ChooseFI | Join the Financial Independence Community

By Jonathan Mendonsa & Brad Barrett| Choose FI

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 Jul 21, 2018
You guys are awesome! I listen to the show everyday,trying to catch up on episodes.Keep it up! Thanks!


Jonathan & Brad explore the world of Financial Independence. They discuss reducing expenses, crushing debt, building passive income streams through online businesses and real estate. How to pay off debt, Crush your grocery bill and travel the world for free. Every episode is packed with content and actionable tips and no topic is too big or small as long as it speeds up the process of reaching financial independence. If Mr Money Mustache, Tim Ferriss & Pat Flynn came together to make a podcast, this is what it would look like.

Episode Date
089 | Retail Path to FI with College Investor

Robert, from The College Investor, talks about his lucrative job as a Target store manager, building his blog into a highly profitable side hustle, his relationship with frugality, and the keys to success in a retail interview.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Aug 20, 2018
088R | What Have You Built?

Cities that are the best for pursuing financial independence, how to hack your career, ideas for building a side hustle and how to assess the return on your college investment.

For more information, including resources, visit the show notes at




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Aug 17, 2018
088 | Career Hacking the Tech Industry | Millennial Boss

Millennial Boss and FIRE Drill podcaster, J talks about becoming a creator, career hacking, and salary negotiation, alongside of pursuing FI, side hustles, and a growing podcast.


Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

For more information, visit the show notes at

Aug 13, 2018
087R | Autonomy Mastery Purpose

How to teach children lessons that set them up for success, discussion about using duel-enrollment and university co-ops to optimize college, and a strategy for cash flow balance transferring.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Aug 10, 2018
087 | Education Through Innovation | Don Wettrick

Don Wettrick, CEO and co-founder of StartEdUp Innovation program, and a current high school teach, talks about the cultivating innovation and creativity in the classroom, harnessing a learner’s internal motivation, and giving students opportunities to solve problems they’re passionate about.


  • Why and how did Don create an Innovation course at his school, and ultimately the StartEdUp Innovation program?
  • What was challenging about getting his students involved during the early stages, when it was just extra time during his class?
  • When do students lose their curiosity or learning?
  • How much does a reward really motivate students?
  • What would the process look like to develop and nurture internally motivated learners through elementary school?
  • What’s the difference between creativity and imagination?
  • How can a parent help their child be more innovative outside of school?
  • What does Don recommend as a good consumption v. production ratio?
  • How does changing consumption habits – how much, and what – impact the way Don’s students and own children think?
  • How does building community within a cohort of “creators” impact a student’s relationship?
  • Does participation in Don’s high school class impact his students other grades?
  • How do mastery, autonomy and purpose mix together best?
  • What does it look like to be in Don’s Innovation Class?
    • 6-7 weeks of class
      • Basics of innovation
      • How to think creatively
      • Building a professional social media presence
    • Remainder of class is “open source learning”
    • Volunteer with struggling non-profits, to see problems close up
    • Statewide student “Pitch” competition
    • Helping struggling local businesses
  • What sort of projects have his students build?
  • What story do you tell yourself, about yourself?
  • Is there a difference between improvement and new opportunity?
  • How would Don hope to integrate innovation development into schools in his 10-year dream?
  • Contact: @DonWettrick on Twitter
  • What did Don’s father mean when he told him to “Pay himself first”?
  • Why does Don think it’s important to fail?




“Daniel Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation”


You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think

Aug 06, 2018
086R | Pretirement | Roger Whitney

A live-recorded conversation with Roger Whitney, the Retirement Answer Man, from Podcast Movement, questions for a potential accountant, and takeaways from Monday’s live case study with Allison Goddard.


  • Brad is departing for a month-long family vacation to the U.K.
  • What is “global entry” and how/why did Brad get it before his trip?
  • Jonathan had a chance to meet up with Allison., from Episode 86.
  • If money was no longer an option, what would change for Brad and Jonathan?
  • Brad and Jonathan are super impressed with Allison’s grit and tenacity, to change the trajectory of her life.
  • Sometimes encouragement from someone else is the motivation we need.
  • You don’t have to know where your life is going to go, you just have to get started.
  • How can someone overcome “imposter syndrome”?
  • Voicemail from Angela at Tread Lightly/Retire Early – if Allison’s house is a place that makes her happy and brings her joy, maybe there are other ways that she can adjust her spending to be more efficient.
  • An article in the “Journal of Accountancy” addressing specific strategies for those pursuing financial independence: FIRE-d up for early retirement.
  • At what point is Turbo Tax not sufficient for your taxes?
  • What questions would Brad ask of a potential CPA?
  • Brad and Jonathan participated in Podcast Movement in Philadelphia, and participate in a ChooseFI meetup.
  • Brad is attending a ChooseFI meet up in London as well.
  • A live recording from Podcast Movement, with Roger, the Retirement Answer Man:
    • The tension between wanting to have a good life and wanting to enjoy today never really goes away.
    • Most baby-boomers don’t really want to never work again, but rather they want freedom in their time.
    • What are people running toward in retirement?
    • Instead of comparing retirement to a light switch, think of it more like a dimmer switch.
    • How does Roger talk to someone about making adjustments to move toward the life that you want?
    • Roger’s suggestion for have conversations: go for a walk, or a road trip, or something that creates space and time to have conversation.
    • Pretirement: what can you do now to start setting yourself up for what you want?
    • Strong relationships with your colleagues and superiors can give you the ability to adjust your job to meet your needs.
    • Five things to do with money: Give it away, spend it, pay down debt, save it, or invest it.



U.S. Customs Global Entry

Building My Castle

Tread Lightly, Retire Early

Rock Retirement

Aug 03, 2018
086 | A Live Case Study with Physician on FIRE and Allison Goddard

Allison Goddard, a dermatologist from Chattanooga, Tenn., chats with ChooseFI and Physician on FIRE to review her journey through medical school and receive advice to clarify the next steps in her path toward financial independence.



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"


For more information about FI, go to

Jul 30, 2018
085R | Sidehustle Coaching Series Part 3 | Learn to Pitch and Lean into the Uncomfortable Pause

Catch up with Alan and Tallis as they zero in on the key elements of a successful pitch, and the importance of uncomfortable silence, as well as a home improvement update from Jonathan and review of Monday’s episode with author M.K. Williams.

What you'll hear in this episode:

  • Jonathan reports a wallpaper challenge/ DIY fail in his kitchen.
    • Recommendation: use drywall mud to fix blemishes in drywall after removing wall paper.
  • What home-improvement projects are worth hiring out?
  • MK, from Monday’s episode, noticed that through persistence she has not only produced more content, and that with each release, her previous work sells even better.
  • How to build your personal brand and get start building your sidehustle and/or passion?
  • Sidehustle Coaching episodes so far:
    • Episode 30: Introduction to Alan Donegan
    • Episode 56: Part 1 – meet Tallis and hear about her new business idea
    • Episode 77: Part 2 – check in about Tallis’ progress and initial feedback
  • Update since the previous episode:
    • Chris, from the fundraising department at the Northwestern Hospital, is interested in hearing Tallis’ pitch.
  • If you can’t sell your business, you don’t get any customers, and therefore you don’t get any money.
  • “Sales” is the process finding someone with a problem you can solve and explaining that you can fix that problem.
  • Why did Alan struggle to sell his own business at the start?
  • What is the problem that Tallis’ business is solving?
  • How has Tallis clarified her business’ goal?
  • The triad: include three points when you make your pitch.
  • How do people accidentally overwhelm listeners during their pitch?
  • What’s the best way to start a pitch?
  • Never end your pitch with Q&A.
  • How can you set up a strong close if you have to include Q&A?
  • At the close, it’s important to actually ask the potential customer to buy the product.
  • “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
  • What does Tallis want to ask at the close of her pitch to Northwestern?
  • How did Alan help a group of students pitch for an advertisement with a really strong open?
  • How to deliver a strong pitch on the phone?
  • Your moments of impact as a speaker are actually when the audience is thinking.
  • How does Alan get someone’s attention at the start of his pitch conversation?
    • Creative intro
    • Confirm he’s talking to the right person
  • Tallis’ product isn’t right for everyone. It’s important to ask questions to determine whether her product meets the need of a potential client.
  • How and when does Alan suggest delivering the price?
  • What part does the uncomfortable pause play in selling a product?
  • Why doesn’t lowering prices always equate to increased sales?
  • Tallis sets a measurable goal for number of pitches and sales.
  • Want a copy of MK’s book? Leave a review!




My $3,500 Tiny House Explained

Caboose Rental




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jul 27, 2018
085 | From Passion to Profit | M.K. Williams

Science-fiction author M.K. Williams talks about her journey toward financial independence, the decisions she’s made along the way, and self-publishing her first three novels.

For more information, visit the show notes at



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jul 23, 2018
084R | Mindset of FI

The essential steps to a FI mindset, travel rewards updates from Brad, voicemails from the community, and highlights from Monday’s episode with Jillian with Montana Money Matters.



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"



For more information, visit the show notes at

Jul 20, 2018
084 | Montana Money Adventures

Jillian, from Montana Money Adventures, talks about simplifying her life while raising five children, valuing grit and resilience, taking risk, and the value of financial independence.

What you'll hear in today's episode:

  • What does Jillian mean by “big family minimalism”, and why did she consider it a survival tool?
  • How did Jillian decide to adopt several children?
  • What role do grit resilience play in her story, and how does that play out in her life?
  • How does Jillian manage the chaos that she invited into her live?
  • What is a “Quit List”?
  • What is the process for deciding what things to quit?
  • How does Jillian pursue minimalism with children?
  • What does life minimalism look like to Jillian?
  • How much involvement do Jillian’s children have in the decision-making process?
  • What does the ideal day look like to Jillian’s family?
  • How does good conversation become a part of Jillian’s life?
  • What did Jillian’s combined income look like during their journey toward financial independence?
  • What was Jillian’s “flash point”?
  • How did her childhood experiences impact the way she approached life and finances as a young adult?
  • What are the highlights of Jillian’s journey toward financial independence?
  • How did Jillian and her husband get to the point of purchasing a house with cash?
  • What did friends and family think of Jillian’s $50k home purchase?
  • How does Jillian teach people to lean into discomfort and own their choices?
  • What does Jillian think about a culture that values comfort and safety?
  • How many things can go wrong before someone will walk away from a pursuit?
  • When did Jillian start to plan her life?
  • Best way to connect with Jillian: email list.
  • How is Jillian learning to be more generous?


Montana Money Adventures

Big Family Minimalism

Sportive Cyclist

Essentialism, by James Latham

The One Thing, by Gary Keller



Jul 16, 2018
083R | The Hobby Checkbox

A checklist to optimize your hobbies, a highlight on the San Diego local group, and messages from the ChooseFI community: All of this while we recap Monday's episode with Cody Berman.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Jul 13, 2018
083 | A Second Generation FI Case Study | Cody Berman

22-year-old recent college graduate and second generation FI, Cody Berman, talks about embracing frugality, saving and investing in his youth, optimizing a path through college, and getting his Disc Golf business off the ground.



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jul 09, 2018
082R | The Paradox of Choice

Discussion of Brad and Jonathan’s purchasing habits, messages from the ChooseFI community, benefits and drawbacks of roboadviors, and a summary of capital gains harvesting.

  • Jonathan gives a review of some travel hacks on a recent trip to Chattanooga, TN.
  • Capital One Venture Card allows users to redeem miles for nearly any travel cost.
  • PSA: bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate if you’re traveling.
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Dani and Laura, Jonathan and Brad’s wife.
  • Jonathan is excited about the way Brad and Laura cut down on choices, purchases and decisions for themselves and their children.
  • Brad aims to keep his life simple, particularly in regard to purchases.
  • Enjoying the journey is crucial; obsessing over small purchases probably takes away from someone’s enjoyment of life.
  • During your pursuit of FI, it’s important to remember your “why”.
  • Laura shops for the future, by purchasing clothes, presents, etc., way before they’re necessary, often finding items for a fraction of the normal cost.
  • Batch processing: blocking your time off to maximize efficiency.
  • Facebook Message from Jimmy:  met a friend on airplane, introduced him to ChooseFI, and that friend reduced expenses and put himself on the path to FI in less than a month.
  • There are options for almost every financial position, to get yourself moving in the direction of FI.
  • Jeff, on Facebook, reports that he’s paid off $105k of student loans.
  • ChooseFI San Diego has a real estate meeting recently – informing people about real estate options and discussing rent vs buy, among other topics of conversation.
  • ChooseFI local groups will be as good as the participants want them to be.
  • Voicemail from Ryan: question about using roboadvisors?
  • Fees matter: managing accounts directly saves money.
  • Benefits of a roboadvisor – automated services can help with some calculations that it’s difficult to do yourself, and it sometimes make investing more accessible  
  • Jonathan prefers and recommends M1 Finance.
  • Voicemail from Bonnie: selling used items through the online Varagesale platform helps her bring in a little extra income as a stay-at-home mom.
  • Voicemail from Anthony with questions about increasing your capital gains basis.
  • Capital gains are typically taxes, but if you’re in a low tax bracket, long-term capital gains are not taxed.
  • Previous episode about capital gains harvesting in episode 18 and 18R.



The Paradox of Choice



The Simple Path to Wealth

Design Your Future

Freelance to Freedom


For more information, visit the show notes at

Jul 06, 2018
082 | A Wife's Perspective | Laura Barrett and Dani Mendonsa

Brad and Jonathan’s wives, Laura and Dani (respectively), talk about their introduction to FI, combining finances, budgeting with children, and maintaining balance.

  • How did Dani and Laura approach saving before meeting Jonathan?
  • How did Laura’s parents change careers to improve their financial status?
  • How was growing up in Zimbabwe different from a typical American upbringing?
  • What did saving money mean to Dani when she started working?
  • How did Dani respond to Jonathan’s initial proposal to combine finances?
  • When and how did Brad and Laura merge finances?
  • What does a typical day in Dani and Laura’s lives look like?
  • How does “busy” look different from when Dani and Laura were working full-time jobs?
  • Are kids expensive?
  • How do Laura and Dani budget with the extra and unexpected costs of children?
  • What is a “Buy Nothing” group?
  • How does Laura advance purchase things for her children?
  • Do Brad and Laura give their children many choices?
  • How do Brad and Laura create space in their lives to not be consumed by FI?
  • By saving money on unnecessary expenses, Brad and Laura can be generous and unconcerned with some of the smaller expenses that come up in life.
  • How does the 72-hour-rule, introduced by the Frugalwoods, make a difference for Dani and Jonathan?
  • How did Laura and Dani respond when Brad and Jonathan decided to leave their jobs and start ChooseFI?
  • Does the pursuit of FI ever get too intense?
  • How do Dani and Laura plan their meals and prepare ahead of time?



Stay at Home Chef

Smitten Kitchen


Why (and how) I Became a Work-At-Home Mom – The Frugalwoods

A letter to my 22-year-old self – Joel from FI 180

Jul 02, 2018
081R | The Fear of Letting Go

Strategies for decluttering and living with less (reflecting on Cait Flander's interview with us on Monday), life hacks from the community, and a winner for the free ticket to CampFI in Joshua Tree!

  • The ChooseFI community is growing and gaining national attention.
  • Local Groups are really effective in some parts of the ChooseFI community.
  • Jonathan joined some members of the Richmond local group to purchase a mosquito fogger to share between them.
  • What else could be a shared purchase?
  • Cait Flanders, from Monday’s episode, talked about taking control of your life, and decluttering her whole life.
  • How do you take control of your life?
  • Could you live with less?
  • Why doesn’t Brad use a budget, and how does he still manage his finances well?
  • Why does Brad hope his daughter reads Harry Potter?
  • Voicemail from Kristyn, from and the Spark Joy podcast, talks about her FI progress, and tips for decluttering:
    • Map out your ideal living environment; think about how your clutter fits into that.
    • Ask yourself tough questions about the clutter in your life.
  • What is tough about decluttering for Jonathan?
  • How does Kristyn keep track of her “bit-sized wins”?
  • Why did Jonathan finally get rid of his grad-school notes?
  • Voicemail with a suggestion based on advice from The White Coat Investor, to employ children as models for his website, to add legitimate money to his kids’ retirement accounts.
  • Facebook post from Heather about how her son found a job without a car.
  • Message from Louima, who was inspired by Cait’s Monday episode, and is contemplating a reduction of her FI number.
  • Email from Mark with some FI hacks:
  • Update: Brad is working to establish a scholarship for a Treehouse student to learn coding, in partnership with Every Child’s Hope.
  • Winner of the ticket to CampFI in Joshua Tree: Danielle!



The Simple Path to Wealth

Design Your Future

Freelance to Freedom

Jun 29, 2018
081 | The Year of Less | Cait Flanders

Cait Flanders, author of “The Year of Less”, talks about building $30k of consumer debt, challenging herself to go two years without shopping, and learning how to be comfortable in her own skin without the distractions of consumerism.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Jun 25, 2018
080R | A Case for Survivor Compost and 2nd Generation FI.output

Conversation about teaching your children to save and invest, healthcare options, and an argument in favor of home gardening and composting.

