Getting Started

Plan for FI-RE

You probably know these 61 steps to plan for FI-RE, but are you doing them?  We’ll provide the framework.  You make the blueprint.

  1. Learn to invest, trade, learn skills, and to start a business, even if you don’t have money now.
  2. Live below your means and invest the difference.
  3. Invest or pay off debt using unexpected income.
  4. Get debt free, yesterday. As Dave Ramsey says, you won’t beat up the credit card companies. (This refers to “bad” debt.)
  5. Create an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of living expenses in a money market account.
  6. Contribute to your Roth IRA and/or Roth 401K (if you are in the U.S.).
  7. Contribute to your (Roth) 401K up to your employer match. You and your coworkers may need to lobby for better rated funds or funds with lower expenses (fees). Also, learn about self-directed IRA and 401K accounts. Be sure to look at the vesting schedule of your matched 401K.
  8. Support efforts to reduce or eliminate the U.S. capital gains tax (esp. crypto), dividend tax, and payroll tax. A low capital gains tax provides incentive to work, save, and invest, which leads to economic growth.
  9. Oppose efforts to confiscate retirement accounts. It wouldn’t be enough to pay Uncle Sam’s bills anyway.
  10. Oppose candidates, school districts, entertainers, news media, and activists who vilify entrepreneurship, capitalism, rugged individualism, and classical economics.
  11. Learn about stock options at CBOE. You can open an options account with your brokerage.
  12. Do a background check on your potential stockbroker or retirement planner. Financial advisers can be very good, but you still need to become financially literate. (H/t Robert Kiyosaki)
  13. Invest at least half of all pay increases.
  14. Never, ever, withdraw retirement funds before you retire. Avoid 401(k) loans. If you can retire early, talk to a pro about the 72(t) option.
  15. Take an economics (macroeconomics) class if you have never taken one.
  16. Take a stock market or investments class if you have never taken one. (Community colleges or Coursera will do.)
  17. Take a security analysis class if you have never taken one.
  18. Read a good Corporate Finance textbook.
  19. Know exactly why you want financial independence and stay focused. Your real reasons drive you. What are they? Like they say, your why helps you bear any “how.” If things are good at work now, you may want more options in the future.
  20. Find work you love, and/or work two jobs, if need be. Even better:
  21. Start a small business on the side, or:
  22. Start a small real estate holding company, or…
  23. Put in for overtime.
  24. Keep learning. Pursue skill training, courses, reading, certifications, and degrees that are in demand which you can afford and suit you. Read Free and Low-Cost Education, a book with 35 inexpensive alternatives to college and low-cost colleges.
  25. Get organized. Write things down.
  26. Keep a journal. Write down investment ideas, business ideas, trends you for see, or any other thought that you want to remember. Use your journal to help keep yourself accountable to your goals. Plan your week in your journal.
  27. Keep out of credit card and all other “bad debt” as much as possible. Paying interest, late fees, annual fees, and miscellaneous fees does not help you. A credit card that charges you 24+% interest has no place in your finances.
  28. Join or start a Master Mind group and get around people with similar goals, who have the skills, knowledge, resources, attitude, and contacts you do not. Get the right kind of peer pressure.
  29. Network. Meet the right people. Join an investment club or a local Rich Dad group or a small business group or other organizations.
  30. Find good mentors and model their behavior and learn their principles. A Master Mind group should make this easy.
  31. Read or listen to classic books about investing, finance, real estate, sales, autobiographies, business, personal development, programming languages, in-a-nutshell law books, and any other helpful books and audiobooks.
  32. Learn to sell, negotiate, persuade, and build rapport. These four skills will help you land excellent deals, jobs, sales, and more. Listening helps to build rapport and sell.
  33. Learn about the law, as it applies to your business, work, home, finances, taxes, debt, retirement, etc. You can look up the statutes you need on Google. You can always consult with a lawyer.
  34. Update your cover letter and resume. You will never know when a great new opportunity will come around or when the ax will fall at work.
  35. Check your credit report and credit score at least every year. See
  36. Set realistic goals in each area of your life, and commit to C.A.N.I – Constant And Never-ending Improvement. Set goals for your whole lifespan.
  37. Use creative visualization to help you achieve your short term goals.
  38. Practice self-hypnosis to help you with your short term goals.
  39. Say to yourself, “cancel, cancel”, when you think a negative thought. Worrying is counterproductive.
  40. Get better at the skills you have now; become an expert in your field. At least learn all you can about your employer and your field. Don’t be reluctant to spend weeks, months, or years mastering skills.
  41. Be honest and fair in all your dealings. Be honest and fair with yourself.
  42. Try to get a little better at your job every day.
  43. Don’t dwell on old misfortunes. Do think about how to get what you want.
  44. Always be searching for new, better ideas, trends, ventures, possible inventions, opportunities, and wisdom. Seek out the cold hard truth about the nature of your investments, business and other ideas.
  45. Engage in a vigorous workout before you begin your day. Do what you can if you’re pressed for time.
  46. Find a supportive spouse.
  47. Learn from the mistakes of others.
  48. Identify your strengths and build on your strengths until “they can’t ignore you.”
  49. It is essential to enjoy the grind. Warren Buffett is quoted as saying he tap dances to work. (H/t Tai Lopez)
  50. You may find it helpful to take this personality test. You may also find taking a few online IQ tests useful.  See our Resources page for more self-assessments.
  51. Remember, in every difficulty lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. You have to bounce back from temporary defeat. (H/t Napoleon Hill)
  52. Donate to charity and tithe. This tells your subconscious mind there is more than enough. See God as a business partner that only requires 10%.
  53. Don’t do any deals that you can’t afford or understand.
  54. Don’t be reluctant to start small. Just get started! Plan your work and work your plan, every single day. Adjust course if necessary, but never give up. As Napoleon Hill said, “Don’t drift!”
  55. Beat overwhelm by making a to-do list, using a schedule, and by focusing single-mindedly on one task at a time.
  56. Don’t worry about what critics think. Focus on the results you can get.
  57. Adopt the belief for yourself that “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
  58. Fire up Excel and type up your personal balance sheet. Your balance sheet will give you a snapshot of your financial assets, liabilities, and cash.  (See our “wealth calcs” page, too.)
  59. Bonus tip: Pay yourself first. Regardless of practically any circumstance, pay yourself first.
  60. Bonus tip: Take a look at the software and other financial tools on our Resources page.  You will also enjoy our Commandments page which will help with an FI framework.
  61. Bonus tip:  One question to ask yourself is what work can you get paid to do that overseas outsourcers, AI, robots, or other execs & workers can’t?
  62. Bonus tip: You might use some of the info at our Answers page to help you in the planning stages.
  63. Bonus tip: In a nutshell, we need to: maximize income, maximize savings, keep up with or beat inflation.
  64. Bonus tip: Again, the results you get for your clients and/or employers matter more.
  65. Bonus tip: If you need to network, or get introduced to a digital skill, or if you think you’ll seek political office in your life, attend The Leadership Institute, in Arlington, VA.
  66. Bonus tip: If a plan doesn’t work out, arrange your career and/or ventures so you can adapt or pivot.
  67. Bonus tip: Support candidates who support changing vesting rules for 401(k) plans, ending unemployment insurance and the payroll tax.
  68. Bonus tip: Develop yourself and your products so much, it’s tough to copy.