I started a blog which I plan to monetize only through affiliate marketing and my own products, no ads. I’ve been working on building an audience for my blog, for about 1 year and a half, many people think is maybe too much time, but I just want to make sure that I build enough trust with my readers before I start to try to make them buy something.

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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.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service categorizes income into three broad types, active income, passive income, and portfolio income.[1] It defines passive income as only coming from two sources: rental activity or "trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate."[2][3] Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing. Passive income is usually taxable.

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As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
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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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.
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?
“We don’t promote a message of extreme frugality, he said. “Instead our message is based on ‘value’ being the guiding light behind purchasing decisions. We want to cut out the excess in our lives because it enables our monthly expenses to be lower and thus speeds the path to FI. In summary, it comes down to value, and I think it is a useful exercise to go through all the lines items in your budget and ask “Is this adding value to my life?”

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. 

"Grant Sabatier is a bold, new voice for this country's next generation -- a generation that chafes at mounting debt, rejects traditional modes of work, and longs for financial freedom. In this comprehensive money manual, Sabatier blends deep wisdom with proven action steps. He shows how to mold your mindset so that you can make the most of your dollars and your hours. Best of all, he provides a blueprint so that you can build the rich life you've always wished for."


“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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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.
When money is lent to a partnership or S-corporation acting as a pass-through entity (essentially a business that is designed to reduce the effects of double taxation) by that entity’s owner, the interest income on that loan to the portfolio income can qualify as passive income. According to the IRS's Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules: "Certain self-charged interest income or deductions may be treated as passive activity gross income or passive activity deductions if the loan proceeds are used in a passive activity."

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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…
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!
At the most general level, economists may define wealth as "anything of value" that captures both the subjective nature of the idea and the idea that it is not a fixed or static concept. Various definitions and concepts of wealth have been asserted by various individuals and in different contexts.[3] Defining wealth can be a normative process with various ethical implications, since often wealth maximization is seen as a goal or is thought to be a normative principle of its own.[4][5] A community, region or country that possesses an abundance of such possessions or resources to the benefit of the common good is known as wealthy.
When I took the plunge it was paradise for about 3 months, but got bored of the lazy days, warm beaches, and amazing sunsets. Kind of like the big island once the nature wears off. I was drinking more. I know some of you may think I am an alcoholic, but I have never been, but I did not like that I was drinking more. I also got a dangerous reputation for having money. I never showed real wealth, but I tend to give money away especially for education and this caused some jealousy. The ladies started to have more interest in me, and the local men did not always appreciate it. An analogy could be a celebrity with money and time off. I am no celebrity. I eventually moved to a major city and enrolled in a language school, because I could not adjust to just being alive. Two years later I returned to my career in the bay area after meeting my partner from Japan who is a well-known designer in those circles. You have never heard of her. Sometimes she designs hands bags for fashion industry and secret startups. I only mentioned her because I think the goal is to find something you enjoy and get paid for it. Why would she not want to work. Semi-retirement has been a better path for me. Maybe it’s like doubles tennis, I will play that when I can’t run well anymore and I’m getting there.
In Step 3 I said that living beneath your means is the single most important step on this list, and that's true. But you can give yourself a major assist in that effort by making sure you steadily increase your income in the future. If you can steadily increase your income – while keeping your spending level – you will reach all of your financial goals much more quickly.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.

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.


Wow! What an awesome list Jeff! My favorite is the stock photography as I love photography. I have some success there, particularly with one photo I make some decent income from. I think the key with stock photography is finding a shot that is high demand then find a new unique way to frame that shot. This is the reason my St. Louis Arch photo is a top 10 on both of the platforms you mentioned above. Thanks for the awesome ideas above!
Awesome article! I realized that we all need money but investing is the only way to earn money without having to do any work. Finally, I realized that this is the fundamental difference between the financially independent and those who work. While workers live off of their labor, the financially free live off of income generated passively. The passive income frees up their time to allow them to pursue more financially rewarding endeavors or to spend that time with family or whatever they find fulfilling. I realized that there is a fundamental difference in mindset between the financially independent and… Read more »
In fact, the FIRE community seems to focus less on the “retire early” aspect of the movement and more on the financial independence component, “which is a powerful aspirational goal that is readily achievable if people are willing to make some small, but important, optimizations in their lives,” said Jonathan Mendonsa, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast. 
That’s a pretty good breakdown. Budget financial independence is where I’m currently trying to reach. I should be there within a few years. Then baseline would be my next and final goal. I am happy with a $3 million portfolio indexed to inflation. :) Of course one way to feel like I’ve reached blockbuster level is to live abroad somewhere like Thailand. With a lower cost of living the same amount of passive income can go further.
In the western tradition, the concepts of owning land and accumulating wealth in the form of land were engendered in the rise of the first state, for a primary service and power of government was, and is to this day, the awarding and adjudication of land use rights.[citation needed] Many older ideas have resurfaced in the modern notions of ecological stewardship, bioregionalism, natural capital, and ecological economics.
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.

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A relative newcomer to the affiliate space, MaxBounty was founded in 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. MaxBounty claims to be the only affiliate network built specifically for affiliates. MaxBounty is exclusively a CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition) company that doesn’t deal with ad banners or the like, just customer links that the publisher (blogger) chooses where to place on their website.

