Quickest Path to Financial Independence

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Bravo
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Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Bravo » Thu May 18, 2017 1:54 pm

Dear friends in investing,

Let me quickly explain my situation:

SITUATION: I am in my mid-thirties. I am a freelance artist.

GOAL: Generating anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 annually in investment income.

I would like to reach this goal as soon as possible so I don't have to worry where my next paycheck will come from and can take risks on passion projects.

Could you please provide your views on where I should put my savings?

I currently use VFIAX and own shares in 8 US companies I like (AAPL, FB, AXP, DIS etc.). I understand these investment vehicles don't generate fixed payouts.

Thank you for your time!

RadAudit
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by RadAudit » Thu May 18, 2017 9:10 pm

Welcome to the forum. Consider this a bump up.

At a 4% withdrawal rate, you're asking how to generate ~$1.25 to ~$2.5 million quickly. Excellent question.

I'd try to figure out how to either live on less or combine a job with your passions; because I really don't know an answer to your question.
"Everything will be all right in the end. If everything is not all right, then it is not the end." - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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CaliJim
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by CaliJim » Thu May 18, 2017 9:28 pm

Hi and Welcome!

I have compassion for your situation. Freelance work can be feast or famine.

Yeah... what has been said already.... you need to have a seven figure net worth. Ugh.

So just earn more, save more, spend less! Easy peezee! :twisted:

Unfortunately, in investing, we have a saying: "There's no such thing as a free lunch." TNSSTAAFL. Risk and return go hand in hand. You can't get high returns without putting your money at greater risk.

The boglehead approach is to seek the most efficient investments that fit the investor's risk tolerance.

And the primary tool for controlling risk the boglehead way is dialing in the asset allocation... the stock equity to bond ratio. Higher ratios equal greater risk.

The Wiki here contains a lot of fantastic well organized free information about investing:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started

And then... if you like to read books, here are two good ones:
https://www.amazon.com/Bogleheads-Guide ... 0470919019
https://www.amazon.com/Richest-Man-Baby ... 0451205367

The vast majority of people make the bulk of their money through their work, and then keep their wealth through conservative investments. You're not going to get much help with a get rich quick investment here. We haven't a clue as to how to do that.

The Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Fund (VSMGX) would be a great set it and forget it type of fund for an artist. Sock as much into this fund as you can. With an investment like this you can minimize time spent worrying about investments and focus on marketing your work and expanding your skills and reputation!

And also make sure you are taking advantage of saving money in tax sheltered IRA accounts for withdrawal when you are older.

Best Wishes
Last edited by CaliJim on Thu May 18, 2017 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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aristotelian
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by aristotelian » Thu May 18, 2017 9:33 pm

Best thing to do is probably get a super high paying job on Wall Street, work for 10 years, move to Canada or a Scandinavian country with national health care, and retire early.

You could stake your portfolio on Snapchat or Tesla and hope they become the next Facebook.

Otherwise your best bet is to work and save 15-25% of your income until normal retirement age. As a freelancer, you might want to save a bit more and keep it in liquid cash so that you have a cushion for times of unemployment. You would not want to use investments for regular income because that will cut into their growth.

avalpert
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by avalpert » Thu May 18, 2017 9:50 pm

I don't mean this to be glib, but the quickest path is to marry rich or find yourself a benefactor for your art that will support you.

You are looking at getting ~$2m portfolio or more to support that much income consistently.

Saving in stocks, without consistent income, may someday build up a nice nest egg but it won't get you to financial independence quickly.

Finance-MD
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Finance-MD » Thu May 18, 2017 9:53 pm

How much are you earning right now per year?
Are you earning 50k-100k right now and want to replace it 100% or are you making 200k-300k and looking to replace a portion of it?

In general, if you own unleverged rental real estate, you will get a higher dividend payout (rent) in proportion to value growth in comparison to the stock market. For example, if both rental real estate and the stock market earn 7% per year, a rental is approximately 5% dividend and 2% growth whereas the stock market is the opposite.

