Exactly three years ago on this day, we featured a reader of the blog who was suffering tremendously and trying to get a grip not only on his finances, but on being accepted in a world that doesn’t make it easy on people of certain backgrounds.
Many of you reached out with generous words of encouragement and even sharing some of your own struggles in life (thank you for that!!), and now I’m happy to report that after three long years our friend here is doing substantially better :)
With his permission, I’d like to share his latest update here in case any of you are going through anything similar, as well as a reminder that you can never go wrong betting on YOURSELF.
It’s not always easy, but as Iqbal here shows today – progress is possible!! So way to go, man!! A refreshing thing to read in these trying times!
Here’s his note below… For reference, he lives in Lisbon, Portugal.
Just wanted to check how are you doing during this pandemic outbreak.
And also to let you know how I was doing because it’s been years now since I last sent any news. So, overall, I’m better than ever and you had a big impact on me. Till today I’m very thankful for your support and it pleases me to re-listen to the episodes you recorded with Paula. So much knowledge and so much humility.
As for me, in the last two years I’ve been great because:
– I quit my university degree exactly a year ago and I’ve never been more relieved. That was one of the biggest things that contributed for my depression. I was not letting go of something that was harming me in the name of grit/perseverance without realizing that continuing it was hurting me more than doing good. I found a parallel between that and you deciding to quit the podcast. That episode was so relatable!
– After quitting school, I spent most of the time working (on what I was already working in) and saving up money (I had about €20,500 saved by the end of 2019). I work in tourism (I rent two Airbnb rooms and I’m a tour guide) and property management (I manage 8 tenant contracts).
– Even though this work was not related to what I studied (architecture), it was earning more money (€1,750/month) than people working in my field of study (architecture = €900/month).
– I wanted to invest in Land Flipping due to it’s low-initial-capital required to invest (I was planning on €7,000) so I purchased the REtipster course online by Seth Williams (€2,000). Have you ever heard about it? [Nope! But love the name! :)]
– Because I needed to physically be in the US to open a bank account for the Land Flipping business, I flew to the US and Canada for the first time in my life on Nov. 2019 and LOVED it.
– I felt super welcome by everyone and it all felt very familiar, maybe because I grew up with so many references from there (online and TV). It was very easy to start a friendly conversation with almost everyone!
– I had been very slow applying the knowledge from the Land Flipping course due to excessive demand in my Lisbon-based work. So I haven’t made any deals yet. For now, due to the covid-19, I decided to pause that course.
– During the quarantine I am trying to learn Forex Trading. I see a lot of lessons also apply to stocks (technical analysis).
– I started dating a new guy two years ago who is great and has even met my parents and relatives.
– My dad finally broke his 10-year silence regarding my homosexuality and has been very supportive.
– I’m more and more connected with my parents, siblings, cousins and some aunts and uncles.
– I suspect that many other relatives now know or think I’m gay and keep treating me equally, which is what I always wanted. One of my fears back in 2017 was that my family would treat me differently if they ever knew the truth. It’s still on a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell mode, but overall it might not be as bad as I feared, thankfully.
– I feel much more in control of my finances as I’ve been aggressively tracking my money and cutting unnecessary expenses (as you always recommended).
– I bought my first investment property with my boyfriend this February (2020) and it’s already rented out. We bought it for €99,000 and our down-payment was €16,000 which meant the loan was €83,000 at a fixed yearly interest rate of 1.25%. At the end of 30 years we will have paid €31,215,14 of interest on the €83,000 loan. The closing costs + repairs during February were €4,000 so each of us had to put in a total of €10,000 (€16,000 + €4,000 ÷ 2).
– In March (last month) we rented it for €750/month, so in one year, after taxes, insurance, fees and mortgage, we’ll have an annual liquid profit of €1,200 for each of us, which is equivalent to 12% of the invested capital with the bonus of building an asset being paid by our tenant’s rent. I only present the numbers because you and Paula love actual numbers. With the covid-19, I suspect things might change and our rent might have to go lower. Time will tell.
– The covid-19 has stalled a lot of my work, mainly in tourism, so my monthly income is down by 86% (to €250/month – not counting the €100/month from the real estate profit), but I have a financial cushion that will allow me to survive for at least 6 months (€8,500 saved up) while I learn more about Forex Trading.
