MM Note: This is a guest post from 29-year-old Millennial Money reader Todd Kunsman. To learn more about creating financial freedom, check out how to retire in 10 years or less,  fast-tracking financial independence, and my book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need. Now check out Todd’s 9 steps to financial freedom below.

How can I be financially smart


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.


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.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 

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.


I actually had quite a bit saved up before I got on the journey to FI and thanks to the market run-up over the last few years and the increased supplemental income coming from my side businesses, my “passive” income and theoretical investment income (assuming 4% withdrawal rate) currently covers over 130% of my total expenses. Once we sell our house and lower our expenses even further, an even higher percentage of my expenses will be covered so although I was targeting only the essentials for FI, I’ll likely have everything covered and then some by the time I finally pull the plug on my career.
That being said, LinkConnector’s platform looks and feels outdated and is rather clumsily designed. Their dashboard also makes it difficult to find “hot” products or compare conversion rates, leaving affiliates somewhat in the dark about which products to choose. Ironically, despite their low-quality website, they offer some of the best customer service in the affiliate space.
If you are generating $250,000 – $300,000 in passive income without having to work, life is good, really good. At my peak in 1H2017, I got to about ~$220,000 in annualized passive income, but then ended up slashing ~$60,000 from the top after selling my rental house to simplify life. Therefore, I’ve still got a long ways to go, especially now that I have a son to raise.

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Chris Hogan is a #1 national best-selling author, dynamic speaker and financial expert. For more than a decade, Hogan has served at Ramsey Solutions, spreading a message of hope to audiences across the country as a financial coach and Ramsey Personality. Hogan challenges and equips people to take control of their money and reach their financial goals, using The Chris Hogan Show, his national TV appearances, and live events across the nation. His second book, Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth—And How You Can Too is based on the largest study of net-worth millionaires ever conducted. You can follow Hogan on Twitter and Instagram at @ChrisHogan360 and online at chrishogan360.com or facebook.com/chrishogan360.

Financial Freedom An Incredibly Easy Method That Works For All


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.
I hope to end up somewhere in the “Blockbuster FI” category eventually, only because I am a worker. I like starting businesses, and making sales, so I’ll probably always be doing something creative. I just want to get rid of the fear and pressure that comes with being dependent on money. The fear of losing a big client, or the pressure of having a competitor undercut me with prices, and always being on edge. Once I am FI, I can just have fun running businesses and really not care about the money I make. That’s the dream I am striving for. My first quarter-million is in the bank, and generating me $1000 passive income a month, so I think the hardest stage of getting it going is over. Now I just have to keep building it. Always enjoy stopping by. Billy B.
Robin, I was reading through the comments and saw your post. I don’t know if you will see this since it is so much later. I am a small animal veterinarian in Eastern Washington State. I was privileged and had support with education but still had about 70k in student loans. I will easily reach blockbuster level by 40. I am nearly 37 now. I did it through ownership. That increases income dramatically. Additionally, it is an investment, my biggest, that you can sell when your done. Essentially, it allows you to earn income twice, once through dividends and then secondly through capital gains when you sell. I am also currently investing in real estate and downsized my primary residence. I had to transition my mentality about money and define wants vs needs but I did it. I still see other associate vets I work with that will barely scrape enough by the time they are 65. If you want to talk more please feel free to reach out to me.
Affiliate marketing is a very large industry and has become a key source of online income for many thousands of professional bloggers. With more and more online businesses becoming involved in affiliate marketing, more opportunities have arisen for bloggers, like you and I, to make money with their blog. and to ultimately create passive income streams.
To graduate into the temporary stage of financial freedom, you must spend less money than you earn and create a pool of savings. Otherwise, you will be forced to continue working indefinitely because your lifestyle depends on your employment income. As you begin to save a portion of your income, you might invest your savings in a diversified investment portfolio to produce a regular stream of income. Or, you might start a passion business on the side, creating another stream of income.
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.
Even if you have no desire to stop working, I still believe that financial freedom is beneficial. At the very least, saving enough to reach “temporary freedom” can provide peace of mind. There is always a possibility that your job could be eliminated, or your life circumstances change, or any number of concerns that might be partially remedied by financial freedom.
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
Great goals! It’s nice to see your journey play out. Since you are now talking about Thailand in your early retirement plan I thought I would point you to someone very interesting. When you have a minute, google “Paul Terhorst.” Since you are traveling in FI circles, you’ve probably already come across his name and read his book “Cashing in on the American Dream: How to Retire at 35.” In case you haven’t, he and his wife retired at the age of 35 back in the 80’s with about $500k. They have been perpetual travelers ever since – spending significant amounts of time in Thailand, Argentina and other parts of the globe. He would be a wonderful person to feature on your next podcast if you can get him. I consider him to be one of the grandfathers of the FIRE movement.
Well I do when its cold…spent 5 weeks last year visiting Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island, 2 weeks sailing in the Bahamas, a week driving the French Riviera, a week hiking the Tetons, and spent Christmas through new years in Costa Rica. Off to Florida next week, then Turks and Caicos next month…haven’t thought too much farther ahead than that. Still no better place on earth to spend summers than on a big lake in the Midwest surfing everyday, anchoring on the sandbar for some sunshine and sunset boat rides or just sitting on your dock watching perfect sunsets over the water…and $100k a year spends like $300k on the coasts. Hopefully people don’t figure it out I’d hate for it to get spoiled with the crazy crowds.
We invest our money into four separate buckets using Betterment’s online software: Safety Net, Retirement Fund, House Fund, and Wealth-Building Fund. (For complete details, see our Retirement Planning article, in which we we break down how we, as minimalists, plan for retirement and other financial objectives, using screenshots and real-world examples, including statistics and personal figures.)
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”.
I was fortunate enough to have two friends who I’ve known for quite some time who are financially free and have been since their mid-twenties. I gravitated towards them and learned from them how they make income besides running their business and where they put their money to work. We still talk about investment opportunities, real estate, and various ways to make money.
To me the biggest reason for not quitting my job before have close to $10M is the cost of raising kids. I don’t see how it will work out for folks retiring at 35 with $1M saved if they plan to raise a family. Providing a good life, after school activities, travel opportunities, college, etc. I assume I’ll spend at least $1M per child to raise them from birth through college. (The average is ~$250,000 to get them just through high school and that doesn’t include many of the things I hope to do as a family)
Acorns: Acorns is a great way to start investing and building wealth. As it turns out, Acorns will pay you $5 to start investing with them for as little as $1. That’s a 500% return, plus it’s probably time you started investing for your future. They even have features like round-up and found money that allows you to get free money from places you already shop at.
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.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
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.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[21]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[21] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[21]:149–150