If your goal is strictly cash flow, buying rentals with good cash flow I believe will get you there more efficiently. This of course takes some work and knowledge and is not 100% passive. If you leverage real estate, you could get to cash flowing those numbers you want much faster than getting up to 1.25-2.5M in the stock market and taking a 4% withdrawal.

The highest cash flows in rentals dollar per dollar are in short term / vacation rentals. Let's say you had a 4-plex in a part of town where hotels run $300/night. You may be able to rent 3 of them each at $100/night and live in the 4th one yourself. If you get 70% occupancy, you will get $6300/Month. You would still have to pay the overhead (e.g. Mortgage, tax, etc.) but this is high cash flow. Yes, this is a job. But if you are a freelancer, it can be a very cost effective way to earn cash since you may be able to work from home and would be available to manage the property. Of course you could outsource management, but then have to pay for it.

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CaliJim
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by CaliJim » Fri May 19, 2017 1:40 pm

Finance-MD wrote:How much are you earning right now per year?
Are you earning 50k-100k right now and want to replace it 100% or are you making 200k-300k and looking to replace a portion of it?

In general, if you own unleverged rental real estate, you will get a higher dividend payout (rent) in proportion to value growth in comparison to the stock market. For example, if both rental real estate and the stock market earn 7% per year, a rental is approximately 5% dividend and 2% growth whereas the stock market is the opposite.

If your goal is strictly cash flow, buying rentals with good cash flow I believe will get you there more efficiently. This of course takes some work and knowledge and is not 100% passive. If you leverage real estate, you could get to cash flowing those numbers you want much faster than getting up to 1.25-2.5M in the stock market and taking a 4% withdrawal.

The highest cash flows in rentals dollar per dollar are in short term / vacation rentals. Let's say you had a 4-plex in a part of town where hotels run $300/night. You may be able to rent 3 of them each at $100/night and live in the 4th one yourself. If you get 70% occupancy, you will get $6300/Month. You would still have to pay the overhead (e.g. Mortgage, tax, etc.) but this is high cash flow. Yes, this is a job. But if you are a freelancer, it can be a very cost effective way to earn cash since you may be able to work from home and would be available to manage the property. Of course you could outsource management, but then have to pay for it.


2 Notes: Rental Property Ownership and Management is a JOB, not a passive investment. Leveraging rental property (borrowing in order to own it) does have the risk of negative cash flow. Make sure you do some financial scenario modeling in Excel before you borrow money to buy rental property. There are a lot of sharks in that pool.
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knpstr
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by knpstr » Fri May 19, 2017 2:04 pm

Setting aside winning the lottery, marrying well, etc.. rental real estate, but I'd caution it isn't for everyone.

Here in the Midwest about $625,000 in property would give cash flow of $50,000/yr.
Of course the "catch" is finding the properties that work, but it is possible.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

Finance-MD
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Finance-MD » Fri May 19, 2017 3:04 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Finance-MD wrote:How much are you earning right now per year?
Are you earning 50k-100k right now and want to replace it 100% or are you making 200k-300k and looking to replace a portion of it?

In general, if you own unleverged rental real estate, you will get a higher dividend payout (rent) in proportion to value growth in comparison to the stock market. For example, if both rental real estate and the stock market earn 7% per year, a rental is approximately 5% dividend and 2% growth whereas the stock market is the opposite.

If your goal is strictly cash flow, buying rentals with good cash flow I believe will get you there more efficiently. This of course takes some work and knowledge and is not 100% passive. If you leverage real estate, you could get to cash flowing those numbers you want much faster than getting up to 1.25-2.5M in the stock market and taking a 4% withdrawal.

