If you have been dreaming of Financial Freedom in a high cost of living area, you have come to the right place. This website is dedicated to helping you think differently about your financial challenges and how to live your best life. 

We will talk about a myriad of topics related to increasing income while thriving in a high cost of living location, investment options outside of stocks, bonds, and real estate, life optimization strategies, protection against disaster, travel, and anything related to intelligent financial planning. The goal is to live an abundant and purposeful life, not constrained by economic challenges.

I came from a third-world country to the US with only $1,000, not knowing anyone, guided only by an immigrant dream. It was challenging to survive and thrive in one of the most expensive parts of the world. Accumulated a net worth of $2.3M in 12 years to be financially independent; while enjoying each day.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area and when I am not hiking local trails I spend my days traveling internationally. Most of my early wealth accumulation was based on strategically pursuing high paying jobs. More details are in the various articles and podcasts highlighted below.

I then leveraged my high income into investments and have tried everything from individual stocks to index funds to bonds to SPACs. I also own rental properties and have invested in crowdfunding platforms, hard money lending and commercial real estate. As an accredited investor I also had the opportunity to invest in esoteric investments such as art, lawsuit settlements and marine financing. Cryptocurrency has always been a fascinating area from the early days when I could mine bitcoin at home to buying ICOs and IEOs and dabbling in creating NFTs for fun.

I am a firm believer that there is always a bull market somewhere and investors need to be open to embrace different asset classes and investment styles. I do not hold any financial certificates but am happy to share what I have learned through my investment experience.

John Dealbreuin

Featured on


The Wall Street Journal: The Crypto Tax Tips Every Investor Should Know About

Forbes: Here’s How This Immigrant Hacked His Career To Grow His Net Worth From $1,000 To Nearing Early Retirement

CNBC: How I came to the U.S. with $1,000 and built a net worth of $2.3 million

Yahoo: A Singles Guide to Successful Retirement

Motley Fool: This Immigrant Came to the U.S. With $1,000. Now He’s Worth $2.3 Million

Porch: All about Home Budgeting and Financial Planning: Tips from the Experts

Authority Magazine: John of Financial Freedom Countdown: I Am Living Proof Of The American Dream

MSN: Want to Retire Early? Learn from  30-Year-Olds Who’ve Done It

RealSimple: A Singles Guide to Successful Retirement

MSN Money: How I came to the U.S. with $1,000 and built a net worth of $2.3 million

Acorns Grow: How I came to the U.S. with $1,000 and built a net worth of $2.3 million

Forbes: Here’s How Extreme Early Retirees Set Financial New Year’s Resolutions

The Ladders: 12 triggering job interview questions and how to answer them

The Ladders: How to use your body language to communicate while wearing a mask

MSN Money: 22 little things that can add up to big savings

MSN News: 37 household hacks that will change your life

MSN: 10 reasons why you really shouldn’t retire

MSN: 15 Athletes That Are Millionaires Yet Frugal

The Boss Magazine: Clocking out alone

Gillette News Record: 3 ways remote work is changing the real estate industry forever

Opera News: 3 ways remote work is changing the real estate industry forever

The Daily Reporter: 3 ways remote work is changing the real estate industry forever

Law.com: Protect Your Wallet & Your Heart This Valentine’s Day: Nine Reasons to Talk Prenups

The Ladders: 28 tricks proven to boost your intelligence and make you smarter

Retire By 40: It Takes More Than Money to Retire Early Interview: Financial Freedom Countdown

ESI Money: Millionaire Interview 209

Physician on FIRE: Christopher Guest Post – Financial Freedom Countdown

Personal Finance Blogs: Know Your Blogger Series – Financial Freedom Countdown

1500 Days: 10 Questions With Financial Freedom Countdown

Wealthy Nickel: Reselling Side Hustle: How John Sells $100K a Year

The Money Monks: Fireside Chat With TMM, Episode 13: Financial Freedom Countdown

Dividend Power: Millionaire Interview 11 – Financial Freedom Countdown

Eat Sleep Breath FI: How Much Does It Cost To Live The FIRE Life In The Bay Area?

Financially Alert: Finding FI Interview #31 – How John Accelerated his Countdown to FI

GenY Finance Guy: Chasing FIRE Interview #9 – John from Financial Freedom Countdown

Grokking Money: Immigrant Finances #5 – Financial Freedom Countdown

Daylight: Money Stories – John (Financial Freedom Countdown)

I Like to Dabble: 12 Bloggers Share Their Different Income Streams & How to Build Them

Tim Thomas: What to do With 100k: The Experts’ View

Have Your Dollars Make Sense: Money Mistakes

My articles have also been featured


Radical Personal Finance: Podcast 668-An Immigrant Success Story: Broke to Financially Independent in 12 Years

Millionaires Unveiled: Podcast 124: Net Worth of 2.3M – Immigrant Who Came to the U.S. with Only $1,000 

Boat2Riches: $2M Net Worth after moving to the U.S. with $1K

Dream Of Legacy: Podcast 42: John from Financial Freedom Countdown

Financial Freedom Countdown
The logo of Financial Freedom Countdown embodies wings to represent freedom from financial challenges and an hour glass for the pivotal moment when this would be a reality.

Why I decided to start this blog

Even with high incomes, I noticed many of my coworkers and friends stressed out about work, finances, and emergencies. Earning money is one aspect, but effectively deploying capital, so it works for you, is the tricky part.

Starting this blog was inspired by a distinct memory in my working career. My VP, who is in her 70s, mentioned that her sister was not keeping well. I naturally assumed she would visit and asked about her travel plans. However, she did not want to take time off, given that we had a massive product launch coming up.

Two weeks later, when we were in a meeting, she received a phone call. Her sister had passed away:(

Although she was a VP, earning at least 3X more than me, and yet was a “wage slave,” hit me like a tidal wave.

The goal for all of us should be that you are no longer trading time for money.

As I share my own experiences, I hope we can learn from each of our failures and success. I firmly believe while each of our paths would be unique based on our financial situation, we all share the same goal of living our best lives along this journey.

Your financial goals could include taking any or all of the following financial steps – being debt-free, building up cash flow for living expenses, accumulating assets, estate planning, retirement planning.

If this sounds interesting to you; please sign up for my free newsletter. I’ll email you with the latest articles as soon as it is published.

Learn from my mistakes. Use the lessons to accelerate your own Financial Freedom Countdown.

Yes! I want to start my Financial Freedom Countdown

* indicates required