Create An Abundance Mindset To Grow Your Wealth

An abundance mindset is key to growing your wealth. As soon as you start believing you deserve to be rich, you will experience more opportunities. Too many people adopt a scarcity mindset when it comes to building wealth. It's such a shame.

I'm on a financial journey just like all of you. The only real difference may be that I record my thoughts and feelings about my progress publicly. I will do my best to be as authentic as possible. By sharing what we know, we're able to learn from others. I think we all have blind spots that need illuminating.

There's one new observation I've learned since starting Financial Samurai in 2009 and leaving Corporate America in 2012 that I'd like to share with you. It's a realization that lends weight to the power of positive thinking. 

The Abundance Mindset And Willing Your Way Forward

When I first left Corporate America, all I wanted to do was survive comfortably and not regret leaving a well-paying job. I didn't want to be an embarrassment to my family, friends, ex-colleagues and online community. Therefore, I committed to at least three years of blogging before deciding whether to return to the salt mines.

I was making about ~$80,000 in passive to semi-passive income from real estate, CDs, and dividends. It wasn't a bad income, but it wasn't enough to live a high life if I stayed in San Francisco. My home's property tax bill alone was around $18,000 a year at the time.

But I also believed I could make at least $50,000 a year online with my then ~125,000 monthly pageviews. After taxes, a total income of $130,000 equaled around $95,000 a year, enough for me to maintain my lifestyle with perhaps ~$5,000 to spare. You're supposed to spend most of your money and not save for retirement in retirement right?

For the first six months in early retirement, I was very happy to live off my existing income streams. The ~$11,000 a month in gross income allowed me to travel at will. The motivation to make lots of money dissipated due to a sudden abundance of time.

It was only after the first edition of my severance package book was published in the summer of 2012 that I started thinking about making more money. Writing the book left me exhausted because it took a team of three an enormous amount of time to write and edit. Sales from my book started flowing in at a pace of ~$500 a month and I began to experience the intoxicating joy of receiving reward for effort, a correlation I'd been missing since the financial crisis began in 2008.

The desire to make more money returned.

Instead of being satisfied generating 125,000 pageviews a month online in 2012, I set a goal to generate 500,000 pageviews a month by 2014. I knew that if I built more traffic, revenue would naturally increase.

Therefore, I set a new ambitious goal of generating $250,000 a year in revenue to accompany the 500,000 a month in traffic (~$42 CPM or 4.2 cents a pageview). Related: Blogging For A Living

Estimated Blog Income By Traffic - Create An Abundance Mindset To Grow Your Wealth

The funny thing about getting to 500,000 pageviews and $20,833 a month in revenue is that I didn't change any of my actions to get there. I continued to post 3-4X a week on average and respond to comments when needed.

I never got on television to share my story since I'd rather be rich, not famous. Nor did I reach out to major publications to see if they wanted to syndicate my work. All I did was develop an abundance mindset where I told myself I, too, deserved to generate such figures due to the quality of my content.

Reaching Financial Goals

By the summer of 2014 I had achieved both traffic and revenue targets. The $250,000 goal was selected because it represented the $250,000 base salary I left behind in finance. I felt that if I could match my base salary, I would have achieved a great deal because blogging is so much more fun and requires less work than working a day job in finance from 7am – 7pm.

Of course, my old job provided great benefits such as 401K matching, profit sharing, and healthcare, but I didn't really care because as an entrepreneur, I had other benefits such as being my own boss, tax-deferring $53,000 into a SEP IRA or self-employed 401k, and plenty of expense deductions.

After generating ~$20,000 a month, I went back to my old habit of saving at least 50% of my after-tax income because I still don't live off more than ~$90,000 a year after tax. It may be strange, but I've had this constant rate of spending for at least 10 years now with no desire to spend more. Check out my post on easy ways to boost savings and control spending.

Given my blog appeared to have so much momentum, I thought, why not shoot for 1M pageviews a month? To my surprise, by the first half of 2015 I was on target to generate 83,000 pageviews a month without changing my production schedule or spending any money on marketing. I was pumped!

Today, thanks to an abundance mindset, Financial Samurai regularly generates over 100,000 organic page views a month.

The Mental Downshift And Losing The Abundance Mindset

Then something happened during the summer of 2015. I went to Cambodia to see the temples of Angor Wat, Malaysia for a wedding, South Korea to explore the DMZ, and Taiwan to see my mother who so happened to be visiting her mother. During my time in Asia I was reminded how happy people were living on much less.

When I got to Taiwan, I realized my dear mom was renting an old apartment with no bedroom windows on the outskirts of Taipei. She mentioned she was paying only about $550 a month in rent. Immediately I thought of finding her a more luxurious apartment in a more central location for much more. But my mom was happy with her simple apartment and told me not to worry.

The outside of her ~$500/month apartment in Banqiao, Taipei - Abundance Mindset To Grow Your Wealth
The simple apartment where I visited my mom for five days in Banqiao, Taipei

I stayed in one of the windowless bedrooms for five nights and was so happy because I was not only spending time with my mother and grandmother whom I hadn't seen in a while, but also eating pounds of freshly picked lychee sold from the back of a farmer's truck right outside.

I had no panoramic ocean views like back home. There was no TV or internet access either. All I had were undecorated white walls with an AC unit that allowed me to sleep like a baby after walking around all day in humid 88 degree weather.

