix the financial independence group here, and there were a number of people in the audience from all walks of life.
[00:55:42] And I, I told the story about this Boeing study and that everybody is banking their entire future on putting money away for this mythical end result this last quarter of their life. And very few people seem to be able to survive it. And the longer [00:56:00] you delay it, the less likely you can survive.
[00:56:02] And the lady after I gave this speech lady come up to the podium afterwards and she introduced herself and she worked for Honeywell corporation, a big defense contractor here in Phoenix, and she had retired herself and she saw, I used to be a, one of the CPAs, one of the head financial people at Honeywell.
[00:56:22] And she said, ah, we actually did the same study that Boeing did. And. We got the exact same numbers and that told me right now we're messed up. So that led me to, Oh, solve a problem. Let's analyze this. Let's work out. What happens. What I discovered was that you can have everything you want in life. If you stop selling your labor to get it.
[00:56:51] And that might sound like for somebody who's doesn't have a job or is hoping to get a job or thinks jobs or security or whatever. There [00:57:00] may be some truth to that for a lot of people, but it's an immediate limits or a governor if you like on what you can do in your world, because no, employer's going to let you go out there and change the world.
[00:57:12] No employer is going to let you go out there and find your passion. You're there to do a job. That's your contract with the employer. And if you have to give more than 50% of your waking hours to somebody to do it, what you've got left you're divvying up between your family, your own self and your own needs to relax and catch your breath again your hobbies, your passions.
[00:57:34] There's nothing left. You don't have anywhere near enough time to focus on what would actually free you from this. And that's by design. I think I've studied so many parts of macroeconomics in my time, understanding how money is created, where it comes from its intent and how it works. And basically how it doesn't really work anymore.
[00:57:59] And [00:58:00] I start realizing that. It is a, and this is not a us thing. It's the same in almost all other countries, certainly in the Western world. But every country out there doesn't want to have a deficit. They don't want to, they don't want to live in a world where they consume more than they produce.
[00:58:17] And yet in most countries, which we would consider to be first world or leading economic countries, they are in common consuming, more than they produce. And the way that they bridge that gap is with debt. And it's, it would be the same in a personal finance budget for a family. If you spend more money than you make, you got to bridge the gap and what do you do?
[00:58:38] You probably put it on the credit card. And this pattern is so defeating because it continues to create the scenario in which the person can never leave their job because they're already so encumbered. They have no flexibility to do it. What I started realizing was that if I could do life all over again, I was pretty happy [00:59:00] with how things worked out.
[00:59:02] It was a rollercoaster, but if I could, if I wasn't willing to do the level of extreme things that I did, but I wanted to have something simple, what can I do that would avoid this whole calamity? And I started realizing that if I bought real estate, when I was 22 and I let my tenants. Pay off the mortgage.
[00:59:21] And I put them on 15 year mortgages by the age of 37. If I had 10 properties, I'd never work another day in my life ever again. Well that that's sold to us on 3:00 AM infomercials, as you know, this is what you do, but no one does it. No one does it because they have they're encumbered with debt and they have no time to think.
[00:59:42] But if you can break that chain. Then you can do it. And what I discovered was that the way to break that chain is to live in some level of almost extreme frugality for a period of time. So you don't have debt and you can accrue money and save it. And then once you're [01:00:00] at a certain point, maybe $20,000 or so you start deploying that capital because it's not going to make any money on its own gone are the days where you got paid interest on your money.
[01:00:10] You need to deploy that capital. You need to deploy it fast and you need to put it into things that are inflation proof. Have you ever encountered anything you may have discovered in your travels called? The chap would index. Okay. Yeah, chaplain index.com is the website that gives all this, but it's an analysis by city in the United States of the actual rate of inflation based on the true things that we, as average people on the ground have to buy like food or medical insurance cost of a phone, bill gas in your car and cost of rent.
[01:00:46] And the average annual increase of a real cost is between eight to 10% per year. If that's what you have to make first, just to keep up with your devaluing currency, [01:01:00] then you better be making 14%. Well, I don't know too many investments, too many banks that will pay you that sort of money on a money market fund.
[01:01:08] And unless you want to go into high-risk investing, it's pretty hard to do it. The only thing which I know, which is low risk is real estate. So I do that, but I'm not a real estate guy. I'm a guy who says, look. Buy assets that pay you a dividend live off the dividend because you have a low burn rate as the assets appreciate.
[01:01:31] And the dividend goes up. And the difference between your burn rate and your dividend income starts to expand, raise your standard of living. Then don't do it before that. Or you're going to live in a deficit and what will the deficit do? It'll force you into debt and it will tie your hands. So you can never make these strategic decisions ever again.
[01:01:53] And if you do the math and falls a 22 year old kid, and I was able to start investing now in real estate by about the [01:02:00] age of 40, I could retire as a multimillionaire and never work another day in my life. And that's the key. Because most people who got forced to take a job because they got debt, they got student loans or whatever they did.
