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Robo-Advisors vs DIY Index Funds

 Robo-Advisors vs DIY Index Funds

Robo-Advisor vs Index Funds

Robo-Advisors have become extremely popular in the last few years with companies like Wealthfront and Betterment making up most of the market share.  These companies essentially create and manage a portfolio of low cost index funds for a .25% annual fee.  This is a much cheaper option than giving your money to a hedge fund manager, but also more expensive than simply doing it yourself with a simple portfolio of index funds.  So which one is right for you, Robo-Advisors or DIY Index Fund Investing?



Compared to traditional money manager or hedge funds that charge 1% (or more) a year to, to “manage” your investments,  Robo-advisors are a much cheaper alternative.  You will be able to get a diversified portfolio that is automatically rebalanced and offers tax loss harvesting for about a quarter of a percent.

One of the best parts about robo-advisors is that you basically just set it and forget it.  You can pick an amount that you want to invest on a monthly basis and then the robo-advisor does the rest.  Automatically buying your new index funds and rebalancing ones that have either over or underperformed.

For someone who wants a completely hands-off approach, choosing a Robo-advisor is one of the easiest ways to automate your investing and build long term wealth.

Get Your First $5,000 Managed for Free with Wealthfront

Wealthfront vs Index Funds

DIY Index Fund Investing

I started out by investing in low cost ETFs with Charles Schwab.  I wanted to learn more about investing and thought that I could manage it myself and I also had fun doing in (while the market was going up).  I quickly realized that I wasn’t able to look at my investments objectively and trying to rebalance them myself every month became a chore.

I became my own worst enemy and tried to “time” the market.  This worked out sometimes and I was able to sell before a correction but would then miss the buying opportunity.  More often than not, I would have been better off leaving the entire amount in and forgetting about it.  Every experienced investor will tell you that you can’t time the market, but every novice investor still wants to try.


Every experienced investor will tell you that you can’t time the market, but every novice investor still wants to try.

Around this time I started hearing more and more about Robo-Advisors and decided to give Wealthfront a try.  The best thing about it was that it was completely automated.  A certain amount was deducted from my checking account every month and I never had to even think about it.  It was also in a separate account from my checking account so I barely ever looked at the short term fluctuations.

But I couldn’t help but think about the 0.25% yearly fee that I was paying.  It sounds like a small amount but this is charged every year and I plan on keeping the majority of my money invested.  As my investment grew, the amount I was paying really started to add up.


Robo-Advisor Fees:

$10,000.00 = $25.00 Yearly Fee

$50,000.00 = $125.00 Yearly Fee

$500,000.00 = $1,250.00 Yearly Fee

$1,000,000.00 = $2,500.00 Yearly Fee


I decided to find another automated way of investing.  I didn’t want to sit down every month and buy ETFs but I also didn’t want to pay for something I could easily do myself.  That lead me to Automatic Mutual Fund Investing with Charles Schwab.


Automatic Mutual Fund Investing

To me, this is the best of both worlds.  The funds are automatically withdrawn from my checking account and invested into a low cost index fund portfolio.  I no longer need to pay the 0.25% fee for a robo-advisor and I don’t need to manually buy ETFs like I was doing in the past.  My investment strategy is now completely automated and has the lowest possible cost.

schwab automatic investing

Learn How to Build Your Own Index Fund Portfoilo Here!


I am not a certified financial planner and the opinions expressed in the Blog are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product. It is only intended to provide education about the financial industry.  Always do your own research and invest at your own risk.

How to Migrate from Godaddy to Cloudways Hosting

How to Migrate Hosting from Godaddy to Cloudways

Migrate Goaddy to Cloudways

Why migrate from GoDaddy to Cloudways?

I used GoDaddy hosting for years and this was mainly because Godaddy is where I registered my first domain name.  This was about 10 years ago and I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing or what website hosting even was.  In the end, Godaddy served it’s purpose and is not a terrible option for beginners and they do actually offer decent customer support.

