Finding Enjoyable Streams of Income


Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

December 27, 2020

When I first discovered the FIRE community in 2016, I found myself drawn to money-saving tips and articles, rather than income-generating ones. Right up to the end of 2019, my mindset was to work a boring cubicle job and save every dollar that I could.

However, the 3-4 years that I spent working in a cubicle up to the end of 2019 really took a toll on my mental health. I was chronically bored, and nothing interested me. I never had the energy to wake up in the morning. I felt extremely restricted having to sit at my desk from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., and very worn out from all the office drama and politics. Eventually, I developed OCD and anxiety.

In 2020, I transitioned from a full-time role to a part-time role, and this gave me a lot more time to explore my interests.

Eventually, I stumbled across the power of niche sites, and am planning to invest a lot of time and money into this, in the hopes of creating an enjoyable stream of income.

This has, by far, been my biggest and most valuable mindset change in 2020, and I do believe that I’ll be focusing on creating enjoyable streams of income from now onwards, instead of saving every penny that I earn, for the following reasons:

There’s no ceiling for generating income, while there’s a clear limit to saving money.

Taking niche sites as an example, if I can get an article ranking and making $50 a month, I can easily scale by putting out more articles, or by creating more niche sites.

However, in contrast, when it comes to cutting savings, there’s a clear limit as we still need to spend money on housing, transport, food and other essentials. While I could go without spending money on housing by sleeping in McDonald’s outlets, that’s not something that I want to do.

Penny pinching can sometimes feel miserable.

During my most aggressive phase of money saving when I had no money, I went to the extent of cutting down on meals and walking instead of taking public transport. Years later, even when I wasn’t saving that aggressively, I still found myself feeling restricted and stressed out by trying to save as much as I could.

Working a cubicle job in order to save money can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction in life.

The most fatal flaw behind my mindset of working a boring cubicle job and saving every dollar is that I spent 45 hours a week doing things that I really disliked, and another 5-10 hours a week commuting. It always felt that I had little to no energy and time to do things that I love, and that created a lot of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

To do this for another 10-15 years felt a little like agony, and I didn’t want to feel that I wasted the best years of my life working a cubicle job.

I already have $200,000 in savings.

One of the main reasons that I’m considering investing money into generating income, rather than saving money, is because I already have about $200,000 in liquid net worth (cash, stocks and bonds, excluding retirement account contributions).

This money will generate anywhere between $4,000 to $6,000 in dividend income a year, and can pay off a lot of my monthly expenses (such as food and transport). My plan is to never touch my invested money in stocks and bonds, and to just live off the dividends.

An enjoyable stream of income can last for many years.

Another reason I’ve decided to invest in generating income is because an enjoyable stream of income can last forever. I can foresee myself working on my niche sites for many years (even if it’s not for the rest of my life), and I also have the option of carrying on with my sites after retirement.

In contrast, I stop earning from my cubicle job the moment I quit, since it’s purely active income. Passive income from niche sites beat active income from cubicle jobs any day.

My Plan for Creating Enjoyable Income

As such, my focus for the next few years is to invest money into finding and building enjoyable streams of income, rather than to save every penny. This will hopefully allow me to quit my corporate job much earlier than at 40 years old, which seems like a dream.

I’ve already put this plan in action by spending a lot of money and time on my niche site. I’ve build out a plan for my niche site for the next year or two, and I plan to focus on that.

Admittedly, I’ve been spending all my money each month, and I haven’t saved anything for months. But for now, as long as I don’t touch my $200,000 of savings as well as dividends, I’m good with that.

What do you think about the saving money vs. generating income debate?

As always, thank you for reading and supporting the blog.

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  1. Impersonal Finances

    Totally agree with this. I think cutting on costs is an easier solution for most people (definitely easier than most realize!), so it’s no wonder that is the first priority when looking at your personal finance situation. But once you’ve plugged some holes in your spending, focusing on creating passive income streams is the best way to eventually up your savings rate even more. And, equally importantly as you mention, finding something that you enjoy doing to bring in that extra income! Spot on.

    • Liz

      Thank you! 🙂 It means a lot. I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me years to realise this, but I’m happy that I have. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll definitely keep you posted. 🙂

  2. Calvin

    Sounds like the scarcity vs abundance mindset. I am also trying to change from scarcity to explore more income generating ideas rather than trying to reduce expenses to the bare minimum

    • Liz

      Hi Calvin, thanks for dropping by. Yup, that’s definitely the scarcity vs abundance mindset, thanks for pointing that out 🙂 I used to have a terrible scarcity mindset in the past (to the point where I would literally fret over just $0.10), but I’m slowly changing that too. I hope that it’s working well for you and feel free to let me know about your progress 🙂