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.


It’s hard to truly experience the pressure and know the cost of raising a kid in an expensive coastal city if you live in the Midwest. You can see the $1.4-$1.5M median home price number, but it’s hard to really know how expensive that is for how average a house you get until you go and by one. This is partly why I want to GET OUT of SF and escape the grind and the knowledge that every parent I know is indeed spending a fortune on their kids etc.
Taxes should be negligible at the low income levels quoted in the article, assuming the income is from qualified dividends and/or long-term capital gains. There will definitely be some unplanned expenses that come up though so I should maybe bump up my “Misc.” category budget a bit more. I plan on using other passive income streams to cover my discretionary spending and hopefully that side income can also be used to cover some of the bigger unplanned expenses, if necessary.
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.
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.
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS's Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules, "it doesn't matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."

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 was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
This is what I what I hear. Sell all your stuff, except for a tent, and move to the woods so you will never have to pay rent or utilities again. Joking aside, I actually come across a blog that promoted dumpster diving for food. No thank you! Realistically, most of us will not want to do the things required to retire at 30, 40 or 50. In fact, many people who are reading this likely are not saving enough to maintain their current standard of living during their golden years, if they retired at the age of 70. It pains me to report that about 21% of people have zero, zilch, nada saved for retirement, according to the Northwestern Mutual's 2018 Planning & Progress Study.
I wouldn't think of a high yield savings account as a source of passive income but your savings should be getting something (less like Seinfeld syndication residuals and more like a commercial jingle residuals!). It won't make you rich but it's nice if your baseline, risk-free rate of return on cash is 1% or more. The best high yield savings accounts (or money market accounts) offer higher interest rate and there is absolutely no risk.
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. 
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.

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.
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.

If the world truly is against you to the point where the entire market is upside down, or the world is going crazy, you can’t be sure your assets will remaining with you. I always tell people “If you’re index investing or properly diversified in the entire world, I’d argue you’d have bigger problems if your portfolio went to 0, like where and how to get food” 

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Our parents grew up extremely poor, but wealthy in tradition, family, and faith.  Their nurturing frugality instilled both a tradition of resisting needless spending and the value of time over money.  Setting a goal to champion frugality has made the biggest impact in wealth accumulation in my life.  This value of frugality is a tradition that my wife and I are passing on to our kids.
What do people do all week when they are retired, especially when retiring early? I retired early and struggled with being preoccupied after 3 months. It turned into boredom and slippery slope of troublesome lifestyle. I finally returned to my career part time after bucket list. I consider myself semi-retired and enjoy working more once I had balanced time off. The pros are contributing Monday through Thursday, time off, salary to pay taxes, benefits, lower stress as compared to being self-employed/ business owner, and don’t driver my partner crazy. It has taken me years to unlearn setting goals and feeling inadequate if not chasing the carrot even when I don’t need to. It surprised me. My partner enjoys working and is seeing how far she can go. It’s is probably reassuring that she doesn’t have to work, and allows her to take more risk. I have improved, but have not arrived. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I just wanted you to know retirement is not always paradise, and semi-retirement may help make the transition.

By paying myself first I was able to accomplish two goals – being able to invest and then spend less overall since there was less money in my account after the month was over. I made sure that savings were definitely happening, and I had peace of mind that money was actually being saved. The great thing is, once you get this started with the right funds, you then have it automatically taken out, which is even less work for you to manage.


You won’t get ahead if you don’t have a plan for your money. Instead, you’ll find yourself wondering where your money went at the end of every month! That’s not financial independence; that’s a recipe for financial disaster. If you’re married, get on the same page with your spouse about your budget. If you’re single, find an accountability partner.
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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Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.

Understand how a niche website works. A niche website focuses on very targeted, specific information. The content must be specific, useful and interesting to your target audience. Successful niche websites get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 visitors per month.[5] You build content on a particular keyword, and you make passive income with Google Adsense or through affiliate links.[6]

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That’s a nice read! I love your many tangible ways mentioned to make passive income unlike certain people trying to recruit others by mentioning network marketing and trying to get them to join up and sell products like Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Cutco or 5Linx. People get sucked into wealth and profits and become influenced joiners from the use pressure tactics.


There are quite literally hundreds of clever ways to make money online. From taking online surveys, to renting or selling your old clothes, flipping your iPhone to someone in a different country, and even buying low-cost products locally, just to resell them for a higher price on Amazon. There’s truly no shortage of unique ways to make money online.

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?
If you want to help shape digital products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.

Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online. 
I usually don't take the time to write a review and this particular case wanted to do it; although, I'm not done reading. What like about this book is that is not only about how to manage personal finance. It's also about challenging they way people think about money and how make money. In today's society people won't get ahead by just following a money management plan, but by mastering it and increasing income. This a great guide to define what this means for you and how to go about it. Very easy to read book!