Despite the many downsides of this pandemic, like my huge income loss, a possible BIG economic crisis, the many deaths, the vulnerability of my loved ones, the major changes of plans, the many health problems (even Paula caught Covid-19 and suffered a lot with it), I’m seeing many good things:
– I’m enjoying my time at home doing all the things I’ve been delaying due to the “lack of time”.
– I’m grateful I have a roof, I have supermarkets still filled with food, I have internet connection to keep learning new things, I’m communicating with everyone and keep working on property management.
– I’m grateful that the Portuguese government and police have been surprisingly responsible/correct handling this delicate issue. Even rival political parties are united.
– I’m grateful that the majority of people in my neighbourhood are being careful and humble. I offered to go grocery/pharmacy shopping for the vulnerable-elderly people in my building (it’s more common to live in apartments than in single family homes here in European cities) and they were moved by the gesture.
– I’m eating better because I’m cooking everything I eat.
– I’m talking more with loved ones through Whatsapp because I decided to create an online family tree and add everything I can before the elders pass away. I’ve got 534 people so far!
– I’m appreciating the silence in the city, the clear sound of the birds. I think I won’t be able to handle the car noises again once things return “back to normal”.
– I’m appreciating the lack of consumerism habits I used to have (I’m spending way less than I would in a week in little minor stuff like restaurants or clothes).
– I’m appreciating my daily 1-hour non-stop walks through Lisbon with pure silence, no cars, and listening to Paula, with you occasionally coming on in the Bloopers!
– I like the fact that this is an opportunity for the planet to see how it was environmentally needing a break from the heavy industrial usage.
– And I really hope this changes the paradigm of consumer habits in our planet (including for me).
– I hope this balances off the overvalue given to certain jobs and undervalue given to others (footballers versus nurses/psychotherapists/scientific researchers), etc.
(I know this list looks like a modified version of your “I’m just as happy…” post last month, which by the way I just commented there)
Overall I’m very happy and stable in this unstable time, ironically, unlike how lost and desperate I felt when I first emailed you three years ago.
I cannot thank you enough for the dedication you had towards me during that time. You always replied, you always followed up, you recognized the challenge I had even if you weren’t in my shoes (you had empathy) and still encouraged me through your honest and humble words.
So again, a big thank you for everything!
A big hug (with distance) from Lisbon,
Key takeaways I see here:
- He wasn’t afraid to give up on something that no longer holds true for him anymore! (Leaving school)
- He’s been experimenting like crazy with ways to make an income!
- The more open he’s been with people he loves, the more loving – or at least understanding – they’ve been in return. Probably the hardest part out of all of this.
- He’s been TRACKING HIS MONEY and gotten his expenses pretty damn low – being able to go 6 months off €8,500 of savings!
- He seems incredibly grateful these days!
- And possibly the greatest turn around of all – he seems light years more *optimistic* than he once was three years ago… And good reason for it too, with everything he’s accomplished!
So again man – way to STICK TO IT and bet on yourself, and I’m so very glad to hear things are better for you now, as I’m sure everyone else here is happy to hear as well :)
I know it’s not easy – and not even close to being over – but you’ve seen the light now, baby!!! So keep on going!! And be sure to keep connected over the years so we can all continue following along your journey and be inspired by it!
If anyone missed the original post you can see it again here – Seeking Financial Stability as a Gay, Non-White, Man of Muslim Faith – otherwise, will catch y’all back in the morning for more financial chatting…
God bless! And keep on believing in yourselves! :)
UPDATE: Iqbal wanted to stress a few things that went on to really help him in case anyone finds this helpful themselves:
Psychotherapists — They are really important, and doing therapy for two years helped a lot. But it wasn’t just any therapist. It was a referenced one, that was not cheap at all. And where does that bring us? Back to the importance of having money to be able to afford quality services in needed times.
Psychiatrists — I was very skeptic about taking anti-depressive pills because I feared I’d depend on them forever. I don’t. My treatment was during 17 months (March 2016 – July 2017) and always strictly following what the psychiatrist told me to do and reporting everything to her. It’s been almost three years and I feel better than ever. No addiction, no dependency.
*Verbalizing my fears through the first email I sent you, and reading the very good suggestions and empathetic responses
*Reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to stop worrying and start living” (Amazon affiliate link)
*Searching and getting physical affection, which I was lacking heavily.