  • Brad contemplates applying for “Survivor”.
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Khai from AlabaMalaysia.
  • How does Jonathan use the idea of “anchoring” in his own life: setting big goals so that even if he misses, good things still happen?
  • Brad and Jonathan talk about how they would set little, achievable goals, to reach a larger, long-term goal.
  • Jonathan talks about answering the question “What do you do?”, with comments from the Facebook group.
  • How does Brad have bank account and investment accounts set up for his children?
  • Is there a better way to have those accounts set up?
  • Blain, from the Facebook group, wonders whether his son should start investing with a Vanguard account, or an M1 account?
  • Contributions made to a Roth can be withdrawn penalty free.
  • What are the best ways to support your children and help them save money, as 2nd generation FI?
  • Voicemail from Jacqueline asking about financial education apps for youth.
  • 7 Fun Money Apps for Kids” from U.S. News
  • How important is it to teach your children about not only budgeting to save money, but to be generous?
  • What is Brad considering in regards to his family’s health insurance: HSA, health share, or considering health insurance for a small business?
  • What are some complications with a health share?
  • Email from Karen, about the value of gardening and composting.
  • Is composting addicting?
  • Jonathan tries to convince Brad that gardening and compositing is simple enough to start now.
  • Leave a ChooseFI review to enter the drawing for a ticket to CampFI in Joshua Tree, or to receive a book.



The Simple Path to Wealth

Design Your Future

Freelance to Freedom

Jun 22, 2018
080 | FI is an Amazing Race | AlabaMalaysia

Khai Shing, a former contestant on The Amazing Race, and blogger at ALABA+MA+LAYSIA, talks about balancing her pursuit of FI while finding ways to travel, worldwide, at discount prices.

  • Did Khai start with global travel, or with The Amazing Race?
  • Took about 3 months from applying to The Amazing Race with her twin brother, to being selected for the show - traveling all over China.
  • Khai grew up in Malaysia, and plans to return there for retirement, once she achieves FI.
  • How did Khai and her brother set themselves up to be selected from their video application?
  • What was the highlight of The Amazing Race for Khai?
  • Is it easier to achieve FI living in Malaysia versus living in the US?
  • When Khai calculates her FI number, does she base her living expenses off US expenses, or the expected cost of living in Malaysia?
  • Why does Khai use 35x as her multiplier for calculating a FI number?
  • How long is Khai’s FI path?
  • How does world travel fit into Khai’s lifestyle and financial plan during the next 8 years of her path?
  • How and when did Khai and her husband embrace the FI mentality?
  • How does budgeting and saving work for Khai’s family?
  • How do Khai and her husband manage travel with family and work?
  • How does Khai travel the world for $1,600?
  • A layover is less than 24 hours, but a stop over a has much more relaxed time frame.
  • United Airlines had an “excursionist” perk - a free stopover in a city within the same region: Excursionist Perks.
  • Where will Khai go next?
  • What perks still exist with Alaska Air?
  • What does Khai like to see and do when she travels to a new country?
  • Why does Khai like to document her trips on her blog?
  • What are Khai’s favorite experiences from her travels?
  • Khai met her husband during an exchange program to the US.
  • What advice does Khai have with regard to keeping life balanced?
  • Gratitude: “when we focus on appreciating and being content with what we have in life, it helps us to focus on what's truly important.”
  • “The fact that we can even dream about FI, and a good chance to make it a reality is a great privilege that we should be thankful for.”




The Lifetime Table


For more, go to

Jun 18, 2018
079R | Personal Brand

Highlights of Monday’s episode with Tim & Amy Rutherford, discussion about healthcare, additional podcast recommendations, and voicemails from the ChooseFI community.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Jun 15, 2018
079 | Embracing Retirement | Amy and Tim Rutherford

Tim & Amy Rutherford talk about early retirement, living with lower expenses and a busier schedule of fun, free activities, and what life changes they made to get there.  

  • How did Amy and Tim meet and what were their spending habits at the time?
  • What did “frugal” look like for Amy and Tim initially?
  • With enough money in the bank, cutting their spending gave them an opportunity to retire almost as soon as they became aware of financial independence.
  • Managing spending is equally as important as replacing income when it comes to reaching financial independence.
  • Optimizing life is one of the most enjoyable things Amy & Tim ever did.
  • What factors did Tim & Amy consider prior to leaving the workforce?
    • Physical health
    • Mental health
  • How did a chart help Amy get excited about saving?
  • “What’s tracked and measured can be improved.”
  • There are fun, free activities in every part of the world.
  • How do Tim & Amy fill up their days now that they’re retired?
    • Walking
    • Inviting friends for dinner
    • Finding local activities
  • Who are Tim & Amy’s “tribe” and how do they find them in new cities?
  • What does it look like for Tim & Amy to be house sitters?
    • They watch houses and pets, for free, with a place to stay for free.
  • How much are Tim & Amy spending now, and how did they get there from $115k?
  • Tim & Amy are actually living below their current budget – they aren’t missing out on things they wish they weren’t.
  • “I want to walk the world while I still can.”
  • How do Tim & Amy describe their retirement?
  • Would Tim & Amy consider selling their house and traveling full time?
  • How would people get started with house sitting?
    • House Sitting Magazine
    • House Sitting World
  • Tim & Amy buy experiences instead of things.


For the links to resources mentioned in this episode, go to

Jun 11, 2018
078R | College Hacking Toolbox

Lots going on in this episode with a recap of Episode 78 with Travis Hornsby about Student Loan Debt Repayment Options.

But also, Brad sold his house and Jonathan has become a “rockstar” at selling things on Craigslist.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Jun 08, 2018
078 | Student Loan Debt Repayment | Travis Hornsby

Travis Hornsby, founder of, talks early retirement, traveling Europe, and developing a passion for helping people crawl out of student loan debt.

What you'll hear on today's show:

  • Why did Travis attempt retirement at 25?
  • If you’re unhappy before reaching FI, will you be happy afterward?
  • Where did Travis’ frugal tendencies come from?
  • How did Travis get paid to go to college?
  • Do many universities offer full scholarships, and where should students find that information?
  • Does attending an Ivy League university make a difference?
  • Travis retired with $230,000 saved, with a plan to spend just 20k a year.
  • Did Travis have a long-term plan for his retirement?
  • Living expenses in the United States are high relative to many other places in the world if you’re an adventurous person.
  • Why did Travis’ job performance improve after he decided to quit his job?
  • If you’re on the path to FI but haven’t made it yet: develop a product or service that you’re passionate about and give yourself a year or two of buffer during which you don’t depend on income from your venture.
  • How did Travis commit himself to helping people with student loan debt, having never been in debt himself?
  • How much research did Travis have to do in order to ensure his student loan spreadsheets were accurate?
  • Why didn’t Travis’ father-in-law give his initial blessing to Travis marrying his daughter?
  • How did the Student Loan business grow?
  • If you have less than 100k of student debt, your best option is likely to refinance for the lowest possible interest rate and pay it back as quickly as possible?
  • If you owe less than double your salary and you’re not working at a not-for-profit or for the government, you should probably refinance.
  • If owe more than twice your income with federal loans, there are loan forgiveness options, depending on your type of work.
  • Is loan forgiveness guaranteed, and who can qualify?
  • Adjustment to loan forgiveness policies will impact students taking loans beginning in July 2019.
  • How do Travis’ suggestions change if someone has private loans?
  • Federal loans provide the most flexibility for repayment or forgiveness.
  • Two recommended choices:
    • Pay back loans as aggressively as possible
    • Pay minimums, maximize forgiveness


Resources mentioned:

Student Loan Planner

Physician on Fire

Mr. Money Mustache: From Zero to Hero



For more information, visit the show notes at

Jun 04, 2018
77R | Side Hustle Coaching Series Part 2 | Alan & Tallis

An second part to the conversation between ChooseFi community member Tallis, who teaches dance classes in retirement facilities, and Pop-Up Business School founder Alan Donegan, to help get Tallis’ side hustle off the ground.

  • Precursors to this episode: Episode 30 and Episode 56.
  • Tallis gives an update on her side hustle to-do list.
  • Client feedback: the questions you ask impact the results you’ll get.
  • What is the best way to sell Tallis’ dance classes to the retirement facilities.
  • Tallis continues to wonder how to best monetize her service?
  • Tallis hopes to facilitate workshops to train dance-class teachers.
  • Alan and Tallis previously discussed securing sponsorship, potentially from pharmaceutical companies.
  • Currently, Tallis’ dance class is endorsed (and paid for) by the American Parkinson's Disease Association, so classes are free for participants.
  • Could Tallis collect a fee from participants?
  • Most important considerations right now: how is going to pay, and how much to charge?
  • Different payment models can impact clients’ commitment to the classes.
  • Training an organization to facilitate its own courses will pay significantly more than providing courses directly to individuals.
  • How can Tallis decide on a price for her workshops?
  • People equate cost to value: if you charge too little, they’ll think the product isn’t valuable.
  • Alan recommending contacting potential clients (retirement communities) that are well outside her target geographical location in order to practice her pitch and get feedback on potential pricing.
  • Pricing has a lot to do with confidence.
  • Successful business models have repeatability.
  • Marketing is rarely starting from the ground up: find other businesses in a similar space, or businesses that are doing something that you think would be really effective the space you’re targeting and start there.
  • Pitch tip: don’t allow your voice pitch to go up when giving your price. Use a statement tone that sounds confident – even from beginning to end of your sentence.
  • What’s up next: get feedback from local contact about other offerings.
  • Go big! Don’t offer your service to just a few potential clients.
  • Expect that it’ll take 1-5 months to get the program from start to point of sale.
  • The only way to know if your business will be successful is to ask people to buy; before that moment, feedback is hypothetical.
  • Tallis is part of the Des Moines ChooseFI local group – contact her there.
Jun 01, 2018
077 | Advanced Travel Rewards From 3rd Generation FI | Marla Taner

Experienced travel hacker and world traveler Marla Taner shares story of reaching financial independence, and her best tips for getting to Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Caribbean with minimal expenses, using credit cards points and air miles.



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

May 28, 2018
076R | Race or Journey?

Brad and Jonathan brainstorm ways to implement local adventure into their own lives and the lives of the ChooseFI community. Also, achat about high school reunions, local libraries, and a few clarifications about 401k contributions.

  • Jonathan's 26-year-old sister just hit an 85% savings rate.
  • Living at home can be super helpful to the recent college graduate, or young person entering the workforce.
  • Getting to $100k net worth is the hardest part: after that, compounded interest starts working for you.
  • Brad signed up his daughter for, a website that teaches coding paired with Minecraft.
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Mrs. Adventure Rich.
  • Getting the right mindset is the most important part of getting on the path to financial independence.
  • How does Brad feel about not having a FI number or date?
  • Is the pursuit of financial independence a race or a journey?
  • What was positive about the way Mrs. Adventure Rich’s coworker introduced her to FI.
  • How has Mrs. AR lowered the barrier of entry for local adventures?
  • How can local ChooseFI groups apply these ideas to exploring their own cities?
  • How does the idea of exploring your own city connect with the idea of intentionally creating memorable moments, as introduced by Chris in ChooseFI episode 71.
  • Adventure is anything that makes you feel like, “Hey, this is really living.”
  • Have we traded adventure for convenience?
  • How can someone plan for those things that truly bring value to their life?
  • Check out ChooseFI episode 37, with Scott, talking about rolling out the red carpet for the valuable things in your life.
  • Follow up from Robert, from The College Investor: how much student loan debt has the ChooseFI community paid off?
  • Voicemail from Suzanne: in addition to physical books, her local library often provides access to online newspapers, to online language programs, STEM programs for students, as well as actual after-school programs for students from the public schools.
  • Voicemail from the Peerless Money Mentor : the local library in Baton Rouge, LA, provides some access to Treehouse coding courses.
  • How would Brad or Jonathan describe their lives at a high school reunion?
  • Once you have all your financial needs taken care of, what do you want to do? What's your purpose?
  • Email from Danny: how do employer contributions impact a 401k?
  • Employer matched contributions do not count toward the $18,500 yearly limit for your 401k.
  • There are some additional ways to maximize full contributions to your 401k, up to $55k a year.


Additional links:

The Reluctant Frugalist

May 25, 2018
076 | Planned Spontaneity | Mrs Adventure Rich

Mrs. Adventure Rich talks about making the choice to live an adventurous life, her family’s pursuit of financial independence, and finding a balance between maximizing financial opportunities and living a happy, fulfilling, high quality of life.



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"



There are a lot more details over at

May 21, 2018
075R | Mainstream Adoption

“Personal finance is becoming financial independence.” Financial independence doesn’t necessarily mean retiring early; it means allocating your resources in the way you see fit.

This is just a taste of what we discuss in this recap from Monday's interview with Brian Feroldi from The Motley Fool.

  • Jonathan talks about blowing his budget on breakfast at the cold bar in Wegman’s, while Brad thinks that grocery shopping at Wegman’s is the same cost as Walmart.
  • Brad talks about meeting strangers who also in the FI community.
  • Brad and Jonathan wonder if financial independence is on the edge of mainstream adoption?
  • “Personal finance is becoming financial independence.”
  • Financial independence doesn’t necessarily mean retiring early; it means allocating your resources in the way you see fit.
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Brian Feroldi, about individual stock investment.
  • Do Brad and Jonathan own individual stocks?
  • What are the challenges to getting started with individual stocks?
  • Are individual stocks better as a hobby?
  • What are the strengths of the way Brian described investing in individual stocks?
  • A comment from Ray, in the ChooseFI community, that individual stocks requires too much individual management.
  • Cody wonders whether the current bull market might be playing in favor of individual investors, without having yet felt the consequence of the inherent risk?
  • How does Jackie, another ChooseFI community member, evaluate investment opportunities, and how did she get comfortable making investment decisions?
  • Tim reiterates the value of the Motley Fool, and the recommendations they make.
  • Frank, another community member, is concerned about a new investor’s learning curve: the time and money it takes to learn enough about individual investing to find success.
  • Is it possible to recognize large-scale Enron-type fraud by looking at investment research?
  • If you hold stocks from companies in similar fields, would it be better to simply hold a sector index stock?
  • Mr. 1500, Karl, worries about long-term investing with individual stocks.
  • Knowing when to sell individual stocks is an almost impossible task.
  • How are Brad and Brian getting their children started with investing?
  • How much did the ChooseFI community respond to the Treehouse scholarship proposal?  
  • How can ChooseFI potentially connect students to mentors?


For more information, visit the show notes at

May 18, 2018
075 | The Unfair Advantage of the Individual Investor | Brian Feroldi

Brian Feroldi talks through the advantages and disadvantages of individual investing, the realistic expectations for performance, and his strategies for beating Wall Street.

  • Professional money managers operate under different parameters and mindsets than an individual investor
  • Stockbrokers must make decisions based on short-term returns
  • What other disadvantages do professional money managers face, in contrast to individual investors?
  • How do professional money managers truly spend their time and earn their money?

...and more at




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

May 14, 2018
074R | ChooseFI Scholarship

An update the community on recent activities, discussion about the opportunity cost of college and potential alternatives, a ChooseFI scholarship announcement, and a few voicemails from the ChooseFI community.

  • Brad recaps his trip to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, and a visit with the ChooseFI local group in Omaha
  • Jonathan shares how he recently cut his grocery costs by nearly $700

...and more can be found at



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

May 11, 2018
074 | Ryan Carson | Learn to Code | Treehouse

Ryan Carson’s tech-education company, Treehouse, teaches computer coding as a trade skill, giving students an opportunity to enter the work force, or change careers in nine months, at a fraction of the cost of a four-year degree.


  • Ryan considers coding a trade skill, rather than profession that requires a four-year degree.
  • Ryan founded Treehouse to help people avoid student debt, get a job sooner and start saving for their 401k sooner.
  • There will be 1.4 million new jobs in tech, and only 400,000 will be filled by college graduates.
  • A trade job is composed of acquired skills, or “stackable skills”, like a mechanic or electrician.
  • Will the future be primarily trade jobs?
  • How is Treehouse different from other coding schools?
  • How does apprenticeship work in the tech industry?
  • What is TalentPath, and how does it help develop young coders?
  • For a skilled job, such as coding, landing a job is more dependent on a portfolio than a degree.
  • How does apprenticeship impact a person’s retirement savings, compared to earning a college degree?
  • Are there any degrees that are more valuable to a new professional than a year of on-the-job experience?
  • An apprentice has four more years of experience than a college graduate.
  • How can companies create talent, rather than hire talent, in order to compete with big tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.?
  • How do employers measure a coder’s skill?
  • What development language is most in demand?
  • Trying out a school – traditional four-year university, or trade school, or treehouse – is important. How does TreeHouse allow students to do that?
  • Ryan started a company that facilitated large-file sending, but ultimately decided to pursue business that he felt contributed more on a human level.
  • TreeHouse originated from a desire to make coding education available and financially accessible to more people.
  • Students can trial for free. Basic treehouse course is $25 a month. Full coding school is $200 a month.
  • Success in life is mostly related to the ability to keep going when something is hard.
  • Most people are going to quit something because their internal “why” isn’t strong enough.
  • Coding is hard; it’s like going to the gym. Pursuing coding will require a certain amount of grit – but once you find your “why”, the grit comes.

