“There’s a huge element of privilege to being able to do this,” said Liz Thames, author of the forthcoming book, Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living. “For many people, asking these questions is outside of the realm of their day to day life. We have a real problem with income gap and people who do not make a living wage. So I want to make sure that we recognize that the ability to put distance between your income and your spending is often a privilege.”
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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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!

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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.
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.
I listened in admiration, and wanting to draw him out, that he might go on--Yes, Cephalus, I said: but I rather suspect that people in general are not convinced by you when you speak thus; they think that old age sits lightly upon you, not because of your happy disposition, but because you are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter.

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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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.
Your first goal should be to accumulate a sufficient amount of cash in the account to cover 30 days worth of living expenses. Once that's achieved, your goal should be to add another 30 days worth of living expenses. The account should have between three months and six months of living expenses if you're a salaried employee, and between 6 and 12 months if you have a self-employed job or paid entirely by commissions.

LinkConnector has struggled to stand out from the pack but nonetheless has managed to sign some exclusive deals with big name brands, including Writer’s Digest, the Disney Store, Ironman, Hats.com, and Everly. Their strictly controlled screening process for both merchants/advertisers and affiliates/publishers means that you can always rely on the quality of products on offer.
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It’s funny you mention the different psychological levels of financial independence. I read a lot of blogs and there is this one Blogger who goes on every single other blog and shouts from the top of his lungs that he is a multimillionaire. But he has no self-confidence because his wife still works. His writing oozes insecurity probably due to the lack of friends, lack of success from his site, and lack of purpose. He also likes to write about his investments, but he’ll only publish his winners and never his losers and he’ll never talk about them when he does make an investment.

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The media often portrays financial freedom as an insurmountable task that requires decades of saving and investing. That’s sometimes true, but it’s beneficial to focus on each victory along the way. For example, most people could pay off all non-mortgage debt, and accumulate enough savings to find a new career that is enjoyable. Those are huge accomplishments on the journey to financial freedom that should be celebrated.

You are suggesting that because the risk free rate of return is 2.5% anybody who is not obtaining that return is not invested “properly”. However, risk is a real thing and it affects investment returns, and everybody invests with different objectives in mind. I would argue that anybody pursuing financial independence that is 100% invested in ten year bonds is not properly invested because the return from that portfolio will likely only keep up with inflation (if that). Whereas somebody who is pursuing financial independence would be better served in a balanced portfolio including stocks, bonds and maybe other asset classes. This portfolio is more than likely to return less than 2.5% in any given year, but is a more “proper” asset allocation to meet his objectives than is investing 100% of the portfolio in 10 year bonds.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
Unfortunately, living paycheck to paycheck is the reality of millions of Americans. According to the Federal Reserve's Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017, some 40% of households could not cover a $400 unexpected expense. Most of us will have some unexpected bills pop up throughout the year such as car repairs, medical bills and nights out drinking with friends. Having an emergency fund will come in handy during those types of situations.

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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.
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 

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.)

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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.

This might be one of the most important tips when it comes to financial success. Find a mentor or mentors and really pay attention to everything they do. Even if you are unsure if they will work with you, reach out and ask as many questions as you can. You will likely be really surprised by how much older experienced people are willing to teach and help you.

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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.
If an investor puts $500,000 into a candy store with the agreement that the owners would pay the investor a percentage of earnings, that would be considered passive income as long as the investor does not participate in the operation of the business in any meaningful way other than placing the investment. The IRS states, however, that if the investor did help manage the company with the owners, the investor's income could be seen as active since the investor provided "material participation." 

