More and more people are dreaming of a better life where we have a more autonomy over lives. Planning & seeking help is a big bulk of making the big move. Its one thing dreaming wanting better life for ourselves but there is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into it.
In our own experience we had travelled a lot alone and as a couple before we had our children and continued with liban. Doing this has enabled us to find what we love and what works for us. It has given us the opportunity to explore different cultures and learn the countless ways in which indigenous people have lived sustainable lives. Even though we touched on our reasons to moving to belize in Why Belize? we have been having more enquires and sessions through our Relocation Consultation to touch more on the preparing for sustainable living once you’ve decided where you want to move.
Once you get past the initial hurdle of deciding where then the fun begins. The research begins. Sustainable living is such a BROAD subject and it can feel overwhelming at times deciding, but the key thing is to ask as many questions as possible to people that are already living the life you aspire to live. How does this sustainable living work out in a real life context. What are the cost implications that you need to plan and prepare for?
Above all else however is being mentally ready and understanding that there will be things that will come up that you might not have come across in your research stage. Some things in life you learn through living. These hurdles are nothing but stepping stones on your journey.
Underpinning your why will take you through anything and everything that comes up. Can do attitude above all else.
One of the first worrisome moments in the planning stage is knowing that you will be away from your family/support system. This is one of the biggest reasons a lot of people get stuck on the dreaming and planning stage and never really take the leap. Sometimes having a dream without actioning it is what keeps some people feel alive, and that’s ok too. Our journeys are unique and everyone gets where they need to get to in their own time. Taking this first step takes a lot of confidence in your decision, and it can be daunting feeling like your taking a leap without your support system. For us what helped is knowing that we are creating more choices and chances for our loved ones that did not make the move with us. The unshaken belief that this is the right thing for us, our children, our community and our world. One homestead at a time.
Another element for us is the length of time paperwork takes to process here in Belize. Even though it is frustrating not being familiar with the reasons why things are taking so long we know why we are here and why we are setting up this way of life. Its the long game, always keeping our vision on the end goal of what we are after.
The single most important investment you can make in life….
Is in your self
We talk a lot in these pages about investing, mostly with money and financial stuff, economics, generational wealth, and often grumble about all that’s wrong with the world, it would seem maybe we forget the most important investment of all, “invest in yourself”
Ultimately, each of us will be most successful at anything we choose in life we invest in ourselves first, if we understand the importance of investing in ourselves and take a little time each day to do so, it’s from this single investment that everything else becomes possible.
Make the time to dream a little, and once you know what you want in life, then make sure you take time each day to turn those dreams into reality.
Investing in yourself doesn’t directly have to have anything to do with money, but it might sometimes and it will ultimately lead to an increase in your income level and net worth over time.
self investments could be anything if it helps you develop yourself into who you want to be in life, and will almost always include things like; building your knowledge, working toward another certification, reading and researching everyday, taking at least one action a day toward your goals, even meditating and taking care of your physical health through good eating habits and nutrition will be helpful and are equally as important.
Consistency is the key to accomplishing almost anything in life.
keep at it consistently over time and it will work, they say “if you quit, you can’t win, and if you never quit, you can’t loose”
This is proven to be true (at least for us it has)
Long term self investments change your life and are often things like;
Starting your own business
Creating multiple streams of income
Make yourself indispensable to your customers, (this could be through your own business or as an employee in someone else’s business)
Relocating somewhere that affords a better quality of life, (a better quality of life for us personally meant somewhere cheap enough that we didn’t need to work all day to pay our bills and therefore we have all the time in our days to raise our two children).
Detaching yourself from reliance on a broken system, (for us that meant taking as many steps as we can to be self sustainable, in terms of goods and services that we rely on)
Getting a second passport or residency, (your only as free as your passport let’s you be)
Diversifying your political risk, (don’t have all your eggs in one basket),
Diversifying or decentralizing your assets, (again don’t have all your eggs in one basket)
There’s probably no limit of things that could be very worthwhile as “self investments” reading as much as you can and taking action everyday are probably the top two for us in that regard, we’d like to offer up two financial books well worth the read which we’ve found useful in understanding how real and fake economics work, this helps us gain an understanding for what’s going on globally at least from an economics standpoint.
1-“Economics in one lesson”
by Henry Hazlitt
2-“The intelligent investor”
by Benjamin Graham
As always we welcome feedback and are available to consult anyone who might want a little help in figuring out how to achieve their goals, reach out if you’d like to.
As a parent the most important thing about this way of educating is that your child sees learning as a natural part of life, there is something to learn from everything and everyone. Education is a life long journey, not a destination.
