What is the Best way to Become a Millionaire?
The best way is the one you can stick to. Only you know how comfortable you are with risky investments vs saving regularly into a high interest savings account. If high risk investments terrify you, then your path to financial freedom or millionaire status might take longer but you will feel better about it.
Can Anyone be a Millionaire or Financially Free?
The path to being a millionaire or being financially free is different for everyone. Honestly, while so many people say anyone can do it there is a huge difference between how easy it is and how possible it is depending on so many factors. Background, upbringing, education, knowledge, where you live, health, family considerations and more all impact your capacity to be financially free or become a millionaire.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire is Ni-Vanuatu (native to Vanuatu) and grew up there, surrounded by poverty. Ms Aspiring Millionaire is a Caucasian Australian from a relatively middle-class background but we had numerous wealthy friends and family, well above our level.
The reality is, financial freedom for Ms Aspiring Millionaire was always realistic and going to happen. Financial freedom to Mr Aspiring Millionaire seemed unrealistic because of his background but it was what he wanted.
Saving to be Financially Free or a Millionaire
One way to become a millionaire or financially free is through saving. Simply putting a specific amount aside each week or each time you get paid and putting it in a high interest account.
This is probably the safest but also the slowest and not the best investment as far as most people are concerned. Having $1,000,000 in cash might feel good but if that money isn’t making money then it’s not really the same as having a million in income generating assets. The interest made with this money sitting in the bank is minimal compared to how much you can make with it in other ways.
It is the lowest risk method though and for some, it feels best.
Investing in Shares to be Financially Free or a Millionaire
The preferred method for many in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community or who follow that. Shares have statistically outperformed the property market and while it does go up and down, the value, especially with ‘blue-chip’ shares or indexed funds has been solid.
Warren Buffet made his wealth this way, as have many others. It requires less effort than running a business or property and still returns an income you can live off in later years if you invest enough.
A good way to experiment with shares to see if you like it is through micro-investing. Spaceship is one option where you can get a bonus $10 for signing up using the code S8518DLV20. You’ll get a feel for how comfortable you are with the ups and downs without having huge amounts invested.
However, if you want to invest more, there are other platforms which are better to invest through such as Vanguard.
Real Estate to Become Financially Free or a Millionaire
This was my original plan back when I was a teenager. I even tried to get my dad to go guarantor on a mortgage when I was 13. Not surprisingly, despite my thorough plan, he said no. He is more risk-averse than I am. If my 13-year-old came to me with a plan right now, I would consider it.
I owned a house in Sydney during my first marriage which was a rental for a few years. My tenants trashed it and while I had some good times with it, overall, it wasn’t a great experience. But I also hadn’t planned to be a landlord with that home.
Buying a property specifically as a rental is extremely different to buying for yourself. I’ll go into more detail in future articles.
Currently, my partner has a couple of properties overseas through inheritance. They are basic and rented to locals. Our future plans are to develop those plans, in the way the family had always wanted to but didn’t have the finances There are also 3 other properties we have rights to but we have not moved on those yet.
Real Estate Options
To become a millionaire through real estate you can become a landlord and grow your portfolio. Alternatively, there is flipping – where you buy an old home, fix it up and resell it. This was extremely popular for the past decade. Both options come with risks and real estate is not as liquid as shares should you need the cash for any reason.
Businesses for Financial Freedom or to be a Millioniare
This was how I had a net worth of $1,000,000 by the time I was 30. Due to a long, expensive custody battle, I had to sell off things and was no longer a millionaire.
Business is how most millionaires I know have done it. Either by founding a business themselves or buying one and growing it. Everything from building to pharmacies, wineries to tourism companies have been used to create this wealth.
Personally, I love business but I know it’s not for everyone. Our aim is to have a combination of savings, shares, real estate and businesses. It is what we have currently and will continue to grow.
What other options do you know of or are you pursuing for financial freedom and millionaire status?
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What I Did to Lose $1,000,000
This is from Ms Aspiring Millionaire and happened before she met Mr Aspiring Millionaire. We all make mistakes, these are some of my big ones!
Back in 2014, I was a CEO and my net worth was over $1,000,000. Owning multiple websites, a marketing business and doing a lot of public speaking, consulting and charity work saw me achieving my goals and in a good financial position. So how did I lose it all and have to start over?
Divorce Crushes Your Finances
In 2013, I got divorced. Australian law means you have to be separated for 12 months and 1 day before you can apply. It was a messy divorce because of domestic abuse, so there was a protection order in place and a lot therapy needed for my daughters and I.
The divorce part was easier because I had a protection order, our daughters lived with me and the judge was satisfied with the arrangements. However, custody was not finalised at the time. Instead, I was advised to hold off on applying for that immediately as even with the abuse, 50/50 care was the most likely outcome.
In 2015, I needed passports and he wouldn’t grant them. Which meant, I had to apply for custody. This was just one part of a few bad decisions and circumstances.
Health Is Everything
In 2015, I became paralysed, had multiple surgeries and in the middle of it all, tested positive for cancer of the bladder. I had polyps removed (and have had a few surgeries for this since then) but all is ok. For 7 months, I had excruciating pain and paralysis on and off making life extremely difficult.
