Financial Independence

Everyone wants freedom. No one wants to feel stuck one way or another.  And yes, in most countries, men, women, no matter what age, have freedom of speech, religion, press, and so forth. But what about money and time freedom? That’s what this page is all about: gaining the freedom of money and time. My Monthly FI updates Below you’ll
Editor’s note: We updated this information on July 20, 2021.

Everyone wants freedom.

No one wants to feel stuck one way or another. 

And yes, in most countries, men, women, no matter what age, have freedom of speech, religion, press, and so forth.

But what about money and time freedom?

That’s what this page is all about: gaining the freedom of money and time.

My Monthly FI updates

Below you’ll find all my monthly financial independence updates. I’ll cover everything from income sources, business and personal expenses, investments, and how many hours I work on average per day. Feel free to click around.

    Why I share my finances publicy

    I’m sharing my financial independence journey publicly so I hopefully can inspire/motivate you to aim for FI too as life is too beautiful to stress over upcoming bills, in my opinion.

    I know it definitely helped me back in the day when I started my online business journey to see what others do that are further along in their journey. It still helps me watching and reading about the journey of others to financial independence. So, hopefully, me sharing my story with you helps you, too, as it did for me.

    What is financial independence?

    How long can you sustain your current lifestyle if your current active income from your 9-to-5 or your business were to stop suddenly?

    If your answer is infinite, you’re financially independent. 

    But how do you pay your bills and stuff without receiving a paycheck? 

    Well, if you have most of your wealth invested in assets, those assets earn you the money you need to pay your bills-also called passive income.

    The most common assets are real estate, stocks, and bonds.

    I believe stocks are the easiest and have the lowest barrier to entry. Particularly low-cost index funds like the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, for example. For more details on my current investment strategy, please see my monthly financial independence updates.

    How to calculate your financial independence number

    In 1995, a smart man, William Bengen, discovered a cool trick.

    He learned that the moment 4% of the money you have invested in a specific mix of US stocks and bonds is the same number of dollars your life costs for an entire year, you can never run out of money if you decide to retire at that moment.

    I’ll rephrase. 

    William discovered that if 4% of the money you have in a specific mix of US stocks and bonds is equal to your yearly living expenses, you can quit your job and retire.

    The 4% rule is based upon historical data, and they used a specific mix of US stocks and bonds.

    If your investments differ from these specific US stocks and bonds, the 4% rule might not work for you. Therefore it’s important that you only use this 4% as a guideline.

    You need to determine a safe yearly withdrawal rate that feels good for you.

    On the one hand, you don’t want to run out of money while in retirement. On the other hand, you also don’t want to live too frugally and have a mountain of money left when you’re already too old to enjoy all of it. 

    So, again, the most commonly known withdrawal rate is 4% per year.

    It originated from a paper published in the US Journal of Financial Planning by William Bengen, a financial planner, in 1994.

    According to his paper, when you follow this 4% rule, your portfolio should last at least 30 years.

    I know, should isn’t the word you’re looking for when planning your future, right? Well, that’s the problem. Since you don’t know what happens in the future, it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen to your investment portfolio. 

    According to William’s research, 96% of retirees, at the end of 30 years, have a portfolio still worth at least as much as they started with, in nominal terms. Nominal terms mean that when you factor in inflation, the actual value of the investment has diminished. 

    According to William, if you retired on September 1, 1968, or January 1, 1969, the retiree won’t have any money left over after 30 years. It’s because of the economic market conditions the retiree started with.

    So, if you want to retire somewhere in your thirties, you might want to choose a more conservative withdrawal rate than 4% since you hopefully still with us 50, 60, or maybe even 70 years down the line.

    Why do you need to know all of this withdrawal rate stuff if you want to calculate your financial freedom number?

    Because your yearly withdrawal rate determines how much you need to have invested totally.

    The year I retire I plan to withdraw $75,000 a year and I plan to use a withdrawal rate of 3% instead of 4%.

