A new type of rich – Q&A with Johan Pettersson – From IT Projects to Tree Hugger and Tree Feller

“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.

To better understand the mindset of the New Rich, I am interviewing these people living alternative lifestyles, this week with we hear Johan Pettersson based in Åland Islands (I had to Google it too).

The New Rich: Johan Pettersson Q&A

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Umeå, the city of birches, in Northern Sweden.

Where are you now? Why there?

I am currently living in the Åland Islands, with my wife and two kids. We moved to essentially have more freedom in our lives. We have made the choice to spend as much time together with our kids as possible while they’re still young and have made some changes in our lives to accomplish this, moving to Åland is one of the biggest changes we have made.

What formal study have you had, have you used it?

I have a degree in Social Sciences with a major in Informatics, which I have used to some extent. I have worked as a Project Manager within software development and system implementation.

Give us the highlights package of the jobs you have had?

I have always had a complicated relationship to having a job. I have never really been satisfied with the setup, for example the imbalance of working full time which means working 5 days and having 2 days off. I have had jobs that I considered good and that I have appreciated, but when viewing them in the perspective of life itself, and not just within the realm of working, I have questioned why I’m doing something I’m not fully passionate about and instead basically fulfilling someone else’s dream.

Already when I started my working life I was wondering how this could be everyday life for so many of us and of the people I knew, less than a handful were making a living doing something that they really loved.

How did you get into what you are doing now?

Right now I’m committed to mainly two different businesses, both related to forestry and trees, but in totally different ways.

A few years a ago I got presented to a forestry company in Kenya with a vision out of the ordinary in regards to forestry. Their vision is to eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa and to do that through social entrepreneurship.

First I became a customer, and as the concept is too good not to talk to other people about, I chose to become an ambassador. Since then I have been spreading the word and helping people save money in an ethical and sustainable manner.

When planning to move to Åland I was looking to add another income that was home based. So when we found a house with an existing business on the property, we didn’t hesitate. I was also interested in doing something more hands-on, I have already spent enough time sitting at a desk, which my body had been trying to tell me for a while in different ways. So now we run a firewood factory where we chop timber, dry and sell the logs.

How many hours do you work a week?

Right now I am not doing any traditional work, as in trading time and energy for money. Instead I’m putting time and energy into activities that don’t give me any money right now, but will in the future.

Although I’m about to start helping out some friends from time to time with their recently started Virtual Reality arcade. When I first tried VR I was blown away by the powerful experience of entering into another world.

Over time I have become more and more careful with what I spend my time on, partly since I really want to spend time with my kids while they’re young and because I realise how valuable it is.

What is the best advice you have received and why?

To look at life from a perspective of resources, in particular the ”holy trinity” – Time, Energy, Money. This has had a great impact on me. Especially time, since it is the only finite resource, at least in this life.

What was your biggest learning on your journey?

That if there’s something I really want in life and I act on it, it will happen.

What do you do in terms of financial planning?

I’m saving monthly in stock funds and in trees. Besides the regular saving, I’m investing from time to time in unlisted companies. We own a house with two apartments in the US, that we get monthly rental income from.

What is your number one bit of advice you can give to someone looking at shifting towards a different lifestyle design?

Life is too short not to act on your desires. Find out what’s standing between you and what you want, and what the gap looks like. When you know that, you can figure out how to overcome that gap.

What’s next?

To grow my passive income streams to become financially free.

How can people learn more and support what you are doing?

If you want to save in an ethical, sustainable matter I really think you should look into Better Globe. If you are thinking about adding rental income to your revenue by investing in real estate in the US, I will happily share my experience.

And of course, if you ever spend time on Åland you are very welcome to visit the factory, I’ll give you a guided tour and a fika in the drying house 😊.

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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