Exactly three years ago that day We introduced a reader of the blog who has suffered tremendously and tried not only to get a grip on his finances, but also to be accepted in a world that does not make it easy for people with certain backgrounds.
In his case, being gay, non-white, and part of a religious Muslim community.
Many of you have come forward with generous words of encouragement and even shared some of your own struggles in life (thanks for that !!), and now I am happy to report that our friend here is doing much better after three long years: )
With his permission, I’d like to post his most recent update here in case any of you go through something similar, as well as a reminder that you can never go wrong betting on yourself.
It is not always easy, but as Iqbal shows here today, progress is possible !! So far away man !! A refreshing thing to read in these troubled times!
Here is his note below … For reference, he lives in Lisbon, Portugal.
Just wanted to check how you are doing during this pandemic outbreak.
And to let you know how I was doing because it’s been years since I last sent messages. So overall, I’m better than ever and you have been a huge influence on me. To this day, I am very grateful for your support and I am delighted to hear again the episodes that you recorded with Paula. So much knowledge and so much humility.
I’ve been great the past two years because:
– I quit my university degree exactly a year ago and have never been so relieved. That was one of the biggest things that contributed to my depression. I didn’t let go of something that was harming me in the name of grit / persistence without realizing that it hurt me more than doing good. I found a parallel between that and your decision to quit the podcast. This episode was so relatable!
– After leaving school, most of my time was spent working (what I was already working on) and saving money (I had saved around € 20,500 by the end of 2019). I work in tourism (I rent two Airbnb rooms and I am a tour guide) and property management (I manage 8 rental contracts).
– Although this work had nothing to do with what I was studying (architecture), it made more money (1,750 € / month) than the people who work in my field of study (architecture = 900 € / month).
– I wanted to invest in Land Flipping because the investment required very little initial capital (I was planning € 7,000). That’s why I bought the REtipster course online from Seth Williams (€ 2,000). Have you ever heard of that? [Nope! But love the name! :)]
– Since I had to be physically 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 in November 2019 and loved it.
– I felt very welcome by everyone and everything seemed very familiar to me, maybe because I grew up there with so many references (online and on TV). It was very easy to start a friendly conversation with almost everyone!
– I have been very slow to apply the knowledge from the Land Flipping course due to the excessive demand in my work in Lisbon. So I haven’t done any business yet. Due to the Covid-19, I decided to continue this course for the time being.
– During the quarantine I try to learn Forex trading. I see many lessons apply to stocks as well (technical analysis).
– I started meeting a new man two years ago who is great and even met my parents and relatives.
– My father finally broke his 10-year silence about my homosexuality and gave me great support.
– I am more and more connected to my parents, siblings, cousins and some aunts and uncles.
– I suspect that many other relatives now know or think that I am gay and continue to treat me the same as I always wanted. One of my concerns in 2017 was that my family would treat me differently if they ever knew the truth. It’s still in don’t ask, don’t tell mode, but luckily overall it may not be as bad as I feared.
– I have a lot more control over my finances as I have been aggressively tracking my money and cutting unnecessary expenses (as you have always recommended).
– I bought my first investment property in February (2020) with my boyfriend and it is already rented. We bought it for € 99,000 and our down payment was € 16,000 which meant the loan was € 83,000 at a fixed annual rate of 1.25%. After 30 years we paid interest of € 31,215.14 on the loan of € 83,000. The closing costs + repairs in February were € 4,000, so each of us had to invest a total of € 10,000 (€ 16,000 + € 4,000 ÷ 2).
– In March (last month) we rented it for € 750 / month. In a year, after taxes, insurance, fees and mortgages, we have an annual liquid profit of € 1,200 for each of us, which equates to 12% of the capital invested with the bonus of building an asset that is paid for by our tenant’s rent. I’m only presenting the numbers because you and Paula love actual numbers. I suspect that something could change with the covid-19 and our rent may have to go down. We will see.
– The covid-19 brought much of my work, mainly in tourism, to a standstill, so my monthly income has dropped by 86% (to € 250 / month – without taking into account the € 100 / month from real estate profit), but I have A financial cushion to survive on for at least 6 months (€ 8,500 saved) while learning more about Forex trading.