The Joy Of Simple Living

Although we lived simply, we found joy in simplicity. Incredible food, basic shelter and spending time with loved ones is all one really needs. Here are some pictures I took at the Shilin night market where they have the best street food and sell anything you can think of.

Taiwanese oyster noodle soup
Oyster noodle soup for $1
Taiwanese sausages (xiang chang) - Abundance mindset post
The best Taiwanese sausages ever (xiang chang) for less than $1 each
Taiwanese orange juice, liu ding
Liu ding, Taiwanese orange juice which is sweeter than any other orange juice on the planet!

Reconsidering The Grind To Make More Money

At some point during the flight back to the States, I thought to myself, What's the point of grinding so hard to make more money? I'm not any happier earning more than when I made much less after leaving my day job in 2012.

My entire mentality about challenging myself to always grow and make more money went completely away. I already had enough to be happy with my non-online income streams supporting the way. Downsizing to a smaller home in 2014 freed about $50,000 a year in cash flow because I rented out my old home of 10 years.

I remembered telling myself when I started Financial Samurai in 2009, If I could just make $1,000 a month, I'd be ecstatic! Now $1,000 a month sounds like nothing. Such a sad, sad statement. It's amazing how quickly our expectations change.

After changing my mindset to “enough already,” my traffic and revenue stopped growing for the rest of 2015. In fact, a couple of my main revenue sources started declining! If you read my 2016 goals and predictions, you'll see language about expecting negative net worth growth and a likely decline in my online business revenue by 15%+ as I worried about a global slowdown.

I stopped thinking in terms of abundance and started thinking in terms of scarcity, even though there are three billion more people online I could potentially reach. I psyched myself into not finding other ways to grow, so I didn't until more recently.

Change Your Mindset To An Abundance Mindset

Believe there is more than enough for everybody to prosper. When you have an abundance mindset, positive things start to happen. You start doing things that bring about positive change.

Because you see positive results, you continue to build momentum until you achieve and surpass your goals. Any feelings of jealousy about other people's success start dissipating because you realize life is not a zero sum game. Just because someone else wins, doesn't mean you can't win too.

Now that I've been out of Corporate America for over nine years, I realize the biggest reason why people adopt the scarcity mindset. It's because people realize that no matter how hard they try at work, their upside is capped. There is no reward for taking excess risk.

As a result, people don't bother and cruise to a mediocre career and lifestyle. This is why everybody should have a side-hustle until they can make a full-time living on their own. At least you have an outlet to experiment on things you really care about without fear of financial failure.

If you want more, change your attitude! Don't let the Debbie Downers and the “woe is me crowd” hold you back. If you pay attention, you'll notice they tend to hang around each other to find comfort in their own misery. Exorcise these people from your life. They'll always have some excuse as to why things can't be done.

Overcoming The Odds With A Bestselling Book

Did you know that 87% of all books published are by white authors? Part of the reason is because the top publishers are almost run by all white people. If you are a minority, you've got a much smaller chance of landing a book deal.

Well, with my abundance mindset, I knew the odds were against me in getting a book deal. I got rejected from every literary agent I applied to back in 2012-2013. But I did land a book deal with Portfolio Penguin, a reputable nonfiction imprint.

Then I spent two years writing and editing Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. And in July 2022, my book became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller! Not bad for this Asian SAHD with no fame and no job at a major media outlet.

Believe that anything is possible folks! Getting on the WSJ bestseller list that is filled with incumbents and professional writers is almost impossible. But I did it because I believe it was possible.

Buy This Not That Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Related posts:

Develop Your Money Strength

Overcoming The Downer Of No Longer Making Maximum Money

Wealth Building Recommendation

In order to optimize your finances, you've first got to track your finances. I recommend signing up for Personal Capital's free financial tools so you can track your net worth. You can also analyze your investment portfolios for excessive fees. With an abundance mindset, run your financials through their fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator.

Those who are on top of their finances build much greater wealth longer term than those who don't. I've used Personal Capital since 2012. It's the best free financial app out there to manage your money.

Planning for retirement when paying for private grade school
Are you on the right retirement path? There is no rewind button.

Build Wealth With Real Estate

Real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom because it is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income. Stocks are fine, but stock yields are low and stocks are much more volatile. The -32% decline in March 2020 was the latest example.

With an abundance mindset, take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms to explore new opportunities. Both are free to sign up and explore.

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends.

I've personally invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 projects to take advantage of lower valuations in the heartland of America. My real estate investments account for roughly 50% of my current passive income of ~$300,000. 

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. Everything is written based off firsthand experience. 

About The Author

86 thoughts on “Create An Abundance Mindset To Grow Your Wealth”

  1. Michael Cioffi

    Sam I found that the “scarcity mentality” has served me well and I don’t believe I’d be as successful as I am not without it. It was driven into me by my extremely frugal parents. I’ve done well and have a very good income stream from rental properties. My kids live in the opposite environment and I’ve been wondering how to instill a scarcity mentality into them.

    The “abundance mentality” is an interesting concept and I’m interested to explore it further but friends I know who seem to have this mindset are not doing great financially, they’ll spend money on things they do not need or fly business class for double the price while they have credit card debt….

