Building Wealth From Japan

Elizabeth A. Johnson, Author, Japan

12 December 2016

How does moving from the U.S. to Japan relate to building wealth? The answer has everything to do with taking risk and being open to a new lifestyle. May 2015, I hopped on a plane with all of my belongings and a one way ticket to Tokyo. Among other things, I moved to Japan with goals and a plan for building wealth. This plan consisted of a well-paying job, a funded money market account, and an agency matched retirement account. That was the extent of my wealth strategy. I knew how to save, but was both misguided and intimidated about accumulating wealth.

Sometimes you have to be completely removed from your current environment to appreciate new perspective. In Japan, I connected with like-minded individuals, who were not only saving money, but where proactively building wealth by starting businesses, freelancing, and leveraging networks. I was inspired to take a more proactive role in building my own portfolio. In less than two years, I have started a business, supported clients as a life coach and secured freelance opportunities. Liberated from an old mindset that building wealth is a foreign and hard concept, I find joy in helping others do the same. Please note a few practical tips for getting started.

Tokyo, Japan

Photograph by Cegoh

1. Define How Much Your Desired Lifestyle Should Cost

We all have bills. Unfortunately, many people often limit their earning potential to just paying bills and surviving. Let’s raise the bar. Figure out how much it will cost to live your ideal lifestyle and strive to earn that amount instead. You can narrow this down by making a list of all the things you want and identifying the cost to maintain them. You may also consider estimating how long you want your wealth to last. For example, building generational wealth will require a different strategy than building wealth for one lifetime. In essence, visualizing your target is the best way to hit it.

“Sometimes you have to be completely removed from your current environment to appreciate new perspective.”

2. Add Multiple Streams of Income to Your Portfolio (preferably residual)

Studies show that the wealthy generally have 5 to 7 streams of income. If you are serious about building wealth, I highly recommend reading and applying the strategies shared in books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. They disrupt traditional views about attaining wealth and equip us with valuable resources for success.


Photograph by DeltaWorks

3. Optimize Your Spending

The next time that you consider splurging on another pair of shoes or eating out, consider the opportunity cost. Literally ask yourself, how will buying this help you build wealth? If it doesn’t, consider alternatives like buying more stock options, paying off debt faster, or starting a business. Every dollar counts.

Similar to moving overseas, relocating to a wealthy mindset and lifestyle may feel overwhelming at first. The culture is different, the language sounds weird, and you may even feel like an outsider. Don’t allow this uncomfortable feeling to hinder you from accomplishing something great. Feelings are temporary, legacy is forever.

Elizabeth A. Johnson

Elizabeth A. Johnson


Elizabeth A. Johnson is an innovative problem solver that finds joy in helping others discover their true potential. She believes that life is a beautiful journey and that everyday is an opportunity to impact our legacy.  She has traveled the world, had some epic experiences, and served many hearts. For more information about Elizabeth and how to connect with her on social media reach out to her personally.



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