How can you be Financially Independent and Retire Early?
When people are talking about FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), it’s common to find people who are aggressively frugal, work long hours and sacrifice everything. That is not me.
Realistically, my life, in general, is what most people aim for when it comes to early retirement or financial freedom. We’ve travelled a lot and get paid to do so, live where we want by the beach in Noosa, I do some work when I feel like it as we have passive income and are expanding other investments. Plus volunteer work and great connections with family and friends.
Life was not always this easy though. At age 30, I had left an abusive marriage, overcome homelessness and domestic violence with my two young daughters but found myself paralysed and separately having an operation for cancer, the same as my mother.
For the most part, my life is pretty free. I could work harder and clear the last bit of debt I have faster or invest more aggressively. Many I see on their path to FIRE work long hours and sacrifice everything. That’s not my style and never will be.
Why I Don’t Live Super Frugally or Work Excessively
My mother died at 37 of cancer. Both my paternal grandparents died at 63 (Pop was on his way to work when he had a heart attack) and my maternal grandparents always struggled financially.
Then, my own issues mentioned above from abuse to paralysis. Much of my life pushed me to be more flexible and live a life I enjoy.
In normal times, we travel a lot but due to changes last year, we decided to bring forward baby plans. As I write this, I have just given birth to my third child. During the pregnancy, I had significant issues with my heart, developed gestational diabetes and a few other things.
If I didn’t already have a flexible lifestyle, things would be extremely difficult right now.
How do I Live? How do I get Paid to Travel?
When I was younger I read various finance books and they all talked about paying yourself first, investing and having multiple streams of income while living below your means. Ever since I was a kid, I was always hustling, looking for ways to make money, planning my real estate and more.
As a result, I usually had multiple streams of income as well as investments. Despite the best preparation, life can change your plans. I left an abusive marriage, was robbed of everything including my underwear and ended up homeless with my two young daughters. The custody battle was dragged out, there were 2 AVO’s and it was expensive.
During that time though, I founded, bought and sold various websites and businesses, did some side hustles and created a new life.
Finally, 7.5 years after I left him, I was awarded full custody and another AVO. We’ve travelled a heap, I work the hours which suit me, get to be there whenever my kids need and can’t picture working in an office again.
My Income Streams
As mentioned, I have multiple income streams. Some are more consistent than others and a few are simply opportunities. Meaning, if an opportunity comes up that works for my lifestyle and will generate money, I am likely to go for it but it isn’t always a long term thing.
The Thrifty Issue is a great income stream for me. I purchased it in 2014 with the intention of selling it later but made the purchase price back within a week. Then the community (you) has been amazing so I opted to keep it.
I also own other websites and have bought and sold a few over the years. Check out how to set up a blog and make money blogging if you are interested in this.
2. Freelance Writing
This, combined with marketing consults is how I get paid to travel and often my kids get to come. We’ve had some incredible experiences such as a hot air balloon ride, helicopter, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, doing the zipline in Vanuatu, diving the Solomon Islands and more.
I got into freelance writing when I first started blogging then later had a marketing company. After I sold that, I went back to freelance writing but was doing more travel instead of financial writing. You can find out more about my writing and other work here.
To become a freelance writer, read this post.
With no official qualifications, I fell into marketing because of my blogging background. In 2014, I founded a company, worked with national and international governments as well as charities. I was also doing public speaking and a lot of charity work.
In 2017, I sold it and was focused on my daughters as well as the custody issues. Taking time off, meant that when I decided to come back, I did with a different angle and more freedom than I had as a CEO.
You can find out more about me and that side of my life at KylieTravers.com.au.
4. Side Hustles
I’ve tracked these over the years and in different blog posts. From medical trials to cash for cans, I’ve tried a lot. You can find some in the post how I made $33,277.57 on the side in 12 months. Or 43 ways for single mums to make money.
Right now, my main side hustles (aside from writing and blogging) are Airtasker, collecting cans and bottles, online surveys (the best Aussie ones are here), cashback programs and any odd jobs that come up.
My focus is more on expanding my business, developing our real estate and businesses in Vanuatu as well as investing in business and shares.
My partner and I have a few investments. As mentioned, we already have some businesses and real estate including 3 properties in Vanuatu. More recently, our focus has been on shares and crypto as well.
For crypto, we started small (you can get $10 for Bitcoin with Coinspot). By using the small amount we got to test our risk tolerance level for this. As it is newer than shares, many are a bit nervous. Do your research, learn whether you can handle big swings with your investments and play around with small amounts. So far, we’ve been happy with it and the dips don’t bother us because in the time we’ve done it, our money has increased faster there than elsewhere.
With shares, we are investing small amounts with Spaceship and Raiz for now. You can get $5 to get started with Spaceship when you use the code S8P8S1XFHI here and $5 with Raiz when you join free here and invest as little as $5.
What is my Specific FIRE Goal?
I can’t see myself retiring fully. Being an entrepreneur, having a few businesses and going between our countries (I am Aussie, my partner is from Vanuatu and his daughter lives in the Solomon Islands) is more my style.
Right now, I own The Thrifty Issue and do other things as mentioned above. We also have 3 properties in Vanuatu and are 50% owners of a business there. 3 other businesses are being structured and the groundwork done for them right now but we can’t fully launch them as yet.
My FIRE is having businesses, as well as shares and more real estate, generating revenue while being managed by staff. Ideally, my kids will learn the ropes and inherit them if they want.
For me, it is more about living a life I love now, enjoying it and having total freedom. I don’t want to feel locked into anything, I don’t want to spend my life in an office or job I hate and I don’t want to be limited by a salary.
There is so much money you can make in a variety of ways. That said, other people in the FIRE movement prefer to work corporate jobs, live frugally for a set period then retire early.
FIRE and Frugality
Living a life I love, travelling and experiencing new things does not mean I am not frugal. It’s about balance, spending on things that bring me joy plus essentials but being smart about it. With anything that others would deem ‘non-essential’ I look at ways to make money from it. For everything else, I am fairly frugal.
I compare all my services regularly to make sure I am getting the best deal on electricity, insurance, phones etc. We meal plan, shop in sales and shop around. Clothes are second hand mostly and I drive a 2006 Toyota Corolla. Previously, I’ve gone for over a year without owning a car a couple of times.
Best Articles on Ways to Save Money
Here are some of my top and favourite articles about how I live frugally:
How to get free and super cheap groceries
How to save $4,765 with an annual financial review
How to save money on everything
The best cashback sites for Aussies
31 ways to make and save $200 +
50 ways to live for free
How a family can live for free
How to afford medical expenses even on Centrelink or a low income
Cost of raising kids and how to reduce it
How to get discounts on everything
Best Articles on Ways to Make Money
I love a good side hustle and passive income. I’ve tested numerous options and below are some of my favourites which enable me to have the life I do.
How I made $33,277.57 on the side in 12 months – has a range of side hustles I tested and how much I made with each.
How to become a freelance writer – this is how I have done so much travel
How to set up a blog and make money blogging
43 ways for single mums to make money – flexible work options
99 Side Hustles for Aussies is an eBook with the 99 ways, how to get started, how to market and how to make more.
How to make $10,000 a month buying things to resell
How to make money with Airbnb
How to make money with Airtasker
How you FIRE or IF you choose to FIRE is up to you!
Are you planning to retire early? How does that look to you?