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Become Financially Independent in Your 30s

If you're reading this, I'm earning money in some way. I was compensated with money and/or product. Thanks for helping to feed my family. I also may have a financial interest in companies named. Please see our disclosure for more information. Also, any advice provided is for informational purposes only. I'm not an accountant, lawyer, doctor, fitness expert, or nutrition specialist. So, talk to a professional before acting on anything you read, watch, or listen to below. Get your own advice and do your own research. Email me at [email protected] with questions.

I have always wanted to become financially independent in my 30s.  It has always been a goal of mine.  It all started for me around 2007 and it coincided with meeting my wife in 2006.  She introduced me to Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  Kiyosaki talked about his Rich Dad, who understood how money worked and built businesses.  He was his friend's father.  His Poor Dad (his own father) was a schoolteacher and was a slave to money.

become financially independent in your 30sKiyosaki spoke about how he learned that having a business is a bridge to building wealth and introduced us all to the E/S/B/I triangle.  E for Employee, S for Self-Employed, B for Business, and I for Investing.  The goal was to move away from being an employee or self-employed (which Kiyosaki called owning a job) and move into the B/I side.  Your goal was to build a business that you could use to invest  From there, you could build true, sustainable wealth.

And I was hooked.  I wanted financial freedom really bad.  These days it's called "Financially Independent, Retire Early," or FIRE.  Yes, it's still a strong desire of mine and one that I'm committed to achieving in the coming years.

What about you?  Are you new to the concept of financial independence?  Have you ever considered it?  Consider some of the points below as a way to jump start your FIRE goals!

1. Where are you right now?  Let's assess your situation.

A few things to consider as we get started here on your journey to become financially independent.  First, do you have a budget in place?  If not, you need to get that squared away immediately.  I go into greater detail about budgeting in this post.  Read that and then return here.

Also, how's your Emergency Fund Preparedness Strategy?  Do you even have one?  You need to be ready for life's little (or big) surprises and the Emergency Fund takes care of that.  Therefore, if you lose your job or the car breaks down, you have rainy day fund to take care of some of those things.  You can get the car fixed or buy some time while you figure out the job situation.  I put together an informative post about getting started with your Emergency Fund Preparedness Strategy.  Go check it out here.

Finally, for this section, you need to consider your debt situation.  Do you have credit card debt?  What about student loans?  How about any other types of debt?  You need to know how much you owe and figure out how you can pay it off.  Nothing puts the breaks on financial independence faster than being dependent on someone else who you owe lots of money to.  You need to get that figured out and I can help you if you check out this post.

2. Contain your lifestyle.  Make good choices.  Forget the Joneses because they're broke.

A lot of people never even consider financial freedom.  They think it's only possible for crooks and charlatans to achieve that kind of lifestyle.  You can often here these people saying things like "well, I'm sure they're doing something illegal" which is often followed by "nobody is able to achieve that kind of money legitimately."

However, these people are misguided in their thinking.  Further, many times they are trying to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but using credit to do so.  They buy a house they can't afford.  Lease brand new cars.  Buy a vacation home or two.  They take exotic vacations in an attempt to top their friends.

We see this at a variety of income levels, but usually in the middle class to upper middle class sectors.  They attempt to keep up with the Joneses, the Smiths, and their good friends.  They only learn later that everyone (including them now) is broke!  It's all a facade.  All a charade.  You pull the curtain open and it's no wizard.  Only a clueless guy putting on a show and pulling the levers.  It's all fake and you bought into the lie.  Now what?

You need to break out of the cycle to become financially independent.

If you want to truly be free, you need to break out of the cycle.  It isn't healthy and it's a surefire way to remain poor.  You need to have a mindset shift.  This concept of financial freedom is not about accumulating things.  That's not what makes you wealthy.  Kiyosaki expertly laid it out like this and it always stuck with me.  He said you need to consider wealth as a component of time, not only an element of money.  So, it's like this.  If you stopped working today, how much time would you have?  Would your savings, investments, or other sources of income (if you have any) buy you a month when considering all of your expenses?  Or maybe it's more like a week?

