If you’re already contributing 15% of your income to retirement and you want to start saving for your kids’ college fund, you can start by investing in an Education Savings Account (ESA). Like a Roth IRA, the money you contribute to an ESA grows tax-free, which means you won’t pay taxes on it when it’s used to cover college expenses. Currently you can contribute up to $2,000 per year for each child in an ESA. Income limits do apply, and your investing pro can help you know if those impact you.(1)
Assuming you are doing pretty well and are happy with your current standard of living, what would you need to maintain your standard of living in retirement? Knowing you are on track to accumulate a nest egg to support that lifestyle is a big win. Gold medals go to those who have accumulated enough assets, or passive income streams, to be in a position to retire well.

Well said Illidi. There are more ways than ever, mostly because of the internet. I think the secret is to put out a product or service that’s unique. Not that you have to invent a whole new business, but take an existing business concept, and add something unique to it. Because you’re absolutely right, everyone is getting into the game, making it harder to succeed.
You might call it the time-money paradox. Most Americans trade the majority of their available time for a paycheck, and then spend the majority of each paycheck on depreciating material possessions. As the spending snowballs, many individuals desire a larger paycheck, which requires even longer hours and more responsibilities at work, leaving even less time to enjoy the income or possessions. It’s a vicious cycle that often continues in perpetuity until retirement or death.
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.
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.
Assuming you are doing pretty well and are happy with your current standard of living, what would you need to maintain your standard of living in retirement? Knowing you are on track to accumulate a nest egg to support that lifestyle is a big win. Gold medals go to those who have accumulated enough assets, or passive income streams, to be in a position to retire well.
Awesome article! I realized that we all need money but investing is the only way to earn money without having to do any work. Finally, I realized that this is the fundamental difference between the financially independent and those who work. While workers live off of their labor, the financially free live off of income generated passively. The passive income frees up their time to allow them to pursue more financially rewarding endeavors or to spend that time with family or whatever they find fulfilling. I realized that there is a fundamental difference in mindset between the financially independent and… Read more »
One of the commenters said,”Writing your own eBook and designing your own products can be very rewarding, you just need to get your work in front of an Interested Audience. This may sometimes prove a little more difficult than originally anticipated.” That’s where I am. I have two websites with e-books and products, but I can’t figure out where to advertise or how to promote them. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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.
Whatever you do to build your contribution muscle, it needn’t be grandiose; it need only contribute to someone else’s life. If you do this for a few weeks, you’ll realize that your financial problems are tiny compared to many of the problems in the world around you. By discovering the smallness of your financial woes, you’ll feel empowered to take massive action and beat the crap out of your relatively miniature problems.
Within 3 months of being let go, I was working for three different companies remotely in digital marketing that not only paid my bills, but allowed me to build a network of new contacts, and led to a new career path. In those three years since I’m now a Digital Marketing Senior Manager at a great software company called EveryoneSocial and I provide digital marketing consulting for other companies and startups that all improved my career worth.
Acorns: Acorns is a great way to start investing and building wealth. As it turns out, Acorns will pay you $5 to start investing with them for as little as $1. That’s a 500% return, plus it’s probably time you started investing for your future. They even have features like round-up and found money that allows you to get free money from places you already shop at.
I’m a South African College Lecturer and I intend on leaving my job to find a career online as I realise that I can’t continue earning an income the same way my grandmother did. So I’m on the hunt for online income generating opportunities. This article has been helpful and I have booked marked it. I have started my journey with buying bitcoins, joining a social financial community: MMM, and now am looking to add to my list Blogging, Youtubing, Creating an App/s, creating an online course, creating online guides. Your article has proven very helpful and excellent in many regards….I will use it as a reference guide. Thanks a lot.
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.
Cash Cow Couple is a financial website that does not offer any personalized financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual. Cash Cow Couple has advertising relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website and attempts to take a reasonable and good faith approach to maintaining objective recommendations that are in the best interest of readers. Cash Cow Couple strives to keep all content accurate and up to date, but the financial information on Cash Cow Couple could be different from what you find when visiting a third-party financial institution, service provider or specific product’s website. All recommendations are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions and discuss any and all opportunities with an advisor, accountant or attorney who is familiar with your specific situation prior to implementation. Please be aware that investment markets have inherent risks, and past performance does not assure future results. For more information, please read our full disclaimer.

Living in the moment often brings financial woes because the long-term goals of saving takes thought about tomorrow. I have seen people who just had the knack for putting $$$’s away. A friend of mine has a son who started taking his lunch when in school and saving that lunch money. He put it in a sock, when he graduated from high school he had saved all of the sock money which included birthday gifts, and etc. that amounted to about 20g. His mom was a banker. LOL However, today, he has his own business, has real estate he has… Read more »
Rental properties are defined as passive income with a couple of exceptions. If you’re a real estate professional, any rental income you’re making counts as active income. If you’re "self-renting," meaning that you own a space and are renting it out to a corporation or partnership where you conduct business, that does not constitute passive income unless that lease had been signed before 1988, in which case you’ve been grandfathered into having that income being defined as passive. According to the IRS's Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules, "it doesn't matter whether or not the use is under a lease, a service contract, or some other arrangement."
×