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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: scrubbyfish on December 15, 2013, 08:36:23 PM

Title: what are your top 3 workarounds?
Post by: scrubbyfish on December 15, 2013, 08:36:23 PM
Yesterday I caught myself thinking, "Through his blog, MMM seems to have a lot of energy (going to school, then working long hours, then building stuff) and intelligence, as well as skill in using computers and software. If I don't have those (except intelligence), how far can I get?"

The fact is, I *have* come a long ways, despite severe learning disabilities, other disabilities, having been homeless and broke for a long time, etc.

I may not get as far as an engineer-with-an-awesome-partner might, but by applying workarounds, I have zero debt, a cozy home (rented), substantial savings, and a pretty happy life! Since my circumstances didn't allow me to access things in conventional ways, these were gained via workarounds.

I would love to hear other people's, "I have [such and such a barrier] but I've made things work by..." I think this could be very inspiring for a lot of us!

What workarounds have you implemented with success?

Two of mine:

1. Because I was without a history of well-paid, stable work, banks would not let me own a home, even though I had a near-perfect credit score, always lived below my means, and demonstrated the ability to save even with very little income. I was volunteering at an agency. When a contractor left a position, I jumped in for the remaining few weeks. This allowed the agency to write a note saying I had been with the agency several years and was "currently earning" $15/hr. I was now able to purchase the house. The rental income covered far more than the costs, and I sold it for a huge gain. This became my savings account.

2. Because of my disabilities, I had to leave high school before graduating. When I was ready for more school, I accessed university by asking a professor if he would let me into his class on a trial basis. (The trial was successful, and the course was the prerequisite for all others I was interested in.) I skipped much of high school (and worked) in the meantime.
Title: Re: what are your top 3 workarounds?
Post by: nikki on December 15, 2013, 08:51:14 PM
You asked for three, but there's only one significant one I can think of for me:

I have a Masters in English and enjoy teaching English, which doesn't exactly give me the best access to some of the high incomes I see on MMM. Instead of barely saving anything teaching full-time at an American university, I moved to South Korea to teach English as a foreign language. I make more money here, rent is covered, I use public transportation (no car!), and my cost of living is lower in general. I paid off student loans and have amassed an almost $40,000 net worth in the two years I've been here. Were I still in America, I would have paid off student loans by now for sure, but I wouldn't even be CLOSE to the $40,000.
Title: Re: what are your top 3 workarounds?
Post by: scrubbyfish on December 15, 2013, 09:03:03 PM
Nice!!!! Beautiful example, Nikki! Thanks!
Title: Re: what are your top 3 workarounds?
Post by: scrubbyfish on December 16, 2013, 10:05:14 AM
3. Before I had a house, I received regional disability benefits. (My numbers here will not be 100% accurate -I don't remember the rates to the dollar- but they're close.) Of the $700, $325 was allocated for rent -if I spent less on rent, the difference was taken away from me; if I spent more on rent, the difference came out of the amount available for food, shoes, clothing, medical, transit, phone, etc. The catch? Rent plus utilities generally started at $500-$600, leaving little for all other necessities.

I knew that many farms offered free room and board in exchange for 25-30 hours of work per week, but my disabilities left me unable to work that many hours.

So, I moved onto an organic farm, paid the farm $325 for rent (private room in shared house) and a negotiated amount for my food, and saved most of the rest. I had all the healthy food I needed, a sense of contribution in volunteering on the farm as many hours as I could manage, nowhere to take transit to (and no transit to take), no societal pressure for nicer clothes, hair, etc. I learned new skills. I shared life with wonderful and interesting people who also did music, art, etc. The income was very helpful to the farmer.

In the winter, I returned to apartment life with savings to help me through the leaner times. The savings also formed the base for the downpayment on the house I eventually purchased.