Great article but #8 is a little light on sourcing and selling ideas for physical products: If you have unwanted clothing and/or broken/used electronics and accessories, eBay is still the top marketplace to turn that into cash. You can sell new/used electronics, toys, and books on Amazon for top dollar. If you’re crafty (get ideas from most-pinned holiday craft photos on Pinterest), you can sell on Etsy.com. Sellers on each platform can get started on a shoestring. Good luck!
Double check yourself, before you double wreck yourself. Make sure everything you send to a company, whether a résumé, an email or a portfolio, is good to go. Double check your grammar and wording, and for God’s sake use spell check! This is especially important when it comes to the company’s name. Don’t spell their name wrong and be sure to type it how they type it (e.g. Problogger, not Pro Blogger).
Financial Freedom is a step-by-step path to make more money in less time, so you have more time for the things you love. It challenges the accepted narrative of spending decades working a traditional 9 to 5 job, pinching pennies, and finally earning the right to retirement at age 65, and instead offers readers an alternative: forget everything you’ve ever learned about money so that you can actually live the life you want.
I actually read the Charles Long book you recommended but forgot to send you a message about it. I ordered it from my library when you recommended it to me and it came in just a week later. I enjoyed it and the conserver lifestyle he described is very appealing, albeit maybe not to the extreme that he described. I haven’t read the Steven Catlin book yet but it is still on my reading list so I’ll hopefully get a chance to read it this summer. I’ll let you know what I think afterwards.
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.

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I am a small animal vet in the Washington DC area. Vet school loans and housing have taken their toll. I would like to retire at 60 (I just turned 52), and reach budget or baseline. Blockbuster isn’t a reality. Choose your career well– I love what I do, but sometimes wish it paid more. Semi-retirement may also be an option. Thank you, Sam, for a great post (as always).
These figures are partially due to a highly progressive tax code that was implemented in the mid 2000’s that really went after income levels above these thresholds. Further, I carefully observed my happiness level from making much less to making much more. Any dollar earned above $250,000 – $300,000 didn’t make a lick of difference. In fact, I often noticed a decline in happiness due to the increased stress from work. 

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MM Note: This is a guest post from 29-year-old Millennial Money reader Todd Kunsman. To learn more about creating financial freedom, check out how to retire in 10 years or less,  fast-tracking financial independence, and my book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need. Now check out Todd’s 9 steps to financial freedom below.
25. Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.
In the western tradition, the concepts of owning land and accumulating wealth in the form of land were engendered in the rise of the first state, for a primary service and power of government was, and is to this day, the awarding and adjudication of land use rights.[citation needed] Many older ideas have resurfaced in the modern notions of ecological stewardship, bioregionalism, natural capital, and ecological economics.
Rates / Annual Percentage Yield terms above are current as of the date indicated. These quotes are from banks, credit unions and thrifts, some of which have paid for a link to their website. Bank, thrift and credit unions are member FDIC or NCUA. Contact the bank for the terms and conditions that may apply to you. Rates are subject to change without notice and may not be the same at all branches.

I am very disabled by a genetic collagen integrity condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Ht (EDS-HT)and it effects all tissue, joints, GI Tract, my heart, nervous system and much more, which creates huge challenges for me physically. I was disabled at a young age, had to quit work at 40 years old and I am eligible for $600 month. Due to the progressive syndrome, all work I have tried I could not physically sustain within only a few days.

I’m glad I started looking at this when I was in my mid-twenties more closely, but of course, now I wish I knew all this info when I was even younger. So don’t wait, don’t put it off, start right now. And while I may not be able to retire next year or even in five years, I am well on my way to being financially free well before the average retirement age. Let’s do it!
You’re right though that $50 per month probably won’t be sufficient in perpetuity. The numbers in this article serve as a baseline for what I need to survive. This is how much I’ll need to quit my job and live the life I plan on living immediately after FI. If 5 years after FI I decide that I really want to live in America full time again, I’ll have to increase my health insurance budget by either decreasing some of my other costs or by earning more money through part-time work that I enjoy. The main message of this post is that you don’t necessarily have to wait until every possible future expense is covered…just make sure you can survive in a lifestyle you want to live and then if you need to earn more money to change or enhance that lifestyle, you can do so. A lot of people think, oh I need $2.5 million to retire so that every possible expense that I could incur will be covered. That may be true for someone retiring in their 70s but for someone in their 30s, I say, cover your essentials, start living a free life as soon as possible, and earn more if you want to change your lifestyle later.
I hate budgets and Financial Freedom is designed so you don’t need to budget. But it’s important to quickly look at how much money you spend and more importantly, the impact it has on how long it will take you to reach financial independence (when you don’t have to work for money). This calculator and spreadsheet can be used to calculate your current and future projected expenses.

Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund.  It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts.  If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you.  Try out Paribus.

