I’m miles away from any of the three FI levels on that pyramid, but feel like I’m finally living very close to my ideal lifestyle regardless of how much money I have. Sam’s comments about going too hard and the resulting health issues resonate with me too – my priority is avoiding that and keeping a good balance today. Like to think I’m still on track for FI though – life can change very quickly!
We all know the feeling—the panic that sets into your stomach when you see the bill for an unexpected car repair. How are we going to pay for that?  But what if a car repair was just an inconvenience? Instead of worrying, you pay the bill without thinking twice. A week later you’ve forgotten that it even happened! That’s how little it affects your financial situation. It’s not an emergency. It’s barely a hiccup!
Writing an e-book is very popular among bloggers, as many have noted that “it's just a bunch of blog posts put together!” You will not only have to make an investment of time and energy to create the e-book, but market it correctly. However, if marketed correctly (through blogging affiliates in your niche, for example), you could have residual sales that last a very long time.
Grant Sabatier is the Creator of Millennial Money. Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant Sabatier went from $2.26 to $1 million in 5 years through entrepreneurship, side hustling and investing. After reaching financial independence at the age of 30, Grant Founded MillennialMoney.com, where he writes about making and investing money and co-hosts the Millennial Money Minutes podcast. Since launching in 2015, Grant has reached over 10 million readers and listeners through his blog and podcast.
How to Monetize: Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog. For our fish tank blog, we would link to all the things you need to buy for an aquarium and then when people click on that link and buy that item (and other items they purchase with it with some exceptions) you get a percentage of the purchase. Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact Radius, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, and Rakuten too.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.

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Wow! What an awesome list Jeff! My favorite is the stock photography as I love photography. I have some success there, particularly with one photo I make some decent income from. I think the key with stock photography is finding a shot that is high demand then find a new unique way to frame that shot. This is the reason my St. Louis Arch photo is a top 10 on both of the platforms you mentioned above. Thanks for the awesome ideas above!

You are suggesting that because the risk free rate of return is 2.5% anybody who is not obtaining that return is not invested “properly”. However, risk is a real thing and it affects investment returns, and everybody invests with different objectives in mind. I would argue that anybody pursuing financial independence that is 100% invested in ten year bonds is not properly invested because the return from that portfolio will likely only keep up with inflation (if that). Whereas somebody who is pursuing financial independence would be better served in a balanced portfolio including stocks, bonds and maybe other asset classes. This portfolio is more than likely to return less than 2.5% in any given year, but is a more “proper” asset allocation to meet his objectives than is investing 100% of the portfolio in 10 year bonds.
Awesome article! I realized that we all need money but investing is the only way to earn money without having to do any work. Finally, I realized that this is the fundamental difference between the financially independent and those who work. While workers live off of their labor, the financially free live off of income generated passively. The passive income frees up their time to allow them to pursue more financially rewarding endeavors or to spend that time with family or whatever they find fulfilling. I realized that there is a fundamental difference in mindset between the financially independent and… Read more »
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.

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This definitely embodies the saying, “There’s levels to this $h*t.” I was aiming for the middle tier of financial independence, but now I’m asking myself why not go for the top of the pyramid. Even if I don’t quite get there I will likely add a nice cushion to the baseline. My goal is to diversify my streams of passive income between market investments, rental income, and small business income. Returns from all three should make me and my future family comfortable indefinitely.
Therefore, they have no idea what it takes to achieve financial independence and buy into the great myth that good students go further in life. They pitifully measure analytical intelligence only and not the creative intelligence that is responsible for sparking innovations, societal advancements and the opportunity to craft solutions in niche markets that everyone else misses.
I know it can be scary to make change happen, but think about it: if you don’t take action now, what does your financial future really look like? All you need to do is take one step. Do one thing every day that will get you closer to your own financial dream — the key lies in taking action. You simply cannot have something without doing something to earn it. So, if you truly want it, ladies, it’s yours for the taking.
I did read the Harry Browne book you suggested. Took some time to finish. Very interesting ideas, though several of the concepts were a bit much for me. Though from the author’s comments to the newer edition, he has changed some of his ideas as well – such as his ideas on marriage. Anyway, it certainly made me think and stretch my perceptions. Any new podcasts in the works?