    So, I’m not quite on board with this and feel like I’m in the place you were at after visiting your mom, have more than we need. Extra money will not be noticed. It’s hard to change that mindset I’ve had all my life.

    1. And abundance mindset is an about splurging on things, it’s about believing you can make a tremendous amount of money because there is so much money out there in the world.

  2. Sam, I discovered your blog a few days ago while I was in a blitz of hating my job and being ready to resign on the spot. Actually, I told my boss that I wanted to resign and she encouraged me to take a leave of absence instead, which is probably a very good thing because the process that I have to go through in order to take a leave of absence has made me think about what I’m doing and whether I am ready to quit my job. I am not. But reading your “how to start a blog” post inspired me to revive and renovate an old WordPress blog, and I am excited at the idea that I can slowly, with persistence, change my circumstances so that I have freedom and don’t feel trapped anymore.

    My husband and I have planned that I will not work after we start a family in a few years, after my student loans have finally been paid off and I can afford to quit my job and stay at home with the kids. With our plan, I think that we can probably live pretty comfortably on one income, plus some help that we will get from his dad who will be living with us. But I don’t want us to just be able to make it–I want us to have absolute financial freedom! I would love for us to not have a mortgage. I would love for my husband to not have the burden of HAVING to have a particular job to keep us afloat, and I would love for us to not feel strapped for cash all the time. Plus I want to do something to help the family financially, since I want to stay home with the kids but I am pretty sure I will feel guilty for doing so if money is tight.

    Your blog encourages me that perhaps my blog can eventually develop into something that helps us financially. Your explanation of the scarcity mindset revealed to me that this is what I have been feeling, and it almost seems worse seeing so many people who have built successful income streams for themselves entirely online and working whenever they want. It seems like there must be a limit to it eventually! But, is there? It seems like people like you who have an “abundance mindset” are successful, and it doesn’t make logical sense, but perhaps spiritual sense. Thank you for your encouragement to remain patient, a spark of hope that dreams are possible, and for providing such great insight into money matters on your website.

  3. Hi, thanks for the article and the story showing how your business growth correlated with your mindset, expectations and desires. It’s a really beautiful and interesting story to read. I especially loved the part where you spent time with your mother and grandmother and appreciated the beauty and richness of simplicity and love and peace.

    In response to your question at the end, if I were you (and I would love to match your income journey!!!!) I would still look to grow my business but in ways that excited me personally and privately. Rather than go more public necessarily, I’d look to honour and fulfil those passions and dreams within me that I always had as a child and wished for, those things that would bring me the greatest happiness and fulfilment, and by default would flow out into the world too bringing everyone out there greater joy and personal peace.

    Of course that’s just me. – and if I were already at where you’re at! Life is in the giving, to ourselves and to others equally. May you know success beyond your wildest dreams – yes even more than you already have!!!! Your best is yet to come, I feel sure of it somehow (and I’ve only just started reading your blog yet it’s obvious to me already that greater windfalls, successes, joys and highs await you….)

    Thanks again for this article. I feel I’ve gained a lot from reading it, and you have my appreciation and gratitude.


  4. FIRECracker

    Your dad is Hawaiian and your mom is Taiwanese? Cool!

    Man, looking at all these pictures of the food stands in Taiwan makes me miss Southeast Asia SO MUCH. That was my favourite thing about Thailand. People were not ostentatious and they were very happy. They were spending time with the family, meeting new friends, and living on very little. It really made me realize how much abundance we have in North America and how so many of our problems are self-created. Do you really need a giant fancy house, nice clothes, and a gas-guzzling car to be happy? No. The more you simplify your life, the more freedom you have, the less you care about what other people think, the happier you are.

    Oh and having good food is a must :) Especially at hawker stalls, which has some of the best food in the world. Cheap, fresh, and delicious. The food alone is enough to make me want to live in Asia.

    We’ll be heading out to Japan soon, and hitting up South Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Now that I’ve seen all your food pictures, I want to add Taiwan to that list as well. Which city should we stay in?

    1. Ah, if you go to South Korea, definitely hit up the DMZ! Check this post out: A View From The Edge Of The World. The DMZ was definitely the highlight of my trip to SK last year, along with the palaces of course.

      Taipei has the most delectable food. It’s not a visually beautiful place, but it does have seriously the best food and fruits. Let me know how Vietnam goes!

      1. FIRECracker

        Yeah, I have a US soldier friend who told me about the DMZ. Looks very intense but also super interesting. Hopefully I can keep my insanity in check and not do anything idiotic to start a war.

        Okay, putting Taipei on the list. Gonna drink ALL the bubble tea and eat ALL the stinky tofu (hubby is not so thrilled about that, but he’ll have to deal).

  5. Sam this is why I continue to follow you! Because even though there are a ton of tactics and strategies to hit financial independence you go over in FS, I also love that you address the more fundamental principles that helped you get to where you are now – in this case, the abundance mentality.

