​Self Publishing is mainstream today. When you purchase an eBook off of Amazon there’s a pretty good chance you’re buying a self-published book. Self-publishing is also ridiculously easy. I tried this a few years ago and couldn’t believe how simple the process was. To self-publish a book you’ll first need to write and edit it, create a cover, and then upload to a program such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t expect instant success though. There will need to be a lot of upfront marketing before you can turn this into a passive income stream.
Whatever you do to build your contribution muscle, it needn’t be grandiose; it need only contribute to someone else’s life. If you do this for a few weeks, you’ll realize that your financial problems are tiny compared to many of the problems in the world around you. By discovering the smallness of your financial woes, you’ll feel empowered to take massive action and beat the crap out of your relatively miniature problems.
The tradeoff in this scenario is clear. You can continue working to build a bigger pool of savings, which will provide additional income and flexibility for the remainder of your life. Or, you can leave your job as soon as possible and hope that a smaller portfolio will provide sufficient income. It’s all about finding the right balance given your personal situation.
Within 3 months of being let go, I was working for three different companies remotely in digital marketing that not only paid my bills, but allowed me to build a network of new contacts, and led to a new career path. In those three years since I’m now a Digital Marketing Senior Manager at a great software company called EveryoneSocial and I provide digital marketing consulting for other companies and startups that all improved my career worth.

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Those who choose to focus on passive income will need either family money, funds from investors, or the nerve to borrow large sums by taking on debt to fund the purchase of assets. Consider someone who takes out substantial bank loans to build an apartment building or buy rental houses. Although this can turn a very small amount of equity into a large cash flow stream, it is not without risk. When using borrowed money, the margin of safety is much smaller because you can’t absorb the same degree of setback before defaulting and finding your balance sheet obliterated.

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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!
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search:  “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.
Me and my wife consider that a pasive income of 2000€/month.. so 44.000€/year would be great and we would consider financial independent in this case.. Having in mind that average income for a working person in Romania is ~8700$/year we consider that our target of ~2400$/household/month would be great because you can have an above average lifestyle..
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.
While your income, your savings rate, your investment returns, your debt to income ratio, and all those other numbers are important when optimizing your money, the single most important metric that you should be tracking is your net-worth. Your net-worth measures how much money you are worth by subtracting your liabilities (debt/what you owe) from your assets (what you own that has value, your cash, and investments). It doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much money you save if your net-worth isn’t going up. This was a big early mistake I made, so start tracking your net-worth today.
There is another re-org at work. Rumour has it that I am affected it. If I have to quit because I don’t like my new boss then my pension would be 39K at age 55 w/o any retiree medical coverage. Since my wife was laid off in 2016 with a severance, I am not eligible for a severance because of company policy that they don’t laid off both spouses. Since I am so close, Wifey wants me to work until 55 and I agree. Since life always throws a curve ball, I rather be more financially secure.
Hi Sam, interesting post as always. I’m always very curious about how you arrive at your estimates. It would be great if you could show us the math! (actually I’m very curious about this in your 401k value post) Anyway, in this post you mention: “need between $800,000 – $1,600,000 – to replicate 40,000 a year in passive income” This is a bit bigger than the standard 4% approach. I can see that you are cautious, I’m just wondering about how I could replicate some of the math too.
JVZoo was founded in 2011 and has since rocketed to near the top as one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. JVZoo is unusual in that there are no upfront costs for either publishers or merchants (advertisers). JVZoo’s income is exclusively from charging fees (to both the merchant and the affiliate) after a sale has been made. It is also unusual in that it pays commissions “instantly” via PayPal rather than once a week/fortnight/month like other affiliate programs.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.

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.
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
Thanks for the post. Not to be negative, but want to stress importance of not “waiting” for FI. My parents have a passive income of about 500K/year and have had some health issues popping up recently. My dad lost his hearing in one ear and my mom is having a lot of trouble with her vision. Although having $$ makes dealing with some of these issues easier, it is important to remember how valuable your health is, because suddenly money doesn’t seem so important. 

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Commentator Larry Kudlow pointed out one of the great truths years ago when he said that profits are nothing more than margins times revenue. The profoundness of that statement is sometimes lost by its simplicity. The only way you can have more money left over at the end of the month is to either increase revenue (your paycheck, business sales, billable hours, or whatever it is that provides funds to cover your bills) or decrease costs. That's it. Write it down. Frame it. It's that remarkable. Your choices are to increase revenue, cut costs, or both.
For example, we live in the burbs, the town has an average household income of 100K, average property value of $350K. That’ll cost ya $1500 a month (PI). Lot’s of BMW, Merc’s and other higher end cars, household has two cars, $1000 a month on lease. Most are both spouse working, some day care. We’re at near 3K a month with these expenses a month. If you head into FIRE with no debt allows the Basic to live like the Base. College funds, food for teenage boys, sports equipment, musical instruments, kiddie activity travel all add up.
Since you’re essentially becoming a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.

