Most workers dream of the day when they no longer have to work, either by striking it rich or retiring with a hefty amount of money in their accounts.
As it turns out, living life without a job is possible. In fact, many people do it! It’s just a matter of putting the right plan in place.
Keep reading to learn more about how to live life without a traditional job.
Making a living without a job
The only way to make a living without a job is to generate passive income. You can’t just charge everything to a credit card.
What is passive income?
Passive income is money you generate without having to consistently work for it.
It typically involves making an upfront investment in the form of time or labor.
For example, you might buy a rental property. After that initial investment, you should continue to produce income on a steady basis, enabling you to take a hands-off approach and focus on other things.
Imagine sitting at the table reading the morning paper while you steadily generate money from e-commerce sales. This is an example of passive income that for many people is increasingly becoming a regular job.
Passive income ideas
Now that you have a better idea of what passive income looks like, let’s take a look at some of the more popular ways to earn passive income.
Open a high-yield savings account (HYSA)
Consider opening an HYSA from an online bank to maximize interest returns from money you stash in savings.
Online banks typically offer much higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts, making them a better option for storing money.
At the time of writing, most HYSAs are hovering around 0.40% to 0.50% APY, while some traditional savings accounts are as low as 0.01%.
Invest in the stock market
One way to earn passive income is to invest in the stock market and live off of dividends and capital gains. You’ll need to generate a substantial lump sum and put the money into stable investments that generate strong returns.
Suppose you have $1 million making 5% in the stock market. That’s enough to pay a salary of $50,000 per year, which could be enough to live off of in some areas.
You probably won’t live a rich lifestyle on this income. But if you’re good with managing money and careful not to go overboard and dip into the principal balance, it could work.
Get a pension
You may be able to secure a government job when you’re young that offers a lifetime pension upon retirement.
Some public officials are able to retire at 40 or 50, enabling them to go on and do whatever they want during retirement with a steady income and health benefits.
Of course, this requires years of sacrifice and hard work—and potentially dangerous jobs (e.g., being a soldier or firefighter).
Sell media assets
And graphic designers can sell designs on Amazon Merch for other vendors to buy and put on products like T-shirts, hats, and mugs.
The idea is simple: Spend some time producing work, and sell it, possibly in perpetuity.
Rent your car on Turo
Most cars sit in a parking space all day without being used.
People in this situation should consider renting their car out on Turo to bring in extra cash when their vehicle isn’t being driven.
Rent your space on Airbnb
People who own a house or rent an apartment should look into Airbnb, a site that allows you to post your private space for tenants to rent on a short-term basis.
Renting on Airbnb is a great way to bring in extra cash from time to time without doing much at all. You can also hire a cleaning service to deal with upkeep and maintenance, making your job even more passive.
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Become a landlord
Another way to earn passive income is to buy a rental property and become a landlord.
By owning a rental property, you can earn monthly rent payments from tenants.
You can also use a property management company to deal with tenants and repairs, making the job easier and putting more time back into your schedule.
Jobs that don’t feel like work
If you truly love what you do and don’t have the pressure of working for a company, then your work won’t feel like a job.
Here are some jobs you can take on to earn income that may not feel like work.
If you love writing or graphic design, consider becoming a freelancer.
You can make media assets for companies and work flexible hours. If this sounds up your alley, check out a site like Fiverr or Upwork to get started.
Another job that doesn’t feel like work is pet sitting. You can get paid to spend time with animals, take them out for walks, and feed them.
If you’re an animal lover, it’s a no-brainer to give this work a try.
Travel blogging or vlogging
It’s also possible to get paid to travel around and document your experiences on a blog or vlog. Just imagine backpacking around Spain, visiting popular destinations, and sharing them with your followers.
These are just a few examples of jobs that don’t feel like work. Other examples include teaching subjects you are passionate about, creating artwork, and cooking for a living.
Think about your passions and what it would be like to pursue them full-time. As long as you can figure out how to monetize your hobbies, you should be good to go.
