Unfortunately, living paycheck to paycheck is the reality of millions of Americans. According to the Federal Reserve's Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017, some 40% of households could not cover a $400 unexpected expense. Most of us will have some unexpected bills pop up throughout the year such as car repairs, medical bills and nights out drinking with friends. Having an emergency fund will come in handy during those types of situations.
It’s important to add up all of this time and factor it into your compensation, so you can get an accurate picture of how much money you are trading for your time. Remember that money in infinite, but time is finite. You can always go out and make some extra money, but you’ll never get back you time. How much are you willing to trade your life for?

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For those of you looking to retire early with financial freedom, think about what your bare minimum retirement would look like. Could you move to a place with a lower cost of living? Would you give up going out to dinner? Work towards a nest egg that will support this bare-bones lifestyle. You probably will decide against moving to that cabin in the woods without running water, but it might be nice to know you could. Considering your bare minimum retirement, and knowing you have enough money saved to at least cover some standard of living in your early retirement, will also influence other life choices you may make along the way.

Agree though it all depends how one defines “best”. I put Madison, WI as one of the best places to live in the US and so do many others. Sure it’s small and not on a coast, but it’s one of the top biking cities in the US. It’s consistently ranked near the top for livability, surrounded by 4 lakes that are used year-round, home to a great public University and has a good tech scene with Epic Systems (EMR leader) and a nationally ranked accelerator, gener8tor. Plus it’s in America’s Heartland! The winters can get rough, but considering the median home price is only $220K it doesn’t take much to live large. Just light one of the fireplaces!

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Based on a conservative 2.5% – 5% annual return, a household would need investments of between $1,200,000 – $2,400,000 to be considered financially independent. Once you’ve got at least $1,200,000 in investable assets and no longer want to work again, I don’t recommend shooting for an overall return much greater than 5%. You can carve out 10% of your investable assets to go swing for the fences if you wish, but not more. There is no need since you have already won the game.

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Assuming you are doing pretty well and are happy with your current standard of living, what would you need to maintain your standard of living in retirement? Knowing you are on track to accumulate a nest egg to support that lifestyle is a big win. Gold medals go to those who have accumulated enough assets, or passive income streams, to be in a position to retire well.

If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time online personal trainer can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. As well, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.

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.
Right now is the best time to start planning for your future. Whether you’re planning for retirement, wanting to start a business, saving for a home, building a larger Safety Net, or focusing on long-term wealth-building, now is the best time to begin. Not next week, not even tomorrow, today. Even if you have no money to invest, you must devise a plan to begin investing in your future self. The best way to do this is to automate your investments using an online service like Betterment, which takes the guesswork out of investing. The future won’t wait. Do it today. Even if that means 1% of your income, or even $20 a month, to start. Your future self will thank you.

Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your homebase for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
Working part time after FI is a great way to supplement your FI savings and is something I’m considering as well (see semiretirement). There are many fun jobs I can think of that I would enjoy doing part time so I may pick up some part-time work after leaving my full-time job this year. We’ll see though…it’s possible I’ll enjoy being jobless even more than I expect I will :)
There are loads of resources for making money online as an affiliate. You could source products from ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, Share-a-Sale, Impact Radius and many others. Plus, many of the larger companies have their own affiliate programs as well. Do your due diligence and find the right company with a relevant product or service to your audience that you can sell as an affiliate.
If you live in an area where Uber or Lyft operate, why not become a driver? If you're looking to make some short-term cash, you can definitely rake it in by working for one of these popular car-hire apps. As long as your vehicle fits within the specifications of their program, and you have a clean license, you could do this on the side, especially if you're in a crunch for cash.
While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, trainings and ebooks.
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!
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!
Haha, that is too funny. I wanted to make an app back in the day called “MyShares” (You can probably tell how I cam up with the name at the time). The idea was that I would loan out books and DVD’s and then would never get them back. Then I thought, how cool would it be if I could rent those items out and that would motivate people to bring them back. Obviously, books and DVD’s are cheap, so this isn’t the money maker. The idea that would probably make the most money would be things like tools, ATVs, etc.

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Obviously, these are much higher than you’re going to get with most other investments. What’s more is that you can choose a plan that matches your investment strategy, whether your goal is Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, or Long-term Growth. You can also look at different real estate projects and choose for yourself which ones to invest in.
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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If you find the profession that gives you that feeling, and you are disciplined in your management of the business side of it by controlling costs, you have a huge advantage over your competition because you may continue to work 10, 15, 18 hours a day or 2, 4, or 10 years longer, not because you need to, but because you love the process and product itself. 
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!

To do so, donate your most precious asset: your time. Bring your family to a local soup kitchen, foodbank, or homeless shelter. Tutor less-privileged children in your city. Help the elderly with groceries or in-home care. Work on low-income houses with Habitat for Humanity. There are more resources than ever to help you contribute beyond yourself in a meaningful way; just do an Internet search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.[32]
“There’s a huge element of privilege to being able to do this,” said Liz Thames, author of the forthcoming book, Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living. “For many people, asking these questions is outside of the realm of their day to day life. We have a real problem with income gap and people who do not make a living wage. So I want to make sure that we recognize that the ability to put distance between your income and your spending is often a privilege.”
Just Enough House – Right now, we have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house but only my wife and I live there. We bought a two-bedroom house so that we could have guests and potentially have space for a nursery, if we decided to have a baby. For the most part, however, this second room has been unused. Renting will allow us to get exactly the right sized house for our current needs. We’ll be able to spend less on a studio or a 1-bedroom place and then move somewhere bigger if we do eventually need another bedroom.
This last stage is a concept that is rarely discussed or achieved. While I define permanent freedom as the point at which your income exceeds your expenses, such a definition is shallow and full of important assumptions. For example, if you know that you require $1,500/month to live a barebones lifestyle, and you can safely withdraw between $1,500-$1,600/month from your investment portfolio, you have technically achieved financial freedom. But have you?

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You can absolutely use websites like eBay and Etsy! Try listing some items and making a professional Facebook page for yourself with a link to your eBay/Etsy pages. Then share the information with friends and family and get them to spread the word to people they know. Also, make sure that you have detailed descriptions and multiple pictures with anything you list online. This will help your listing show up in keyword searches, and you are more likely to sell something if the buyer knows a lot about what they are looking at.
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