Time.  That's true wealth.  Once you have your income cover your expenses, you're financially free.  That's the goal.  But, you need to divorce yourself from the day job mentality as well as the concept that your life's expenses need to financed with credit cards.  No and no.

3. Become financially independent through side hustles, business, and real estate.

There's another great book out there called The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime.  That one's by MJ DeMarco, who also runs a message board with the same name.  DeMarco's philosophy to become financially independent boils down to one main point: satisfying the needs of others.  It's not about you or what you want.

Rather, it's about what the market wants.  The market isn't just made up of your customers.  It's made up of people.  Flesh and blood.  They have desires, wants, and needs just like you do.  Only in this case, your desires don't matter.  This market, these potential customers, and these people do not give a crap about your quest for financial freedom.  See, it isn't about you getting yours.  It's about them getting theirs.  It's like the great Zig Ziglar said folks, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."  Give and you shall receive.

Take the necessary steps to become financially independent.  Weigh all your options.

So what does that all mean for you?  Well, you could start a business or a side hustle in your spare time.  This could be something you do in addition to your full time job.  How?  Well, assess your market.  Can you use skills from your job to help others?  Do you have a hobby you could turn into a profitable business while also helping others?  Do you see problems and have an idea of the solutions to offer?  In your local community, is there some gap that you can fill?  Ideas and opportunities to assist others are all around us.  You just need to look and be open.

What about becoming a landlord?  Everybody needs a roof over their heads and you could be the person to provide it.  Sure, it takes some work to fix the toilet or screen potential tenants.  But, you didn't think this financial freedom thing was just going to be handed to you, did you?  Yes, friends, this is going to take some work.  But, it's all about applying hard work, consistent effort, staying the course, and resisting instant gratification.

I want to make an honorable mention here about investments.  I never want to misrepresent things there with you all, so I'm not going to comment extensively about investments.  Now, when I say investments, I mean paper assets like stocks and bonds.  I do not have a lot of experience with them, so any commentary will be pointless for you.  I would say that people clearly do make money in the stock market, but it's something I have tended to avoid since 2008.  That said, it is something I will educate myself on because stocks and bonds (especially dividend-paying stocks) are great wealth-generating vehicles in their own right.

At the end of the day, the goal of all these concepts to this: Income > Expenses.  You want your income from your businesses, side hustles, real estate, and paper investments to outweigh all of your expenses.  You do that, you're well on your way to kicking it FIRE style.

4. Perform regular maintenance.  Be vigilant.

You need to always be checking up on your money, your business, and your investments.  You can't be the person that attempts to "set it and forget it."  That's not how wealth is built.

Rather, you need to be the person is constantly investing in learning.  Knowledge is power.  But, knowledge is also money.  Knowledge is also the key ingredient to your financial independence.

Sure, you may have a CPA do your taxes, but what do you know about tax laws?  Are you informed?  Do you watch the news?  What deductions are you able to take for your business?  Don't know?  Ask, research and read.

Are you a landlord?  How do others manage their properties?  Is the rent you're charging tenants below, at, or above market?  How old is the roof on the place you just purchased?  Did you get a good deal?  How long will it take before you own your property or properties free and clear?  Are doing to the work to keep these places up and running or will you hire it?

[clickToTweet tweet="'It's hard, but to become #financially independent means asking the tough questions.'" quote="It's hard, but to become financially independent means asking the tough questions."]

OK, I know.  You're ready to pull your hair out and rip me a new one.  It's a lot to think about and a lot of questions.  Annoying and stressful questions.  But, necessary and important questions.  I can be as immune to hard work as the next millennial, but I know the importance of these things.  It sucks.  It's hard.  It takes you out of your comfort zone.

All that is true.  However, you still must do it.  Vigilance is key.  It's how soldiers survive in battle.  And that's exactly what this is.  Hell, that's what life is -- at battle.  You either battle it out or take your ball and go home.