We set up a business and personal budget for ourselves and include savings goals. Then to keep ourselves accountable we review our budget monthly. This keeps us on track to reaching our financial goals. I'd recommend setting up a system that works best for you and your family. Just writing down your goals will help you start the process. But, reviewing them daily and having honest conversations about where you are financially will determine your success or failure in becoming financially free.


Those with the least amount of wealth are the poor. Most of the institutions that the poor encounter discourage any accumulation of assets.[36] Lower class members feel more restrictive in their options due to their lack of wealth. This could lead to complications in solving their personal dilemmas, as predicted by the Class Structure Hypothesis. There are many societal standards and designs intentional sabotage and shortcomings to explain the persistent state of yearning and want the lower classes generally experience with their lower quality and quantity of assets. Typical causes are persistent unethical/harmful mentalities and criminal tendencies: misguidedly similar to the upper class in some cases. Many individuals that are in the lower class stay in that class and very few move up in class. Many people in the lower class group believe there isn't such a thing as equal opportunity.
Very useful and interesting ideas. To make a passive income is not an easy task as someone may say. It requires responsible approach and a lot of effort.I, personally, think of generating revenue from rental properties. And I was considering Queens in NY. However, I hadn’t even thought about trying index funds before your post, but now I believe it might be a good idea. Thus, thank you for sharing.

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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.
Just because you have money does not mean you have financial freedom. In my book, It’s Rising Time, I talk about how people like Ed McMahon from The Tonight Show and Nicole Murphy, the ex-wife of actor Eddie Murphy, had millions of dollars and lost it all. Nicole Murphy spent her $15-million divorce settlement in less than four years. And toward the end of his life, Ed McMahon faced foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home and owed $747,000 in credit-card debt.

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.

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Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.

My husband retired from the military after 20 years of service last summer at age 38 – his guaranteed income is appx $67k per year for life (tax free and subject to COLA), and he gets an additional $17k the next 4 years under the GI Bill while he’s in school. We have appx $450k invested, no debt, and guaranteed health insurance for life with no monthly premiums, $150 annual deductible and $3k annual catastrophic cap. We have one child, age 5, who will receive free college tuition if she attends a state University in our state of record. We do have appx $25k in a brokerage account for her for addtl college expenses. My husband is considering not working after he finishes school, or working a ‘fun’ part time job. We live in the Midwest, where cost of living is ok (much better than our last duty station in CA!). I work a ‘fun’ part time job bringing in about $1k/mo. Curious on your thoughts as to where this puts us. And, do we figure my husbands ‘pension + benefits’ in our networth?
How to Monetize: Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog. For our fish tank blog, we would link to all the things you need to buy for an aquarium and then when people click on that link and buy that item (and other items they purchase with it with some exceptions) you get a percentage of the purchase. Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact Radius, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, and Rakuten too.

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Focus on reviewing products and services that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product or service you are promoting. Almost anything sold online can be reviewed if there is an affiliate program – you can review physical products, digital software, or even services booked online, like ride sharing or travel resort booking. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.

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Since you’re not taking on debt, you’ll also need a savings plan for big purchases that aren’t emergencies. Let’s take summer vacation for example. It’s simple! Create a line item in your monthly budget and divide the total amount by the months you have to save. You’re not living in debt anymore, and that means you can enjoy your vacation instead of having a credit card bill follow you home.
It's a little awkward, so we'll get straight to the point: This Wednesday we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. We depend on donations averaging about $16.36, but 99% of our readers don't give. We ask you to become part of that small number of donors who recognize our needs and donate. If everyone reading this gave $2.75, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of your Wednesday coffee is all we need. People told us we'd regret making Wikipedia a non-profit. But if Wikipedia became commercial, it would be a great loss to the world. Wikipedia is a place to learn, not a place for advertising. The heart and soul of Wikipedia is a community of people working to bring you unlimited access to reliable, neutral information. Please take a minute to help us keep Wikipedia online and growing. Thank you.
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.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service categorizes income into three broad types, active income, passive income, and portfolio income.[1] It defines passive income as only coming from two sources: rental activity or "trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate."[2][3] Other financial and government institutions also recognize it as an income obtained as a result of capital growth or in relation to negative gearing. Passive income is usually taxable.
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.

How to Monetize: Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog. For our fish tank blog, we would link to all the things you need to buy for an aquarium and then when people click on that link and buy that item (and other items they purchase with it with some exceptions) you get a percentage of the purchase. Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact Radius, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, and Rakuten too.

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No problem and good luck. His book is what started my quest for early retirement – although the investment advice is a bit dated. Another couple who are in the same camp are Billy and Akaisha Kaderli. Again, these are sort of the grandparents of the movement. Although in their 60’s now, they retired at 38 with $500k or so. They also spend a large portion of their time overseas – mostly southeast Asia. Both the Terhorsts and Kaderlis focus on expense management to achieve a full life of travel and fun. The Kaderlis have also written several books avaiable on their website – unfortunately, not for free. They tend to do more interviews so they would be a podcast option too.
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Financial Freedom Money Experiment


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.
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