    I am not new to the abundance mentality. I’ve taken several personal development seminars and read books about abundance and scarcity thinking. But you saying it is different – you actually have results that I want! :D

    I’d like to say I have the abundance mentality down.. But sadly, it’s not a habit (yet). I work in healthcare – a stable job but the environment is mostly scarcity thinking. I work full-time so I inadvertently practice scarcity more than abundance :(

    I read books at home or listen to motivational/financial podcasts to keep me motivated and help me focus on abundance. I would like to do more of this. And also maybe find more people thinking along the same lines (I thought I found a group when I was doing the personal development seminars but it turns out most of the people like to preach it more than practice it). I think I just need to keep going and keep associating with people like you :)

    As for your last question, I think it would be tough for me to give my opinion on that. I would be so very happy if I ever got to your level now. Question is whether you’re happy with that and if you’re not, what do you do to change it. I’m confident you’ll find your answer though :D

    1. Hi Jaymee,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It’s so much easier to get motivated when you hang out with other people who are also striving to achieve some goal. For example, if your roommate wants to get in fantastic physical shape, you wouldn’t help but eat right and exercise more as well. So definitely seek people who will motivate you in the right way. It’s so much easier to get ahead if you do.

      Choose the people you hang around with carefully, and I’m sure it will be much better because of it.

      My problem is that I always feel like I need to be doing something. Sometimes I just need to do nothing and relax!


  6. “Any feelings of jealousy about other people’s success start dissipating because you realize life is not a zero sum game. Just because someone else wins, doesn’t mean you can’t win too.” I love that statement because it’s as true as it gets when it comes to moving forward and achieving whatever you set out to. This was an awesome read, thanks for sharing your thoughts and providing a much needed perspective on abundance when it seems everyone is trying to one up someone else.

  7. Great article. One thing I have realized with a mindset of scarcity is that you make poor and irrational decisions. Because you feel you have so little time, money or space, you panic and make poor choices.

  8. Sam,

    Really enjoyed the post. I think finding a good balance in life is essential. Your section on the mindset is superb and is something everyone should take to heart. Having an abundance mindset and letting go of envy of others and going after what we really want is definitely something we should all strive for. We are all at different stages and I’m still in the grind, having yet to see the fruit of my labor on my side-project. I’ve read your blog for about 6 months and have learned a lot and think your content is great. Due to your blog, I was motivated to start my own and am working into a routine while working long hours in corporate finance. I appreciate your insights and all of the good posts you have on here!

  9. Great post. Frugality has its merits, and I believe it’s always prudent to be sensible with spending, but it’s always good to keep in mind that you should spend as much as possible when it makes sense through both good investments and time.

    I also agree that past a certain level of living, we really aren’t any happier, so why try? I guess the answer is because it’s fun and even though we might not be happier, we get little thrills from succeeding in new areas and will most definitively gain more knowledge and new experiences, so it’s worth it. So many people are so worried about losing what they have so they stay we’re they’re at not realizing that the “worst” is actually GREAT. We live in such a rich country – world for that matter – and it’s just crazy to accept face value.

    Just curious, does your $90k include all housing (mortgage/taxes/insurance), or just taxes/insurance, or none? I ask because I always seem to calculate my spending needs without including mortgage since I expect to have a paid off house.

  10. TheMoneyMine

    Hi Sam – I have realized over the years, mainly reading your blog, what the abundance mindset is. It may sound strange, but it never really occurred to me before that I could switch my perspective and start seeing opportunities everywhere.
    I got the best example of it this yesterday.
    I’ve met friends with some friends over drinks and as they told they started a search fund. They are basically paid to find a company to buy with other people’s money. In the end, they don’t even need to use any of their cash. I had no idea this was possible. There is money everywhere if we know it’s there and we look for it.

    One way I make decisions that aren’t obvious is estimating whether at some point in the future I’d regret making / not making a particular decision. If you decided to keep growing your blog, you’d certainly positively impact a lot of people. Would that make you happier? You may not need to go fully public on this either. Mr Money Mustache for example had a few articles written on him with his real name, but I doubt that most of his readers know him for anything else than MMM.

  11. I love this!
    I also want to bring this mindset to my current workplace.
    I am a big proponent of helping the people around me out. If I can be productive and make others more productive, then why shouldn’t I?
    And dang…your blog income is seriously impressive.

  12. This is so relevant to me right now. I just had two side projects I was gearing up for fall through and it got me so bummed out because all I have is my job and my blog. I had a great mindset because things were lining up so nicely for me and then life happened.

    Time to change the mindset again.

  13. I get so frustrated in my gig jobs, because I run into the same people year after year who have the exact same complaints about our career economy. I stopped asking what they were doing to make themselves more marketable or to save money. Their answers depressed me.

    I think being open to the world’s possibilities allows for more creativity of thought and just allows you to notice more. Last year I noticed more gigs in my field called for a special skill. I signed up for classes in that skill. I’m almost completed with the coursework. This skill will double my income. Not bad for just noticing a need.

  14. Humnas are such interesting (and silly) creatures. We can find happiness in a simple an no frills apartment (like you did) and we can also find misery and depression while living in a 10000 square foot mansion. I think the problem stems from constantly looking at those who are “better off” than us, while not noticing that there are probably a lot more people we are doing better then. We are probably never going to make as much money as Mark Zuckerberg, and he’s not even going to make as much money as some Saudi princes!

    Taking a few minutes everyday to look inside of us and find what makes us happy, and the focusing on that, is where real happiness can come from.