The highest cash flows in rentals dollar per dollar are in short term / vacation rentals. Let's say you had a 4-plex in a part of town where hotels run $300/night. You may be able to rent 3 of them each at $100/night and live in the 4th one yourself. If you get 70% occupancy, you will get $6300/Month. You would still have to pay the overhead (e.g. Mortgage, tax, etc.) but this is high cash flow. Yes, this is a job. But if you are a freelancer, it can be a very cost effective way to earn cash since you may be able to work from home and would be available to manage the property. Of course you could outsource management, but then have to pay for it.


2 Notes: Rental Property Ownership and Management is a JOB, not a passive investment. Leveraging rental property (borrowing in order to own it) does have the risk of negative cash flow. Make sure you do some financial scenario modeling in Excel before you borrow money to buy rental property. There are a lot of sharks in that pool.


yes. rental property investment, particularly short term rentals. I did say "Yes, this is a job." However, I could have bolded and italicized this to make sure it was clear. It is a job that generates investment income. She did not say "passive investment," so I included this. And yes, some rentals can be negative cash flow, especially when leveraged. I did also say "buying rentals with good cash flow I believe will get you there more efficiently."


Not all properties make good investment properties. This is where knowledge, expertise, and work are involved. However, you can always leverage other people's knowledge/experience/expertise.

Also, rentals can be more passive by putting layers of people between you and the property; this will decrease ROI in percentage but is scalable in dollars.

The OP's question is the "quickest path to financial independence."
Short of winning $1M in the lottery or marrying wealthy, etc... passive investments are not going to get there 'quickly' without a lot of capital today. I provided one potentially realistic scenario where one could actually quickly attain the level of cash flow she would like without necessarily a substantial up front capital investment (e.g. procure 1 good property and get a good AirBnB running). I haven't seen any other offered suggestion that will get her $50k per year.
I have an airbnb myself, and it generate lots of investment income. And I have friends who easily cash flow $2000/month on each 1 BR AirBnB they run in our area... The market may not stay this way forever, but it is a feasible scenario. If the margins go down over time, can get more properties. Are there risks? absolutely. Are the risk adjusted returns better than indexing? perhaps. Can it get $50k/year annually -- absolutely.

10YearPlan
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by 10YearPlan » Fri May 19, 2017 3:58 pm

I agree with the others that the path to financial independence is usually not a fast one, but you can improve your chances through a combination of the following:
1. Earn more income. As a freelancer, you may already know this, but there are lots of apps related to the "gig economy" that you can potentially cobble together to augment your income. You can do more jobs when you're available and fewer when you're not. I've seen everything from doing personal assistant type work to babysitting to dog walking to voice over work offered on some of these sites. Depending on what kind of artist you are, you may be able to combine that passion with additional income streams.
2. Dramatically reduce expenses. See the Mr. Money Mustache blog for inspiration. I could NEVER do half of what is proposed on that blog but many do. And he seems to have sort of a cult following. This would boost your savings rate but perhaps even more importantly reduce the amount you need to sustain yourself long term.

KlangFool
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by KlangFool » Fri May 19, 2017 4:17 pm

Bravo wrote:Dear friends in investing,

Let me quickly explain my situation:

SITUATION: I am in my mid-thirties. I am a freelance artist.

GOAL: Generating anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 annually in investment income.

I would like to reach this goal as soon as possible so I don't have to worry where my next paycheck will come from and can take risks on passion projects.

Could you please provide your views on where I should put my savings?

I currently use VFIAX and own shares in 8 US companies I like (AAPL, FB, AXP, DIS etc.). I understand these investment vehicles don't generate fixed payouts.

Thank you for your time!


Bravo,

My answer to your question:

<<Quickest Path to Financial Independence>>

is having a realistic view of your actual annual expense.

<< GOAL: Generating anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 annually in investment income.>>

I seriously doubt that your actual annual expense is 50K to 100K per year. In any case, if you reduce your annual expense now, you could be financial independence quicker.

A) Since your annual expense is lower, you could save and invest more.

B) With lower annual expense, the amount of money that you need for FI is lower.

You could speed up your process to be FI.

Save and invest more. Spend less.

