Financial Freedom and all that buzz!

by | Aug 24, 2022 | Investments, Mindset, Passive Income, Real Estate, Retirement

A lot of people associate creating financial freedom with retirement. I think not.

What did retirement look like 20 years ago? Work for an employer or two for 35 or 40 years. Get a pension plan. Sit on a rocking chair in your 60s. Twiddle your thumbs. Pick up a hobby or two. Spend time with your grandkids. Travel on cruises. Find something to kill time until you fade into the sunset.

You worked hard for years only to wait till your 60s to sit back and enjoy it while you’re possibly saddled with health issues and really unable to truly enjoy it. You worked long hours to accumulate a nest egg so you had enough money to retire and never work again.

And do what. Sit around?

Research has shown that when we are meaningfully engaged in work and activities we enjoy people live longer and live healthier.

Is that what retirement means to us now?

I think the modern day paradigm of retirement has completely changed and for good reasons.

Mid-career sabbaticals are not uncommon. 30-40 year olds quitting their jobs and traveling the world not that unheard of. It’s commonplace to see digital nomads working somewhere in the world making a healthy living while pursuing their passions, or mid-career professionals wanting to retire early while they are able bodied and healthy to do activities they cannot into their 70s…

So where do you stand on the retirement spectrum?

  1. Wait till I’m 60 something to retire and live on my retirement income. Relax, engage in some hobbies and do nothing.
  2. Pursue my passion and figure out how to monetize it NOW! I want to work until I no longer want to. I might have a few careers in my lifetime.
  3. Retire while I’m still young and use this time to spend with my family and do the things I enjoy doing.

For me the winning combination was 2) and 3). I realized early into my mid 30s that while I was good at my tech job it wasn’t my passion.

I didn’t wake up in the mornings eager to get started. I didn’t feel intrinsically motivated and look forward to Mondays. I didn’t want to be doing it for the rest of my life no matter how much it paid. I couldn’t wait for weekends to be away from it, I couldn’t wait for vacations every few months to take a mental and physical break from it.

I knew at that point that the burnout was real.

That no matter how lucrative it was I had to find my passion and I had to do something else that fueled me.

So what would the next thing be? I had no idea. I bounced around from business plans to start a frozen pizza business to health food business to interior design business. All things I was good at but nothing seemed solid and doable until I hit the domain of Real Estate Investing. Whenever I spoke about Real Estate my eyes lit up, the tone of my voice changed, I was like an eager child ready to explore and hungry to learn more. Even so in real estate what I did changed over the last 12 years and I was still searching for exactly what IT would be that would make me want to quit my full time job.

If you somewhat relate to what I’ve shared and you want to figure out how to create time freedom for yourself which is simply what financial freedom affords you, here are some actionable steps to take while you’re doing your full-time job so you can retire in 5-10 years or less…(depending on where you’re starting and how much time/money you already have)

  1. Use your free time to start a side hustle. Your 9-5 can be your main hustle but your 5-9 (pm) and your weekends should be about figuring out your passion and how to monetize it. We live in the age of Youtube and online education where anything you want to learn about is at your fingertips! The only thing this needs is a commitment from you. The side hustle could be anything from an Amazon Storefront or starting a Youtube channel to teach others about something you’re really good at. There are makeup artists on Youtube who generate $10K a day, yup! So monetizing on your skills is not as hard as you think! Spend some time to think about what makes you happy and changes the tone of your voice. If you haven’t found IT yet, try a few different things that don’t involve a large time/financial commitment to start with. It’s a process and it’s not going to happen in a day. It might also be worthwhile to invest some time and money with a career counselor to see what your strengths are.
  2. Focus on making your Strengths into your Superpowers There are a lot of mediocre people doing mediocre things out there. If you want to be successful and stand apart – you need to focus on your strengths and make them your superpowers. The old adage of working on your weaknesses in my opinion is just pure BS. It takes away your focus from something you’re really really good at and could easily monetize.
  3. Working Smart trumps Working Hard I grew up in a culture that was all about working hard and busting my butt. My realization in business is that if you’re aligned with your strengths and you work smart, you can move mountains and achieve much much more! It’s like using a lever vs trying to push a huge rock with your own strength. You’d rather use a lever to reduce your effort, right?
  4. Figure out how to cut your tax bill  The saying goes – A Penny saved is a Penny earned. I say a penny not paid to Uncle Sam is a penny earned. If you haven’t figured out how to save money on your taxes yet, it’s time to put that 5-9 time to research how to save on taxes. Trust me there are tons of ways to do this (an article on this coming soon…stay tuned!)
  5. Invest any extra savings into Real Estate/Alternatives to create passive income. There are plenty of high income generating investments that you can invest into to create a reliable passive income source.

Once you’re able to create a side hustle, although it doesn’t count as passive income, because it actively involves your effort its easier for you to start using that as an income source to feed into passive investments and start creating passive income. Say you create $50K in side hustle a year. It’s $50K you didn’t have before to invest to potentially creating $50K more with a good investment in a 3-5 year horizon. When money compounds the snowball effect is REAL!

Most mid-career professionals have a lot of skills that are amenable for consulting gigs and side hustles that can create a great income stream. I will touch upon side hustles in another article as a part of the Cherry Street Newsletter.

Financial Freedom is not simply about having enough money to pay your bills without working. It’s about having the time freedom and flexibility.

  • To be the master of your own time.
  • The time you can spend time with your family and loved ones.
  • The time you can pursue your passions and hobbies that light you up.
  • The time you can call your own.
  • To do nothing if you want to do nothing!

Time after all is the most valuable resource we have.