But once my sites started getting bigger and more complicated, GoDaddy’s Shared Servers just weren’t able to handle the work load.  Using WordPress and Woocommerce really slowed down my sites and after spending hours trying to optimize them and speed them up, I realized that the one thing I could never optimize was the server response time.  This is determined solely by your hosting provider and GoDaddy has shared hosting with many other sites on the same server which ultimately slows down your site.

Here’s a comparison of the response times of my site with Godaddy and Cloudways.  You can see that the files are the same size and it takes Godaddy almost .7 seconds to respond while it takes Cloudways about .2 seconds.  .5 seconds might not seem like a lot of time but it can really make a difference when users are on your site.


Cloudways Server Response Time

After spending days trying to optimize my site and speaking to experts, I was led to Cloudways which uses Digital Ocean Servers.

I switched over to their servers with a 7 day free trial and tested out the speeds once I migrated my site.  My site was instantly with their plan that cost $22.00/month and I was paying $49.99/month. 


Click Here for a Free Cloudways Trial and Free Migration

The largest improvement was actually on the backend.  Using Godaddy and WordPress made adding pictures and modifying products/posts a tedious experience where I could only do one thing at a time while I waited for the site to respond.  Switching to Cloudways made a huge difference and now I can edit and optimize my site at my speed instead of waiting for Godaddy’s servers to respond to my requests.

In short, Cloudways is cheaper and faster.  

But you don’t have to just take my word for it, you can try out their servers for free for 7 days to test it out for yourself.


How to Migrate Hosting from Godaddy to Cloudways

The first thing to do is go to Cloudways and use the free demo server (Free 7 Day Trial).  No credit card required.

Verify the email that they send you.

At Cloudways, click on Add Server and pick your Application type (website); WordPress, WordPress/Woocommerce, Majento etc.

Name your website and server.

Pick your server – Digital Ocean

Pick your server size, you can start at $10.00 or $22.00/month  with no contract and you can add multiple websites(applications) to the server.

Pick the server location that is closest to your audience or customers.

Click Launch Now!


Set Up Cloudways Server


Now Your Free 7 Day Trial Server Has Been Launched!

It’s time to migrate your site to Cloudways:

Your server will take about 7 minutes to launch.

Once it has launched, click on Applications and then Add Application (applications are basically just websites).

*Launching the application takes about 2 minutes 

Log into Your WordPress Site:

While the application is being added, log into your wordpress site /wp-admin/ and install the Cloudways WordPress Migrator Plug-in


Back to Cloudways:

Once your application (website) has launched, you will see your access details:

Application Access Details

Put these details into the Cloudways WordPress Migrator Plug-in

Your destination URL is the one on the new Cloudways Server and will be something like this:

Create your application credentials for SFTP on Cloudways and use that for the SFTP Username and Password.

Start Migrating

Once all your data is in, click on Migrate.

*Don’t worry, your original site is still live in the original location, this is moving a copy of your site to the Cloudways server.

Migrating takes up to 4 hours and you can close the window without interrupting the process.  They will email you when it has finished and this will not affect your current site.



Once the Migration is Complete, Test your website with Cloudways Hosting:

Now you have a version of your site on the Cloudways servers.  You can test out the speed and log into wordpress and see if you notice a speed difference.

Your site is still with your old hosting provider so if you want to continue with the migration, now it’s time to point your url (domain name) to your Cloudways server.


How to point your url to your Cloudways server: 

First go to Cloudways – Domain Management – add primary domain – input your website url. 

Cloudways add primary domain

Change A (IP Address) Records:

First, access your Cloudways Account to get your New IP Address.  This is the same Public IP Address that we used for the Migrator Plug-in.  

Application Access Details

Now in Godaddy, click on Domains and then DNS Management.

Change the IP Address in the A Records to your NEW Cloudways IP Address.

Edit Godaddy A Records

The process is the same for any domain registrar, here’s an example of Name Cheap A Records:

Go to Domain List, Advanced DNS and Input Your New Cloudways IP Address:

Name Cheap Change A Record

Now Your Site is Pointing to Cloudways Hosting!

