"This book blew my mind. More importantly, it made financial independence seem achievable. I read Financial Freedom three times, cover-to-cover."
Money is unlimited. Time is not. Become financially independent as fast as possible.
In 2010, 24-year old Grant Sabatier woke up to find he had $2.26 in his bank account. Five years later, he had a net worth of over $1.25 million, and CNBC began calling him "the Millennial Millionaire." By age 30, he had reached financial independence. Along the way he uncovered that most of the accepted wisdom about money, work, and retirement is either incorrect, incomplete, or so old-school it's obsolete.
Financial Freedom is a step-by-step path to make more money in less time, so you have more time for the things you love. It challenges the accepted narrative of spending decades working a traditional 9 to 5 job, pinching pennies, and finally earning the right to retirement at age 65, and instead offers readers an alternative: forget everything you've ever learned about money so that you can actually live the life you want.
Sabatier offers surprising, counter-intuitive advice on topics such as how to:
* Create profitable side hustles that you can turn into passive income streams or full-time businesses
* Save money without giving up what makes you happy
* Negotiate more out of your employer than you thought possible
* Travel the world for less
* Live for free--or better yet, make money on your living situation
* Create a simple, money-making portfolio that only needs minor adjustments
* Think creatively--there are so many ways to make money, but we don't see them.
But most importantly, Sabatier highlights that, while one's ability to make money is limitless, one's time is not. There's also a limit to how much you can save, but not to how much money you can make. No one should spend precious years working at a job they dislike or worrying about how to make ends meet. Perhaps the biggest surprise: You need less money to "retire" at age 30 than you do at age 65.
Financial Freedom is not merely a laundry list of advice to follow to get rich quick--it's a practical roadmap to living life on one's own terms, as soon as possible.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Money Is Freedom
How I Went from $2.26 to $1 Million in Five Years
Grant, wake up!" my mom yelled to me from the bottom of the stairs. It was eleven a.m., and I'd slept in-again. Waking up in my childhood bedroom, I felt like I was back in middle school, but I was actually twenty-four years old, unemployed, and living with my parents-a situation all too familiar to millennials like me.
It was August 2010. I'd moved back home two months earlier after being laid off from my job as a researcher at a newspaper. My parents had told me I could crash at home but that I needed to be out in three months and they weren't going to give me a dime. Every night at dinner, they asked how my job search was going, looking at me skeptically as I tried to avoid eye contact.
The truth is, I'd recently stopped applying to jobs. I'd sent out over two hundred resumes in the past month alone and hadn't gotten a single call back. You can send only so many resumes into the abyss before it starts crushing your soul.
As I rolled over in bed that August morning, I tried to think about anything other than my current financial situation. In any case, I had an even more primal desire: I was craving a Chipotle burrito. I knew I was getting low on funds, so reluctantly I checked my account balance on my phone. The savings account I'd labeled do not touch right after I'd lost my job had $0.01 in it. My checking account balance was scarcely better: $2.26, barely enough to afford a side of guacamole, let alone a whole burrito. I took a screenshot of my account to remember this feeling and serve as motivation for the future. Eventually I hung the picture in my closet as a daily reminder, and I still see it every morning.
Defeated but still hungry, I made myself a turkey sandwich and headed outside to the backyard. It was an unseasonably cool summer day in the D.C. suburbs, the sounds of lawn mowers and neighborhood kids enjoying the last week of summer vacation filling the air.
I threw myself down on the grass, just as I'd done so many times as a kid. As I looked up into the clear blue sky, pierced only by the occasional plane headed to Washington National Airport, I contemplated how I'd arrived at this point. I'd always done what I was "supposed" to do. I'd gone to a top university, worked hard, gotten good grades, and even managed to get a job offer before I graduated. After graduation, I started working for an analytics company and assumed I was now on the path to building wealth and becoming a successful adult. But as it turned out, I was making a huge trade-off.
My first job was located in a sterile office park two hours away from where I lived. The windows in my building didn't open, and the office manager couldn't be bothered to replace the air filters, so the air was always stale. I sat in a four-foot-wide half cubicle under fluorescent lights so bright they were almost blinding. I was so worried about doing a good job and making sure my boss liked me that, by the time I got home, I was too wiped out to do anything fun. I'd zone out in front of the TV and overeat out of boredom. I gained twenty pounds, and even though I was tired all the time, I had trouble sleeping because I was too anxious about the next day. At 4:50 a.m., the alarm would go off, and I'd crawl out of bed to repeat the routine once again. As the day wore on, I'd watch the minutes of my life tick by on my computer clock.