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Late to the game, Sam, but I like where you, J.D., and others are going with this line of reasoning. Understanding levels of financial independence and financial security are very much needed. I worry that our main message is a turn off to a lot of people because they can’t possibly fathom saving 25 times their annual living expenses or more. For a lot of people, just being able to spend slightly less than they earn and having a modest emergency fund is their idea of financial nirvana. It would be nice if we could somehow champion these people and show them that they are welcomed members of our community. Cheers.
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.
All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of AWM, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
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?

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Hi Suba, I’m glad you brought up health insurance. I decided to leave off my explanation for why my health insurance costs will decrease after FI, in order to keep the post a bit shorter, but it is important to note why. Our plan after FI is to live for 6 months in Scotland (my wife’s home), travel around for 1-3 months in America (visiting my friends and family), and live for 3-5 months somewhere else in the world (Southeast Asia, South America, or another low-cost destination). Since we’ll be based in the UK, the majority of our year will be health insurance free (thanks to the NHS). The other six months of the year, we’ll be able to cover ourselves with a travel insurance policy. These policies can usually be purchased for £300 per year in the UK, so $50 a month seemed like a conservative estimate for half-a-year’s worth of insurance (this UK-based travel blog article discusses travel insurance costs).

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Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.[13]
“A good reason to retire early is that you have an alternate vision for your life that you are eager to pursue, but which you can’t pursue while employed full time,” Hester said. “Achieving financial independence allowed us to leave that career chapter of our lives from a place of gratitude and appreciation, and move onto our next chapter that we’re in control of.”
I personally have been working and investing through a couple of recessions – the tech boom and bust, and the recent Great Recession. Most people got nervous, went to cash, stopped contributing, etc., during these periods. The past investing decade has been really smooth. I’m not sure how everyone who achieved financial freedom will feel when we get back to more normal volatility.

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By paying myself first I was able to accomplish two goals – being able to invest and then spend less overall since there was less money in my account after the month was over. I made sure that savings were definitely happening, and I had peace of mind that money was actually being saved. The great thing is, once you get this started with the right funds, you then have it automatically taken out, which is even less work for you to manage.
Income is routinely mistaken for wealth. For example, if John Doe's income is $250,000 per year, some people might say John is "wealthy." However, if John's mortgage, car payments, student loans from medical school, medical bills for his child, and private school tuition for his other child consume most of his monthly income, he may not have much left for saving at the end of the month. Consequently, John may have a nice house, but he has virtually nothing saved up for retirement, college, or emergencies. That is, he may have a high income, but he is not "wealthy" because he owns little of the things in his life.
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!

I personally do not consider any capital gains or paper gains as part of my retirement income. Any capital gains are one off. It’s safer this way because it’s important to focus on building recurring passive income sources. Hopefully, my gains from my rental house sale in 2017 will be properly deployed to earn future income. But I’m not touching those gains for spending.
Planning for retirement, or even financial freedom, is a marathon and not a sprint, as the saying goes. Breaking up your financial independence goals into small chunks can help keep you on track while making the process a bit more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stressful. Even if you are starting small, the important thing is to get started.

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Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.

22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
To me, financial independence is being able to live how I want without worrying (too much) about money. It isn’t just about meeting X times my annual expenses and riding off into the FI sunset. Things always come up. A new roof, new septic system, etc. Also, I want my kids to go to whatever college they want and not be burdened with student loans. I want them to follow their dream careers, not be cajoled into a career because of the earnings potential. While I have a plan to retire early, I’m already struggling with the question “will that figure be enough?” If I’m being honest with myself, I won’t be able to fully retire and be completely happy and mindfully secure until I reach Blockbuster FI.
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
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.
I want to thank you for the great article. I was looking online for some inspiration to re-ignite my side-hustle and breathe some new life into my existing efforts. Your ideas here are fabulous and I’ve made notes on seven of them. I already have a lot of the concepts started, but you have given me the spark I was looking for to keep moving forward. Thanks for the help!

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Unfortunately, I can’t answer that conclusively one way or the other. It all depends on you, what you like to do, your work ethic, personality, etc. If you are a good writer perhaps you could write a book and make money that way. Or, you could start your own website and do affiliate marketing. Just because you are young it doesn’t mean you can’t make money doing at least a few of these ideas. I wish you luck in your money making efforts!
Set up the site. Choose a website building platform, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Next, choose a domain name and web hosting for your site. The domain name is your web address. Web hosting is a service that connects your site to the internet. Once you have your domain name and web hosting, go to the control panel of your hosting account and install your website platform. Design your website by choosing and installing a theme.[9]
Often, what happens is that we run into unscrupulous Internet Marketers (IMs) who have less-than altruistic intentions of extracting money from you rather than helping you to make it. However, this isn't something new. People have been falling for networking marketing, pyramid schemes, and affiliate marketing scams since before the start of the net.
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]
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