You will need to wait for the new changes to take effect and this process can take upto 24 hours but will usually start working in just a few hours.

Go to to make sure the new Cloudways IP Address is listed.

**This usually takes a few hours so don’t panick if it isn’t showing right away**


Click Here for a Free Cloudways Trial and Free Migration

How to Build Your First Online Business

How to Build Your First Online Business

how to build first online business


How to Build Your First Online Business

Building an Online Business is the best way to get out of a 9 to 5 job, achieve financial independence and travel the world.  I started making Online Businesses 10 years ago and recently sold a website for over $300,000.

When building an Online Business, you have a couple different options; Affiliate Marketing, Drop Shipping or using an existing platform like Amazon or eBay.

In this tutorial we are going to focus on Affiliate Marketing because you can create this businesses for less than $20.00 and you don’t need to purchase inventory, worry about shipping or deal with customer service


How Does Affilate Marketing Work?

Affiliate Marketing basically works by creating a website with content that provides valuable information on a product or a service.  An example of this is a tutorial I made about migrating website hosting from GoDaddy to Cloudways.  Cloudways is a service that I personally use and recommend so I decided to make a tutorial showing other people how they could use Cloudways and if they sign up, I will get an Affiliate Commission.

Migrate Goaddy to Cloudways

What You Need to Build Your Online Business


An Idea or Niche

A Domain Name

Website Hosting



Step 1: Your Idea

Picking idea for first online business

While picking an idea or “Niche” can be one of the most important parts of a a successful online business, if this is your first site then this should be thought of more as a learning experience.  The reason I say that is because there is a big learning curve and the sooner you get started the better.

I’ve met hundreds of people with “great ideas” who have never done anything with them and I’m sure you have too.  They practically get you to sign an NDA at the bar before they unveil their genius idea.

Then you have the people who are waiting around for the perfect idea.  They would get started but first they need this magical idea to come to them from a burning bush, then everything will fall into place.

The problem with both of these strategies is that 99% of the time, neither person does anything!  They talk about it for years while their youth is sucked away by a cubicle.

Think of your first site as a practice website where you can make all your newbie mistakes so that your next site is even better.

Click Here to Get Your Free Niche Selection Guide


Step 2: Picking a Domain Name

This is going to be similar to Niche Selection.  For your first website, don’t overthink it.  Pick something you’re interested in or make it a personal blog.  Domain Names are cheap investments, only $9.48/year so if you think of a better one later on, you can always change it.

Search For Your Domain Name Here

Step 3: Hosting your Domain Name

All websites need to be “hosted” by someone.  This basically just means that they are on a server somewhere so that they can be connected to the internet.

Cloudways is much faster than Godaddy (Host Gator, Bluehost, etc.), has a Free SSL Certificate and also has a Free 3 day trial (no credit card required).

Cloudways Free Trial

Step 4: Install WordPress

Once your site is active then it’s time to install WordPress.  WordPress is free and can be used for making blogs, e-commerce sites and everything in-between.

How to Install WordPress for Your Online Business

Free Website Tutorial!

Why I’m Not Selling My Business

Why I’m not selling my business

I have this dream lingering in the back of my mind about selling my business and sitting on a beach somewhere drinking endless San Miguel Lights or Tiger Bacs.  All without a care in the world and doing this while living off $20,000 USD/year afforded to me by using the 4% rule.  But after doing some calculations and re-evaluating my business I decided to keep it.  

I realized that what I actually wanted more than retiring on a beach somewhere was freedom and stability and this could be accomplished not despite my business but because of it.


The 4% Rule vs The 40% Rule

4% is the safe withdrawal rate where you can theoretically withdraw 4% of an invested sum of money a year without lowering the principal.  So if you have $500,000 invested in index funds you should be able to withdraw 4% or $20,000 a year forever.

This is basically the principle behind FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), which is arguably much better than the old model of Retire Old and Try Not to Die but not without it’s faults.

The 40% rule (which I first heard on the TMBA Podcast) basically says that instead of investing in traditional markets to get the 4% rule, you can invest in a website and with a little work and time you can get a 40% return.  By owning a business you are essentially using the 40% rule.


