5) Determine What Income Level Will Make You Happy. Think back to when you made little to no income as a student. Now think back to the days when you just got started in your career. Were you happy then? Now go over every single year you got a raise or made more money doing something else. How did your happiness change at all, if any? Everybody has a different level of income that will bring maximum happiness due to different desires, needs, and living arrangements. It’s up to you to find out your optimum income level.
San Francisco is an extreme example of a place in California with both a large population (829,072) and high per capita income ($49,986). In fact, it has the highest per capita income of all places in California with a population of over 100,000. Though Sunnyvale ($48,203), San Mateo ($46,782), Thousand Oaks ($46,231), and Carlsbad ($44,305) join San Francisco to make up the top five places in California with the highest per capita income in that population class, none of them have populations even close to San Francisco. The next place with a population similar to that of San Francisco that appears in the per capita income rankings is San Jose ($34,992), and at this point, the difference in per capita income with the entire state of California is only about $5,000.

This venture requires both time and money, but it is certainly worth it. Making low-risk investments with your savings offers higher dividends than letting the money in the bank. While buying stocks in large corporations comes with a high degree of risk, mutual funds are relatively safer and less volatile. They also offer higher return-on-investment compared to fixed or recurring deposits made in banks.
I have two major dilemmas: (1) Should I wait to start investing (at least until the end of the year where I’ll hopefully have $5k+ in savings) in things like CDs? I ask because a little over $2k doesn’t seem significant enough yet to start putting my money to work (or maybe it is? that’s why I’m coming to you for your advice haha) and (2) I want to invest in things like P2P and stocks but I’m honestly a bit ignorant of how it trully works. I know the basics (high risk, returns can be volatile, returns are taxable). Do you have any advice on how I can best educate myself to start putting my savings to work?
There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6% in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income.

Under British rule, India's share of the world economy declined from 24.4% in 1700 down to 4.2% in 1950. India's GDP (PPP) per capita was stagnant during the Mughal Empire and began to decline prior to the onset of British rule.[103] India's share of global industrial output declined from 25% in 1750 down to 2% in 1900.[78] At the same time, the United Kingdom's share of the world economy rose from 2.9% in 1700 up to 9% in 1870. The British East India Company, following their conquest of Bengal in 1757, had forced open the large Indian market to British goods, which could be sold in India without tariffs or duties, compared to local Indian producers who were heavily taxed, while in Britain protectionist policies such as bans and high tariffs were implemented to restrict Indian textiles from being sold there, whereas raw cotton was imported from India without tariffs to British factories which manufactured textiles from Indian cotton and sold them back to the Indian market. British economic policies gave them a monopoly over India's large market and cotton resources.[104][105][106] India served as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods.[107]
When you build a business, you're giving up active income (instead of working for pay, I'm volunteering at my own business) for future active and passive income. In the meanwhile, you'll need a way to pay for your expenses. It could be that you're building a business on the side, so you still have a day job, or you're living on those savings. Either way, you need a cushion.

I enjoy how you lay out real numbers. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. While you admit that you are somewhat conservative, I think the $1M in CD’s is just too conservative. Assuming you don’t need the cash flow now (which you say you just save anyways) then all that could be invested for potentially higher returns. For example, what if you bought San Francisco real estate along the way instead of CD’s. Or, an SP500 Index fund. I bet your average return would have been higher than 3.75%. Sure you could lose it, but the point is if you don’t need the cash flow now, you should try to increase that nut as high as possible until the day you actually need it. Your nut could be $5M right now if you had invested in asset classes other than CD’s for the last 14 years. Don’t get me wrong, you have done far better than me, but I guess I would take a little more risk if you don’t rely on that cash flow.
A normal distribution (bell curve) is the limit of what one would find by adding up the value of many independent quantities such as the height of people in a large group. A power law distribution is the limit of what one would find by multiplying the value of many independent quantities such as the relative size of forest fires over a large enough area and a long enough period of time.

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If you happen to own a home, apartment, or office space, you have a great source for generating passive income at your fingertips. Peer-to-peer property rental site Airbnb has made it extremely easy for real estate owners to make extra money by renting out their homes to guests for short durations. If you're uncomfortable with such a model, you can also use sites like NestAway to find tenants for your property without having to deal with brokers.

First: I understand why you would say that such investments are restricted to only accredited investors, because generally, that’s true. There are means, under federal securities regulations and Blue Sky laws in each state, to sell interests to non-accredited investors – but usually those means are so heavily regulated and involve disclosures so similar to cumbersome registration requirements that it is not worth it for the seller to offer to non-accredited investors.
Portfolio income can come from multiple sources – interest/bond coupons, stock dividends, financial strategies including derivatives and capital growth.  Each offers some cash flow and some also offer potential capital gain with some risk from liquidity and volatile prices.  In this low-yield environment, many investors rely too heavily on cash flows and to pursue this are venturing further into riskier areas than they’d normally consider.
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