If you’re already contributing 15% of your income to retirement and you want to start saving for your kids’ college fund, you can start by investing in an Education Savings Account (ESA). Like a Roth IRA, the money you contribute to an ESA grows tax-free, which means you won’t pay taxes on it when it’s used to cover college expenses. Currently you can contribute up to $2,000 per year for each child in an ESA. Income limits do apply, and your investing pro can help you know if those impact you.(1)
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After you start tracking your net-worth, you need to track where your money is going. Whether this is student loans, bills, food, entertainment, etc. This might not be the most exciting thing to do, but is CRUCIAL and actually does get more exciting the more money you are making (and seeing your investments grow!) Knowing where your money is going is more important than budgeting – it’s about accountability and adopting an optimization mindset. It really can put your spending in perspective.
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Why is financial independence important
I have about 1 year’s worth of expenses saved. Hoping to get to 25x expenses by the time I’m 30. I’m currently 23 and just starting my first job out of college. I think I can definitely achieve that, but I’m nervous about performing well at work. Hopefully it all works out and I can choose to quit if I’d like early in life. I’m hoping I actually enjoy work, but I am thinking that is asking for too much…
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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.)
There’s no difference between having a 4% dividend and withdrawing 4% every year (since the stock price lowers by a corresponding amount every time a dividend payment is made). The difference with a dividend though is you are forced to take that withdrawal (and pay taxes on it) whereas if you’re just selling parts of your portfolio, you can withdraw as little as you need to.
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In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.
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While we all need to make money to live—and there’s certainly nothing wrong with earning a great salary—taking control of your financial life involves much more than adjusting your income upward. It involves making repeated good decisions with the resources you have, changing your financial habits, and living deliberately. None of which is inherently easy—especially under the tyranny of today’s instant-gratification culture—but fortunately, regaining control of your finances is simple.
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.
financial freedom at 30
If you find the profession that gives you that feeling, and you are disciplined in your management of the business side of it by controlling costs, you have a huge advantage over your competition because you may continue to work 10, 15, 18 hours a day or 2, 4, or 10 years longer, not because you need to, but because you love the process and product itself.
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.
Did not realize that there is a huge community exist for FI online. A bit embarass at myself for still working when I have almost 1M USD and my living expense (excluding travel) is 1K per month. I spend maybe 8K a year on travel for mileage running, flying parents in business class etc from the miles game hobby. This blog gives me serious encouragement to quit in a few years… When I do quit, I will move back come to cut my living expense further (single), and I take my parents to travel using the miles and points I earn. (took them to Arctic last month, and cross country road trip in Australia.)
To escape the spending trap, you need to understand that income is not long-term wealth. What is wealth? Income is obviously a component of wealth, but wealth can have varying definitions. Many people see wealth as their total net worth at any given time. This can be paralleled to the assessment of an individual’s balance sheet. Wealth can be referred to as the part of your balance sheet that is considered equity. Your assets minus liabilities. The wealth you have after liquidating.
I’m glad I started looking at this when I was in my mid-twenties more closely, but of course, now I wish I knew all this info when I was even younger. So don’t wait, don’t put it off, start right now. And while I may not be able to retire next year or even in five years, I am well on my way to being financially free well before the average retirement age. Let’s do it!
To answer your question, you only get taxed on the money you make from the money in a taxable account. So if you put $10,000 in a taxable account and it pays you $200 worth of dividends and grows to be worth $11,000, you would just be taxed on the $200 worth of dividends (when you receive them) and the $1,000 of capital gains (when you sell the investment). You were already taxed on the $10,000 so you wouldn’t be taxed again. Make sense?
I would argue that, if you can increase the value of your full-time gig, it's probably not necessary to get a side gig. I do think people need some free time to enjoy themselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in raking in an extra $200/mo from side hustles that we don't realize they're not always worth the time. So know the most efficient way for you to earn money, first of all. Slashing expenses like a madman doesn't hurt, either! That's what enabled us to pay off our debts so quickly.
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If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content.
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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More money for my salary will not make me much happier. I don’t want more stress by working on something new. I just want to support my existing systems until they are rewritten externally or until I reach 55. I don’t want to rock the boat. In fact, I am mentally prepared to not get any more raises or a bonus from this day forward and I am OK with it. What I support is considered obsolete so they won’t throw money at me which doesn’t bother me.
The 4% rule has a failure rate based on overall market movement and time in the market. If you need to cover 20 years the 4% rule is extremely safe. If you need to cover 40-50-60 years because of early FI it starts to get riskier. Why not arrange your investments so you achieve a 4% yield, then you will never need to sell shares and can live an infinite amount of time without working? To boot, invest in some dividend growth stocks and you will get an inflation-busting 6% average annual raise on your income as well!
As each new opportunity appears, you can react on a larger scale than your previous investments. That's called compounding. It's when the interest, dividends, and capital gains your money has earned begin to generate their own interest, dividends, and capital gains, and on and on in a virtuous cycle. It's how $10,000 can grow to $2,890,000 over 50 years at 12 percent.
Additionally, I have a more aggressive goal to have the opportunity to retire much sooner than the average retirement age. Hopefully, this post encourages and inspires you to take control just like I did. Anyone can start achieving the levels of financial freedom and the below are 8 steps will help you get there, even if you are starting out with little to no financial knowledge.
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.
There is so much demand for freelance writers and you can pretty much write about anything you want. Another nice benefit of freelance writing is the ability to sign monthly retainers with bloggers of companies who need writers. This means you can charge a set amount per month ($1,000 – $5,000) for a number of articles. If you do this for a few clients then you can easily turn a writing business into a $10,000/month + side hustle.
I personally do not consider any capital gains or paper gains as part of my retirement income. Any capital gains are one off. It’s safer this way because it’s important to focus on building recurring passive income sources. Hopefully, my gains from my rental house sale in 2017 will be properly deployed to earn future income. But I’m not touching those gains for spending.
Assuming you are doing pretty well and are happy with your current standard of living, what would you need to maintain your standard of living in retirement? Knowing you are on track to accumulate a nest egg to support that lifestyle is a big win. Gold medals go to those who have accumulated enough assets, or passive income streams, to be in a position to retire well.