[01:02:16] They ever get a chance to hit, to find their passion, to pursue their calling because their time was stolen from them. And it wasn't stolen from them. It was stolen willingly. They gave it up for the pursuit of the fancy car and the nice apartment. And the student loan debt and the mortgage and everything else, which we think we value as part of what we think is a successful position in society.
[01:02:47] But it's an enslavement. And unless you can see it as that, you start realizing there's no such thing as you can consume more than you produce. You must produce more [01:03:00] than you consume, and then you can start having nice things, but you can't do it the other way round. And I don't want to, it sound like I'm the old guy, going on about it.
[01:03:10] Cause the kids don't want to hear this. They want to have their new iPhone or whatever, get that. Don't get a second job and then you can have it. But don't try and get it before you can't have it. You cannot consume more than you juice. And that's a simple, basic fact. It's something that I've always done.
[01:03:28] It is gotten me out of huge messes in the past, and it's become part of what a package of teaching, which I call financial sustainability. So
[01:03:41] Scott Maderer: [01:03:41] you talk about that, this idea of financial sustainability, living an unconstrained life and these sorts of things what is the kind of contrarian?
[01:03:50] And I think you just unpack some of it view that you teach as the idea of, financial sustainability versus this fire movement, the fi [01:04:00] financial independence, retire, early movement.
[01:04:02] Myles Wakeham: [01:04:02] Well, one thing that's different between the two principals is question of how much you're willing to give up control of your life to a party in financial, in the fire movement and the financial independence retire early.
[01:04:17] The idea is that you live frugally, you save 70% of your income. You build up enough cash assets and you start. Putting that asset into a Vanguard index funds or structured stock market investments and so on, which will work really well for you in a bull market, they will, but there's parts of this movement really only came out after the 2008 period.
[01:04:45] And the principle of doing that works extremely well in bull markets. It really does. I know many friends of mine who have done that. They've gone out and they've. Amassed enormous amounts of wealth speculating and stock markets and so on. And I [01:05:00] tried to tell them, do you not, you are not around in 1987, huh?
[01:05:03] You weren't around in 2001. And the.com crash. Half of them went around in 2008 and they haven't seen the worth go down. They've only seen it go up. And although one could argue that over a long period of time, stock market always tends to rise at a pretty stable level. The problem with that is the currency is being devalued all the time.
[01:05:28] And because the currency is being devalued all the time and every time that there's a new stimulus bill in government or a multi-trillion dollars, but additional debt is taken on by government officials, they will tell you we're not raising taxes or no, they don't have to. All they have to do is devalue the currency.
[01:05:49] All they have to do is hyperinflate. And all of a sudden, you go to buy a steak at the supermarket that was $10 one day, and it's now $50. And I'm not, I'm not saying this is going to [01:06:00] happen. Actually, I am saying this is going to happen because the problem right now is that you cannot consume more than you produce unless you fund it and you fund it by debt.
[01:06:10] And that debt gets devalued because you want it devalued as original position of what it was when you borrowed it, not as future value. So the only way that you're doing that is to devalue the currency, to inflate the currency, see which is a form of tax. And in soaps that people start putting the right words for it.
[01:06:28] They don't realize what's going on. Well, the fire movement, if you saved a million bucks and you put it away in Vanguard, index funds, whatever you put them in and all of a sudden the market. It goes into a decline, like a bear market, we'll call it and it doesn't have those 10%, 12% annual returns. And your entire life is based on a drawdown of say 3% of what you've got in the bank that you're going to live on.
[01:06:57] I don't know, $30,000 a year. [01:07:00] And all of a sudden inflation kicks in and now you need $60,000 a year. Not only do you have to draw down 6% of that million dollars. Now every year, you're also dealing with the fact that everything got more expensive and the value of your currency is devalued again. And give it five years, give it 10 years and you're out of money.
[01:07:20]You're DOI. And at this point you haven't worked for five, six, seven years. And what are you going to do then? And I know it sounds very doom and gloomy, but I have not come up with a strategy that can mitigate that risk. Because unless, I mean, blind Freddy can see you can't carry $28 trillion worth of debt and another hundred trillion dollars worth of unfunded, future liabilities for Medicare, social security and everything else.
[01:07:48] Without the bill coming due at some point, and those that are at least able to pay the bill will be those that aren't working and relying on giving giving their, their capital to [01:08:00] a counterparty and trusting that they will pay them back something at a level of they have it there. The difference between financial sustainability in that model is that I never advocate deploying capital into things that you don't have control over.
[01:08:15] And real estate is something that you can control. You can talk to your tenants, you can understand their situations. You can learn to paint a wall. You can buy a building, you can work with your contractors. You can meet with the city for zoning. You can understand all these things because it's actually very interesting.
[01:08:35] And yet it only takes maybe 5% of my time to manage what have we got about 25 properties. And yet I can live on the rents and never have to worry about inflation because if the inflation goes up, my rates go up and what's the worst that can happen. I die and I leave 20, 25 freehold properties to my daughter.
[01:08:58] I mean, what am I going to do [01:09:00] if I, if I put a million dollars in a Vanguard fund, and then I. I can't draw it down. I have to draw it down at this level to survive. So I start eating into the capital and it's getting lower and lower, lower, lower, lower, but I'm like, that's okay. I only need to live another 10 years before I'm going to die naturally.
