How to live a life on your terms

“The truth is that you can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once” John Maxwell.

Who doesn’t want to live a life on your terms!  “Do what you want, when you want and with whom you want” by Tony Robbins.    The fact is, however, there are only a few who can actually make it a reality.


Let’s discuss the facts I observe how we spend our time on daily basis.  During weekdays, we spend nearly 80% of our waking hours at a job and getting to and from one, and the remaining time with our family and loved ones.  Some of us may not even have the luxury of having dinner with the family during the weeknights due to demanding work schedule.

I remember when I was working at a corporate job.  I would be lucky to have dinner on daily basis with my husband because both of us spent most of our time at work and the only time we have together started Friday night to Sunday evening.

Have you looked around you and have a similar observation?   We get up, go to work and then come home exhausted and ready to go to bed; repeat the same schedule from Monday-Friday and sometimes you also bring work home to do after dinner or on the weekend.

Did you enjoy that life?  Maybe not, 51% of US populations are not happy at work.    But why we still keep doing the same things for many years.    It’s not your fault because we got our education from the school that never taught us how to have a career that allows us to make a great living and still give us the time freedom to do things that can eventually give us a balance between work and life.

Have you seen a line chart showing the working years of our lives?

Most of us graduate from a college of age 22 and then work until 65 then retire.  We spend about 43 years working and, who knows, you may have a good retirement account at the end.   It’s sad to read about how many people are still working after their retirement age and this article explains well in detail.

I am sure after you read this article, you will think carefully to plan for your retirement years early so that you will not going back to work at the age of 70’s or 80’s.    Can you imagine spending majority of our lifetime working,  and at the end, we still have to worry about our finances that fund our retirement.

Early career trend

Over the years, I have read so many personal development books and am glad that these books helped me early on to figure out what truly matters in my life.

The school never taught me how to figure out what truly matters in my life and then find a career that can provide a happy life with meaningful work.   I was just like you…following the crowd.   I had a 2-week vacation a year and 11 national holidays.  That means a lot of us work 48 weeks a year.   Do you know that you missed out so much out of LIFE?   Especially, when you started out in your career, you will work extra hard and long hours at work to prove yourself to the company that you work for so that you can have a consistent yearly pay raise and a promotion.   If not, you will be behind with the trend.   I remember I always arrived to work early and was also the last person to leave.   In addition, I sat around with co-workers who have been at the same company for 30-40 years.  I did not want my life to be the same so I tried hard to ‘speed up’ my career and get a better position with better pay, so I can save away more into my retirement account.

It’s harder to plan your career path when you work for someone else.   Your pay raise has a cap yearly and also you will have to prove yourself with consistent results so that you can have a chance for a promotion.

The bottom line is that when you work for someone else, your role and responsibilities, as well as your income, are constrained.

The best way for us to be in control of our income is to create a business that you know you’re passionate about and get paid well for doing it.

Start a new business that you’re passionate about and also give you a meaningful work.

There are many people ended up doing work that is completely different than what they studied in college, not necessarily by choice but rather due to lay off or company downsizing.   They ended up throw in the towel from doing something that they love and then eventually get paid well for doing it.

Find your passion

It takes guts to leave a secured paying job, despite the statistic of  51% of working people are not happy with their job because they’re there to make a living instead follow their heart and passion to do something that they love.     A lot of us choose a career based on the title, income and also status, but we never actually ask a deeper question whether it is a field that will make you happy at work in a long run, or if your current work will give you a life that you want.

What if you figure out what you love and then invest all your time and energy to become your own boss, set your own schedule and get paid well doing it.

Be in control

Most of us do not start a business because we’re scared of the unknowns.   Also even the time it will take to succeed.When you work for someone else, you will have a lot of unknowns. Your job may not be there tomorrow when you come to the office like I did.  Besides, you will spend 45 years working for someone else anyway but there are a lot of unknowns whether you will get a pay raise or a promotion yearly.

Wouldn’t you want to control your income and time freedom? When you have your own business, you can control your income and can shorten your working years. Usually, when a company pays you $100,000 per year, they will expect that you will produce 3X of the salary that they pay you.   Wouldn’t you want to earn $300,000 on your own?

Start out as part-time on your new business

It’s wise to start a new business part-time while you still hold your full-time job in order to keep your finance intact.   A new business will take a lot of effort and time to get it off the ground.   It also requires some fund up front to set up.   Make sure you do some planning and work thru your plan.   I know a few good colleagues, who hated their jobs so they started to pursue another career on the side that matches their passion closely and gets it to a successful stage before they turn in their resignation.  All of their business took 3-5 years to produce income that can replace their 9-5 job.  

One of them was a part-time real estate developer while he had a full-time job as an architect.    With his own business now, he earns 5 X more than his 9-5 job. Think about how you can cut down 20 years of your working life as a way to keep yourself motivated to keep you going with your new business.    All of your effort and time will be paid off well at the end!

Put large sum of your income and INVEST EARLY

Most of the business owners who then eventually become an investor because they want a better quality of life. You can imagine that when you earn 3-5X more than your corporate job after 5-7 years of owning your business, you will have a lump sum of money to put it to work on your behalf.   One of the most effective ways for us to stop trading time for money is to have our money working for us…by way of investing.   You will have to acquire a new skill set to learn how to invest your money wisely and safely to produce income while you sleep.    Some will choose to invest in new start-ups and some will invest in a hard asset like income-producing real estate assets.   You just have to figure out which is more aligned with your passion so you can learn and become a master of it.    Whatever investment asset class that you choose, just make sure you will not lose money.   All investments have risks and the more you learn about each asset class, the more likely you will find ways to minimize your exposure.  As Warren Buffett once said, when you know what you’re doing, your risk is minimal.

The freedom of passive income

I personally prefer to invest in income-producing assets like real estate.  I know housing is a basic need for all of us as we all need a place to live or call home.    I’m grateful that I found it in early years of my life.  I learn it well and have been doing it for almost two decades.   I am still learning as the real estate market evolves.

How can real estate passive income provide you an opportunity to live your life on your own terms with abundance?  Real estate is a team sport and when you know how to put a good team together to run the business on your behalf, you will not need to be there in person to earn a very good income.   Your role as an investor is to keep buying only good real estate assets that produce monthly cash flow income and this income can be added to your golden number (income to pay for all your monthly expenses).  Once you build up your real estate portfolio that generates income exceeding your monthly expenses, you will not need to work.    You only work because you want to, not because you have to. A golden number does not have to $100,000 per year.  The average US monthly family.

Live your life without regrets

Life is very short, and we should do whatever we can to live without regrets.   If we spend 80% of our waking hours to make a living, we can miss out so much in life.  What if we can find a better way to make a living and still have 50% of our waking hours to do the things that matter the most: your health, relationship,  and social impact.  Wouldn’t you want to learn and travel down this path?   It’s an EPIC path.   I know you all can learn and live your life well.

Leave your comment below of what is it like to live a life on your terms?


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