Much of my work was able to be done from home but it suffered. If I spoke at an event (using the prescribed pain killers and nerve blockers), I would be out for 3 days after because of pain and paralysis.
Ill health took a massive toll on my body, along with the expense of custody.
Moving and Trusting the Wrong People
At the end of 2015, my health was improving but my finances were in a terrible state. We moved to Melbourne as my then live in boyfriend got an amazing job. He had been unemployed throughout 2015 so this was huge for him.
He moved a few weeks before us, then right as I was meant to be moving and had sold off everything, made all the arrangements, he decided we couldn’t live with him. With severe mental health issues and addictions (which I was unaware of at the time), he kept changing his mind. I made other accommodation arrangements but we ended up back together.
Trusting him was possibly the stupidest thing I have done and it cost me a fortune. We had gone halves in a car but it was only in his name. He sold it and never gave me my half. Everything about his life was more important to him than the needs/wants of my kids and I.
Despite promises of things being even and him providing more since I had financially provided for us the whole of 2015, he didn’t. We called it quits later but it was a messy, co-dependent relationship. His addiction to alcohol, cocaine usage and anxiety issues were horrendous.
To be clear, he was nice in the beginning and seemed to have it together. He had a great job, nice friends, played sport etc. As time went on, his true personality came out but because I had left an abusive marriage a few years before and my kids were attached to him, I tried to make it work.
When we broke up, I was done with men. I was also financially devastated and still in the middle of the custody battle with my ex husband.
Child Custody is Expensive!
7.5 years after I left, I was finally granted full parental responsibility of my daughters. Meaning, I got full custody and he has no rights. The process has changed now but it was a nightmare. We started in Canberra, then I moved to Melbourne and had to go through it there. In Melbourne, my daughters were selected to go to China with their school (only 12 kids got to go). He still objected so it got more intense.
In the lower courts, a lot of lies were told by him and since we couldn’t subpoena evidence until later, our case was pushed to a higher court. He had my daughters put on the watch list once the courts made him sign for the passports so they still didn’t get to go to China.
I had to get a full psychiatric assessment because he claimed I had mental health issues. That cost thousands, on top of the lawyer fees. Then in the higher courts, I had to have a barrister too. I also had to pay for the court usage since I was the one who applied for custody. Not only did I have to pay for each day in court but all the preparations.
During all of this, he was harassing us again with multiple phone calls and threats. I had to get a new protection order as my daughters and I were scared. A 5 year, super strict protection order was granted. Our judge on the day was amazing. My ex didn’t show so it was granted and she gave us more than I asked for. We were hoping for 1 year.
Because it was now 2019 and I had left him in 2012 which is when the first report of his violence was made, it was classed as long term, ongoing abuse. So the judge gave the maximum protection she could.
Extra Legal Expenses
At this stage, I was emotionally and financially exhausted but things were progressing. We were finally able to subpoena evidence from police in multiple states, child protection, teachers, psychologists and other people who had made reports about my daughters against my ex-husband.
When it all came to the courthouse, a lawyer has to go up and go through it all. I had to pay for that time plus the rest of the preparation time. They had never seen so much evidence and it ALL matched exactly what I had said and the evidence I had outlining times, dates, organisations/people involved etc. During this process, his lawyer sent notice that he no longer represents my ex.
Since he never turned up and his lawyer dropped him, he didn’t have to pay for anything. The court made so many allowances for him then finally, in the higher court, we got a great judge who did not tolerate his games. When he didn’t turn up, the court called him, he said it was all too hard and the court ordered him to come to the next one. If he didn’t, a decision and order would be made without him.
Fortunately, he did not show up. The court appointed children’s lawyer agreed with me and the evidence so I was awarded everything we asked for.
But it cost me everything I had. In the end, I even sold off all my furniture and moved out of our house. We planned on travelling full time once court was done, so I didn’t mind doing this. I also had to borrow tens of thousands of dollars from my parents to complete it. Thankfully, my parents could afford to lend me money when I needed it.
Therapy After Abuse
From 2012, my daughters needed speech therapy which was expensive. But with everything else that happened then and over the next few years, they needed a lot of other therapy and help too. As did I.
At $200 a session for counselling/psychology and $90 a session for speech therapy, it added up fast. In 2013, I paid more a week in speech therapy and psychology than I paid in rent. It was worth it though.
My daughters and I are well adjusted. They are eternally grateful I got them out and got them help so they could process everything.
During the years of abuse and court, my daughters were triggered at times. This meant, with all their needs, I could not work full time in a job. I had to do side hustles or my own business but my time to do it was limited.
From CEO to Freelancer
I sold my company when I was in the bad relationship in Melbourne. He had managed to convince me he was better at everything than I was (despite me speaking internationally and winning awards). I lost all my confidence and had enough.
After that, because of the emotional strain of court, the bad relationship and other issues, I barely coped. Instead, I did what I could as a freelancer, did side hustles and focused on healing my daughters and myself.
What Changed and How I am Changing it with Mr Aspiring Millionaire
With all of that, you can see why I would not want to be in a relationship again. I decided to go for financial independence, travel and have a fun lifestyle with my kids instead. It was fun and my kids loved it. We did it like this for quite some time. Deep down, they both told me they wanted me to be with someone and be happy after they grew up. I was not ready though.