  15. Very true about changing the scarcity mindset, which unfortunately is what most finance blogs focus on. The only disagreement that I have is the idea most people adopt this mindset in corporate america because they realize their upside is limited. That may apply to small portion, but I believe to most people job is just a job which they trade their time for money. People who have the drive and ambition typically greatly enjoy their jobs, so will naturally work harder than others and become more successful.

  16. Sam, I really appreciate your post. I am struggling hard to create an abundance mentality.

    I failed out of medical school for professionalism, which occurred after a disagreement with a professor. Third year grading is purely subjective and one class got me booted as the professor in question is very close to the dean. Now, I am left with a massive six figure debt and no job/marketable skills after spending 7 years doing pre-med/medical school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi James,

      I had to look up professionalism in the dictionary to see what it meant. The definition is ” the skill, good judgment and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well” You then said grading is subjective and the professor is close to the dean. No where in your post did you take any responsibility. I’m not trying to be a dick, but most successful people I know do take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes.

      Best of luck, Bill

      1. Bill, the professor has straight up lied in his comments and grade evaluations. I agree that I should take responsibility for my actions, but this situation really makes me question everything.

    2. Sorry to hear about this James. I’m not sure how a disagreement on a 3rd year class could get you booted. Can you elaborate? If you think the booting is egregious, then fight back and have them at least refund your money. Charging for tuition and then booting a student out after a couple years feels like robbery to me.

  17. Great article Sam.

    Well, I travel the world for the last 12 years, and now I settle down in Asia. It has been a tough decision to leave the Western world comfort.

    Ironically, cost me more to live in South East Asia than in Italy. I think has something to do with the massive injection of money in the last eight years into the developing world together with a terrible recession in Italy.

    In your case, I would travel and see a different reality of USA. I think you would help million of Americans to open up to a new world about money, finance and culture.

    If you decide to visit Asia again, would be great to meet up.

  18. Financial Slacker

    I am a believer in this theory of abundance. It’s a version of behavioral activation. Take positive steps forward and good things will happen. Although sometimes it’s easier said than done. When times are tough, you need to keep moving forward.

    As far as increasing your publc exposure, that’s difficult for anyone else to answer because it’s very personal. For me, I would prefer to earn a more than adequate income and maintain my privacy.

    But if your goals are larger than just earning money. If you are looking to provide a greater good, going public might make sense.

  19. PatientWealthBuilder

    I think you should become a more public figure to grow your business. Here are some thoughts on that:
    – write another book and pitch it to a major publisher
    – work with existing contacts in Asia to get in media there (radio, print, even TV?) to promote your site – consider one post per week targeting the Asia audience or a Financial Samurai Asia site.
    – get on Dave Ramsey’s radio show here or get your own radio spot
    – Do a TED talk on blogging / Financial Freedom
    – Speak at a conference or create your own

    It is very easy for me to make suggestions as if they are easy – the above are big undertakings. I just thought I would answer with some thoughts based on the questions at the end of your post. But is growing the site worth it? It seems like you are in a pretty good spot and becoming a more public figure may not really be worth it. Just my two cents!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations. Ah, so much work! :)

      I don’t know whether people realize how much work it is to write a book. I think what I’ll do is keep on updating my severance negotiation book with more and more information with a new edition every 1-2 years. I do a lot more 1X1 consulting work now about people who want to leave their job.

      I’m not a fan of self-promotion. It’s flattering to get invited to speak and what not, but I’m not the guy who publishes selfies over social media to get attention if you know what I’m mean.

  20. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures Sam! Your posts definitely encourage my growth mindset. Most of my peers are teachers or professors who tend to work until retirement age (or beyond) and really struggle to understand someone who wants to do anything different. They are not necessarily “downers” but they seem to be stuck in “neutral”. I have always looked ahead but when you are with these folks day after day (and year after year), you begin question that side that longs for something new and different – but give me a challenge, and I will shine!

    I have also found a great deal of comfort and encouragement from reading blogs and virtually connecting with people with like minds and goals. I hate to think about not having taken some chances the last few years because of my abundance mentality. Our lives are so rich when you just slow down and look around. Thanks for reminding us to do that and for sharing your journey!

    1. There’s nothing stopping from your teacher friends to work on a side business they are passionate about. Being stuck in neutral, a rut, kinda bums me out. So I’ve found the easiest thing to do is travel somewhere new.


  21. It seems you like having an abundance mindset, but you did state you were not happy grinding so much and felt happier in Taipei. (A dilemma indeed) I think we all need a passion to fulfill our time in retirement as time needs to be filled. But realizing you have enough shouldn’t make it feel like scarcity. They say any amount over 75K that can sustain your living expenses doesn’t really make you feel happier. I guess we all have to find the right balance between work, life, money, and fun.

    1. It’s funny right? Thinking in abundance and being happy with X amount of income. So the solution is to think in abundance wrt everything else besides money once you’ve had enough!

  22. Hi Sam, mindset is everything. Seeing my family live off so much less like yours reminds us what true happiness is about.

    As for you changing gears and becoming a public figure – it would reach out to more people if that’s what you want – to make a larger impact, to help more people like me and all your other future readers/followers that you wouldn’t reach if you didn’t get out there,. If you are the type of person that likes to keep pushing and improving (sounds like you are), probably a natural progression out of your blog.

    The downside is that something has to give in your life – you pay it upfront.

