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? 

20. Etsy – If you like to create arts and crafts, you can sell them on Etsy.It’s completely free to open an Etsy store. You simply sign up, post pictures of your creations and starting selling. You can choose your payment option, but PayPal is generally the easiest. Etsy makes it easy to sell and keep track of your inventory. There is a small listing fee and they take 3.5% of every sale you make.
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.

I have been reading some of your posts, and jlc and mmm, and I have no idea exactly where to post this question or to whom. My husband and I already live by debt-free principles, although not necessarily 100% minimalist, though I am trying to move us in that direction. Anyway, I am wondering if you or anyone knows how to calculate the impact of this lifestyle on children who reach college age? We have four kids, are car-free, pay low rent, and minimal expenses, and while we won’t necessarily reach FI before they all reach college age, I am wondering if there is a calculator to find the tipping point for income vs. savings vs. eligibility for college financial aid, to help us understand how the balance works. I just don’t want any surprises in that realm. My husband and I both paid most of our way through college, with a little help here and there, and my kids already understand that they have to work for what they want–we do not give them money, so they know that if they want money they go out into the neighborhood and work odd jobs for people who are willing to pay. The idea that they might have to pay their own way through college would not be a surprise to them, but I still want to proceed with knowledge of how all these factors fit together. Any direction you could give us on where to look for how to calculate these factors and their balance would be a huge help.


Wealth has been defined as a collection of things limited in supply, transferable, and useful in satisfying human desires.[9] Scarcity is a fundamental factor for wealth. When a desirable or valuable commodity (transferable good or skill) is abundantly available to everyone, the owner of the commodity will possess no potential for wealth. When a valuable or desirable commodity is in scarce supply, the owner of the commodity will possess great potential for wealth.
I wasn’t thinking so much of plagiarism as I was about the simple act of someone sharing and passing it along to someone else. With e-Books, for instance, although I know there are several formats for them, I assume they are mostly PDFs to download. I don’t think it’s possible to password protect a PDF for opening (I think you can do it for printing or editing), nor to have some kind of time limit on being able to open it. As for courses, how do you ensure that the link or file doesn’t get passed around and accessed for free by people who didn’t pay?

As far as transportation is concerned, it has been included in the ‘Rent and Utilities’ and ‘Travel’ categories. The ‘Rent and Utilities’ is a bit high, so that we can live in central locations and not have to rely on paid transportation too much. The ‘Travel’ category covers our flights between Scotland, America, and whichever other country we decide to live in but it also covers things like taxis and buses (I’m accumulating millions of frequent flyer miles between now and when I reach FI so that our airfare costs will be extremely low…more on this in future articles).
Research selling prices of items similar to yours. Look up completed sales or current listings of items similar to yours. Find the high- and low-end prices, and price your object around the median price level. If you want your item to sell quickly, price it at the low end. The condition of the item also affects the price. Items in poorer condition should be priced at the lower end. Also, consider how many listings there already are of items similar to yours. If many similar items will be competing with yours, you may have to set the price lower to get the sale.[28]
I look forward to seeing how your thoughts on this evolve as a parent. One recurring problem I have with the FIRE community, or the more publicized stories, is they are almost always single people or couples with no kids. I know you plan, as do I, to provide a good future for your children which includes education. If you’re going to send 2 kids to college in 15-18 years you’ll need close to $1M, or if you don’t include the tuition inflation you’re still looking at $500k. There is no way you support that kind of spending on budget FI of $40k/year. Even your baseline FI it would be tough.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.

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Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
Since you’re not taking on debt, you’ll also need a savings plan for big purchases that aren’t emergencies. Let’s take summer vacation for example. It’s simple! Create a line item in your monthly budget and divide the total amount by the months you have to save. You’re not living in debt anymore, and that means you can enjoy your vacation instead of having a credit card bill follow you home.

No problem and good luck. His book is what started my quest for early retirement – although the investment advice is a bit dated. Another couple who are in the same camp are Billy and Akaisha Kaderli. Again, these are sort of the grandparents of the movement. Although in their 60’s now, they retired at 38 with $500k or so. They also spend a large portion of their time overseas – mostly southeast Asia. Both the Terhorsts and Kaderlis focus on expense management to achieve a full life of travel and fun. The Kaderlis have also written several books avaiable on their website – unfortunately, not for free. They tend to do more interviews so they would be a podcast option too.