Problems with Retirement

The first problem with retirement is that it is probably pretty boring.  How many people retire only to take up a part-time job as a Wal-Mart Greeter or volunteer as a crossing guard at a local elementary school.  People need to have a purpose in their life and sitting on a beach doesn’t usually accomplish that.

The second problem is that 4% on an investment sucks.  Okay, I know that this is the “safe” withdrawal rate and the stock market has averaged 7-10% over the last hundred years so you could potentially end up with a lot more money.  But you don’t really have any control over this and you could also end up with less if the markets don’t preform the same in the 21st Century as they did in the 20th Century.


What would happen if I did sell my business?

Online businesses typically sell for a multiple of 25-35x monthly profit.

I’ve had my business for 5 years and the past 36 months it has made an average $6,000/month profit.  If I get a 30x multiple on the site then that is $6,000 x 30 = $180,000.

$180,000 USD – Website Sale for 30 x Multiple

-$21,600  – Brokerage fees –  10-15% brokerage fees, we’ll say 12.5%


-$17,854  – Taxes  – $158,400 – $39,375 (0% cap gains tax) = 119,025 x 15% (capital gains tax) = $17,854.00

$140,546 in my bank account after the sale

So if I take this $140,546 and invest it in index funds it yields me a whopping $5,622 each year using the 4% rule.  Or I could keep my business running at it’s current level of $72,000/year and this would come out to be a 51% return on a $140,000 investment!  So instead of selling my business I am treating it like it is a business that I bought as an investment.


What would I do after I sold my business?

This question is often overlooked by people wanting to sell their business and thanks to books like Before the Exit by Dan Andrews I have the luxury to contemplate it before actually selling my business.

Over the years, for better or worse, my identity, self-worth and purpose have been derived from my business.  Selling it would most likely create a void which many previous owners are faced to deal with.


Why I wanted to sell my business:

To dig further into this, I want to look at WHY I wanted to sell my business in the first place.  The main reason is that running a business is stressful.  I have an e-commerce business that deals with physical products so there are customers I need to deal with, supplier relationships needed to maintain, SEO needed to be done to drive traffic, Google Algorithm Updates to avoid so I don’t lose the traffic, etc.

But instead of throwing out the business with the bathwater, I started outsourcing the things I didn’t want to do anymore.

The first step was to get a VA which I hired off up Upwork for $6.00/hour (which I think is high but extremely low compared to what my hourly rate should be).

Now all of my email inquires go to the VA first and then (when the customer is further down in the sales cycle) to my email inbox.  This has cut my email time in half.  They also do customer check-ins, order processing and tracking and I hired freelance writers for content.  All of this has brought down my total amount of work to about 13 hours a week.


Running your own business is easier than running someone else’s.

This shouldn’t come as a shock but I know my business better than anyone in the world.  I know what works and what doesn’t, what products to add to it, how to deal with customers and after 5 years I am only getting better and more efficient.

If I sold my business I would be starting from scratch and having to learn a whole new business.


Online businesses are tax efficient.

Remember the $17,854 I had to pay in taxes, that was mostly from long term capital gains which would be about 15% (you can exclude the first $39,375 assuming you don’t already exclude that using the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion).

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE)

The FEIE allows US citizens living abroad to be exempt from paying federal income tax on their first $105,000 of earned income as long as they pass either the physical presence or bona fide resident test.

Since I am a US citizen living in Taiwan and I’m a bona fide resident of Taiwan I can claim the FEIE and I don’t have to pay federal income tax on the $72,000 I earn annually (however this is still subject to self employment tax).

One of the biggest areas of confusion with the FEIE is the “earned” part.  When you sell an asset, that money is not earned so it doesn’t qualify for the FEIE which is why I would have to pay 15% taxes on it.  But if I “earn” the money by working in the business then it does qualify for the FEIE.

There are also many small business deductions to take all of which make running a business much more tax efficient than selling one.


