Financial Freedom is possible on virtually any income. It isn’t going to be fast or easy, but it is possible.
Spend less than you make and invest what you save. That is probably the most boring advice in the history of personal finance, and yet so many of the people who are becoming those millionaires-next-door right now are not the flashy people splashing pics of lambos on Instagram. They are the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of people who have been saving and building their wealth month by month and year by year. They probably drive Hondas and Toyotas that are 8–12 years old and have been paid off for more than half of that time. They are the people living in modest if well-appointed homes who make extra equity payments on their mortgage because their goal is to be completely debt free.
Now you may look at someone like Rob Berger who recently retired at the age of 49 after 25 years of practicing law in Washington DC and think, well sure, it’s easy for you. You were a lawyer and obviously had advantages that I don’t have. But hold on just a second. When you look back into Rob’s childhood, he remembers a year when his father passed away and his stepfather’s tackle shop went out of business within the same year. His mother came to him to explain that they were going to lose the house and she didn’t know where they would go. Luckily his mother worked out a plan with the bank that allowed them to stay in the house, so they didn’t actually become homeless, but there was no money for anything but the essentials. Rob remembers times toward the end of the month when his family would reach way back into the back of the cupboard to eat beans and other canned goods until the paycheck came in that would allow them to go to the store and buy groceries again. They didn’t starve, but they were living on the edge.
And while Rob did eventually become a successful lawyer, he racked up a hefty six figures of debt between undergrad and law school, and his wife also got an advanced degree which meant even more debt at the time. For quite some time, even though Rob was earning a decent salary, he was still living paycheck to paycheck with no savings and huge amounts of debt. Then one day when he was listening to the radio he heard someone on Dave Ramsey’s show shouting about being debt free. Rob decided that was what he wanted too. Rob and his wife drew up a plan to reduce their expenses below their income and to both save while paying off their debt aggressively.
But what if you aren’t a lawyer like Rob? What if the income you have is getting swallowed up each month by bare bones essentials with very little room for cutting? Rob does have a suggestion for this as well. While Rob was still working as a lawyer he started documenting his own journey toward financial freedom through blogging.
When Rob first started his website www.doughroller.com, he was blogging on his train ride to work, blogging on the weekends, blogging whenever he had the chance. This was back in 2007 when blogging was all the rage. Slowly but surely, over the course of the past decade, this turned from a hobby into his main source of monthly income now that he has retired. When I first looked at Rob’s site, I was really confused by how he earns so much income from it, there are no products for sale. But it’s the advertising to his impressively high level of traffic that pays for everything. So all of the content and advice he offers to his audience is completely free to them in exchange for seeing a few ads on the site.
Now Rob isn’t saying start a blog now and in 10 years it will start paying you, but most of us have something we can do to start earning at least a little money on the side. If your current paycheck is paying your expenses and nothing more, then try moonlighting or side-hustling to bring in a bit more so you can start putting it toward your future freedom.
If you want to learn more about becoming financial free on virtually any income, you can join Rob’s newsletter to continue to learn more right here. You can check out the Dough Roller Money podcast right here.