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My friend was fired.

She had worked at this establishment for years, was very hardworking, and exceptionally loyal. Based on a rumor, her time at this company ended, and she was left with anger and disappointment.

As I consoled my friend, it became another reason on an ever-growing list as to why I am pursuing financial freedom like a live action version of Jurassic Park and the prize is a life free of velociraptors.

I don’t want my position, livelihood, and identity to hang on employment. Instead, I want to level up to early retirement and end the game of financial dependence.

Financial freedom is about much more than just having money. It’s the freedom to be who you really are and do what you really want in life. It’s about following your passion, making choices that aren’t influenced by your bank account, and living life on your terms.

Rich Dad

Choose Your Adventure

I have learned that if I want something to happen, I need a plan.

First, I assessed my situation which was a federal employee with some pretty lux benefits. I didn’t have guaranteed year-round employment but I did have year-round benefits.

After being that annoying new person and asking many questions, I found out I could use my military experience to give a boost in the federal pension (FERS). This would cut four years off the minimum 20 years need for a government annuity. I would have to pay back my time in lump sum or a payment plan. Currently, I pay 4.4% of pretax income for this federally funded pension.

After pondering the options, I chose the payment plan so I can keep my current funds where they are safe, sound, and away from payment plans.

Second, I had to figure out how to invest because it is one of the few ways to increase my personal finances with little effort. Especially because I need to survive on investment returns before I start cashing out retirement benefits like social security, 401(k)s, and Roth IRAs.

Third, I had to figure out how to capture more income streams. Ideally, five income streams with a few being passive. The Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffet) had some complementary advice that I stole borrowed from the interweb, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you’ll work until you die.”

Leveling Up

My progress is going well, considering I got off to a late, midlife start.

I have a federal job that I am very happy with, even if it meant staying in the exact position for 16 years. To me, this is a bonus; to have a job and enjoy it too!

I have already started aggressively investing and have seen impressive results. My returns have been better compared to when I let the defaults win.

I am still trying to figure out possible income streams but I haven’t come up with any that have yielded results. At the moment, I have 3: my government job, my investments, and cashback apps and credit card rewards.

This is one area I have to keep battling against if I want to pick up those extra two income streams and level up.

Winning the Game

After the encouraging phone call to my friend, I sent her an Amazon gift card. It was a small token for her current struggle. I felt grateful to be financially stable enough to give it.

I have have worked through a few financial setbacks before I got to this point of stability. However, as I continue the challenge of leveling up to financial freedom – I feel like each of those setbacks have given me upgrades in resilience, persistence, and grit and I am just beginning to show what I am truly capable of.

Keep exploring!

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