KlangFool

Bravo
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Bravo » Mon May 22, 2017 3:13 pm

Thank you very much for your time and replies. Everyone has been extremely helpful and informative.

I suspect I may have been partly misunderstood. Perhaps my wording was too ambiguous and my post title too silly to be taken seriously. Fair enough.

Money is not the issue here. My finances are in order and I have 0 debt (no mortgages either).

I am asking where to put my money and how much I need to put in whatever investment vehicle in order to generate $50 to $100k annually (I know markets are the X factor here).

I have a good handle of my budgeting and finances. In this scenario where I go native I "can't afford" to make less than $50k per year and don't need to make over $100k. Given historical market trends, I think this is a good range to work with.

I have multi-family investment properties and have done Airbnb in the past. Good money. Too much work. Not interested. Even when I outsourced it 100% to a company, it was still too much work.

My number one goal in life is to be left alone ;-)

I am looking to simplify, simplify, simplify!

In your opinion, how much cash do I need to start with?

Where would you put that cash and forget it?

Thank you guys!

Btw, I am not a she... but a he ;-)
Last edited by Bravo on Mon May 22, 2017 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aristotelian
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by aristotelian » Mon May 22, 2017 3:19 pm

Bravo wrote:Thank you very much for your time and replies. Everyone has been extremely helpful and informative.

I suspect I may have been partly misunderstood. Perhaps my wording was too ambiguous.

I am not asking how to make money. I am asking where to put my money and how much I need to put in whatever investment vehicle in order to generate $50 to $100k annually (I know markets are the X factor here so let's say 50 to 100k is an average.

In your opinion is $1.25 mil enough? Great! No? Do I need $2 mil? Where would you place that amount of funds to generate the desired income?

Thank you guys!


Most of the literature recommends a 4% withdrawal rate as safe with a 30 year horizon. With a longer "retirement" period you would want to be more conservative and only withdraw about 3 to 3.25%. That would put you at needing about $3M to generate $100K annually.

Here is a good thread on the topic:

viewtopic.php?t=219423

The Wizard
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by The Wizard » Mon May 22, 2017 3:21 pm

To maximize lifetime income, I would use annuities (SPIAs) for at least a portion.
But if you're starting early, age 35 or so, the payout wouldn't be so great.

For living on dividends, VTSAX pays maybe 2% per year while a dividend focused fund pays maybe 3% presently.
So to get $100,000 in dividends, you'd need $3M to $5M in those funds, which is quite a bit...
Attempted new signature...

bigred77
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by bigred77 » Mon May 22, 2017 3:37 pm

You need 25 times your annual expenses in order to start the conversation. So for 50k - 100k in income you need $1.25M - $2.5M to get in the ballpark. Being in the ballpark assumes your "passion projects" as an artist could possibly bring in some additional income. If you are implying that you don't think you will ever be able to generate any income again you would probably want more than the figures stated above because you need to portfolio to last for an awfully long time.

Your holding of 8 individual stocks is likely going to be considered a mistake by most here (myself included).

You asked where should you put your savings. Well assuming you have investable assets close the range given above, I would start the conversation somewhere around 1/3 each in US total stock market, INTL, and fixed income. Then you'd probably want to educate yourself further to fine tune anything after that.

Bravo
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Bravo » Mon May 22, 2017 3:53 pm

Thank you guys.

I will start doing some research on VSMGX. Any other Vanguard set-and-forget type of funds I should look at?

I guess the initial capital consensus from what I was able to gather from the replies given me is around $3M.

$3M in VSMGX and I can unplug? ...promise? ;-)

As a side note, I'll probably never stop making money... I just don't want to HAVE to make money when I've got nothing relevant to tell the world ;-) ...saving everyone lots of time.

Countermoon
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Countermoon » Mon May 22, 2017 4:00 pm

In all honesty, marrying a high-income earner can make a big difference.

chicagoan23
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by chicagoan23 » Mon May 22, 2017 4:07 pm

Bravo wrote:Thank you guys.

