Planning for retirement, or even financial freedom, is a marathon and not a sprint, as the saying goes. Breaking up your financial independence goals into small chunks can help keep you on track while making the process a bit more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stressful. Even if you are starting small, the important thing is to get started.
Sam you did it again, you can tell a world class post when it generates so many comments that it takes five minutes to scroll to the bottom of them! I’m trying to wrap my head around how I could ever spend $300k. I could afford to spend that much, even more, if I wanted to now but the fact is I can only find about $100k worth of stuff to spend money on annually. I have no debt, very profitable side gigs and a big portfolio so the money is there but I just tap out of things to spend on right about $100k. I’ve done this for over two years now and my spending is very consistent. And if another several millions of dollars dropped out of the sky into my lap I still would buy not a thing extra. So I like your concept but I kind of think that once you feel completely free to buy anything or go anywhere or do anything you want to do then you are at your own version of Blockbuster FI. I love visiting DC, New York and San Fran but there simply is no reason I’ll ever want or need to fund an existence in one of those cities. I’m sitting on 800 acres of wooded wetlands with mink, deer, otters and foxes so why would I ever leave paradise? Maybe we need a flyover state FI category?
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.
I am a small animal vet in the Washington DC area. Vet school loans and housing have taken their toll. I would like to retire at 60 (I just turned 52), and reach budget or baseline. Blockbuster isn’t a reality. Choose your career well– I love what I do, but sometimes wish it paid more. Semi-retirement may also be an option. Thank you, Sam, for a great post (as always).
All of these are great ideas to earn a little more spending (or saving) money! I agree that investing in real estate can be passive, but it also depends where you invest in! If you invest in real estate in a college town (which has many pros and can give you a nice deal of money), in my opinion it doesn’t tend to be passive! College students (even the more responsible ones) tend to cause wear and tear, making your job as a landlord non-passive.
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.
“Retiring early because you don’t like your job is a bad reason to do it, and is a recipe for being bored or aimless when you get there,” she said. “Achieving FIRE is a big deal, and it takes a lot of focus and determination. It’s not for those who want to get rich quick, or for those who just hate their job. The better solution then is just to find a new job, or a new career path. I’m a huge believer that you can love your job and still want to retire early or just achieve financial independence! That was true for us. We loved our work, the people we worked with, and our clients, but we didn’t love the pace of it, the pressure or the constant travel.”

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I hate budgets and Financial Freedom is designed so you don’t need to budget. But it’s important to quickly look at how much money you spend and more importantly, the impact it has on how long it will take you to reach financial independence (when you don’t have to work for money). This calculator and spreadsheet can be used to calculate your current and future projected expenses.

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Do you know anyone who hates their job? I mean really hates it. I have met a few over the years as a financial planner. Those individuals were willing to do almost anything to retire as soon as possible. Some considered things like moving to a foreign country with a low cost of living, selling their home or getting roommates. I should point out that those people were closer to full retirement age.
I have made more money through investing than anything else and most of it in my sleep! Just recently, I was looking at my investing returns over a 90 day period and realized that I had made over $15,000 in gains from one of my investments, which is more money than I made in 6 months working at my first job after college. If you really want to make money, then you need to be investing as much money as you can.
I hold my hand up and say that I’m one of the odd ones who would be content with enough. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with those striving for more than enough. For me, I’m not convinced it is worth my time and effort, nor will it give me much more satisfaction or happiness in life. The term ‘enough’ is interesting in itself. It’s all relative. One person’s enough is another person’s ‘plenty’. Even at Budget FI, without a car finance or mortgage, I consider that to be a very healthy financial position to be in. I might change my mind in 7 years time when I reach my number, but that’s okay. Everyone’s idea of FI will be different and we all reserve the right to adapt our plans to suit our changing needs.

As far as transportation is concerned, it has been included in the ‘Rent and Utilities’ and ‘Travel’ categories. The ‘Rent and Utilities’ is a bit high, so that we can live in central locations and not have to rely on paid transportation too much. The ‘Travel’ category covers our flights between Scotland, America, and whichever other country we decide to live in but it also covers things like taxis and buses (I’m accumulating millions of frequent flyer miles between now and when I reach FI so that our airfare costs will be extremely low…more on this in future articles).


The easiest way to do it is by cutting back on your housing, transportation, and food costs. The average American spends 70% of their money on housing, transportation, and food, so if you can spend less on them (say 25% or so, then you can bank the difference). If you move to a smaller apartment, walk to work, and cook at home, you could realistically increase your savings rate to 25%+ or even higher.
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Truebill is an app that helps you save money by identifying recurring subscriptions and other bills and helping you cut costs by negotiating better rates and fees. One of their partnerships is with Acradia Power, which has the potential to save you up to 30% on your electric bill. It searches for better power rates in areas where competition is allowed, and it locks in the better prices for you.
I personally have been working and investing through a couple of recessions – the tech boom and bust, and the recent Great Recession. Most people got nervous, went to cash, stopped contributing, etc., during these periods. The past investing decade has been really smooth. I’m not sure how everyone who achieved financial freedom will feel when we get back to more normal volatility.
In 2010, 24-year old Grant Sabatier woke up to find he had $2.26 in his bank account. Five years later, he had a net worth of over $1.25 million, and CNBC began calling him "the Millennial Millionaire." By age 30, he had reached financial independence. Along the way he uncovered that most of the accepted wisdom about money, work, and retirement is either incorrect, incomplete, or so old-school it's obsolete.
I’d stick with Amazon if I were you. All of my Amazon sites only have Amazon affiliate links. If you use Google Adsense display ads on your site, you’re literally taking people away from your site for the sake of just a few cents with these type of ads. If you direct them just to Amazon, then you have a greater chance of earning more money from that click.
The reason it’s so important is it’s the single step that will provide most of the spare cash you will need in order to accomplish most of the other steps. Learning to live beneath your means is one of the central costs of learning how to become financially independent. And if you have not mastered this technique in the past, doing so will range anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful.
In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over Amazon.com sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon.[45] The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.

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.
Passive income differs from earned income and portfolio income in a variety of ways. Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income. Examples of passive income include rental income and any business activities in which the earner does not materially participate during the year.
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