I wrote this book because I feel that too much of the content out there about wealth creation and investing is geared towards entrepreneurs. Where is the great book for employees who seek early financial freedom? Where is the guide to financial independence for those who work solid full-time jobs? How does one transition from a standing start with little to no assets to a position with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in real, accessible wealth, not including inaccessible stuff like home equity or retirement accounts? How can you do this without giving up everything that you’ve built in your career thus far and starting over?
It was the search for that book that led me to write Set for Life.
Set for Life is written for employees. Over 95 percent of real estate investors on BiggerPockets got their start in real estate investing while working a full-time job. This book isn’t written for the person with no income, no job, and no credit. This book is written for folks looking to build wealth consistently and scalably over several years as they move towards early financial freedom.
You’ll learn how to create a situation in which you are saving thousands of dollars per month and regularly making large, serious investments alongside major advances in your career. Investing with no and low money down won’t be your challenge—deploying your accumulated and rapidly expanding savings efficiently will!
I created Set for Life over the past 18 months. It contains everything I’ve learned through my personal experience, research from over 150 books on the topics of personal finance and wealth creation, meetings with hundreds—if not thousands—of investors around the country, and thousands of connections on BiggerPockets.
Set for Life will change your life. It will change the way that you approach spending and lifestyle design, the opportunities you look for in your next job/career, and the way you think about managing your wealth. You’ll learn how to live on 50 percent or less of your income and how to stockpile a year of savings rapidly. You’ll learn how to transform your home into an income-producing asset. You’ll learn the tradeoffs that come with a salaried job and how to set yourself up for opportunities to earn more. And you’ll learn how to invest for financial freedom. I’ll give you a hint—it’s not the same investing advice that Average Joe gets from his financial advisor.
While I could keep talking about the book all day, there’s no better way to introduce you to the book than the introduction itself:
How to Analyze a Real Estate Deal
Deal analysis is one of the best ways to learn real estate investing and it comes down to fundamental comfort in estimating expenses, rents, and cash flow. This guide will give you the knowledge you need to begin analyzing properties with confidence.
Introduction to Set for Life
Let’s talk about the American Dream. Traditionally, for the majority of us—at least for those of us in the middle class—it means consistency. It means buying a nice home in a nice neighborhood and having a nice life. It means that after a 30 or 40-year career, we plan to retire using a formula that historically hinges on having saved 10 to 15 percent of our income and having invested in a 401(k) or other retirement vehicles.
The problem with this formula is that the working person following it will be forced to work for wage income for the better part of his day, during the best part of his week, throughout the best years of his life. At best, he will retire with a modest amount of wealth, late in life, and be forced to hope it’s enough to last.
How about a different formula for the American Dream? How about something capable of producing a retirement level of wealth in less than 10 years? How about less than five? How about retiring in your 20s from wage-paying work?
Those who accomplish this financial result can laugh off would-be employers who ask them to be at work before 9:00 a.m. Someone in this position can spend a sunny Tuesday at the park instead of crunching spreadsheets in a dusty cubicle. She can stay up until 3:00 a.m. binge-watching Game of Thrones on Sunday night and head to the gym at noon on Monday. She can rent out her house and travel the world, living like a local. She can start a business funded with passive income, volunteer in her community, or focus on raising her small children. She can serve others without the red tape and bureaucracy of corporate involvement or the interference of a boss with objectives different from hers.
Early financial freedom enables this. Those who achieve early financial freedom build wealth and acquire assets such that they produce passive income in excess of what they need to live. And they expect to continue to generate that level of income for the duration of their lives. Regardless of whether you currently enjoy your work or not, early financial freedom is a worthwhile goal. Industries change, companies change, and coworkers change. Even if you love your job, wouldn’t it be great to have the option to leave wage-paying work? Wouldn’t it be great to know that you show up because you love to be there and not because you have to be there?
This book will teach you how to make wage income irrelevant to your financial picture in just a few years. In this book, you will learn how to redesign your lifestyle, restart your career, and rebuild your financial position. With this book, you will save your money, earn more money, and use the cash you accumulate to purchase freedom and the ability to design your day-to-day life without the need for wage-paying work. This book is designed for someone with a specific set of circumstances. It is designed for the full-time median (around $50,000 per year) wage earner who has little to no initial savings but wants early financial freedom.