Links to resources:





Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


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Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

May 07, 2018
073R | How to Make Money Online

7 ways to make money online, plus a review of Monday's interview with Jamila Souffrant from Journey To Launch.

We dive deep into making money with:

  • Membership sites
  • Digital courses
  • Create a product or service
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Listener/Reader supported
  • Affiliate marketing
  • ...and (BONUS) grow your brand and watch what opens up to you.

For more information, visit the show notes at




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

May 04, 2018
073 | Jamila Souffrant | Fail Forward

Jamila Souffrant tells us about college internships, buying real estate right out of college, a few failed business ventures, and her decision to pursue FI, starting by saving $85,000 in the first year.

We talk to Jamila about:

  • How Jamila and her husband saved $85,000 in 2016
  • As the child of an immigrant single-mother, how did Jamila’s childhood experiences impact her college and early professional career?
  • Jamila shares what wealth means to her now
  • Failing Forward: the idea that progress is made, even if when things don’t see to have worked out

...and more at




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Apr 30, 2018
072R | The Five Most Important Financial Conversations you need to have with your Child

Lively discussion about cryptocurrencies as investments, review of last week’s MidAtlantic Camp FI, and several exciting contributions and questions from the ChooseFI community.

What you'll hear in today's roundup:

  • Brad’s brother is visiting from Santiago, Chile – how is he managing his path to financial independence as an international teacher?
  • Review of Monday’s episode discussing Bitcoin with Myles Wakeham
  • What are drawbacks of cryptocurrency?
  • Is Bitcoin a good investment, or is it just a gamble?
  • How much energy is expended in the global mining of Bitcoin?
  • Michelle, from the ChooseFi community, wonders if Bitcoin’s apparently lax regulations (compared to companies like PayPal) opens it up to be used for terrorism and other illegal activities?
  • William suggests to Jonathan that regulation of Bitcoin is nearly inevitable, exposing investors to potentially difficult scenarios in regards to both taxes, and simply converting money back into tangible currency.
  • Brad and Jonathan attended the MidAtlantic CampFI event last week.
  • Tickets for SouthWest and South region CampFIs are still available here: CampFI
  • Steve tells listeners how he nearly eliminated a $1,900 tax bill by contributing to his Health Savings Account, prior to the April 17 deadline.
  • Brad talks about Camel Camel Camel, an Amazon product price tracker.
  • Brad is shocked about how much prices fluctuate on
  • From Kelly: What 5 bullet points would ChooseFi give to college-bound students?
    • Save at least 50% of your income (avoid large housing and auto payments).
    • Consider “opportunity costs”: Every dollar you earn in your teens and 20s is worth more than later in life.
    • Long-term, low-cost investing: ride the market through decades.
    • Your career is a tool to get you to financial independence, but don’t just rely on your career as a sole source of income.
    • Think about life a little bit differently: think at things through the lens of FI
  • Voicemail from Jim listing two careers that provide a great path to financial independence
    • Firefighting – government pension, two 24-hr shifts a week
    • Emergency room nurse – takes local “travel” assignments for double pay with 3 shifts a week
  • Jonathan is excited about the Giant Ocean Clean Up Machine, which will soon set sail to begin collecting plastic from the ocean, and is expected to collect 5,000kgs per month.

Links from things mentioned in the show:

It’s Like Summer Camp for Money Nerds: My CampFI Review

The Revolutionary Giant Ocean Cleanup Machine Is About To Set Sail

The Simple Path to Wealth

Design Your Future

Freelance to Freedom

Apr 27, 2018
072 | Bitcoin| What Am I Missing? | Myles Wakeham

Myles Wakeham tells us how he discovered Bitcoin, how and why cryptocurrencies have to value, and gives us a nuanced perspective of where cryptocurrency might go in the future.

How did Myles, a software developer, come to invest in Bitcoin?

Myles spent years figuring ways to pay his Bangladeshi software developer, until mid 2011, when his contractor discovered Bitcoin as a more effective method of payment.

There's much more to this story - and to learn about cryptocurrencies, so check out the extensive list of notes at

Apr 23, 2018
071R | The Real Value of Soft Skills

Brad and Jonathan compare their college experiences to Chris Hutchins’ from the Monday episode, they discuss the importance of owning your own FI decisions, and we get updates from several members of the ChooseFI community.

  • Brad considers starting a blog for his daughter as second-generation FI.
  • Review of Chris Hutchins’ episode last Monday.
  • Brad compares his experience of packing meals ahead for vacation to Chris’ grandparents growing up.
  • What is value of cultivating relationships, and how did Brad find success in that?
  • What would Jonathan do differently if he was going to redo college?
  • How can students optimize the expense of college?
  • What was the benefit of Jonathan attending community college for two years prior to completing his degree at Virginia Tech?
  • Take an inventory of your all your skills, to market yourself for future opportunities.
  • Chris got his early start(s) because he made a significant effort to stand out among his peers. How can you stand out when looking for opportunities?
  • How do Brad and Jonathan explain their somewhat abnormal financial choices, in pursuit of financial independence?
  • Don’t be ashamed of your decisions – you need to feel comfortable with your choices.
  • Scott, a writer at Simply Finance, emails to say that listening to the ChooseFI podcast helped him clarify his beliefs and decisions about personal finance.
  • What is the worldview that matches up with pursuit of financial independence?
  • How are Brad and Jonathan processing Chris’ idea of creating memorable moments?
  • What problems did Chris seek to solve with his Grove financial planning business?
  • Jared, blogger at Fifth Wheel Physical Therapy, introduced Jonathan to M1 Finance.
  • What is M1 Finance, and what does it offer its customers?
  • M1 Finance allows customers to purchase fractional shares, and at a certain point offers loans backed by your own investments.
  • Voicemail from Tim, who is chipping away at his student debt, working toward his family’s FI number, and shares a little about his investment habits.
  • People get to “enough” long before they get to “rich”.
  • Another voicemail from a 29-year-old military man named Luke, who asked for house-hacking ideas a few months back via the ChooseFI Facebook, and reports back now that he opted to live in a renovated, vintage camper trailer.
  • An encouraging review from Arthur, who is making life changes in pursuit of FI.


Bigger Pockets

Scott’s Blog: Simpli [FI] nances

Fifth Wheel Physical Therapist

M1 Finance

The Simple Path to Wealth

Design Your Future

Freelance to Freedom



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Apr 20, 2018
071 | Silicon Valley FI | Chris Hutchins | Grove

Chris Hutchins, founder/CEO of Grove, a new, optimized financial planning company based in San Francisco, talks about how a life and career of entrepreneurship led him to the FI community, and his current business venture. And, how his new company meets the needs of the average person better than a traditional financial planner.

What you'll hear in this episode:

  • Is Chris a risk taker or financial conservative?
  • How did Chris find his way into the financial planning and optimization world?
  • Was Chris an entrepreneur growing up?
  • Chris got his career started through relationships built in college – how can building relationships help open doors?
  • Passion for entrepreneurship led Chris to make a move from New York to Silicon Valley.
  • Although most people in the Silicon Valley have tech-related qualifications, Chris found his foothold in business development.
  • How did Chris land his first job in the Silicon Valley?
  • What steps did Chris take to earn an income after he was laid off in 2008?
  • Did Chris’ wife buy into his ideas of financial optimization, and how has that developed within their relationship?
  • What are the drawbacks or negative sides of frugal and financial optimization in a high-cost environment?
  • How does Chris create a “memorable moment” each month?
  • Chris found himself as a source of financial consultation for his friends, and his current business idea grew from there.
  • The world of financial planning, in its current state, is focused on the already wealthy, and the exchange of information between planners and customers is both inefficient and confusing.
  • How does Grove change the process of financial planning, and how does the software help Grove work more efficiently?
  • Grove costs $600 a year – significantly less than a traditional financial planner.
  • What services does Grove provide its customers?
  • Financial goals are really just sums of money that someone wants to set aside, no matter the purpose.
  • Why should someone in the FI community consider using Grove’s services?
  • How do Grove advisors function a bit like personal trainers?
  • On a personal level, how is Grove a different venture for Chris, different from some of his previous companies?
  • Would Chris take an offer to buy Grove?


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Apr 16, 2018
070R | Left Behind

Updates from Brad and Jonathan, review of Vickie Robin’s episode, discussion of how ChooseFI aims to handle politics, and more updates from the ChooseFI community.


  • Brad is moving houses, making good community a priority in his family’s life
  • CampFi MidAtlantic this weekend is Virginia this weekend, but there’s two more this year: Aug. 3-6 in Joshua Tree, Calif., Sept 7-10 in Little Rock, Ark. More info here: CampFi
  • Jonathan started Skinny Waste, Fat Wallet. First episode is up on YouTube at
  • Review of Vickie Robin’s episode

...and more can be found at




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Apr 13, 2018
070 |Your Money or Your Life | Vicki Robin

Author and FI pioneer Vicki Robin discusses the cultural development of overconsumption, how much is enough, and what else, besides good investments, contributes to successful financial independence?

  • Vicki’s story began when she invested in long-term bonds at a young age, achieving modest financial independence very quickly
  • Vicki and her partner, Joe Dominguez, hosted seminars about financial independence beginning in the 1980s, donating the proceeds.
  • What is the difference between making a living, and making a “dime”?
  • How did the culture of over-consumption develop during the past century?
  • Once the average person spends 20 years preparing for adulthood, and another third of your life sleeping, how much time do we really have for living?
  • What is the idea of the Real Hourly Wage, and how could it impact the way we spend money?
  • Why might we need to be “deprogrammed” from consumption?
  • What is the Fulfillment Curve and what is the difference between a “cheap thrill” and real satisfaction?
  • How does consumerism develop throughout life, and does it stem from dissatisfaction?
  • How much is enough?
  • Once people have “enough”, happiness actually comes from giving, not getting.
  • How is Real Hourly Wage calculated?
  • What needs and identities are neglected when we overspend our hours and consciousness on our jobs?
  • How do people confuse work, jobs, and income?
  • Finding passive income helps to separate jobs from income.
  • What does Vicki enjoy about finding community with the world of FI?
  • Community is currency – money isn’t the only element of becoming independent.
  • How do meaningful relationships developing into situations of Mutual Aid, and how does that impact a person’s living costs?
  • As a leader in the FI community for about 30 years, what does Vicki think it will take to create lasting, cultural changes?
  • In order to change the way the world consumes, personal change is necessary, but not sufficient.
  • How does universal health care impact FI in the US?
  • Will FI become mainstream?
  • Talking about our relationship with money in a first step toward creating lasting change
  • Sharing: Half the cost and twice the fun.

Links to things mentioned in the show:

Book on Amazon: Your Money or Your Life

Book on Amazon: Dying for a Paycheck

Website: Millennial Money

Apr 09, 2018
069R | How to Start a Blog

How Michelle Schroeder-Gardner chooses her own lifestyle, the benefits of having your own blog and how to start one.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Review of Monday’s episode
  • How Michelle lives her lifestyle by choice
  • Why it’s a great idea to start a blog
  • The key when creating content
  • Why now is the best time to get started
  • How affiliate marketing works
  • The 4 things you need to start your blog
  • The total cost of starting up
  • Why it takes years to be successful
  • How building this skill set opens doors
  • iTunes and book giveaway

Links from the show:

  • Hosting platforms: Bigscoots, Siteground
  • Themes: Generate Press, Elementor
  • Email list providers: Mailchimp, ConvertKit
  • ChooseFI Youtube Channel



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Apr 06, 2018
069 | Make $100K a Month Blogging | Michelle from Making Sense of Cents

Michelle has a very successful blog, Making Sense of Cents. She shares her lifestyle as a digital nomad and how she currently manages not just her blog, but her whole life living full-time in an RV.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Interview with Michelle from Making Sense of Cents
  • Michelle’s backstory
  • The success of her personal finance blog
  • How long it took for her blog to take off
  • How she got involved in the community
  • When she first started making money and how
  • Why she feels she attracts an audience
  • Her secret sauce to blogging
  • Her content strategy
  • The different inflection points along her blogging journey
  • Different blogging goals
  • What inspired her to become a digital nomad
  • Tips for people who want to get started with RVing
  • How she deals with her work life balance
  • Using Pinterest as a marketing vehicle
  • The different social media platforms she’s tried out
  • Her personal FI journey
  • Her course: Make Sense of Affiliate Marketing
  • Hotseat questions

 Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!   If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Apr 02, 2018
068R | 2 Worlds Collide

The next steps after Dave Ramsey’s Peace University, the importance of being present and food budget hacks.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Review of Monday’s episode
  • Brad’s life improvement thanks to FI
  • How to use Dave Ramsey’s lessons
  • Question from Chris about Dave Ramsey
  • What the next steps after the Peace University look like
  • Why and how credit cards can be useful
  • Jill talks about being nervous going back to credit cards
  • Michelle says the episode 68 is great to send to Dave Ramsey fans
  • The great advantages of working on a budget as a couple
  • Comment from Nick about paying off a mortgage
  • How FI is not about deprivation
  • The importance of being present
  • Voicemail from Louisa on a food budget hack
  • The video series on different food hacks
  • Voicemail from Ashley on her frugal win of the year
  • College hack on graduate assistantships
  • An article on the dangers of robo advisers
  • Voicemail from Jesse about optimizing cashbacks
  • iTunes and book giveaway

Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 30, 2018
068 | Financial Peace Graduates | What Next? | Andy Hill

Bringing your spouse on with FI, the benefits of paying off your mortgage early and how to follow Dave Ramsey’s steps

Highlights from the show include:

  • Andy’s blog and podcast
  • How he brought his wife on board with FI
  • The monthly budget party
  • Benefits of paying off a mortgage early
  • Following Dave Ramsey’s steps



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 26, 2018
067R | Finding Your Superpower

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, hacks to save money on everyday electronics and using donor advised funds to optimize tax payments.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Jonathan optimizing his house insurance
  • Comment from Katie on using diamonds on engagement rings
  • Examples of velvet ropes
  • The importance of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • Sara shares a DIY success
  • Voicemail from Daniel about saving money on everyday electronics
  • Jaclyn share’s her success from a salary decrease
  • Voicemail from Steven on using donor advised funds to avoid capital gains tax
  • Alan saves money by timing the cash flows
  • Kevin talks about creating a better version of health insurance
  • iTunes review and book giveaway

Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 23, 2018
067 | Raptitude and Free to Pursue

David and Helene talk about consumerism, getting out of one’s comfort zone and the importance of simplicity.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Discussion with David and Helene
  • How consumerism makes us buy more
  • Controlling impulses
  • How Helene constantly gets out of her comfort zone
  • Mental hacks for self control
  • Hedonic adaptation
  • Complexity vs simplicity
  • David’s thoughts after blogging for 9 years
  • The importance of focusing on what lights you up
  • Hotseat questions

Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 19, 2018
066R | Letting Go of the Emergency Fund

Understanding emergency funds, investing in your house and some college and library hacks.

What you’ll hear on today’s show:

  • Review of Monday’s episode
  • Different scenarios for using emergency funds
  • Where to put your emergency fund
  • Jennifer asks a question about needing the fund in 2-3 years
  • The different options to optimize your emergency fund
  • Voicemail from Paul on whether a house is an investment
  • Voicemail from Melissa on Mrs Frugalwoods’ journey with make-up
  • Voicemail from Captain DIY on college hacking with trade schools
  • Chris pays off $100,000 in debt
  • Jessie has a great library hack
  • iTunes review and book giveaway

Links from the show:


Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 16, 2018
066 | The Emergency Fund...Is it a Bad Idea? | Big ERN The Reveal

Big Ern reveals his identity, explains the different risks when retiring and why a home is a good investment.

Highlights from the show include:

  • Big Ern’s identity reveal
  • His blog on retirement
  • The anxieties of retiring early
  • Emergency funds
  • The benefits of home ownership



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 12, 2018
065R | Don't Waste It

College hacks, a great credit card debt hack and the importance of not wasting your privileges.

What you’ll hear in today’s show:

  • Voicemail from Chris about replacing broken items
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Mrs Frugalwoods
  • Why you shouldn’t waste your advantages
  • Voicemail from Steve about educational programs
  • The student debt loan movement happening in March
  • Voicemail from Noah about a college hack
  • Voicemail from Millionaire Educator on another college hack
  • Nicholas’ hack on optimizing credit card debt
  • Voicemail from Kelly about tax liability vs withholding
  • Apple Podcasts review and book giveaway


Links from the show



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Mar 09, 2018
065 | Meet the Frugalwoods | Achieving FI Through Simple Living

Mrs Frugalwoods talks on her book and blog, frugality as a lifestyle and the great benefits of being frugal.