[01:09:16] So let's just hope there's more of it left before I, kick the bucket. Yeah. Well, not going to get much to your kids. I hear. Not that that's really a goal, but why would you kill the goose that lays the golden egg buy a piece of real estate? It goes up in value and you live on the rent.
[01:09:39] Scott Maderer: [01:09:39] so what's coming up next for you as you kind of work on this journey yourself and start the be unconstrained movement and all of that. What's what's coming down the pike.
[01:09:49] Myles Wakeham: [01:09:49] Well, I think the hardest part for me in the short term is to try to explain this in such a way where people get it. And it's hard.
[01:09:57] I'm an immigrant. I came to the [01:10:00] country years ago. With an, a completely different upbringing on what was important and valuable. And I can't shake that. That's part of me. And so I've had to learn how to adjust what I've learned and explain these lessons to people in a way that doesn't shock them and to most people yeah, I am kind of a contrarian because I don't think the way that the social mantra.
[01:10:27]Has taught them to, it takes an enormous amount of effort to try to undo that social mantra. And yet, if you look at a common factor amongst people who are becoming new millionaires, and I'm not talking about those that made their money in stocks or financial services, I'm talking about people who came to this country and created something like an Elon Musk.
[01:10:49] The common factor you'll see with the majority of these people is they're immigrants. And those people are easy to explain this. In fact, I don't need to tell them this. They know it already. [01:11:00] It's the people indoctrinated in the society's culture now, which isn't working that has to go through this kind of five stages of grief, you know, and you've got to be patient and you've got to allow them to go through the, the denial and the anger and the whole.
[01:11:20] The whole thing to get to the other side where they're willing to listen. I will continue to go out there and tell the stories and I will promote the methodology and I will explain the systems and I will do everything I can, but I'll never tell something, somebody to do anything that I haven't done myself.
[01:11:39] And that means that. I need to participate as well as be a teacher. I'm an applied teacher. I want to be more of a living example of this and not somebody who's academically or intellectually talking about something that somebody is saying. Yeah, that's all good in a book, but this is how it works really.
[01:11:59]And that means there's a [01:12:00] lot of work for me to do, to try to help bring this cause forward. I also realized that. It's a global cause it's not just an American problem. It's a Canadian problem. It's a UK problem. It's a German problem. It's an Australian bar. It's a problem everywhere. Because banks are not boarded and limited by borders and the methods of banks using debt as a way for them to actually use human beings as their assets to generate interest and tool, perpetually for little or no effort on their part.
[01:12:32]I get it. I'd like to use real estate for that personally, because I don't want to subject human beings to be my asset that I'm trying to explore it. That's just me, but it doesn't appear to be an issue for those in the boardrooms at Deutsche bank or wherever. So therefore I have to battle against that as well.
[01:12:52]I realized there's a lot of countries out there in the world that have enormous potential and opportunities. And also [01:13:00] see that there's a lot of things that have happened in my absence in Australia, which I go back and see, and I'm not proud of a lot of it were had to do with selling out their, their country's wealth to foreign interests.
[01:13:15]And I want to make sure that. As other countries start realizing that macroeconomic issues are really microeconomic issues on everybody's part that maybe I can play a role in helping underprivileged countries and people in villages in central America or places like that, for them to learn that they can have the same life I had.
[01:13:38] And it doesn't require them to have the college education, but it requires them to learn to be Sensitive to be able to see an opportunity and to not have fear. And that means that often they have to overcome their own social upbringing, an ideology to break free of it as well. So yeah, that's kind of my calling.
[01:13:59] It's going to be [01:14:00] a lot more of my teaching here, but a lot more of my traveling and teaching overseas as well to try to, everybody wins kind of attitude.
[01:14:09] Scott Maderer: [01:14:09] So you can follow miles on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org. He's also over on LinkedIn, active as Myles Wacam and that's M Y L E S a w a K E H a M.
[01:14:27] Of course I'll have links to all of that over in the show notes as well. Miles. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listener?
[01:14:34]Myles Wakeham: [01:14:34] No, I just, the only thing I probably didn't touch on that much, which is something that a lot of my listeners and my, and people in our community, in the finished sustainability community tell me about which is the concept of them embracing and surpassing their own fears.
[01:14:51] And I want people to realize that there is, there is no dragon on the other side of the Hill. That they should be, you know, everyone should be [01:15:00] streetwise and cautious, but that wisdom comes from participation and you've got to go out there and do something. Don't sit in what we in the computer industry, call analysis paralysis, where you sit there scared to do something that might benefit you and your family's life, give it a shot.
[01:15:19] And for anybody who is starting out and doesn't have anything, and they think that, you know, they're in the worst possible place. I'll tell you this. If you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose. So go out there and give it a shot.
[01:15:38] Scott Maderer: [01:15:38] Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode. Please, please do us a favor. Go over to inspired [01:16:00] stewardship.com/itunes rate.
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