    Knowing these two numbers, the dollar amount you plan to withdraw AND the withdrawal rate you can calculate your financial independence number.

    The first year you retire, you sell 4% of your stocks and bonds, and that’s the money you cover all your living expenses with.

    Because there’s still 96% of your money left in those stocks and bonds, you can never run out of money. Ever.

    You can keep performing this trick year in, year out. 

    Plus, every year, you can even add the inflation number to your initial 4% number.

    Okay, if this all went a bit too quick, let me give you an easy example.

    The first year you retire, you sell 4% of your stocks and bonds at the end of the year.

    Let’s say, for example, purposes, you end up with $40,000.

    This means, in total, you have 1 million dollars invested because 4% of 1 million dollars is $40,000. 

    For instance, let’s say the inflation rate is 3%. 

    You then multiply $40,000 by 1.03, which is $41,200. 

    If the inflation rate is 6% in the upcoming year, you multiply $41,200 by 1.06, which is $43,672. If next year’s inflation rate is 4%, you multiply $43,672 by 1.04, which is $45.418. You’ll get the point.

    If you follow this trick, there’s no way you run out of money for the rest of your life since the biggest percentage of your wealth remains invested.

    If $40,000 is the expense of living your life for an entire year, then $1,000,000 is your financial independence number.

    You can calculate your independence number by multiplying your yearly living expense by 25.

    $40,000 multiplied by 25 is $1,000,000.

    How much do I need to invest every month?

    Once you know your financial freedom number, which is 2.5 million dollars for me, you can calculate how much you need to invest every month in reaching that number within a specific period.

    Since October 2020, I’m investing $10,000+ per month.

    Before that, I invested around $3,000+ per month, and I started with $230 per month in May 2019.

    If I were to continue by investing $10,000+ per month with an annual return of 7%, I’d reach the goal of $2.5 million by 10 years without adding dividends.

    If I could pull this off and stop investing after 10 years when reaching the $2.5 million mark, I could let my money do its magic if I choose not to retire. Imagine letting my money sit there for another 10 years. It could double to $5 million without me adding new money to it.

    You can use this same calculator to calculate how much time it’ll cost you to reach your financial independence number.

    It depends on your monthly contribution, your target number, and the expected yearly return in what time you’ll reach your goal.

    Looking at your current life and your retirement goal, should you change something, or are you on the right path?

    Meaning, maybe you find that you spent way too much on designer clothes, fancy dinners and should cut your spending if you want early retirement. 

    Or maybe you find that you live too frugally and could afford a bit more luxury in your current lifestyle.

    Now you understand the fundamentals let’s take a look at the different cloning machines you can use.

    One of the cloning machines I use is the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF.

    The average annual return of the S&P 500 from 1957 through 2018 is roughly 8%.

    If you use the Rule of 72 and expect an 8% annual return, your investment takes nine years to double since 72 divided by 8 is 9 years. That’s how the Rule of 72 works. You divide 72 by your expected yearly return. The result is the number of years it’ll take you to double your investment. The Rule of 72 is not 100% accurate, but it does paint a pretty good picture.

    As of now, my total investments are now worth $165,000, whereas 72% of that number sits in the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF.

    I recently also started to diversify a bit by buying the Vanguard All-world ETF and the Vanguard emerging markets ETF.

    These investments, or cloning machines I refer to them in this video, are relatively low-risk cloning machines.

    If you don’t want to wait 9 years for your money to double in value, you need to choose higher-risk cloning machines. 

    Higher-risk investments can be buying growth stocks of an individual company like Tesla. The stock price of Tesla tripled in value in less than a year.

    Some people put a big percentage of their total investments into such high-risk investments, but the famous investing book, the Intelligent Investor, doesn’t recommend doing that.

    It recommends only putting as high as 10% of your total net worth into higher-risk investments.