But when Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I met at the end of 2018, the connection was instant and obvious to everyone. I was hesitant, yet despite being in different countries, we got to know each other and it worked.
My work took me back to the Solomon Islands where he was working a few times and after 10 months he quit so we could travel together. We have the same goals, same dreams from childhood regarding finances, investments and lifestyle. I don’t know any couple who matches so perfectly on the big things as we do.
With 4 kids between us, our goal is financial independence as a large family. Not only for us but also our family in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
So basically, I lost my million dollar net worth because of bad decisions with men and ill health. Having the right life partner and being healthy makes a huge difference to mind, body, spirit AND finances. I am so happy to now have a partner who wants the same things in life as I do and is supportive.
In the time we’ve been together, we’ve managed to travel a few countries and a large portion of Australia. We’ve faced bushfires, a cyclone, lock down in another country, repatriation, setting up a new home twice (once overseas and once here). Plus buying a car, visa applications, residency applications and so much more.
Yet, we are currently in a better financial position than either of us could have imagined and have learnt from our mistakes.
What Big Financial Mistakes Have You Made?
What Would You Do With $1,000,000?
How often have you thought about what you’d do if you had $1,000,000? Becoming a millionaire is a dream for many but it isn’t that unrealistic anymore. Aside from winning lotto, there are numerous ways to make a million or more. Once you have a million, what would you do with it?
How to Earn, Save and Invest to have $1,000,000
The most secure way to become a millionaire is to do it yourself through saving and investing. Waiting for an inheritance or lotto win means you could wait your whole life and never reach the financial freedom you want.
Earning, saving and investing puts you in control of your money. Many people become millionaires within 30 years or in time for retirement through living frugally, saving and focusing on their retirement. This is not the way we want to do it in our family.
Those who have their own business and investments can do it in under 10 years, some as little as 5 or 7. You can find out more in the book We Should All Be Millionaires.
Successful businesses seem to be one of the quickest ways to become a millionaire. Investing wisely in indexed funds as per The Simple Path To Wealth is another simple way to do it. Or look at getting into a highly paid job, sacrifice a lot for a few years while investing wisely then retire as per Quit Like A Millionaire.
What Would You Do With $1,000,000 You Saved or Invested?
Once you have saved and invested to have $1,000,000, what would you do with it? If your plan is to use it in retirement, you will likely redraw on it over time until eventually you have nothing or you pass away.
Others, use it to invest more. Once you have $1,000,000 it is much easier to increase your investments quickly. Having a few million invested means you can get an income from the dividends and live quite comfortable without decreasing the value of your investment.
Meaning, you can live off a wage paid by your investments and still have over $1,000,000 stashed in investments. Doing this ensures your future and finances are safe.
What Would You Do If You Got $1,000,000?
This is very different to investing and earning $1,000,000 over a long period of time. Most people who suddenly get $1,000,000 e.g. through lotto or an inheritance, blow it. Having a plan for what you would do with a sudden injection of cash is important to ensure you make the most of it.
If we suddenly got $1,000,000, what would you do with it? We often play a game where we list out what we would do if we won $1,000,000 or $10,000,000 etc.
Be clear on how you want to spend the money. Below is an example from one of my clients. The crypto is because they are interested and if they suddenly got $1,000,000 they feel part of it would be fun money.
$27,000 to debt
$223,000 to develop the property
$500,000 to indexed funds
$250,000 to crypto
Of course, that doesn’t take into account taxes or other expenses. But when you are playing it as a game or pretending you don’t need to include taxes or you can say it is $1,000,000 after tax.
Manage Your Money Now
As is having a budget. If you aren’t in control of your money already and overspend, what makes you think you would manage $1,000,000 any better than that? Get
What Will We Do Once We Have $1,000,000?
This site is about our journey to $1,000,000 net worth. Our aim is actually much higher. $1,000,000 is the first goal. As mentioned, it would be used to develop our land, clear debt and invest. It is when we get to the higher amounts that what we really want becomes clearer.
We have a dream home in Vanuatu we want to buy which is a few million dollars. It’s where we want to get married and have forever. There is land here where we live in Australia we’d love to buy and develop to own a few specific businesses on.
Our desire is for multiple businesses, over $4,000,000 invested in shares/indexed funds/crypto and freedom to travel. Which means, once we hit $1,000,000 we will keep going.
What Would You Do With $1,000,000 And How Will You Get It?
How can you make $1,000,000?
There are multiple ways to make $1,000,000. A million dollars used to be the dream amount for many but now it is much easier to achieve. And for some, won’t be enough to live on in retirement. Personally, we are aiming higher but our first goal is $1,000,000. So how can you make $1,000,000?
1. Save, Save, Save Until You Retire
The average wage in many Western countries is around $50,000. This means, in 20 years, $1,000,000 passes through your hands. If you are part of a couple, you could save one wage and live off the other. Or go further and look at how you can save one wage PLUS a percentage of the other wage.
Saving as much as possible, putting it into a savings account and letting it grow with the minimal interest in there is one of the longest ways to get $1,000,000. For those who don’t like risk and prefer to set and forget with their finances, this is a great option.
