You want to travel the world and have an adventurous life? Fantastic! Does that mean you sentence yourself to a life of poverty? No. If you are smart financially, you can enjoy the benefits of an adventure lifestyle and live well. Look carefully at the job you are applying for. There are some that do pay well but the majority don’t. However, the benefits are often hidden beyond the paycheck so take a good hard look at it. And be sure that you are okay with whatever salary you agree to. Remember the choice of accepting the job is yours. Here are some of my top tips for smart management of your adventure job finances.
Keep Expenses Down At Home While you are Working Your Adventure Job
If you plan to get an adventure job where you will be traveling, be sure all of your expenses are covered. For example, if you work on a cruise ship they will pay for your flights and travel expenses and also room and board. This means that while you are working you are not using your salary for rent, food, vehicle, gas, satellite TV, telephone (except a cell phone), entertainment, electric/water/sewage/gas bills, vacations, insurance, and on and on. Sit down one day and add up all of your monthly expenses living “at home”. You will be stunned! Beware of taking a job where you have to pay your employer for room and board. Run the numbers and be sure you are not getting paid just enough to cover the cost of being there!
Keep Expenses Down Further.
If you rent, get out of your contract and put your belongings in storage at $40/month. If you own your home, can you rent it? Can you make your home an asset? We do. We rent our home on www.vrbo.com . One week’s rental will pay our mortgage for the month. When not rented, all utilities except electric are shut down and I have someone who basically lives there for free to watch the house.
Where Do you Live When you are not Working Your Adventure Job?
We live in Montana. There’s a reason. First, it’s beautiful, but second, it’s cheap. If you work overseas then it doesn’t matter where you have your home. You can give yourself a pay raise living in Montana over California.
Saving and Shopping During Your Adventure Job
Be cautious with your spending when working an adventure job. I once worked with a fantastic team of 24 dive instructors on an all diving cruise ship. One female instructor went to town every Saturday and spent all of her salary on bathing suits. While she had a knock out pile of bikinis, she was broke when she left the job. When you travel, it’s easy to start shopping. Keep your shopping in line with your current salary just like you do at home. The average American saves 5% of their income. While working on board a cruise ship for five years in the 1990’s, we averaged 95% saving rate.
If you are working a job where you have little to no expenses, you can use your money to work for you. While someone else pays us to travel the world and pay our expenses, we use OUR money to invest and make even more money for us.
Paying Taxes While you work an Adventure Job
There are clever (and very legal) ways to decrease your tax liability in an adventure job, especially if you work overseas. We use the Physical Presence Law. For over five years we worked under this tax law. The law states that if you remain outside the US for 330 days per year, you are exempt from taxes for the first $70,000 you earn. You are not required to prove this unless audited. However, we kept very careful track of the number of days we were in the country so if audited, we would fall well within the law. Now, take the money you DIDN”T pay in taxes and invest it while you travel and voila! Note: Tax law changes constantly, use a good CPA to help you.
It can be done but it takes good research. Consult your CPA to be sure you are above board on this one. We chose not to use offshore banking but for you it may be different.
Wealth Beyond Money The True Asset of an Adventure Job
If I had no limits on my finances I would travel the world, dive and do loads of humanitarian work. Now, however, I do have limits on my finances and what do I do with my life? I travel the world, dive and do some humanitarian work. I just use OPM to do it ( other people’s money). I work for companies who send me all over the world. I teach diving and lead dive expeditions now surpassing 7500 lifetime dives and two years ago I began a charitable non profit foundation, www.oceanofhope.net . I continue to live the life I’ve dreamed and though it doesn’t look exactly like it would if I were financially independent, it’s pretty damn good.
Decide the level of Comfort You Want and Need
This may sound odd but it’s something to really take a look at. Are you a salty dog backpacker type or are you a five star luxury type? When you apply for an adventure job be sure you are where you want to be. Decide if you want to work for a company where you take a group of broke teenagers in a run down non air-conditioned bus through Central America or work for a luxury liner with a five star client base across the French Riviera. Be sure you are in the place where you feel comfortable. Living the adventure life and pursuing an adventure job doesn’t mean you have to live like a backpacker if that’s not your thing.
More coming Friday on living the adventure life!
To Your Adventures!