These are the EXACT 10 steps I took to become financially free this year at 33
1. I got a 9-5 job as a public school math teacher as income source 1
Fresh out of high school at 18 years old, I went through a few major changes and didn't really know what I wanted to do for my career. After dabbling in architecture, dentistry, and animation, I landed on teaching math. I had always taught kids as a part-time job during college and really enjoyed working with students. I went ahead and got my teaching degree and masters in education, so I could sharpen my skills as an educator. I also figured that getting a higher degree meant more income for me. When I started teaching as a public school math teacher, I started learning about the stock market. I quickly realized that if I wanted to make more money and reach financial freedom, having a typical job just wasn't going to cut it.
2. I lived way below my means, like only buying generic brands, doing free stuff, and cooking my meals
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but took some discipline in the beginning. Since I realized how powerful the stock market was at growing my wealth, I started to see money in a different perspective. Rather than mindlessly spending money on things I knew didn't need, I became more aware of how much money was entering and leaving my checking account and more conscious of my spending habits.
During my early 20's, I tried my best to hang out with my friends and do things that were inexpensive and free. Sure, we would sometimes go to nice restaurants to celebrate birthdays, but we would typically do free things like go hiking, swim at the beach, or have board game nights at each others' house. I believe that it doesn't always have to cost a lot of money to have fun and create memorable moments.
When I started working as a teacher, instead of going out to eat all the time, I would make it a habit to buy my groceries and prepare my lunches for the week every Sunday afternoon. I would usually cook some rice, steam some bok-choy or broccoli in a pot, and throw some chicken tenders in my air-fryer, and voila, I have 5 meals ready to go! Not only did cooking my own meals help me save around $160 per month since I was buying food in bulk, it also saved a lot of time because I didn't have to use my lunch breaks to drive to a restaurant, wait in line, and drive back to school. If you don't know, public school teachers usually only get around 30 minutes for their lunch break, and driving back and forth would eat easily eat up 15-20 minutes of my time. And with this extra time, I usually used it to watch YouTube videos to learn about investing or the Office on Netflix if I had a crazy day with my students. Lastly, cooking my food benefited my health since I was able to plan out the portions of my meals and prevent me from eating fast-food alternatives that I knew I would regret each time I step on my scale in the morning.
Ultimately, cooking my own food resulted in a compounding positive effect. I saved money by buying in bulk and didn't use up so much gas from driving back and forth during my lunch breaks. I used my saved money to invest into the stock market and let it grow. I saved time by not having to go buy food during my lunch break and used that saved time to learn or relax. And lastly, cooking my meals helped me make better eating choices, which results in better mental acuity, decision making, and ability to learn.
3. I rented out my rooms as income source 2
Ah yes, house hacking 101. Many people talk about this on the internet and it's a wonderful strategy to live in a home for cheap or pretty much for free. With some of my saved up money and a bank loan, I was able to purchase a cheap small 3-bedroom house. It wasn't exactly the best place to live because it was in a bit of a shady neighborhood and next to a gun range and animal shelter, which was a bit loud in the daytime. Nevertheless, I lived in one of the rooms and rented out the other rooms so that the rent collected was pretty much able to cover the majority of the monthly mortgage payments.
4. I tutored every day after work as income source 3
As I worked as a public school teacher from 7-3 pm, I felt that I had some extra time on my hands after school. Let's be honest here, there was only so much Netflix I could consume after work and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make a little bit of cash on the side. I started by tutoring math to some family friends 1-2 hours on some weekdays. I even made business cards and stuck them under windshield wipers at grocery store parking lots every day after work to get my name out. As more people heard that I was tutoring on the side, I got a lot more students and was able to scale my business pretty fast. And with all of that extra cash I had, I put some into my savings and the rest into the stock market to compound.
5. I read a lot of books on mindset and investing and learned to copy wealthy people
To be honest, it was challenging for me to talk about investing and my dream to becoming financially free to other people around me. Why? It's because the people around me never reached financial freedom themselves and it was difficult for them to believe in this strange, non-traditional idea of retiring early. I faced a lot of criticism and people telling me that the stock market was gambling. Many people told me to stick to my 9 to 5 job because it was "safe."
To get out of this bubble of doubt and negativity, I knew I had to find a way to strengthen my mindset. I found that by reading books and trying to see how other ordinary people became wealthy, it gave me hope and the ability to arrange a blueprint of how I was going to get to my goal using a lot of their same methods. I learned that if I wanted to be wealthy, I simply had to emulate their what they do.
6. I wrote down my goal of becoming financially free to keep myself accountable.
I got this strategy from one of favorite wealth authors, Brian Tracy, who taught people to physically write their goals down. I found that by physically writing down my goals and putting it next to my bedside dresser was a simple, yet powerful way of keeping me accountable. I wrote down a range of goals, such as saying something I was grateful for each day, making sure I worked out at least 4 times a week, and of course mini money goals, like making X amount by certain dates.
7. I deposited 50% of my income and invested each month
As I became more comfortable with investing and understood how the stock market worked, I made it a requirement to pay the "Steve bill" the first of each month and made automatic deposits into my brokerage account. Because I had my other sources of income and lived frugally, saving 50% of my income and investing it into the stock market wasn't that hard to do. I had to make sure that not only did I deposit my money into my brokerage account, I had to research which stocks had good quarterly reports and fundamentals, so I could invest in these companies little by little.
8. I traded options as income source 4
I wanted to take my stock market game to the next level and found out that there was a world of options trading that I didn't know about. I found out that I could actually make a lot of money on the shares that I already owned, even when the price of my shares move sideways! This totally blew my mind since I thought for the longest time that the only way to make money in the stock market was if stock prices went up. I was amazed to learn that I could make money when stocks were neutral and even when they went down!
The most consistent and safest strategy I learned was selling covered calls and cash-secured puts. I learned that if I had at least 100 shares in my portfolio, I was able to sell rights to other people in return for a premium. I kept using this income strategy month after month by collecting premium and I reinvested my profits, which exponentially grew my account!
9. I passively collect dividends as income source 5
Because of all the premium I was getting from my covered calls and cash-secured puts, I used the money to buy more dividend-paying stocks. At first, it didn't seem like a lot of money to me since I would only get around $5-10 of basically free money each quarter. But as I continued to compound my shares, I was able to get a couple hundred dollars of this free money each quarter just by being an investor!
10. I started an online investing coaching business as income source 6
I became financially free this year at 33-years-old and decided to leave my public school math teaching job. I decided to dedicate my time to showing others on how to grow their money in the stock market and ultimately reach financial freedom too!
If you're interested in learning about the power of the stock market and how to sell covered calls and cash-secured puts for income, I highly encourage you to check out our Level I Course. We show all of our members how to generate hundreds to thousands of dollars each month just by spending 5-15 minutes on their phones on a Monday morning.
All in all, I truly believe that anyone with discipline, patience, and an open mindset can also reach financial freedom. If a regular guy like me can do it, then you surely can too!
Here at www.calltoleap.com, we strive to educate the ways to get to financial independence. If you want to learn, sign up for free to access the Intro courses and if you want to take it a step further with selling covered calls to generate income, sign up for our standard membership here!