    You should only use the money for such high-risk investments you won’t lose sleep over if you were to lose it.

    The same story for cryptocurrencies. Especially alt-coins like Dogecoin. I currently have 15% of my total net worth in Bitcoin and Ethereum. As of now, I’m not buying more crypto because I find 15% of speculative investments in my portfolio is already high enough. 

    So, how do you know what you need when you retire on a year-to-year basis? In most other YouTube videos, blogs, or books, they suggest looking at your last 12 months’ expenses. 

    But if I were to do that now, it wouldn’t be a realistic number. I’m now living in a relatively cheap rental property and don’t have any kids, and I’m aggressively saving and investing. 

    I also don’t know how my business will develop in the upcoming 3 to 5 years. Let’s say, for example, my income would double or triple. In that case, I probably will spend more since I have more money to spend.

    So, looking at my current expenses from the past 12 months, I don’t think that will give me a realistic outlook on my future life since I see it changing a lot in the upcoming 3 to 5 years-meaning; having kids and moving into a more expensive house.

    If you have most of your life figured out you CAN look at your 12-month expenses and work with that.

    In my case, I believe if I have 60,000 euros to spend each year, I’m more than happy. And just so you know, 60,000 is way more than I currently spent.

    Using the most-used financial independence number calculator, I divide 60,000 by 4%, which is 1.5 million euros.

    As far as my strategy goes, I hope for the best and aim for the worst, so I aim for 3%. This means I need to have 2 million euros invested in being able to call myself financially free.

    The moment I have my life more figured out, meaning; I bought a house, have kids, and have a better understanding of my real expenses year over year, I will recalculate whether the 60,000 euros per year is sufficient.

    How to reach financial independence (faster)

    To put it simply, if you don’t invest a big portion of your money into stuff that will be worth more in the future AND/OR generates you money every month, you will NEVER reach financial freedom.

    Maybe you know people who put a big portion of their money into the home they are living in. 

    Yes, that home will probably be worth more 10 years down the line than the number they paid for it today.

    But will that home alone helps that person become financially free one day? 

    The home they live in itself doesn’t earn them money because they live in it themself.

    If they sell it, then yes, they probably made some more money, but where will they live after selling their home? 

    Okay, maybe they sell their $500,000 home and rent a place to live in for the rest of their life. 

    But what do they do with all that money? Those $500,000. 

    They probably don’t know anything about investing their money into assets because they didn’t do that their entire life. 

    The chance of them doing that now is pretty slim.

    That’s why people most people who got rich quickly lost most of their money quickly because they simply don’t know how to deal with all that money. 

    If you get rich slow, you will learn slowly over time what to do with your money.

    If they just put that $500,000 in the bank and plan to live off that, in that case, they can only live for around 14 years if they spend $3,000 per month from that half a million dollars.

    14 years isn’t a lot of time, and $3,000 per month isn’t a lot of money in some countries and areas in this world.

    So, in summary, all those people you know who never bought something else that appreciates in value besides the home they live in will probably never become financially free. 

    Or at the very least, when they reach the legal retirement age in their country and have a decent social retirement plan. In Holland, where I live, that’s when you reach the age of 67.

    If you plan to reach your financial independence sooner without solely relying on the government, whether they have your back or not, you need to switch gears. Rather sooner than later.

    So what options do you have?

    You can buy real estate, stocks, and crypto, and maybe some other things.

    The thing is, how much money can you save & invest every month?

    If you have a 9 to 5 job, you probably receive a paycheck every month.

    After your expenses, how much do money do you have left to invest?

    In most cases, that’s not thousands of dollars.

    If you do earn tens of thousands of dollars per month by working your day job then good for you. 

    If you’re happy with your life, then you should definitely continue doing that.

    The thing is if you earn more than $10,000 per month working your 9 to 5 job, you probably need to commit lots of your waking hours to that job. You have such high responsibilities that your boss demands lots of your energy.