    I struggle and juggle with this all the time between kids, husband, career and life so I grow at a snail pace.

    Here’s another tip if you want it- If you plan to have kids, grow as much as you can until kids come.!

  23. Try traveling to poorer countries for a mindset change. People are happy, or happier with what little they have. For me, I think living in America has stamped an image of a successful person in my mind – you must own a million dollar home, have a fancy car and own lots of materialistic stuff (latest tech gadgets, brand new furnishings from Restoration Hardware, branded clothing etc.), dine at the swankiest restaurant and to achieve this, you have to kill yourself working at a job in Corporate America.

    Every time I travel to Asia (Indonesia specifically), it reminds me of how simple life can be. It’s not what you own and what your stature is in society but what kind of abundance you can create for yourself within your means. The problem starts when people start living beyond their means.

  24. Your revenue table is incorrect for the $0.01 revenue per page view per month, you have it off by one zero.

    You’re also overestimating the average revenue per page view in my opinion. I know of at least one heavily advertised popular site that makes closer to $0.003 per pageview, 3 times less than what you tout as the minimal average revenue in your table.

    Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely possible to get to the numbers you give, but not with traffic alone, there needs highly paying affiliates to get to $.1 per page view. There’s a reason advertisers such as adsense measure once revenue in revenue per thousand pageviews, because revenue per pageview is typically super small.

    But I guess this is all part of the abundence mindset ;)

    1. Awesome catch! Corrected. Man, I was underselling there!

      Tell me more about why you think I’m overestimating at 1 penny a pageview? I created the chart based on my own experience and the numbers from about 50 bloggers who’ve shared their numbers w/ me over the years.

      Are you mistakenly just taking one revenue source e.g. monthly Adsense income and dividing by monthly pageviews? If so, I can see $0.003-$0.004. But as you know, having a website is like having a SUPER TRAIN with unlimited containers being pulled. You can have multiple income streams from your platform just like how you can have multiple passive income streams from CDs, real estate, dividends, etc… but even more.

      Think in abundance!

  25. Jack Catchem

    I see the “abundance mindset” as a reflection of passion. When you are passionate about your activities it shines through. After talking with me a while, most people look a little stunned and say “Wow, you actually LOVE your job!”

    I think your passion for the hustle and the numbers shows through in your writing. Others see your passion and it resonates. I’m reminded of a UCLA professor who was so enraptured by the Economic History of 15th Century Europe that he completely arrested the attention of every student in class!

    I haven’t met you in person, Sam, but based on your writing it’s likely that you have the charisma to become more of a public figure. The downside is you then begin selling a different part of yourself (leaving internet anonymity behind) and kind of burn the “Stealth Wealth” principle.

    Great adventure, different kind of journey. I love allowing my internet and IRL “personalities” (if you will) to influence and inform one another, but the two need to remain separate. I will not be surprised if you “go public” in the future. You are a synergistic creator, Sam. I love your outlook on being content with the truly important things in life, but your resume shows you don’t remain static very much!

    1. Thanks Jack. I notice there is a different “high” when presenting. It’s exciting and fun. I gave a small talk at this even in SF last year that I enjoyed. It’s also very enjoyable to just walk through the shadows. Self-promotion kind of makes me feel sick, b/c it makes me feel sick when I see others aggressively self-promote. The key is to focus on the audience.

      I have no problems carrying a conversation with anybody. But I do think I will get myself in trouble…. And I know there is an addiction that comes with receiving attention that has destroyed many people before.

  26. Great story Sam. Having an abundance mindset is so important. That’s amazing you’ve been able to that much traffic and it continues to grow.

    I absolutely love your story about spending a few nights in Taiwan. So many people with less are often more happy than people with more materials. It’s a great reminder. And the Taiwanese night markets are so awesome. Great food items and super cheap. :)

      1. Thats gonna be tricky. Im pretty sure fda would have something to say about some of the food. Especially the stinky tofu!!!

  27. Thanks for writing this Sam, really encourages me since I’m just starting out with the whole building your own online brand/business thing.

    Speaking of abundance you have 120+ pages of posts…I’m on about pg120 reading from the start. Anyone else want to join me in the journey?

    1. Hah! Awesome. Enjoy the read and ignore the ad copy at the end.

      I’m pretty certain if you get to 120+ pages of posts, you won’t have to work from someone else ever again either!

  28. This is exactly why I try to take 6 months out to travel every 3-5 years. We get so caught up in our own abundance bubble (comparing homes, cars, jobs, etc), we forget that we are all in the world’s 1%, and could still be happy on so much less.

  29. Believe Fire

    We have an abundance mindset at times, but need to work on being positive more often. I think the negatives get more focus because they tend to hurt and life in general is so good.

    We don’t plan on becoming public, but if we knew it would help us grow substantially we would have to strongly consider it.

    Sam, if I were you, I wouldn’t give up more anonymity for growth. You’re the biggest proponent of stealth wealth I know and you already have more than you’ll ever need. I think the only reason to become public in your situation is if you determined that it would allow you to help more people.

  30. Fiscally Free

    I think it’s incredibly important to have a positive attitude. Not many people realize you are completely in control of your attitude, and you can change it in an instant if you want to. I think that’s one of the ideas the Stoics promoted, but I learned it from my dad.
    As for whether you should be more public to try to increase growth–I would say you should only do it if you want to. It sounds like you have more than enough money, so don’t stress yourself out on events when there’s not much of a point to it.

