The New American Dream: I Just Want To Be Free

Sitting here, drinking off the $1,500 damaged done by tax season, thinking about the past couple years and what it has taught me about the “American Dream”. Ya know, it’s funny. Back when I was employed by Vote-fuckin-Pedia (actually just “Votepedia”) we even did a piece on the American Dream. It had nothing to do with the American Dream, and was basically just interviewing a bunch of old friends of Hunter S Thompson.

I think the whole theme around the piece that never got published was supposed to be that the American Dream is no longer obtainable. I think the Hunter S. Thompson friends bit was supposed to somehow relate to the piece Hunter S. Thompson did on the American Dream. Was interesting hearing about all the guns and Nixon swag.

The American Dream is dead to me. Like completely dead. My life experiences in the past few years have taught me that the American Dream isn’t my dream. I don’t want any of that. All I want is freedom. I want away from all of it. And here’s how my thoughts have drastically changed.

 

Why I Don’t Want To Own Property

My mother’s property dispute and tax dispute taught me why I don’t want to own property. This is an ongoing issue, and I’ll actually be in Oregon next year, getting a meaningful bill sponsored that will end the opportunity for county assessor corruption and protect property owners state-wide. Oregon’s county assessors are protected from correcting “errors in the tax roll exceeding five years”. This allows Oregon counties to pull shady moves against landowners and delay paying consideration for as long as possible. If they make it to five years, they’re protected by the law from paying property owners back.

Even though there’s a cap on how much property tax can increase each year in Oregon, it’s still possible to vote in special levies. So everytime a new library needs to be built, or anything else, it gets voted in and becomes an increased liability on the property owner. I see the way things are going, and the property owner burden is going to keep increasing. I’m not about to pay basically all I’m making into a mortgage payment, just to finally drown when the government is too broke and starts exploiting me as a property owner. You lose everything in the end, it seems to make more sense to never make the mortgage payment in the first place.

If I do ever buy property, it’s probably going to be in a Bible Belt state where property value and cost of living is insanely low. Because of the fact that I’m in the tech industry and work remotely, it’d be a great opportunity to manipulate their local economy to my benefit. In those states, both wages and cost of living are insanely low, especially when compared to California or New York. I’m sure there’s plenty of other states like that as well. Since I’m making “out-of-state” income, everything would be cheap as fuck to me. It’d almost be like living in Thailand or something…..Except everyone speaks English and shit.

Even then, I’m be tied down to a specific place. My best bet would be to rent it out, but then I got to deal with tenants and shit. Just from managing roommates, I know that’s something I wouldn’t be that excited about. My real dream is to get the RV so I can just really be wherever with no commitment whatsoever.

 

Why I Don’t Want To Own A Business

My Dad’s side of the family is all partners in a local print shop. We’re the biggest in the region, employ over 20 and work with the majority of our local businesses. Being part of the family, inside family politics and business politics on the c-level, I’ve got a good taste of business. It’s a lot different when you’re not looking at it from an employee’s point of view.

I learned to hate the words; “That’s not my job”. It’s why I don’t believe in job titles. When you give someone a job title, you define them to that specific role. I’ve always said; “To define, is to limit”, one of the fatal flaws of language and definition. Outside of that fatal flaw, when you define ‘one’s job’, you also define what’s ‘not their job’.

The majority of the population is disgruntled. They work because they have to. This leads to a serious lack of pride and ambition. I feel from a young age, we’re taught to loathe the “productive period” during the day. We’re conditioned to much rather prefer the creature comforts that offer us nothing but brain dead “off time”. That starts in school, where we’re subjected to a full day of boring content that’s outdated and forced upon us. The conditioning to loathe work and love being brain dead extends to the workplace and the creature comforts transition into sports and happy hour.

Without any ambition or enthusiasm in the workplace, employees very seldom choose to venture outside of their job description, and don’t learn or grow. It creates a stagnant working environment with everyone doing just what’s necessary to float through the day, and brings a feeling of ‘dread’ over the workplace.

