For example, I own a duplex, and furnished the top unit rather nicely and lived in it for a few years. But I decided to move abroad for a while and rented it furnished and got a property manager to take care of the duplex.
The key is just to plan for not needing income. I knew that I'd reach the break even point on my duplex pretty quickly vis-a-vis rent and mortgage, so although I own property, it isn't really an anchor, instead an investment.
I agree with some of the other posters, seems like if you are frugal and buy off of CL you are probably going to do just as well. You can also rent entire houses or apartments furnished for less than the cost of renting stuff separately, so that's another option.
Keep your options open, that's the real goal.