    1. Interesting right? You control the way you see things. So why not see things in a positive light? There’s so many learning experiences from supposed failures. Plenty of people are making things happen every day. Just watch, observe, learn, and make your own success.

  31. Oh yes, the concept of enough. I think the abundance mindset is great for your life too, not just your money. I am surrounded by an abundance of love and opportunity, but sometimes my perspective gets clouded. If you desire to be public and that would be something that would add value to your life, I’d say go for it. If not, I am positive you will find another way to get what you seek

  32. Sam,

    That is a great insight there. I can fluctuate between an abundance and scarcity mindset. Great point about the upside being capped at a typical job.

    Keeping an up and abundance mindset and pushing with patience should bear results over time.


  33. Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog

    I definitely operate from a place of abundance. There is enough success to go around for everyone.

    Regarding the side hustle, having one is definitely an asset in today’s world where jobs can be volatile.

  34. Was the $50k/yr on 125k/month a goal or something you were achieving at the time? That works out to be a $33CPM. You mention that it grew to $42. How do you get such a high CPM and what steps did you take to raise it from $33 to $42?

    1. It was both. I received $0 money while I had a day job b/c I didn’t want any conflict of interest, even though FS had nothing to do w/ my day job. Any revenue generated was given to someone else. But from what I saw what was being generated, I knew I could make at least $50K/year to supplement my passive income.

      You will see positive synergy effects once you build a platform. Further, the longer you are around, and the stronger you build your brand, the higher your asking price and conversion rates.

      Just think, if you are an advertiser. Do you want to work with a site that has been around for 1 year, and that might disappear? Or a site that has been around for 10 years w/ large brand recognition? This is why for any business, the longer you are around, generally the better things go.

      I have a 1,100+ post portfolio in the internet world now that generates ~71-74% of my traffic automatically from search. I could literally never respond to a comment again, and not write a post for years and traffic and revenue would still be way over my 2014 targets. But I write because it’s fun, first.

      Keep creating and sticking things through. Have a forever mindset.

  35. Excellent post!! For the longest time, all I wanted to do was have millions in the bank. After a while though, I finally thought, for what? If I can get to the point of living comfortably without the need to work if I don’t want to, then I’ll be happy. That changed my life forever and I should be there in the next handful of years.

    I think the simplicity of life is something that isn’t appreciated by enough people in this world – glad you had a chance to enjoy the wake-up call.

    — Jim

    1. Howdy Jim – I will tell you straight up that once you have millions, you’ll look at the guy with tens of millions and want that. It NEVER ends until you make it end.

      Instead, look to grow in different ways after deciding how much is enough.

      I try and have a wake up call every year b/c life seems so cozy in America. Traveling helps a lot. Also, my adventures driving for Uber also were very eye opening.

      I feel so much respect for all the Uber drivers here in Paris. They dress in a suit. Keep their cars immaculately clean. Put the front passenger’s seat all the way up. Are nice. And just keep on going. Makes me want to get home and follow their lead!

      1. I definitely believe it on the wanting more and more. I’m going to keep growing things as much as I can, but my goal is to actually call it quits on focusing so much on money when I quit the 9-5. Easier said than done and I’m sure I’ll keep doing some things to continue growing my business, but the focus will *hopefully* be more on enjoying what I have at that point.

        That’s really impressive that you’ve been able to call that time-out on an yearly basis. And I can only imagine what you come across as an Uber driver, but I do think it’s fantastic that you’re not above trying different things like that.

        Haha, I would love the Uber driver in the US that shows up in a suit… some drunk kid with no respect would probably throw up all over it! :-)

        — Jim

  36. I try not to surround myself with Debbie Downers….I am not one myself. I try to make the best of every situation. I also just started my own “side hustle”. It has taken a bit of time, money and energy to set up but I am positive it will pay off in the near future. It has already taken off more than I expected and I am loving it.

    Thanks for all of your hard work on this blog….I always enjoy reading it!

  37. Amazing post Sam! I couldn’t agree with your line of thinking more. The level of success you have achieved with your online community has always been an inspiration to me. Thanks for the the transparency. -Aaron

    1. No problem Aaron. Keep on hustling! Half the battle for any business is to keep on going. Giving operating costs are low online, the only barrier is one’s own self-discipline.

  38. Boocoo Money

    Starting an online business seems like a great idea but there are always obstacles that get in the way. I have a bunch of Debbie Downers in my family as well, preaching to me about working more for someone else rather then starting something for myself. I have a question for you Sam. When you started your online company back in 2009, how long did it take to start seeing revenue from it, and were you worried about marketing?

    1. You can start seeing revenue by month one through Adsense. But you won’t care so much b/c it is so damn fun connecting with people from all over the world! The community was what really got me going the first several years, and it still is.

      Don’t focus on the money! Focus on the community and writing some new things people have never read before. The money will eventually come if you last long enough.

  39. one day i want to make 200k passive… I still be fine with just 100k and not spend all, if 200k plus was the case maybe i could help family set up a business.

    1. Just set goals. 200K was just my goal b/c I wanted to be able to live in places like SF, Manhattan, Paris, Tokyo, and maybe London. But I probably only need $60,000 a year to live well in Kuala Lumpur, Taipei or maybe Budapest.

