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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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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!
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.
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.
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.
As discussed, the only way to take advantage of investment opportunities is to have the money to invest. The reality of successful investing is that there is a certain point where you reach critical mass, and the returns generated on your assets can change your life (e.g., earning a 10 percent return on $10,000 is only going to net you $1,000 before taxes—hardly earth-shattering, but the same return on a $1,000,000 portfolio is $100,000, which has far more utility despite requiring the same effort and research).
If you reached FI by saving up $205,500, where would you invest that to guarantee it would produce $685 per month? I assume that would be in a taxable account since you’d be too young to pull funds from a tax-advantaged account, correct? But how, specifically, would you invest that amount of money to keep it safe and generating enough income to draw 4%?

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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.

The much loved model for bloggers and content creators everywhere and for a good reason…it’s pretty easy to write a 60-80 page ebook, not hard to sell say $500 worth a month through online networking, guest posting and your own SEO optimized blog, and well you get to keep a large whack of the pie after paying affiliates.  Hells yeah!  Continue reading >

Even though I passed the point where my savings could cover my essential expenses quite a while ago, I’ve decided to keep working and pad my balances a bit more. Since I’ll likely have plenty of buffer by the time I actually pull the plug on work, I plan to just maintain my current portfolio, which consists primarily of low-cost, stock market index funds. Since I could always work again if necessary, I’m happy to take on a bit more risk for higher potential returns.


If an investor puts $500,000 into a candy store with the agreement that the owners would pay the investor a percentage of earnings, that would be considered passive income as long as the investor does not participate in the operation of the business in any meaningful way other than placing the investment. The IRS states, however, that if the investor did help manage the company with the owners, the investor's income could be seen as active since the investor provided "material participation." 
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
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.
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.
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.

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I realize this is not directed at me, but let me give you my current retirement “job”. I hold rehab notes for real estate investors. I carefully underwrite (evaluate) the deal and my returns are 1% a month. That $250,000 would generate $2500 a month. My cash utilization is also very high. My retirement job has a great following now, I rarely have enough capital to meet all the needs.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
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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P2P lending is the practice of loaning money to borrowers who typically don’t qualify for traditional loans. As the lender you have the ability to choose the borrowers and are able to spread your investment amount out to mitigate your risk. The most popular peer to peer lending platform is Lending Club. You can read our full lending club review here: Lending Club Review.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income. 
I guess I’m in the Blockbuster Category, but living in the Midwest I’d have a hard time figuring out how to spend $300k/year even though the math says it is not a problem. I think the reality is most people who are super savers are going to get to Blockbuster eventually assuming they don’t inflate their lifestyle along the way. There is a lot of truth to more money not bringing you more happiness…I spend less in “retirement” than I did while working and I’m exponentially happier. I checked my taxable account for the first time this year and it in the first 11 days it is up more than I’ll spend this year, interesting times indeed.
I see FI as more of a continuum which might vary with age and circumstances. When I was in my early 20s, an FU fund of six months living expenses was the goal. I eventually got up to a few years. After I got married in my 30s, being able to buy a house outright took over – and once that was bought at 40, I focussed on ensuring I had a pension that would comfortably cover all of our costs and a bit of contingency.
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
Humans back to and including the Cro-Magnons seem to have had clearly defined rulers and status hierarchies.[citation needed] Digs in Russia at the Sungir Archaeological Site have revealed elaborate funeral clothing on a man and a pair of children buried there approximately 28,000 years ago.[citation needed] This indicates a considerable accumulation of wealth by some individuals or families. The high artisan skill also suggest the capacity to direct specialized labor to tasks that are not of any obvious utility to the group's survival.[citation needed]

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).

I share this with to let you know how much your expertise and your creating this information means to me. I will now put this link to your site on the Inspire-EDNF (Ehlers Danlos National Foundation) site to help so many others like me. Living with this condition, I can become a hopeless mess. Today, THANKS to you, I can begin planning how to contribute not only to my family and savings but also to causes very close to my heart.

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However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don't have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
I think too many people become over-focused on their number, on achieving what you call basic FI and I call independence. They’re so dialed in on that that they ignore the fact that they’re gradually achieving greater independence all the time. That’s too bad. I think folks would be happier if they could take the time to appreciate their state, you know?

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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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