Highlights from the show include:

  • Mrs Frugalwoods’ book and blog
  • Her relationship with money
  • Changing her lifestyle to frugality
  • The benefits of living frugal
  • The amazing influence of frugality on her family

For more information, visit the show notes at

Mar 05, 2018
064R | Board games | The Resurgence

Chautauqua plans, board game recommendations and a discussion on optimizing travel rewards

Highlights from the show include:

  • Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Shareholders takeaways
  • Chautauqua plans
  • Board game recommendations
  • Travel rewards discussion
  • Crowdsourcing geo-arbitrage


For more information, visit the show notes at

Mar 02, 2018
064 | Chautauqua | Oh The Places We Will Go

Chautauqua organizers join us on a call to share what the event is about, the great community that attend Chautauqua, and plans for its future.

Highlights from the show include:

  • How Chautauqua got started

  • The structure of the event and what a typical day looks like

  • The amazing community

  • Examples of the exceptional people who attend

  • What the future plans look like

For more information, visit the show notes at

Feb 26, 2018
063R | Create Your Own Luck

How to create your own luck, the glidepath to success and some life lessons from Brad.

Highlights from the show include:

  • What luck and opportunity really mean
  • Having high expectations from life
  • Brad’s definition of creating luck
  • Life lessons from Brad to his daughters

For more information, visit the show notes at

Feb 23, 2018
063 | Scott Trench | Set For Life

An interview with Scott Trench from Bigger Pockets on the creation of good luck, his background and journey to FI and using house hacks to reach wealth.

This episode covers:

1) Scott’s book and background

2) His definition of luck

3) The stages of wealth creation with real estate

4) Becoming a life long learner

5) The core message of FI and the community



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Feb 19, 2018
062R | Change The World

We review Monday’s episode with Travis on the Playing with FIRE documentary, a voicemail about the new tax law and a discussion about tracking business expenses.


On today’s show we cover:

  • Documentary Playing with FIRE
  • Some great ways to practice gratitude with children
  • How film is a great way to market an idea
  • How the community of FI can change the world
  • Review of Monday’s episode with Travis
  • How Scott and Travis met
  • Voicemail from Scott on scrutinizing his own choices and how he’s grateful to have the FI community
  • Voicemail from Terry on starting up a local FI group in his town
  • Jonathan asks Brad how to track business expenses
  • Detailed voicemail from Shane on the new tax law
  • iTunes reviews


Links from the show:

For more information, visit the show notes at

Feb 16, 2018
062 | Manifest Destiny of FI | Travis Shakespeare

Travis Shakespeare is creating the Playing with FIRE documentary.

He talks about discovering FI, how FI has the power to change the world, and how one misinterpretation caused him to reach FI much sooner than he should have.

On today’s show we cover:

  • Interview with Travis Shakespeare
  • His approach to creating the Playing with FIRE documentary
  • What drew him to the media industry
  • The power of story
  • How he wants to the documentary to create a call to action
  • How he discovered FI
  • The FI community as a subculture and how it’s like an experiment
  • Why the documentary will get FI closer to a mainstream audience
  • How FI has the power to change the world
  • How Travis came about creating the documentary
  • Hotseat questions

Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Feb 12, 2018
061R | Bandwidth

We recap Monday’s episode with Cory Mascara about mindfulness with FI, a voicemail about a medical tourism hack and a method to teach your kids money management at a young age.

This episode covers:

  • An episode soon to come with Danielle and Laura
  • Review of Monday’s episode
  • The importance of controlling only what you can control
  • A voicemail about second generation FIRE
  • A voicemail about a medical tourism hack



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Feb 09, 2018
061 | Mindfulness | Cory Muscara

Mindfulness Coach Cory Muscara shares his background as a monk, how mindfulness links with FI and the process of meditation.

This episode covers:

  • Cory’s background meditating for 6 months

  • How he got through with it and the lessons learnt

  • How he discovered FI and how it links to mindfulness

  • Figuring out what comes after FI

  • How people can get started with meditation



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Feb 05, 2018
060R | HealthCare Vs Health Insurance

We roundup Monday’s episode about medical tourism with a discussion on more hacks, having more power over your job and the importance of the talent stack.

This episode covers:

  • Jonathan’s new morning routine
  • The impact of medical tourism and how we can use it
  • The talent stack
  • Voicemails on life hacks and the power of the FI community



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Feb 02, 2018
060 | Medical Tourism | Myles Wakeham

Myles Wakeham shares the little-known advantages of medical tourism, how he covers his medical bills and his personal journey to FI.

This episode covers:

  • Myles’ personal journey to FI
  • How he discovered medical tourism
  • The huge benefits of traveling abroad for medical treatment
  • His investments in Bitcoin
  • How he plans for adverse events



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 29, 2018
059R | Challenge Yourself | Leverage the Power of the Hive Mind

A review of Vincent Pugliese's interview, the satisfaction of DIY projects, and voicemails about financial coaching and international teaching.

On today’s show we cover:

  • Doing more ChooseFI Richmond meetups
  • The limiting beliefs of not wanting to learn
  • The satisfaction that comes from DIY
  • The importance of a legacy binder
  • A review of Monday’s episode
  • How Vincent is all about relationships
  • How his outlook of life completely changed with two inflection points
  • Why FI not only improves yourself but also your family
  • What living on the other side of FI looks like
  • Why the range of choices at FI keep you busy
  • The Skinny Waist Fat Wallet Challenge
  • Voicemail from Kelsa about the ChooseFi community and how she helps people with financial coaching
  • Voicemail from Nicholas and Jack about creating a partnership to buy rental properties
  • Voicemail from Rosemarie on her secret life hack as an international teacher
  • Announcements
  • Apple Podcasts review and book giveaway


Links from the show


Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 26, 2018
059 | Freelance to Freedom Vincent Pugliese

Vincent Pugliese shares his journey to reaching FI after changing his mindset towards life and starting a business.

This episode covers:

  • Vincent’s backstory
  • How he changed his thought process
  • How his resilience got him opportunities
  • The journey of starting his business
  • The importance of patience and persistence
  • How he reached FI
  • Why he homeschools his kids and what he teaches them



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 22, 2018
058R | Dark Side of Value

A review of the CampFI episode as well as a discussion on pensions and some thoughts on the value of CFPs.

This episode covers:

  • The community of CampFI
Frugal wins and fails
Voicemail about pensions
How Grumpus communicates with his audience

  • The value of CFPs




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 19, 2018
058 | Annual CFP Roundtable 2017 | Kyle Mast and Danny Kenny

A roundtable discussion with two CFPs, Kyle Mast and Danny Kenny, on what financial planning looks like in practice, the importance of talking to a CFP and managing different types of risk.

On today’s episode we cover:


  • Roundtable Q&A with two Certified Financial Planners
  • Kyle and Danny’s backstory
  • How they learned about FI
  • Why you should use the services of a CFP
  • How they act as an educator and therapist between spouses
  • What financial planning looks like in practice
  • The different CFP models
  • Why everyone should talk to a CFP
  • How to find a CFP
  • Why it is important that your CFP is a fiduciary and how to make sure
  • The changes with the new tax bill
  • The steps between the accumulation and drawdown phase
  • Biggest mistakes clients make
  • How to get both spouses on the same page
  • The importance of keeping records
  • How to deal with people who panic
  • Risk management outside of investments
  • Why it’s worth getting long term disability insurance
  • When should someone consider index funds
  • Importance of mixing US and international investments
  • Hotseat questions


Links from the show:


Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 15, 2018
057R | CampFi Roundtable 2017

A roundtable discussion at CampFI including talks on the military, the flexibility of the FI plan and reaching FI before your partner.


On today’s episode we cover:

  • Everyone’s at a different FI stage in the community
  • Doug Nordman talks about the military and FI
  • How Doug manages his time
  • Natalie talks about the importance of keeping the FI plan flexible
  • JD Roth’s 2018 challenge and his view on the FI community
  • The huge wealth of knowledge and feeling of being in a tribe at Camp FI
  • The factor of a successful individual: resilience
  • Cody explains how to we could teach FI to teens
  • John’s dilemma on reaching FI before his wife
  • JD Roth explains how he manages being the only one in FI as a couple
  • The power of making your own job by threatening to quit
  • How Camp FI and the community help deal with irrational fears
  • How the tribe inspires people to spread the message


Links from the show:

For more information, visit the show notes at

Jan 12, 2018
057 | The Golden Albatross | Grumpus Maximus

Grumpus Maximus shares his military background, his blog about understanding pensions, and his path to FI.

In this episode we cover

  • Interview with Grumpus Maximus about pensions and the military
  • Where the name Grumpus Maximus comes from
  • The Golden Albatross
  • Grumpus Maximus’ backstory
  • How he discovered the FI movement
  • How he wanted to quit the military but would then lose all the benefits
  • His relationship with Mrs Grumpus about money
  • How to manage your finances as a couple
  • What FI looks like now
  • How Grumpus got through the mental breakdown
  • His top resources for learning about FI
  • How to understand the pension
  • How the retirement system is changing for the younger generation
  • Grumpus presented FI to his colleagues in the military
  • Hot Seat questions

Links from the show

Jan 08, 2018
056R | Choose FI Nation

We review Monday’s "Side Hustle Coaching Series Part 1" with some talk on the workings behind ChooseFI, as well as several voicemails on travel and career hacking.


In today’s episode we cover:


  • Review of Monday’s episode
  • How these coaching calls are like Reality Internet
  • Taking those lessons and applying them to your personal life
  • How the ChooseFI business works
  • The process of scaling a business
  • Yolanda’s Facebook comment on not buying stuff she doesn’t need
  • How the community has great role models that motivate others
  • Calculating your net worth
  • Brad’s frugal hack and huge frugal win
  • Voicemail from Peerless Money Mentor on using HSA funds to hit the minimal spend limits
  • Travel hacking with the Southwest Companion Pass
  • Voicemail from Hillary about getting a degree in Finance for a career path to FI
  • Comment from Claudia about her business model for the classes she teaches
  • Voicemail from Scott about his hack when packing a bag for travel
  • iTunes review and book giveaway


Links from the show:



Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 05, 2018
056 | Popup Business Part 1 | Alan Donegan

A slightly different episode as it consists of a coaching call between Alan Donegan from the PopUp Business school and Tallis, who wishes to grow her business and make it profitable.

In this episode we cover:

• First episode the year: coaching call
• Call between Alan Donegan and Tallis on her new business idea
• Alan will walk her through ideas to grow her business
• Tallis’ business: dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease
• Reasons why dance classes work
• Defining who are the customers
• Defining who would fund the business
• Planning out Tallis’ business model
• Alan’s advice to find funding using examples
• How to use reports as a pitch for funding
• Alan’s tips: finding social value, building an email list, scaling the system
• How to show that the business idea works
• The importance in adding value to people who fund the business
• Where to start with PR
• The branding process
• The importance of having a website
• How ChooseFI will check in every so often
• Why and how Talis will start the business frugally
• The importance of being very clear who your customer is and how you can help them
• How FI helps us become entrepreneurs

Alan’s key questions:

• Who’s the customer?
• Who’s going to fund your business?
• What proof do you have that your business works?
• What makes your business different to other similar ones?
• Don’t sell workshops to people without money
• Sell to people who have the same desire to fix the problem as you
• How can you give back to the institution/company funding you?
• Use a report/survey as data to support your business
• What social good does your business achieve?
• How could you measure whether the idea works?
• Build credibility by involving other people’s stories
• Build a list of contacts of your possible customers
• How will you brand your business?
• How can you minimize the cost?
• Are you clear on who your customer is and how you’re helping them?

Links from the show:

Episode 30: The Unspoken Lever of FI
• Alan Donegan from the PopUp Business School




Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:


1) Leave an iTunes review:


2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards


Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page


3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)


As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Jan 01, 2018
055R | End of Year Review 2017

A review of ChooseFI’s 2017 on the great progress of the community, several voicemails on FI successes and plans for 2018

This episode covers:

• How far the ChooseFI community has come
• Eric’s great successes on his path to FI
• How everyone in the community is helping each other out
• The idea of building the community offline
• Colby’s college hack to graduating debt free
• How FI is about living a life of intention
• Huge thank you to everyone

Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community! :)

If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review: 

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Dec 29, 2017
055 | Live from Fincon 2017 Dallas Tx

Live from Fincon 2017 in Dallas Texas, it's ChooseFI!

Hey there everyone,

We recorded a special minisode that we wanted to share with you today.

For those of you that found us this year and have been following us on this journey over the last 12 months. Thank you :)

We recorded this at the #Amazing FINCON in Dallas that we attended at the end of October, the conference was an epic experience and they gave us the opportunity to record a short 20 minute episode using a VW Bug (in the featured image for this episode).

It was a cool experience all the way around and we thought you might get a kick out of hearing it.


We are collecting your feedback for an end of the year episode. If you found the FI community through ChooseFI or you have been in the FI community but this year you have finally taken action. We would love to share your progress with the larger FI community.

If you want to share the progress that you have made over the last 12 months leave us a voicemail by the end of monday or early tuesday morning and we will play it on the show. To leave us a voicemail go to our home page at and click on the voicemail button

The FIRE is spreading my friends and we will see you next time as we continue to go down the road less traveled!

Dec 25, 2017
054R | And the Guest Host is...

Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto joins Jonathan to cover the topic of risk tolerance and capacity, Jonathan taking action to make ChooseFI happen, voicemails about college hacking, and ESI Money taking over Rockstar Finance.

This episode covers:

  • Review of Monday’s episode with Fritz
  • The financial love letter
  • How ChooseFI is now happening in real time
  • The different risk tolerances in the FIRE community
  • Sam from the Facebook group: Jonathan’s risk by quitting his job
  • How the risk capacity varies from person to person
  • Why Jonathan has a high risk capacity
  • The more you start doing what you love, the more opportunities you get
  • Dylan and Kimberly ask Fritz a question about the drone and prepping for emergencies
  • Voicemail from Accidental FIRE about Fritz living in a cabin
  • Richmond’s asks for advice for college graduates
  • Jessie’s college hack on getting a graduate degree
  • Ben asking about the power of clep testing
  • Francis’ career hack as a sales rep
  • Monday’s big event: J Money handing over the Rockstar Finance reins to ESI Money
  • Felisa’s voicemail on why not to buy and hold company stock
  • The end of year checklist and how Christine was able to cut taxes
  • iTunes review and book giveaway


Links from the show


Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards

Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place)

As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Dec 22, 2017
054 | Fully Funded Lifestyle Change

Jonathan has a BIG announcement. We also discuss the power dynamics behind FI and the financial transition of quitting a job. This episode covers: Jonathan announces quitting his job Why Jonathan is in a good situation to make this decision The position of power in being FI The financial steps of transitioning out of a job Why you should deal with FU money responsibly


——————- Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  🙂 If you want to support us, here are some easy ways:

1) Leave an iTunes review:

2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page

3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place) As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Dec 18, 2017
053R | End of Year Checklist

We discuss Monday’s podcast featuring Bobby from Millennial Money Man, the importance of building trust and creating a tribe as well as how to use your talent stack for business. In today’s episode we cover: Another side hustle: narrating books Review of Monday’s episode with Bobby from Millennial Money Man How blogging is a way to give back to the community Why you just need true fans to be successful Having a good audience starts with adding value and building trust How the key to making money blogging is solving your audience’s problem Why having a tribe is essential for success How Brad’s limiting belief affected him Jonathan will write an article on Chipotle as an example to solving a problem How using your talent stack will help you online as well as offline How travel rewards are a pillar of FI Feedback from Mindy with the idea of an end of year checklist Facebook thread on ways to optimize tax payments and planning Voicemail from Chris about small life hacks for post FI people Voicemail from Lindsay about generating a second income stream J & A ask a question about distributing savings between real estate and retirement accounts and Coach Carson weighs in. iTunes review and book giveaway Links from the show: Monday’s episode: Do You Want to be Rich? A Thousand True fans with Kevin Kelly Tax Caster: Income tax calculator SmartAsset: Calculating taxes in each state How to avoid Underpayment Penalties SkillShare: Online classes Facebook post on End of Year To-do List Bigger Pockets Podcast Coach Carson’s Real Estate Course

Dec 15, 2017
053 | Millennial Money Man | Do you want to be rich?

This episode was an interview with Bobby from Millennial Money Man on attacking debt, becoming a full-time blogger, methods to teach finance in schools and how to scale side hustles.  


