Meet Kaylee and Zac and their uncommon path

At Uncommon Wealth Partners, we love helping our clients conceive and achieve the uncommon path that allows them to live an utterly uncommon life.  It’s right there in front of all of us and it’s our privilege to help people realize just how attainable that uncommon life is!

Meet Kaylee and Zac

Kaylee and Zac have been together for 11 years and married for the last five. Both of them attended Carlisle High School in Iowa where after graduation, Zac joined the Army and went on to serve for the next six years in Afghanistan. Kaylee continued her education by graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Accounting.

They enjoy spending time with their two dogs, hiking, and visiting friends and family. But their real passion is traveling to new areas to experience all a new destination has to offer.

Their plans also include expanding their short-term rental business from their current home to a few more. With Kaylee’s ability to take Zac’s ideas and turn them into spreadsheets, they make a great team, turning ideas into reality. Although they are just starting their uncommon life, they are already closely monitoring where today’s decisions will position them 10 years down the road.

We had a few questions for Zac and Kaylee about their Uncommon Path:

Once the tiny house is complete, what is your plan? 

That is the question we get most often from people. We are currently hoping to have the tiny house move-in ready by the end of March 2020. Our plan is to completely transition over to the tiny house at that point, leaving our home available to rent through Airbnb full time. We’ve had a lot of success with weekend rentals on Airbnb so far, so the hope is that we will see some occupancy during the week as well. Our plan really has two parts.

First, moving into the tiny house as previously stated, but the second part is far more exciting for us. As we wrap up the tiny house project we are moving our focus to becoming mortgage-free! Based on a detailed budget and some input from Bryan and Phillip, we determined it was possible to have the mortgage paid off within three years.

Once we have managed to tackle that beast, Kaylee and I are planning to leave our jobs and travel the country. With the tiny house pulled behind the truck, we are hoping to visit as much of the US as we can. The tiny house is set up to be completely sustainable off-grid with its own solar power system. That makes the tiny house conducive to staying for longer periods on BLM land around the country that is free to utilize.

We will most likely head west to start our travels as we both really enjoyed our time in Colorado and Utah with the numerous national parks they have.

Why is this Uncommon Path important to you?

Kaylee and I are in our late 20s and have been together for 11 years. For the longest time, we were very happy with the idea of working for someone else, owning a great house for entertaining, taking three weeks of vacation every year, and basically living the standard American dream.

We were determined to work our way up in the companies we are employed by and accumulate our wealth the traditional way. In December 2017, I had heart failure in the middle of the night that was Unexpected and unexplainable. With a high-stress job, we knew it was time for me to make a change, but we weren’t quite sure where that left us moving forward.

It wasn’t until we went on vacation to Portugal in September 2017 that our mindsets really started to change. We were on the tiny little island of Madeira just of the northwest coast of Africa for a week. We had the time of our lives out there going on a different hike every day that had a totally different terrain from the previous day’s hike. We had a blast, but then the week came to an end and we had to go back to work.

After that, it seemed we talked every night about how we can live a life that allows us to do those kinds of activities more often. More importantly though, was how we could do them and bring our dogs with us. After a lot of research, dreaming, and budgeting, we came up with a plan that would put us in a position to leave our jobs in 10 years.

It was during that time Kaylee discovered Uncommon Wealth’s podcast and started listening to all these amazing stories. As time progressed and ideas were hatched from stories heard on the podcast, we moved down to seven years…then five years. It wasn’t until April 2018 that we realized Uncommon Wealth was based out of Iowa, and better yet they were in our own town of Ankeny. We set up an appointment with Bryan and Phillip, and our plan has really come together since then.

Have you gotten any negative feedback from others as you travel down this path?  

We get negative feedback about our lifestyle choice all the time. Initially, we found the lack of support from some of those closest to us to be disheartening, but it really all came from a place of misunderstanding. People had a tendency to believe, and some still do, that moving into a tiny house meant we were giving up all luxuries in our life and “eating twigs and berries.” Someone really asked if that is what we would be doing for food.

The reality is we have built the tiny house to fit our needs and wants. We have designed and built every part of the house ourselves to ensure it meets or exceeds what we want out of the house.

We basically took all of the things we love about our current home and organized them into a smaller space. Whereas some build a tiny house out of necessity or budget needs, we have designed a home that fits all of our wants and needs that can go on the road. We will still be able to watch Netflix on a big TV from the comfort of a couch sized to fit both of us and our dogs, the kitchen has ample storage and a large sink, beautiful hardwood floors, an office with space for both us to do our separate things (something we never got around to putting together in our current home), and most importantly we have heat and A/C.

The reality is not everyone is going to be a fan of our lifestyle choice. It just wouldn’t work for a lot of people and that’s okay. The norm doesn’t work for what we want, but we can understand that it’s great for others. Funny enough, the most common question is why we don’t just use a camper or RV. It seems to be a knee jerk reaction to our tiny house.

To keep it short, they just aren’t built for the kind of long term living we want to do. They are generally poorly insulated for northern state winters, very standard in their interior layout and design, and have you ever used a shower in one? The tiny house gave us the freedom to lay out and design something that will work for us for years to come.

Thanks for sharing your story Zac and Kaylee!  We are so grateful for you and your mindset!