9 Answers to Your Toughest Financial Questions- Paying Taxes, Affording World Travel, and Making Money
Money is one of those unfair things. People spend most of their lives just struggling to get enough, or to be at peace with it. It makes people without it sometimes act like animals. They have to beg, be aggressive, and be reduced to less than their light for they are without, or covered in urine or so dirty and ‘sub-human’ like that it hurts. Yesterday, the rabbi here at Chabad in Katmandu told us the orphaned or run-away street kids sniff glue to not feel the hunger. Deeply unfair. I’ll tell you that story another day.
I’m reading a Hindu book about the fundamental principles to living a life with deep peace of mind. (I like Nepal already!). There it speaks of people who have their financial needs covered but still never have peace of mind. Well, we have a funny, complicated relationship with money, as many people do, and we’re becoming more intimate and clean and clear, slowly, and gratefully.
People often assume that we are rich. We are not. Not in that way. But we are in time and freedom and worry and family bonding and choices. Very rich. You have a lot of hard, no-frills questions about our finances. How do you afford this? Do you pay taxes? Do you work along the way? How can we do this too?
I’m here to answer them all. Blow my whistle baby, whistle baby. Here we go…. Nine Answers to Your Toughest Financial Questions- Paying Taxes, Affording World Travel, and Making Money
1- How Much Money Did You Have When You Left For Travel?
We saved up $50,000.
2- How Long Did It Take You Save For Your Trip?
We thought it would take four years. We saved our $50,000 in two (due to extreme determination and will power, and a few illogically drastic life changes). We began saving 25-50% of our income for the trip. It was quite a ride.
We paid off our student loans (which the US government now says we owe again, but we’ll take care of that when we can get home and maybe find some proof. Wish us luck with that one). So, we paid off our student loans and then our home mortgage. We left two years later, debt-free.
The entire process was probably fifteen years long, starting with reading Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. That was way before we had kids, still living in America, and working as ice cream truck drivers to pay our way through college. Kobi’s father also kept pounding into our skulls that we needed to save, save, save. He was greatly annoying at the time (as wise teachers often are), but his help in sculpting our spending habits is invaluable.
The best thing I can tell you here is our shortcut. We wrote a wonderful little $8 ebook giving people who asked us the best ten things we did to financially enable our dreams to come true. It’s a win-win. People who want to do it too gain the information it took us a decade and a half to learn (we’re slow learners), and, as a bonus, you get to feel good that you are further supporting our continued travel dreams. Win-win, for sure.
3- Did You Have Any Help Along The Way?
Yes, tons. In addition to angels who appeared and keep appearing and helping us all the time, there were two major people who helped us know that this was the time to go. My mother works for a major airline and put me for a year as her buddy. I got to fly the world for free, and because she gave us as many passes as we wished, the other four got to fly for a third of the price. Unreal! If God/the Universe/Fairies could give us a clearer sign to hit the road, I can’t imagine what it would be.
Kobi and I once sat down and played with the numbers. We believe that my mother’s generosity saved us at least $12,000. Huge! And my mother and father-in-law hosting us for almost two months, giving us free rent, food, and a car and gas was also unreal! We simply cannot quantify what that help gave us. We can never say thank you enough.
In addition, my kid brother then worked for an international hotel chain. He gave us some certificates that allowed us to stay in five-star hotels for the price of a motel. When we landed in major cities, this gave us a soft landing and let us feel so very pampered and civilized between our Survivor-like wild adventures.
4 and 5- How Exactly Did Save That Much? and How do you Travel so Cheaply?
It is not easy with all the temptations of modern life and family and friends still spending the way we used to. And it’s not easy to travel the world and be super frugal. These are truly excellent questions that have been answered so many times on the blog that it feels silly to say it again here. So, read these articles. They are great resources of just how things rolled. These articles really do say it best:
- The Ying Yang Of Living Without
- Five Tips to Ensure Cheap But Awesome Family Travel
- You Would Die If You Knew How Rich We Were
- How Do You Afford Traveling For So Long? Money Saving Tip #28: Other People’s Clothing
- 10 Nomadic Families Traveling The World, 7 Continents: How They Afford It
- How Do You Move From Place to Place Cheaply? Budget Transportation for World Family Travel
- Voluntary Frugality
- Poverty For Christmas
- How Do RTW Family Travelers Plan Their RTW Itinerary?