I will start doing some research on VSMGX. Any other Vanguard set-and-forget type of funds I should look at?

I guess the initial capital consensus from what I was able to gather from the replies given me is around $3M.

$3M in VSMGX and I can unplug? ...promise? ;-)

As a side note, I'll probably never stop making money... I just don't want to HAVE to make money when I've got nothing relevant to tell the world ;-) ...saving everyone lots of time.


It still seems like you need to provide more information. Is this all after-tax money being invested? Are you single/without dependents? Own or rent your home? You mentioned you were debt free and previously owned investment properties, but were not clear about your current living situation.

If you want to unplug completely, put $4.5 million in 10-year Treasuries, and you'll get your income. If you are drawing down principal and expecting it to last longer-term, you may need to be more aggressive than that. If you have tax consequences when taking distributions, that changes the answer too.

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whodidntante
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by whodidntante » Mon May 22, 2017 7:49 pm

Make lots of money, and invest most of it.

nwrolla
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by nwrolla » Mon May 22, 2017 11:49 pm

As others have noted. It is not a " quick path" I guess it could be if you can save 70%+ of your income but that is definitely not the average person.

A good book on the topic is Jim Colin's simple path to wealth. It is all about simplifying your investment life and saving for FI.

I'm late 20s on the path as well and understand wanting it to be a quick journey but math is math and your two options are earn more or spend less.

Good luck !

Bravo
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Bravo » Wed May 24, 2017 12:27 pm

Thanks guys. I got my answer.

There are a few fixed income with principal growth options at Vanguard.

One would need around $2 millions.

The starting monthly payout would be $6,103 (that's $73,236/year)

This is by roughly applying the 4% rule.

Here is a very useful link from Vanguard to help anyone calculate how much they would need to start with:

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... -payout/#/

Vanguard offers something called LifeStrategy Funds

They are a mix of equity index funds and fixed-income funds.

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... #/?lang=en

Obviously it all depends on your situation and how much risk you can tolerate.

A big factor to keep in mind is whether you favor income or principal growth.

Bogleheads does an excellent job in describing how they work:

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Vanguar ... tegy_Funds

I hope others can find this of some help.

aristotelian
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by aristotelian » Wed May 24, 2017 1:07 pm

Bravo wrote:Thanks guys. I got my answer.

There are a few fixed income with principal growth options at Vanguard.

One would need around $2 millions.

The starting monthly payout would be $6,103 (that's $73,236/year)

This is by roughly applying the 4% rule.

Here is a very useful link from Vanguard to help anyone calculate how much they would need to start with:

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... -payout/#/

Vanguard offers something called LifeStrategy Funds

They are a mix of equity index funds and fixed-income funds.

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... #/?lang=en

Obviously it all depends on your situation and how much risk you can tolerate.

A big factor to keep in mind is whether you favor income or principal growth.

Bogleheads does an excellent job in describing how they work:

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Vanguar ... tegy_Funds

I hope others can find this of some help.


Bravo,
The first link is to a specific investment called the Managed Payout Fund. It is an interesting investment that would provide constant income similar to an annuity except that (if I understand correctly) the principal is not spent down and would go to your heirs when you die. Still, while a 4% (almost) guaranteed return is excellent for a low risk fund, that is less than the expected long term return of a typical stocks-and-bonds portfolio. Also if you spent the 4%, the principal would not grow with inflation, so if you were looking for stable income over 40+ years, with stable principal your $75K withdrawal would only be worth $30k or less in the future. Which is to say, this is an investment that would make more sense for an elderly person in retirement.

The Lifestrategy Funds would be more appropriate while you are young, even if you are early-retired, but then you would give up the guaranteed annual payout.

In general, you probably want a withdrawal rate closer to 3% rather than 4%, so that would point to principal closer to $3M, and you would want an investment portfolio that would at least keep pace with inflation.

avalpert
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by avalpert » Wed May 24, 2017 2:11 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Bravo wrote:Thanks guys. I got my answer.

