How to reclaim your time through lifestyle investing

The freedom to spend your days as you wish doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. While most people exchange their time for a paycheck, many admittedly don’t want to live to work. A traditional career can be rewarding, but there’s a reason most people look forward to vacation time. You get to do the things you want to do instead of doing tasks someone else asks you to do.

Without a windfall inheritance, reaching this coveted ideal may seem unattainable. But you don’t have to suddenly come into millions to make working at a job optional. By becoming a lifestyle investor, you can start to earn enough passive income to make ends meet and more. Here are five ways to get your time back through lifestyle investing.

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1. Invest in Real Estate

Unlike more volatile asset classes, real estate tends to go up in value over time. In January 2022, real estate values rose an average of 19.1% nationwide. Of course, this increase was the highest in 45 years, fueled by inflation. Furthermore, some real estate markets, such as Colorado, surpassed the national average, while others, like Illinois, appreciated far below U.S. trends.

Still, people with properties have made unprecedented gains as demand continues to exceed supply in many markets. Investing in real estate can bring in steady passive income, and you don’t have to become a landlord. Real estate investment trusts are more accessible ways to capitalize on market gains. It’s like putting your money in the stock market, but you’re getting a piece of the real estate pie instead.

With an REIT, you may own a portion of apartment homes, commercial buildings, and single-family rental homes. The best part is you don’t have to manage any of them to establish a cash flow that pays your bills.

2. Monetize Your Knowledge

Are you really good at something? Or passionate about specific topics? Perhaps others come to you for tips on training unruly pets or fixing up old cars. Whatever it is, there are opportunities to turn your expertise into something other than helpful advice for friends or a 9-to-5 business.

Through online content, it’s possible to generate passive income from the work you do once. It might take the form of a digital course, a self-published book, or a series of online videos. Of course, nothing says you can’t make a business and passive income out of your passion. But you want to bring in enough income so working becomes optional.

As Lifestyle Investing expert Justin Donald says, “You know you have enough cash when you live your life how you want to (with meaning and purpose), and you have enough money and drive to spread out that money and give some back.” The point isn’t to let your passion become a chore — something you have to devote all your time to. Your efforts should give you enough flexibility to enjoy life the way you envision.

3. Use High-Yield Savings Accounts

Savings accounts aren’t just for emergencies. You can earn passive income by parking your funds in high-yield accounts. Online banks without physical branches typically offer interest rates well above average. Say you keep a balance of $25,000 in a savings account with a 0.001% annual interest rate.

At this rate, you’d earn $25 a year. But what if you placed the same amount in a high-yield savings account with a 4% annual rate? You’d bring in $1,000 instead. High-yield savings accounts are one way to beat the averages big banks offer. A CD ladder is another.

With a CD ladder, you spread your money across several CD accounts with different maturity dates. Some funds will go into accounts with shorter maturity dates, and some into CDs with longer terms. This allows you to earn at higher rates while still maintaining cash liquidity. As accounts mature, you can gain the interest as income or reinvest the balance in a new CD. Depending on the terms, you might also use a CD ladder to pay down your mortgage while out-earning its interest rate.

4. Sell What You Don’t Use

Do you have unused property or resources others will pay for? Maybe you have two empty bedrooms in your basement. Perhaps you have a guest house or an extra parking space in your driveway. These could be opportunities to bring in passive income if you’re willing to rent them out.

This strategy does require some upfront legal and marketing work. But it can be worth it if the income funds your lifestyle. Depending on market conditions, those basement bedrooms might pay the monthly mortgage. The additional driveway space could be the money you need for your next vacation. Earning more doesn’t always have to come from a job and overtime if you think like an entrepreneur.

Others make bank by occasionally decluttering their homes. All those belongings you no longer want to hang on to can turn into cash. As long as there’s an online market, you don’t have to settle for garage sale prices. You can use digital marketplaces to advertise and dropship items you’re willing to part ways with.

5. Buy Stocks With Cash Dividends

Dividends are what companies will pay you for investing in stocks. Not all equities pay dividends, but certain ones do. You can earn cash or additional stock when these investments pay out. Stocks with cash dividends bring in passive income each year.

To execute this strategy, you’ll need to do your research. Alternatively, you could work with a savvy financial advisor or make friends with someone who knows financial markets well. They will be able to point out which stocks pay regular cash dividends. Investing in an array of these will turn on the cash flow so you can reduce your dependence on a job.

While cash dividends may not cover all your lifestyle expenses, you can use this strategy alongside others. At the very least, it’s income you earn in your sleep. All you have to do is keep your money invested in the stocks that pay.

Redeeming Your Time

Lifestyle investing is about building enough passive income so you don’t have to work. Although saying goodbye to your job is optional, the investments you make give you a choice. With sufficient cash flow from nontraditional income sources, you can gain the freedom to make your time your own. Your days will be spent on making your dreams a reality.