Whenever I hear somebody talking online about having my own ATM, I start holding onto my wallet.
The idea of having an ATM pumping out a seemingly endless supply of easy money sounds great. But it also throws up red flags.
It sounds like wishful thinking. It reminds me of the time when my kids thought that they didn’t need money, because with Dad’s credit cards, everything is free!
Of course, when you use a real ATM, you are usually spending your money, not making more.
When I use the ATM analogy, what I am trying to communicate is the idea that your method of acquiring money needs to be convenient to your chosen lifestyle. It needs to assist your efforts to live the life of your dreams – not get in the way like careers often do.
This is rather revolutionary thinking. Traditionally, your life’s focus is, first and foremost, on ensuring that you have enough money to survive. Then it is on having enough to support a family. And then it is on ensuring that you have enough money to take nice vacations. And so on.
And finally, you wake up one day to discover that you are not very happy, your spouse is a stranger who wants a divorce, and your kids are more strangers who have been raised by babysitters, nannies, and their friends.
Life is too short to put off until tomorrow. Life is too short to put making money ahead of living.
But being poor really sucks. If you don’t believe me, just ask a poor person.
So, until recently, people had little choice in how they lived. Either live a spartan lifestyle surrounded by the things that you love, or work your a** off in the hopes that you can do it fast enough to enjoy at least a bit of it before you die.
Today, you do have a choice. Utilizing creative techniques to earn money while you live your perfect lifestyle is a key component of Intentional Lifestyle Design.
There are many ways to generate income on-the-fly. Or, alternatively, to generate just enough income to support your lifestyle and provide adequate insurance for the future.
If you have a business that you can run from anywhere, and that does not interfere with your ability to live your life, your way, then you have your virtual ATM. If you have a skill that you can put to use to earn some cash when needed, you have your ATM. If you have an online business that allows you to sell your unique knowledge to someone else on Earth who needs it, then you have your virtual ATM.
What you will be avoiding is any job or business that entangles you in ways that get in the way of your lifestyle.
Your virtual ATM – your money machine – is your unique set of marketable, portable skills that you can pull out of your pocket whenever you need them. Or perhaps it is a business or series of businesses that achieve the same thing for you.
It doesn’t matter what you do or what skills you utilize to generate money as you need it. What does matter is that it works for you. That it allows you to live your life your way.
The amount of time that you spend making money isn’t the most important factor. Only that your method doesn’t interfere with your chosen lifestyle. For example, you may even be one of those rare lucky folks who love to do something that also makes you a living. That’s terrific!
Understand that when the focus of your life changes from spending your best years in a career, making money, to following your dreams, you can no longer expect to be bringing in massive globs of money all at once. But that’s OK, because you don’t need to.
In fact, having too much cash can be a liability. You can’t really trust banks anymore, and now governments severely restrict how much cash that you can carry on your person when crossing borders. If they find “too much” on you, they will simply seize it, and never give it back. The assumption seems to be that if you have cash, you must be a drug dealer or something.
Your money needs to be available to you at the moments that you need to spend it. But that is all.
Personally, I am very possessive of my time. I believe that time is the stuff of life, and I have already spent so much of it. So in my ideal lifestyle, I have reversed the role of career and vacation. My career is living my life, my way. Occasionally, I go on vacation to make some money to pay for it.
To create your own 21st Century ATM you will need to identify and develop systems, businesses, mechanisms, careers – call them what you will – that can generate cash for you when and where you need it, with the virtual reliability of a real ATM.
Unlike a traditional job, you won’t have to build your life around your vacation schedule. Follow my advice, and everyday of your life will feel like a vacation!
The ATM analogy creates the image of easy money. I don’t mean to suggest that from now on making money will be easy. But it will be of secondary priority to living the lifestyle that you love. And it will be of a character that allows you to do what you love to do.
I strongly recommend that you read the New York Times Bestseller, The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss. In this book, Tim does a fantastic job of explaining this revolutionary new view of earning for living.
And don’t think that this lifestyle is only for single twenty-somethings. If you are your family’s primary breadwinner, you can do this too.
Understand that it takes time, creativity, and patience to create a virtual ATM for you and your family. But it will be one of the most valuable creative gifts that you can give them.
So do not delay! Begin to educate yourself now. And don’t quit your job yet! You will need today’s cash flow to buy you time to get yourself ready for your new lifestyle approach.
Know that as you take this journey, you will be taking the first tangible steps towards a life that you will love.
So, go for it! I am 100% behind you! And so are many others.
All the best,