If you are self-employed, that just means you have a lot of “bosses” that you serve. So, periodically ask those “bosses/clients” how you can better serve them. I have done this in the past through simple surveys. I simply ask what challenges they are facing and how I can better serve them. The better you can serve people, the more value you bring to the table, the more it helps you become a higher earner.

To save time and effort, a person can group two or more of their passive activities into one larger activity, provided they form an "appropriate economic unit," according to Publication 925 - Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules. When a taxpayer does this, instead of having to provide material participation in multiple activities, they only have to provide it for the activity as a whole. In addition, if a person includes multiple activities into one group and has to dispose of one of those activities, they’ve only done away with part of a larger activity as opposed to all of a smaller one. 
When most people get a raise or have extra money, we look to buy things that are not going to add much to our overall wealth. Money goes to new fancy cars, boats, clothes, you name it. While consumer spending is not necessarily a bad thing, you have to narrow this down, be selective,  and ask yourself, “Will this purchase add value to my financial freedom?” Most likely the answer will be no. I ask myself this almost everytime I get the urge to buy something that I do not necessarily need at the time. This allowed me to free up hundreds of dollars a month that I could put to better use and in places that can provide me with some additional income.
PeerFly only has a limited number of products at the moment, but they have tremendous momentum and are growing by leaps and bounds. Their payout rates aren’t spectacular, but everything is upfront and transparent, and affiliate satisfaction is very high. PeerFly is perfect for authentic marketers who want to offer high-quality products to their visitors as opposed to “get rich quick” schemes and opaque offers.

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For example, as we were tackling our debts, Joshua sold his oversized house and moved into a tiny apartment. Ryan sold his fancy new car and purchased a decade-old vehicle without a monthly payment. We both jettisoned our cable subscriptions, satellite radio, and other superfluous bills that saved us hundreds of dollars each month. We also did “strange” things like deliver pizzas, work overtime, and find other ways to supplement our income in the short-term so we could pay off our debts faster. Plus, we sold hundreds of items—electronics, furniture, clothes, DVDs, books, collectibles, tools, yard equipment—that weren’t essential, and we used that money to further pay down our debts. Basically, anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor found it’s way to eBay. Now everything we own serves a purpose or brings us joy, and we don’t miss any of the trinkets of yesteryear.
I look forward to seeing how your thoughts on this evolve as a parent. One recurring problem I have with the FIRE community, or the more publicized stories, is they are almost always single people or couples with no kids. I know you plan, as do I, to provide a good future for your children which includes education. If you’re going to send 2 kids to college in 15-18 years you’ll need close to $1M, or if you don’t include the tuition inflation you’re still looking at $500k. There is no way you support that kind of spending on budget FI of $40k/year. Even your baseline FI it would be tough.

These figures are partially due to a highly progressive tax code that was implemented in the mid 2000’s that really went after income levels above these thresholds. Further, I carefully observed my happiness level from making much less to making much more. Any dollar earned above $250,000 – $300,000 didn’t make a lick of difference. In fact, I often noticed a decline in happiness due to the increased stress from work.
“If you want to retire early, you need to have a strong ‘why,’” Hayes said. “Do you want to quit your job so that you can start that business you always talked about with your friends? Do you want to have more than two weeks per year of vacation time? Do you want to spend more time with your loved ones? Whatever your why, let that be the motivating factor to create a plan and stick to it during the tough times. Once you have that why, you want to determine your path.”
Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.

Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser's website.
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.

Late to the game, Sam, but I like where you, J.D., and others are going with this line of reasoning. Understanding levels of financial independence and financial security are very much needed. I worry that our main message is a turn off to a lot of people because they can’t possibly fathom saving 25 times their annual living expenses or more. For a lot of people, just being able to spend slightly less than they earn and having a modest emergency fund is their idea of financial nirvana. It would be nice if we could somehow champion these people and show them that they are welcomed members of our community. Cheers.
The formula-lover in me wonders about doing something like this for defining these levels based on the avg income of cities. Your definition of “blockbuster FI” is being able to live anywhere in the world, which could be the point – but the low end of blockbuster could be wherever in the world you want to live. I like that idea of planning for options.
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.
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.