Save one of your wages, max out retirement funds and any bonuses from your employment to increase your net worth and eventually, you’ll become a millionaire. If you are a couple, you might want to have $2,000,000 so technically you are both millionaires. It could take decades to do it though and you’ll spend your whole working life scrimping and saving.
2. Invest in Shares/the Stock Market/Indexed Funds
How you choose to invest in the stock market is up to you. Indeed funds have performed the best over time and outperformed hedgefund managers and others guessing at stocks. They are easy to invest in and essentially a set and forget option with a higher payout than just saving.
Invest then as you get dividends, invest more. Learn about the stock market and your risk tolerance level. Some people cannot handle the ups and downs. If you can’t, do not invest in individual shares. Instead, go with indexed funds. Read and learn more about it in The Simple Path to Wealth.
Either start your own or buy one and increase it. Numerous millionaires all over the world made their millions through business. It doesn’t need to be a huge business. See a need, find a way to fill it, expand and you’ll get there. People have made millions through blogging, drop shipping, yard work and all sorts of businesses.
You don’t need to change the world with your business. Find something you are interested that people want or need and do it.
Marketing, business management and the general running can all be learnt or outsourced. However, make sure you are on top of finances. Have the finances separate to your normal living expenses. Too many business owners starting out don’t separate their finances and it ends up messy. Plus it is hard to expand if you can’t prove business income.
Quite a few people I know will inherit over $1,000,000. This isn’t a method to rely on though because who knows when you will actually see it or if you will at all. Plus, inheritances can bring out the worst in people with fights for years to get what people thing they are entitled to.
It is a way to become a millionaire but not one to depend on. However, if you do expect an inheritance, work out what you would do with it before it comes. This way you are prepared and can make it work for you.
How Are We Making $1,000,000?
We are doing it a couple of ways, firstly investing, secondly with a quirky challenge. Our challenge was starting with $2 and doubling our money. Doing this 20 times equals over $1,000,000.
How will you become a millionaire? What ways do you know of others becoming millionaires?
We are a BIPOC, single mother family of 5 working towards FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). Sharing what we do plus our challenge to double our money from $2 to $1,000,000.
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How to go from $1 to $1,000,000
The basis of our blog and one of our challenges is exactly this. Starting with $1 if you double it 20 times you’ll have over $1,000,000!
Make Over $10,000 a Month Reselling
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We Should All be Millionaires
Financial independence is achievable for many people. A lot of it comes down to knowledge and applying what you learn. A few of our top picks for learning include:
Quit Like A Millionaire: a book sharing the experience and advice from someone growing up in total poverty in China who retired at 30 a millionaire.
The Simple Path to Wealth: it doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep it simple with these tips.
The Automatic Millionaire: automate your finances and you can be a millionaire when you retire.
Lucky Bitch: change your mindset and relationship with money to get the life you want!
How Can You Make $10,000 in 10 Days?
After reading We Should All Be Millionaires, I was inspired to try the $10,000 in 10 days challenge she sets. When I decided to do it, I had no idea how it would work. With a baby who was teething and completely unsettled, teens, study, work and so much else on, it felt like a lofty goal.
Amazingly, within 10 days I got 2 payments totalling over $10,000! Both were unexpected but welcomed.
Because of the success the first time, I decided to do it again. Only this time, I made it public.
Last time, I had no doubt I could do it even though I had no idea how. Whenever I feel that way, live with that completely confident mindset, everything falls into place. If I have doubts, it fails.
What Can You Do?
When you’re looking at making money, one of the best things you can do is have a brainstorming session. In this session, write down all the ways you can make money, even if they seem ridiculous at the time.
Once you have your ideas, work out which ones feel the best to you, which excite you and which you will actually follow through on. Focus on them. Here are some ideas. Remember, it doesn’t need to be $10,000 from one thing, although that can be nice.
Make $10,000 Buying Things to Resell
I listed a few things today and used to make thousands a month doing this. In fact, when I was dedicated, I made over $10,000 a month doing it. There is a guide on how to make $10,000 a month buying things to resell which can help.
My best items are $1 to $2 pieces of clothing from second-hand stores which I can resell for $50 on average, sometimes more. Websites, I’ve bought and resold cars, photography equipment, books, collectables. Anything I know about and know I can make a profit from, I’ll try.
One time I bought some jewellery from a store when it was closing down. I tripled my investment with that one.
Rent or Boarders
I’m going away and can rent my place for $1,200 for the time I am gone. Other times, I have made $1,300 in a week doing this and when I had boarders they usually paid $250 a week rent which meant I made well over $10,000 in a year from it.
Have a clear contract in place and interview thoroughly if you do have a boarder.
If you have a business, can you increase prices? Is there an extra service you could provide? What about creating and selling a course or book or doing presales for something. Brainstorm how you can use what you have to generate more without much work.
Instant Cash Offers
Banks often offer cash bonuses for joining. Up has $5 instantly when you join here. 86 400 offers $10 with the code S7VL6WF here that you get once you use the card for the first time. CoinSpot gives $10 worth of BitCoin when you invest $10. Spaceship offers $10 when you use the code S801FV0EE2 here and invest.
One of my favourite ways to make money has been freelance writing. I see loads of opportunities for new writers as well as better paid opportunities for experienced writers.