    Again, if you are happy by doing that, then you’re good. You’re settled.

    Most people don’t earn more than $10,000 per month with their 9 to 5 job. Most people also don’t make more than $5,000 per month working their 9 to 5.

    According to the website The Balance Careers [dot] com, the average salary of a US worker is $51,168 per year.

    That’s a bit more than $4,000 per month

    How much can you save and invest every month while still enjoying your life and doing fun things with your family and friends?

    In many personal finance books, they suggest investing 10% of your monthly income. If you are a real enthusiast, you can do 20%

    Let’s say you do 10%. 

    That’s $400 per month.

    If your goal is to have $4,000 of available monthly income when you were to quit your job based on your investments, you’ll need $1.6 million dollars invested. 

    $4,000 * 400 = 1.6 million dollars invested.

    Once you are at the 1.6 million mark, you can basically subtract $4,000 per month from your investments without running out of money since the average return rate of the stock market is higher than the number you deduct from it every year.

    According to this investment calculator, it’ll take you 41 years to reach your financial freedom number, which is 1.6 million dollars invested if we expect a yearly return of 8% and your monthly contribution is $400.

    41 years is a lot.

    So, are there any ideas to reduce the investment length to, let’s say, 10 or 20 years instead of 41?

    [NEW SPOT]

    Yes, there are always other options.

    You can choose to reduce your monthly living expenses. 

    Things include moving to a cheaper area, ditching 1 of the 2 cars you guys have, stop visiting fancy restaurants every week, and stop buying unnecessary items.

    You can also focus on making more money.

    The options you have here are asking for a raise, switching jobs, going back to school to focus on a higher paid job you might also like more than the one you have now, or focus on building a business.

    If you combine the two, reduce your monthly living expenses, and focus on making more money, you can jumpstart your investment journey and reduce your total investment length.

    Of course, it is totally up to you and a personal preference what path you feel most attracted to. 

    For me, it was focusing on building a business. 

    And not just any business.

    I didn’t want to start a restaurant, boutique, or something like that.

    I focused on building an online business. 

    Having an online business has so many advantages, like its flexibility and the endless opportunities to make money. 

    There’s no limit to how much money you can make if you sell something online, whether that’s a message you’re trying to convey in videos like I’m doing now or if you selling a virtual product like an ebook or a physical product like a paperback book. 

    It doesn’t cost me more time if 100,000 people watch this video instead of 5 people. The amount of energy I spent on it is the same. 

    Same thing with selling ebooks or paperback books or other products.

    I have said this before in other videos, but I’ll repeat it. Having an online business is like having an employee working for you 24/7. Your business never closes. It’s always open. 

    My YouTube channel is always open for the ones who want to watch.

    The puppy training business where I sell my puppy training books is always open for people who want to learn about puppy training and want to buy my books.

    My robot employee, or in other words, my blog and website and all my social media channels, are always available to anyone who wants to come in. 

    The beauty is, that some of those robots, like Facebook and YouTube doesn’t cost me anything. 

    Usually, when you have a physical store where you sell books or whatever you need to pay rent. Often, the rent you pay is a big portion of your monthly expenses.

    Of course, it cost money to set up a website, but that’s peanuts. It’s only a couple of dollars per month, and if you divide that dollar number by, the number of people who potentially can visit your website is crazy low. In other words, starting an online business is pretty much a no-brainer.

    So, yes, starting an online business changed my life forever.

    For starters, as said before, I have close to $100,000 worth of S&P 500 stocks, and my crypto portfolio grew to more than $40,000. 

    And I only started investing in May 2019. 

    The moment my online business performed better and better, I invested more every month.

    These are the latest transactions of my S&P 500 investments and crypto investments every month.

    The sole reason I can invest this much every month is because of my online business.

    And now comes the best part.

    Nowadays, I only spend 1-3 hours per week on my puppy training business that generates most of my income. All of those investments I made for the S&P 500 and crypto came from my puppy training business I starting building years ago.