      Have a stretch goal to push yourself. It’s more fun that way!

      1. Thanks for the blog Sam, I’m getting a lot of valuable insights even if some of the topics do not apply directly to me since I’m not living in the US. But all of them inspire me to think which is what I like the most. Just my 2 cents, but to line in Budapest for example you probably only need about 30-40k a year. I currently make about that a year in a corporate job which puts me to the upper 10%.

        Anyway, thanks a lot for all you do and keep it up!

  40. Sam, your endless hustle and positive outlook are what keep me coming back on a daily basis to read and interact with others via the comments. It is really interesting to gain insight into some of the earliest days of your blogging journey.

    Since launching my blog, I’ve managed to ride the wave of optimism. When the bumps eventually come and I stop seeing growth, I will come back and re-read this article.

    1. No problem. The biggest thrill is the initial growth that is very hard to replicate in anything. Everything eventually plateaus after a while. That’s when we have to rethink and perhaps mix things up. Maybe blow things up and start anew! But hopefully in a smart way.

  41. Great post Sam. Thanks for the up lifting advice. I grew up the not having much and had a great up bringing. I joined the military at the age of 22 and I’m currently still serving. I just so happen to bump into your website a couple of months back and have been coming back ever since. Working for the military and seeing how much you make really has me thinking about changing my career field. I work in the financial world for the CG, so I’m great at budgeting and have done I think pretty alright for myself. I am no where near your numbers for age 30. I’m currently trying to find a side hustle for myself. I love finance and was wondering if you could give me some pointers on starting a blog. The military is great for a lot of things but providing financial advise is not one of them. I would like to start one with military members in mind. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for serving! As a military person you should have a pension right? As such, you are wealthier than you think. Capitalize your pension by taking its annual gross payout and divided it by 0.03 or 0.04 e.g. $40,000 a year pension / 3% = $1.33M value.

      And the great thing is, you can double dip and work another job while you get a pension after you retire early!

  42. The Green Swan

    I agree that when you have spent the past couple years on your financial journey in a very public light it’s nice to have that down shift and reflection. I’m newer to the blog world and just starting to publicize my journey but it has been so refreshing and fun. Thank you for the reminder about the mental aspect and understanding what truly brings happiness.

    The Green Swan

  43. The Debbie Downer crowd is so prevalent in my real life. They can’t stand their jobs, and they make it extremely evident. Yet, they don’t do anything about it and many actually look down on those who choose to try something new.

    I’m so thankful I have so many online friends who understand entrepreneurship and self-employment. It makes me feel normal!

  44. John C @ Action Economics

    I think half the battle with everything is mindset. It seems that when I am looking at things from a confident position new opportunities come up and things just keep getting better. Once my outlook turns negative, my decision making process shifts and working off of a scarcity mentality forces us to make choices that may seem like short term actions to avert a problem, but those actions are rarely focused on long term growth.

    Good luck with growth this year!

    1. Thanks John. Yes, having confidence is key to doing so much. Try to think, “what’s the worst that could happen.” Being laughed at and ridiculed isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things!

  45. Apathy Ends

    If you are happy now I wouldn’t change a thing! Your content is continuously awesome and you have a great following on this blog!

    I can tell you are excited about the new travel writing plans – looking forward to what you can teach us.

    1. Thanks! This site is heavy on real estate, investing, retirement, and career, but ironically thin on my two favorite things: entrepreneurship and travel! I’m going to rectify that for the rest of the year.

  46. Matt @ Distilled Dollar

    Having an abundance mindset is extremely key as it leaves the door open for opportunities.

    It’s a logical thought to think, “Why not me,” instead of, “Why me.”

    In my own life, I’ve struck up great conversations with people who earn more or who have more than myself. I’m convinced our ability to communicate is because my initial reaction to discovering they have more is typically, “wow, they must have done something great to get to where they are! I want to learn something from them.”

    To me, the scarcity reaction would be to think they scammed their way to the top or that they cheated the system. This type of reaction would have cut the conversation short and I would never have had opportunities to connect with and learn from such successful people.

    People tend to focus on negatives because its easier. It is easier to see ourselves as victims who tried their best rather than someone who missed an opportunity through our own actions. The errors of omission are often more painful than the errors of commission.

    As for growing your business, I would absolutely consider going more public. You have the luxury of time on your side, so you can give it a go and decide later to change course.

    1. Yes indeed. I hope more people think, “Why NOT me?” instead. It’s human nature to attribute another’s success to luck, and our own success due to hard work.

      Just wake up at 5am every day and put 2 hours into your craft and I am POSITIVE good things will happen after a year!

      1. Matt @ Distilled Dollar

        I’ve been following that script for the past 4-5 months now. I’m up early and put in 2-2.5 hours on my site before I head to my day job. I’ll keep you posted on the results after a year! :)

        1. This is so important. When I worked day shift in my job I had to get up at 4AM. I only worked 7 days in a 14 day pay period, so on my off days I had a tremendous amount of time for my side projects. That was the most productive in years.

          Sadly, being on nights now, I’m no where near that level. I wake up at 1 in the afternoon, and, while I have all night to work, it’s incredibly difficult to find the motivation at 2 in the morning.

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