A new type of rich – Q&A with Claire Falconer – Sculptor, Entrepreneur, Writer

“The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.” – Tim Ferriss

I am fascinated by people who take the Third Door option to life.

For those not familiar with this term, the analogy is life is like standing in line to a club. The first door is for the privileged and connected, they walk straight in, the second door is for those prepared to queue and wait their turn. Then there is the third door, it is for those people that head down the alley and climb through the bathroom window or persuade a cleaner to let them in through the fire exit.

These are the people who think differently, they haven’t got it all figured out, but don’t have access to the first door and are not prepared to queue waiting for the second door.

To hijack and slightly tweak the concept from the godfather of the third door, Tim Ferris (The 4-Hour Work Week), he identifies people that he calls the “New Rich”.

These are people who choose experiences over things, people who don’t live in the 5x9x5 cell (5 days, 9-5), people who haven’t necessarily struck gold or are wealthy in the traditional sense, but live comfortably and frugally, simplifying their lives, using geographical arbitrage and a whole range of tools to escape. They focus on what I call proportional income, in that time invested has a direct and proportional result.

The New Rich: Claire Falconer – Q&A

To better understand the mindset of the New Rich, I am interviewing people living alternative lifestyles, this week we hear from Claire.

I’ve known Claire since my University days when we were in a house share together. Her unconventional approach and journey have inspired me and I am honoured to share some of it with you.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. I studied at Rhodes in Grahamstown, then spent my twenties alternately living in Taiwan and traveling.

Where are you now? Why there?
I now live about an hour away from where I grew up, in Mooi River, near the Drakensberg. I originally came here with my husband to manage a farm, and while doing that job we set up our own businesses, which are now based here. It’s a great place to raise kids, and the slow pace of life here suits us. We built our own small off-grid house, where we can see the mountains, and oribi, blue cranes, jackal, secretary birds, and reedbuck are some of our regular visitors.

What formal study have you had, have you used it?
I have a BA degree in Linguistics and Mathematics, and an Honors degree in Development Studies. I now work as a freelance editor for Taiwanese academics, so my academic background has been very useful for that.

Give us the highlights package of your career so far?
My career has sprawled rather than moved in a linear fashion. I spent a lot of time in education, including running my own little alternative school for a year. For the last seven years I have worked as a freelance editor, which provides my monthly financial base. In 2013, I started a fine art foundry with my husband, where we cast bronze sculptures for other artists.

How did you get into what you are doing now?
Alongside my editing work and our casting business, I have started sculpting. My husband and I are collaborating on our own range of sculptural water features made in bronze. It overlaps nicely with our casting business, as we use the studios at the foundry and can cast the pieces ourselves rather than outsource this as most artists have to do.

How many hours do you work a week?
I found it hard to answer this question, as everything all flows together a lot, as we work in a full-time family set-up, with the help of a nanny, but all together all the time. Lots of our work is location-independent as well, and some involves creative inspiration/expression. I guess 6 hours a day, so 30 hours a week.

What is the best advice you have received and why?
Leverage the assets you have. When our fine art business was slow, we looked into industrial manufacture. That was ignoring not only the assets that we have, but who we are and what would excite us long term.

What was your biggest learning on your journey?
It’s hard to put together the life of your dreams if you don’t take the time to work out what you want. When you understand who you are, your unique gifts, and what your priorities are, then you can go about building an incredible life.

What do you do in terms of financial planning?
This is something new to me. I used to spend all my money on experiences. Now, with two kids, I’m shifting towards planning more for the future, while still enjoying my life as it is. It’s important to me to integrate the two. What has helped enormously is exploring the spiritual aspects of money. I recently read Money Magic by Deborah Price. This is a great read for anyone, but particularly helpful for artists.

What does being Rich mean to you?
Having choices. Being able to do what’s important to you. I’d love to say it means a kind of security but I’ve learnt that there is no security in anything. So maybe it means having faith.

What is your number one bit of advice you can give to someone looking at shifting towards a new rich lifestyle design?
Learn to trust. Trust yourself. Trust your path. Trust your kids. Trust that the world is much bigger than you might have experienced up until now. Trust that you can have what you want.

What’s next?
I’m excited to continue expanding my art career, and I’m also working on a new book about transformational journeys.

How can people learn more and support what you are doing?
The website for our sculptural water features is www.falconerartstudios.com.

We’re also on Instagram and Facebook. We love making bespoke pieces as all our work is one of a kind. Our works distill the essence of our natural environment and home, so they work well in clean architectural spaces that may be more urban, as they allow the two worlds to be brought together.

Do you know of someone who meets my definition of the New Rich? – I’d love to feature them, please get in touch.

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