    Do you remember me telling you that the people who make more than $10,000 per month from their 9 to 5 job probably have a high demanding job? 

    They need to make long days, and they have a high responsibility.

    Well, in 2020, I earned $271,792 in revenue after VAT.

    Whereas more than $167,000 of that number is profit.

    Dividing 167,000 by 12 months is more than $13,000. I still need to pay income tax on that number, but it’s still a high-paying job, right?

    Again, the beauty is that I didn’t spend lots of hours working on it. It’s because I have those robot employees I talked about earlier.

    The moral of the story is that I truly believe having an online business can help you so much in your life, financially, and allowing you to spend more time doing the things you like to do.

    I also understand that not everyone feels the same way about this as me.

    For instance, I work from home. I don’t have any colleagues sitting next to me I can joke around with. 

    When I grab a cup of coffee, there’s usually no one to talk to like you have when you work in a big office with multiple people.

    Furthermore, you need to be disciplined when working by yourself. 

    There’s no one to check up on you whether you do your job correctly or whether you get out of bed early to start building that business you want.

    I wrote my 4 puppy training books while working my 9 to 5 job back in 2016 and 2017.

    Most of the days, I woke up at around 5 or 6 am to start writing those books before heading off to my 9 to 5.

    There’s an upside and a downside to everything.

    The thing is, I value the upsides I discussed in this video more than the downsides.

    Whether you feel the same way about it doesn’t really matter.

    Your vision of a good life might look totally different than mine, and that’s okay.

    The most important thing is that you do what you want to do in your life. You only live once, right?

    I’m curious; let me know in the comments below what your strategy is for reaching your financial freedom number.

    Are you working a 9 to 5 job? 

    Do you aspire to build an online business too?

    Also, what’s your investment strategy? Do you also invest every single month as I do? In other words, dollar-cost averaging? 

    I would love to get to know you.

    Lastly, if you want to know more about starting an online business, I wrote free in-depth guides for you to get started. 

    Visit my website www.creatoregg.com for those free in-depth guides, or check out the video’s description for links to those in-depth guides for you to get started building an online business as I did with my puppy training business.

    Thanks for watching, and hopefully, see you in the next video.

    It’s also a good thing to think about your current active income. In other words, how do you make a living nowadays?

    Are you happy with where you are? Do you enjoy your job? 

    Are you happy with your monthly salary?

    If yes, then good for you.

    If not, you should make an effort to changing your situation.

    For me, I worked at an internet marketing agency as an internet marketing consultant from 2015 to 2017.

    I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and never stopped chasing my dream while working my 9 to 5 job.

    My last day at my 9 to 5 job was in June 2017 and never looked back since.

    The majority of my monthly income comes from me selling my four self-published books about puppy training. I sell them on my blog, which receives thousands of visitors every day.

    It’s not that I built this blog and my books overnight, but I do reap the benefits now since I only spent around 1 to 3 hours per week on it while earning a high salary from it.

    Of course, in the beginning, I worked long hours to get this thing from the ground without seeing any monetary reward. But that’s the thing with long-term goals. In the beginning, it seems you’re not making progress. But looking at the big picture, you’re always improving.

    I’m not saying you need to start a business or change careers. I’m just saying that I believe almost anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

    That’s all I got to say for this video. Make to let me know about your situation. What’s your Financial independence number? And what’s your current situation? Why are you interested in pursuing FI? Do you want to retire or just like the idea of not having to stress about money like me?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Make sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel. Every Thursday, there’s a new video coming.

    If you want to know more about building an online business and such, follow me on my other YouTube channel, where I also publish a new video every Monday.

    Also, check out my website, creatoregg.com, for more info related to building an online business.

    If you want to say hi on one of my socials, please do so. Almost every day, I’m posting something new.

    Thank you for watching, and hopefully, we’ll meet again next time. 

    Byebye.