In your early 20s? Relentlessly focus on these 3 things (Confessions from a 27-year old entrepreneur expat)

TL;DR — I regret how I spent my early 20s. If you're 18-25, you should be relentlessly focused on these things – location independence, financial freedom, and global mobility.

The interests, hobbies, habits, and routines of my early 20s didn’t really reflect where I wanted to go.

I was adrift. Aimless.

Of course, in the moment I didn’t recognize it. I would’ve made immediate changes. But now I do.

In this short Freedom Files article, I’m talking through 3 major regrets I have from my early 20s and how I’d do things differently to make the most of my time, have incredible amounts of fun, and set myself up for a lifetime of success.

Perhaps you’ll learn something and you’ll avoid heading down the wrong path 👍

1. Build a location-independent income stream (or two)

Man, I wasted a lot of money on booze 😅 … as I imagine many early 20s guys do.

Granted, I had a booming social life, and I still maintain a ton of those relationships today. But what if I saved a bit more money and invested it sooner in either a passive income source like index funds, real estate, or Bitcoin (my personal fav) – or in myself.

Today, I realize just how important location-independent income streams are. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I mean either a remote job or a scalable remote business that you can administer from anywhere in the world.

If you’re serious about wanting the freedom to do what you want when you want where you want, location independence is a must-have.

And if you’re curious for my recommendations, go somewhere where you have tremendous arbitrage between what you earn and what you spend. In other words …

Earn dollars. Spend pesos.

I wish I’d spent more time in my early 20s laying this foundation for a sovereign life.

Who knows – By your early 30s, you could have multiple growing online businesses that don’t require your time but maybe a few checkins per month. That’s the life.

2. Build equity

This article and the following diagram changed my life forever. And I wish I had taken it seriously sooner.

Ladders of Wealth Creation

Essentially, I realized after reading it that my most precious resource is my time. And what sucks about time is that you can’t get more of it. It’s a scarce resource.

But money? Money is abundant. Start a business and you’ll learn quickly that corporations and wealthy people throw their money around like it’s pocket lint.

Exchanging your time (scarce) for money (abundant) is a bad trade.

This is why building equity is crucial and why you should prioritize it as soon as possible.

  • Found a business
  • Invest in real estate
  • Make friends around the world
  • Build an audience
  • Create helpful content

All of these activities add value to others’ lives and in turn increase value for you over time.

These assets grow. Interest compounds.

They’re strategic moves that pay dividends in ways I never imagined a decade ago.

My advice? Start now. The sooner you build equity in business, in relationships, and on the internet, the sooner you can reap the rewards.

3. Travel purposefully

This ain’t just some bucket list item to “see the world.” 🙄

I’ve learned that travel is so much more than that. It’s a really good way to test and experiment which environments make you feel alive, free, and successful.

In my early 20s, I wish I’d approached travel more purposefully, with the goal of finding where I could see myself spending more time in the future.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking where you were born is automatically the best place for you to live the rest of your life.

Now that you work on the internet (see #1), you’ve opened yourself and all subsequent options to the whole world – not just your birth country.

  • Date across cultures
  • Learn a new language
  • Start a business with a “foreigner”
Girlfriend and I

Our generation is living (read: struggling) through a comfort crisis. Don’t restrict yourself to what’s familiar or comfortable.

Your ideal place is somewhere you’ve probably never even considered. But you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to realize that.

What are the odds that you were coincidentally born in the same country and environment that will make you happiest, most successful, and, ultimately, most free?

That’s a rhetorical question. Very low.

Looking back on my early 20s, I’d focused more intensely on these three areas. If I had, who knows where I’d be today…

Probably still on this cool journey I’m living now, but I’d probably have hit some milestones sooner.

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What should I cover next?

I have a question for you:

If I were to dedicate the next Freedom Files YouTube video to you and one challenge you’re facing right now, what would that issue be?

Typically, I get something like the following:

  • I can’t find a remote job
  • I don’t know the right long-term location for me
  • I don’t know how to start a business
  • I am a digital nomad but haven’t settled in a country
  • I pay way too much in taxes and need a solution
  • I want to invest in countries before they are popular

Let me know by emailing or DMing me. I’ll write about it publicly because many others likely have the same challenge as you do.

Location freedom is near

I started an online business, lived in 10 countries, learned a new language, bought international real estate, and got residency in Latin America – all within 2 years.

It’s possible! I made a checklist to help you live your relocation dream. 

I’ll send it to you ASAP. Just fill out the form below.