In today’s episode we cover: Bobby’s story starting as a high school music director Him quitting his job to be a full-time blogger How he paid off his student loans His mentor teaching him the basics of managing money

The lightbulb moment which brought him to start Millennial Money Man Bobby’s rule on talking about money with friends and family

How he hasn’t changed even though he has more money The FI lifestyle Being a valuist Questioning the traditional narrative that everyone has to go to college

At which age should kids start learning about personal finance

How the world would change if everyone knew more about finance Bobby’s method to get kids interested in finance Bobby’s initial idea to do teaching seminars in schools

How he decided to quit his job Getting started with side hustles Advice for new bloggers: using your blog as a portfolio Scaling your blog/side-hustle

Dec 11, 2017
052R | Bring It | We Are Just Getting Started

We review Monday’s episode featuring Todd Tresidder discussing the different ways to reach FI through different asset classes, goals for 2018 and how to invest in yourself to create a happier life. What we cover: Recap of Monday’s episode with Todd: our most commented podcast How Todd makes us rethink FI and the way his mind works Why things are not as simple as the FI community make it out to be What other assets there are apart from index funds The 2 ways of getting into the entrepreneur game How FI is not a lottery ticket, the work to be put in. Why starting a business does not mean reaching FI How to choose which asset class is your path to FI How Brad’s bad experience in real estate makes him nervous about starting again 2018 goals: taking the next step with real estate The importance of not being dogmatic and broadening horizons Feedback from Trent on real estate, stocks and bonds How real estate can be a good plan for retirement Big Ern’s thoughts on Monday’s episode Active asset allocation: can it work for FI? Why investing in yourself will always make you win Christian’s voicemail on his 2018 goals The 80/20 analysis: why reaching level 2 understanding doesn’t have to be necessary How we’re now learning more about FI with our audience, not just teaching A voicemail from Jason about his big change: FIPE (Financial Independence Partial Retirement) iTunes review and book giveaway   Links from the show:   Monday’s episode: FIRE State of the Union Coach Carson’s episode: House Hacking Guide Mr Money Mustache Millennial Money Man Coach Carson’s new investing course: Real Estate Start School Sign up to our email list to send feedback Big Ern’s website: Early Retirement Now The Choose FI t-shirts Subscribe on iTunes ------------------- Thank you for being a part of the ChooseFI community!  :) If you want to support us, here are some easy ways: 1) Leave an iTunes review: 2) Use our page to sign up for travel credit cards Note: We may receive a commission if you are approved for cards on this page 3) Most importantly, find your friends, coworkers, and family members who may be open to this message and tell them about the podcast! (Episode 21 is a great starting place) As Jonathan would say, "The FIRE is spreading my friends!"

Dec 08, 2017
052 | FIRE State of the Union | Todd Tresidder | Risk Management

Todd Tresidder from Financial Mentor comes on the show to share his perspective on the traditional way FI is taught ( FIRE State of the Union)  and where it could be improved. We discuss the unique characteristics of all three asset classes and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Create a framework for your wealth plan and understand the importance of risk management.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: An in-depth conversation with Todd Tresidder from the Financial Mentor on the State of the FIRE Union The math behind financial independence and how traditional FI-thought is about lowering expenses and investing in low-cost passive index funds Todd believes there’s more to the situation than commonly believed Todd does not want to optimize relentlessly based on price

What is Todd’s definition of Fat FIRE? There are multiple paths to FI such as pursuing the business and real estate asset classes to get you to FI quicker in Todd’s opinion Where does Risk Management come into play? Risk management also needs to be discussed in the FI community A nuanced, dynamic, “Level 2” understanding Finding the right plan for different people and different situations

The point of FI is happiness What Todd values: Experiences not stuff, and buying conveniences How Todd disconnects when he is on vacation with his family Todd has focused on all three asset classes in his life and background info on his history Todd is always focused on risk vs. reward at different points in time Todd’s on the ground view of the housing bubble as an apartment owner Paper assets do not lead to a “predictable” return

As an investor you always want to look for the “obvious thing nobody else is looking at.” Todd’s discussion of inflation Todd doesn’t predict the future, but he manages risk Manage the downside and risk management.

Buffett quote on not losing money What situation would it make sense for someone to invest in index funds, real estate, business, etc.? Everyone needs their own plan for wealth building The business asset class – inventing equity out of ‘thin air’

The downside characteristics of each of the three asset classes 

Dec 04, 2017
051R | Be Coachable

In this podcast we do a recap of episode 51 with Mrs Money Monster discussing the importance of getting past limiting beliefs as well as how to use the community to your benefit and take action in pursuing FI. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Recap of Monday’s episode with Mrs Money Monster. The importance of getting past those limiting beliefs Why we should learn to embrace the growth mindset, to always be willing to learn The value of having mentors Why FI is acknowledging that I am more than the sum of my stuff Having more control over your finances means making retirement optional Choose FI local groups are growing, making the Camp FI and FI Festival possible Voicemail from Lori about educational IRAs answered by Ed Mills from the Millionaire Educator Voicemail from Michelle about her journey to FI. All about taking action and keep working towards your goals. Matthew’s post from the Facebook Choose FI group: how one person changed his life by introducing him to FI Voicemail from Haidi about her preparing for retirement. By choosing to be half retired she will always continue learning. How to work out the wonderful problem of having so much choice when it comes to financial freedom. Voicemail from Lance after attending Alan’s Popup Business School and who wants to give back to the community. Teaser of Monday’s episode: Challenging our beliefs iTunes review and Book Giveaway Links from the show: The Choose FI T-shirts Our Facebook Group All our Choose FI groups About the FI Festival Ed Mills from The Millionaire Educator Radical Personal Finance Episode 106: A Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Education Account House Hacking with Coach Carson Bright Future Scholarship Episode 30 with Alan: Starting a business without going into debt Contribute to our show by sending us an email

Dec 01, 2017
051 | Mad Money Monster | A Roller Coaster Path to FI

In today's podcast we discuss the Roller Coaster Path to FI with Lisa from Mad Money Monster, including a new term she coined: F.I.O.R

In Today’s Podcast we cover: A conversation with Lisa from Mad Money Monster on the ‘Roller Coaster Path to FI’ Lisa grew up in a trailer, but in a great school district on the ‘right side of the tracks’ She only recently started telling people she grew up in a trailer as it impacted her self esteem She graduated from high school and didn’t plan to go to college as she didn’t think she was “smart enough” One meeting with an engineer at her first job let her to community college where she “secretly” applied The limiting beliefs and lack of a mentor behind her not even contemplating college

How her friend’s parents told her to not even start college as she “wasn’t going to finish” Lisa’s belief that she is coachable as a major life talent She graduated with a scientific degree from a four year university and had $25,000 of student loan debt Her employer paid for 100% of her master’s degree She then started saving significantly into her 401k, etc., but got into a bad relationship with a big spender She was still saving into her 401k, but her significant other’s bad habits rubbed off on her They spent $60,000 on a pool in their backyard and had friends over every weekend She had “cyclical credit card debt” that she paid off and then racked up again and then kept cycling What was holding her back from leaving the relationship? She didn’t want to move “backwards” in her life How she left the relationship and unchained herself financially

This was a defining character moment for her and let her believe she could do anything She then bought a property at the height of the real estate bubble in 2007 and moved her parents out of the trailer and into this home Though she could have lived “with her parents” at her house, she decided to move out into an apartment and stopped contributing to her retirement accounts How meeting Mr. Mad Money Monster was what put her on the path to Financial Independence They put an offer on a house they couldn’t comfortably afford and after the inspection came back negatively, they actually backed out and changed course They quickly found the FI community after that inflection point They paid off all their debt and maxed out retirement accounts Their savings rate is between 50% and 70% and they are well on their way to Financial Independence Financial Independence Optional Retirement 

Nov 27, 2017
050R | Impact | The Stealth Wealth Community

The Impact of FI, A New FI Curriculum being piloted in a university, and holiday hacks just in time for Christmas. In today’s Friday Roundup we talk a bit about Thanksgiving and how to work on being thankful for all we have (yes it’s about your family). We also look back on our previous episode with Mr Groovy about moving out of an expensive living area to reach FI faster and the value of a local FI community (the FIRE really is spreading).  We received some really inspiring messages which we share on today’s episode to show you the power FI has to transform an entire life. And of course, we finished off with some great Christmas hacks for the holidays! What we cover: 1. The Importance of Community There are ChooseFI communities all over the world now (62 and counting!) and it’s an enormous network. This means more and more people have communities with similar mindsets and goals just at their doorsteps. Imagine the opportunities when visiting another city and making contact with those other FI communities? The huge amount of knowledge shared? Our goal is to have these communities in every single city, so we can all help each other out to reach FI. If you feel there isn’t enough of a community in your own city, reach out to us on Facebook to become an admin of the Facebook page. There is a team in each area to help you out and we share the best practices to support the local groups 2. Circle Back to the Ongoing Buy vs Rent Debate Through the feedback voicemail from Charles we revisit the episode on buying vs renting and the fact that it doesn’t cover many of the aspects of home ownership. It was a good episode, but there was no counterpoint. Whether you want to buy or rent a house really depends on your situation and takes into account many different lifestyle factors. The most important is to look at it from an objective point of view: don’t just buy a house because that’s what you’ve been told all your life, buy it because it works for your situation. Do the math and analyze the situation. In honor of this huge and important debate, we pledge to do another proper episode where we have a proper sit down, do the math and have an in depth discussion. 3. The Impact of FI Thanks to everyone for sending those inspiring and in-depth voicemails in. Wendy, our first voicemailer, explains that FI is also about removing the parts that make you unhappy, removing the alligators and working towards what will improve your life and your future. Cassandra shares her goal to pay off $260,000 in debt and reach FI! This journey has changed her outlook and perspective on finance and entrepreneurship Phil rediscovered a zest for life by grabbing hold of Financial Independence he shares his 9 year plan to reach FI and what he plans on doing after FI Laurie shares her lightbulb moment, and how this podcast lifted the mental fog that kept her from appreciating the soundness of her husband's financial plan This truly goes to show the HUGE impact reaching Financial Independence can have over your life. We need to spread this message and we need to take action now. Start small. Start this week. And in 10 years you will have reached a state of independence you did not know was possible. This episode will inspire you to keep working towards FI and to build a community of like-minded individuals. One of our stated goals is to see a FI curriculum at the K-12 and collegiate level and Zack is piloting the first ever college level course at the University of Iowa Links Episode 50: Domestic GeoArbitrage Facebook Group: ChooseFI ChooseFI: Local Groups Episode 16: House Hacking with Coach Carson Episode 48: The Happy Philosopher Episode 9: Travel Hacks

Nov 24, 2017
050 | Domestic GeoArbitrage | Freedom is Groovy

In this podcast we discuss domestic geographic arbitrage with Mr. Groovy from Freedom is Groovy. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A conversation with Mr. Groovy from Freedom is Groovy to discuss domestic geographic arbitrage How Brad made a similar decision to Mr. Groovy to move from Long Island to a lower cost of living area How Mr. Groovy was a “financial moron” until he was in his 40s until Mrs. Groovy found Dave Ramsey What did their financial lives look like before finding Dave Ramsey and the concept of an emergency fund How creating a budget and putting it on paper was a game changer for them

What changes did they make after creating a budget? Their debt situation: They had about $30,000 in consumer debt How they created a “transition fund” to help them move off of Long Island to a lower cost of living area They managed to pay off debt and save $80,000 in cash for this transition fund by 2008 Their families were supportive of their move off of Long Island The peculiarities of living on Long Island and getting off the island How Mr. Groovy’s cost of living shaped up on Long Island and how the property tax burden is significant there

What other costs are smaller when moving out of a high cost of living area besides mortgage and property taxes? How the Groovy family bought a $70,000 condo in Long Beach in 1997 and sold it for $340,000 in 2006 They decided to move to North Carolina and happened upon Charlotte where they ultimately purchased They bought a condo for $88,000 in cash in Charlotte and banked nearly $250,000 from the sale of their home Their dollar cost averaging strategy to enter the stock market

How Mr. Money Mustache’s article The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement change their outlook on life In 2014 they were basically at the 25x expenses definition of Financial Independence Even though the housing situation helped them significantly, they still would have hit FI by moving to a lower cost of living area just because of lowered expenses

Takeaways and advice from the geographic arbitrage decision How Mr. Groovy’s family wound up following him to Charlotte How Brad’s brother did both US and international geographic arbitrage Did Mr. Groovy and Brad have “freak out moments” after making the move? 

Nov 20, 2017
049R | FI Festival

In the Friday Roundup we discuss our big takeaway from Episode 49: The Aggregation of Marginal Gains. Plus, upcoming plans for the ChooseFI website, a FI Festival and local meetups. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A review of Episode 49 with Alan Donegan and Barney from The Escape Artist The growth of the FI community throughout the US and now the world Jonathan just returned from his 2 week trip to South Africa with his family How did Jonathan fare with his use of electronics on his trip? Jonathan used travel rewards points to book his flights for free and he stayed with family so his entire trip was free Brad’s upcoming travel for summer 2018 to Europe where he used travel rewards points and then his trip to Santiago, Chile for 2019 The power of the Aggregation of Marginal Gains and how important it is for the FI journey How small examples can make a huge difference over time We were voted the #1 most popular Personal Finance Podcast at Rockstar Finance The benefits of fasting and why Jonathan does multi-day fasts The spreading of the FI message throughout the UK and how we’ve seen a significant number of people in our ChooseFI community The important of local groups and how we’re going to do everything we can to facilitate local ChooseFI groups throughout the US How we can all benefit from local meetup groups of like-minded people How the FIRE really is spreading and how we want to help grow the community A future FI Festival as a large-scale FI meetup event The Hall of FI idea that Jonathan wants to see as a featured component of a FI Festival People connect with stories and that’s what makes a successful blog and podcast We are looking for writers to tell their stories at the ChooseFI website as full contributors to the site Announcement: Joel from FI 180 is our first ChooseFI blogger Voicemail from Joel announcing that he left his job! Upcoming episodes on ChooseFI Itunes reviews and book giveaways Links from the show: PopUp Business School The Escape Artist The Aggregation of Marginal Gains Rockstar Finance: The Most Popular Financial Podcasts Winning Personal Finance Local ChooseFI Facebook groups Playing With FIRE documentary

Nov 17, 2017
049 | Alan Donegan & The Escape Artist | The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

In today's podcast we discuss The UK Path to FI with Barney of The Escape Artist and Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School, plus much more in the way of life optimization hacks from both Alan and Barney.    In Today’s Podcast we cover: An interview with Barney from The Escape Artist and Alan Donegan from PopUp Business School Voicemail from Sarah from the UK with questions about reaching FI outside the US Barney started the website after he put his notice in at work once he reached FI How Barney found the financial independence community Barney’s story on what his financial upbringing was like and how his parents had financial issues because of a large mortgage payment How the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ is alive and well in the UK Alan’s family doesn’t understand why they don’t spend more money and why they don’t work in the traditional sense Is there a FI community in the UK? There is a London Facebook group, but not a thriving community in the UK The different options of choosing a job you love versus one that pays a lot of money and you don’t necessary enjoy Creativity and how Barney “underestimated what was possible” for him when he had the time It’s a lot easier to be creative both when you have a “safety harness” but also if you “burn the boats” Debt is a form of handcuffs that keeps you in your current life The differences between the US and the UK: Starting with housing Property ownership is a significant part of the culture in the UK Barney’s thoughts on what he would have done differently with real estate had he started today Seeing a business opportunity in Barney’s idea to live in someone else’s home Health care in the UK and how it is more favorable for those pursuing FI Investing options in the UK and how it differs from the US Discussion of taxation on retirement funds and marginal tax brackets Differences in the cultural understanding of pursuing personal freedom through financial independence The program on FI on tv in the UK that Barney appeared on and the negative reaction and press Alan and Barney’s advice for those pursuing FI in the UK [skipto time=1:05:00]skip to[/skipto] Hot Seat Questions How incremental improvements can make a big difference in life, sports and financial independence Reading books as Barney’s favorite life hack Focus on self-improvement and doing something different and tackling fears Links from the show: The Escape Artist PopUp Business School Alan on Twitter Monevator blog in the UK Mr. Money Mustache JL Collins NH Halifax (for your ISA in the UK) The Share Centre (ISA in the UK) James Altucher An Interview With The Man on The Escape Artist Are Diamonds Really a Girl’s Best Friend on The Escape Artist The Aggregation of Marginal Gains on The Escape Artist This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened Life Changing Books List on The Escape Artist FITV: The Top 10 TV Shows of Financial Independence Financial Independence and the Zombie Apocalypse Books Mentioned in the Show: Your Money or Your Life The Millionaire Next Door Invest in Yourself Walden

Nov 13, 2017
048R | The Roadmap to FI

In this podcast we recap Episode 48 with Jeff from The Happy Philosopher plus a life hack update from Brad and a question on how to present the FI concept to others. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Recap of Episode 48 with Jeff from The Happy Philosopher Jonathan and Brad’s recap of the Fincon conference How Brad and Jonathan brainstormed the future of ChooseFI at Fincon How the FI community is growing significantly at Fincon and how people were coming up to us saying they were listening How much value we can get from FI-centric events going forward, such as Camp FI How taking action is essential with the pursuit of happiness Happiness through subtraction and the process and mindset necessary Removing news and television from your life as well as sports How Jeff cultivated happiness in his life by “adding kittens” Finding the little moments that add value to your life How important gratitude is in life and how Jeff introduced that to us Decluttering and how it impacts Brad psychologically Jonathan’s experiment with his three closets of clothes and how little he actually wears Karen’s feedback on how to document your donations for clothing and such How essential it is keep organized and how you should do it along the way Brad’s life hack using to organize all his subscription emails Email from Paul who is facing a challenge to introduce FI to his children Jonathan’s thoughts on how to present FI to someone else The information we have available in our ChooseFI Vault on how to present FI to others Email from Jennifer on a Bloomberg article that shows how even if you invested at the worst time in 2007 that your money would have doubled since then Itunes review and book giveaway Links from the show: The Happy Philosopher Fincon Conference JK Wedding Dance on Youtube How to Be The Happiest Person in the Room Camel Camel Camel The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement How to Go From Middle Class to Kickass Bloomberg article: You Just Doubled Your Money If You Invested at the 2007 Market Peak

