Name: Christopher Rither
Occupation: Professor at Myongji University, editor-in-chief of One Mean Dream
Residence: Incheon, South Korea
"In 2007, I'd bought my twelfth investment property, my building inspection business was booming and I had full occupancy in all rental units. So in early 2008, I decided a nice, long round-the-world trip was just the break I needed.
"Along the way, I ended up in a French hospital undergoing emergency back surgery, and by the time I got home in late 2008 everything was falling apart. By mid-2009 I was forced to lay off all my employees, my holdings had been nearly cut in half, and because work in the real estate industry was non-existent, I was looking at filing for bankruptcy.
"Besides the financial collapse, I was struggling with nerve damage, back issues and a disability known as drop foot. This made running my business very difficult, and I soon realized I needed to make some dramatic life changes. One day, as I struggled with the onset of depression, a friend reminded me that I needed to stop focusing on what I couldn't do and start working on the things I still could do.
"For the next year I focused on what I could do. I made a deal with one of my old employees that if I went out and hustled work, he could do the work as a sub-contractor. I then ruthlessly sold off every liquid asset I had to keep afloat financially. I also put every property on the market in an effort to relieve me of the mortgage debts.
"As things sold off, I realized I had spent too much time accumulating stuff I really didn't need and risky assets that required way too much work to maintain. By 2010, I had made the decision to make a complete life change and moved to South Korea to pursue a new profession as a university professor, where I teach English conversation, debate, business and various discussion classes.
"I now make less money, but I am happier and have much more time to do the things I love."