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.
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.
“We don’t promote a message of extreme frugality, he said. “Instead our message is based on ‘value’ being the guiding light behind purchasing decisions. We want to cut out the excess in our lives because it enables our monthly expenses to be lower and thus speeds the path to FI. In summary, it comes down to value, and I think it is a useful exercise to go through all the lines items in your budget and ask “Is this adding value to my life?”
​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs. 

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As long as the network is legitimate, it can be a good way to pick up some extra money on a steady basis. You won’t make a fortune, since your rewards will be limited to how much money you will spend. You certainly don’t want to get carried away, spending money just to generate rewards. That could put you into a situation where you will spend more money than you will earn from the network.

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The organizing principle behind this grouping, appropriate economic units, is relatively simple: if the activities are located in the same geographic area; if the activities have similarities in the types of business; or if the activities are somehow interdependent, for instance, if they have the same customers, employees or use a single set of books for accounting.
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Statistically, if you want to guess who is going to be wealthy and financially independent, you'd be more likely finding a self-sufficient student in wood shop class who paid for his own car, gets decent (but not spectacular) grades, has a job and enjoys what he does than selecting someone from the honor roll. It's counterintuitive, but it's often true.
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.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.

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If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
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.

If someone receives $5000 in dividends from stocks they own, but their expenses total $4000, they can live on their dividend income because it pays for all their expenses to live (with some left over). Under these circumstances, a person is financially independent. A person's assets and liabilities are an important factor in determining if they have achieved financial independence. An asset is anything of value that can be readily turned into cash (liquidated) if a person has to pay debt, whereas a liability is a responsibility to provide compensation. (Homes and automobiles with no liens or mortgages are common assets.)
We—Joshua & Ryan—know first hand. The road to financial freedom was a long trek for both us. Even though we had prestigious six-figure careers, we struggled with money back then; and we weren’t financially free for a long time. In fact, it wasn’t until we walked away from those career’s (after devising a plan, of course) that we discovered how to get out of debt, how to eliminate unnecessary expenses, how to plan for our future, how to master our finances.
The organizing principle behind this grouping, appropriate economic units, is relatively simple: if the activities are located in the same geographic area; if the activities have similarities in the types of business; or if the activities are somehow interdependent, for instance, if they have the same customers, employees or use a single set of books for accounting.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 

Money from dividends, for example, are taxed at a lower rate than money from a job. A business owner who works in the company she or he founded would have to pay more self-employment payroll taxes compared to someone who merely had a passive interest in the same limited liability company who would pay only income taxes. In other words, the same income earned actively would be taxed at a higher rate than if it were earned passively.

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When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.
When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
A relative newcomer to the affiliate space, MaxBounty was founded in 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. MaxBounty claims to be the only affiliate network built specifically for affiliates. MaxBounty is exclusively a CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition) company that doesn’t deal with ad banners or the like, just customer links that the publisher (blogger) chooses where to place on their website.
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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Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
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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Passive income is attractive because it frees up your time so you can focus on the things you actually enjoy. If a doctor wants to earn the same amount of money and enjoy the same lifestyle year after year, they must continue to work the same number of hours at the same pay rate—or more, to keep up with inflation. Although such a career can provide a very comfortable lifestyle, it requires far too much sacrifice unless you truly enjoy the daily grind of your chosen profession. Additionally, once you decide to retire, or find yourself unable to work any longer, your income will cease to exist unless you have some form of passive income.
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.
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.
This is a level of FI that I’ve been trying to achieve since I was 30 years old. I decided back then that an individual income of ~$200,000 – $250,000 and a household income of ~$300,000 was the ideal income for maximum happiness. With such income, you can live a comfortable life raising a family of up to four anywhere in the world. Given I’ve spent my post college life living in Manhattan and San Francisco, it was only natural to arrive at much higher income levels than the US household median. Remember, half the country live in more expensive coastal cities.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.
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.

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In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.
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!
It’s insane how much money you can make flipping items (buying a deal and then selling at a big profit). You know all those people who are selling things on eBay? Well, some of them are making tens of thousands of dollars a month doing it. Sound like a lot of work? It’s really not. The key is building a good strategy for finding, buying, uploading, and shipping items.
​Network marketing, or multi-level marketing, seems to be on the rise. Companies such as Young Living Oils, Avon, Pampered Chef, and AdvoCare are all multi-level marketing companies. You can earn passive income through network marketing by building a team underneath you (often referred to as a down line.) Once you have a large team you can earn commissions off of their sales without having to do much.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9] 

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I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of fancy budget spreadsheets, so I just use free tracking apps like Personal Capital. Then once a month I used the data and wrote down every bill and loan I had with the numbers next to them (some obviously varied slightly from month to month) along with every time I spent money on going out, food, clothes, etc. You’d be surprised at the things you catch that has affected your spending over the last year. Slight tweaks and adjustments can make all the difference in the amount you save. This was how I was able to identify how much money interest my student and car loans were accumulating and then identified it was critical for me to start paying them down rapidly.
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”.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
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