Last May, when I announced I had inked a deal with Harriman House to publish my new book, Pathfinders, I invited those of you who had embraced The Simple Path to Wealth to share your stories.
The response was amazing and, unfortunately, there were simply to many to include them all.
Those that we have included comprise a wonderful collection of stories from all over the world, from people of all ages, background and walks of life. Each at a different point and with a different take on the path.
As you’ll see should you decide to read the book, they are organized into nine different sections. To give you a flavor of these stories, this week and next I want to share two of them with you.
Both come from the section titled Staying the Course.
Pulling two from the same section is probably not the best marketing strategy, but I chose these as they are quite literally ripped from today’s headlines: The war in Ukraine.
This first one is from a reader in Ukraine, Roman Koshovskyi. The second — When Your Country Becomes a Global Outcast — which I’ll share next week, is from a reader in central Russia, Artem Voronov.
Hopefully, as we enter this New Year we are looking at the year that will bring peace to that part of the world.
Now, here’s Roman…
Staying the Course in War-Time
Lviv region, Ukraine
I am a 30-year-old pursuing FI in Ukraine. It’s an interesting time to do so, with my country at war. But it’s always been a little different here.
Until a 2017 change in regulations it was hard to find equivalent investment vehicles to the ones most popular with the international FI community. There are still far fewer than the US, but it’s possible to open accounts in US or European-based brokerages.
A lot of people have done so. But many still hadn’t before the war. They blamed circumstances, the economy, corruption—what was the point? They didn’t understand that some things are only improved from the bottom up, with small mindset and habit shifts. At least that’s been my experience.
The war, of course, has thrown everything into the air. But I am keeping to JL’s Simple Path as best as I can.
I am always researching and analyzing data on my FI journey. But I also try to keep things simple and fun. I stick to all the classic FI principles—diversifying investments, taking a long time horizon, thinking like an owner of the world’s businesses, avoiding debt, spending less than I earn and investing the rest.
I also like to remain a little flexible and keep learning. I know I won’t necessarily get it 100% right, but I will be much better off in 15–20 years than many. I enjoy sharing everything I can with my Ukrainian peers to help them find financial freedom too.
Here are some key things I have learned from my pursuit of FI in Ukraine, which I hope will help others stay the course no matter where they are:
- Diversification isn’t just a fancy word. At the time of writing, Ukrainian bond and stock markets are not functioning properly (only war bonds are allowed for trading), so parts of my capital are frozen and could be gone forever, or the future payments could get restructured. That’s the risk I took with some home-country bias. Fortunately, I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. Thanks to my assets abroad and brokerage accounts in the US that I opened before the war, I can continue to contribute to my retirement portfolio and buy good assets with lower prices in the current drawdown.
- Disasters can happen, and insurance and back-up plans can only protect you so much when they do. You have to have cash on hand and some liquid assets for the ultimate curve balls of life. Only invest money you won’t need even in the direst of circumstances—cash you definitely won’t need to touch for maybe even 20 years.
- Move fast, but think slowly. In hard times the urge is to follow the crowd. That’s how you fall into common traps—piling up perishable food, converting currency when exchange rates have been driven ridiculous by fear, ignoring air-raid sirens because everyone else is. It’s better to evaluate your options before acting.
- Some risks are much more significant than the economy. Your life, and time with your loved ones, are much more precious than all the money you will ever earn. Wartime refreshes your perspectives and shifts your priorities.
If I had known war would really break out, would I have moved more of my assets abroad? I don’t know. I love my Motherland, and I am working—as are my friends—to prosper it now and in the future. We don’t know how life will unfold, but I will do everything in my control to keep to JL’s Simple Path to financial freedom.
Pathfinders is now available for preorder in hardcover and eBook all around the world. Pre-ordering a book is one of the biggest ways you can help support it, and I hope you’ll consider preordering Pathfinders. These are important stories from around the world that deserve to be heard and that can help those who hear them.
Bookshops monitor pre-orders closely, and good levels get them excited – and more likely to order and promote a title. It also guarantees you will get your copy at launch. The book will be available at your favourite online retailers and you can order it at any bookstore (including your favorite local independent). Here are some links to help:
Release date is Tuesday 31 October 2022.
Thanks for your support!