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.

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!


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.

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”.


Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.

I am a small animal vet in the Washington DC area. Vet school loans and housing have taken their toll. I would like to retire at 60 (I just turned 52), and reach budget or baseline. Blockbuster isn’t a reality. Choose your career well– I love what I do, but sometimes wish it paid more. Semi-retirement may also be an option. Thank you, Sam, for a great post (as always).


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.
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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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.

– My pension will be 70K at age 55 and will get 8K yearly for retiree medical. Retiree company medical is currently $12.8K in 2018 and it increases every year. If I leave before 55 then my pension is 39K at age 55 and I would NOT get any medical coverage. I want the financial security of a higher pension and the security of having the company medical so that I don’t depend on the Obamacare which may not be around in the future.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9]

In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.
The middle class encompasses individuals whose financial situation falls in between those of the upper and lower classes. Generally, the population of America associates themselves as middle class. Lifestyle is a means for which individuals or families decide what to consume with their money and their way of living. The middle class places a greater emphasis on income: unlike the upper class, the middle class measures success and potential in the form of money rather than influence and power. The middle class views wealth as something for emergencies and it is seen as more of a cushion. This class comprises people that were raised with families that typically owned their own home, planned ahead and stressed the importance of education and achievement. They earn a significant amount of income and also have significant amounts of consumption. However, there is very limited savings (deferred consumption) or investments, besides retirement pensions and home ownership. They have been socialized to accumulate wealth through structured, institutionalized arrangements. Without this set structure, asset accumulation would likely not occur.[36]

I actually read the Charles Long book you recommended but forgot to send you a message about it. I ordered it from my library when you recommended it to me and it came in just a week later. I enjoyed it and the conserver lifestyle he described is very appealing, albeit maybe not to the extreme that he described. I haven’t read the Steven Catlin book yet but it is still on my reading list so I’ll hopefully get a chance to read it this summer. I’ll let you know what I think afterwards.


How often do you sit in your cubicle, daydreaming about what it would be like to quit your boring nine-to-five job? Do you have that one friend who always seems to be on vacation and living life to the fullest — and wonder how she pulls it off? Have you ever thought about selling all of your possessions and starting a new life somewhere else? Do you wish you could leave your husband or boyfriend, but are stuck in the relationship because he’s the breadwinner? Do you often wonder if you could somehow turn your pottery or photography hobby into a real business?

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.


You can invest in a total stock market or S&P 500 index fund in most employee retirement plans like a 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b), as well as individual retirement accounts like a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, SEP IRA, and Solo 401(k). While I personally invest in a few individual stocks, I largely recommend that you avoid investing in individual stocks unless it’s with less than 10% of your total net worth.
I feel like if I am not happy/content with a million dollars … I am probably not going to be happy with 2 or 4 million either. My goal is to generate as sum passive as my expenses (inflation adjusted). There is always the fear of unknown. That being said I would not some more money. My plan is to establish a foundation which provides educational scholarship. There is a reason for my frugality :-)
There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.

As long as the network is legitimate, it can be a good way to pick up some extra money on a steady basis. You won’t make a fortune, since your rewards will be limited to how much money you will spend. You certainly don’t want to get carried away, spending money just to generate rewards. That could put you into a situation where you will spend more money than you will earn from the network.

JVZoo lets you both host and create landing pages on their own website, so it’s far better suited for professional marketers who want to flood the internet with offers, many of them for courses to make money. You don’t need your own website to participate in JVZoo, but you will need to know how to drive traffic to a landing or squeeze page in order to profit from being a JVZoo affiliate.

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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

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.
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!

P2P lending is the practice of loaning money to borrowers who typically don’t qualify for traditional loans. As the lender you have the ability to choose the borrowers and are able to spread your investment amount out to mitigate your risk. The most popular peer to peer lending platform is Lending Club. You can read our full lending club review here: Lending Club Review.
I think too many people become over-focused on their number, on achieving what you call basic FI and I call independence. They’re so dialed in on that that they ignore the fact that they’re gradually achieving greater independence all the time. That’s too bad. I think folks would be happier if they could take the time to appreciate their state, you know?

