“Most of us are shocked to realize how much we actually spend,” Hester said. “After you’ve started tracking, figure out how much your lifestyle costs per year, look for what you might be able to cut out to shrink that number, and then start working on increasing your savings rate. Those are the hardest parts of the journey, and the rest is just a matter of waiting for the money to add up and compound.”
I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of fancy budget spreadsheets, so I just use free tracking apps like Personal Capital. Then once a month I used the data and wrote down every bill and loan I had with the numbers next to them (some obviously varied slightly from month to month) along with every time I spent money on going out, food, clothes, etc. You’d be surprised at the things you catch that has affected your spending over the last year. Slight tweaks and adjustments can make all the difference in the amount you save. This was how I was able to identify how much money interest my student and car loans were accumulating and then identified it was critical for me to start paying them down rapidly.

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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.

Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
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.
But, think about your mortgage. Your car payment. Your credit card bills. Student loans. If you stopped paying those, you’d be sent to collections, your credit score would plummet, and you’d be in financial ruin. Your financial obligations are like a weight around your neck — and for many, this weight gets heavier and heavier as your financial burdens become larger and larger. That sure doesn’t sound like freedom. In fact, you are probably tied to many financial commitments that prevent you from living up to your true potential — to achieving financial independence.
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 have been reading some of your posts, and jlc and mmm, and I have no idea exactly where to post this question or to whom. My husband and I already live by debt-free principles, although not necessarily 100% minimalist, though I am trying to move us in that direction. Anyway, I am wondering if you or anyone knows how to calculate the impact of this lifestyle on children who reach college age? We have four kids, are car-free, pay low rent, and minimal expenses, and while we won’t necessarily reach FI before they all reach college age, I am wondering if there is a calculator to find the tipping point for income vs. savings vs. eligibility for college financial aid, to help us understand how the balance works. I just don’t want any surprises in that realm. My husband and I both paid most of our way through college, with a little help here and there, and my kids already understand that they have to work for what they want–we do not give them money, so they know that if they want money they go out into the neighborhood and work odd jobs for people who are willing to pay. The idea that they might have to pay their own way through college would not be a surprise to them, but I still want to proceed with knowledge of how all these factors fit together. Any direction you could give us on where to look for how to calculate these factors and their balance would be a huge help.
Next, there’s independence, which is what most people think of as FI (and what you call basic FI). Your investments can support your CURRENT lifestyle for the rest of your life — in theory. Lastly, I suggested that abundance was the level at which you can essentially do whatever you want without ever again worrying about money. Redditors would call this fatFIRE. You call it “blockbuster FI”.
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.
As for Sam’s levels, this is the reason I started to pursue more sources of passive income. I wanted to at least partially break the chain of being tied totally to a market return. I am nowhere near Sam’s league in terms of assets or passive income but it now represents a decent amount of our total income. I worry less about market returns and more about the viability of the income stream persisting. I use 3 fintech platforms for real estate which represents about 12% of my overall portfolio, a closed end fund designed for income, a high quality MLP and at this time a boatload of cash since I think bonds represent a bad value.

Passive income is earnings derived from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which a person is not actively involved. As with active income, passive income is usually taxable. However, it is often treated differently by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Portfolio income is considered passive income by some analysts, so dividends and interest would therefore be considered passive.

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I am not the poster boy suckup or the golden boy on the team. Those guys work on the new stuff and they attend meetings all day to show how busy they are. They do the dog and pony shows to mgmt. I make 172K a year and I only work 10-20 hours a week from home. When there are problems or after hours or late weekend work then it can be stressful. Being on 24×7 online support sucks but that is part of the job. I am the ONLY one that knows my systems so if they want to get rid of me than so be it. I just want to gracefully try my best to make it to 55 and just retire.
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. 

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Hey, great to hear from you again, Jeff. I definitely agree some of the concepts in the Harry Browne book were a bit much but the book as a whole changed my mindset quite a bit. As someone who is pursuing early financial independence, I was already challenging the norms relating to work/career/money/etc. but after reading the book, I now find myself challenging everything. I don’t just do something because I’m told to anymore or because that’s the way it’s always been done. I definitely agree with you when you said it made you think and stretch your perceptions.

Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….
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!
The key to acheiving FI is just living below your means. When I was a 9-5’er, I would spend $10 on coffee and $20 on lunch and $30 on dinner. I was miserable. Living on the cheap now has made me much happier and has given me more time to do what I love (surf, in my case). Everyone has a choice and if you choose to live below your means and save you will save. That’s a fact!
After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
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.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 

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Hey. Yes you can use just one website to promote multiple affiliate programs, but I’d say that your website should focus on just one niche. So you mention, SellHealth, that would lead me to believe your site is about health and fitness. I would then advise you to stick to that niche rather than promoting unrelated products like dog leashes and fashion accessories.


Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.

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JVZoo works exclusively with digital products, primarily e-commerce, online courses, and internet marketing offers. Because there are no limits placed on the number of links, buy buttons, or calls to action on a website, JVZoo can sometimes be somewhat low quality both in terms of offers as well as products. Nonetheless, it has proven itself to be a fierce competitor to companies like ClickBank.
Thus, your level of wealth can also be measured by your long-term thinking and potential sustainability. Working with a financial adviser can help you to set a goal for wealth accumulation that allows you to maintain your standard of living without an additional paycheck and achieve the financial independence of your dreams. This goal can be lofty, however, as most people’s annual spending includes a long list of budget items, such as mortgage payments, car payments, clothing, college tuitions, music lessons, entertainment expenses, and more.
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.
Since I am so close, I won’t ask for more money or be aggressive because I don’t to jeopardize my retirement at 55. Losing 31K less pension plus 8K for medical is a total loss of 39K passive income. It takes $975,000 at 4% to generate 39K. With a better pension of 70K instead of 39K means that both pensions of 132K (70K+52K) will more than cover expenses. Then we can stop buying munis and that 2M of principle can be used to buy a decent place in Hawaii if we choose to. Wife said NO to buying so I have to work on her.

My blogging buddy Joe from Retire by 40, who is six years older than me, is a good example of having enough money, but finding it difficult to overcome the fear of not working. Every year, he questions whether his wife can join him in retirement, even though he’s been retired for over five years, has close to a $3 million net worth, and has online income and passive income to more than cover their annual living expenses. Every year I tell him she could have retired years ago, but he’s adeptly convinced her to keep on working.
The vast majority of Ameerica will sadly never get to even the first level. Their retirement will funded almost entirely by social security. We on this blog are not representative of the country and that is sad. I have talked to countless individuals about making better decisions with their money and I can only think of one couple, in the 90’s, who took it to heart. They are now well off. The rest just kept making the same bad decisions over and over again.

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Also withdrawing 4% in a bear market guarantees reduced future withdrawals whereas quality dividend stocks continue to pay and increase dividends through bear markets and recessions. Hundreds of stocks maintained and even increased their dividends through the 2008 recession. These are the types of companies that you want to invest in for dividend income!

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Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 
@Palmetto - Thanks for the feedback. As far as making a pivot in my career, I just knew I needed to boost my credibility and change the path I was going on. Being in the computer science field, I was already technology driven and knew how important it would continue to be. I just looked into jobs that seem to be hiring the most and closely matched my interests, then looked at what I need to learn to be able to get that job. It wasn't too difficult because I already knew what I wanted to switch too and enjoy about some of my previous work. For other fields, I'm sure it might be more difficult to figure it out. But keep at it. Advice, really just do your research, make lists of what you enjoy/don't enjoy, what you'd like to learn more of and just dive in. Creating my own music blog was a huge stepping stone and opened more career choices. @Mrs Picky Pincher - Thanks for your point! I see where you are coming from. Agree, you shouldn't spend all your waking hours working, chasing the almighty dollar. However, I choose side hustles that are only a few hours a week or projects I know that won't consume my entire life. The reason I advocate for side gigs is because your full-time is never guaranteed. Sure you may be able to survive on some savings, but if anything were to happen to that job, you're in more of "what am I going to do" mode. I'm not in a panic for work because I have some supplement income still coming in while I continue to find the next gig. Just adds a bit less stress. And no, def don't want to think negatively about your future job, but something to always be mindful of. @Cody - Thanks! Hoping to contribute more to MM!

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Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ad will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.

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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.
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
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.
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name. 

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Take a look at where you think you fall on the aforementioned levels of financial freedom. Use it as motivation to keep moving towards your most important financial goals. While I love what I do, and plan to help people with financial planning forever, I take comfort knowing that it will be a choice to continue working in my golden years. Although I am still decades away from full retirement age, I am right between bare bones retirement, if I stayed in Los Angeles, and retiring comfortably if I was willing to leave California. Who knows what the future holds and how far up the chain of financial freedom my household will climb? Where are you at, and where do you want to be in five, 10 or 15 years?

The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
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.
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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