There are a few fixed income with principal growth options at Vanguard.

One would need around $2 millions.

The starting monthly payout would be $6,103 (that's $73,236/year)

This is by roughly applying the 4% rule.

Here is a very useful link from Vanguard to help anyone calculate how much they would need to start with:

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... -payout/#/

Vanguard offers something called LifeStrategy Funds

They are a mix of equity index funds and fixed-income funds.

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-fu ... #/?lang=en

Obviously it all depends on your situation and how much risk you can tolerate.

A big factor to keep in mind is whether you favor income or principal growth.

Bogleheads does an excellent job in describing how they work:

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Vanguar ... tegy_Funds

I hope others can find this of some help.


Bravo,
The first link is to a specific investment called the Managed Payout Fund. It is an interesting investment that would provide constant income similar to an annuity except that (if I understand correctly) the principal is not spent down and would go to your heirs when you die. Still, while a 4% (almost) guaranteed return is excellent for a low risk fund,

That fund does not guarantee, or almost guarantee, a 4% return - or any level of return. It targets (again doesn't guarantee) a 4% payout rate but that payout can include return of principal so it should not be conflated with returns. This is not like an annuity product at all in terms of the risks associated with them.

aristotelian
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by aristotelian » Wed May 24, 2017 2:31 pm

avalpert wrote:Bravo,
The first link is to a specific investment called the Managed Payout Fund. It is an interesting investment that would provide constant income similar to an annuity except that (if I understand correctly) the principal is not spent down and would go to your heirs when you die. Still, while a 4% (almost) guaranteed return is excellent for a low risk fund,

That fund does not guarantee, or almost guarantee, a 4% return - or any level of return. It targets (again doesn't guarantee) a 4% payout rate but that payout can include return of principal so it should not be conflated with returns. This is not like an annuity product at all in terms of the risks associated with them.[/quote]

Good distinction between target and guarantee. Also this:

The Managed Payout Fund may not be appropriate for all investors. For example, depending on the time horizon, retirement income needs, and tax bracket, an investment in the fund might not be appropriate for younger investors not currently in retirement, for investors under age 59½ who may hold the fund in an IRA other tax-advantaged account, or for participants in employer-sponsored plans.

wolf359
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Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by wolf359 » Thu May 25, 2017 6:54 am

The path to Financial Independence involves four items. The quickest path is to take all four simultaneously.

1) Reduce Expenses.
2) Increase Income.
3) Change your definition of Financial Independence.
4) Invest wisely.

1) REDUCE EXPENSES.

Every dollar you spend is after-tax. Every dollar in income that you get is pre-tax. The more you make, the more you get taxed. There are ways around this, but before you can start investing in yourself or investing in the stock market, you have to have money. If you want to do this, you have to take dramatic steps.

If you have a spouse who works, live on the lower of your two incomes, and bank 100% of the other one.

Focus on your taxes, housing, transportation, food, and education expenses.

- Taxes are your single biggest expense. Tax defer what you can.

- Housing is your next biggest expense. If you are single and own a home, rent out every other room of the house. Or buy a duplex and rent out the other half. Doing this can completely eliminate your housing expense and possibly increase your income. If you are renting, get roommates. When young and single, living by yourself is expensive, and hobbles your ability to save quickly. Don't pick housing based on luxury, or resell, or your future kids education. Keep the expense as low as possible.

- Transportation is your next biggest. Don't buy new cars. If possible, don't buy a car at all. Use public transportation or a bike. No car means no car payments, no maintenance, no insurance, no gas. Get a car sharing service if you have to. Rent a car for long haul trips.

- Food is generally up next. Learn how to cook from scratch. Invest in a chest freezer and buy food in bulk. Don't eat out. Stop drinking alcohol.

- Education expense is tricky. Investing in yourself can build skills and build income, but student debt is out of control. Make the ROI calculation and make sure that before you spend money for education, that the skills you learn will pay back the expense of the class.

