In 2018, the firm Roshida Dowe was working for was shut down by its parent company and she became jobless. When the unexpected happened, Dowe did not bother looking for a new job but instead, decided to capitalize on her joblessness to travel around the world.
At the time, she had more than half a million in her investments and traveled to 44 cities in 23 countries. Mexico City was the only place she visited more than once. She has since decided to settle there owing to her extreme liking for the city.
“I really loved how I felt when I was here,” she told CNBC Make It. “I loved the energy of the city.”
Dowe is now enjoying her “accidental retirement” in Mexico City and is now a life coach who runs her own YouTube channel. She helps people who want to take a career break or leave their jobs, and her clients are mostly women who want to leave abroad. “A lot of my time is spent showing people the possibilities and showing them what their life would look like if they made the leap too,” Dowe said.
On YouTube, she uses her channel to document her travels and these revenue streams are bringing in between $3,000 and $5,000 each month. “The income that I am getting from this prevents me from needing to withdraw anything from my investments,” she said.
According to CNBC Make It, she now has an investment portfolio worth more than $1 million, and she isn’t planning on leaving “retirement” anytime soon. In fact, she considers herself retired and does not work more than four days a week.
“A lot of people think retirement means you’re not working at all, and if you are working then you’re not really retired,” she said. “I only do work I love and I only do it when I want to.”
Dowe started her career as a receptionist before deciding to go and study law at the University of Virginia because she was not happy with her salary. She spent years as a consumer automotive finance lawyer in Silicon Valley.
While the law degree allowed her to earn more salary, Dowe had $200,000 in student loan debt, including some leftover from her undergrad years. She dealt with her debt by cutting down expenses and putting money toward her loans before spending on other things. This helped her to build a saving culture and she continued to put any extra money toward savings and investments while working as a corporate counsel.
“I got in the habit of putting that same amount of money away every month,” she said. “As my income grew, I pushed a larger amount of money aside.”
Like in many Black families, Dowe’s parents did not introduce her to financial literacy and she did not know about her parent’s finances.
“There were times when I knew we had [money] and there were times when I knew we didn’t,” Dowe told CNBC Make It. “But it wasn’t really the topic of conversation a lot. My parents kept me out of their money conversations.”
Dowe would go on to retire at age 39 after being laid off in 2018.