- How to Afford RTW Travel Transportation for Long-Term Family World Travel
- Ridiculous Ways To Save Money
- How Can A Family of Six Afford Long-Term World Travel? Cheap Rent. The Most Detailed Financial Break Down of Costs Around The World
- If I Only Knew Then
- Saving Money For Such A Dream
- How Cheap Can I Sleep
- Only The Very Special, Lucky, Rich, and Perfect (Like Me) Can Travel
6- How Much Money Do You Carry Around With You?
We still have $1000 of traveler cheques we left Israel with. Besides that hidden away really well, we had $1000 (USD) for two and a half years and decided to use it when we couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM’s in the Philippines and needed cash. Usually, we carry whatever the maximum the local ATM will let us take out and just use withdraw more when we need it. These next two weeks specifically, we’ll be pulling out more than we need so that we can have enough cash for our 2-4 weeks up in the Annapurna Circuit where there is not accept to money but we’ll need tons of cash to pay for our housing and meals.
7- Do You Earn Money As You Travel?
We have worked odd jobs, usually at hostels around the world which have not given us cash in hand but have given us exchange in goods. Usually online work or staff training in exchange for free or reduced rent. It has enabled months of super cheap travel. Before the blog had that prestige, we rented long-term, usually far from tourists and really cheap. Sometimes, we volunteered in exchange for reduced living costs.
Also, as of recently, due the kindness of other travel bloggers with more experience and kindness in their hearts, we have started making money mostly on the other travel blogs that Kobi runs. We are very blessed and so grateful- more than we can say.
8- Do You Still Save Money?
Yes, we try. Some months we save. Some months we don’t. It depends on if our house is rented in Israel, which has been great blessed income for most of the time we’ve been traveling. That’s $800 a month, minus repairs, real estate agent fees, etc. It also depends on how many sponsored links we’re able to sell for this travel site, but mostly for Kobi’s. It also depends on if we’re stationary and I have some coaching clients.
We’re looking into saving account options for we see that Paypal is not where we want our money permanently parked. We’ve opened IRA’s and hope to keep adding to those each year.
Again, we save tons in the creative, volunteer or exchange-of-services dance we do with hostels and dive shops around the world. That is priceless.
9- Do You Pay Taxes?
Right now, no, but we’re in the process of figuring out how to. We have not declared anything to anyone and are not sure who we’re supposed to declare to, but again, we will. When we return to Israel in the end of the summer of 2014/early Fall, we’ll have access to some of the stuff we’ll need and will be better able to consult some professionals regarding who, what, when, where, how, and if we owe money to any government for anything. I’m not sure how it all works but I do know a few things:
- that we have to sort out the US government student loan thing. I’d be unhappy to pay another $6,000 for a loan that we already fully paid. I hope we can find the paperwork they are asking for. I’m not too optimistic.
- that the idea of people paying the governments huge chunks of the money they make is hard for me to swallow. Depending on your income status, but in Israel, many people pay the government 50% (no, that’s not a type-o, fifty percent) of their income in taxes. Seems a bit off to me. Yes, we have a great socialized medical system and we have the military, but we won’t get into that.
- I also know that I don’t want to do anything illegal. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I like it that way. So, when we get back, we’ll figure out the laws of taxation to Israel and/or USA (both of which we hold passports for but neither we’ve been residents of since 2011 and 2004 respectively). It’s a funny thing when you travel and don’t really belong to any country for long enough to owe her anything.
Buy the Saving for a Dream ebook. It’s really good.
We’ll be going to buy gear with Ramesh tomorrow for the Annapurna Circuit. So excited! We sat down last night and looked at the map together. Kobi gave us the information the tour company told him so far. Today, Solai packed her bags (even though we have another ten days or so before we begin). We’re so psyched to start hiking that we’re finding it a lesson in self-discipline to wait for the film crew.
Thank you for letting me share my truths. If you like something here, if it stirs something inside of you, if it gnaws at your soul or whispers ‘maybe’ where you thought there was no hope, I am so very pleased. Leave me a comment and let me know your reactions, your thoughts. If you don’t tell me, I just never will know that you were here, and that would be a shame I believe. So, share this if you like it. Say something. Or, and I’m sincere, you can stay silent and just smile. now. yes. like. that. I can feel that too. At any rate, I am deeply honored if in any way I am helping you take the next step towards your dream.
Loving Nepal sooooo much.
I love giving photo credits to great artists who have captured and created works of art for others to use. Thank you great artists. Thank you so very much. Dollar signs, yellow man on money stack, dollar bill, piggy bank, pink piggy with flat nose.