Today I’m sharing with you my plan for how to achieve time freedom. I’m not interested in carving out a bit more free time. I’m not talking about getting four weeks off work instead of two.
No, I want that freedom to stay in a vacation home for three months in the winter months. I want the freedom to spend my days however I choose. Maybe I want to help others, maybe I want to be super lazy.
I’m not talking about free time, I’m talking about time freedom.
Now unfortunately you’re not reading an article written by someone with time freedom. I’m on the path, but I’m early in my journey. In fact, right now I’ve created more things to take up my time (like writing this article).
So take my words for what they are. A hypothesis that I’m testing through living them out. But also rest assured that the steps I’ve taken so far are working as expected.
So here’s Michael’s five step plan to achieve time freedom.
- Set goals
- Take personal development seriously
- Escape your full time job by acquiring cash flowing assets
- Make the switch
- Remove yourself from the equation
1. Set Goals
I’ve wanted to build life sustaining wealth for a long time, but it didn’t actually start happening until I knew EXACTLY where I was going. Now you don’t have to know every small step of how to get there, but you do have to know what’s at the end.
You can’t just say you want to quit your job or be wealthy. You have to know specifics. Try answering these questions.
- How much money do I need to quit my job?
- How much cash flow do I need to quit my job?
- When will I quit my job?
This should lead you to a statement like this.
I will create $10,000 in cash flow and a $1,000,000 net worth by January 1, 2035, and when I achieve this I will quit my job.
I don’t know what those numbers are for you, but you can figure that out. Everyone should have a statement like this. You have to know where you’re going so you can figure out how to get there.
Drill your goal into your head
Once you know where you’re going financially, you have to make sure that goal is top of mind for months and years. I achieve that through affirmations.
Every morning I wake up and I speak my financial goals out loud. Here are some of the things I tell myself every morning:
- I immerse myself in investing every day in order to succeed and learn to help others succeed
- I will take Unbound Investor to $15,000 per month income by 2024
- My successful investments will allow me to quit my job before my 36th birthday
- I am present in my life and in my family
- I achieve my goals by never skipping my daily habits. They are like a slow drip that turns into a waterfall
And I also remind myself of my ultimate financial goals, the cash flow and net worth targets.
I tell myself the stories I want to come true. And here’s what starts happening when you tell yourself these stories every day. You begin to make choices with the stories in mind.
Your behavior will change
I wake up in the morning and I tell myself I’m taking Unbound Investor to $15,000 per month income. So I write. I spend time building the website and trying to help people. And when I start to doubt myself, I say it again, “I will take Unbound Investor to $15,000 per month income by 2024.”
And here’s the really magical thing that happens. The more times I tell myself I’m going to create $10,000 in cash flow and $1 million in net worth, the more my brain starts to work on solving that problem. Every choice I make every day is done with the goals in mind.
Before I set my goals this is what my inner voice sounded like this:
I’m so tired. I REALLY don’t want to wake up and go to work, but I have to if I want to eat and have a place to live. It’s OK though because one day I’ll have more money and more time and I won’t have to go to work.
But that ended up getting me nowhere. The only time I saw anything exciting happen was when I went looking for a new job.
But when I drilled my goals into my head I started seeing some changes to my inner voice:
I’m so tired, but I’m going to create $1,000 in cash flow over the next year, so I need to wake up and figure out how I’m going to do that. I don’t want to go to work, but maybe I’ll find an opportunity at work to create more net worth. If I keep my eyes and my mind alert and ready to pounce on the opportunities that present themselves, one day I’ll have $10,000 in cash flow and a $1 million net worth.
Basically, my brain started looking for ways to create the future I wanted. I wasn’t stuck in a rut anymore, I was searching for opportunities, and my brain was helping me organically.
Now my brain is ready to change the way it thinks.
2. Take Personal Development Seriously
Now maybe you think I’m leading you astray. Why the heck is this guy talking about personal development when he should be showing me actionable steps to create time freedom? Here’s why.
The average person is completely capable of building wealth that would allow them to quit their job. And they should be able to do it in less than 15 years.
But the average person doesn’t do it. Why?
I hate to be mean, but it’s because the average person is not tough enough, not devoted enough, not confident enough, they don’t have a positive mentality, they won’t take action, they’re too lazy. Basically, they’re not the kind of person they need to be. They have to change into a person that is capable of achieving the success they crave.
That’s where personal development comes in.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any wealthy friends. And I’m not the kind of person to stalk successful people and ask them to be my friend.
There’s truth to quote. The people and information you expose yourself to regularly influence how you think and behave. Sometimes it’s a family member or coworker that just keeps you in that negative mindset.
I had to figure out how to spend time with successful people.
What did I do? I read.
By reading books written by successful people you change the types of mindsets you’re exposing yourself to. You hear the stories of people who achieved great things and fought like hell to make it happen. And this creates a positive attitude in your own brain.
Here’s what I saw happening in my own head:
- Belief that I could achieve my goals
- Mental toughness to persevere through the set backs
- Eagerness to take action
- Confidence in my abilities
- Drive to go even farther than I originally thought possible
I’ll admit, it takes time. The road to changing your mindset is a long one, but you can see the fruits of reading after about 30 days.
If you say your financial goals out loud and read the words of successful people for 30 days in a row, I promise you’ll start to feel differently. That’s not to say you’ll arrive in 30 days, but you’ll notice a difference.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are three books I’ve read that steered my mindset in the right direction and began changing me into a better and more successful person.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill was successful in his own right, but this book is his crowning achievement. He interviewed over 500 of the most successful people of his time and compiled a list of the things those people said made them successful. It’s literally the playbook for success.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad has reached mythical status in the world of financial freedom because it changed the way so many people saw their money. The book can show you the differences in how the rich and middle class think about money.