Nov 10, 2017
048 | The Happy Philosopher | The Happiest Man in the Room

In this podcast we discussion the pursuit of happiness with Jeff from The Happy Philosopher including how he reached a burn out point in his job as a radiologist and how his focus on happiness helped him find a path forward. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion with Jeff from The Happy Philosopher An introduction to Jeff’s background story Jeff found himself burned out about four years into his full-time profession and he was stressed out and anxious and just not happy He reached a breaking point where he discussed with his wife his plan for five more years of work He had shortened his “prison sentence” but hadn’t made his “cell any more comfortable” (we discussed suicide in the episode and Jeff asked that we include a phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) He couldn’t wait five years to be happy – he had to experiment now to find that happiness Was there something about his job that led him to this breaking point or was it that he hadn’t found what made him happy? Early Retirement Extreme was mind-blowing for him intellectually and led him to FI How medical professionals can feel “trapped” in their job because of sunk costs Did Jeff experience lifestyle inflation once he became a full-time physician? What did Jeff’s path out of burnout look like? How Jeff’s consumption of news led to much of his stress What else has Jeff cut out of his life? Happiness through subtraction Decluttering and getting rid of the negatives in your life Cutting down on commitments that aren’t necessary in our jobs and lives How Jeff pursued a job sharing part-time work during his peak earning years The Marginal Utility of Money and how your spending impacts your happiness The concept of trading your time for money How does Jeff approach how to spend money in his own life? The concept of utility versus value The importance of gratitude and how happiness is a skill Make a conscious decision to place a space between stimulus and response Hot Seat Questions Jeff suggests you experiment with cutting out alcohol entirely from your life for a set period of time as an experiment (Jeff also wanted us to mention:  "Anyone who is a heavy drinker should probably consult with a doctor or someone familiar with alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal before quitting cold turkey.") Links from the show: The Happy Philosopher Early Retirement Extreme Mr. Money Mustache Happiness Through Subtraction at Mad Fientist Alligators and Kittens at The Happy Philosopher The Power of No at The Happy Philosopher How Understanding the Marginal Utility of Money Will Make Your Happier at The Happy Philosopher How to Be The Happiest Person in the Room at 1500 Days 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook at Wait But Why Books Mentioned in the Show: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo Your Money or Your Life

Nov 06, 2017
047R |The Rule of 72

In today's podcast we recap Episode 47 with Bryce and Kristy from Millennial Revolution including talk of home ownership and world travel, but a reader case study and voicemail. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A recap of our main takeaways from Episode 47 with Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution How Brad explained the concept of compound interest to his daughter Anna and it was a lightbulb moment How Brad’s daughter immediately took action and invested her money in Vanguard index funds Brad’s moment where he found the concept of compound interest as a 19 year old Calling for tips on how other parents have introduced financial skills to their kids How your house is not a great investment and for people in the FI community it isn’t “your biggest investment” Your home may be a terrible investment but it doesn’t mean it’s a terrible decision Home appreciation seems “magical” to people but it actually represents well below the 8% return benchmark we use as a guide Brad’s example of a $300,000 house and the expected future value How Bryce and Kristy have these amazing hacks to travel for little money Their entire lives cost $30,000 for a full year Time averaging in low and high cost of living areas A reader case study that was sent in to Bryce and Kristy on the rental property they have that’s underwater and how they should move forward Voicemail from ChooseFI community member Jack on finding FI and making amazing changes up to a 58% savings rate How everyone can pursue FI and it isn’t limited to certain incomes, professions, etc. Itunes review and book giveaways Links from the show: Millennial Revolution Why Your House is a Terrible Investment Friday Reader Case Study: My Mortgage is Underwater.  Am I Screwed?

Nov 03, 2017
047 | The Cult of Home Ownership & Crushing Geoarbitrage | Millennial Revolution

Today we have Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution on the podcast to discuss home ownership, international geographic arbitrage and much more... In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion with Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution They initially were contemplating buying a house and were shocked by the process This is what led them to finding the Financial Independence community Home ownership seemed like a “cult” to them What did their financial life look like before finding financial independence and how did they save so much money previously? Who might be naturally included to FI and how everyone can be open to it FI opens up creativity that you otherwise wouldn’t have the time for Voicemail from David from Canada How difficult it is societally to not purchase a house You need to do the math behind home ownership and don’t succumb to the ‘fear of missing out’ All the other costs that are involved in home ownership that eat into your paper gains A house is not an investment, it’s a place to live The power of compounding and the Rule of 72 How would someone do the math to compare renting versus buying? The 1% rule Introducing leverage into the scenario of buying a home What do they invest in? Low-cost index funds How often they rebalance their portfolio and how they came up with their 60/40 split It is less expensive for them to travel the world than live in Toronto Their annual spending their first year of travel was $40,000 but they were able to cut that to roughly $30,000 in year 2 How they believe everyone could live the same lifestyle if they were willing to break their mental block with owning a home How would they recommend people get started with international travel and geo arbitrage? Budget airlines and bus companies help them travel throughout Europe for a fraction of the expected costs What do they do with lodging when first visiting a city? The ‘secret’ location they’ve found in London to stay for a fraction of the cost How nobody else in the world worries about health costs like Americans do How much could you reasonably spend for a year of living in Thailand The little enclaves of expats that exist throughout the world where they’ve found to live for less Their summarized advice for David from Canada Hot Seat Questions They actually have a financial advisor, but they don’t outsource their knowledge to someone else Links from the show: Millennial Revolution JL Collins NH Mr. Money Mustache Would We Be Richer if We Had Bought a House at Millennial Revolution Afford Anything Airbnb Why Your House is a Terrible Investment at JL Collins NH

Oct 30, 2017
046R | Selectively Hardcore

In today's podcast we discuss our takeaways from Episode 46 with Ms. ONL from Our Next Life plus community feedback and voicemails and a discussion of travel rewards. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A recap of Episode 46 with Tanja from Our Next Life Brad and Jonathan are on their way to Fincon – the annual financial bloggers conference Jonathan’s upcoming trip to South Africa with his family using travel rewards points Tanja’s reveal of her identity after being anonymous for the entirety of the blog’s life What do you want out of life and how are you going to approach that question in the leadup to FI? The ‘internet retirement police’ and people making money in early retirement ‘We are some of the luckiest people in human history’ as Tanja described The safety Mr. and Mrs. ONL have built into their FI plan The different stories and plans our various guests have and how there is no ‘one size fits all’ plan for Financial Independence How they are selectively hardcore about certain things like their heating bill Corrections and feedback from episodes 43 and 43R Updates on Mega Backdoor Roth options including feedback from William Brad’s feedback on Keith from The Wealthy Accountant’s thoughts on the Mega Backdoor Roth and the Roth IRA conversion ladder going away Discussion of Roth versus traditional IRA and marginal tax brackets plus info on the Earned Income Tax Credit Email from Giselle from our ChooseFI community and her question about spending now versus the future and frugality versus enjoyment Brad and Jonathan’s response to Giselle about how we view the path to FI as a positive and gives us more control over our lives Giselle’s question about using travel rewards points for a 2 week trip to Europe and when to get started and how to avoid issues with mileage expiration Voicemail from community member Joel listing all the incredible changes he has made since finding the ChooseFI podcast Itunes review and book giveaway Links from the show: Our Next Life Get Rich Slowly The Wealthy Accountant The Frugal Professor Frugalwoods

Oct 27, 2017
046 | Our Next Life | The Reveal | Are you Ready for Early Retirement?

In today's podcast we have a wide-ranging conversation with Ms. ONL from Our Next Life on her decision to stop being anonymous on the blog to what their journey looked like to FI plus what they expect life to be like after FI and much more. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A financial independence discussion with Ms. ONL from Our Next Life The big reveal: Their names are Tanja and Mark What does it feel like for them to come out behind the veil of anonymity? Why have they been so strict about remaining anonymous?

How do they view the concept of early retirement? How they can pursue the aspects of their jobs that they still enjoy How is early retirement different than working for yourself?

One of the best parts of early retirement is that you can try so many different things Their friends and family are extremely supportive of their early retirement plans Finding their ‘why’ behind early retirement

A discussion of how silly the notion of being “bored” in early retirement truly is The Endless Winter: Following the snow to ski for an entire winter How they try to save money on their heating costs

How difficult the transition could be from working to not working and to mentally prepare yourself in advance for life after retirement How to mentally prepare yourself for future situations with “disaster drills”

The value of finding progress in difficult things in life The questions you need to consider when pondering early retirement:

  1. How will you support yourself or your family without a job? They do not plan to tap their tax deferred items before 59.5 How they projected the amount they need to reach Financial Independence
  2. What is your backup plan for dealing with financial emergencies? The value of insurance and especially umbrella insurance
  3. How will you get healthcare? How your income impacts your health care subsidies and the consideration of FI strategies
  4. How will you keep your body and mind healthy? What will a day look like for them in retirement? The importance of community in maintaining a healthy balanced life 
Oct 23, 2017
045R | The Journal

In this podcast we discuss our takeaways from Episode 45 with JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly, including the big news that he just purchased GRS back, as well as our frugal wins of the week and the elegance of simplicity. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A review of Episode 45 with JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly and Money Boss Jonathan’s frugal win of the week on purchasing a new stove/oven What is the utility of Jonathan’s new oven over a standard oven? Jonathan’s insourcing to install the oven himself Brad’s frugal win of the week: Laura stained the deck on the back of the house JD’s big news of buying back Get Rich Slowly How JD’s story helped change the world for so many people and how much impact he has had on potentially millions of people JD’s impact on Brad’s life with travel rewards What a unique point in time to be able to start a blog for so little money and the positive impacts you can experience The power of the blog is in the story of the blogger and that individual’s personality JD’s concept of the internal locus of control and how you can direct your life Don’t complain about the forces that are impacting your life – take control JD’s concept of having to do the work and that there are no shortcuts How strategy and cost-benefit analysis factors into your actions and goals What’s not worth putting the work in for? This is as important strategy-wise as picking what you do want to spend your time on Investment strategies of VTSAX versus other options, and Brad’s thoughts on the cost-benefit analysis of spending time trying to beat the market Part of the strategy is determining where to put your time and effort in life and investing It’s all about taking action in investing and life and how it separates successful vs. unsuccessful people The elegance of simplicity in getting people to take action A future roundtable with people of different opinions on investing Voicemail from Melissa on how she “channeled her inner Laura” in saving time and money on cooking Laura’s tips on how to cook more efficiently Jonathan’s experiment with his first vegetarian meal Itunes reviews and book giveaway Links from the show: Get Rich Slowly Money Boss Early Retirement Now FI180 Sign up for CampFI tickets Budget Bytes recipe: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils Books Mentioned in the Show: The One Thing Tools of Titans

Oct 20, 2017
045 | JD Roth | Get Rich Slowly | Breaking News | Full Circle

Today we discuss JD Roth's backstory behind his financial journey, Get Rich Slowly and Money Boss, plus JD's philosophy AND a very special announcement...

In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion with JD Roth from Money Boss and Get Rich Slowly How JD impacted Brad’s life and put him on the trajectory to becoming a travel rewards expert JD’s backstory and how he found the personal finance community JD started Get Rich Slowly to document his process to clawing out of $35,000 worth of consumer debt and becoming financially literate and successful

JD started his ‘credit card habit’ in college Any actionable tips the audience could take away from JD earning a scholarship to college? JD focuses on being self-directed with an ‘internal locus of control’ JD started a blog before the word blog even existed and started his first webpage in 1994 and his first web journal in 1997

JD’s plan to get out of debt in 3 years and the article he wrote called ‘Get Rich Slowly’ April 2006 was when Get Rich Slowly started JD was looking for a ‘magic bullet’ but quickly realized he needed to put in the effort and spend less money Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball and how it helped JD succeed psychologically

JD as an ‘accidental personal finance expert’ and how that journey progressed The audience and community around Get Rich Slowly helped make it a great site and inclusive JD’s frustration with the thought that there’s a “right” way to go about things in the personal finance world

Action is the number one thing that separates successful people according to JD

The methodology behind financial independence according to JD: The Six Stages of Financial Freedom Your level of control increases as you progress down the path towards financial independence When JD personally progressed through the six stages

How does JD spend his days and what is his philosophy? How JD sold his comic book collection and made $28,000 which funded their RV trip JD’s insight on the future of the financial independence movement Hot Seat Questions JD’s big announcement about 

Oct 16, 2017
044R | The One Way Ticket

Today we discuss our takeaways from Episode 44 with Brandon Pearce from Pearce on Earth plus feedback from the community and our thoughts on international travel with our families. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion of Episode 44 with Brandon Pearce from Pearce on Earth Jonathan’s frugal win of the week by having a potluck dinner and a movie in the backyard for his friends and neighbors Jonathan is on a 3-day fast and his explanation The importance of mentally anchoring when undertaking something difficult Jonathan wanted to prove to himself that he could do it and to help with his impulse control Brandon realized early that you don’t have security as a 9-5 employee The power in your life shifts when you start saving money and that margin increases with each paycheck The concept of ‘burn the boats’ in motivating you to success Jonathan’s thoughts on safety vs. burn the boats How your business can take over your life if you let it, so you need a work-life balance Where are the pain points in your life and how can you make them better? Brandon’s lightbulb moment when you have that first sale They knew there was more to life that they could experience outside their ‘bubble of life’ by travelling the world Jonathan’s story of visiting an international food store in Richmond Looking for areas of fear and discomfort in life and leaning into them Finding community both abroad and here in the United States Brad’s thoughts on taking an international trip with his own family and what is potentially holding them back Brad tracking his time and will report back with his progress next week The value of telling other people about goals you intend to hit and how it keeps you motivated Also, the value of telling a ‘story about yourself’ and how that will keep you motivated to do what fits that story Voicemail from Vicky about getting out of their 9-5 lives and pursuing slow travel with their two kids plus how they used 120,000 miles to get 4 one-way tickets to Europe for only $20 The “one way journey” of life Feedback from Andrew on the episodes Different types of learning opportunities for your children Voicemail from Kevin how he explained FI to the HR department at his company and how motivated it made him to keep going down this path Itunes review of the week and book giveaway Links from the show: Pearce on Earth Music Teacher’s Helper You Need a Budget Money Metagame Impact Theory Nomad Together Podcast Books Mentioned in the Show: Tools of Titans

Oct 13, 2017
044 | Brandon Pearce | Into the Wind

Today we discuss how Brandon Pearce went from a call center job to being a full time entrepreneur, traveling the world with his wife and children and how he started the Family Adventure Summit. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Episode 44 with Brandon Pearce, who was recommended to us by Andrew from the ChooseFI community

Discussion of geo arbitrage, starting your own business and designing your future all wrapped up in one person Brandon realizing that you have no control over your future as a regular employee and it started him thinking about getting moving with his own business His software for organizing piano lessons was what led to his business How he got his first sale and realized this could be a successful business How Brandon considered making this a full-time venture and that inflection point where he took the leap

Did Brandon contemplate not going full time with his software or was this a slam dunk decision? The value of hiring from inside your own community to find someone who is passionate and knowledgeable

How Brandon wouldn’t be happier or more fulfilled with more ‘stuff’ Was the plan for this to be a ‘lifestyle business’ originally? They replaced a focus on stuff with a focus on growth, travel and service Their six week “test trip” to Panama as a family Looking at life through your children’s eyes

How difficult it was to replicate this experience in the United States Travel as one of the biggest catalysts for growth How liberating it was to not have any of their stuff on the trip to Panama Their first long-term trip was to Costa Rica and they were there for 1.5 years where their daughter was born

How do you find a community when travelling abroad?

Their current location in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and how close the community is there

Schooling types: Homeschooling, world schooling and un-schooling and an explanation They follow an interest-led learning approach with their children to inspire the love of learning What do you tell someone who is afraid to take the leap to family travel?

Slow travel has the ability to be transformative and immersive Questions about safety and health care in foreign countries A discussion of health care in the countries Brandon has lived in and how inexpensive it is

Brandon’s time tracking experiment The 1st annual Family Adventure Summit Documentary: Into the Wind about families travelling the world Hot Seat Questions 

Oct 09, 2017
043R | Mega Backdoor Roth | Should I Ever Consider Using the Roth?

