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How to live frugally and achieve Financial Independence: Here are the steps I follow, and this is how I was able to achieve this goal by 28. Enjoy! Add me on Instagram: GPStephan
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The first rule of Financial Independence: Saving.
In order to achieve financial independence, you must save your money and live below your means. And how long it will take you to achieve financial independence depends entirely on this: how much income you make, and how much of it you save. This is what Mr Money Mustache, a financial independence blogger, calls “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement” - and based on your own income and expenses, you can calculate within a few minutes how long it’ll take you to retire.
The second rule of financial independence: cutting back expenses.
For the sake of saving more money and moving up your FIRE timeline, you MUST do what you can to save more money. The first, and biggest expense we ALL have is housing. It’s reported that 30-50% of a person’s income JUST goes to housing… that’s too much. And there’s a better option where you might be able to cut down your housing costs ENTIRELY, and this is what I’ve been doing:
This is where you buy a multi-family home, like a duplex, triplex, or fourplex, then live in one of the units and rent the others out. You could also buy a single family home with a detached guest house, or maybe a basement you could rent out to bring down your cost of living. Typically, when done right, those other units will cover the entire cost of owning the building - and all of a sudden, you’ve got a free place to stay.
Besides housing, another large expense we tend to have is our car. If you’re a car guy like me, and want to drive something fun and cool, you can buy a car at the bottom of its depreciation curve, drive it a few years, and sell it for about the same price you bought it for.
Then, lets focus on entertainment…and when it comes to achieving financial independence, I think it’s important you find a healthy balance. Go ahead and enjoy life, you don’t need to be locked inside all day just for the sake of saving money…but, be mindful to spend money where it matters the most FOR YOU.
Or with travel…some people LOVE traveling. I found it doesn’t need to be expensive: you can learn the art of credit card churning for signup bonuses…and travel for free.
The third step of achieving financial independence: Staying out of high interest debt.
This kinda goes hand and hand with cutting back and saving, but most people don’t realize just how much high interest credit card debt or high interest medical bills or huge student loans hold you back. Throughout my entire life, I’ve made sure to stay out of ANY debt that’s not a low-interest car payment or a low-interest, fixed rate mortgage. That’s IT.
The fourth step of financial independence: INVEST.
This is another very, very simple one. The principles are as easy as this:
-First, take advantage of your 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA accounts because these save you on taxes
-Second, Invest consistently, long term - put a set % from each and every paycheck into your investments, no matter what. Ideally, at least 20% of your paycheck, minimum. Preferably more.
-Third, don’t time the market - invest long term consistently, regardless of where the price is.
-Fourth, invest in a low-fee index fund that covers the entire market - like VTSAX. Vanguard and Fidelity both offer extremely low index fund fees.
-Fifth, wait. Let the markets do their thing.
And here’s when you find out when you’re financially independent: you can retire when your investment portfolio becomes 25x what you spend every year, also known as The Trinity Study.
For business or one-on-one real estate investing/real estate agent consulting inquiries, you can reach me at GrahamStephanBusiness@gmail.com
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