Professional growth can be personal growth, if people try to embrace it that way. Just as personal growth can translate into better professional performance. The workplace sickens me just witnessing the failure to embrace growth in either part of life. It seems like the bulk of the population has been brought up to exist in this stagnant stage as a disgruntled worker by day, with distractions preventing any kind of meaningful betterment by night.

Could you imagine trying to empower, encourage and work with a group of people like that? Mix that with constant turnover, with each new batch being the same attitude with less experience. Every time that phrase “It’s not my job” or “it’s not my money”, you know that you’re covering the slack and doing the jobs that fall in between any official job titles. It doesn’t bother you at all, it’s part of a family business.

You end up taking on the responsibility of anything and everything that nobody else wants to claim responsibility for. If a situation is critical, you’re the one going into damage control. I don’t know how many nights I’ve slept in that damn fucking shop. Way too many to remember and sometimes weeks on end.

And all this time, you get this flak and resentment from everyone. It seems that everyone looks down on me as some entitled little rich bitch that has everything on a silver platter. I’m sure it’d be much worse if I was the actual damn owner.

And don’t get me started with regulation. I find it very ironic that Hellenistic and Roman armies used to battle wearing nothing but sandals, moccasins, whatever you want to call them, but yet that same footwear today is not good enough for a production environment. Nanny-state laws, man, manny-state laws. I fuckin hate stupid non-violent offenses. OSHA is the worst. We got fined for having a piece of boxing tape (real small piece) stuck to a fuse box. I mean, c’mon now? It wasn’t blocking the fuse box, it was just a little piece that got stuck to someone’s finger, and they used the wall to get it off. Fuckin OSHA.

There was a survey of retired fortune 500 CEOs that stuck with me. I tried Googling it for this blog post, but couldn’t find it. One of the questions was on why they retired. The number one answer was because of regulation. More legislation is drafted in a year than a single person can ever hope to stay on top of. Getting fed-up with keeping up on regulation was too much and too stressful.

Shit, it almost seems like it doesn’t matter if you own the business anymore anyways. Without going into too many details, because this might be covered by an NDA I have in place, I’ve seen a guys business stolen right out of him Mexican standoff status. Two code-monkeys working for him formed an LLC and tried to claim that a product developed by the company was actually proprietary to their LLC. If it went to court, a software and hardware forensics would have to be done. The code-monkeys knew that the whale client wouldn’t have anything to do with it and dump both companies. The code-monkeys had nothing to lose, but the business owner would be ruined. It was much easier to just give them the entire company in mitigation and collect royalties or sorts off the net revenue.

So even if you build it and own it, it can still be taken away from you. How fucked up is that?

To me, building a business is like building a sand castle. It might be fun and exciting at first, but once it’s built, the wet sand starts to dry and blow away. As you attempt to upkeep the sections, other issues come up elsewhere. You’ll spend all your time and energy trying to keep this stupid fucking sandcastle maintained. Maybe you get to make an addition here and there, ya know, build up the kingdom, but with each addition your micromanaging that much more of the damn sandcastle. And in the end, a fucking wave comes up and destroys all your hard work anyway.

I’ve built plenty of sandcastles in my day, so I think I know what I’m talking about.

So why bother building fucking sandcastles? So you can boast about how your fort is much bigger than the neighboring sandcastle? It’s really not as fun as a legitimate day at the beach.

It’s why I freelance and practice internet monetization. Even with freelancing, you still have to deal with clients. It’s not as bad when you can cherry-pick the projects you want to work on, but it’s still dealing with clients. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a client in their life can understand.

As the internet pays me more and more, I really want to get paid solely through affiliate marketing and any other method of making a buck off of the internet. With internet monetization, you’re the boss. You decide what niches to jump into, you decide the content, you prioritize and you reap what you sow.

No employees. No clients. No job titles. No Mexican standoffs. No hours. Freedom.