If you're still reading this, I bet you're a person who goes to battle.  Well, pick up your sword of knowledge and continue fighting.

5. Always be willing to pivot.  It's OK if something doesn't work out.  Correct course and move on.

This last point is something I am guilty of not doing quite often.  You're on a path and you're committed to the path.  The problem is that the path is leading your over a cliff, but you're too damn stubborn to change course.  Why?  Well, it's usually that you're either a deer in the headlights and you're too scared to do anything.  It comes down to being frozen by fear.

Rather, it could also be that you're like me: the eternal optimist.  You see the cliff ahead, but you figure that things will turn around when they have to.  So, you stay the course.

The problem is fear and misguided optimist lead you down the same path -- over a damn cliff!  That's not what you want to do.  You don't want to derail your financial independence journey life that.

Instead, have those conversations.  Be open to change.  Don't go down with the ship.  Instead, try to find a life boat.  Figure out another way.  OK, maybe you suffered a loss of time or money here.  It's fine.  Keep pushing forward.  Find another path.  Just don't go over the damn cliff.

Conclusion: Get fired up!

At the end of the day, don't be the people that see their money disappearing before their eyes.  You know who I mean.  The people that saw savings and retirement accounts evaporate in 2008.

Don't be those people.

Learn about your finances.  Get an education.

Pivot, change strategy, and attack it.

Don't keep up with everyone else.  They're broke.

Find a need you can solve, put yourself out there, and create a kickass business you can grow into something.  If it fails, learn from it, and start up again.

The point is that it takes a lot of hard work to become financially independent.  It's not easy.  No, it's not glamorous.  Consider what Thomas Edison said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Do yourself a favor.  Do the work.  Take advantage of the opportunity.  Light your world on FIRE and become financially independent.  God bless you on your journey to a better life for you and your family.

Do you have a plan to become financially independent and retire early?  If so, share it with us.  Are you already financially free or close to it?  Give us your tips below!

  • […] Set Your World on FIRE: Achieving Financial Freedom […]

  • Alexa Mason says:

    Rich Dad Poor Dad was one of the first books that hooked me on persona finance too 🙂 I think flexibility is key and of course, adapting a plan that fits yourself rather than one someone else has created.

    • Nice! Glad to have another RDPD fan here 🙂 Yes, flexibility and crafting your own plan. That way, you have control and can adapt it for when “life happens.” Thanks for sharing, Alexa!

  • Rich Dad’s original book really got me excited for financial improvement!

  • Hey there Dave,

    I’m lucky enough to be in a situation where my only debt is my mortgage and I’m able to save about $3k a month. I don’t think paying down my mortgage at this point would be a prudent decision since my rate is 2.625%, though it is an ARM.

    Would you suggest maxing an IRA, maxing a 401k, or contributing to a taxable account? What about a rental property? I also think there are opportunities to create businesses online… so many options.. not enough time!! 🙂

    Thanks for the post and have a good weekend,
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Who Says Houses Aren’t Good Investments – Erik’s Story 2My Profile

    • Hey Erik,

      Thanks for the comment. Wow, amazing job only having the house as debt. $3K per month is awesome! You want to make sure that money is working for you.

      I don’t think you need to settle for one option here:
      1. If your employer matches, max out the 401(k).
      2. You can also begin putting aside money for a down payment on a rental. I would definitely do that. Rental properties will be one of the corner stones of our retirement plan.
      3. I would also consider online businesses as well. I’m a huge proponent of multiple income streams and it’s something my wife and I plan to work on.

      I would focus on building up those assets with that $3,000. You have an amazing opportunity few have. Plus, as you get your finances in order even more, you will be an example for others and be able to give back like you never thought possible.

      Great question! Have an awesome weekend!