Facebook groups has been my best source of getting freelance writing gigs and by spending a couple of hours pitching, I often secure $2,000+ worth of freelance writing when I want to.
Cleaning, gardening, mowing lawns, ironing, babysitting or any domestic style work is often high in demand. It will take a while to get to $10,000 but is still income.
Some of the tasks I have done took only a few minutes for $50. You really need to sort through but those odd jobs pay within a few days and you can take on as many as you’re accepted for.
Check all your VIP and reward programs to see if there is anything you can cash out. Look for refunds and rebates you can cash in. If you are a member of any cash back programs, check them too. Cash Rewards gives a $10 bonus, as does Shopback. I use both for all my shopping by comparing and using the one with the best cash back offer at the time.
Go through your home, car and everywhere to look for cash. Under your lounge, under appliances, in pockets, purses, the console of your car etc. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
I have learnt to be open minded when it comes to where the money can come from. Most of the large amounts of money I have received when doing challenges like this have not been from my work. Referral bonuses, small inheritances, unexpected cash gifts, refunds etc have all added up to thousands of dollars.
None of those I could have planned for but they all made a big difference. Be open to money flowing to you instead of focusing only on what you can do.
Check out 99 Side Hustles for a huge guide on ways to make money, how to get started, different options you have and how to market them to make more money.
What Am I Doing?
I’ll share my daily updates below. In the next 10 days (today being Day 1 which is Sunday, 19 September 2021), I am going away which limits my options. I can’t list as much for sale as I normally would because I won’t be here to post or meet if I sell anything. That doesn’t mean I won’t be able to do it.
Day 1 – $1,200 Renting Out My Home
Since I am going away, my place can be rented out. I’ve done this many times before through Airbnb. Living a few hundred metres from the beach in a popular tourist spot this time makes it even easier. There is also a significant housing crisis here so no shortage of people needing a place to stay.
I could rent it out for more but wanted to help someone who is currently trying to secure a rental instead of renting to a holidaymaker. Having a solid home for a few weeks will give them some breathing room to focus on getting a place.
This feels better to me ethically given the situation where I live right now because I have been homeless before.
How to Rent Your Home out
Airbnb is my preferred method because if anything goes wrong, there is help, insurance and a security bond. Facebook groups or friends and family are also great ways to find someone to rent your place. Unless it is someone I know, I will always create a listing on Airbnb and send the person the link so they can book and I am covered.
There are fees associated with Airbnb but I feel it is worth it for protection. If I had a regular holiday rental, I would have it managed by a real estate here.
Look up how much homes are going for in your area. Clear your home out of personal items and your valuables. Take a video before you leave of everything so you have proof of how it was before you left.
Create a welcome kit. I usually have some chocolates, basics such as milk, bread, butter, some nice items from locals and sometimes a bottle of wine, depending on the length of the booking. I also have coupons for the local area with a guide on things to do, the public transport etc.
Make sure your entire home is spotless. Provide all the necessities including toiletries, cleaning supplies, linen etc. People are critical!
Think of how you would want a holiday home presented and make your home be the same.
Day Two $455
Today I unexpectedly sold a device of ours. I say unexpectedly because I had not listed it for sale yet. A reader of another site of mine emailed asking for advice on second-hand devices for Vanuatu as my partner is Ni-Vanuatu and we have spent lots of time there. I gave advice and said we were about to sell this one if they were interested.
They were and it worked for everyone.
$55 came from referral bonuses.
I also spent time today pitching for freelance writing but due to a 2 hour medical test and helping a friend, my time today was limited. Still happy that my current total is $1,655 in 2 days!
Day Three $10
A sick baby, teenagers needing stuff and not much time meant I could barely think about my $10,000 in 10 days challenge today. I got $10 from a referral bonus through my cousin but that’s it.
We did drop some things at the second-hand shop to clear the clutter. Whenever I clear out the clutter in my life, it frees up my headspace to be able to focus and I needed that. Whilst there, we picked up a few items for $1 to $5 to resell for around $50 each.
Day Four $95
Today I flew to Tasmania so my day was spent driving to Brisbane, at the airport, in the air then getting settled. I managed to sell a few things online still but it was not a hugely profitable day.
Day Five $2,500
On the first day, I pitched some freelance writing gigs and today confirmed some. They might not be paid within the next 5 days but they will be paid promptly. It all fell into place unexpectedly as they are in Tasmania, where I am now and would not have happened if I wasn’t here.
Day Six $720
Originally, I was going to wait until day 10 to cash out from my online surveys but because of a slight error with one, I decided to cash them out now. Online surveys are easy to do when you are waiting at the doctors, waiting in line to pick up the kids or sometimes at the grocery store.
All those little pieces of time where you are bored and scrolling Facebook you can now make money with!
Day Seven – $147
I cashed out my cashback programs today. $147 cashback total between Cash Rewards, Honey and Shopback. Some of this is my own spending, some referral bonuses.
Day Eight – $4,000+
Yesterday I listed something for sale which should get around $4,000 to $5,000. Today, I am negotiating with a few interested buyers. This may or may not be finalised within the 10 days but I am including it.
Day Nine – $0
Today I went for a hike down where there is limited reception. I had no time to even think about way to make money, list anything for sale or do anything else.
