Advice to myself, and perhaps to others


If anyone sincerely asks my advice about “making” money, I will agree, on a few conditions. One is they must understand that this is a package deal: You’re not just going to “make” more money; you are going to transform your life. You have to be ready for it. You need to understand where you are coming from with the whole business of “making” money and spending money. You need to understand that before you knew what was going on, you were programmed about money, and about many other things. Weeks, or even months before we get to the technical aspects of how to start a business, or how to set up a website, or how to trade, you will need to read books like T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s book, Your Money or Your Life (preferably the older version), Wallace D. Wattles’ 1910 classic, The Science of Getting Rich, and even Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass at Making Money. Books like Scott Adams’s How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief are strictly speaking further away from the subject of money, but can make a big difference. And if you want to learn to trade, we won’t even talk about the difference between the Euro and Brent Crude until you’ve read Mark Douglas.


“What is important? What are you supposed to do?” the thought comes to me for the umpteenth time as I leave the house to go buy dinner, after which I will return home to continue my work. (Contrary to my approach, I think of other expat English teachers who go out for 7-8 hours a day to teach 4-6 hours at NT$600-$700 an hour.)

Three options (as usual I will not succeed in disguising my preference):

1. Teach as many hours a day as possible at a set rate, hoping that the rug won’t suddenly be pulled from under you, and that the money will keep you alive for longer than logic suggests.

2. Get a so-called permanent position and hope the rug is not pulled from under you without warning – and if so, that you will soon obtain a similar position, and that the money you earn will be enough to keep you alive for a few years.

3. Live simply, and limit your expenses. Do enough part-time work, or freelance work, to cover your expenses. Spend a good percentage of the rest of your waking hours each day developing skills in more than one area – may be related, but need not be, and expand your knowledge on a variety of topics. Use this knowledge and skills to develop more than one source of income; sources of income that are more sustainable, and more reliable in the long run than any of the part-time or full-time positions you may hope to hold on to.


Question, again: To whom would I offer this advice? Certainly to myself ten, fifteen, even twenty years ago. And certainly to other expats who support themselves with English teaching in countries like Taiwan, China, Korea and Japan.

Does this also apply to other people who do part-time work, or freelance work? To some extent. However, there are people who are risking their future and their greatest hope for a good life in a more traditional profession, where they will increasingly earn more money, and will increasingly occupy better positions. I can see how this guerrilla approach – staying mobile; travelling lightly; keeping things simple; taking what you can get and holding out for as long as possible – won’t apply to them.

[Also read “Advice for the 25-year-old foreigner who plans to teach English in Taiwan for the next thirty years” of July 2018]


The money in your bank account is only a subatomic particle of the amount of money that already exists; money that has no feeling or opinion about flowing your way. If money could “know”, it would know anyway that it wouldn’t stay with you, not in the way a piece of clothing would remain hanging in your closet for years after you acquired it. You spend money. Then other money comes in. You deposit money in your bank account, which in any case means you don’t even own that money anymore – you lend it to the bank, for which the bank pays you interest, and if you want it back, they will give you different money than the money you gave them.

Still, money – which already exists and is in circulation – has no feeling or opinion about spending time in your possession. You’re not special in that sense of the word. If you open yourself up to it and take the right steps to receive it, it will flow to you.