Despite the many disadvantages of this pandemic, such as my enormous loss of income, a possible major economic crisis, the many deaths, the vulnerability of my loved ones, the major plan changes, the many health problems (even Paula caught Covid-19 and suffered a lot with it), I see many good things:
– I enjoy my time at home and do all the things that I have been delayed due to “lack of time”.
– I am grateful that I have a roof, supermarkets are still filled with groceries, I have an internet connection to constantly learn new things, I communicate with everyone and continue to work on property management.
– I am grateful that the Portuguese government and police have handled this sensitive issue in a surprisingly delicate and correct manner. Even rival political parties agree.
– I am grateful that the majority of the people in my neighborhood are careful and humble. I offered to buy groceries / pharmacies in my building for the vulnerable elderly (it is more common to live in apartments than in single family houses here in European cities) and they were moved by the gesture.
– I eat better because I cook everything I eat.
– I talk to loved ones more on WhatsApp because I decided to build an online family tree and add everything I can before the elders die. I have 534 people so far!
– I appreciate the quiet in the city, the clear sound of the birds. I don’t think I will be able to process the noise of the car when things are “normal” again.
– I appreciate the lack of consumer habits I used to have (I spend a lot less on small things like restaurants or clothes than I do in a week).
– I appreciate my daily non-stop walks through Lisbon for 1 hour with pure silence, no cars and with Paula, with the occasional stopover in the bloopers!
– I like the fact that this is an opportunity for the planet to see ecologically in need of a break from heavy industrial use.
– And I really hope that this changes the paradigm of consumer habits on our planet (for me too).
– I hope this balances out the over value for certain occupations and the under value for others (soccer players 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 I just commented on there, by the way.)
Overall, I am ironically very happy and stable during this unstable period, as opposed to how lost and desperate I felt when I first emailed you three years ago.
I cannot thank you enough for the commitment you have shown me during this time. You always answered, you always followed up, you recognized the challenge I had, even when you were not in my shoes (you had empathy) and still encouraged me with your honest and humble words.
Again a big thank you for everything!
A big hug (by far) from Lisbon,
Major takeaways I see here:
- He wasn’t afraid to give up something that no longer applies to him! (Leave school)
- He’s been experimenting like crazy with ways to make an income!
- The more open he was with people he loves, the more loving – or at least more understanding – they were in return. Probably the hardest part of all of this.
- He TRACKED HIS MONEY and kept his expenses damn low – he saved less than € 8,500 in 6 months!
- He seems incredibly grateful these days!
- And possibly the biggest turning point of all – he seems light years * more optimistic * than three years ago … And a good reason for that too, with everything he has achieved!
So man again – way of sticking to it and betting on yourself and I’m so glad to hear that things are better for you now as I’m sure everyone else here is happy to hear that too 🙂
I know it’s not easy – and not even conclude to be over – but you saw the light now, baby !!! So go ahead !! And keep in touch over the years so we can all continue your journey and be inspired by it!
If anyone missed the original post, you can watch it again here – seeking financial stability as a gay, non-white man of Muslim faith – otherwise you will be in touch in the morning for more financial talks …
God bless! And keep believing in yourself! 🙂 🙂
TO UPDATE: Iqbal wanted to highlight a few things that really helped him in case someone finds this helpful themselves:
Psychotherapists – You are really important, and two years of therapy helped a lot. But it wasn’t just any therapist. It was a referenced one that wasn’t cheap at all. And where does that take us? Back to the importance of having money to be able to afford quality services in the times that you need.
Psychiatrist – I was very skeptical about taking antidepressants because I feared I would be dependent on them forever. Not me. My treatment lasted 17 months (March 2016 – July 2017) and always followed the instructions of the psychiatrist exactly and reported everything to her. It’s been almost three years and I feel better than ever. No addiction, no addiction.
* Verbalize my fears through the first email I sent you and read the very good suggestions and empathetic responses
* Read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Live” (Amazon Affiliate Link)
* Search and physical affection that I missed very much.