      David Domzalski recently posted…Take the #ImSavingFor Pledge for America Saves Week 2017My Profile

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad is such a classic!!! Between that book and The Millionaire Next Door it really got me excited about personal finance and how attainable it truly was. I read it around the same time period and sorta glad that I didn’t take the leap to buy rental properties then. I think I would have taken a blood bath and I definitely didn’t have the knowledge to fully execute like I would now. We’ll see what opportunities present themselves in the future 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Why CEOs with Daughters Are BetterMy Profile

    • A classic it is! I read MND soon after as well. Really changes your mindset and, to me, it makes the concept of FIRE much more realistic. Now, if only we can take what we know and turn it into a muse as in the 4 Hour Work Week, then we really have something here! I agree about rentals. We made attempts to dive into it and, had a certain deal gone through, we would have likely been really sorry. I think God protected us there. That said, we are much more knowledgeable now then when we were in our early 20s. We hope to get rentals in another year or so. Opportunities abound my friend! 🙂
      David Domzalski recently posted…Take the #ImSavingFor Pledge for America Saves Week 2017My Profile

  • I’ll need to check out that book Millionaire Fastlane! I definitely agree that you have to be flexible and realize what one person writes in a book might not be the exact path that works for you. I thankfully don’t have much debt (only $6K left on my car loan then I will be debt free!) and I am trying to find some ways to make passive income so I can retire early as well. Looking forward to read more of your posts! Great content!

  • Hey Alli, thanks so much for the comment. Yes, definitely check out TMF — especially if you want to making that passive income to retire early. MJ DeMarco (the author) was the founder of and actually sold the company twice. He was able to retire after the second sale as a he earned a few million. He wrote the book, is coming out with a second, and runs a great forum at That place is filled with lots of knowledgeable people for all types of businesses, both online and offline. A cool place to check out.

    I appreciate the compliment. Please stop by often! I enjoyed your content as well and will be checking it out again soon!

    David Domzalski recently posted…Take the #ImSavingFor Pledge for America Saves Week 2017My Profile

  • Great advice on always checking on your money. You won’t be able to achieve anything out of the ordinary if you aren’t constantly monitoring and making sure you’re on track. And great point on always be learning. There really aren’t any excuses anymore with the wealth of information that can be found online.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…Don’t Tell Me My Budget!My Profile

  • Great post, Dave. Another RDPD fan here. In fact, it is one of my top 3 recommendations for someone who wants to learn more about personal finance. The other two are The Millionaire Next Door and The Richest Man in Babylon. RDPD does a good job of helping the reader learn about passive income, entrepreneurship v. self-employment, assets v. liabilities, etc. I have only read two other Kiyosaki books: Why We Want You to Be Rich (co-written with Donald Trump) and The Business of the 21st Century. Have you read any others you would recommend?

    • From RK, I’d say next to RDPD his next best book is Cashflow Quadrant. He gets further into the E/S/B/I aspect of his teaching. Others I’ve read include Increase Your Financial IQ, Conspiracy of the Rich, and Retire Young, Retire Rich.

      Outside of RK, you may want to look into the other one I mention here called the Millionaire Fastlane. Great book, especially if you truly want to start a business.
      David Domzalski recently posted…Take the #ImSavingFor Pledge for America Saves Week 2017My Profile

  • MMD says:

    Rich Dad Poor Dad was one of my first “money” books too. The principles contained within this book are something that you can use for life. Create assets while everyone else buys liabilities. Get things that put money in your pocket, not take it away. It definitely helped me to think outside the box.
    MMD recently posted…Niche Website Update 38 – How I Sold My WebsitesMy Profile

  • I like what you said about the work aspect of financial freedom. For some reason I still think desire should be enough sometimes, and am disappointed when things don’t go my way. You’re definitely right though, the key is hard work, consistently applied. Great post!
    Matt Kuhn @ Profitable Matters recently posted…5 Reasons Why Frugality May Be Holding You BackMy Profile

    • Matt, don’t put yourself down about that. Join the club. It took me time to get there. In a perfect world, desire is enough. But, it’s the persistence that makes you great. That’s something nobody teaches you. You have to experience it.

      Just. Keep. Going.

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