Work wise i'm a bit fortunate to still work at a good company and managers, so it's not a big deal to continue working, although the work can be repetitive and lack of challenge, i consider that a blessing. Still, once you know the date it seems hard to keep still, but the anxiety seems more from the retirement itself (what would I do), rather than the current work. I think for people who are fortunate enough to not worry about financials after retirement, our real challenge is the lifestyle choice and psychological change we need to adapt to.


My blogging buddy Joe from Retire by 40, who is six years older than me, is a good example of having enough money, but finding it difficult to overcome the fear of not working. Every year, he questions whether his wife can join him in retirement, even though he’s been retired for over five years, has close to a $3 million net worth, and has online income and passive income to more than cover their annual living expenses. Every year I tell him she could have retired years ago, but he’s adeptly convinced her to keep on working.

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?
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.
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!
@Palmetto - Thanks for the feedback. As far as making a pivot in my career, I just knew I needed to boost my credibility and change the path I was going on. Being in the computer science field, I was already technology driven and knew how important it would continue to be. I just looked into jobs that seem to be hiring the most and closely matched my interests, then looked at what I need to learn to be able to get that job. It wasn't too difficult because I already knew what I wanted to switch too and enjoy about some of my previous work. For other fields, I'm sure it might be more difficult to figure it out. But keep at it. Advice, really just do your research, make lists of what you enjoy/don't enjoy, what you'd like to learn more of and just dive in. Creating my own music blog was a huge stepping stone and opened more career choices. @Mrs Picky Pincher - Thanks for your point! I see where you are coming from. Agree, you shouldn't spend all your waking hours working, chasing the almighty dollar. However, I choose side hustles that are only a few hours a week or projects I know that won't consume my entire life. The reason I advocate for side gigs is because your full-time is never guaranteed. Sure you may be able to survive on some savings, but if anything were to happen to that job, you're in more of "what am I going to do" mode. I'm not in a panic for work because I have some supplement income still coming in while I continue to find the next gig. Just adds a bit less stress. And no, def don't want to think negatively about your future job, but something to always be mindful of. @Cody - Thanks! Hoping to contribute more to MM!

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I would suggest a different, commonly used, approach to calculating withdrawals with the 4% rule (I believed you’ve blogged about this in the past). What is not so often explain is that in order to achieve yearly withdrawals of 3%-4% to live off of, you need to obtain investment returns upwards of 5%-8% to account for inflation, taxes and other costs.
Most credit card companies offer sign-up bonuses to entice you to open a credit account with them. As long as you don't spend money just to hit the minimum balance and always pay your balance on time, this can have a minimal impact on your credit score while earning you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars a year. Some of the best travel credit cards offer 100,000 points to new accounts when you meet reasonable spending requirements.
If you know anything well, a place, how to fix something, how to make something, how to do something, you can write a guide for it. You can sell your guide as an e-book, offer it as a download for a fee on your site or reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask if they will offer it as a paid download on their website (for a price of course).

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If you're interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It's often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.
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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Photos of people can only be sold for commercial use if they've signed a 'model release' that gives you permission to use their image (children need a parent/guardian to sign). Without a release, these photos can still be sold for editorial use, as long as they were taken in a public place – eg, if you submitted a 'breaking news' shot with people in the background. If there's any doubt, always ask permission.
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]
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.

This Test Will Show You Wheter Youre An Expert In Financial Freedom Without Knowing It Heres How It Works


Marxian economics (see labor theory of value) distinguishes in the Grundrisse between material wealth and human wealth, defining human wealth as "wealth in human relations"; land and labour were the source of all material wealth. The German cultural historian Silvio Vietta links wealth/poverty to rationality. Having a leading position in the development of rational sciences, in new technologies and in economic production leads to wealth, while the opposite can be correlated with poverty.[11][12]
Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. If you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income? Invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. 