Are jobs necessary?
Not working can be a blessing and a curse. At first, it can seem like an incredibly liberating experience. But for many newly retired people, total freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Oftentimes, retired people or jobless individuals go through a period of liberation. They travel, spend time at the beach, or take up a new hobby.
But at a certain point, feelings of liberation can turn to feelings of boredom, leading to a general lack of purpose and despair.
Of course, everyone is different. For some people, the idea of never returning to work is enough to keep them occupied and fulfilled. But most people need to work and have a higher purpose (not to mention a reason to get out of bed in the morning).
Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius once famously explained that human beings have to go to work to do the things they were brought into the world to do. He argued that the nature of humans is to live a life of service.
With that in mind, everyone should work. Living without a job to do can be a terrible waste of time and talent. It can also be incredibly dull… even if you have multiple passive sources of income.
How to think about work
Instead of trying to avoid work altogether, you should aim to get to the point where you can avoid working because you have to and instead work because you want to. This is the basic idea behind financial freedom.
Try and get to a point where you don’t have to get up and go to a full-time job every day or night to survive. Rather, keep working until the point when you can work on projects because you like and enjoy them.
For some people that means starting a nonprofit. For others, it may be playing or teaching music full-time. Or, it may involve traveling and blogging about your experiences.
Tips for cutting costs
Breaking from the nine-to-five lifestyle requires careful expense management. Here are some things you can do to keep costs under control.
1. Cut back on entertainment costs
Take a look at your monthly budget and figure out how much is being allocated towards entertainment costs.
You probably won’t want to cut out all entertainment expenses. That wouldn’t be fun or healthy. But you can probably shave a few dollars off your monthly budget.
2. Stop eating out so much
It’s also easy to waste money frequently dining out or ordering takeout.
Restaurants typically overcharge for food, and that doesn’t include tipping and paying for transportation or parking. In some cases, you can wind up dropping $100 or more on meals you could easily make at home for much less.
If you’re going to live without working a regular job, get used to going to the grocery store and cooking for yourself.
3. Source your own food if possible
If you aren’t working, you may have more time to source your own food to further drive costs down.
You can start a garden to grow your own vegetables. And if you quit work to take up new hobbies, consider fishing or hunting as fulfilling hobbies that put food on the table.
4. Sell your car
Cars are very expensive. They can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month in payments, repairs, parking, taxes, gas, and insurance. It’s worth considering whether you still need your car or whether it’s a convenience or status item.
If you own a car for convenience, it may be a good idea to get rid of it to save money. Just think of all the extra cash you can put towards saving, investing, and other needs every month.
Consider if it makes sense to relocate to reduce living costs.
If you work remotely, you may be able to leave the expensive city where you live and find a cheaper place out in the country.
You may also want to consider downsizing to a smaller place to cut costs.
The Cashflow Quadrant: Going from employed to investor
Author Robert Kiyosaki talks about the Cashflow Quadrant, a model that offers four ways of making money: as an employee, as a self-employed individual, as a business owner, and as an investor.
The great thing about this model is that you don’t have to be exclusive to any one particular category. It’s possible to be an employee who is also self-employed with a side hustle.
Some people can even juggle owning a business and investing as well. However, it’s a good idea to try and steadily advance yourself from employee to investor.
Reasons to stop working as an employee
Working as an employee can feel pretty great sometimes. You may get nights and weekends off, as well as holidays. In addition, your employer may even offer a nice benefits package.
All of these amenities are nice. However, there are some even better rewards waiting the more you move away from the employee quadrant.
Here are some reasons to consider expanding your horizons and start thinking like an entrepreneur.
A job isn’t stable
You could have the most stable job in the world as a highly skilled individual at a company that can’t afford to lose you.
But at the end of the day, you’re still an employee. That means your livelihood is dependent on factors beyond your control.
Your boss could turn around and sell the company tomorrow. Or, the company could hire someone to replace you or supervise you.
These inconveniences happen all the time and it’s easy to get blindsided if you’re not prepared for change.
