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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.
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.
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.
The doctor or lawyer, for instance, could use her or his income to invest in a medical start-up or buy shares of medical companies he understands such as Johnson & Johnson. Over time, the nature of compounding, dollar cost averaging, and reinvesting dividends can result in her or his portfolio generating substantial passive income. The downside is that it can take decades to achieve enough to truly improve your standard of living. However, it is still the surest path to wealth based on the historical performance of business ownership and stocks.
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).
The second category of passive income is drawing on sources that do not require capital to start, maintain, and grow. These are far better choices for those who want to start out on their own and build a fortune from nothing. They include assets you can create, such as a book, song, patent, trademark, Internet site, recurring commissions, or businesses that earn nearly infinite returns on equity such as a drop-ship e-commerce retailer that has little or no money tied up in operations but still turns a profit.
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.
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?
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.
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!