 

Why I Don’t Want Investments

Holy shit, I just paid $700 for my tax preparation. This was going to be the year I learned how to file my own taxes, but due to an unexpected Oregon trip, I opted to have them done professionally instead. I’ve got a K1 with an eight state composite, which is what’s always been techy (I guess?) and expensive. Outside of that, it’s just been W2s or 1099s depending on what stage of life I was in.

The company don’t even really pay dividends, but that damn K1 is still there. I actually emailed the company CFO stating that I want to liquidate all assets and remove all future K1 tax liability. The company isn’t in a position to acquire my stock. Imagine that.

It seems like a great idea, cashing in the stock right now. Or finding a new tax professional, because this season was too ridiculous. Never been this bad before.

I always expect the federal and state taxes to be bad. With the 1099s, I know I’m never going to get a tax rebate. It’s just the nature of freelancing. You set money aside and know you’re going to be writing a fat check around this time. I’ve never even done tax writeoffs. I figure our government needs the money, let them have it. I don’t need to become savvy with an entire new concept and I’d rather spend my time doing other things than saving and referencing random fucking receipts. This is something I should get more savvy with, and probably something I’ll learn this year. After last season, I’m not using another fucking tax professional again. Hopefully I lose the K1 and just have to deal with 1099s.

I don’t know how complicated the stocks are on publicly traded shit, because I’ve never had to deal with it. I’m sure it requires it’s own tax forms. I’ve never dealt with my own taxes to begin with, so I’m not sure how much it would really complicate things. This is all something I’ll probably be very familiar with next year.

Maybe I just read that stupid Internal Revenue Code. USC 26, if you’re interested.

 

My American Dream: Freedom

My American dream is freedom. That’s all I want. Freedom from the material things I need to show my status in the community. Freedom from working normal business hours and having to collaborate with people who hate what they’re doing. Freedom from a nanny-state government telling me how my non-violent offenses aren’t acceptable. Freedom from fear. Freedom from stress. Freedom from financial obligations that force me to seek revenue. Freedom from a blood-sucking IRS that’s so complicated that I need to shell out $700 to file my shit. Freedom from my investments that makes it that complicated. Freedom from feeling obligated to perform any job or task.

I am so close to achieving my goals, and I’ve got the internet to thank for so much of it. The internet has allowed me and many others to develop a residual income and the skill sets needed to go beyond the workplace and succeed in molding the type of lives that we want to live.

Even all the residual income put aside, all the services I’ve learned are self taught. Services like Google and YouTube have made learning much easier outside of college than it was ever possible through higher education. This doesn’t apply to every niche or verticals, but it does apply to a lot of them, the tech industry especially.

With a residual income, as long as I’m savvy about it, I could travel the United States and be fairly self-sufficient. Being a starving traveler-blogger sounds way more appealing at this point in life than working a job or dealing with client tasks. The one thing about internet monetization is that everything compounds over time. Each new piece of content is a new longtail and will bring in new traffic. New traffic = more money, even if a very pathetic amount. That new income compounds onto what was already built, and everything grows over time. If I was living as a starving blogger, I know it’s only going to keep getting better.

Right now, I’m saving up for the RV. I would have been a little closer to my goal if it wasn’t for the $1,500 I spent today, but whatever. Everything in time. I just got out of my place (screw dealing with roommates) and basically removed every liability in my life. That will make money stack fast, especially since I don’t have to worry about the distractions of renting a house, I can really focus on getting paid. Once the RV is purchased, it’s all easy sailing, right?

I’ve ran into some people doing the same thing. Apparently the trick is that you only have to go to an RV park for the hookups, laundry, ect. once every 7-10 days, depending on things. Rest of the time it’s fairly inexpensive, depending on how much driving you do.

I figure spend the rafting and growing season in Colorado. Run as many rivers as possible during runoff and stay til the harvest. After harvest, head south where it’s warm. When spring hits; rinse and repeat. If anything different sounds exciting, it’s not like there’s an official plan or protocol to begin with.

That sounds like freedom, or at least as free as we can be in this day and age.

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