In this podcast we discuss our takeaways from Episode 43 with Fritz from the Retirement Manifesto plus an in-depth discussion of the Roth IRA conversion and Mega Backdoor Roth, and taxable income scenarios for retirement contributions.  In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our big takeaways from Episode 43 with Fritz from Retirement Manifesto Brad as a ‘Mystery Reader’ for his daughter’s class plus their trip to Natural Bridge State Park and a FI lesson for his daughters How to tackle drawdown strategies and how that opened our eyes The concept of balance that Fritz brought up in Episode 43 How we each have a different path to Financial Independence and we have to find what we each value and how much safety we require How important the math is, but also how the personal side is an important part of the equation Jonathan’s decision to pay off his student loans early and how this may not have been optimal mathematically, but was the “right” decision for him Feedback from the audience on the episode, but specific points from Danny Questions surrounding inflation on your safe withdrawal rate and early retirement Feedback from the audience about delaying social security The distinction between the Roth IRA conversion and the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA The tax issues surrounding the Roth IRA conversion   Practical Application of the Mega Backdoor Roth Vishal and Brad share the nuances of trying to navigate the Mega Backdoor Roth: They need to allow for after-tax contributions and in-service distributions/withdrawals Explanation of the Mega Backdoor Roth Email from Zac about the value of using pre-tax or post-tax retirement contributions when you’re already in a low tax bracket Where is the line where we’d consider putting into a pre-tax or post-tax retirement account? A scenario of someone with a $25,000 income and where they’d fall in the tax brackets and how to lower that A scenario of an individual with a $60,000 gross income and what they should consider with their retirement contributions How would Brad and Jonathan choose if they were in this situation? Itunes reviews and book giveaways The Vault is live Click Here for Access Links from the show: Retirement Manifesto FI by 40 Millionaire Educator Mega Backdoor Roth article by the Mad Fientist Post from Vishal from Everything about Education about Mega Backdoor Roth The Wealthy Accountant Books Mentioned in the Show: Hiking to Waterfalls in Virginia

Oct 06, 2017
043 | Drawdown Strategy | The Retirement Manifesto

In this podcast we have a far-ranging conversation with Fritz from the Retirement Manifesto about retirement drawdown strategies, his 'buckets' system, and his upcoming retirement.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Retirement drawdown strategies with Fritz from Retirement Manifesto How Fritz focuses on what life is about after retirement such as how you’re going to spend your time Fritz is 9 months away from retirement himself

A background on his story in corporate America and his path to FI and early retirement The difference in perspectives between retirement dates and savings rates between the FI community and the population at large What would Fritz’s path have looked like if he found the FI community decades earlier

Fritz stayed with the same company for 32 years and has a traditional pension Where did his interest in retirement spreadsheets and the blog come from? How writing a blog helps develop and formalize your own thoughts and plans What to consider when building your own retirement drawdown strategy

The Three Bucket Strategy for retirement drawdowns and how Fritz separates his own holdings by these buckets What a simplification strategy looks like and how to avoid taxation with this simplification How you can create a net neutral taxable position by specifically identifying losses and gains to sell when trying to simplify How Fritz plans to use Roth conversions while he is in a zero-income position for a 2 year period and pay $0 in tax on the conversions

Explanation of the Mega Backdoor Roth and how Fritz is utilizing it The equity to bond split that Fritz uses plus how to consider asset allocation and risk Why does Fritz use a 60/40 Stock to Bon split when he has a pension and social security coming?

Why Fritz believes you shouldn’t take more risk than you have to Fritz’s thoughts on delaying a pension and social security to get a guaranteed return A hypothetical early retiree example and how Fritz would think through this example and advise them

The uncertainty of health care in early retirement How they can track their annual spending by putting money into “Bucket 1” What annual tasks do they do with a ‘year in review’? The variable approach to withdrawal rates and flexibility

The value of protecting your Roth accounts to let them grow as long as possible Life insurance policy discussion The flexibility to take fun seasonal jobs if you wanted an adventure Health Insurance and long-term care insurance discussion

Oct 01, 2017
042R | Perfect Utilization

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss Episode 42 with JW from The Green Swan, plus various discussions about community and feedback from the audience. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion of Episode 42 with JW from The Green Swan Scott Rieckens and his crew from the documentary Playing With FIRE were in Richmond this week filming our podcast, lives and a Richmond FI get together The importance of community in the Financial Independence world and the volunteers we’ve received to be ‘community leaders’ for Choose FI meetups How we’re going to setup Slack for the Choose FI community and we need someone to help organize it The future Choose FI Vault that will be a digital locker for useful files for the community The decision JW made to buy a business with his brothers and how unconventional that is How you need to consider all possibilities when going into business with anyone Brad and Jonathan didn’t have the discussion of all future possibilities and didn’t put together an operating agreement, but are now going to do so thanks to JW’s advice Feedback from Lucas on the Green Swan episode about not relating to a high dollar value acquisition A question from Lucas on how this differs from buying an individual stock and if they had an unfair advantage by being CPAs and MBAs We all have a unique path to FI You need to see how different investment and business opportunities fit into your life and with your own risk profile Calculation based on getting a return of 8% versus 16% over a 15-year period How hustle can be as or more important than any skills or certifications you have How putting skills from various areas together will help you succeed dramatically in life Different ways to improve a business from Jonathan if you’re a lifelong learner Announcement of the next Camp FI in Williamsburg, Virginia in April 2018 “Collect skills not stuff” motto from Jonathan and how he wants to explore a “Maker space” for a community of learners The sharing possibilities of having pooled resources with neighbors or communities The new Mr. Money Mustache World Headquarters for people with the FI and entrepreneurial mindset Buy Nothing Project and how it relates to “the alley will provide” Travel Rewards update on changes to card opening options Itunes reviews of the week Links from the show: The Green Swan Playing With FIRE Slack ChooseFI Vault Camp FI mid-Atlantic in Williamsburg, VA from April 13-April 16 2018 Mr. Money Mustache Buy Nothing Project

Sep 29, 2017
042 | The Green Swan | Why Start a Business, When You Can Buy One?

In Episode 42 we have a wide ranging discussion with JW from The Green Swan about his FI path, going into business with family, buying an existing business and much more.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion with JW from The Green Swan about financial independence and busing buying and ownership How JW got involved in the FIRE community A discussion of life insurance and how much someone in the FI community really needs to think about

They were already on a path to financial independence even before finding the FI community online How JW approached college with the mindset of graduating early JW’s dad passed many of the tips and tricks of the FI community to him in his teens JW’s relationship with his older brother made a big difference in his FI journey and they long talked about buying a business

The concepts discussed in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and how it could help you get multiple streams of income JW and his brothers were saving for many years in anticipation of buying a business How they researched the options of buying a business How they could step in and grow the business they intended to purchase What did they do to fix the culture in the business and reassure their employees about the future of the business How did they know they could add value to this or any other company? How they structured their legal entity to optimize most efficiently

They are investigating purchasing a similar business to expand their business What does the path look like for each of the four brothers and how have they navigated the sibling dynamic? They entered the business with ‘eyes wide open’ to the potential to damage their family relationships

They built an operating agreement with all potential future possibilities so they could navigate future issues. It was important that they did this from the outset The unexpected joys and crazy things that happen when you own a small business with many employees and JW’s examples How are they funding a future potential acquisition? How do these businesses impact JW’s financial independence number?

He is calculating his FI number without even considering the income or equity in the businesses Hot Seat Questions Favorite life hack is listening to podcasts and audio books at 2x speed He wishes he would have done ‘house hacking’ like his father did when he was younger 

Sep 25, 2017
041R | Extreme Ownership

In this Friday Roundup we discuss Episode 41 with Paige and Sam on extreme frugality, radical insourcing and the high cost of living path to FI plus a voicemail from Big Ern and members of our community. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The discussion of Episode 41 with Paige and Sam about reaching early retirement through extreme frugality and radical insourcing in a high cost of living city like Los Angeles Jonathan’s story about visiting his childhood library and trying to find old computer games Book recommendations from the ChooseFI Facebook group The list of obstacles that could have stopped Paige from reaching financial independence, but she overcame anyway It’s easy to make excuses, but your journey almost invariably will be easier than Paige’s The aspects of high cost of living that would be universal to other people: Defraying the costs of housing by sharing an apartment “The alley will provide” as a perfect quote for ChooseFI and a way to think about not buying new items Making a fun game out of buying “new” items (new to you) at a garage sale The important of collecting skills instead of stuff plus a list of random skills you can pick up Don’t be complacent with the knowledge and skills you have. Always look to learn. There are so many free ways to get entertainment in a big city A big takeaway was that Sam’s parents cut the friction and helped him get started investing The hardest part is to take action, so helping other family members can help their lives dramatically. Jonathan thinks about this with his siblings Don’t let the perceived complexity of task overwhelm you and cause you to not take action. Just break it down into steps and take action. Andrew shared how he and his wife break down the ChooseFI podcast every Monday where they discuss with their kids in a fun way How Brad setup a Vanguard investment account for his kids in 2017 Are there tax implications for investing for your children? Discussion of Paige and Sam’s housing situation Paige’s “mistake” that was right for her You have many levers to potentially pull and not everyone needs to make the same choices, but you need to not make excuses Cutting expenses is the low hanging fruit of the path to FI. Changing your income is not as immediate Buying used takes the mental anguish out of purchasing and perfection Jonathan’s life hack for purchasing at Amazon: Camel Camel Camel Case study for how to use Camel Camel Camel Don’s call that he officially reached financial independence! Call from our in-house expert Big Ern about how to mitigate sequence of returns risk Winner of the side-hustle competition: Tallis who is providing dance classes to those with Parkinson’s Disease Call from Dave about the business he created Itunes review book winner Links from the show: Classic Reload video games Freecycle Frugalwoods Camel Camel Camel Early Retirement Now Case Study in Part 11 of the Safe Withdrawal Series The Stock Series at JL Collins NH PopUp Business School Books Mentioned in the Show: The Lies of Locke Lamora Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Sep 22, 2017
041 | The High Cost of Living Path to FI

In today's podcast we discuss the High Cost of Living Path to FI with ChooseFI community members Paige and Sam who live in Los Angeles and have been pursuing FI in a HCOL with sub-$50,000 per year jobs. I

n Today’s Podcast we cover: Episode 41: A conversation with Paige and Sam about pursuing Financial Independence in a high cost of living area on a lower income Paige pushed back on our limiting belief that you “can’t” achieve financial independence on a low income in a high cost of living area Sam introduced Paige to MMM but Paige ran with it from there Paige’s back story Paige had a negative net worth in her mid-40s Since Paige has earned and lived in the $30,000 range she is used to that and now that she’s making more she can save that difference Paige intends to hit early retirement in 2025 and has a 50% savings rate She uses her Roth IRA as an “emergency fund” since she can withdraw the contributions at any time tax and penalty free Sam’s story behind retiring “early and often”

He did not have student loans and also his parents modeled investing for him well before he was earning income himself Sam’s parents always put gifts and other money into his investing account instead of giving it to him to spend Sam is technically at his FI number, but he does still continue to work Sam’s history of his apartment renting in Los Angeles and sharing apartments with roommates to lower the costs (over a 20+ year period) Sam has never made more than $50,000 in a year Having to be slightly more intense to reach FI in a low cost of living area.

The best way being to live with roommates and not having a car payment They don’t buy new items – the “alley provides” and they can find free stuff on the street or at Goodwill, etc. They are very deliberate and intentional about saving money on food and groceries Limiting beliefs on why people like Paige and Sam couldn’t retire early and pursue financial independence and why they rejected them The big three items they can control: Housing, Transportation and Food

There are so many free activities in a big city, so it is easy to keep a nearly $0 entertainment budget in a city They are not minimalists at all, but they just don’t buy new things. Sam is an extreme DIY-er and picks How did Sam become a DIY-er?

You don’t have to agonize over decisions when you aren’t trying to maximize or perfect each buying decision How they approached their home buying decision differently with the mindset of people who can fix essentially anything Buy a house that is just bad enough that the flippers don’t want it – per Paige What is the long-term play for their new house? Do they intend to buy other homes to fix and sell? Extreme ownership of your decisions and knowing what you want Paige’s plan for early retirement and how to make it to 65 and social security where she’ll get a ‘big raise’ Hot Seat questions 

Sep 18, 2017
040R | The Power of the Reset Button

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss our takeaways from Episode 40 with Noah and Becky from Money Metagame, plus voicemails from the ChooseFI community and our in-house expert Keith from the Wealthy Accountant. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Discussion of Episode 40 with Noah and Becky from Money Metagame about the Gap Year Jonathan took action and followed Geoff’s advice to start culling his closet and decluttering his life Jonathan is struggling with how to categorize and track his donations For tax purposes you definitely do want to track your noncash donations It’s always easier to track things along the way as opposed to doing it all at the end of the year How is Jonathan mentally approaching the process of decluttering his life? How Brad would approach cleaning out closets by making a game out of it Noah and Becky found FI at a young age and incredibly have not made any major financial mistakes in their lives You have more and more power in your life as you go along your FI path and reach your Milestones of FI. It isn’t an all or nothing thing. Becky realized she was getting burned out and was able to make a decision to leave her job based on a position of strength Becky and Noah have no fear moving forward and that is incredibly inspiring You don’t have to maximize every dollar but can focus on what brings you happiness How a ChooseFI app would add value to the community and an ask whether this would provide people value Announcement of the two finalists for the Startup Business Competition with Alan Donegan: Rachel and Tallis Discussion of the phrase ‘Side Hustle’ and how Brad hasn’t liked that phrase Voicemail from Alex with a question for Keith from the Wealth Accountant on retirement plans available to self-employed individuals Response voicemail from Keith from the Wealthy Accountant Life hack from Noah from Money Metagame on how to save on movie tickets Voicemail from Nicholas about the positive changes he’s made in his life in the last 5+ weeks since he found ChooseFI Discussion about the value you receive from cards on an ongoing basis Itunes review for the winner of the book drawing Links from the show: Money Metagame Sell My Comic Books website ESI Money Frugal Professor PopUp Business School The Wealthy Accountant Advance Screenings for movie tickets The Points Guy: How Closing a Credit Card Impacts Your FICO Score

Sep 15, 2017
040 | Take a Gap Year | Money Metagame

Today we have Noah and Becky from Money Metagame on the podcast to discuss their story, their upcoming 'Gap Year' of travel plus an incredible college hack they used to get full-tuition scholarships. In Today’s Podcast we cover: A discussion with Noah and Becky from Money Metagame Noah and Becky’s history behind their path to FI Travel Rewards was what initially got them into the world of Financial Independence How Noah introduced this idea to Becky originally Becky was originally hesitant but after seeing some stress in their lives became more open to it How the personal finance and financial independence sub-Reddits became Noah’s go-to sources for information The story behind the name Money Metagame How Noah and Becky both got full-tuition scholarships to Purdue University through the Evans Scholars program How they found out about this program to get these college scholarships The background on how others can benefit from this scholarship opportunity What was the thought process behind them buying a house in Seattle upon moving there? The mortgage on their house was actually less than what they were paying in rent What was the process behind them getting rid of PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) on their home? After they found the concept of FI they started maxing out their 401ks, HSAs and Roth-IRAs, plus regular brokerage accounts Their savings rate went from 6% in 2014 to 58% in 2015 after finding FI. It has since gone up from there

Becky wasn’t happy in her job and that gave them the push to quit their jobs and take a ‘Gap Year’ to travel around the United States They are past “Half FI” on the list of FI Milestones What do they plan to do with their home in Seattle? What did the conversation look like when they told their family and friends? Could Becky dial back certain aspects of the nursing profession and only focus on the parts of the job she loves? Noah’s decision to leave his particular company and job What do they have to consider when embarking on a trip like this?

There is room for FI optimization since they’ll have minimal income in 2018 How does the interplay work between realizing “income” through capital gains and getting subsidized health care What does their trip look like in general and what are their plans for the actual travel? They will be focusing on lower level redemption hotels through Hyatt, Starwood and IHG How will they get their mail while on the road? What scares them about this trip and experience? This was all possible because they found FI Information on their honeymoon to Fiji as their best travel rewards win Does it make sense to use miles for business class or first class? Hot Seat Question 

Sep 11, 2017
039R | Cruise Control

In today's podcast we discuss Episode 39 with Gwen from Fiery Millennials, plus a 'Cruise Control Path to FI' case study example and voicemails from our community members. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup after Episode 39 with Gwen from Fiery Millennials A whole new FI world for Brad and Laura after their youngest daughter went to kindergarten They have the opportunity to live more of a FI lifestyle and have to now figure out what that looks like Second Generation FI and examples of Brad’s kids exhibiting their behaviors ChooseFI is an opportunity for Brad and Jonathan to share these stories with their kids and also document their FI paths Gwen’s lightbulb moment she had during college and how that changed her trajectory How intelligent Gwen was with her college decision and pursuing a full scholarship Brad should have focused his own college search on places where he could have gotten a full merit scholarship The concept of the ‘cruise control path to FI’ Second Generation FI Case study example of how savings would work maxing out their 401k from 22 to 32 The value of compounding over decades The importance of starting to save early and the concept of time as a Pillar of FI The ability to put money into your kid’s Roth IRAs even if they are under 18. We need to do more research on this to document what’s allowed Example of putting $5,500 into a Roth IRA for a five year stretch from 13 to 18 and what it would be worth at age 60 Jonathan’s example of contributing to a 401k from 32 to 60 You have to get started and take action today, even if you’ve made the “wrong” decisions in the past Gwen’s desire to build up the FI community is incredibly impressive Announcement of the last three finalists for the PopUp Business School competition with Alan Donegan Voicemails from the three finalists Voicemail from Justin about the career path of an air traffic controller as a path to FI making significant money without a college degree Itunes book giveaways Links from the show: Fiery Millennials Go Curry Cracker The Wealthy Accountant PopUp Business School

Sep 08, 2017
039 | Millennial path to FI | Fiery Millennial

In today's podcast we have a conversation with Gwen from Fiery Millennials about her millennial path to FI plus some hacks that she used to save on college and increase her savings rate. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our guest on Episode 39 is Gwen from Fiery Millennials Was Gwen from the generation that grew up with electronics from day 1? A background on Gwen’s story saving money when she was younger.