There is no one way to education, as we all know our learning did not stop once we finished school. The way we receive information is unique to all of us, as we all learn differently. As adults we acquire new skills all the time. Whether it is for a new job or a new hobby. Then many of us become parents and that is the ultimate crash course in educating yourself constantly. As your children grow and hit different ages you have to learn different ways to help them and support them through those stages of development. There is no manual to parenting right? There are a lot of different ways you can prepare yourself however. There are a number of books to read on various aspects on parenting, courses to take and for the lucky ones having family and friends that support us through the process as well. Ultimately though it is up to us to choose what aligns with the way we want to raise our children. For me taking responsibility for your child’s education is a fundamental aspect of your role in their upbringing.
One of the most powerful messages i have come across since becoming a mother has been from a book called The Prophet, by khalil Gibran. The quote below is a segment on his take on children.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
To me this so eloquently explains my thoughts on the fact that we, as parents, are our children’s guides and support systems. They are their own beings, that do not need others thoughts and ways of being to be pushed upon them. They have their own unique soul print that is meant to be supported so they can reach their full potential. They cannot achieve this level of self fulfilment if they are to be treated as machines that need to be programed, sat down and have information drilled into them exactly the same ways as thousands of their children. Disregarding them as individual beings does nothing but creating disconnect and unhappiness.
Lifeschooling is a concept that can be adapted and utalised whether you send your child to a conventional education facility or homeschool. Whichever way you choose fits your family life. There are many ways to do this.
If your child attends a conventional education facility then out of school hours are crucial times for you to equip your child with holistic approach to life. Fill the gaps the school has left behind in their education. Research subjects from different angles and view points. Teach them to always research before making up their mind about anything. There is always two sides to every story, and as we all know history favours the writer.
We started working on clearing the initial 3 acres we are currently working in August 2020. Us two, our children in tow and a few simple tools. In this time we have cleared 1 acre of it, started our tree transplantation. The reason for this being, as we all know trees take time and sooner we got them in the ground the better. For our immediate living area 1 acre is enough to get started on. I will go onto more details about our plans for the rest of the space for a community life at another time.
We had a initial draft of where we wanted our temporary house, the 1st well, the car port/utility building and the vegetable garden.
You can say the last thing that is going up on the land will be the house. Not the usual approach i know but wed rather it took, what seems, longer than your average build where the house goes up first. Then you end up living in what feels like a construction site and you do the landscaping after.
As we began to clear and seeing the difference in the soil we temporarily decided to test growing some vegetables on the opposite end to where we initially had it on paper. 6 months later we’ve been able to get some of the vegetables and its proven to be a successful test run.
The house site we cleared, measured and started derocking and derooting. Finding the odd scorpio here and there. Thankfully we haven’t had any serious dangers with the scorpions and they’ve been decreasing as we’ve cleared. Over time once we get some chickens, dogs etc. there will be next to none left. But this has lead to me and frank going back and forth on what we should call our little corner. I am for ” Rocks & Roots and Farm” and franks for ” Scorpion” farm. The debate is still on. Feel free to let us know which you prefer 🙂
Once we started getting somewhere with the house site and started the vegetable garden, we started to move the clearing outwards. Starting to work on the car port/utility building. During this time frank has built the majority of the physical house from recycled/reclaimed hardwoods, to see a bit more on it in “The cart before the horse” article of him starting the house. As we are still renting in town we have been able to utilise the outdoor space for frank to work and store the house panels.
He then moved onto making the fence panels as the clearing has expanding and we had the initial print of the first acre. The wood he used for the fence panels are what was left over from the house panels. The quality being what dictated the left overs. The reason for this is because we want to ensure we are building the house in the most cost effective manner possible. As a form of pest control and uniform look we have been torching the panels as soon as they go up. The fence panels are almost done now, we have temporarily took a break from them however. The reason for this being that we want to finish the car port/untility building. We want to do this to move the house panels onto the site as we are aiming to have it up by end of this year.
Now that we are getting the roof on the car port/utility building we will finish the last stretch of the fence panels. So the next few months are definitely an exciting stage.
So there is a lot going on at the moment, with two little people in tow doing quality control. You’d be surprised how much Liban, at the age of 5 knows about buildings. Albeit tiring, this is one of the most exciting times. As I’ve said before i hope our journey inspires you to realise how important it is to chase your dream. Do your due diligence but let life flow.
I will revisit how the kids are and how we are navigating their LifeLearning journey. I briefly touched on what our plans are with the kids on Is Schooling Education?.
In the meantime i wish you well. Please let us know if there are any aspects which interest you and you would like to know more about. We still have some slots open for lifestyle consultations, you can find out a bit more on Book a free first session .
