Budget FI sounds kind of like an oxymoron, but I get what you’re saying. I’d be happy to be there. We have a long way to go but I like how you placed parameters around the pyramid. There should be a projected lifestyle in mind already when one decides to retire. And the projection should be based on the amount in your accounts and the ways you’d like or need to spend it.
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.

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%?
What retirement account would be the best option to help shelter profits from an LLC when this will be my only source of income in the years to come? As in, no longer working for a company offering a 401k? The LLC will be myself and one partner. I was thinking something like the LLC contributes to a retirement account for me, but that doesn't really make any sense since it would be the same as me dumping into a Traditional IRA. I also read when this happens typically the LLC contributions must match for each partner which we don't want to do.

In fact, the FIRE community seems to focus less on the “retire early” aspect of the movement and more on the financial independence component, “which is a powerful aspirational goal that is readily achievable if people are willing to make some small, but important, optimizations in their lives,” said Jonathan Mendonsa, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast. 


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But, think about your mortgage. Your car payment. Your credit card bills. Student loans. If you stopped paying those, you’d be sent to collections, your credit score would plummet, and you’d be in financial ruin. Your financial obligations are like a weight around your neck — and for many, this weight gets heavier and heavier as your financial burdens become larger and larger. That sure doesn’t sound like freedom. In fact, you are probably tied to many financial commitments that prevent you from living up to your true potential — to achieving financial independence.
You won’t get ahead if you don’t have a plan for your money. Instead, you’ll find yourself wondering where your money went at the end of every month! That’s not financial independence; that’s a recipe for financial disaster. If you’re married, get on the same page with your spouse about your budget. If you’re single, find an accountability partner.
Grant Sabatier, called "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, is the Founder of MillennialMoney.com, which has reached over 10 million readers. He writes about personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and mindfulness and hosts the Financial Freedom podcast. Sabatier graduated from the University of Chicago and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Money Magazine,and many others. When not traveling in his VW Camper, he lives in New York City.
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