Your first goal should be to accumulate a sufficient amount of cash in the account to cover 30 days worth of living expenses. Once that's achieved, your goal should be to add another 30 days worth of living expenses. The account should have between three months and six months of living expenses if you're a salaried employee, and between 6 and 12 months if you have a self-employed job or paid entirely by commissions.

The reason it’s so important is it’s the single step that will provide most of the spare cash you will need in order to accomplish most of the other steps. Learning to live beneath your means is one of the central costs of learning how to become financially independent. And if you have not mastered this technique in the past, doing so will range anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful.


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.
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs. 
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
In this chapter I talk a lot about how to reduce your biggest expenses and that you are going to be able to save the most money where you spend the most money. I also talk a lot about traveling the world for free using credit card travel rewards. Because I’ve gotten so many questions on how to do this from readers I created an Introduction to Credit Card Rewards Guide. 

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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. 
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”.
Of course, it’s also important to note that money isn’t the thing that makes you truly rich — it’s the freedom that comes from pursuing whatever brings you joy and provides you will fulfillment that makes you rich. The whole point of financial freedom is that once you become financially free, you have more choices of how to live your life and spend your days.
True, the world is a bit unpredictable. That said, if you’re invested in a very broad index (like VTI, VTSMX/VTSAX), you are as protected as possible. If those indexes collapse/devalue, there are far greater issues going on than money. You would be fighting to eat and survive at that point, and money would be worthless. So, other than the world ending as we know it, you can be FI and have 99.9% assurance you are financially safe.

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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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Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off, there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as a way to make money online. Before you dive in, however, beware that some experts doubt the long-term viability of this idea for making money online. However, there’s always the chance you might just land on a lucrative domain name for a future billion-dollar company. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. 

Video is growing like crazy. And more and more people are looking for professional help cutting their raw footage into viral-worthy content. If you have the right software and a bit of skill, you can easily make money online as a video editor. Check out these article of Fstoppers on how to become an online video editor and then look for relevant jobs on Mandy.com, Creative Cow Job Search, or ProductionHub.
29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.

Since the age of 17, I have wanted to be financially free. The thought consumed me, and I was constantly reading articles. To put it brief, it was my dream. I have already started investing and have tried a few things here or there, but I haven’t really found a true fit yet. I’m 18 now, and am really looking for a mentor to steer me in the right direction. I know with a little bit of guidance I can do big things!

Age and existing wealth or current salary don't matter – if someone can generate enough income to meet their needs from sources other than their primary occupation, they have achieved financial independence. If a 25-year-old has $100 in expenses per month, and assets that generate $101 or more per month, they have achieved financial independence, and they are now free to spend their time doing the thing they enjoy without needing to work a regular job to pay their bills. If, on the other hand, a 50-year-old earns $1,000,000 a month but has expenses that equal more than that per month, they are not financially independent because they still have to earn the difference each month just to make all their payments. However, the effects of inflation must be considered. If a person needs $100/month for living expenses today, they will need $105/month next year and $110.25/month the following year to support the same lifestyle, assuming a 5% annual inflation rate. Therefore, if the person in the above example obtains their passive income from a perpetuity, there will be a time when they lose their financial independence because of inflation.


You might call it the time-money paradox. Most Americans trade the majority of their available time for a paycheck, and then spend the majority of each paycheck on depreciating material possessions. As the spending snowballs, many individuals desire a larger paycheck, which requires even longer hours and more responsibilities at work, leaving even less time to enjoy the income or possessions. It’s a vicious cycle that often continues in perpetuity until retirement or death.

23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog. 

As for Joshua & Ryan, we both use an online-investment tool called Betterment as our personal savings, planning, and investing software. Using Betterment, which costs nothing to set-up and has no minimum-balance requirements, we’ve learned how to invest in our future selves by setting aside a percentage of our income without even noticing it’s gone.

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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.
This is probably the most exclusive level of financial freedom. Hopefully, your financial freedom plan will allow you to outlive your money. Having more money than you expected to spend is great. Building enough wealth so that you could not possibly spend all of it is another. This group will likely be filled with people who either won the lottery, inherited a fortune or are founders of companies – think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even if they went on a spending spree buying planes, yachts and automobiles; they would still have a hard time spending all of it. I should note that both Gates and Buffet have pledged to give away a vast majority of their wealth when they pass. I would be unfair to count that as “spending all their money.”

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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.

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Well said Illidi. There are more ways than ever, mostly because of the internet. I think the secret is to put out a product or service that’s unique. Not that you have to invent a whole new business, but take an existing business concept, and add something unique to it. Because you’re absolutely right, everyone is getting into the game, making it harder to succeed.

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Environmental assets are not usually counted in measuring wealth, in part due to the difficulty of valuation for a non-market good. Environmental or green accounting is a method of social accounting for formulating and deriving such measures on the argument that an educated valuation is superior to a value of zero (as the implied valuation of environmental assets).[32]
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]

23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
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.

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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?

Do you know anyone who hates their job? I mean really hates it. I have met a few over the years as a financial planner. Those individuals were willing to do almost anything to retire as soon as possible. Some considered things like moving to a foreign country with a low cost of living, selling their home or getting roommates. I should point out that those people were closer to full retirement age.

But, think about your mortgage. Your car payment. Your credit card bills. Student loans. If you stopped paying those, you’d be sent to collections, your credit score would plummet, and you’d be in financial ruin. Your financial obligations are like a weight around your neck — and for many, this weight gets heavier and heavier as your financial burdens become larger and larger. That sure doesn’t sound like freedom. In fact, you are probably tied to many financial commitments that prevent you from living up to your true potential — to achieving financial independence.


I would argue that, if you can increase the value of your full-time gig, it's probably not necessary to get a side gig. I do think people need some free time to enjoy themselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in raking in an extra $200/mo from side hustles that we don't realize they're not always worth the time. So know the most efficient way for you to earn money, first of all. Slashing expenses like a madman doesn't hurt, either! That's what enabled us to pay off our debts so quickly.
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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