Day Ten – $0
Returning from the hike and time with family meant another day of nothing.
Overall, while I didn’t get all the cash in the 10 days, I did generate $10,000 so I am happy with that. Maybe next time, I’ll be able to get the money all in the 10 days.
How to Achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early with a Large Family
Most things written about financial independence and retiring early is from white males. In more recent years, other voices have come through, often still single or double incomes before kids, or with only one kid.
In my experience, it is much easier to achieve financial goals without children but as someone with 4 kids, that isn’t the journey I’m taking. We have 2 daughters from my first marriage, my partner’s daughter from his first marriage and a son together. Aged 13, 12, 7 and less than 6 months.
My partner comes from Vanuatu and in his culture, it is expected you support the parents in their later years. Vanuatu does not have an aged pension, welfare or many of the things we have here. Incomes are extremely low so even with some retirement savings, it is impossible to live off, let alone aim for a large retirement nest egg.
Also, it is not uncommon for the wealthier family members or those in a better location to support nieces and nephews through school. His parents supported numerous cousins of his and still do. Since his sister has two children, it is possible we will have not only our kids but hers at some point too.
Our situation and FIRE goals are different to most.
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What can you do to Achieve FIRE with a Large Family?
Knowing what you want, creating a plan of action and going for it are with commitment is how. You might not achieve it as fast as someone who doesn’t have kids or your expenses but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Please remember to live life still! Don’t scrimp and save on everything, sacrificing fun memories with your kids in an effort to retire early. I see too many families cutting off everything, not really living in an effort to retire a year earlier or 5 years earlier. Your kids will remember their childhoods. If you are off working 24/7 or constantly side hustling and cutting corners so they never get to do anything, they will remember it.
A strong relationship with your kids is more important than retiring a few years earlier. Always aim for a balance between reaching your goal of retiring at a certain point with having great times as a family.
What we do for Family Fun
Having time with your family and lots of fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A few key things we do are:
- Friday Family Fun Night: an activity as a family, usually on a Friday night. Every week, we do an activity together. It might be watching a movie on Netflix with treats, going for a hike, the beach until midnight, any activity we enjoy. The point is, our kids know that every week we have a few hours doing something as a family and they look forward to it all week.
- Dinner Together: every night we have dinner as a family. We often cook these meals together too.
- Grateful and Compliments: at dinner we all list 3 things we are grateful for plus a compliment for each other. With the compliments, it is about catching each other doing something good and recognising it rather than superficial compliments.
- Family Travel: we are a family that loves travel. So much so, that we have side hustles based on it. Family travel doesn’t need to be expensive, most of ours is free but our kids have the best memories. Check out free campsites for weekends away, stay with friends and family interstate, go on a random road trip.
- Private Conversations: at any time, our kids can ask either one of us for a private conversation and the whole family will respect that and give us space to talk.
- One On One Time: I try to take the kids out individually, even if just for a walk on the beach together. Having that one on one time with me makes a huge difference to the relationship.
All of these things add up and have ensured our children are emotionally stable, confident and happy to work towards our goals. They aren’t constantly asking for new things and we don’t feel the need to buy them things because they get our time.
Find a balance between work, side hustles, reaching FIRE and the time with your family.
Sort Out Your Budget
Go over all your expenses, your income and plans. Create a proper spending plan to tell your money where to go before it lands in your account. Be sure to include regular savings and investing as part of your budget. Treat them as a bill instead of an afterthought. They should be paid first and work with the rest of your income for everything else.
Look at ways to cut back and as you do, transfer those extra amounts to savings or investments. If you are hopeless with money, try using the envelope system to begin with so you use cash and physically see the money go.
What is the Envelope System?
Multiple envelopes for different expenses are used. Take out the cash amount you set aside in your budget for each area e.g. groceries, petrol, bills and once you have spent the cash, it’s gone. For every purchase, put the receipt into the envelope so you can properly track where and how you spend your money.
For many people, seeing how much cash they spend and how much they waste is confronting. This alone is enough to make them change their spending habits.
Other people prefer to use separate accounts online and transfer the money between them. Try each method and do what works for you.
How we do Our Budget
Every Sunday we have an Abundance Meeting. We sit down together, go over all our income, investments and expenses to ensure we are on track. Our investments are set up to be automatic, as are most of our bills.
Each week we get our own ‘play’ money which is a specific amount we can do whatever we want with. The minimum aim is at least 10% to investments and 10% to savings. Right now, we are saving $30,000 fast to pay cash for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s career progression. It will see a huge leap in income from his previous career stage.
Once we have paid for that and cleared our remaining consumer debt, all excess is going to investing. Right now, our current investments are 3 properties owned outright in Vanuatu, one business there, a business in Australia plus shares and crypto.
For shares, we’ve been doing small amounts through Spaceship (get $5 when you join here) and $10 of Bitcoin if you want to try crypto with Coinspot. You get the money once you make your first investment which can be as little as $20.
We use Kiva for donations and send money back to family in the islands. Plus, we like to support some charities in Vanuatu aimed at gender equality and helping women. Read how to know which not for profits to support to know more about what we do.
Maximise Your Money
Set your money up right and you can make or save thousands. Look at all the ways you can maximise your money. Some examples are below.