Be professional. When you submit a résumé, don’t type it in ALL CAPS and please don’t avoid the caps lock like the plague. Know how to use it without looking incompetent. Write in complete sentences with proper grammar. Of course, there will be exceptions, but even with the exceptions, you must keep it professional. You’re building their view of you.
Once you’ve gathered a list, put together a template outreach email (as you’ll be doing this over and over) that’s short and clear with expectations. Tell your potential interviewee who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you’re asking of them. Do a few test interviews with friends and family to make sure everything is being recorded at the quality you want and then book your first episode. 

Your capital gains tax rate depends on your ordinary income. In other words, the tax table shows what the capital gain tax is according to your income. Up to $77,000 or so the cap gains tax rate is zero, for a couple who’s MFJ. The author seems to think that you can take $77k of cap gains per year without any tax, and then you can take however much in rental income (or other income) on top. That’s not the way it works.
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!! 🙂
Photos of people can only be sold for commercial use if they've signed a 'model release' that gives you permission to use their image (children need a parent/guardian to sign). Without a release, these photos can still be sold for editorial use, as long as they were taken in a public place – eg, if you submitted a 'breaking news' shot with people in the background. If there's any doubt, always ask permission.

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Hi Sam, interesting post as always. I’m always very curious about how you arrive at your estimates. It would be great if you could show us the math! (actually I’m very curious about this in your 401k value post) Anyway, in this post you mention: “need between $800,000 – $1,600,000 – to replicate 40,000 a year in passive income” This is a bit bigger than the standard 4% approach. I can see that you are cautious, I’m just wondering about how I could replicate some of the math too.
For example, we live in the burbs, the town has an average household income of 100K, average property value of $350K. That’ll cost ya $1500 a month (PI). Lot’s of BMW, Merc’s and other higher end cars, household has two cars, $1000 a month on lease. Most are both spouse working, some day care. We’re at near 3K a month with these expenses a month. If you head into FIRE with no debt allows the Basic to live like the Base. College funds, food for teenage boys, sports equipment, musical instruments, kiddie activity travel all add up.
The figures are very optimistic! Even though I technically could “retire” with only $200K saved up, I’m going to continue working until 2015 and should have quite a bit more than that, when all’s said and done. I just wanted to compute the minimum amount it would take to cover my essential expenses to see how little I would actually need to survive. You’re definitely right that it’s a great feeling seeing how attainable FI really is!
I feel like if I am not happy/content with a million dollars … I am probably not going to be happy with 2 or 4 million either. My goal is to generate as sum passive as my expenses (inflation adjusted). There is always the fear of unknown. That being said I would not some more money. My plan is to establish a foundation which provides educational scholarship. There is a reason for my frugality :-)
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early.  I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial.  You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!).  Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:

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Today, if you're at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.

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- 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.

You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, learn how to master PPC advertising and you can use the content to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
Bobby Hoyt and Mike Yanda, two world-class Facebook marketers, created this course to teach you everything you need to know to go from “I don’t know how to do any of this” to “working with clients and making a great income” in the next 28 days. Instead of piecing together an education on your own and wasting a lot of time (with possibly outdated information), this course puts everything in one place for you to learn from.
Take surveys. You can earn $50 to $100 per month in cash and products by taking online surveys. Find survey sites by searching for “paid survey sites” online. Sign up for several survey sites to increase your chances of being selected for higher-paying surveys. Register with an email address, and check your email often so you can respond quickly to survey offers.
I wanted to specifically call out one particular strategy within equity investing that bears mentioning – dividend growth investing is when you focus on stocks that not only pay a dividend but have a history of strong dividend growth. When I was first building my portfolio of individual stocks, I focused on buying companies with a history of dividends, a history of strong growth, and financials that supported a continuation of both.
Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States: wills, mortgages, citizenship forms, handgun applications. While for decades, this has all been done in person, there is a budding crop of sites that allow notaries to take their services online. If you’re already a notary, you can sell your services online. Or, if you want to get started, check out the National Notary’s checklist for becoming a certified notary.
I’m 19 and I’ve been working for about 2.5 years, and I’ve saved up a good chunk of money. However, I started college this year, and I’m trying to balance tuition payments and the urge to spend my money carelessly. Do you have any tips for cutting down spending? Or how much of my paycheck I should be spending if I make anywhere between $600-$800 a month?

Given the growth in the sharing economy, your junk can start to pay for itself. For example, if you have some awesome vintage furniture inherited from your grandmother sitting in a storage unit, you can rent this out to photographers for their “styled shoots” which are becoming all the rage. If your furniture is more modern but you still can't bear to get rid of it – perhaps a home stager will be interested.
Are you a professional in a field that can help answer questions for people looking for your expertise? Websites like JustAnswer and LivePerson match you up with people looking for answers to technical or professional questions. You can make money online by simply answering these questions and providing the right information to people based on their individualistic circumstances.

Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund.  It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts.  If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you.  Try out Paribus.
If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
“Financial independence ultimately means that you can shape your life without taking money into consideration,” said Tanja Hester, a recent FIRE graduate and founder of the website Our Next Life. “Most of us have to consider our finances in nearly every decision we make, or maybe even make decisions solely based on money. But once we reach financial independence, we get the freedom not to be bossed around by what we earn or what we have saved.”

Upwork: This website offers a great marketplace for selling just about any professional service. You don't need a merchant account, website of your own or anything else for that matter. All you need to do is be able to provide a high-quality service at a reasonable price. But be informed, you will have to compete with many others that are constantly bidding on open jobs. 
1. The batting cage idea is very risky. I’ve seen many of them close over the years and it is not anything close to passive income if you want to keep the business going. You have to continually promote it and target youth leagues, coaches, schools etc to catch all of the new players who grow up and want to play. I’ve played at probably 8 batting cages over the years and 7 of them closed.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you'll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan from a company with great service like Kinsta, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites. 

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All of these are great ideas to earn a little more spending (or saving) money! I agree that investing in real estate can be passive, but it also depends where you invest in! If you invest in real estate in a college town (which has many pros and can give you a nice deal of money), in my opinion it doesn’t tend to be passive! College students (even the more responsible ones) tend to cause wear and tear, making your job as a landlord non-passive.
The United Nations definition of inclusive wealth is a monetary measure which includes the sum of natural, human, and physical assets.[6][7] Natural capital includes land, forests, energy resources, and minerals. Human capital is the population's education and skills. Physical (or "manufactured") capital includes such things as machinery, buildings, and infrastructure.
We also keep our Safety Nets in our Betterment accounts. We do this for two reasons: 1) the money is liquid, which means we have instant access to our Safety Net if we need it, and 2) when the money is sitting in a separate account, it is less tempting to access than if it’s in our bank accounts (plus it earns a better interest rate in a safe, conservative way).
Since I am less than 21 months away to 55, it is a mental daily struggle to get thru the day, the week and the months. It is so depressing at work since all of my co-workers have been laidoff. There is no one for “water cooler” talk. Over IT 1000 ppl were laid off from 2012 to 2017. It can be stressful at times to support the IT systems by myself. I have hobbies to help take my mind a little off the countdown clock. We take vacations so that I can get mentally away. Since I work from home, we try to go out at least once a week for lunch. I read your site and RB40’s site NUMEROUS times a day to take my mind of work.
I moved to a remote tropical Island once FI. This idea was not spontaneous, and I had planted seeds for years working off and on as an expat in the medical field. I worked with royalty and even had the life changing experience of using a gold toilet. The toilet was not really life changing at all, and somehow sad. I also had opportunities to work with orphanages literally in the tree tops and cultures who thought their medical issues were caused by spirits. There were amazing times, but I also suffered through cholera. The remaining time I worked for years in high stress, high salary, with little time off. It made me sick.
There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 

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Awesome article! I realized that we all need money but investing is the only way to earn money without having to do any work. Finally, I realized that this is the fundamental difference between the financially independent and those who work. While workers live off of their labor, the financially free live off of income generated passively. The passive income frees up their time to allow them to pursue more financially rewarding endeavors or to spend that time with family or whatever they find fulfilling. I realized that there is a fundamental difference in mindset between the financially independent and… Read more »
As a private lender, you can lend to anyone in your social circle. For example, many home rehabbers need access to a source of capital they can tap into very quickly in order to fund the initial purchase of their properties. You can partner with a rehabber who uses your capital for a short-term in exchange for an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.

As for Sam’s levels, this is the reason I started to pursue more sources of passive income. I wanted to at least partially break the chain of being tied totally to a market return. I am nowhere near Sam’s league in terms of assets or passive income but it now represents a decent amount of our total income. I worry less about market returns and more about the viability of the income stream persisting. I use 3 fintech platforms for real estate which represents about 12% of my overall portfolio, a closed end fund designed for income, a high quality MLP and at this time a boatload of cash since I think bonds represent a bad value.
These figures are partially due to a highly progressive tax code that was implemented in the mid 2000’s that really went after income levels above these thresholds. Further, I carefully observed my happiness level from making much less to making much more. Any dollar earned above $250,000 – $300,000 didn’t make a lick of difference. In fact, I often noticed a decline in happiness due to the increased stress from work.

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When you say $250k-300k in annual passive income.makes life really really good, are you referring to gross income or after tax income. In fact, some clarity around before or after tax income levels would be helpful for all the dollar figures in this post. The new tax structure significantly affects people in the Blockbuster FI cayegory, mostly on adverse ways, so.i am curious about of the targets change based on before or after tax income, especially of one does not have a small business owner properties to use for tax write offs. Thanks

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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”.
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