- Limited discussion until the end of the book (p. 290) about Sequence of Return Risk. This is something few people understand and it is flat out dangerous to lead someone to potentially believe that they can retire decades earlier than "standard/normal retirement age" with significantly less money than they would supposedly otherwise need to accumulate by age 65, immediately starting withdrawing from these funds, and that their money will likely double, triple, or quadruple by the time they're much older. Yes, this is possible IF someone can remain flexible (on taking withdrawals from their assets, on generating income in "retirement"), IF someone has alternate income sources, IF market conditions are generally favorable during at least the first decade of "retirement," etc., but there is a major risk here as well. The author does mention these items and does provide a few cautionary words, but I do not think this was stressed enough for the average reader to truly understand the complete impact/considerations. I feel like most people will think, "oh, awesome, I can retire in my 30s with $1.25M, starting taking withdrawals right away, never run out of money, and my portfolio will be worth multiples of the $1.25M in my later years." More time should be spent discussing sequence of return risk.
Side gigs, private investments and a host of other variables can also be utilized for long-term thinking, wealth accumulation, and achieving financial independence. A few considerations here may include a portfolio of private businesses, car washes, parking garages, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, patents, trademarks. Some of these cash generators can be relied on for long-term income in addition to your job or just as cash generators that can pull in money while you take long vacations or sit by the pool.
In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.
Fulfillment is the entire point of this article. Financial freedom does not require that you retire early to a life of leisure (unless that is your desire). It’s about having autonomy and independence in your daily routine, allowing you to design a better life while spending your time, money, and energy in a more meaningful way. If that includes starting a new business, great! Doing meaningful work while getting paid is my definition of a win-win.
So I think, overall, the message is actually pretty helpful. Even if you’re at an age where that early retirement ship has sailed, you might still get some good ideas for making more money and reducing expenses. The author discusses how good habits, executed consistently, will get you to where you want to go. Most of the habits, with the one huge exception of checking your net worth daily, are good ones to adopt.
I had to get out. I actually had this random Facebook ad come up in my news feed (go figure) and it eventually led me to a webinar that taught on how to start an email marketing business (which is, by the way, the most profitable form of affiliate marketing – or ANY marketing for that matter). I listened through the whole 2 hours, completely mesmerized. By the end of it, I knew what I was going to be focusing on to help my family out of the pit of debt we were in and into a world free of financial stress. I didn’t know if it would actually work, but eventually it lead to EXCESS income!
Currently I’m in your blockbuster range and I still work full time. In silicon valley these days these three ranges inflate on the high end– maybe something like seven, eight, and nine figures (blockchain FI?). I used the leverage from my financial situation to present my employer with an ultimatum about working conditions (i.e. I control my location, schedule, and work content), and they seem happy to accommodate. No idea how long this job nirvana lasts but it’s been a sweet ride so far.
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In fact, the FIRE community seems to focus less on the “retire early” aspect of the movement and more on the financial independence component, “which is a powerful aspirational goal that is readily achievable if people are willing to make some small, but important, optimizations in their lives,” said Jonathan Mendonsa, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast.
financial freedom and happiness
Good article Sam on fine-tuning the FI tribe. It maybe the dream among FI folks to be at “blockbuster” level – also called FatFIRE in Reddit subs- but it’s actually not necessary to kill your self in the rat race for it if one is worried. Expenses play a huge part, of which, just housing alone is a big driver in FIRE comfort scale. Saving even only $500 a month in housing costs (either downsize or move to a LCOL place) can move many people into a very comfortable FIRE position. From leanFIRE, they can move to baseline FIRE quite easily after they save this much in housing. I know folks who have done this in Asia, and no, you don’t need to move to crazy place like Pyongyang to be a king. Nice locales in Malaysia, Thailand, Ecuador, India and even Eastern Europe are all available if people are open to it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea though.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂
Next, there’s independence, which is what most people think of as FI (and what you call basic FI). Your investments can support your CURRENT lifestyle for the rest of your life — in theory. Lastly, I suggested that abundance was the level at which you can essentially do whatever you want without ever again worrying about money. Redditors would call this fatFIRE. You call it “blockbuster FI”.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and grow my blog to over 400,000 monthly readers and $50,000/mo in side income.
However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don't have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
Grant Sabatier, called "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, is the Founder of MillennialMoney.com, which has reached over 10 million readers. He writes about personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and mindfulness and hosts the Financial Freedom podcast. Sabatier graduated from the University of Chicago and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Money Magazine,and many others. When not traveling in his VW Camper, he lives in New York City.
financial freedom business
Budget FI sounds kind of like an oxymoron, but I get what you’re saying. I’d be happy to be there. We have a long way to go but I like how you placed parameters around the pyramid. There should be a projected lifestyle in mind already when one decides to retire. And the projection should be based on the amount in your accounts and the ways you’d like or need to spend it.
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While I was nervous and scrambling to figure out what to do for full-time work, I began looking into digital marketing (I already had a blog about music that got me into SEO, analytics, etc.) and how I could improve my overall career worth. I wanted to find a job in something that I was really starting to enjoy as well as improve my future salary options. Here are the best skills to learn for the future.
My husband retired from the military after 20 years of service last summer at age 38 – his guaranteed income is appx $67k per year for life (tax free and subject to COLA), and he gets an additional $17k the next 4 years under the GI Bill while he’s in school. We have appx $450k invested, no debt, and guaranteed health insurance for life with no monthly premiums, $150 annual deductible and $3k annual catastrophic cap. We have one child, age 5, who will receive free college tuition if she attends a state University in our state of record. We do have appx $25k in a brokerage account for her for addtl college expenses. My husband is considering not working after he finishes school, or working a ‘fun’ part time job. We live in the Midwest, where cost of living is ok (much better than our last duty station in CA!). I work a ‘fun’ part time job bringing in about $1k/mo. Curious on your thoughts as to where this puts us. And, do we figure my husbands ‘pension + benefits’ in our networth?
Write pitches. If you have located a client for whom you want to write, send pitches, which are topic ideas for articles. Write pitches that not only show your expertise, but also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic. First, read the publication to which you are sending pitches to familiarize yourself with what they publish. If applicable, identify a specific section and send our pitch to the appropriate editor. Also, include a brief summary of who you are.
I retired at age 56 with budget/baseline FI, but I am now in blockbuster category (age 69). My investment accounts have done well and the house has increased in market value. Renting part of the home covers housing and transportation expenses, and my small pension covers basic living expenses. I withdraw money from investments for travel but reinvest most of the gains. I too am faced with heavy income taxes once I have to withdraw from tax deferred accounts. I have run spreadsheet projections for income, net worth, and income taxes to 2035 with various withdrawal plans and estimated net returns. Always come back to deferring tax as long as possible, spending down the taxable accounts first, while building up the tax-free account agressively. What I would do differently is learn to invest my own money at a younger age, buy a bigger better house at a younger age, and retire earlier.
The formula-lover in me wonders about doing something like this for defining these levels based on the avg income of cities. Your definition of “blockbuster FI” is being able to live anywhere in the world, which could be the point – but the low end of blockbuster could be wherever in the world you want to live. I like that idea of planning for options.
Thanks for the post. Not to be negative, but want to stress importance of not “waiting” for FI. My parents have a passive income of about 500K/year and have had some health issues popping up recently. My dad lost his hearing in one ear and my mom is having a lot of trouble with her vision. Although having $$ makes dealing with some of these issues easier, it is important to remember how valuable your health is, because suddenly money doesn’t seem so important.