Free Interest and Bonuses
If you’re good with your money, credit cards can be used to acquire points to save money on travel and in other areas of your life. Many businesses have sign up bonuses, banks have account opening bonuses and other incentives. Look for the right products for your needs then get them set up. We have over $500 worth listed here.
Salary Sacrificing/Tax Benefits
Check to see if your employer or government offers bonuses or salary sacrificing to make your money go further. Different occupations and companies offer different salary sacrificing, retirement and bonus options.
Cash Back and Rebates
Look for rebates and cashback when you go shopping. Do what you can to ensure you are making the most of the money you have.
Check and Combine Retirement Accounts
Regularly check your retirement fund or funds to ensure your employer is paying into it. Next, check the fees and charges plus benefits of all of them to see which one is best then combine them. Often, as we change jobs, new accounts are set up. Paying fees for each is a waste of money.
Increase Your Income
Do what you can to increase your income and put all the extra into investments to enable you to reach financial independence and retire early. Get a promotion, increase your income, start a business or look at side hustles to make more money.
Some of the ways we make money include websites, freelance writing, crypto, shares, odd jobs and consulting.
Get a Promotion/Increase Your Wage
If you are working, one of the easiest ways to make more money can often come from your job. Look at promotions or ask for a raise if possible. Overtime is another option but it takes more time whereas a raise or promotion often means you make more money in the same amount of time.
Depending on your career, if a raise or promotion isn’t possible, it might be worth looking at other options, retraining or seeing what is necessary to get the wage you want.
As an example, Mr Aspiring Millionaire changed careers a couple of years before we met. However, in the islands, the wages are extremely low ($5,000AUD a year is not uncommon). And there is a limit on what he can do in that career or how far he could go.
Moving to Australia and doing a specific course means he has the potential to earn his old annual wage in a day. It takes training and dedication and is a risky job. When he first switched, even though it wasn’t an option in the islands to go all the way in this career, it was his dream. Now we are in a position to make it happen. Doing this accelerates our FIRE number massively.
Find ways to make money on the side. For over a decade I have been making money from home, both with a business which I will discuss more and with side gigs. Below are a few of my favourites and some of the most profitable. 99 Side Hustles for Aussies has 99 great ideas anyone can do, most are fine even if you aren’t Aussie.
Freelance Writing $150+ per article
This would absolutely be one of my favourites and most profitable. Writing is a passion of mine and has been since I was a child. Freelance writing has enabled us to travel, make money from anywhere and meet fun people.
To get started with freelance writing, create a few articles and get active. Meaning, you can set up your own blog or start writing on Medium or similar so you have examples of your work. Pitch yourself in Facebook groups, on work marketplaces or directly to businesses.
To be more professional, it helps if you have a website. Siteground is my preferred website host. You can get low monthly hosting, buy your domain name and set up WordPress or other platforms through them to set up your website. They walk you through it all making it easy.
Online Surveys $5,000 per year
No one makes big money with online surveys but an extra $5,000 a year to invest makes a difference. Especially when that $5,000 can be made while you’re waiting to pick up the kids from school, watching TV or similar.
Flipping Items over $10,000 a month
When I did this actively in Melbourne, I made over $10,000 a month while doing other projects too. My aim is to get back to that which is why I started this site. Flipping items can be one of the easiest ways to make money. Check out this guide on how to make over $10,000 a month buying things to resell.
To track my progress, what I am flipping, where and for how much, click here. I have outlined it all and update it as I go along. My eldest daughter has started doing this too and is learning what sells well, what to look for etc. She has bought and sold a dress, some Lego and is starting to do books too.
Start a Business
I’ve had a few businesses over the years: hairdressing and beauty, a marketing company, blogging, consulting and now a tourism business in Vanuatu. Some businesses can be started for under $100. It depends what you are doing and how big your start up costs are. If you don’t need stock on hand, you can easily get started for next to nothing.
Some businesses you can start for next to nothing include drop shipping, blogging, services such as virtual assistant, cleaning, babysitting etc.
Blogging as a Business
My favourite business has been a blog I bought in 2014. Within a week, I had made back the purchase price. In a few months, it was making a full time income. Now, it does most of it passively and I have been able to work on other projects while that runs itself.
Check out this full guide on how to set up a blog and make money blogging for more on this.
Reduce Your Expenses
There are only so many ways you can cut back which is why I focused on making money first. Spending less than you earn is the only way you will be able to save and invest anything to be able to retire though so it is crucial.
Most experts say to keep the cost of housing below 30% of your income. Given the rising costs of housing this can be difficult. If you have a mortgage, look at refinancing to see if it will save you money. Consider getting in a boarder if you have the room or renting out your garage if you don’t use it.
For renters, share housing is becoming more common since there are not many cheap rent options available.
When it comes to buying a home, truly think about what you need and want in a home. A room for each child plus a study might be a want but is it affordable? Be realistic with your home and reduce your housing costs to ease financial stress.
Meal planning, shopping with a list, buying items on sale or in bulk to save money all help. They might seem basic but it is the basics that can make the biggest difference if you get them right. Find ways to use up leftovers, eat what you have, eat in season and take advantage of special offers.