- Holding Bonds/Fixed Income in Taxable Accounts: p. 254 says [...] you will keep your tax burden as low as possible at the end of each year, since bonds typically have lower returns than stocks." Really?!? Bonds income is taxed as ordinary income. Why would you voluntarily hold bonds in a taxable account and pay ordinary income taxes? Anyone who knows anything about financial planning knows that, generally speaking, it makes sense to hold growth-oriented investments, like stocks, in a taxable brokerage account (due to more favorable taxation) and fixed income investments like bonds in tax-deferred plans (since bonds are taxed at ordinary income and all funds coming out of pre-tax plans are going to be taxed at ordinary income tax rates anyway). It's not just about returns from the standpoint of capital appreciation, but total returns, which include dividend income, interest income, etc. While stocks may increase in value faster than/more than stocks over a long period of time, that does NOT mean you should hold bonds in a taxable account!
Taxes should be negligible at the low income levels quoted in the article, assuming the income is from qualified dividends and/or long-term capital gains. There will definitely be some unplanned expenses that come up though so I should maybe bump up my “Misc.” category budget a bit more. I plan on using other passive income streams to cover my discretionary spending and hopefully that side income can also be used to cover some of the bigger unplanned expenses, if necessary.
Another way to generate passive income is to invest and be a silent partner in a business. This is very risky, but with risk comes the potential for high returns. For example, several years ago both Lyft and Uber were looking for private investors to invest in their companies. Today, they are worth billions - but you as an investor would only reap that benefit if they go public via an IPO, or get acquired. So, it's risky.

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In popular usage, wealth can be described as an abundance of items of economic value, or the state of controlling or possessing such items, usually in the form of money, real estate and personal property. An individual who is considered wealthy, affluent, or rich is someone who has accumulated substantial wealth relative to others in their society or reference group.
Side gigs, private investments and a host of other variables can also be utilized for long-term thinking, wealth accumulation, and achieving financial independence. A few considerations here may include a portfolio of private businesses, car washes, parking garages, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, patents, trademarks. Some of these cash generators can be relied on for long-term income in addition to your job or just as cash generators that can pull in money while you take long vacations or sit by the pool.
I started small, about 10% each paycheck would be taken out for my savings accounts. Half would go to my Vanguard retirement account and the other half to my savings. Then, I kept increasing it and diversifying where the money went. Anytime I go a raise or made side hustle income, I would do the exact same thing as soon as it cleared in my bank account. Now, I’m on track to save 30% this year of my overall income, which I would like to increase to 40% by next year.
What do people do all week when they are retired, especially when retiring early? I retired early and struggled with being preoccupied after 3 months. It turned into boredom and slippery slope of troublesome lifestyle. I finally returned to my career part time after bucket list. I consider myself semi-retired and enjoy working more once I had balanced time off. The pros are contributing Monday through Thursday, time off, salary to pay taxes, benefits, lower stress as compared to being self-employed/ business owner, and don’t driver my partner crazy. It has taken me years to unlearn setting goals and feeling inadequate if not chasing the carrot even when I don’t need to. It surprised me. My partner enjoys working and is seeing how far she can go. It’s is probably reassuring that she doesn’t have to work, and allows her to take more risk. I have improved, but have not arrived. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I just wanted you to know retirement is not always paradise, and semi-retirement may help make the transition.
Thanks for the post. Not to be negative, but want to stress importance of not “waiting” for FI. My parents have a passive income of about 500K/year and have had some health issues popping up recently. My dad lost his hearing in one ear and my mom is having a lot of trouble with her vision. Although having $$ makes dealing with some of these issues easier, it is important to remember how valuable your health is, because suddenly money doesn’t seem so important. 

Is a stock an asset


When a taxpayer records a loss on a passive activity, only passive activity profits can have their deductions offset instead of the income as a whole. It would be considered prudent for a person to ensure all the passive activities were classified that way so they can make the most of the tax deduction. These deductions are allocated for the next tax year and are applied in a reasonable manner that takes into account the next year's earnings or losses.

I started small, about 10% each paycheck would be taken out for my savings accounts. Half would go to my Vanguard retirement account and the other half to my savings. Then, I kept increasing it and diversifying where the money went. Anytime I go a raise or made side hustle income, I would do the exact same thing as soon as it cleared in my bank account. Now, I’m on track to save 30% this year of my overall income, which I would like to increase to 40% by next year.
Money from dividends, for example, are taxed at a lower rate than money from a job. A business owner who works in the company she or he founded would have to pay more self-employment payroll taxes compared to someone who merely had a passive interest in the same limited liability company who would pay only income taxes. In other words, the same income earned actively would be taxed at a higher rate than if it were earned passively.

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For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!
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