To answer your question, you only get taxed on the money you make from the money in a taxable account. So if you put $10,000 in a taxable account and it pays you $200 worth of dividends and grows to be worth $11,000, you would just be taxed on the $200 worth of dividends (when you receive them) and the $1,000 of capital gains (when you sell the investment). You were already taxed on the $10,000 so you wouldn’t be taxed again. Make sense?
Financial freedom is sometimes known as “early retirement”. However, since most early retirees keep working in some capacity, financial freedom is a better term. In order to do this, you need to be very focused, because your savings rate has to be 50% or higher to achieve freedom in a short period of time. Some people are able to do this, and that’s great. But many can’t.
Of course they look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest they cut a $100+ a month cable bill. Or switch to a cheap cell phone provider like metropcs. Or drive a car that is 3 years old. Or only fill up their tank from the cheapest place according to GasBuddy. Or get $25/month budget car insurance from Insurance Panda. Or cook their own food instead of spending a hundred a week on restaurant food (or far more if they like the bar).

I want to be solidly in the middle – i.e. comfort zone, in the next 5 years. Right now I could hit the frugal FI button likely in the next year or so, but would not be happy there. I like the idea of the continuum. My in-laws are shooting for blockbuster FI, but they both own tech businesses that are doing well…so their reality differs slightly from mine.

If you have 20 years left to live and only require $60,000 a year, having $1,200,000 can also be considered enough even if you make zero return. The only problem is that your purchasing power will decline by ~2% a year due to inflation. The other problem is that you don’t know exactly how many years you have left to live. Therefore, it’s always better to have more rather than less.

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