To graduate into the temporary stage of financial freedom, you must spend less money than you earn and create a pool of savings. Otherwise, you will be forced to continue working indefinitely because your lifestyle depends on your employment income. As you begin to save a portion of your income, you might invest your savings in a diversified investment portfolio to produce a regular stream of income. Or, you might start a passion business on the side, creating another stream of income.
This is probably the most exclusive level of financial freedom. Hopefully, your financial freedom plan will allow you to outlive your money. Having more money than you expected to spend is great. Building enough wealth so that you could not possibly spend all of it is another. This group will likely be filled with people who either won the lottery, inherited a fortune or are founders of companies – think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even if they went on a spending spree buying planes, yachts and automobiles; they would still have a hard time spending all of it. I should note that both Gates and Buffet have pledged to give away a vast majority of their wealth when they pass. I would be unfair to count that as “spending all their money.”
The underlying assumption is that we should all follow the same linear path from childhood until death, spending the majority of each day at work, trying to climb the ladder, to get a raise, to buy a bigger house, to fill it with an abundance of unnecessary possessions that provide very little satisfaction. Only after retiring is there freedom to explore, relax, or spend time with the people we love and cherish.
Great article but #8 is a little light on sourcing and selling ideas for physical products: If you have unwanted clothing and/or broken/used electronics and accessories, eBay is still the top marketplace to turn that into cash. You can sell new/used electronics, toys, and books on Amazon for top dollar. If you’re crafty (get ideas from most-pinned holiday craft photos on Pinterest), you can sell on Etsy.com. Sellers on each platform can get started on a shoestring. Good luck!
For anyone thinking of renting out their place via AirBnB, just check to make sure that it is legal where you live. I live in NYC and AirBnB is illegal here because a short-term rental for under 30 days is only allowed if you are a legal hotel. If caught renting or even advertising your home within the five boroughs of NYC on AirBnB, you could incur heavy fines for running an illegal hotel. Plus, most neighbors in apartment buildings don’t want strangers tramping in and out of their buildings all the time, so there could be trouble from people making complaints. So, check the laws where you live if that’s what you want to do!
Our favorite platform for this is RealtyMogul because you get the flexibility to invest as little as $1,000, but can also participate in REITs and private placements – typically not offered to the public. Investors can fund real estate loans to gain passive income or buy an equity share in a property for potential appreciation. Their platform is open to both accredited and non-accredited investors.
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.
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.
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!

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​If you pay your bills with a credit card make sure it offers cash back rewards. You can let your rewards accrue for a while and possibly put the easy money you earned toward another passive income venture! (Be sure that the card you select doesn’t have an annual fee or you might be cancelling out your rewards). Check out this list of the best Cashback Rewards Cards.
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.
Fulfillment is the entire point of this article. Financial freedom does not require that you retire early to a life of leisure (unless that is your desire). It’s about having autonomy and independence in your daily routine, allowing you to design a better life while spending your time, money, and energy in a more meaningful way. If that includes starting a new business, great! Doing meaningful work while getting paid is my definition of a win-win.
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.
As to copyrights, there are various ways to minimize the likelihood of theft of your work, but none are foolproof. But rest assured that if someone were to reproduce the work under their own name, they’d face legal action. It would be obvious if they were selling the work on a widespread basis. It’s amazing the information that’s making it around the web. Theft on a large scale has a way of being discovered.
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 »
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.
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