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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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.
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.
Many people factor in control over their time when considering their wealth. Having complete control over your time is often one factor of achieving financial independence. You may not have totally reached the investing goal that allows you to maintain your lifestyle without an additional paycheck, but having total control over how you spend your day can be a variable factored in to how you define wealth.

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The easiest and best way to shield your income from taxes is retirement plans. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan at work, put as much of your income into it as you can afford. At a minimum, invest up to the amount that will get you the maximum employer matching contribution. For example, if your employer offers a 50% match (3%) up to a 6% contribution by you, you should contribute at least 6% – and of course, more is always better.
Later on, I managed to earn more money from Walmart.com as an affiliate and joined commission junction and other affiliate networks to earn more money in affiliate marketing. the one part I really find challenging is creating rich content for my site every day or every other day. This is when I focus on other things such as YouTube video marketing, writing periodicals online, and so on. But nevertheless, joining a multiple affiliate networks is good for anyone to do because you want to create diversify sources of income. Just be mindful that when you join multiple affiliate networks you’re not only keeping in touch regularly with the affiliate managers you partner with through those specific affiliate programs, assure also asking them questions often about how to create effective affiliate landing pages,, informative YouTube videos with your affiliate link in them, as well as asking your affiliate manager to offer any other kind of promotional tactics you can use to increase your affiliate commission potential. I am sick and tired of hearing some people say they never earn one dime in affiliate marketing. That’s absolutely nonsense because they’re lazy and don’t bother to do the extra work. If you’re building relationships with your target audience and affiliate managers, creating content for your site and engaging YouTube videos daily or every other day, and staying active with other marketers in the affiliate marketing community, there’s no reason for you to fail.. Simple as that!

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.
Hey, great to hear from you again, Jeff. I definitely agree some of the concepts in the Harry Browne book were a bit much but the book as a whole changed my mindset quite a bit. As someone who is pursuing early financial independence, I was already challenging the norms relating to work/career/money/etc. but after reading the book, I now find myself challenging everything. I don’t just do something because I’m told to anymore or because that’s the way it’s always been done. I definitely agree with you when you said it made you think and stretch your perceptions.
What if a budget of $2,000/month would provide a significant increase in satisfaction? Perhaps the additional $500/month could be used for hobbies, entertainment, and travel, all of which make you far happier in your life. But $2000/month in expenses is more than your portfolio can support, which means you’re headed in the wrong direction (back to temporary freedom).

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This is probably the most exclusive level of financial freedom. Hopefully, your financial freedom plan will allow you to outlive your money. Having more money than you expected to spend is great. Building enough wealth so that you could not possibly spend all of it is another. This group will likely be filled with people who either won the lottery, inherited a fortune or are founders of companies – think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even if they went on a spending spree buying planes, yachts and automobiles; they would still have a hard time spending all of it. I should note that both Gates and Buffet have pledged to give away a vast majority of their wealth when they pass. I would be unfair to count that as “spending all their money.”

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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.

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 have no non investment debt (rentals that we still mortgage), last year traveled domestically extensively (NC, TX, FL, CO, SD, NY, CA) and spent about $50K including medical, prescriptions (insulin aka expensive). I would put this closer this above Baseline at Basic income levels, all due to no debt. You can really live well for little when the debt is gone and not sacrifice. Channeling Dave Ramsey, I guess.
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True, he could do that, but then what would he actually do? Kids are great, but until they get a bit older, they’re boring. Plus, he’s already said that this blog is already his passion project, so why give that up? Finally, this could serve as a last defense against a great depression. If stocks suddenly go in the negative, people are still going to have some free time to look stuff up online. This blog could then be the difference between him having to go back to work or being able to maintain some semblance of his lifestyle and still feed his family.
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