4 Steps to the First X

4 Steps to the First X

There are only two classifications of income for most people in the United States according to the IRS— earned income and passive income. The money you work for is earned income, and the money you receive from assets is passive income. I refer to earned income as first X income (see my blog on the Triple X factor if this doesn’t make sense to you!) Most people in the United States live right around the first X— that is, they live off of their job. In this post, I will show you how to get to the first X— the point where you aren’t spending more than you make— in four steps.

Step 1: Become More Valuable

In order to have an above-average income, you must become an above-average person. Learn to pour into yourself. Read something inspirational for 30+ minutes every day. Surround yourself with people you aspire to be like. Listen to those people, even if their opinions run counter to your personal beliefs. Lastly, LOOK. Success leaves clues. One of the greatest mistakes I made as a young man was assuming how and why people came into success without ever really studying the successful people in my life.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” We grow by imitating solid examples of successful people with Christlike character.

Step 2: Learn to Live on 80%

This is basic math. If you can live off of 70%, I advise it, but 80% is the sweet spot for many. Keep the 80% for debts, rent, food, fun, etc. Tithe 10%, put 5% with someone who can professionally invest it and personally invest the other 5%. This is what mastering your money looks like! It’s hard to sacrifice at first, but as you learn to get into a rhythm, you begin to feel successful and have fun as you reach the first X.

Step 3: Know the Difference Between Assets and Liabilities

Wisdom doesn’t stop at the 80/20 rule. You have to learn to carefully manage that 80% and part of that is knowing the difference between assets and liabilities. Liabilities take money from you. They depreciate as soon as you purchase them- think cars, electronics, vacations, etc. Assets, however, bring money to you. They often appreciate over time— think real estate investments, businesses, stocks, etc.

It’s amazing to men how many people will think nothing of putting $1000 down on credit to buy a flat-screen TV, but they think investing that money will plummet them into debt. If you want to reach the first X, you have to begin seeing the long game with your finances. Your money may not give you as much instant gratification as a shiny new espresso machine or hot new car would, but in the future, you will be so happy that you decided to make a wise choice.

Step 4: Eliminate Debt

Consumer debt is a plague in America that completely keeps people from building wealth. For instance, if you purchase a $2,000 TV with a typical credit card, it will take 31 years and 2 months to pay off the balance by making the minimum payment. You will end up paying a total of $10,202 for a $2,000 TV! That’s $8,202 in interest alone. Better yet, what do you think that TV will look like in 31 years? If you want to reach that first X and make more than you spend, this step is a big one. I have a 9 step system for getting out of debt— click here if you want to learn more.


What questions do you have about reaching the first X? Comment below and I will answer or write about them in my next blog! If you’re already at the first X or just want to prepare for the future, I invite you to our live-streamed Real Estate Mastery Workshop April 23-25, 2o21. You’ll learn all about how to increase those assets, and for a limited time only, you can get $100 off the price of your ticket using the code RELIVE100 at checkout.

Billy Epperhart
Billy Epperhart
billy@billyepperhart.com
8 Comments
  • Duncan Thabang Ramoshaba
    Posted at 10:47h, 10 March Reply

    This is a fruitful information, am glad this message passed by me. I see usage of money differently now, and how it could grow me financially as a person.

    • Hannah Grieser
      Hannah Grieser
      Posted at 11:03h, 15 March Reply

      Thank you for that feedback! We appreciate your support. God bless you.

  • Innocent Busingye Lyton
    Posted at 05:42h, 13 March Reply

    Very useful.

  • Leah Harris
    Posted at 15:30h, 16 March Reply

    ‘ put 5% with someone who can professionally invest it and personally invest the other 5%.’

    What does this look like?

    • Hannah Grieser
      Hannah Grieser
      Posted at 13:15h, 22 March Reply

      Hi Leah! Thank you for your question. This looks like reaching out to someone like a financial planner or stockbroker to steward 5% of your income and learning how to invest the remaining 5% yourself, whether it be in stocks, an IRA, or another venture. This way, you have a professional on board while you simultaneously ‘get in the game’ and learn yourself!

  • Ogbeh Rowland Abel
    Posted at 07:56h, 14 April Reply

    Thank you for this information.. how can I get Billy’s book on money mastery? Am in Nigeria

  • Ogwang Patrick zadocks
    Posted at 21:48h, 02 September Reply

    Very interesting And educative thanks for the insight.

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