Here is the full transcript of entrepreneur Alex Szepietowski’s TEDx Talk: Design Your Dream Life Through Passive Income at TEDxUniversityofYork conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Design Your Dream Life Through Passive Income by Alex Szepietowski at TEDxUniversityofYork
Alex Szepietowski – Entrepreneur
The average person in the UK has only 11 weeks’ income saved in the bank. How much do you have saved? How long could you live for if your paycheck stopped coming in? Maybe you never thought of that, and it might be a little bit scary to think about.
Today I’m going to share with you about passive income and how to design your dream life through building up your passive income streams.
Designing your dream life through passive income has got a big claim. You should be like: Why is passive income important to us and what is it?
Well, in October 2012, I knew absolutely nothing about passive income. I was here, it’s like you’ve said I was at B Block at Derwent Uni and I knew nothing about passive income. I knew how to make income, I knew that you go and swap your time for money, that’s called active income or earned income. And it’s what you do when you get a job. And that’s what 99% of us in the world do.
The opposite of that is passive income, or recurring income. It’s where you do the work once and you continue to get paid recurringly for very little or no actual work. When your passive income, recurring income, exceeds your cost of living, what you spend on food, utilities, petrol, all that kind of stuff — when your passive income exceeds your cost of living, you are then financially free. And if you happen to lose a job or not get a paycheck you can live infinitely forever.
Now why is that important? So this is a question, get ready for it. Let’s have some audience participation. Can you think of reasons why your paycheck would stop coming in? You break a leg; perfect. So you’re sick or you’re incapacitated or you’re unable to swap your time for money. Thank you.
Anybody else? Get fired, fantastic, perfect. Has anyone been fired in the room? Perfect.
Anybody else got any other ones? Yeah. That’s a really really good point. So your industry changes, that could be a global financial crisis or it could be modernization, things like the Lehman Brothers collapse or the mining industry or steel structural changes that can affect us, and that might have nothing to do with your competency at your job.
You might also be taken over by a new firm. There’s a merger and there are two of you in the same job and you’re made redundant. Well, maybe you just fall out of your boss, and he asks you to trot along your way and it may not actually be due to your competency whatsoever. That’s not a great position to be in; is it? If your financial security is effectively based on circumstance or things that might be out of your control.
So when I was at Uni, I just finished my second year, I got a first which was great in PPE, and I tried — I took a few years to get to Uni, I tried banking, I tried Citigroup in Canary Wharf, I tried accountancy, I tried law, I tried sales, IT sales, PR, then I tried Proctor & Gamble. And I had this long list of proper jobs of what I thought, as you know, respectable people, they go and do these things.
I tried working with children and I enjoyed — I didn’t dislike the jobs, I liked the people I was working with. So if you’re watching, please don’t think I didn’t, but it didn’t light me up. I couldn’t see myself spending the next 45 to 50 years. So what have you on the retirement age now, is it 65 or 67? What happens when we get to that age now – 75, 80, 100, who knows. I couldn’t spend the next 50 years of my life doing this thing.
And I remember Procter & Gamble, they said to me on my final day in Hornbeam Park in Harrogate, and they said, “We want to offer you the job when you finish Uni but we’re not quite sure if it’s right for you.” And I thought well I have to take there and they said, just pop out of the room, we’ll bring in the other boss and we’ll have a chat.
And when I came back in that I was smiling and they were like, what are you doing smiling, we thought of saying we don’t really want to offer you the job. And I said no one has ever said that to me. I thought it in my head, I thought I can’t do this, but I didn’t know that there was an alternative and it took someone else to say it to me to say you know what, they’re right I can’t do this. So as scary as that was it’s like I’d shut that door and now it was like well let’s start something from fresh, what can I do.
So I went home that night and started googling. As any self-respecting person does when they’re faced with a life crisis, they jump on Google. And I started discovering terms like “how can you be your own boss?”, “passive income”, “wealth creation”, and words I’d never come across before and I started to read.
And I’ve read about real life case studies, not billionaires or these incredibly talented people, normal people who had picked a strategy, there are lots of ways of bringing in passive income, I chose property but there are lots and they said about taking work, taking action: is it get-rich-quick overnight? No.
If anybody tells you it is the only way of doing that is the lottery, all right. So but it can be get rich fast, you know whatever that is for you, months, years, it doesn’t take long. Continual sustained action can get you the results you want.
So I read a loads of books, thought great, they asked me a master like Uni, I was like yeah I’m just reading other stuff. And I went along to the use of sort — I chose property, it resonated with me but as I said you don’t have to pick property. I went along to these events where I met normal people, remember guy called Trevor and a normal guy came across property, boom, he had 30 or 60 other houses whatever it was and I was like well if he can do it I can do it too. So I spent my student loan and I took out a credit card and I invested in myself to learn what to do.
I invested in myself and to cut a long story short, I started with no money and I had no knowledge or education in this kind of stuff. And two years later, I had paid off every investor I borrowed from, owned 24 houses with the portfolio worth 3.5 million quid and I won a few national awards.
Now that doesn’t mean I’m special at all. I think the biggest thing I want to get across is anyone can do it; it’s a strategy. If someone happens to get a degree, it doesn’t mean that they’re an absolute legend, they’ve just done what they’ve been told, they’ve rocked up to the classes, they’ve done the homework and they’ve got the result, whether it happens to be first or two one or two, two, you get a degree and it’s the same with wealth creation stuff. Some people are blessed with natural ability and that might get them there a little bit quicker. But anyone — anyone can achieve the same result.