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.


For those of you looking to retire early with financial freedom, think about what your bare minimum retirement would look like. Could you move to a place with a lower cost of living? Would you give up going out to dinner? Work towards a nest egg that will support this bare-bones lifestyle. You probably will decide against moving to that cabin in the woods without running water, but it might be nice to know you could. Considering your bare minimum retirement, and knowing you have enough money saved to at least cover some standard of living in your early retirement, will also influence other life choices you may make along the way.
The way many people reach Blockbuster Financial Independence with income of $250,000 – $300,000 is through a combination of investment income and passion project cash flow. Since FI allows you to do whatever you want, here’s your chance to follow the cliché, “follow your passions and the money will follow” without worry that there will be no money. My passion so happens to be this site.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
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 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.

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I agree with FS. I hope my $1M number is too high but it’s not unreasonable. According to the Department of Agriculture study last year the average family with an combined household income of greater than $107,000 will spend on average $372,000 to raise a child to age 18. Add in $250k of college costs (before inflation) and you’re already over $600,000 for the average. This average doesn’t include private school costs. I hope to send my children to public school but private school tuition around here is $40,000+/year if the public schools aren’t good enough. Without kids we would have a 3 bedroom house, with kids we had to go with a 4 bedroom. Adding that 4th bedroom here adds about $400,000 to the price of the house and $8,000+ extra in property taxes annually. And we haven’t gotten to any extras yet. I was fortunate enough to travel internationally with my family growing up and I want to provide that experience to my children. I believe that is valuable but it also costs thousands per year.
Categories. Identify what’s truly necessary by identifying all of your monthly expenses based on the past six months, and then divide your expenses into three categories: Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk. Write down every expense (food, housing, utilities, insurance, cars, gas, transportation, clothes, credit cards, phones, Internet, pets, entertainment, etc.); triple-check the list with your significant other or a friend; and then use your Essentials, Nonessentials, and Junk categories to prioritize and cut wherever you can. The stricter you are, the sooner you’ll be free.
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…
Whatever you do to build your contribution muscle, it needn’t be grandiose; it need only contribute to someone else’s life. If you do this for a few weeks, you’ll realize that your financial problems are tiny compared to many of the problems in the world around you. By discovering the smallness of your financial woes, you’ll feel empowered to take massive action and beat the crap out of your relatively miniature problems.

Financial Freedom Changes 14 Actionable Tips


Financial Freedom is a step-by-step path to make more money in less time, so you have more time for the things you love. It challenges the accepted narrative of spending decades working a traditional 9 to 5 job, pinching pennies, and finally earning the right to retirement at age 65, and instead offers readers an alternative: forget everything you’ve ever learned about money so that you can actually live the life you want.
If you are new to the financial planning process, it’s important to remember you don’t need to go from zero to sixty overnight. Just like a fitness trainer would be hesitant to recommend an all-out body straining routine on your first day in the gym, I wouldn’t expect someone to start implementing advanced planning techniques in the first week. Pick a reasonable and attainable goal, and get used to achieving small wins on your track to financial independence.
Fulfillment is the entire point of this article. Financial freedom does not require that you retire early to a life of leisure (unless that is your desire). It’s about having autonomy and independence in your daily routine, allowing you to design a better life while spending your time, money, and energy in a more meaningful way. If that includes starting a new business, great! Doing meaningful work while getting paid is my definition of a win-win.

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Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.


Awesome article. I am personally a fan of affiliate marketing. It’s a great way to leverage someone else’s business and start your own. I’ve been a part of an affiliate program for a while now where I’m earning 25% commissions on sales and it has truly been a blessing as far as my finances are concerned. Passive income is definitely they lifestyle to live. I’m hoping to upgrade soon to the 35% commission tier so that I can make enough to quit my 9-5 and really be free to live the life I want. Check it our here if your interested (queensmarketclothing.com); it’s only $10 to get started and the company is super helpful in helping you get started and marketing the products.