"You'll get used to it," my dad told me by way of encouragement when I called to complain. "Welcome to the real world."
I tried to convince myself that this would all be worth it, that every minute I spent behind that desk and every dollar I earned was one minute and one dollar closer to some distant dream future in which I could live the life I wanted to live. But in reality, I was actually just trading my time for enough money to pay my bills. I got paid twice a month and was living paycheck to paycheck. The first check went directly to rent, while the second went to paying off my credit card balance, which always seemed to keep going up. I told myself I would save money at the end of the month, but I actually ended up spending more than I was making. I worked hard all week, so I went out and spent recklessly on the weekend. Work hard, play hard, right? I assured myself I would save money next month. That I would save money when I was making more money. That I would save money when I was older.
Then, just six months after I started my job, I got fired because I wasn't making the company enough money. I later did the math and realized that in those six months, I'd traded 1,400 hours of my life for $15,500 after taxes. And not only did I have nothing left, I owed $12,000 in credit card debt.
Over the next two years I bounced between unemployment and a few other jobs, but I still never managed to save anything. I was so worried about money that I started suffering from debilitating anxiety attacks so powerful that my heart felt like it would stop beating and I literally thought I was going to die. I was letting the best hours of my life during the best years of my life burn out with each biweekly paycheck.
It sucked, but I was far from alone in my plight. According to Gallup's annual survey of the American Workforce in 2017, 70 percent of employees in the United States are disengaged at work. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and live one disaster away from poverty, bankruptcy, or crippling debt.
When the Great Recession hit, I lost my job again. By the time I showed up back on my parents' doorstep, after three years in the working world, I had traded 4,700 hours of my life for $87,000 after taxes. And besides that $2.26, I had absolutely nothing to show for it. I didn't even have my prized Volkswagen camper van anymore because I'd sold it six months before just to make ends meet.
As I lay there in the backyard, my thoughts of the past turned to thoughts of the future. As I considered my options, I saw the next forty years-the best years of my life-stretched out before me. I imagined myself stuck in another bleak office, in another nondescript office park, in another stifling cubicle. If I somehow managed to save enough of my salary after all my bills were paid, I might be able to retire in my sixties.
Given the trends of my generation, however, even that dismal prospect seemed unlikely. Among the 83 million millennials in the United States, the average income is $35,592 per year, less than half of what our parents made at our age when adjusted for inflation. With an average of $36,000 in student loan debt, most of us don't get out of debt for years, let alone start to save any real money.
If we look closely at these numbers, it's no wonder we aren't saving enough to retire in even three to four decades. While investment guides generally recommend you sock away 10 to 15 percent of your income (even though, as I'd later learn, that definitely isn't enough), millennials under twenty-five are saving only 3.9 percent of their income for retirement, while older millennials, those aged twenty-five to thirty-four, are saving 5.35 percent. This will make it impossible for most of us to ever retire. Literally impossible!
In case that doesn't scare you enough, who knows how decisions by our government and shifts in the economy will affect our futures? Will Social Security even be around in forty years? Will we be able to afford healthcare as costs go up and as our need for it becomes greater? Inflation isn't slowing down anytime soon, meaning our paltry savings will end up being worth even less than it is today. What are we supposed to do? Work until we fall down dead at our desks? We are on our own.
I realized that doing everything I was "supposed" to do wouldn't guarantee anything, even retirement in forty-plus years. What kind of life is that? I didn't want to spend my days in a job I hated just so I could get by. I wanted to feel passionate about my work and love my life.
I didn't want to worry about money all the time or depend on a boss who might decide to fire me at any minute, just so I could pay my rent. I wanted to be in control of my own income and time. I didn't want to put off traveling the world because I couldn't afford it or I was allowed only ten days of vacation a year. I wanted to be able to have enough time to really explore the world. I didn't want to spend the most precious moments of my future kids' lives in an office. I wanted to be there to watch them grow and help them figure out how to realize their own dreams.
And I didn't want to wake up at sixty-five and realize that I'd traded more than seventy thousand hours of my life working a nine-to-five for . . . what?
I wanted more money. I wanted more life.
I realized that if I wanted something different, I was going to have to do something different. So that day, lying in the grass, I set two seemingly unrealistic goals: to save $1 million and to "retire" as quickly as possible.
