Financial Independence is more within reach than most think. While there are several reasons most don’t achieve it, two very common ones stand out to me. First, people don’t dream. Rather than approaching a conversation with the same boring old questions, I like to dig deep and find out what people are passionate about. When I ask what an ideal life looks like to them, most start their answer with a long pause followed by an answer they haven’t thought out much. How can we ever achieve our dreams if we don’t train our neural pathways to think in a manner that gets us to where we want to go? Second, they don’t believe their dreams are attainable. I’ve seen too many people put their head down and get ready to slave the next 40 years of their life to a career they aren’t passionate about (all the while complaining about their situation.) I started this blog for this very reason, to show you that financial independence is possible. Though there are many approaches, I’ve explained three below to get you started.
This type of path has gained some steam in recent years. Though there are extreme cases, as well as more moderate lifestyles, Minimalism is all about living simply. Some, like fitness guru and Jiu-Jitsu black belt Steve Maxwell, has mentioned that he can fit all of his worldly possession in a backpack. Others choose not eat out or pay for cable/internet in their house. Like anything else, you have the power to be creative and make it your own.
Mr. Money Mustache has been a notable figure in this niche, saving two thirds of his income and focusing on frugality. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, also known as The Minimalist’s have created a version that seems to align their values with their possessions.
Career + Side Hustle
This is for the more risk averse crowd that doesn’t quite want to give up their cell phone but wants to get to the next level, whatever that may be for them. At the moment, I find myself in this category. Though, I have a full-time job, I’m committed to reinvesting any side hustle money into something bigger. The average consumerist takes extra cash and spends it on a material desire. Though I’m not against splurging here and there, I believe reinvestment is a quicker path to your success. As opposed to waiting for your money to double through the stock market, it’s a way of compounding your money while maintaining control of it. I’m not against using the market as a tool, we all have our own way.
One benefit of this path is that you can contribute to a company retirement plan AND a SEP IRA. A SEP IRA is generally used by self employed individuals and small businesses. It’s contribution limits (53,000K) are much higher than the average 401K limits (18K). See the link above for certain specifics of these amounts, as using them together will require a bit more due diligence.
For all of you that can’t bear working for someone else, this may be your only path. Though it allows for more creativity, accountability is all on you. The risks are high, as you having nothing to fall back on, but the reward is much higher. While the allure of doing so can be seen as glamorous, some have become slaves to their business. Though being self-employed may be where you start, make sure you’re making progress to becoming a business owner. Successful entrepreneurs know the difference well. If your business can’t run without you, you haven’t created true independence. The goal should always be passive income. This doesn’t mean you can’t be active in your business, it just means you have the option.
Remember, financial independence is whatever your definition of it is. It’s not a specific number or way of life. It’s not a mansion with a Ferrari in the driveway, unless you want it to be. I advise you to look within and decide what it means to you. Only then can you formulate a plan as to how you’re going to attack it. Will you be more productive without late night TV? Do you need the stability of a job or do you insist on risking it all for a high prize? Only you will know the answer! Good luck!
(featured image was legally downloaded from Pexels.com)