Whatever you do, don’t be fooled into thinking your full-time job is stable. There is a certain amount of stability in a steady paycheck. But the process of being handed a paycheck every two weeks will only make you relaxed and dependent in the long run.
Set your own hours
Working a job as an employee requires putting in a set number of hours every week.
Once you stop working as an employee, you’ll be in a position to set your own hours. Eventually, you can become a full-time investor and avoid working at all if you’re successful enough.
In this scenario, you’ll have more time to take on personal projects that are more interesting and fulfilling.
Most jobs significantly limit your earning potential. Employers bank on finding top talent at affordable prices.
When you stop being an employee, you can potentially earn unlimited income if you’re skilled enough and know how to obtain money.
There’s no better way to earn money than as a business owner or investor.
Chart your own course
Living without a job and striking out on your own can be a powerful experience. You’ll be in full control over your income and your life. It’s far better than being under the command of an employer.
Surefire signs you don’t need a job
As you can see, there’s a lot for entrepreneurs to get excited about. Here are some surefire signs you’re ready to start experiencing life without a full-time job.
You’re unhappy at work
There’s no excuse for being unhappy at work. At the end of the day, there are far too many interesting projects to get involved with and opportunities to explore.
So if you’re unhappy at work, it’s time to make a change.
Staying at a place that makes you unhappy will deplete your energy. And over time, it’ll weaken your market value. Even if it’s scary to switch jobs, it’s ultimately important to keep yourself fresh, motivated, and learning.
You don’t want to advance in your company
Some people spend their whole career trying to advance within companies while others want no part of the rat race.
If you don’t care to try to advance yourself in your company, it could be a sign that you’re ready to become your own boss.
This can be a very empowering feeling. Embrace it.
You’ve got a safety net
Make sure you have a safety net in place before you leave your job—a steady stream of income. The last thing you want is to wake up on Monday morning without a paycheck or any support system.
If you have a safety net and are good at saving money, then it could be a good idea to ditch your job.
Staying at work will cost you money
Oftentimes, highly skilled workers trade job security for a reduced paycheck, cheating themselves out of money.
Do some research and find out your true market value.
You may find that staying at your full-time job costs you a lot of money because a competitor is willing to pay you 20% more to do the same thing. If that’s the case, think about putting yourself in a better position to earn income.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make enough money to quit my job?
If you’re thinking of leaving your full-time job to pursue self-employment, start a business, or invest, it’s a good idea to have a strong safety net in place first in case things get rocky.
Save up as much as you can. Best practices say to have at least six months to a year of emergency funds in the bank to float you if needed. You may also need more funding if you’re planning to start a business that requires overhead or other expenses.
If possible, consider starting a side hustle while you’re working to double your income and start putting more aside. Work as much as possible until you’re ready to break away for good.
What is an income stream?
An income stream is a source that brings in cash flow on a steady basis. For example, real estate and stocks are both examples of income streams because they both produce income.
It’s key to diversify your income streams by taking on as many as possible.
Should I start my own business?
Only you can decide if you’re ready to start a business.
Make sure you’re in a position to take on the risk and think about the potential return on investment and how long it will take to generate.
It’s also a good idea to think about how much you’ll need to spend on overhead.
How can I cover living expenses without working?
If you want to stop working, you’ll need passive income to cover living expenses. This can be achieved by investing in stocks or other assets that produce steady payments over time.
Living expenses can be exorbitant. That being the case, it’s critical to have a plan in place before you strike out on your own.
The Bottom Line
Stop and think about your personal finance journey and where you want it to take you over the course of your lifetime. If you’ve been thinking about a life that doesn’t involve traditional work, then it may be a good time to take the leap.
Leaving your job and starting on your own can be a big step towards financial independence. At the same time, it can also be a big risk.
Think the situation through and look for ways to bring in extra money through passive income. With the right approach, you might find that you don’t need a full-time job at all to achieve financial freedom and live the life of your dreams.