The 3 Stages of Wealth Creation
This book offers a simple, three-step approach to gaining early financial freedom. It is written with a specific audience in mind: the full-time wage earner starting with little to no wealth but aspiring to early financial freedom. Each step in the journey increases one’s flexibility and exposes the individual to more and more opportunities. Each step increases one’s “financial runway”—the number of years that one can maintain their lifestyle without the need for wage-paying work. Many Americans can’t survive for more than a few months without earning a paycheck. Readers of this book will rapidly develop a financial position capable of sustaining their lives for a year without work. Then they’ll extend their financial runway to five years. Then forever.
1. From $0 to $25,000 in Personal Wealth
Part I of this book will take Average Joe from $0 to $25,000 in personal wealth. You have to start somewhere, and the median wage earner with little to no accessible wealth will begin their journey by focusing on lifestyle design. Part I teaches readers how to make the necessary changes to go from little to no savings to preserving over 50 percent of one’s middle class income. It teaches readers how to live well on less than $2,000 per month and how to use the savings to pay down debt and extend their financial runway to a year or more. Executing this leaves the reader in a position in which they have a full year of expenses in after-tax wealth, ready to be deployed in pursuit of early financial freedom.
2. From $25,000 to $100,000 in Personal Wealth
Part II of this book takes readers from $25,000 to $100,000 in personal wealth. It takes readers from one year of financial runway to a position in which they could survive for three to five years or more without earning a paycheck. While continuing to live efficient lifestyles, readers will further reduce their living expenses by purchasing a primary residence that allows them to live for free. They will also learn how to earn significantly more income by changing careers and how to develop habits tied to success. Opportunities to earn more income often develop out of careers in sales or technology or are the result of joining a small company or freelancing. The financial runway developed in Part I will be critical to ensuring that readers can pursue these opportunities with little risk.
Related: Rethinking “Wealthy”: The 5-Step Ladder From Middle Class to Financial Freedom
3. From $100,000 to Early Financial Freedom
Part III of this book takes readers from $100,000 to early financial freedom. It takes them from several years of financial runway to a lifetime of permanent financial abundance. Readers will continue to scale their income and live efficiently, but our focus shifts to the purchase and creation of income-producing assets. Readers are exposed to an advanced discussion on the concept of financial freedom and taught investment philosophy. They learn what types of wealth count toward financial freedom and what types don’t. This background will enable readers to intelligently exploit the investment and income opportunities multiplying before them as their financial position improves and their financial runway lengthens. Readers also learn how to track their progress efficiently.
This book layers philosophy alongside practical knowledge. Wealth creation is not a rigid formula or step-by-step process. Don’t ignore income opportunities while you focus on building your first $25,000. Don’t ignore investment opportunities while accumulating the first $100,000. You need to earn more, spend less, and invest the difference aggressively throughout your journey, as they apply to the specifics of your situation.
Understand that accumulating a lifetime of wealth in a short period of time involves making personal decisions in major areas of your life that are different from the norm. It involves working harder and smarter than the average employee, and it involves making different career decisions than the Average Joe. Achieving early financial freedom involves managing wealth in a totally different way. In short, it involves a change of perspective that may be sharply at odds from that of your family, friends, and colleagues.
What You’ll Discover
Examples of the perspective you’re about to discover include:
- You should start by saving the next $1,000, not earning the next $1,000.
- A new car is totally unnecessary.
- You should spend more, not less, on entertainment and fun.
- Student loan debt is rarely worth it.
- Buying a home (or worse, a condo) in the best part of town will slow you down on your path to early financial freedom.
- Stocks are less risky than bonds.
- You need to spend less money to earn more money.
- Developing a specialty is far more risky than being a jack-of-all-trades.
- A few good options are better than too many options.
- Contribute less, not more, to your retirement accounts—and be ready to withdraw from them early.
If you want a different financial result, you need a different plan. This book offers that plan. Work hard. Spend as little as possible. Invest the difference intelligently. Set yourself up for life, as early as you possibly can.
No, it’s not easy. It will be up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
Looking to set yourself up for life as early as possible and enjoy time on your terms? Scott Trench’s new book Set for Life, slated for release April 23, 2017, and can be preordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine booksellers! Whether you’d like to “retire” from wage-paying work, become less dependent on your demanding nine-to-five, or simply spend time doing what you love, Set for Life will give you a plan to get there. This isn’t about saving up a nest egg. It’s not about setting aside money for a “rainy day.” Set for Life is an actionable guide that helps readers build the accessible wealth they need to achieve early financial freedom.
What’s your plan to reach early financial freedom? Any questions about this new read?
Leave your comments below!