Final Thoughts

Treating my business as an asset and investment has given me a lot of mental space and clarity and while it is ultimately a better decision for me to keep my business than sell it, it certainly doesn’t mean that’s the best choice for everyone.

I’m going to focus on outsourcing as much of the business as I can and keeping it as part of a portfolio of businesses.

What is Financial Freedom?

What is Financial Freedom?

achieve financial freedom

While this number will vary for everybody, the basic math is: Cash Flow from Assets > Monthly Expenses

It is actually a pretty simple concept but it can be hard to implement.  Think of it like trying to lose weight.  To lose weight, you don’t need a fancy diet, supplements or a Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym.  All you need to do is eat less and exercise more.  Sure, you can starve yourself and lose weight while you can also spend 4 hours a day in the gym and lose weight.  But, like with most things in life, a balance and combination of the two will result in the best and healthiest results.

So to have Financial Freedom, what we need to do is Increase Cash Flow and Decrease Expenses.  Again, you can focus on only 1 side of the equation and still get results, but we are going for a more balanced approach.

Financial Freedom = Cash Flow from Assets > Monthly Expenses

The easiest place to start is with your expenses.  No, not with your Starbucks Addiction or Netflix Account but with YOUR BIGGEST EXPENSES.  Which for most people are Housing, Transportation, Healthcare and Taxes.

Housing is the easiest to fix.  No, you don’t need to go run home to your twin bed in your parent’s basement but you do need to get a little creative.  If your goal is to be financially free then you will need to make adjustments to your lifestyle which will seem like sacrifices at first.  The first place to look is what city and country do you live in?  Are you living in a big, expensive city like LA, New York or London?  If so, your “number” to be financially free is going to be a lot larger than someone who is living in Pittsburgh, Dayton, Ohio or Bangkok.  Also, what part of the city do you live in?  If you’re living right downtown, then it might be wise to move a little further from downtown and get a cheaper place.

Next, if you’re living alone, you just made it that much harder on yourself, unless you live in a low cost city.  (I pay about $250 for rent and bills in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.)    So getting a roommate or renting out your extra room/couch/etc on Airbnb will greatly lower your expenses if you’re in an “expensive” city.

House Hacking is my favorite option because it will help build wealth in two ways.  One, it lowers your expenses so you can save more and two it gets you started into real estate which helps build more assets/wealth.

House Hacking is when you buy a house and rent out part of it to cover your rent and in some cases give you extra cash flow.  So let’s say that you buy a 3 bedroom house for $150,000.  Your mortgage is $750 and you rent out your extra two rooms for $500/each.  Now your cashflow is $1,000-$750 = $250.  Just to be conservative, we’ll spend this $250 on home repairs in case something happens.  You are now LIVING FOR FREE while having your roommates pay equity into your house.  When you sell that house, you get the equity back PLUS the appreciation.

Digital Nomads in Taiwan

Digital Nomads in Taiwan




Taiwan has recently been ranked as one of the top places in the world for expats to live.  This is mainly because Taiwan is an incredibly safe country with friendly locals, fast internet, access to great health care, modern subways systems, mountains and beaches.  It’s also one of the most “convenient” countries in the world.  There are literally 7-11s everywhere and at these 7-11s you can find single cans of beer, fresh food, pay your bills and even have your packages delivered.  Despite this Taiwan is often overlooked when people are considering where to start off their digital nomad career.  In fact, a lot of people probably can’t even find Taiwan on a map.  I’ve lived here for the past 6 years and I still have friends and family back home who think I’m in Thailand instead of Taiwan.

Most westerners come here to teach English and that’s how I first got here before I started my online businesses.  The average wage for English teaching in Taiwan is about $20USD/hour and living expenses are about $800-$1,500/month (depending on how frugal or baller you wanna live).  This makes Taiwan a great place to baseline your business and you can even supplement your income by teaching English until you get your business off the ground.


Being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan




Taiwan has been my home for the past 6 years.  I originally came here to teach English then I ended up getting my IMBA(for free), working for a local company here and eventually starting my own business and becoming a location independent entrepreneur.

