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Mr. Archibald has had a bevy of interesting life experiences and he will be sharing some of his wisdom with us every other week.

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome a new writer to our staff at Y and T. We believe Joseph will provide a view on personal finance and insights into a specific lifestyle that we currently don’t have on our roster. Mr. Archibald has had a bevy of interesting life experiences and he will be sharing some of his wisdom with us every other week. He definitely looks at life from a different view than most of us and we are happy to have his unique contributions to our community. Please join us in welcoming the man who has been living his tropical dream for years now – Mr. Joseph Archibald.

My name is Joseph Archibald, and by “trade” for the past almost 5 years, I’ve been making a living online. My “thing”, if you will, was Google SEO, but what with the constant changes to algorithms among other factors, ranking in Google is becoming more difficult to achieve over a long term basis. I mean, it’s a case of ranking in the top spot one minute, then gone entirely the next. If you’ve endured that experience, you’ll know that it ain’t fun at all!

Nevertheless, working online in any capacity does bring with it many rewards. Even if you labour for clients, you still – in general – can please yourself when you work. Start work at 11am then finish off at 3pm – why not? Obviously with a normal job, you can’t possibly do that. And what’s more, with a normal job, you’ll find yourself forced to work when you are far from your most productive. When you work online – when you work for yourself online, you can choose to work when you are at your peak. Thus you get much more done in a shorter period of time!

You can also – in general – work from any location – be that your home in the US, Canada, UK etc. or be that from some exotic tropical location such as Colombia in South America, or perhaps Vietnam in South East Asia.

Let’s face the facts – you can live like a small king or queen in a place like Kuching in Malaysia in comparison to living life in North America, Canada or the United Kingdom, on the same monthly income. What will 1000 US bucks in North America get you? 1000 bucks in Malaysia will be enough to get you a reasonably attractive lifestyle!

So, let me ask you this question – when it comes to quality of life, what do you think about as being the most important thing to you? What do you think will bring the most quality to your life?

Will it be the amount of money you make? Most people tend to think it is, and I personally feel that this line of thought is flawed. Its flawed because we in the western world are educated to believe that money equates to happiness and fulfilment. We are taught to believe that we should become a slave to money. We are taught to think we must go to college or university and get a good education in order to then get a good career, in order that we may make more and more and more money. All in the pursuit of a happy and fulfilling life.

I too was led to believe this would be the right path for me. I too went to college and then to university. I too sought the high flying career. But each time I got any place close to successfully leaping on the career ladder, something backfired and I bailed out. Something was wrong. I started to question the “make money, be happy” philosophy. It suddenly didn’t seem to tally up the way “they” had always said it would.

But, I didn’t just bail out of pursuing a potentially high flying career. I bailed out of life!

I took the chance to get away from the United Kingdom – my home for the previous 40 years – and jump on a flight to Malaysia, where I lived for 3 years. No regrets either – life in Kuching was a wonderful experience for me! Now I’ve jumped over the water and am enjoying my time in the Philippines. It’s hot, it’s incredibly humid, it’s third world standards all around me, but I’m surely living life on my terms and not on anyone else’s terms!

The freedom to choose – that’s a key element to success in life! The freedom to choose – that’s a key element to happiness and fulfilment in life! Money is a part of that process, but you don’t have to have much in order to live of a life of real value and pleasure.
So what do I have in store for the Young and Thrifty website? What will I be contributing?

Obviously, since I’m fairly well-versed in living life abroad, in exotic tropical countries, I’ll be sharing some of my experiences with you and some tips about that part of the world. I’ll also be taking the point of view of the minimalist. Let me explain this. When I first came to live in South East Asia, I was still very much focussed on the “more money means more happiness” concept. Slowly but surely, I’ve started to see the error of my ways because I was earning more and more money online and I still felt something big was missing in my life.

So these days, I work far fewer hours each week than perhaps I’ve worked for years and years. To be honest, I do (currently) earn less than what I was earning a year or so ago, but I don’t feel the pressure to keep slaving onwards. I’m content to have “just enough”. The reason for that is I now realize that material wealth is not real wealth at all. It’s something of a false concept.

So, this line of thinking is what I wish to explore further on the Young and Thrifty website. And what I hope very much is that you will join me on the journey so we can learn together!

-Joseph Archibald

Article comments


Hi Dividend Mantra, thanks for your comment!

I had planned to have the good life by the time I was 40, just like you are planning, but it all went Pete Tong wrong on me. I was bankrupt by the age of 40 rather than self sufficient due to diligent saving and thrifty spending. Nevertheless, the bankruptcy as well as a number of other yoooky happenings in my life paved my path to what its become now – a far cry indeed from my life in the United Kingdom.

I’ve just been for a 58 day visa extension today (Philippines) and it cost me an arm and a leg – almost 200 US smackers as a matter of fact. Tourist visas in the Philippines are far from cheap, let me tell you! Malaysia is a good sight more affordable.

I’m hearing good things from a friend of mine who is married to a Filipino (got kids here too) and has been living in the Philippines for quite a number of years. He’s telling me that Cambodia is a really super place for westerners to travel around and to live. Cheap, food far better than the Philippines (which would not be difficult, in my humblest of opinions), people equally as friendly and accommodating, large demand for learning English as a second language and the demand is growing year on year. Seems that Cambodia may be my next port of call…

I’m actually living in Cebu, Dividend Mantra. So far… hmmm…. For me, the issue with living in more attractive parts of the Phils is that they don’t tend to have internet, or internet is terribly patchy. Thus, its a case of living within a large town or city, which for many of us westerners kinda defeats the purpose of living here, really.

All the best to you!


Wow, just awesome! Preach it, brother!

I’m on a path right now to (hopefully) become fully financially independent before 40 years old through a combination of frugal living and investing heavily in dividend growth stocks.

I’m really excited to hear about your travels in SE Asia, specifically the Philippines. I have often thought that might be the perfect place for a young person to retire to on a modest income due to the great weather, warm people, lack of language barriers (English being widely spoken) and ease of a Visa. The SRRV Visa program is especially attractive to someone at least 35 years old.

Hopefully in the future you can expound upon your travels, experiences, frugal living abroad and where in the Philippines you’re staying now. I hear Cebu is nice due to the proximity to wonderful beaches, while still having city amenities.

Really looking forward to hearing more.

Best wishes!

SavingMentor says:

I would have thought this post would receive more comments. I read it yesterday and I thought your story was quite interesting an unique. Maybe it is so far out there from an average person’s daily life that they can’t relate, I don’t know?

I’ll be interested to hear what else you have to say and what your unique experiences have taught you that might be transferable to us people with more mundane lives 🙂

Teacher Man says:

I agree SM. I think that Joseph will bring something pretty unique from a personal finance POV eh?

Hi Saving Mentor and Teaching Man, thanks for the warm welcome! At one time my life was more mundane than most but enough was enough and I had to cut loose or die trying 🙂 Good to be on board with Young and Thrifty – should be fun!

All the best!