For example, get a FREE HelloFresh box here. $100 off Marley Spoon, split across your first 4 boxes, $60 off Dinnerly which is split across your first 3 boxes and up to $75 off your first box with EveryPlate. Use a different one each week or month to get the specials and save on groceries.
Combine errands, walk or ride your bike instead of driving and see if you have free public transport options in your area. Cars themselves are expensive from purchase price through to maintenance and daily running with the cost of petrol.
Look at ways to reduce the cost through using a fuel app to lock in or look for the cheapest fuel. Service your car regularly to prevent major issues and fix things as needed. Rotate your tyres, get a wheel alignment, keep it clean and keep a logbook.
Start saving to replace your car as well to prevent paying interest on a loan when the time comes to upgrade. Or look at your options such as salary sacrificing if that works out financially better.
Review All Your Expenses
The above are 3 of the biggest expenses for most households. Check all your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. Compare insurance providers, electricity, internet, phone, all of them. Be sure to never renew your insurance and instead, get a fresh quote each time.
Doing this has saved thousands. Now, I set aside time each year to go over all our expenses in an annual financial review. I look to see what deals there are and how we can change our habits to save more.
Reaching FIRE as a Large Family
It is doable but requires more work than a single person who can live for free in many ways and save a significant portion of their income. Having kids means you have more expenses but it doesn’t mean your goal is impossible. You just need to work around it a little more.
What tips do you have for a large family wanting to achieve financial independence and retire early?
3 Tips for Choosing a Charity/Not For Profit
How do you decide which charities are worth it? It seems so many waste a lot of money on admin costs. There are costs involved in running a charity, obviously, but many of these costs can be reduced in various ways. Many suggest 10% of your income but what you choose to do is up to you.
I’ve been on the board of directors for charities as well as being a marketing manager in others and involved as a volunteer on numerous campaigns to end homelessness and domestic violence. Over time, I’ve chosen to support both with time and money.
Here are my tips to choose which charities to support, how to do it and who I support.
1. Which Causes are Important to you?
Previously, I did a lot around homelessness and domestic violence as I left an abusive relationship and ended up homeless with my two young daughters. As such, I was passionate about both of them. I still do some work but since travelling more and beginning a new relationship, the causes I want to support changed.
2. Review Their Staff, Board and Expenses
How much of the money you donate truly goes to the cause? Check their reports, annual statements and review how they do things. This will give you a good idea of exactly how much of your donation goes to where you want it to vs how much goes to salaries, building and other expenses.
3. Look at How you Can Help
Monetary donations aren’t the only way to help. Depending on how you want to help can also enable you to decide which charity you want to support. For example, some only accept money but others allow you to volunteer or donate goods and services.
Which Charities/Not For Profits do we Support?
Our focus is donating in the South Pacific, particularly Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands as that is where our family is and where Mr Aspiring Millionaire has spent most of his life. We still support a few in Australia at different times too though.
Vanuatu Feminist Library
I came across this library last year and can see the difference it makes in the community there. Vanuatu is quite a patriarchal country, education is expensive and many miss out. To combat this and help women become more educated, the Vanuatu Feminist Library stocks a range of books on numerous topics aimed at women.
If you want to support the library, you can send books to:
Lorna Silas Lekal
Ph: +678 5411525
Po Box 6027 Nambatri Area, Vanuatu
Vanuatu doesn’t have zip or postcodes
Assisting women AND saving the environment is what excites me about Mamma’s Laef (pronounced Mama’s Life). Making cloth pads for women, cloth nappies for babies and masks when needed. Plus they run educational programs including one run by men for men about menstruation.
Menstruation has traditionally been taboo in Vanuatu and many other countries in the South Pacific. Because it is not spoken about, some specific beliefs and traditions around it and the lack of hygienic supplies available on outer islands, women die.
Mamma’s Laef is saving lives, educating people, reducing the waste from disposable products and changing their country. They are also supported by New Zealand. Find all the ways you can help as well as their social media channels here.
We do business loans through Kiva because the money can be loaned again after it is repaid. I’ve been donating through Kiva for years and have found my loans in the South Pacific are repaid the fastest, meaning I can lend even more.
This is slightly different but something that can help others. It is not a Not For Profit though as you will make a profit from it. Plenti is peer to peer lending like Kiva but instead of being focused on countries where lending is difficult, it’s for anyone. You also earn interest on these loans. Get $50 when you join and invest here.
Pack For A Purpose
When we travel, we support Pack For A Purpose where possible. This is where a business in the area will collect supplies for hospitals, schools and other needs in the local community. For example, in the Solomon Islands there are two businesses we support who do this: Dive Munda and Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises.
Both of those businesses also have a strong focus on training local women in diving, hospitality and providing opportunities for youth as well.
How you can Support Not For Profits
Donating money is the most obvious option and usually includes a tax benefit if you donate over $2. Since we typically support not for profits overseas, we don’t get a tax benefit.
Aside from money, here are a few other options:
- Donate what they need. Some charities do call outs for what they need in terms of supplies.
- Share their content. Follow them on social media, like, comment and share their content.
- Participate. If there is a specific walk, run, bike ride, morning tea or event you can participate in, get involved.
How did you choose the causes you would support and how do you support them?