Watch your money: Expert advice for this travel influencer on how to retire at 45

Works: Systems Analyst, HR Systems Consultant, Content Creator and Family/Sustainable Travel Influencer, at It’s a Family Thing

Salary: $100,000 to $250,000, depending on contracts, jobs

Objective: Build enough wealth to retire at 45 and focus on your online brand(s)

corrita lewis lives life without a zip code, traveling full time with his family around the world.

The nomadic family of three – Lewis has a wife and 3-year-old son – lived on the beaches of Mexico, kicked it off in Colombia and back to Legoland in California. Anytime they’re on a flight, on a road trip, or on a tour bus to their next adventure.

While traveling, Lewis enjoys giving young girls sustainable menstrual products in the communities they visit. They are the quintessential passport players, as evidenced by their brand, It’s a Family Thing, where they chronicle their journeys in real time.

“We’re trying to push diversity in travel and get people to travel sustainably and think about the people and places they go to,” the travel influencer said.

The 32-year-old systems analyst and human resources systems consultant had to cut expenses and reduce debt to prepare for the digital nomad lifestyle. Unlike many who joined the Army before college to help pay for tuition, Lewis joined the Army Reserves at age 22 after college once she realized that the approximately $30,000 she had taken out in student loans had quickly ballooned to $50,000 due to accrued interest.

She worked her day job to fight off debt, drove Uber and took advantage of student loan payment assistance from the military. She repaid the loans weekly.

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“I wanted them on my back,” Lewis said.

After paying off her student loans, she bought a house in 2016 in a San Diego suburb for $290,000 and sold it about two years later for $360,000.

After Lewis had her son in 2018, she juggled office work and motherhood, which accelerated her decision to travel full-time.

“I want to be able to see my son,” she said.

To prepare for their new life of full-time travel, Lewis and his wife sold their car and used the Facebook Marketplace to shop for baby necessities, opting for cloth diapers. With their finances in order, “We decided to take the plunge,” Lewis said. The plan was to travel around the world after visiting his family.

Lewis tried to quit his job, but his boss suggested he work remotely. Lewis and his family had planned to travel to Costa Rica for two months. However, on a visit to his sister in Colorado in 2020, they stayed there for four months due to Covid. The family then took a detour to Ohio, where she grew up.

Eventually Lewis’ position in his company was eliminated and the family moved to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. “It was a better cost of living and it allowed us to figure out our next plan,” she said.

In Mexico, the family lived on $1,000 a month and paid $400 a month for rent. Her son’s school cost between $120 and $130 a month, depending on the exchange rate. Lewis also landed a new remote job while there. However, after living in Mexico for 15 months, the family moved to Colombia in 2021 and lived there for 2.5 months.

Lewis currently earns between $100,000 and $250,000 a year, half of which she saves. She also maximizes her 401k and Roth IRA. Her goal is to build enough wealth to retire at 45 and focus on building the family’s online brands, which she hopes will generate enough income for them to live on.

Renora Nelsonwealth manager at Merit Financial Advisors, in Alpharetta, Georgia, says Lewis can retire at 45.

“She will already manage it on her own by saving, but she will need additional resources because she has a high income.”

Nelson advises Lewis to add a tax advisor to her team to help with tax planning, as she will have a large amount of assets.

Nelson also advises that in addition to taxes, Lewis should focus on estate planning, cash flow and risk management when building wealth.

Lewis should work with a professional and take stock of her current situation, Nelson said, suggesting the travel blogger complete a cash flow statement and balance sheet detailing total income, taxes paid and whether her savings are taxable. delayed.

“Someone like her needs a financial plan and a roadmap to achieve her goals,” Nelson said.

RELATED: Watch your money: expert advice for this family on how to budget for buying a home

Giselle Ugarteonline performance coach and founder of Offline Talent, says longevity is a possibility for influencers like Lewis, but they need to follow three steps:

  1. Don’t rely solely on the brand or platform to generate revenue. Think things like advising, teaching, coaching, or finding ways to generate advertising revenue on a platform that they own, unlike a YouTube or Instagram, where the advertising is theirs.
  2. Find revenue streams that don’t require his face or DNA to generate. An easy trap to fall into is attaching your face to everything, because that’s usually the supposed source of influence. However, finding or creating services, training, or products that can be delegated, replicated, automated, and/or have nothing to do with follower counts or views, such as digital products or even real estate investments.
  3. Pay yourself like an employee. A huge mistake that many influencers, myself included initially, make is thinking that making more money will solve all your problems, but it’s really about how to maintain it and invest for the future. For example, instead of getting a big check and taking a percentage of it each time, pay yourself a fixed amount each month or give yourself an annual salary to create a rainy day fund. Then you can start investing and, of course, build that retirement fund.

Natalie P. McNeal is the author of The Frugalista Files: How a Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life.


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