Financial Freedom = Choices
Financial freedom sounds pretty good, right? To me, financial freedom doesn’t equal luxury but it means a whole lot more life choices than you’d have without money in the bank. For example, with a decent money-pool, you could:
1. Quit your job without a new one lined up.
2. Travel for a few months.
3. Be generous and donate money to charity or help out a friend or family member who was struggling.
4. Move to a new city or new country and start a new life (like me in 6 months from now!)
5. Go back to school to start a new career.
6. Sleep well at night.
7. Cope with any emergency that might come up (not being able to work, losing a job, car repair, root canal).
How do I get Myself some of that Financial Freedom?
The Long-Game = The 9-5
Are you convinced that financial freedom is indeed fabulous and wonder how to get yourself some of that? There are a few different ways to get there. The more traditional route consists of getting a job, paying into a pension plan, putting away a bit of money into something like an IRA or 401K, buying a house and paying it off and then eventually retiring and living off the proceeds of the pension plans, 401K, etc. It’s the long-game.
The Short-Game = Passive Income Streams
I instead prefer the short-game and I hope to jump-start my financial freedom plan by building passive income streams (see this post where I define what passive income is). I’ve built up a lot of income streams already including:
Dividend Paying Stocks. I saved up a ton of money from working in South Korean universities teaching English because I did any and all overtime I could get my hands on. Then, I hit the frugal living hard for about 4 years so that when the stock market crashed in 2009, I had a lot of money to invest. These days, all those stocks have doubled and I’ve also been collecting the dividends and reinvesting them, as well as adding lots more money that I’ve earned from my day job since then.
Niche Websites. I was inspired to make this niche website (Reusable Menstrual Cups) from Pat Flynn and his niche site duel. It’s monetized through affiliate marketing and although I’ve earned very little money (enough to pay for the domain!), I’m planning to kick this one into high gear with a bunch of new content based on keywords I discovered through using LongTail Pro. See this post where I talk about How to Make Money Blogging.
Self-Published Books. I’m earning an increasing amount of money each month from the books I’ve written-part of it is that I simply have way more books than I did even a few months ago, but the other part is that my marketing efforts, including these niche websites have started to pay off (ESL Speaking + My Life! Teaching in a Korean University). My email list is now 1000+ and growing every single day so that’s helping sales as well.
Wait! Are these Things Really Passive?
Kind of. The dividend paying stocks certainly are. Although I put a lot of time into researching which companies to buy, these days I rarely follow the market and instead just sit back and collect dividends. The key is to buy big, stable, blue-chip companies that you’ll be happy to hold forever. Some examples are Chevron, Pfizer, 3M, Boeing and Coca-Cola. I don’t think any of these companies are going bankrupt any time soon.
The niche websites, books and related marketing efforts are, at this point, not really passive income. Sure, the first book I wrote about a year ago: How to Get a University Job in South Korea is still selling at least a couple copies a week and I collect the money through no further effort on my part. But, in order to increase my passive income to a point where I can live comfortably off of, I need to keep writing and marketing. Same with the niche websites. I make a few sales but I’d like to make more than a few-I actually want to dominate a few niches so will have to put in a lot more time, energy and effort in order to do that.
Let’s Sum This Up
I see this point in my life as investing for the future. Working hard now so I can reap the benefits later. Doubling-down on building passive income streams because I truly think it’s the only way to live-making money in a way that doesn’t involve working an hour for an hour of pay. I’ve been doing that for way too long teaching English in Korea and don’t think I ever want to live that way again. I guess I just have this unwavering optimism that each hour worked now will pay off 10x that in the future. Maybe it’s crazy? Maybe it’s the just the new way to live in this world-hustling for yourself and making your own opportunities by building passive income streams.
What Action are you Going to Take?
If you’d made it this far, you probably have an idea in the back of you mind about something you’d like to get off the ground. A book that needs to be written, a website that needs to be built. What action are you going to take to get that going? What investment are you going to make in your future in order to be financially free? Leave a comment and tell me!
P.S. If you want to start a website, you’ll need to use Bluehost. They are extremely beginner friendly and also super-reliable. Then, don’t forget to start building your email list with MailChimp. Ditto with the beginner friendly and reliable.