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…


Sara. I would like to hear more about how you spend your travel budget. My base at home expenses are pretty low ($25k CAD a year) and I do not deprive myself. I spend $60-75k a year on travel. The major factors to get that high are taking specialized tours and the very low CAD against GBP, EU, and USD. I do not stay in luxury hotels and I rent the cheapest cars and fly economy. I avoid cruises, resorts, casinos, islands, sports, mountain climbing, snow and ice, beaches, and look for art, architecture, archeology, history, jazz, food and wine. About half the time I take a specialized tour and the rest of time I tour on my own, usually by car. Sometimes, I travel with a friend.

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Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
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).

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).
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. 
Thank you for the article, jlcollinsnh. I’ve always been a firm believer of making smart decisions in purchasing property, however, after doing further reading I am beginning to believe in renting instead of owning. The flexibility would be prized, but I believe the fixed cost is the best aspect. Planning my expenses for the future is troublesome at times, but this change would take out a large variable.
The author is opposed to charging a fee for assets under management (AUM). For a lot of beginning investors, AUM doesn’t work because they don’t have enough in assets. He makes the point that the manager will make money even if the assets go down. True. But the manager’s incentives are lined up with yours: the more your money grows, the more they get paid. That’s not necessarily the case with other way that fees are charged. 

Fear Not If You Use Financial Freedom The Right Way


Great post. One thing I’d challenge you on: owning a car. I’ve had one since I was 17, and LOVE having a car to get me from point A to point B. Thing is, I want FI more. So I yesterday donated my car to charity, and am now walking/bussing/Zipcar-ing my way around. No repair costs, insurance, gas, oil changes…no saving for a new car. Goodbye Saturn SL1, Hello Carsharing
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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LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.

A reason I believe 4% is reasonable, especially for myself and for Mad Fientist readers, is because early/semi retirees will have much more flexibility than the retirees that the Financial Mentor is writing for. You’ll notice in his article that he references $2.5 million and $3.3 million nest eggs in his article. I hate to make another assumption but I assume people with nest eggs that large most likely have much higher expenses and more financial obligations (i.e. bigger mortgages, boat loans, expensive habits, etc.) so it may be harder to adjust their lifestyles when the economy changes. For me, however, if I start withdrawing 4% from my portfolio but then the market tanks, I’ll be able to move somewhere where the cost of living is less and potentially pick up part-time work that I enjoy so that I can withdraw less from my portfolio during the downturns.
Currently I’m in your blockbuster range and I still work full time. In silicon valley these days these three ranges inflate on the high end– maybe something like seven, eight, and nine figures (blockchain FI?). I used the leverage from my financial situation to present my employer with an ultimatum about working conditions (i.e. I control my location, schedule, and work content), and they seem happy to accommodate. No idea how long this job nirvana lasts but it’s been a sweet ride so far.

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.

Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
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.
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.
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.

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The author is opposed to charging a fee for assets under management (AUM). For a lot of beginning investors, AUM doesn’t work because they don’t have enough in assets. He makes the point that the manager will make money even if the assets go down. True. But the manager’s incentives are lined up with yours: the more your money grows, the more they get paid. That’s not necessarily the case with other way that fees are charged.

Fear Not If You Use Financial Freedom The Right Way


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.
Thank for the book recommendation. I’ve not read that book yet, but I’ll check it out. My wife’s family is from the state of Colima, a small state on the Pacific coast. We probably will spend most of our time there since many friends and family are in that area. My wife still has an apartment in Mexico City so I could see us spending some time there as well. It can be a fascinating place, though it can also be overwhelming and traffic can be a nightmare. The metro is pretty good and very cheap. Though it is super crowded during rush hour. Last trip we waited on the platform over an hour waiting for the crowds to die down to just very full levels. Another town I really like is San Miguel de Allende, as well as the nearby town of Guanajuato. Both are beautiful colonial towns in the highlands between Mexico City and Guadalajara. San Miguel has a good size expat community, is famous as an artist colony, and has a reputation as a magical place. I’m looking forward to discovering more places in Mexico when we have the time to make some extended trips and to explore. You might want to check out the Kaderli’s website for their reports of their travels in Mexico and Central America – retireearlylifestyle.com. Thank you for your reply and your interest in our plans.
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. 
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