2 Ways you can Become Financially Free and Quit your 9–5

Creating a lifestyle of financial freedom and flexibility is not always possible when working for an employer. Most of the time it’s because we often find ourselves getting so comfortable with the lifestyle it creates that we don’t consider all the other options out there that would be a better use of our time and money.

Reducing your cost of living is probably the first step to financial freedom. Really budgeting out how much money you spend on day to day things is important in gaging where you can go from here. Am I overspending on rent? Do I do spend WAY too much time online shopping for my own good? How do I end up spending $200 in one night when I go out with friends? Learning how your habits are contributing to a lack of financial freedom will help you focus on what options are available for you now and in the future.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is how can I reallocate my spending on things that truly benefit my growth as a person and my financial growth and accumulation of wealth. I’d focus on a couple options:

  1. Real estate investing is a powerful tool for accumulating wealth to become financially independent…if you do it correctly. You want to focus on cash flow positive properties that when rented, will cover the mortgage and provide a small profit. There are a lot of books, podcasts, and blogs out there on this and an excellent resource is BiggerPockets: The Real Estate Investing Social Network. A lot of people have even taken up “house-hacking” in which you buy a property (whether it be multi family or large apartment) and live in one unit or room, and rent out the other units or rooms to cover your mortgage payments, thereby living rent free while your property amortizes over a period of time.
  2. Work towards creating a business while you still have a job. There seems to be a misconception out there that you need a ton of money to start a business or venture. This is just not true. A couple really great reads to reposition your mindset is The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau or The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. The most important aspect to this option is to really take some time to evaluate what skills and strengths you can provide others. Every one has something to offer. What do you like to create? Are you a people person? Perhaps consider starting a more service-oriented business. Remember, you don’t need to be the best at everything. Outsourcing certain skills like web development, iphone app design, or even sales is a great way to take some of those daunting tasks off your plate so you can focus on what you do best. There are a ton of great freelance sites for this!

At the end of the day, it all comes down to time, effort, and money. If you don’t have a lot of money, then you need to increase the time and effort you spend on a specific task. If this is the case, focus on cutting your costs and increasing your savings so you can consider these paths to financial freedom. Buying a coffee at Starbucks each day for $3–4 dollars doesn’t seem like a big deal, but over the course of the year that’s $1,460 you could be saving, or $7300 in 5 years. If you combine that with reducing other costs say, bringing your lunch to work ($5 per day) instead of eating out every day ($10) and cooking instead of eating out one less day a week (savings of $25), that’s roughly $32,000 over the course of 5 years without really making any major overhauls to your life. It’s not about living frugally, it’s about living smart.

Most importantly, you should greatly increase your focus on learning and self-development. This is crucial for maintaining motivation and drive while creating the life you envision. Put time aside to read books or listen to podcasts about entrepreneurship, sales, real-estate, relationship management, networking, etc, or hire a coach to guide you through the process. Getting up to speed with living a successful life is really about surrounding yourself with resources and people that have the success mindset. As the saying goes, you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. So make sure you filter out all the junk (negative people, negative news, tv show binging) and start creating a direction and purpose for yourself. It’s only when you have purpose in the things you do, that you will really start to feel free, and the financial freedom will follow suit.