(1) Consume substantially less than you earn after taxes and any required expenditures (e.g., healthcare, child support). A good target is to save at least 50% of your net earnings. That doesn't mean you'll make it, but shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon. If you earn minimum wage this will be very hard, I expect. In that case you will probably need to use lots of sweat equity and your reputation in order to borrow. But once you get going you will need to continue to squeeze to consume a minimum or you will be eating your seed corn and will be either hobbled or destroyed by the lack of free cash flow. So BE FRUGAL and stay frugal.
(2) Make choices to make (1) possible. Don't have children early. Probably don't get married young -- set that as a goal for after you are financially independent. Pick your living environment and friends and lovers carefully. Avoid expensive "accidents" of all sorts: health, traffic tickets, unplanned pregnancy, Etc.
(3) USE YOUR SAVINGS AND SWEAT EQUITY TO BUY AND BUILD CASH FLOW -- IDEALLY UNDER YOUR OWN CONTROL AND WITH A 'MARGIN OF ERROR' IN TERMS OF PROTECTING PRINCIPLE. SWEAT EQUITY AND REPUTATION ARE VALUABLE AND ARE MORE EASY TO COME BY THAN SAVINGS TYPICALLY ARE. IF PEOPLE KNOW YOU ARE A HARD WORKER AND A PRUDENT, HONEST, FRUGAL PERSON THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO HELP YOU IF YOU NEED HELP. Don't put your savings in the bank except for short duration; you are going to be looking for real opportunities and you will need your savings quickly when you spot one. Don't put your money in stocks unless, possibly, the stocks pay substantial dividends (say 3%) and are yet safe instead of speculative. You are not so interested in stocks going up as in them not going down and continuing to pay dividends -- equivalent to bank interest -- until you find a higher yield use of the money. Avoid illiquid, long term bonds, insurance, and other commitments.
(4) YOU COULD USE THE SAVINGS TO BUY RENTAL PROPERTY OR A BUSINESS. YOU ARE LOOKING FOR CASH FLOW WHICH LEAVES YOUR EQUITY INTACT (SAFETY OF PRINCIPLE) OR GROWING. THESE OPPORTUNITIES DON'T COME AROUND EVERY DAY AND SOMETIMES, AND IN SOME ENVIRONMENTS, VERY VERY RARELY. BE PATIENT. STUDY AND LEARN AND LOOK. (IF HOUSES I CAN GIVE YOU A SIMPLE FORMULA: THE PROPERTY *MUST* BE ABLE TO RENT FOR AT LEAST 1% OF THE PURCHASE PRICE PER MONTH --E.G., if you pay $200,000 for a house it MUST rent for more than $2,000 per month from the beginning; this likely means a fixer and perhaps in a rough area). If you are thinking of a business then after you buy everything required to get into operation -- and I mean everything...plan carefully because you are likely to miss something and if that something is big you are likely going insolvent it should cash flow positive after taxes, insurance, etc. And it should cash flow such that you have a two year payback or less...ideally much less. That is, if you buy a "laundrymat" for example or a "snow plow", you want to be able to get all your investment capital back within two years max.
(5) And "getting your investment capital back" does NOT mean you get to consume it -- it means it goes back into savings so you can use it for new opportunities. Realistically, if you HAVE to live/ consume some of the income stream you should keep it at an absolute minimum. You aren't trying to buy a "job" but equity in a business which cash flows ON THE EQUITY.
I could probably go on for a while but these are some guidelines to get you started. Oh, I guess I'll give you another couple essentials:
(6)Things which do not cash flow based upon the underlying assets are NOT investments in a technical sense, they are GAMBLES and you are probably the dumb money unless you KNOW you can immediately flip them for a profit (in which case, there is your cash flow and you should, in fact, flip them and do it again).
(7)You ideally are looking for an opportunity which is a FRANCHISE: that means it can be replicated and done again and again so, in time, you have a bunch of equity investments throwing off predictable cash flow. Once again, you are NOT trying to buy a job! Managing your equity investments will be work but, ideally, in time you could hire an employee to manage in your stead so you can look to more acquisitions.
You know, guys, freedom doesn't feel too free unless it includes economic freedom. That requires real investment acquisition which takes TIME....years at a minimum.
Bill of Rights /Amendment X: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Do you need a politician or judge to "interpret" those 28