Financial independence! A worthy goal, mostly because it means FREEDOM.

It’s never too early or too late to gain financial knowledge and set financial goals. Why am I talking about this? I’ve never wanted to toil away my best years, clinging to the hope that I could fulfill my actual interests in retirement. So financial independence is something I’ve been interested in, although I wasn’t quite able to consciously articulate it.

North Wash Utah Canyoneering
Utah. Feels like freedom.

Over the last year or so I’ve taken an increased interest in thinking outside the financial/societal box. There has to be a better way than working for the weekend and thanking your lucky stars for 2-3 weeks of PTO.  Privileged lens of looking at things? Or the catalyst needed to look outside of societal norms and create our own success? Hopefully both!

[Side note: hooray for nursing and working variable shifts].

Education can play a large role in creating change. No, not formal education. Especially since as far as I know financial education is not widely available to the impressionable + youthful masses. More like finding the threads of thought that inform and enrich your brain + soul. NOT giving money to “gurus” (that seems like a gross word) spouting “here buy my product or $5,000 course”. The public library is an excellent resource for this. I have spent $0 to acquire a lot of knowledge and widen my perspective. Podcasts and blogs are other great resources and are typically free.

Here are a mix of books and websites for you to peruse. If you have any other recommendations please share!

Mr. Money Mustache

It’s hard to talk about financial independence without mentioning MMM. I found this blog and spent roughly 15 hours reading every article in the archives.

MMM is a self-made man who retired with his wife at age 30. They saved a large portion of their income by being frugal. Frugal doesn’t sound exciting but from his accounts, during that time period he lived a full and satisfying life. It just didn’t include financed brand-new cars, a giant house with a giant TV with a giant cable bill, restaurant dinners multiple times a week, or brand new clothes bought throughout the year.

Being wealthy for him was not accruing millions of dollars so that he could lay dormant the rest of his life. He figured that he needed 25 to 30 times his annual spending, invested in low-fee index funds or another investment vehicle like rental properties. This chunk of money generates passive cashflow (dividends and capital gains) that will sustain him for a lifetime. The number for him to retire at 30 amounted to $600,000 plus a paid off house. Retiring then meant he could focus on things that interested him like building a house and writing a blog that attracts millions of viewers a month. Pretty productive for retirement.

Per a recent New Yorker article on Pete:

His goals, he says, are: 1. “To make you rich so you can retire early”; 2. “To make you happy so you can properly enjoy your early retirement”; and 3. “To save the whole Human Race from destroying itself through over-consumption of its habitat.” The blog, which he started five years ago, is really an attack on consumerism and waste—a theology of conservation—disguised as a personal-finance advice column. The prospect of retirement is in some respects just a lure—the carrot, as opposed to the stick of his relentless polemical thrashing of anyone who thinks it’s O.K. to buy lattes at Starbucks or drive “a gigantic piece of shit that can barely navigate a parking lot.”

His blog is well worth checking out to help change your perspective and money habits. Here are a few classic posts:

The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement

A Lifetime of Riches – Is it as Simple as a Few Habits?

Luxury is Just Another Weakness

Get Rich With: The Position of Strength

News Flash: Your Debt is an Emergency!!

Millionaire Next Door Financial Independence

The Millionaire Next Door

By Thomas J. Stanley

This is a classic book on the habits of the wealthy [defined as having a net worth over one million dollars]. Most wealthy people identified in the book live below their means, designate funds efficiently in ways that build wealth, and ignore conspicuous consumption. If you looking for a good introduction on the lifestyle fundamentals that will allow you to accumulate wealth, read this.

BiggerPockets Financial Independence

BiggerPockets

This is specific to real estate investing, in the realm of fix and flips, rentals, etc. If you’re interested in real estate becoming a vehicle for financial independence this is good place to start. The forums and blog posts are pretty extensive. My favorite way to consume their information is via podcast. Just set to 1.5 speed and it’s easy to listen to while exercising, cooking, driving to work, remodeling the house, etc.

I will say that many podcasts are informative and inspiring, but a few interviewees’ approaches have caused my eye brows to furrow in skepticism. It’s easy to be a critic from the arm chair! Anyways, like most things take with a grain of salt.

Rich Dad Poor Dad Financial Independence

Bonus review

The classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad series by Robert Kiyosaki

I can see why this is a love it or hate it sort of book. I have read several of his books to see what the hype was about. I think if you are just making ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck, this book may serve as a wake up call to inspire and motivate you to change your situation.

Otherwise I think it’s superficial and extremely repetitive. He gives you excitement to become financially secure outside of a typical 9-5, but doesn’t give you a tangible plan on how to do that. He’s a pretty good salesman, as evidenced by his showboating massive amounts of accumulated wealth. I think I was sold on about 20 times throughout the book to buy his overpriced board game.

Anyways, some of his “teachings” are worth knowing on a common sense level. And as the book is ~200 pages of larger print, with 1/4 of the pages containing laughably unnecessary illustrations, 2 hours of free reading from the library may be worth your while.

Next on my reading list is Your Money or Your Life by Robin, Dominguez and Tilford.

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