I’ve been running an e-commerce business for the last 3 years and have been “location independent” for the past 2 years.  Even though I love traveling to other countries I still prefer having a base and Taipei and Kaohsiung are both great options.  They both have an international airport and a high speed rail stations where you can travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung in under 2 hours!

One of the biggest reasons that Taiwan is a great place for digital nomads is that you get a 90 Day Landing Visa right off the bat, no need to extend after 30 days or pay a fee.  The two largest cities are Taipei and Kaohsiung and both of them have their own charm.  You could compare them to Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  Taipei is the capital and has an expansive MRT system, world class restaurants/night life and is surrounded by mountains that can be reached easily by MRT, bus or scooter.  Kaohsiung is was my home for 5 years and is cheaper and has better weather than Taipei.  It’s a lot more laid back and a good place if you want to chill out on a budget but the night life and entrepreneur scene is a bit lacking.



Digital Nomad Cost of Living in Taiwan


Taipei is the Capital of Taiwan and when most people come to Taiwan they usually fly directly into Taipei (Taoyuan International Airport).  One drawback of Taipei (and Taiwan in general) is the lack of affordable short term housing.  Renting an Airbnb for 1 month will cost about $900 while you could rent the same place for about $400 with a 1 year lease.  Short term leases are available but take a bit more searching, I recommend staying for at least 3 months to make it the most cost effective.

Taipei Cost of Living:
Average cost of living in Taipei is about $1,500/month (USD)

$300 Room in a Shared Apartment
$500 Studio (3 month – 1 year lease)

Food, Fun, Misc:

Total – $1000 – $1,500


taipei digital nomad

Taipei 101 at Night

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan and can be reached by it’s own international airport or via the high speed rail from Taipei. The cost of living in Kaohsiung is about $800-$1000/month.



View from Kaohsiung Harbor

Rent in Kaohsiung can be as cheap as $150 for a room in an apartment or as much as $600 if you want to live in an MTV Cribs Style Apartment.  I spent about $300 (10,000 TWD) for a studio apartment.

Kaohsiung Cost of Living:
Average cost of living in Kaohsiung is about $1,000/month (USD)

$150 Room in a Shared Apartment
$300 Studio (3 month – 1 year lease)

Food, Fun, Misc:

Total – $800 – $1,100


Food in Taiwan


One of my favorite things about Taiwan is the food.  Not only is Taiwanese food delicious but you can also find reasonably priced Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Western restaurants creating an incredible variety of food choices.  You can easily find local meals for about $3 while western food will cost about $5 or more for a meal at a restaurant.



Typical Lunch in Taiwan for $3.00

Transportation in Taiwan


Taipei has an extensive MRT system that connects the entire city.  As long as you live near an MRT station you can pretty much get anywhere in the city.

Kaohsiung has a smaller MRT system with 2 main lines.  There are also scooters everywhere and this is how most people get around.  You can buy a scooter for as little as $300 but expect to spend $600 for a decent scooter.


Digital Nomad Scooter

My 150cc Scooter for $750


Where to Work as a Digital Nomad in Taiwan


There are coffee shops all over Taiwan with fast internet and you can get a cup of coffee or cappuccino for about $2-$3.00.  Here’s a great list of other recommended Coffee Shops in Taiwan.

Taipei has a larger digital nomad scene than Kaohsiung and has coffee shops everywhere.  There are also some coworking places and if you stay at Eight Elephants Hostel, they have a coworking space that you can use for free next door.  Not many people were using it but it definitely has some potential.

Kaohsiung has a small but growing digital nomad scene.  There is also a weekly Coworking Day Meetup at that can be found at


Final Thoughts on Digital Nomads in Taiwan


Taiwan has a lot of offer for digital nomads and the 90 day free landing visa makes it an attractive choice for those who are tired of monthly visa runs.  I consider Taiwan a good halfway point in between Southeast Asia and countries like Japan and Korea.  It has the cleanliness, safely and civility of Japan and Korea with a cheaper price tag that is more similar to Southeast Asian countries.