The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you've built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
If you have 20 years left to live and only require $60,000 a year, having $1,200,000 can also be considered enough even if you make zero return. The only problem is that your purchasing power will decline by ~2% a year due to inflation. The other problem is that you don’t know exactly how many years you have left to live. Therefore, it’s always better to have more rather than less.
Concepts of wealth also vary across time. Modern labor-saving inventions and the development of the sciences have vastly improved the standard of living in modern societies for even the poorest of people. This comparative wealth across time is also applicable to the future; given this trend of human advancement, it is possible that the standard of living that the wealthiest enjoy today will be considered impoverished by future generations.
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]
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.

5 Things People Hate About Financial Freedom


Financial freedom is sometimes known as “early retirement”. However, since most early retirees keep working in some capacity, financial freedom is a better term. In order to do this, you need to be very focused, because your savings rate has to be 50% or higher to achieve freedom in a short period of time. Some people are able to do this, and that’s great. But many can’t.
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)
Shepper says users are fully insured, and it takes precautions to ensure your safety, including reviewing every booking that it receives. It may be worth taking extra steps too, such as telling a friend or family member where you'll be and arranging to contact them after you finish the job. Remember to trust your instincts – if you feel uncomfortable with any job, simply leave. 
Categories. Identify what’s truly necessary by identifying all of your monthly expenses based on the past six months, and then divide your expenses into three categories: Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk. Write down every expense (food, housing, utilities, insurance, cars, gas, transportation, clothes, credit cards, phones, Internet, pets, entertainment, etc.); triple-check the list with your significant other or a friend; and then use your Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk categories to prioritize and cut wherever you can. The stricter you are, the sooner you’ll be free.
Good article Sam on fine-tuning the FI tribe. It maybe the dream among FI folks to be at “blockbuster” level – also called FatFIRE in Reddit subs- but it’s actually not necessary to kill your self in the rat race for it if one is worried. Expenses play a huge part, of which, just housing alone is a big driver in FIRE comfort scale. Saving even only $500 a month in housing costs (either downsize or move to a LCOL place) can move many people into a very comfortable FIRE position. From leanFIRE, they can move to baseline FIRE quite easily after they save this much in housing. I know folks who have done this in Asia, and no, you don’t need to move to crazy place like Pyongyang to be a king. Nice locales in Malaysia, Thailand, Ecuador, India and even Eastern Europe are all available if people are open to it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea though.
There are several myths and misnomers when it comes to financial planning, and individuals can take in a lot advice from many good and not-so-good sources. Misnomers can range from confusing high incomes with wealth to not knowing the importance of tax asset placement when choosing your investments. This article attempts to shed some light on these areas and to help provide individuals with some key insights that will hopefully lead to a more financially independent life.
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.
At the beginning of this year, as I was setting investment goals I came up with $2.4M as the amount of liquid cash needed for me to say “I quit!” That would put me in the Baseline FI category. It would take a truly horrible job for me to quit and settle for budget FI. I don’t think I could handle being FI on a tight budget for too long because I would get bored due to not having enough money to pay for experiences/travel which currently bring me a lot of joy.
As a kid, I loved reading and being able to choose a new book from the library was the highlight of my childhood. Then something changed, I got to high school and college and reading felt more like a chore. I was rarely reading, except for the occasional blog or required textbook for school. Even after graduating, I never picked up a book much, especially about finances!
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.

Finding this a couple of years later, I had been thinking in the opposite direction regarding post-FI expenses. Because my current saving rate is about 60%, I figured if I did decide to accept part-time work or fixed-term projects, the income would likely fund my living expenses. That would allow my ‘Stash to continue to grow. (Yes, I read Mr. Money Mustache’s blog.)

At the beginning of this year, as I was setting investment goals I came up with $2.4M as the amount of liquid cash needed for me to say “I quit!” That would put me in the Baseline FI category. It would take a truly horrible job for me to quit and settle for budget FI. I don’t think I could handle being FI on a tight budget for too long because I would get bored due to not having enough money to pay for experiences/travel which currently bring me a lot of joy.


Categories. Identify what’s truly necessary by identifying all of your monthly expenses based on the past six months, and then divide your expenses into three categories: Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk. Write down every expense (food, housing, utilities, insurance, cars, gas, transportation, clothes, credit cards, phones, Internet, pets, entertainment, etc.); triple-check the list with your significant other or a friend; and then use your Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk categories to prioritize and cut wherever you can. The stricter you are, the sooner you’ll be free.
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