3 min read
In my first job ever I worked as a cashier at a grocery store. I earned $7.80 per hour and often worked 1 PM – 9 PM shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. It was dreadful.
Fortunately I was only 17 years old and still lived with my parents so the only bills I had were a monthly phone and car payment. This meant that I could afford to only work a few days a week and still have enough cash to blow on clothing, dining out, and going out with friends.
The only problem was that if I wanted more money I would have to work more hours. I’d have to trade free time for money.
At the time, I thought this was the way money worked. If you wanted more of it, you spent more time working. That’s what everyone else my age did. That’s what most adults I knew did too.
It wasn’t until I began to read personal finance books and blogs in college that I discovered there was another path. There was a way to earn money without giving up my precious free time. It was through owning assets that earned money for me.
Some examples of assets include stocks, REITs, websites, businesses, and products. By owning these things, I could receive an income without working. Some of these things I could directly buy (stocks and REITs) and some of these I could build (websites, businesses, products).
And that’s exactly what I have done over the past two years. I have bought stocks and REITs that pay me dividends each quarter and have the potential to appreciate in price. From dividends alone I receive almost $500 every three months. This number will continue to grow as I buy more equities.
I have also built this blog from the ground up, which has become an asset that works for me as well. Every blog post I have ever written sits out on the internet and works to earn me a few bucks each day through ads and affiliate links. I typically earn anywhere from $500 to $1,000 each month from the blog.
In the future, I plan on building products and courses to sell as well.
I still hold a day job as a data scientist that requires me to trade my free time for a salary, but I’ll only be dependent on this job until I have enough income from assets that can support most of my expenses.
In a nutshell, I am currently trading time for money, then using this money to buy assets, which will in turn buy me free time.
Anyone can follow this simple strategy to stop trading time for money. Unfortunately, most don’t.
Most people go through life buying liabilities instead of assets. They buy things that require monthly payments instead of things that pay them monthly. They buy unnecessary consumer goods, excessively large houses, luxury cars, and expensive cable plans instead of buying stocks and building businesses.
Related: Buy Less Stuff. Buy More Assets.
This is the reason most people have to spend the majority of their lives trading time for money. They never have assets to earn money for them. Instead, they have to spend time working to pay for their liabilities.
You can choose a different path, though. You can opt out of spending most of your life trading time for money by following a simple, but not necessarily easy plan to implement:
Use the income from your day job to buy assets. Use your free time to build websites, businesses, or products. Become an asset-acquiring machine. Do this for many years. Eventually you will have enough income from assets that you can quit your soul-sucking, commute-laden day job.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.