Rent and groceries are the two main sources of costs for most households, so owning land and living from it is the shortest path to financial independence in terms of yearly costs.
According to most studies, I found online, a family of four needs less than 250m² to achieve self-sufficiency from a vegetable garden. If we add another 100m² to build ourselves a small house, we can round up everything to 400m² and agree it is enough to live: you'd pay less than a hundred dollars in taxes per month.
Add in additional monthly costs, like a budget for food you can't produce yourself, heating, insurance, or fuel for your car, and you still won't spend more than $500 per person per month. $500 per month is $6,000 per year, so you'd need to invest $150,000 (according to the 0.4% rule) to live off passive income.
Near my birthplace in South-West France, you can buy a building plot for $12 per square meter. 400m² would thus cost around $5,000. Building yourself a 21m² insulated house can't be more than $5,000. Combine the two and you will need an initial capital of $10,000.
If we spend $6,000 per year living like that and earn $10,000 per year, we would be able to invest $4,000 per year. We would reach our target amount for financial independence ($150,000) in 38 years if nothing goes wrong. With a yearly revenue of $50,000, we'd only need 4 years. Two years if you make $100,000 per year.
Of course, I'm aware this is not what most people imagine when they read "financial independence". You still need a minimum of work to grow the things you eat, and there isn't much financial room to live a more comfortable lifestyle when things get hard (and they probably will). It's only a rough estimate I wrote in an hour sounding too good to be true.
But since I know a stupid French guy like me managed to make 90 bucks an hour writing technical blog posts for an American startup, I can't help but feel optimistic. It's not so much about finding a way to retire as soon as possible, and more about living your best life with a higher degree of freedom.
There is a path. It's arduous and requires hard work. I have to clear it as I go and there is a high chance I get lost before reaching my destination, but it exists. I simply have to keep it in sight and take another step.