Ben Franklin lived in a pre-income tax society. If you are in the 25% tax bracket, the next dollar you earn will be taxed at 25 cents. If you simply don't spend a dollar, you have the full dollar's value available to use. Thus, "a penny saved is worth more than a penny earned."

Sorry, saving and being frugal is hard and unsexy. It's more fun to want to know how to make lots of money or invest in the secret magical investment that will blow up. The truth is that at the heart of a rich person's path to millions is simple frugality, the ability to spend purposefully, to minimize expenses so that more money is available to invest and become rich. If you skip this step, you don't become rich. If you do this step radically different than the masses, and save 50-75% of your income or more, you're on the path to financial independence faster than others.

2. INCREASE INCOME.
Earning more money lets you invest more money. Invest in yourself. Start a business. Identify a problem you're having in your life, see if other people are also having this problem, and solve it. Sell your solution, or sell the knowledge on how to solve the solution. How do your fellow artists market themselves, do their taxes, get known, or get things sold?

For example, check out the origin story for CD BABY. From Wikipedia: "CD Baby was founded in 1998 in Woodstock, New York, by Derek Sivers.[5] Sivers was a musician who created the website to sell his own music. As a hobby, he also began to sell the CDs of local bands and friends. Sivers originally listened to every CD he sold (the company later employed people specifically to do this, but today, CD Baby no longer listens to every submission). CD Baby went on to become the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients."

3. CHANGE YOUR DEFINITION OF FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE.
You're defining financial independence as $50,000-$100,000. Why? Is that a number out of a hat? Is that just a number that sounds good? I'm not challenging that number, I'm challenging why you picked that number.

One suggestion is to change your definition to make it something that directly relates to your life. Your better definition was "so I don't have to worry where my next paycheck will come from and can take risks on passion projects." That number is lower.

What if you live on $24,000 a year, and have $100,000 in the bank. You wouldn't have to worry about passion projects for 5 years, and you could take risks on passion projects immediately. (For that matter, if you live on $24,000 a year, you'd be set for life with only $600,000.)

Financial independence could also be defined as "reaching that point where the finances don't matter." It doesn't mean that you have to be set for life.

Changing the goalposts will also drastically speed up your path. You can reach $600,000 much easier than you can hit $2 million. I'm not saying life's ambitions stop at that point, or even that it's the right goal for you. But you might just aim at an income target that will allow you to survive and not worry about your next paycheck. You don't have to live in luxury for the rest of your life.

4) INVEST WISELY
Normally I'd go into the importance of investing, but you already get it. Ironically, for a freelance artist, your goal is to become a capitalist. That is, you will own enough of corporate America that you will live off the proceeds of your capital.

As for the specific investment path, I'd recommend low cost index funds. Don't market time, and don't pick individual stocks. There is no magic investment. Slow and steady wins the race. Save, earn more, and invest regularly. Read up on the Boglehead investment philosophy in the wiki. Or read the free book "If you Can," by William Bernstein.

Bravo
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 1:24 pm

Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by Bravo » Fri May 26, 2017 1:38 pm

@wolf359

Thank you for your time and kindness. Not only is your answer educational but your insight presents an alternative way of thinking this through.

I can't believe how well you have been able to define my predicament:

I AM AN ARTIST ASPIRING TO BE A CAPITALIST

I had never looked at it that way... but you are correct. I want to live off of the capital I can accumulate, work only on what I really care about and travel the world with my wife and kids.

I have been an artist all my life, at first just scraping by and now supporting a stay-at-home mom and two kids under 3.

We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination but we want for nothing, have zero debt, and have always two years worth of living expenses in savings (a mix of stocks, mutual funds, and cash).

As mentioned earlier, I owned (with some friends) a multi-family rental property a few years back but we sold it and I am now a renter.

