The Green Swan’s Key Principles

Key Principles

The Green Swan’s Key Principles

Thanks for coming back!  If you are reading this post, my second post, does that mean The Green Swan has a new follower?  The Green Swan will be covering some unique ideas to personal finance in this blog and I hope you stay tuned.  You too can retire early.  If you haven’t already, check out my previous post introducing The Green Swan.  In this post I will be explaining The Green Swan’s Key Principles.

Make Money

The first of the The Green Swan’s Key Principles is making money.  Simple enough, huh?  But it is more than just that, it’s all encompassing in terms of how you make money, owning your career, advancing your career and making more money.

Ask yourself these questions:

–          How do you make your money?

–          Are there things you can do to make more money including side jobs?

–          Are you making enough to make ends meet?

–          How much money do you expect to make in the future as you advance your career?

–          What can you do to move up the learning curve quicker in your current job?

–          What would it take to be able to do your bosses job?

–          What opportunities does your career path offer?

–          Are there adjacent career paths you could pursue?

These are some of the questions you need to think about.  And if you aren’t making enough money or want more, then it is time to start thinking of how to work harder and work smarter to get you where you want to be.  We’ll have some ideas to help.

Budget and Track Expenses

The second of The Green Swan’s Key Principles is budgeting and tracking expenses.  Knowing where your money is going will allow you to target big expense items and think of everything you can to meaningfully reduce them.  Start by tracking every expense you make, big and small.  Doing this on a monthly basis and totaling them up each year end, you can get a pretty clear picture of where your money is going and start to get a handle on how expensive your lifestyle is.  This has allowed my to get a better handle on my money, and ultimately I’ve reduced spending in certain areas which has allowed me to spend more money on things I want.  Budgeting and tracking expenses will have an additional benefit when wanting to estimate how expensive your lifestyle will be in retirement…and ultimately how much money you’ll need in retirement accounts to maintain that lifestyle.


The third of The Green Swan’s Key Principles is investing.  It’s very important to start building that nest egg and letting it work for you.  Before you know it, your investment account will start bringing in more money than you do.  There are countless approaches to this and a number of considerations you’ll need to make.

–          For instance, which retirement account types should you invest in (IRAs, 401ks, HSAs, taxable brokerage accounts)?

–          What’s your risk appetite and investment horizon?

–          Should you invest in mutual funds?

–          Actively managed or index funds?

–          How should you think about diversification?

–          Roth or Traditional or a mix of both?

The list goes on and on.  In later posts I will detail these considerations more thoroughly as well as explain my approach to investing.

Other things that will be covered in this blog are some unique personal finance ideas and experiments that have helped me.  These topics include graduating college early, my solar panel experiment, why I don’t have a dog, how I got rid of cable, how expensive are kids, and many other things related to how you can make money, save money, spend money wisely and invest money.

In the next post I’ll cover my story, The Beginning of The Green Swan.

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach


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Distilled Dollar

These questions are great and my favorite aspect of this list is the different approaches to improving income.

The make money section is often overlooked in favor of cutting expenses. I’m all in favor of frugality but I’m also a firm believer in seeking out those opportunities where you need to put in the extra hours to see the returns.

Frugality always appeared to me to be the quick fixes, but if you want to reach financial independence and build real wealth early in life, then frugality needs to be combined with innovative ways to make money. Or, at the least, an intense work ethic, but nowadays there are more opportunities to work smart and not burn ourselves out.

The site looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your upcoming posts!

The Practical Saver

This is a great post.

I believe that to achieve financial independence or even just getting a good handle of your finances, then, you need to follow financial principles, all of which you indicated above. I think that making money should a priority, if not top priority, to become financially independent. You are right with all the questions you raised about making money. I believe that making money isn’t just about money itself but also about the careers you chose in life. In my opinion, money and career, for the most part, go hand in hand.

I also particularly like budgeting and tracking expenses. I have always believed that no matter how much you make, if you don’t budget and track your expenses, it will be easier for you to just spend and spend and think that you still have money because you are making money. The truth is it’s not always like that.

The Green Swan

Thanks Practical Saver!

I agree, making money and career should probably be everyone’s top priority since without it three other two don’t matter as much.

Yes, I am a huge proponent of tracking and budgeting expenses. I feel like those who skip this step are like a rudderless ship.

The last sentence of your comment resonated with me and I think it’s an interesting point. I think it relates to the fact that your net worth is measured by how much you’ve saved, not how much you make. Too many folks don’t understand the difference.

The Green Swan

ZJ Thorne

So few people focus on the making money portion. I’m currently about 3/4 of the way to mastering a skill that will double my income. That will make budgeting, saving, and investing so much easier.

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