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.

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Hi Deanna – That’s always a possibility, but you can’t spend too much time worrying about it. After all, it’s common for people to read a book, then pass along to someone else. If your work can benefit someone else all the better, it isn’t all about making money. And on the brighter side, you can gain a new fan in the person on the receiving end of the ebook. It’s a problem, but not as big as you might think. 

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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.

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There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.
MM Note: This is a guest post from 29-year-old Millennial Money reader Todd Kunsman. To learn more about creating financial freedom, check out how to retire in 10 years or less,  fast-tracking financial independence, and my book Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need. Now check out Todd’s 9 steps to financial freedom below.

I love the Pyramid. I have this discussion with my wife all the time. While it’s certainly possible to live a lower middle class lifestyle, we don’t do so now so it’s not really our retirement goal either. My goal is to get to baseline FI before losing a regular income and hopefully have hobby income and investments take me to Blockbuster (remember them?) FI later on.
Hi Sam, interesting post as always. I’m always very curious about how you arrive at your estimates. It would be great if you could show us the math! (actually I’m very curious about this in your 401k value post) Anyway, in this post you mention: “need between $800,000 – $1,600,000 – to replicate 40,000 a year in passive income” This is a bit bigger than the standard 4% approach. I can see that you are cautious, I’m just wondering about how I could replicate some of the math too.
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.

Teamwork. Everyone in your household—even your children—must have a say in the written budget. This is the only way to get every person’s buy-in. Working together means taking from one category to fund another (e.g., extracting money from, say, your clothing budget to fund your entertainment budget) until each person is on the same page. Once everybody is on board—once everyone is committed to financial freedom—it is much easier to gain the traction you need.

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I am very disabled by a genetic collagen integrity condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Ht (EDS-HT)and it effects all tissue, joints, GI Tract, my heart, nervous system and much more, which creates huge challenges for me physically. I was disabled at a young age, had to quit work at 40 years old and I am eligible for $600 month. Due to the progressive syndrome, all work I have tried I could not physically sustain within only a few days.
This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 
SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.
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.
Additionally, in developed countries post-agrarian society (industrial society) this argument has many critics (including those influenced by Georgist and geolibertarian ideas) who argue that since land, by definition, is not a product of human labor, any claim of private property in it is a form of theft; as David Lloyd George observed, "to prove a legal title to land one must trace it back to the man who stole it."

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I retired at age 56 with budget/baseline FI, but I am now in blockbuster category (age 69). My investment accounts have done well and the house has increased in market value. Renting part of the home covers housing and transportation expenses, and my small pension covers basic living expenses. I withdraw money from investments for travel but reinvest most of the gains. I too am faced with heavy income taxes once I have to withdraw from tax deferred accounts. I have run spreadsheet projections for income, net worth, and income taxes to 2035 with various withdrawal plans and estimated net returns. Always come back to deferring tax as long as possible, spending down the taxable accounts first, while building up the tax-free account agressively. What I would do differently is learn to invest my own money at a younger age, buy a bigger better house at a younger age, and retire earlier.
Hang in there, Adam. I’m in the similar boat as you. I’m 51, looking to retire @55 when my son goes to college (his tuition is already saved in separate 529 account). @4% withdraw rate, we have enough assets to generate passive incomes of $250K+, and our annual living expense is <$100K. Neither me or wife have pension or medical coverage, but we do have 401K and some prior HSA savings.
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 :-)
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
For some reason, I’m not stressed about it. Maybe because he’s the most important thing in our lives, and we’d therefore spend everything we have to help him learn and grow up to be a kind, motivated, and good adult. Perhaps it’s because I’ve also run some pro forma financial numbers to see how much we’ll have in 20 years, and it seems like it could be a nice chunk of change.
The easiest way to do it is by cutting back on your housing, transportation, and food costs. The average American spends 70% of their money on housing, transportation, and food, so if you can spend less on them (say 25% or so, then you can bank the difference). If you move to a smaller apartment, walk to work, and cook at home, you could realistically increase your savings rate to 25%+ or even higher.

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.

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There is so much demand for freelance writers and you can pretty much write about anything you want. Another nice benefit of freelance writing is the ability to sign monthly retainers with bloggers of companies who need writers. This means you can charge a set amount per month ($1,000 – $5,000) for a number of articles. If you do this for a few clients then you can easily turn a writing business into a $10,000/month + side hustle.
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.
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.

Business owners represent a disproportionately large segment of the millionaire population. It's hard to believe, but there's a good chance that the biggest hardware store owner or plumber in your town has a net worth many times that of the highest-paid doctor. Part of the reason is a concept we've discussed called capitalized earnings. Another reason is one Dr. Stanley mentioned in his book. Doctors are pressured to buy status symbols to convince their patients they are successful. Not the plumber. He can put more money into his retirement accounts. Over decades, the result is millions in additional wealth for the guy who unclogged toilets instead of arteries. That's not something you learn about in school.


Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[41] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[42]
As a blogger (I write about digital marketing), I’ve always been more drawn to in-house affiliate programs. Recently, I got into squirrly’s program (they got me with the 70% in commissions out of all sales, I have to admit it). But with all the new stuff I learned from this post, I’m seriously considering expanding. Thanks a lot for the useful tips.
Hi Deanna – That’s always a possibility, but you can’t spend too much time worrying about it. After all, it’s common for people to read a book, then pass along to someone else. If your work can benefit someone else all the better, it isn’t all about making money. And on the brighter side, you can gain a new fan in the person on the receiving end of the ebook. It’s a problem, but not as big as you might think.

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It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
Income is routinely mistaken for wealth. For example, if John Doe's income is $250,000 per year, some people might say John is "wealthy." However, if John's mortgage, car payments, student loans from medical school, medical bills for his child, and private school tuition for his other child consume most of his monthly income, he may not have much left for saving at the end of the month. Consequently, John may have a nice house, but he has virtually nothing saved up for retirement, college, or emergencies. That is, he may have a high income, but he is not "wealthy" because he owns little of the things in his life.
The figures are very optimistic! Even though I technically could “retire” with only $200K saved up, I’m going to continue working until 2015 and should have quite a bit more than that, when all’s said and done. I just wanted to compute the minimum amount it would take to cover my essential expenses to see how little I would actually need to survive. You’re definitely right that it’s a great feeling seeing how attainable FI really is!
The downside is that Shopify is only appealing for people who have physical or digital products to sell and have a need to set up a Shopify store, including site hosting, payment processing, and all the other services offered by Shopify. This can significantly narrow the appeal for this affiliate program. But if you can distinguish yourself by educating people on how to use Shopify, how it can benefit their business, and/or make them money, you could potentially big money via the affiliate program. Add in the 2 x monthly fee commission rate, and landing just a few sales of their mid-tier and top-tier products can result in significant earnings.

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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.
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