Greetings people of the internet! I’m your host, Slow Dad, and welcome to my corner on the web.
(Very) occasionally I get asked about my backstory:
- How I got started?
- How I became financially free before the age of 40, gaining control over my time?
- What I’m doing now?
- Why there are so many pictures of Lego here? (because it is awesome!)
For you interested few hopefully this page provides a glimpse inside my head, Nathan Sawaya style (the artist behind the amazing sculpture above).
Once upon a time
I was born many grey hairs ago in a land far away, slightly before Jens Nygaard Knudsen designed the first Lego minifigure.
Wisdom of youth
My second grade teacher once asked the class what each of us wished to be when we grew up. I said “rich“. She said that wasn’t a job. I concurred, and received a week’s detention for being a smart ass.
In high school I watched Oliver Stone’s movie Wall Street, and realised that wealth is measured in time rather than money.
At university I studied to become an Accountant.
During first year I loved the elegant purity of Luca Pacioli’s self-reconciling double entry bookkeeping system.
In second year I was alarmed by the “what do you want the answer to be?” school of management accounting fiction.
By the end of third year I had subscribed to Clint Eastwood’s world view: “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one”. It really didn’t matter what anyone else thought, my professors included.
After university I discovered the wonders of automation, inadvertently putting several of my colleagues out of a job in the process. The moral of the story: if your role consists of structured decision making or can be reduced to series of repeatable steps then it will be automated at some point.
I became disillusioned with making money for somebody else. Working hard while employed by somebody else is ultimately for their benefit. Owning the business means your hard work benefits you!
I quit, and followed a pretty girl halfway around the world. During the next decade I established a successful business, married the pretty girl, migrated five times, and added a couple of kids to our family.
Much of this period was spent performing some ridiculous financial acrobatics in pursuit of a succession of working visas, residency permits, and ultimately passports.
(Non-practicing) Financial Planner
Just for fun I qualified to be a Financial Planner, but chose not to practice. There is a big difference between earning a living and doing what is the best interests of clients!
At age 24 I purchased my first investment property. By 34 I owned several of them, in more years than not they have collectively increased my net worth by more than I earned from my day job.
Around age 39 a heath scare led to a long overdue life evaluation and reprioritisation. I conceded that I could probably retire if I wanted to, my lifestyle costs being comfortably met by the free cashflow generated by my investments.
I briefly considered retiring in the traditional sense.
Yet with two kids happily settled in primary school and a wife who thrives in a rewarding (but not financially so) career, I found my options for living on the beach and globetrotting to be somewhat limited.
Living life my own way
I have settled into a comfortable semi-retired existence.
During the warmer months I do my own thing and enjoy the sunshine.
When the weather turns cold and the days get short I find a client facing a genuinely fascinating tricky challenge, and hibernate away the winter by helping them solve it.
I get paid for my efforts. However financial freedom provides the luxury to choose those puzzles that are the most interesting, rather than those offering the highest day rate.
some things don’t change
I write here when I find myself with something to say.
Thanks for visiting, I hope your time here was time well spent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you called “Slow Dad“?
Many years ago I ran my first half marathon. My family kindly turned out to cheer me across the finishing line at roughly the time I had (very) optimistically guesstimated I would be finishing. They waited, and waited, and waited… before some time later I eventually staggered home. My (then) 4 year old son proclaimed “you are slow Dad“. He was right.
So are you “FIRE”, or not?
I think the FIRE acronym (Financially Independent, Retired Early) is an unhelpful marketing gimmick.
I believe everyone should aim to become Financially Independent. Once your living costs are met by a diversified collection of passive income streams, you have gained control over your time. How you invest that time then becomes a choice rather than a foregone conclusion.
Early retirement then becomes one of many available lifestyle choices.
Why is this site called “some things don’t change“?
It occurred to me that some things don’t change. Focussing on those things should be more likely to achieve an optimal outcome than worrying about things that were fleeting or trendy or transient.
That is hardly an original notion:
- Jeff Bezos once said that the key to success is focusing on “what’s not going to change”.
- Warren Buffett looks for long lasting business models that are simple to understand, yet protected by some form of competitive advantage or “moat” that makes it difficult for competitors to enter the market.
- In Perennial Seller, the author Ryan Holiday reaches a similar conclusion regardless of whether it is applied to music or or entrepreneurship or anything else that is worth doing.
- Stephen King echos the sentiment in On Writing, that good writing focuses on the same core elements.