“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.”

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.
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.

How do I live a financially independent life


A reason I believe 4% is reasonable, especially for myself and for Mad Fientist readers, is because early/semi retirees will have much more flexibility than the retirees that the Financial Mentor is writing for. You’ll notice in his article that he references $2.5 million and $3.3 million nest eggs in his article. I hate to make another assumption but I assume people with nest eggs that large most likely have much higher expenses and more financial obligations (i.e. bigger mortgages, boat loans, expensive habits, etc.) so it may be harder to adjust their lifestyles when the economy changes. For me, however, if I start withdrawing 4% from my portfolio but then the market tanks, I’ll be able to move somewhere where the cost of living is less and potentially pick up part-time work that I enjoy so that I can withdraw less from my portfolio during the downturns.

As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.


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.”
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.
In Western civilization, wealth is connected with a quantitative type of thought, invented in the ancient Greek "revolution of rationality", involving for instance the quantitative analysis of nature, the rationalization of warfare, and measurement in economics.[11][12] The invention of coined money and banking was particularly important. Aristotle describes the basic function of money as a universal instrument of quantitative measurement – “for it measures all things […]” – making things alike and comparable due to a social "agreement" of acceptance.[25] In that way, money also enables a new type of economic society and the definition of wealth in measurable quantities. In the Roman Empire, just as in modern colonialism, the main force behind the conquest of countries was the exploitation and accumulation of wealth in quantitative values like gold and money. Modern philosophers like Nietzsche criticized the fixation on measurable wealth: "Unsere ‘Reichen' – das sind die Ärmsten! Der eigentliche Zweck alles Reichtums ist vergessen!" (“Our 'rich people' – those are the poorest! The real purpose of all wealth has been forgotten!”)[26]
In Western civilization, wealth is connected with a quantitative type of thought, invented in the ancient Greek "revolution of rationality", involving for instance the quantitative analysis of nature, the rationalization of warfare, and measurement in economics.[11][12] The invention of coined money and banking was particularly important. Aristotle describes the basic function of money as a universal instrument of quantitative measurement – “for it measures all things […]” – making things alike and comparable due to a social "agreement" of acceptance.[25] In that way, money also enables a new type of economic society and the definition of wealth in measurable quantities. In the Roman Empire, just as in modern colonialism, the main force behind the conquest of countries was the exploitation and accumulation of wealth in quantitative values like gold and money. Modern philosophers like Nietzsche criticized the fixation on measurable wealth: "Unsere ‘Reichen' – das sind die Ärmsten! Der eigentliche Zweck alles Reichtums ist vergessen!" (“Our 'rich people' – those are the poorest! The real purpose of all wealth has been forgotten!”)[26]
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
Adjust. You’ll have some slip-ups along the way. That’s all right, it’s part of the process. At first, you and your family should scrutinize your written budget daily, and then eventually weekly, adjusting accordingly until your whole family is comfortable with your set monthly allocations. The first month is the most difficult, but by the third month you’ll curse yourself for wasting so much money during your budget-less days.

When you lack the luxury of time, making money on or offline can seem like an impossible task. How are you supposed to do that when you're working at a life-sucking nine-to-five job? While the stability of full-time employment might allow most to sleep well at night, it doesn't empower your creative juices to search for new income-producing strategies.
I think it is hard for the majority of those who are seeking/building towards financial independence, to essentially turn the switch off. What I mean by this is that it is hard for them to ever feel “financially secure” because their whole life’s financial habits have been based on constantly earning/saving/growing their money. Based off of those deep ingrained habits, it is extremely difficult for that individual to suddenly change course and tell themselves they no longer need to keep growing their money.

Clearly, there's a lot of demand on Amazon, and if any product is going to sell, it's going to sell well on Amazon. But the goal here is to source the right products that will easily sell at the world's largest online retailer. Generally, products between $10 and $50 sell very well here. Just be sure to do the right market research before jumping on this bandwagon.


Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
The media often portrays financial freedom as an insurmountable task that requires decades of saving and investing. That’s sometimes true, but it’s beneficial to focus on each victory along the way. For example, most people could pay off all non-mortgage debt, and accumulate enough savings to find a new career that is enjoyable. Those are huge accomplishments on the journey to financial freedom that should be celebrated.
Create a writer website or blog. A website not only demonstrates your technical ability, but it also creates an online hub that allows clients to connect to you. Keep the design of your website clean and uncluttered. Include examples of your work that demonstrate the kind of writing you do. Make the samples easy to find and to read, and make it easy for visitors to figure out how to contact you.[23].
According to decades of extensive research by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., author of “The Millionaire Next Door,” the grades one earns in school have no correlation with the economic wealth and success other than in the medical and legal professions. That's not to say education isn't important—it is! More than 90 percent of American millionaires did, in fact, graduate with an undergraduate degree.
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.
True, he could do that, but then what would he actually do? Kids are great, but until they get a bit older, they’re boring. Plus, he’s already said that this blog is already his passion project, so why give that up? Finally, this could serve as a last defense against a great depression. If stocks suddenly go in the negative, people are still going to have some free time to look stuff up online. This blog could then be the difference between him having to go back to work or being able to maintain some semblance of his lifestyle and still feed his family.
As someone who has lived in Mexico City for almost 17 years, I’d personally avoid living in San Miguel de Allende after retirement. While the downtown is pretty, there is a lot of crime which goes unreported and of course it is full of tourists and expats (which to me is a big negative). Yes, I have been there. The area is very dry so it is mostly a good place to grow nopales (prickly pear cactus and not much else) so early retirees who want to grow their own veg would be have to do quite a lot of watering (hope to find a lot in town that isn’t too expensive. Most city lots have tiny or no gardens/yards in Mexico)
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.
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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We set up a business and personal budget for ourselves and include savings goals. Then to keep ourselves accountable we review our budget monthly. This keeps us on track to reaching our financial goals. I'd recommend setting up a system that works best for you and your family. Just writing down your goals will help you start the process. But, reviewing them daily and having honest conversations about where you are financially will determine your success or failure in becoming financially free.

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!
If you are new to the financial planning process, it’s important to remember you don’t need to go from zero to sixty overnight. Just like a fitness trainer would be hesitant to recommend an all-out body straining routine on your first day in the gym, I wouldn’t expect someone to start implementing advanced planning techniques in the first week. Pick a reasonable and attainable goal, and get used to achieving small wins on your track to financial independence.

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 :-)
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.
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.
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
Consider selling in lots. A lot is a collection of similar items that is sold in a group. For example, if you have a collection of books, magazines or similar pieces of jewelry, consider selling them all at once in a lot. You many not make as much money as you would have if you sold each item separately. However, the items will likely sell more quickly in a lot than they would individually.[29]
Thank you for the article, jlcollinsnh. I’ve always been a firm believer of making smart decisions in purchasing property, however, after doing further reading I am beginning to believe in renting instead of owning. The flexibility would be prized, but I believe the fixed cost is the best aspect. Planning my expenses for the future is troublesome at times, but this change would take out a large variable.
When I purchase an existing online business, I look for cash flow over the past year and where the money comes from. I want the sources to be more passive so that it does not take a lot of my time. Also, typically I will make an offer that is 18 – 24 months of profit so that I know that I will get my money back within the next two years. I hope that helps!
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.

To escape the spending trap, you need to understand that income is not long-term wealth. What is wealth? Income is obviously a component of wealth, but wealth can have varying definitions. Many people see wealth as their total net worth at any given time. This can be paralleled to the assessment of an individual’s balance sheet. Wealth can be referred to as the part of your balance sheet that is considered equity. Your ​assets minus liabilities. The wealth you have after liquidating.

Fall In Love With Financial Freedom


2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up.  I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Of course they look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest they cut a $100+ a month cable bill. Or switch to a cheap cell phone provider like metropcs. Or drive a car that is 3 years old. Or only fill up their tank from the cheapest place according to GasBuddy. Or get $25/month budget car insurance from Insurance Panda. Or cook their own food instead of spending a hundred a week on restaurant food (or far more if they like the bar).

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.
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