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My Diversified Life: From Student Loans To Sunset Coasts

26 Sep
Here’s to a diversified life.

My Diversified Life: From Student Loans To Sunset Coasts

Sure Glad I Didn’t Accept Their Offer...

Sitting on the porch of a friend’s house on the water near Los Islotes, the coastal community I’m developing in Panama, last week, looking out over the Pacific Ocean and listening to the surf, it struck me how different my life would have played out if I hadn’t chosen to internationalize it early on.

The truth is, I could have taken an easier path.

The owners of the small CPA firm where I worked starting in high school and continuing through several years of college offered at one point to finish paying for my college education if I’d agree to major in accounting, get my CPA designation, and then commit to working for them full time for some designated period.

It was an excellent offer for a kid struggling to pay his college fees semester by semester by working two jobs. Nevertheless, I declined. Sitting in an accounting office in Phoenix, Arizona, every day for years to come didn’t sound hugely appealing. I wanted to do something more interesting with my life… although at the time I didn’t know specifically what that might be.

Today, more than 30 years later, I still couldn’t tell you specifically what I’d like my end game to be… other than to say that a whole lot more of the same would be great.

I’ve found that moving myself and my money around the world to places where we’re both treated well suits me. For me, diversification isn’t a theoretical strategy; it’s an organic reality.

My First Step

How did I get from my working-class origins in Phoenix to living what many might describe as a jet-set lifestyle 30 years later?

I think the answer comes down to not being afraid to take a chance and to not being willing to settle for comfortable. From an early age, I knew that I wanted to make money. However, as important to me always has been an appetite for outside the box.

Since my first trips overseas in my early 20s, every time I’ve discovered a place where I enjoyed spending time, I instinctively wanted to make an investment of my money in that place, as well.

Hence my position today… last week on Panama’s Azuero Sunset Coast meeting with my Los Islotes builder to check in on the construction of my beach house… and this week on Mexico’s Riviera Maya meeting with colleagues about new investment opportunities in Mexico and Belize…

I came to the western coast of the Azuero Peninsula for the first time about 10 years ago. I knew right away it was a special place… a place I’d like a reason to return to… and, as well, a place presenting big upside investment potential. I decided to look for a way to invest my money on that coast that would translate to a reason to spend my time on it long term.

From that agenda, Los Islotes was born.

The journey from struggling student to globetrotter hasn’t been direct, easy, or without setbacks, but, sitting on my friend’s porch last week, I realized that I’m sure glad I turned down my accounting firm bosses all those years ago.

No, you couldn’t build this kind of life for yourself overnight. It’s taken me 30 years, and I still feel like I’m only just getting started at this.

What you can do is take a first step.

Right now, you can’t imagine the opportunities that step or the next one will lead to, but I can guarantee you that the ultimate outcome will be anything but dull.

Here’s to a diversified life.

Lief Simon


“Lief, an investment organization I’m about to invest with has asked for a copy (scan) of my passport. Is there any risk associated with complying with this kind of request?”


No. It’s a standard “know your client” documentation request. In addition, a passport number is used as an identification number in contracts in most countries.