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.
I actually read the Charles Long book you recommended but forgot to send you a message about it. I ordered it from my library when you recommended it to me and it came in just a week later. I enjoyed it and the conserver lifestyle he described is very appealing, albeit maybe not to the extreme that he described. I haven’t read the Steven Catlin book yet but it is still on my reading list so I’ll hopefully get a chance to read it this summer. I’ll let you know what I think afterwards.
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).
As someone who has lived in Mexico City for almost 17 years, I’d personally avoid living in San Miguel de Allende after retirement. While the downtown is pretty, there is a lot of crime which goes unreported and of course it is full of tourists and expats (which to me is a big negative). Yes, I have been there. The area is very dry so it is mostly a good place to grow nopales (prickly pear cactus and not much else) so early retirees who want to grow their own veg would be have to do quite a lot of watering (hope to find a lot in town that isn’t too expensive. Most city lots have tiny or no gardens/yards in Mexico)

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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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Humans back to and including the Cro-Magnons seem to have had clearly defined rulers and status hierarchies.[citation needed] Digs in Russia at the Sungir Archaeological Site have revealed elaborate funeral clothing on a man and a pair of children buried there approximately 28,000 years ago.[citation needed] This indicates a considerable accumulation of wealth by some individuals or families. The high artisan skill also suggest the capacity to direct specialized labor to tasks that are not of any obvious utility to the group's survival.[citation needed]
File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
Grant Sabatier, called "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, is the Founder of MillennialMoney.com, which has reached over 10 million readers. He writes about personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and mindfulness and hosts the Financial Freedom podcast. Sabatier graduated from the University of Chicago and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Money Magazine,and many others. When not traveling in his VW Camper, he lives in New York City.
This is a level of FI that I’ve been trying to achieve since I was 30 years old. I decided back then that an individual income of ~$200,000 – $250,000 and a household income of ~$300,000 was the ideal income for maximum happiness. With such income, you can live a comfortable life raising a family of up to four anywhere in the world. Given I’ve spent my post college life living in Manhattan and San Francisco, it was only natural to arrive at much higher income levels than the US household median. Remember, half the country live in more expensive coastal cities.
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.
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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Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.

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Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.

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.
The reason it’s so important is it’s the single step that will provide most of the spare cash you will need in order to accomplish most of the other steps. Learning to live beneath your means is one of the central costs of learning how to become financially independent. And if you have not mastered this technique in the past, doing so will range anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful.
Social class is not identical to wealth, but the two concepts are related (particularly in Marxist theory), leading to the combined concept of socioeconomic status. Wealth refers to value of everything a person or family owns. This includes tangible items such as jewelry, housing, cars, and other personal property. Financial assets such as stocks and bonds, which can be traded for cash, also contribute to wealth. Wealth is measured as “net assets,” minus how much debt one owes. Wealth is a restrictive agent for people of different classes because some hobbies can only be participated in by the affluent, such as world travel. 

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Paying for a car repair without stress is just a small part of the picture. It’s more than just being able to afford emergencies. It’s knowing you don’t have to worry about retirement because you’ve worked with your financial advisor to invest consistently for decades. It’s the freedom to quit your J-O-B to do something you love, even if means getting paid less.
Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.
Established in 1997, FOREX CLUB (the company) is the brand name for a group of companies that provides clients from over 120 countries with platforms and services for trading forex, CFDs and other online trading and educational products. We offer every client effective tools in training, analytics and education, as well as personal support where they want it. FOREX CLUB has over 650 employees worldwide.  In 2011 alone, over 45,000 traders chose to learn forex trading with us.  FOREX CLUB was one of the industry’s first to offer zero spread trading and commission refunds on all unprofitable trades.

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.


While compensation may influence the products we discuss, it doesn’t impact the qualitative and quantitative analysis demonstrated in each article and review. We try to objectively evaluate financial products and recommend those that are most beneficial to readers. Our site does not feature every company or financial product available on the market, and nothing written should be interpreted as financial advice. We are not responsible for your financial decisions.
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