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Today I want to explore a slightly unique take on creating generational wealth, in the form of an investment that takes about a generation to reach maturity and at maturity the return on investment can be substantial maybe somewhat safer when compared to conventional investment products.
It goes without saying, creating and maintaining generational wealth is a very long term and multifaceted process. In this write up, we are simply going to explore one small idea that fits in perfectly into our personal circumstance and belief system.
A hardwood tree plantation.
They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is today, that the shade we sit under was planted before us and the trees we plant will provide shade for someone else after we’re gone.
We’re looking at growing a tropical hardwood tree plantation as a very long term investment strategy.
We somewhat stumbled across this idea while growing a small tree nursery and then transplanting the trees on to our small farm in Belize.
We weren’t initially looking at planting trees from a financial incentive or investment perspective, we set out simply to grow and plant a large variety of fruit trees, spice trees, and other trees with edible or medicinal utility, so that when we’re in Belize we will always have a plentiful supply of fruits and spices to enjoy.
Having some involvement in purchasing exotic hardwood lumber and building with it, and at the same time having a keen interest as an investor, I guess it was only natural that sooner or later id have an idea, go off on a tangent, start researching and crunching data on the viability of growing tropical hardwood lumber ourselves for financial purposes and then come back to pitch the idea to my wife.
The main question on everyone’s mind is probably the same question that I had;
“if its profitable, then why isn’t everyone doing it?”
As it turns out, the answer comes quickly too; “who wants to wait 30-50 years for a return on investment”?
That’s the main reason why growing hardwood tree plantations is not considered a profitable business, in today’s investment market, folks want to get rich quick, you’d have a hard time pitching an investment strategy where the investors would likely be dead before investment maturity!
But then again, perspective changes things…..if you try to think in terms of generational wealth,
(In that it’s not about you, it’s about your children and their children)
It actually makes complete sense to create a long term investment product with a maturity factor of 30-50 years that only your children and grandchildren can benefit from, in someways it could be a good fit for a “generational wealth portfolio”
As a generational wealth investment proposition, depending on location, costs can be minimal,
The main factor is to look at countries where land and labor are cheap.
And on the other end in a generations time, exotic hardwood lumber is almost guaranteed to be expensive, it already is relatively expensive, and with past and current global deforestation it’s highly unlikely that hardwood lumber will become cheaper over time, looking at historical data, it’s quite the opposite.
In our case, farm land (old sugarcane fields) aren’t particularly expensive, fencing in the acres with posts and wire and growing/planting the tree seedlings isn’t costly either, labors cheap, which also makes the first few years of maintenance not particularly expensive either. We’ve done the math, as best we can and arrive at about $31k to purchase, plant and maintain 20 acres for the first 10 years, (ok, maybe we’ve got our rose tinted glasses on, so let’s just double it and call it $62k all in!)
According to statistics, tree density in plantations runs about 400-500 trees per acre, using the lessor for 20 acres, in 30-50 years time we should have about 8,000 tall thick tree trunks ready for lumber.
Species is key to value when it comes to hardwoods, so we’re planting a mixture of the high value beautiful hardwoods, Belizean Mahogany, sapodilla, Zircote, rosewood, ebony, granadio, and some others, on a lumber bases these woods fetch a top price, especially in the export market in Europe and Northern America.
Best we can tell 8,000 tree trunks at 18-30 inches in diameter by 30 feet tall should give us (actually our children and grandchildren) between 2 and 3 million board feet of 1”by6” lumber, which at current prices for the species grown would be worth somewhere between 4 and 6 million dollars at minimum,
So to recap the viability of this long term investment strategy, we can invest a maximum of $62,000. for a return in 30-50 years at maturity of about $5,000,000 (5million) !
Maybe my maths isn’t too great but best I can tell that’s a compound rate of above 9% year on year for virtually doing nothing after the first few years! that sounds like a very good investment to me. (Not to mention the land the trees were planted on has probably appreciated in value to, or even potentially other products than can be harvested and sold from the trees as they grow.
While this is a very safe investment as it’s not likely to be stolen, suffer a computer hack, be devalued like fiat currencies, suffer market crashes and so forth, I guess worst case scenario it could burn down in a forest fire, but that’s not particularly likely, as with everything in life there is some risk, but not much in this case as far as we can tell.
Fortunately for me, my wife agreed with my proposition!
So we’re in the process of creating this very long term investment strategy for our children……and their children.
My point here is this, even if this particular investment strategy is not the best choice for you, try to think long term, as in 30-50 years, I’m sure you’ll come up with something equally as valuable to invest in.