The Financial Freedom Chronicles


Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
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.
An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
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.
Even if you have no desire to stop working, I still believe that financial freedom is beneficial. At the very least, saving enough to reach “temporary freedom” can provide peace of mind. There is always a possibility that your job could be eliminated, or your life circumstances change, or any number of concerns that might be partially remedied by financial freedom.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service categorizes income into three broad types, active income, passive income, and portfolio income.[1] It defines passive income as only coming from two sources: rental activity or "trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate."[2][3] Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing. Passive income is usually taxable.

How do you get financial freedom


Wealth is usually a measure of net worth; that is, it is a measure of how much a person has in savings, investments, real estate and cash, less any debts. For example, let's say John Doe has a $700,000 house, a car worth $20,000, a medical practice worth $400,000, and $5,000 in a checking account. Added together, these assets may be worth a whopping $1,125,000, but if John Doe is $300,000 in debt from medical school and owes $650,000 on the house, $15,000 on credit cards and $15,000 on the car, his net worth (the assets minus these liabilities) falls to about $145,000. In other words, if he were to sell everything today and pay off all his debts, he would have only $145,000 that would truly be all his.

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.

Hang in there, Adam. I’m in the similar boat as you. I’m 51, looking to retire @55 when my son goes to college (his tuition is already saved in separate 529 account). @4% withdraw rate, we have enough assets to generate passive incomes of $250K+, and our annual living expense is <$100K. Neither me or wife have pension or medical coverage, but we do have 401K and some prior HSA savings.
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.
Given that I am still in reading and preparation phase, I am mainly interested to overlap my niche with real life interests so I could have motivation to produce content on regular basis. Two that I am highly interested are PC parts and Fitness. I am aware they are too general subjects with lot of sites doing the same, but my idea is to produce constant review on PC parts, Laptops, Mobile devices, Accessories all in different categories, create lists like top5 or 10 under XX budget etc. Similar approach I would use if I I decide to go with Fitness path and divide content training advice, review of fat loss methods, supplementation, nutrition etc. I am aware that this will be a long journey and that it can pass few months before sales start to kick in and that’s the risk I am ready to take. My questions are:
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.
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