This last stage is a concept that is rarely discussed or achieved. While I define permanent freedom as the point at which your income exceeds your expenses, such a definition is shallow and full of important assumptions. For example, if you know that you require $1,500/month to live a barebones lifestyle, and you can safely withdraw between $1,500-$1,600/month from your investment portfolio, you have technically achieved financial freedom. But have you?

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.

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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] 

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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]

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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.

VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.
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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Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google's PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.[33]

There’s a ton of organic traffic you can get from search engines if you do SEO properly. The days when Search Engine Optimization was about cheating Google are gone. Today, it is about making your website better for visitors. People naturally look for information online. That’s why you should learn the basics of on-page SEO, keyword research and link building to be the information source they find first. Who wouldn’t want to rank #1 for terms such as “best product” or “product review” in Google?
Statistically, if you want to guess who is going to be wealthy and financially independent, you'd be more likely finding a self-sufficient student in wood shop class who paid for his own car, gets decent (but not spectacular) grades, has a job and enjoys what he does than selecting someone from the honor roll. It's counterintuitive, but it's often true.
Grant Sabatier is the Creator of Millennial Money. Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant Sabatier went from $2.26 to $1 million in 5 years through entrepreneurship, side hustling and investing. After reaching financial independence at the age of 30, Grant Founded MillennialMoney.com, where he writes about making and investing money and co-hosts the Millennial Money Minutes podcast. Since launching in 2015, Grant has reached over 10 million readers and listeners through his blog and podcast.
Affiliate marketing has now invaded Hollywood? We know it invaded US politics in Washington as some politicians (current and retired) are silent affiliate marketers or in MLM. Maybe we can look forward to hearing in the next few years about more celebrities going from actors and actresses to home-based affiliate marketers. Wouldn’t that be something?

What do people do all week when they are retired, especially when retiring early? I retired early and struggled with being preoccupied after 3 months. It turned into boredom and slippery slope of troublesome lifestyle. I finally returned to my career part time after bucket list. I consider myself semi-retired and enjoy working more once I had balanced time off. The pros are contributing Monday through Thursday, time off, salary to pay taxes, benefits, lower stress as compared to being self-employed/ business owner, and don’t driver my partner crazy. It has taken me years to unlearn setting goals and feeling inadequate if not chasing the carrot even when I don’t need to. It surprised me. My partner enjoys working and is seeing how far she can go. It’s is probably reassuring that she doesn’t have to work, and allows her to take more risk. I have improved, but have not arrived. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I just wanted you to know retirement is not always paradise, and semi-retirement may help make the transition. 

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The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Safety. Shit happens, so it’s best to create a Safety Net savings account with $500–$1000 for emergencies. Now listen: do not touch this money unless there is a true emergency (car repairs, medical bills, job loss, etc.). Your Safety Net will allow you to stay on budget even when life punches you in the face. Over time, once you’re out of debt (step 3 below), your Safety Net will grow to include several months of income. But for now, worry only about the first $500–$1000 to start, which you’ll want to keep in a separate Safety Net account to avoid temptation (more on that below).
FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.
By quite a large margin Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program out there, with products from more than 1.5 million sellers. Amazon has the most easy-to-use technology of all the affiliate programs I will be reviewing today. Beginners to affiliate marketing with even the most limited technical expertise will have no problems in getting up and running with the Amazon associates program, while more experienced marketers can create custom tools and websites with the APIs and advanced implementations available to them. The great thing about Amazon is that anything from kids toys to laptops can generate sales if they are purchased through any Amazon affiliate link.

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. 

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AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.

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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.


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.

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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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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.

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Leadpages claims that its affiliate program is not exclusively for affiliate marketers, which is true, but the narrow focus of this niche means that only professionals affiliate marketers will ever be able to earn significant income from the program. Leadpages’s affiliate program does offer quite a lot of different options (webinars, videos, blog posts, free marketing courses, etc.) to send referrals to, which can lead to higher conversion rates if done correctly.

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.
I guess I’m in the Blockbuster Category, but living in the Midwest I’d have a hard time figuring out how to spend $300k/year even though the math says it is not a problem. I think the reality is most people who are super savers are going to get to Blockbuster eventually assuming they don’t inflate their lifestyle along the way. There is a lot of truth to more money not bringing you more happiness…I spend less in “retirement” than I did while working and I’m exponentially happier. I checked my taxable account for the first time this year and it in the first 11 days it is up more than I’ll spend this year, interesting times indeed.
Adjust. You’ll have some slip-ups along the way. That’s all right, it’s part of the process. At first, you and your family should scrutinize your written budget daily, and then eventually weekly, adjusting accordingly until your whole family is comfortable with your set monthly allocations. The first month is the most difficult, but by the third month you’ll curse yourself for wasting so much money during your budget-less days.

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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.

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This last stage is a concept that is rarely discussed or achieved. While I define permanent freedom as the point at which your income exceeds your expenses, such a definition is shallow and full of important assumptions. For example, if you know that you require $1,500/month to live a barebones lifestyle, and you can safely withdraw between $1,500-$1,600/month from your investment portfolio, you have technically achieved financial freedom. But have you?
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.
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.

- Bonds vs. Bond Funds: p. 289 says "One nice feature of bonds is that you know exactly how your bond investments will grow each year, so the income is guaranteed." Is it? No, no it's not at all - especially if you're using bond FUNDS like the author suggests. If you hold an actual bond to maturity, it works slightly differently. Either way, that bond income is not "guaranteed."

Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to build an email list over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.

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It’s hard to truly experience the pressure and know the cost of raising a kid in an expensive coastal city if you live in the Midwest. You can see the $1.4-$1.5M median home price number, but it’s hard to really know how expensive that is for how average a house you get until you go and by one. This is partly why I want to GET OUT of SF and escape the grind and the knowledge that every parent I know is indeed spending a fortune on their kids etc.
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While your income, your savings rate, your investment returns, your debt to income ratio, and all those other numbers are important when optimizing your money, the single most important metric that you should be tracking is your net-worth. Your net-worth measures how much money you are worth by subtracting your liabilities (debt/what you owe) from your assets (what you own that has value, your cash, and investments). It doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much money you save if your net-worth isn’t going up. This was a big early mistake I made, so start tracking your net-worth today.
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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I moved to a remote tropical Island once FI. This idea was not spontaneous, and I had planted seeds for years working off and on as an expat in the medical field. I worked with royalty and even had the life changing experience of using a gold toilet. The toilet was not really life changing at all, and somehow sad. I also had opportunities to work with orphanages literally in the tree tops and cultures who thought their medical issues were caused by spirits. There were amazing times, but I also suffered through cholera. The remaining time I worked for years in high stress, high salary, with little time off. It made me sick.

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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.

But I have bills due! One mindset that makes saving money easier is to pay yourself first. It was a concept I first read about in Rich Dad Poor Dad and I thought it was really interesting. The author essentially stated that he would save as much as possible before any bills were due and would leave just enough to make sure he had no late payments on bills.
The tradeoff in this scenario is clear. You can continue working to build a bigger pool of savings, which will provide additional income and flexibility for the remainder of your life. Or, you can leave your job as soon as possible and hope that a smaller portfolio will provide sufficient income. It’s all about finding the right balance given your personal situation.
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.

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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.
Your freedom grows alongside your savings. Eventually, you will have enough money saved to feel comfortable switching jobs, starting a business, returning to school, traveling for a year, or any number of other activities that are impossible to achieve without savings. This stage of financial freedom might include major life changes, but they are not permanent. Your freedom is temporary because your savings will be depleted over time, forcing you to find other sources of income again.
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Being patient has been tough, but I know that I’m on the right track and the more I can save and invest the faster I will reach financial independence. Many of you may be reading this and wonder why I only have $35,000+ in Vanguard savings when I’ve been at this for almost 3 years. But I was starting from not only zero, I owed over $50,000, so I’m excited how far I’ve come in just 3 years! I had to not only invest time building my knowledge, but improve my career to the point where I could make a solid income and side income, and then start investing that money. Now it’s all about patience and optimization.
Almost all of these ideas require starting a personal blog or website. But the great thing about that is that it's incredibly cheap to do. We recommend using Bluehost to get started. You get a free domain name and hosting starts at just $2.95 per month - a deal that you won't find many other places online! You can afford that to start building a passive income stream.

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If you are generating $250,000 – $300,000 in passive income without having to work, life is good, really good. At my peak in 1H2017, I got to about ~$220,000 in annualized passive income, but then ended up slashing ~$60,000 from the top after selling my rental house to simplify life. Therefore, I’ve still got a long ways to go, especially now that I have a son to raise.

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The United Nations definition of inclusive wealth is a monetary measure which includes the sum of natural, human, and physical assets.[6][7] Natural capital includes land, forests, energy resources, and minerals. Human capital is the population's education and skills. Physical (or "manufactured") capital includes such things as machinery, buildings, and infrastructure.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

The book’s ideas about using your 9-to-5 as a launch pad are good. He recommends maximizing all the benefits you can get from your job, which will definitely help you save money. Also, use the day job to diversify skills, which makes it easier to side hustle. Take advantage of those conferences your manager send you to, so you can network and learn new things. He advises understanding what your actual hourly rate is, so when you’re making purchases you can think how much work you have to do to pay it off. Or how it will slow down reaching financial freedom. Invest early and often!

Since I am less than 21 months away to 55, it is a mental daily struggle to get thru the day, the week and the months. It is so depressing at work since all of my co-workers have been laidoff. There is no one for “water cooler” talk. Over IT 1000 ppl were laid off from 2012 to 2017. It can be stressful at times to support the IT systems by myself. I have hobbies to help take my mind a little off the countdown clock. We take vacations so that I can get mentally away. Since I work from home, we try to go out at least once a week for lunch. I read your site and RB40’s site NUMEROUS times a day to take my mind of work.
The 4% rule has a failure rate based on overall market movement and time in the market. If you need to cover 20 years the 4% rule is extremely safe. If you need to cover 40-50-60 years because of early FI it starts to get riskier. Why not arrange your investments so you achieve a 4% yield, then you will never need to sell shares and can live an infinite amount of time without working? To boot, invest in some dividend growth stocks and you will get an inflation-busting 6% average annual raise on your income as well!
There are three main categories of income: active income, passive income and portfolio income. Passive income has been a relatively loosely used term in recent years. Colloquially, it’s been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it. Popular types of passive income include real estate, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and dividend stocks. Proponents of earning passive income tend to be boosters of a work-from-home and be-your-own-boss professional lifestyle. The type of earnings people usually associate with this are gains on stocks, interest, retirement pay, lottery winnings, online work and capital gains. 

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?

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