In answer to your question, the $50k to $100k number came from an annual average of what we spent in the past 3 years as a family. That is how much we can all live on... surely if we moved to Cambodia we could live with a lot less. And even though we may visit that part of the world one day, I want the number to be $50k to $100k because we want the option to live anywhere ;-)

I consider frugality a virtue and we consciously embrace the simply-living, minimalist lifestyle. If we had to, we could live on $15k a year (not counting rent) but I prefer not to.

Part 2 of your answer got me thinking.

Your formula to find out what is "needed" and create a "solution" for it and then sell it, does not really work for me. Believe me, I have tried! I am utterly incapable of selling and marketing myself. Apart from when I work as a hired-gun, my work is subtle. That is the only work I can create. The moment I try to capitalize on it I lose inspiration and quit. I swear to you, I have tried maybe 50 times to go "commercial" and always ended up feeling miserable. This is no sob-story, just facts.

Can you see the predicament I am in?

My solution is to accumulate enough capital for my family and I to live off of so I can focus on my favorite work... which is ignored by the world at large but which gives me the kind of pleasure one must feel when touching the stars ;-)

I will read the book you recommended.

KlangFool
Posts: 6227
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by KlangFool » Fri May 26, 2017 1:54 pm

Bravo wrote:
In answer to your question, the $50k to $100k number came from an annual average of what we spent in the past 3 years as a family. That is how much we can all live on... surely if we moved to Cambodia we could live with a lot less. And even though we may visit that part of the world one day, I want the number to be $50k to $100k because we want the option to live anywhere ;-)

I consider frugality a virtue and we consciously embrace the simply-living, minimalist lifestyle. If we had to, we could live on $15k a year (not counting rent) but I prefer not to.

Part 2 of your answer got me thinking.

Your formula to find out what is "needed" and create a "solution" for it and then sell it, does not really work for me. Believe me, I have tried! I am utterly incapable of selling and marketing myself. Apart from when I work as a hired-gun, my work is subtle. That is the only work I can create. The moment I try to capitalize on it I lose inspiration and quit. I swear to you, I have tried maybe 50 times to go "commercial" and always ended up feeling miserable. This is no sob-story, just facts.

Can you see the predicament I am in?

My solution is to accumulate enough capital for my family and I to live off of so I can focus on my favorite work... which is ignored by the world at large but which gives me the kind of pleasure one must feel when touching the stars ;-)

I will read the book you recommended.


Bravo,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household ... ted_States

1) You are not frugal. US Median Household income is around 55K to 60K. If you are spending at the level of the median household income, you are not frugal.

2) Unless you are making 200K and above per year, then, you can claim that you are frugal as per your actual income.

<<I am utterly incapable of selling and marketing myself.>>

3) Then, don't sell and market yourself. Partner with someone else to do this for you.

<< I can focus on my favorite work... which is ignored by the world at large but which gives me the kind of pleasure one must feel when touching the stars ;-)>>

4) If your work only satisfies you, why should others pay for it? In that case, you are not working for money.

<< My solution is to accumulate enough capital for my family and I to live off of so I can focus on my favorite work...>>

5) Then, you need to compromise and create enough work that pays you well enough to do the non-profitable stuff.

KlangFool

letsgobobby
Posts: 10374
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Quickest Path to Financial Independence

Post by letsgobobby » Fri May 26, 2017 2:15 pm

Bravo wrote:Dear friends in investing,

Let me quickly explain my situation:

SITUATION: I am in my mid-thirties. I am a freelance artist.

GOAL: Generating anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 annually in investment income.

I would like to reach this goal as soon as possible so I don't have to worry where my next paycheck will come from and can take risks on passion projects.

Could you please provide your views on where I should put my savings?

I currently use VFIAX and own shares in 8 US companies I like (AAPL, FB, AXP, DIS etc.). I understand these investment vehicles don't generate fixed payouts.

Thank you for your time!

It's very easy. Put $20 million in a target date retirement fund, and you will have $50,000 to $100,000 in annual income.

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