I didn't know how I was going to do it-or even if I was going to be able to do it-but I spent the next five years doing everything I could to make it happen. I read every personal finance book and investing guide I could get my hands on. I worked a nine-to-five job for benefits and connections, but then launched two companies and started several side hustles to earn extra income. I saved 25 percent, then 40 percent, then up to 80 percent of my income some months and put that money to work in the stock market so it could grow. And I figured out how I could optimize my lifestyle to maximize my income and savings, and have a lot of fun along the way.
Fast-forward five years later to 2015, and I had a net worth of over $1 million. I didn't win the lottery or come into some surprise inheritance. I didn't strike it rich on some hot new app that I sold to Google for a billion dollars. I didn't hustle for the mob or rob any banks. I simply learned everything I could, questioned all the popular advice about money I came across, and maximized the value of my time through a combination of personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing-three things absolutely anyone, even someone with $2.26 in the bank and a lack of marketable skills, can learn to do on their own.
I'll admit it wasn't easy. In fact, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But not for the reasons you may think. The strategies I used require some effort and discipline, but they aren't complicated. What made my journey difficult was that it required me to step outside my comfort zone, take some calculated risks, and do things that no one else around me was doing, that no one I knew had done. A lot of people thought I was crazy, and even my girlfriend wouldn't come over to visit my crappy but inexpensive apartment. I definitely made decisions that many people wouldn't even consider. I was living on the edge, but I had a mission and that kept me motivated. I also learned an insane amount about how almost anyone can find ways to save and make more money.
One of the most profound lessons I've learned along the way is that most of the "accepted wisdom" about money, work, and retirement is either incorrect, incomplete, or so old-school it's obsolete. We've accepted this version of the "real world" because it's what others have done for generations, but it just doesn't work anymore-unless you maybe want to retire in thirty to forty years. Things have changed, and despite all the pessimism surrounding the financial prospects for so many people today, it's actually never been easier to make more money, manage your own money, and live a life free from the typical nine-to-five. The challenge is in opening yourself up to the opportunity, questioning the advice and example of others, and learning to do things differently even if people think you're crazy.
Most of what's in this book wasn't even possible ten years ago. None of it is taught in schools, and most people you know aren't even aware that it's possible. I learned it only because I made it my mission to do so and dedicated thousands and thousands of hours to learning everything I could, testing it for myself, and making mistakes from which I could learn. Once I realized how much knowledge I had gained, I knew I needed to share it with the world.
In 2015, soon after I reached my goal of saving $1 million, I started MillennialMoney.com to build a community and share my strategies, habits, and hacks to build wealth as quickly as possible. Over the past three years more than 10 million people have visited Millennial Money or listened to my podcast, and tens of thousands have reached out to me directly to ask questions and share their own financial successes. I recently heard from Victor, who was able to get a $60,000 raise; Mia, who sold her first $20,000 side-hustle engagement; Eric, who increased his savings rate from 3 percent to 40 percent in two months; and Melissa, who lives for free in million-dollar mansions thanks to information she learned on the site.
Many more have been able to launch profitable side hustles, start investing, negotiate life-changing work-remote opportunities, leave their full-time jobs to pursue their passions. Many have fast-tracked their financial freedom and are now on pace to retire in ten years or less, decades earlier than they otherwise would have been if they hadn't implemented these strategies. While the site has proved to be a great resource, I still get asked all the time "How, exactly, did you do it?" The answer to that question is much too long to be explained in a single blog post, which is why I decided to write this book.
Table of Contents
Foreword Vicki Robin 1
1 Money is Freedom: How I Went from $2.26 to $1 Million in Five Years 5
2 Time Is More Valuable Than Money: Why You Can and Should "Retire" Early 19
3 What Is Your Number?: (It's Probably Less Than You Think) 36
4 Where are You Now?: Getting Clarity on Your Finances 76
5 Next-Level Money: How to Build Wealth Quickly 93
6 Is It Worth It?: 11 Ways to Think About Money Before You Buy Anything 120
7 The Only Budget You'll Ever Need: How to Live for Free and Increase Your Savings Rate at Least 25% 140
8 Optimize Your 9-To-5: Use Your Full-Time Job as a Launching Pad to Freedom 155
9 More Money in Less Time: How to Start a Profitable Side Hustle 179
10 The Seven-Step Fast-Track Investment Strategy: Accelerate Your Moneymaking Money! 210
11 Real Estate Investing: How to Turn $10,000 into Millions Using Other People's Money 264
12 More Than Enough: How to Live Off Your Investments for the Rest of Your Life 288
13 The Future-Optimization Framework: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Habits 301
14 Living a Richer Life: A Path to Financial Independence 312
Recommended Reading 335