The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod
The miracle morning is a compilation of techniques used to focus your mind and body. You’ll learn about the most effective techniques for getting yourself focused on the things that will lead you to success, like affirmations and meditation.
3. Escape Your Full Time Job With Cash Flowing Assets
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff. You now know just how important it is to develop yourself into a success oriented person. Now let’s talk about stuff that will actually make you money.
For most people, the biggest obstacle to freeing up time is their full time job. It’s no secret that money is a pretty critical resource for surviving in our society. Now I’ll acknowledge that you can quit your job by farming and hunting, but that’s not my area of expertise. For me, the only way to quit my job is to replace my income.
And in order to do that we need something else to pay us, but it has to be cash. It has to be money that I can spend on dinner, or clothes or a mortgage.
I’m personally not a fan of stocks because they are slow. That’s not to say you can’t replace you’re income with stocks, but it will take a while. My top picks are real estate and businesses.
Acquire cash flowing assets
A cash flowing asset can take many forms, but it’s most important characteristic is that it will put money in your bank account regularly (just like a paycheck would).
Real estate puts money in your bank account through some form of rent. Maybe you sign leases and your tenants pay you monthly, or maybe you list your property on short term rental sites like Airbnb and get paid several times a month.
Businesses put money in your pocket when products or services are sold. This happens regularly and you can choose when to pay yourself.
Dividend stocks pay you out usually four times every year. This is somewhat infrequent, but still often enough to support your life with careful planning.
Websites also pay out at least monthly and depending on how they make money they can pay out several times a day. Websites also usually have very low expenses which makes for a pretty nice worst case scenario.
While any of these can create the cash flow you need to quit your job, real estate, business and web business have the best cash on cash returns. That’s just a fancy way of saying they give you the most cash flow for your money.
There are plenty of other types of cash flowing assets (like bonds), but the four above are my favorite.
Word of advice
There are a million ways to invest and a million ways to create the cash flow necessary to quit your job.
My advice is pick one investment to buy in the next year. If you want to get into real estate, then spend the next year figuring out how to buy a profitable investment property. Do the research, save the money, find a realtor and don’t get distracted by other shiny investments.
Just follow through on one. Then reassess.
If it worked, then do it again. If you want to try something else, don’t switch until you completed your first.
4. Make The Switch
Now the question is, at what point to I quit my job? And how do I make sure I’m ready?
Kate wrote a great article going into depth on every step involved in quitting your job. This is basically what it will take:
- Have a 3 month emergency fund
- Eliminate your “bad debt”
- Make sure you’ll still have health insurance (if you’re in the U.S.)
That’s it. That’s my list.
I want an emergency fund to give me peace of mind that I can respond to unforeseen circumstances and stabilize before I have to go job searching again.
I only want debt that’s making me money. What is “bad debt”? It’s debt held on an asset that’s losing you money.
Car payments are bad debt because your car doesn’t make you richer. Credit card debt is absolutely bad debt because it steals money from you every month. School loans are bad debt because they hold no value, you can’t sell your diploma to pay off your school debt.
Debt held on an investment property is great debt because it makes you wealthier.
And the last thing is just to make sure that the benefits provided by your employer will not disappear. For me, health insurance is the big one. I have to factor in the cost of health insurance when I quit my job. You may have other benefits that you can’t live without. Make sure you have a plan.
Don’t forget about taxes
The last thing I want to say is that you can’t forget about taxes. If you’re making money from a website or investment property, no one is going to withhold taxes for you.
You need to build in that tax buffer into your monthly cash flow so that you can support your life and still pay your taxes at the end of the year.
5. Remove Yourself From The Equation
Now it’s time to finally realize the time freedom we’ve been working towards this whole time. Sure you quit your job, but if you’ve acquired the cash flow to quit your job, you probably created some extra work for yourself in the process.
Maybe you’re the landlord for some properties or perhaps you’re managing a website and writing articles. Whatever it is, now you need to figure out how to replace yourself in your investments.
Now I’m not at this step yet, but I have two thoughts on the best way to remove myself when I get there. Here are my two potential plans.
1. Outsource the work
Let’s say you’ve acquired several properties and you’re doing all the property management. Well there are companies that specialize in property management. Maybe you already use one.
The hurdle here is the extra cost. You probably won’t quit your job and then immediately move to outsource all the work. You’ll probably need to go through a whole process.
Maybe you pay off the mortgage of one or two properties, then hire a property management company.
Or if you’re a blogger, you could train up a few writers to write your content. And there are plenty of services that offer basically every part of website management. From content, to social media, to managing advertising campaigns, you could replace nearly every aspect of website ownership.
In the end you’ll just have to start listing out all the ways you work on your investments and then make a plan to replace yourself.
2. Move to passive investments
The other option is to have investments that require no additional work. The easy one here is the stock market. Most mutual funds pay dividends and you can live off those dividends.
If you reached “retirement” with active investments, maybe it’s time to slowly start selling those to acquire the passive investments.
However, this will also take time, because truly passive investments just don’t cash flow as well as the active ones. It may take a decade or more to create truly passive cash flow that supports your lifestyle.
I expect to take on a combination of these two strategies and only move to truly passive investments when I really start to tire of working.
I’m about halfway through my path to creating time investment, and so far the path has been so rewarding, even though I’m still busy all the time!
I’ve set my goals, prioritized personal development and Kate and I have replaced one of our two full time jobs with cash flowing assets. One down, one to go.
Soon we’ll make the switch and begin making our investments independent from our time. Best of luck creating your own road, I’d love to hear your story!