She saved 50% of her income Gwen pursued dual enrollment classes and entered college with 23 college credits Gwen did the research with the college first to determine what credits would count Brad’s example of programs that exist in Virginia and likely other states where you can attend a community college and transfer to a state university Gwen joined the Air Force in the Air National Guard to pay for college, but actually got a merit scholarship from her college Gwen still has 8 semesters of free college remaining for the future due to these dual scholarships

How did Gwen find the concept of Financial Independence? Finding FI helped Gwen keep on the path and be conscious of her consumerism and save more Gwen’s search for an internship via job hiring boards or job fairs What’s the difference between searching on the job board and the job fairs? How to look professional and make a positive impression at a job fair

Your FI path is dramatically easier when you do things right from the beginning Gwen was maxing out her retirement contributions How you can be on cruise control if you do the right things the first 10-15 years of your career Gwen had a roommate when she got out of college so she was only paying $450 per month in rent Gwen pursued rental real estate after attending the Chautauqua She landed on the idea of ‘house hacking’ for her rental property She bought a triplex and the rental from the 2 other units more than pays for her rent, so she is paying $0 out of pocket for living expenses

Gwen feels she may have rushed into buying a property since she bought the second property she looked at Gwen is maxing out her 401k, HSA and Roth IRA and then additional savings go towards future down payments Gwen’s savings rate should be around 80%, but extraordinary expenses on her rental home bring it down around 50% Gwen still has her car from college and she intends to hold it for years to come What are Gwen’s plans for the future? Hot seat questions 

Sep 04, 2017
038R | Firewalker

In today's podcast we discuss Episode 38 The Why of FI plus we announce three of the finalists for the business building competition with Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School and a voicemail from community member Geoff. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Discussion of Episode 38 on the Why of FI Jonathan’s Frugal Win of the Week at Costco by saving on protein bars Jonathan’s nutrition goals and the underlying concepts of simplicity and removing decision fatigue How unusual it is that the FI community is outside the mainstream by saving money whereas the norm is spending every dollar you have The elevator pitch for Financial Independence Brad believes the psychology behind the Why of FI is more important than the actual numbers Numbers will always be a focus as is saving money, but the psychology is essential How has Jonathan’s focus changed since the beginning of his FI journey and since the beginning of ChooseFI Jonathan has latched onto the ideas of simplicity and happiness The new concept of the FireWalker, as coined by our community member Cody Has Jonathan shifted from being a spender fundamentally? How has the journey impacted Brad? Brad’s thought about community and connection matter more than he even thought The connections that are made possible due to the ChooseFI community Local community meetups and our request for community leaders throughout the country and world Everything is connected with FI as a life optimization strategy Voicemail from Geoff about sequence of return risk and working towards a minimalist lifestyle and how to optimize life What do you have control over? Focus on that Cutting expenses and getting your lifestyle creep under control The 4% rule explained Geoff’s plans for different scenarios and his budgets Geographic arbitrage for moving to low cost of living area Think in advance for different situations you may face in the future Competition with Alan Donegan from PopUp Business School: We play 3 of the finalists that were picked by our panel Giveaway winner for the free Camp ticket in Florida in January Book giveaways Vote for the Plutus Awards to support the many bloggers who are active members of our community Links from the show: Impact Theory Quest Nutrition Retirement Manifesto JL Collins Stock Series The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement Dominick Quartuccio PopUp Business School FI 180 Vote for the Plutus Awards

Sep 01, 2017
038 | The Why of FI

In today's podcast we discuss one of our most important topics: The Why of FI. Why we pursue this path, why we think it's a life 'superpower' and how it can help you escape the hamster wheel of life decades earlier than most people could ever dream.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Discussion of the Why of FI as an introduction to the concept of Financial Independence and why we’ve chosen this path and this community Jonathan’s explanation of the “hamster wheel” and what the normal ‘American dream’ looks like and why this will keep you chained to this treadmill for decades to come This is not a pursuit of freedom, but a pursuit of “stuff” You’re working full-time to afford these things that you can’t use because you’re working all the time

The important thing to focus on is what makes you happy Time is your most important resource This is not about liking or hating your job. This is about freedom and taking the power back in your life The concept of drifting and Jonathan’s questions that can help you highlight this feeling in your life

It is so hard for most people to find a way out of this life because they don’t have the time, energy or resources to figure a way out. But FI is the path out! FI is a truly optimistic message where everyone can make a difference going forward in their lives Instead of buying stuff, we’re looking to buy our magic ‘perpetual money making machine’ We try to keep our savings rate as high as possible and investing in low cost index funds

This is not a get rich quick scheme. You need to learn what you don’t know to get on the path to Financial Independence FI is about math and your savings rate FI is not about deprivation through frugality, but about making smart choices and optimizing things in life

How Brad saves a significant amount of money by being smart about a handful of things like house, car, cell phone, cable and food Jonathan is a ‘reluctant frugalist’ but he has seen the value in pursuing FI FI gives you the power to choose what you do with your time and if you intend to work going forward

You can start tomorrow to save money and pursue this path Now you can focus on what you actually want to do with your time in the future Most people’s lives would collapse within 3 months if they lost their jobs, but pursuing FI changes that entirely and gives you power to choose what you do You also have flexibility that would have been previously impossible 

Aug 28, 2017
037R | Slow Travel

Today we discuss Episode 37 with Scott Rieckens, the filmmaker behind the FI documentary Playing with FIRE, plus emails and voicemails from the community and a discussion of reaching FI in a high cost of living area.

The great American Eclipse and our viewing Brad’s vacation and how they spent $0 on hotels for 16 nights The value of slow travel and why it makes vacation dramatically better.

Vacation doesn’t have to be stressful How expectations management is so crucial to life and on vacation Time is such a crucial tool Scott’s slow travel with his family and the yearlong adventure they are on visiting family and friends while filming the documentary There should be creativity and excitement in your future and your decisions The list of things that made Scott’s wife happy on a weekly basis and how this was an inspired decision by Scott

Sell your value first and then grow your network. How Scott did a masterful job at this by creating a network and even leaning on our network How Brad connected instantly with Scott and wanted to help him

This documentary can help take the concept of FI to the mainstream Email from Paige on limiting beliefs and how it isn’t “impossible” to live in a high cost of living area for under $50,000 per year Paige thinks that you may need to be a “little more intense” to hit FI on a low income, but that it is certainly possible and it is all about savings rate

How we all have limiting beliefs that we need to work through to “think about a problem a little bit differently” Brad’s decision to leave Long Island, and how that helped the path to FI. But could they have been more intense and stayed and still reached FI?

You can be on the path to FI moving forward no matter where you’ve been or what “bad” decisions you’ve made in the past There’s no perfect person or situation for FI – just try to be a little better going forward to make positive changes Email from Art Vandelay and how they love the show and have made a lot of positive changes since listening.

Should we stop the FIRE from spreading? We need local leaders for ChooseFI local meetups so please reach out to us

Voicemail from James about his successful trip from Nashville to Europe using travel rewards points

Voicemail from Rachel about how to hack your TSP to save money on your student loans


Aug 25, 2017
037 | Playing With FIRE | Documentary | Scott Rieckens

In today's podcast we speak with Scott Rieckens, the creative force behind the upcoming FI documentary called 'Playing With Fire' and we learn about his FI journey and this exciting project. In Today’s Podcast we cover:

A discussion with Scott Rieckens, the creative force behind the upcoming FI documentary ‘Playing With Fire’ we’ve discussed on previous episodes Scott is devoting the next year of his life to create this documentary about the FI community Scott’s background story and how he found FI How they were on the ‘hamster wheel’ just working to pay for the lifestyle they were living The importance of a side hustle or entrepreneurship Scott consumes a lot of media, including podcasts and found the Tim Ferriss show especially valuable Lifestyle creep in their living arrangements in Coronado How Scott found Mr. Money Mustache and the FI community through the Tim Ferriss podcast Living a life of happiness while pursuing Financial Independence

You don’t need $10 million (or a similar amount) to retire early How Scott enjoyed the positive nature of the FI community How Scott presented the FI concept to his wife and the thought of ‘why isn’t everyone doing this?’ How Scott framed FI to his wife with the focus on happiness Looking at expenses in the framework of a 10-year timeline Scott’s wife’s list of the things that make her happy on a weekly basis Considering moving out of Coronado and California generally:

Geographic arbitrage How your entire life costs less when you leave a high cost of living area How they approached the decision to move out of Coronado and what that process looked like How moving allowed Scott to take a year of his life to create the FI documentary Playing With Fire Scott’s wife was not only on board with the decision, but she wanted to travel in a camper and go on an adventure Pursuits that matter to them that they now can pursue on the journey to FI

The timeline behind Scott’s FI journey and decision to create the FI documentary Scott’s surprise that no FI documentary already existed and his start approaching us at ChooseFI to discuss the project How the idea of FI can be life-changing for so many people How this documentary can help spread the message of FI

How he decided to call the documentary ‘Playing With Fire’ Hot seat questions Scott’s biggest financial mistake was taking on too much student loan debt Scott would have ‘house hacked’ to buy property in his college town if he could do it all over again 

Aug 21, 2017
036R | The Country Club of FI

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Discussion of the community aspect of Episode 36 with JL Collins There is a yearning and desire for community meetups with other members of the Financial Independence community

The spread of these community meetups and longer Chautauqua and Camp events throughout the world The ever growing FI community in the Richmond, VA area where Jonathan and Brad live How much money could we all save if we had like-minded people in our communities?

Discussion of Millennial Revolution’s article The Five Types of People You’ll Meet on Your Way to FI Spreading the concept of FI with people who may be predisposed to it who are already in your life

The new MMM Headquarters in Longmont, CO that Pete just opened and the value of that community Voicemail from Chris from our community on how he has saved over $146,000 since listening to ChooseFI a few months ago just by making small changes in his life Voicemail from Aaron in San Diego on VTSAX and potentially diversifying with other index funds for small and mid-cap funds Hard L’s comment on the Vanguard Wellington fund and why he thinks it compares favorably to VTSAX and Jonathan’s response to this actively managed fund and why we don’t necessarily recommend it Voicemail from Tinian from Life Outside the Box on using a daily journal each morning to set his intentions for the day and to express gratefulness How to support ChooseFI Travel Rewards voicemail from Marilyn on how travel rewards helped her imagine possibilities for her future Explanation of the show notes for the ChooseFI podcast Frugal Win of the Week from Gwen from Fiery Millennials Frugal win of the week from Sara Itunes Reviews of the Week and book winners Links from the show: The Five Types of People You’ll Meet on Your Way to FI at Millennial Revolution Introducing the MMM World Headquarters Building Life Outside the Marilyn’s episode on Radical Personal Finance Marilyn’s Infant Dental Center Fiery Millennials Zenni Optical Books Mentioned in the Show: The Five Minute Journal

Aug 18, 2017
036 | Community, Chatauqua & AMA with JL Collins

In today's podcast with Jim Collins from The Simple Path to Wealth and JL Collins NH, we discuss the Chautauquas, in-person events plus an 'Ask Me Anything' series of questions from our ChooseFI community. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Part 3 with JL Collins from JLCollinsNH, the Simple Path to Wealth and Stock Series fame Jim’s discussion of Alan from PopUp Business School and how the UK Chautauqua came to be The value of in-person events like Camp Mustache and the Chautauquas Ask Me Anything segment with Jim with questions from our audience and private Facebook group Question from Amber from our Facebook group about the value of annuities, reverse mortgages and fixed income items Jim only recommends investing in stocks and bonds. The goals that Jonathan spoke of in the question can be balanced by allocating different percentages to stocks and bonds Jim believes annuities and reverse mortgages are laden with fees that make them poor investment vehicles Annuities pay a guaranteed income which appeals to many people, but since you are buying them from an insurance company you are buying this contract and you will never see your principal ever again. That is the annuity contract The insurance company is betting on your death essentially based on actuarial tables for the annuity

Question from Emily on international equity allocation Jim doesn’t see the need to hold international funds because VTSAX contains a significant international allocation with US multinationals, the expense ratios are higher and there is more risk because of lack of transparency in emerging economies

Question from Jeff on when to move from 100% equities to holding some bonds

Question from community member Brad on how to mechanically rebalance your funds Jim does his rebalancing within his IRAs so there is no taxable event He rebalances approximately once per year

Question from David on being too aggressive and Japan’s prior decades performance Jim believes what Japan is going through is a “Black Swan” event and this is theoretically possible this will happen to the US

Questions from Felisa on Jim’s thoughts on inflation Some inflation is normal and to be expected, but runaway inflation is extraordinarily scary

Question from Matt on why Jim is in a different bond fund than he recommends on his site The Key to the Simple Path to Wealth is buying and holding for the long term You always need to approach your life and FI journey with an open mind and be willing to be flexible and change as the facts change Simplicity and flexibility 

Aug 14, 2017
035R | The 4% Rule

In today's podcast we discuss our takeaways from Episode 35 with Big Ern from Early Retirement Now, plus paying off mortgages and student loans early and frugal wins of the week from the community. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup after Episode 35 with Big Ern from Early Retirement Now This episode was long awaited, but was necessary to wait for until we provided the background of FI for the audience Ern’s information made us both feel more hopeful for the future of FI and sequence of returns risk Both ‘savers’ and ‘early retirees’ can’t both simultaneously win with the sequence of returns risk Savings rate is the most important part of living a FI lifestyle and succeeding with long-term savings The concern with sequence of returns risk is only when you see a prolonged and significant drop in the markets. To the tune of 5+ years and 20%+ drop Question from the audience to Big Ern about inflation being included in the safe withdrawal rate and Ern’s response Ern does indeed take inflation into account when he performs his calculations How does preserving your capital factor into “success” when looking at your FI plan? How does inflation factor into it? Your personal look at what constitutes success – it always depends on “facts on the ground” for your personal situation Should you pay off your mortgage early? How sequence of return risk factors into this decision The math suggests you should always invest the money and not pay off your mortgage early However, there is a great psychological allure to paying off your mortgage What would have happened if Jonathan had invested his money in VTSAX instead of paying off his student loans? Dollar cost averaging versus lump sum investing Input from Danny from our Facebook group on flexibility and early retirement The value of mentally rehearsing what would happen in a downturn to avoid selling at the bottom How are people taking action in our ChooseFI Facebook community this week to improve their lives in one simple way Travel Rewards voicemail from Andrew about his successful trip to Argentina How to win with travel rewards: flexibility with your dates of travel, plus planning far enough in advance, being ready to pull the trigger when you find availability and then looking at all your options when booking with UR points Frugal win of the week from Ashley: 300,000 miles on her Toyota in 18 years! The value of finding a trustworthy mechanic ChooseFI meetups are popping up across the country Itunes reviews of the week Links from the show: Early Retirement Now JL Collins NH Dominick Quartuccio (link for the book Design Your Future)

Aug 11, 2017
035 | Sequence of Return Risk | Early Retirement Now

In today's conversation with Big Ern from Early Retirement Now we discuss safe withdrawal rates, sequence of returns risk and much more.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: A wide ranging discussion with Big ERN from Early Retirement Now on sequence of return risk and safe withdrawal rates

This is Big Ern’s first podcast! And a thank you to him for helping with Paul’s case study Ern’s thoughts on social security Ern’s origin story and his thoughts on early retirement He had a student loan that he invested since he went to college for free. So he ended up with a positive net worth after graduation Why do we need to be concerned with sequence of return risk?

Ern says that sequence of returns risk is the “reason why people run out of money in retirement” from getting unlucky with low returns in the first 5-10 years What are “real returns”? Adjusted for inflation

The years to worry about having poor returns are the first 5 to 10 years and it has to be prolonged and significant Hypothetical example of the 4% rule and what Ern thinks about it

Resources to game out your chances of success Example of sequence of returns risk for an early retiree who is withdrawing money from the portfolio How sequence of return risk impacts the saver and buy-and-hold investor If you’re a saver during downturns, you benefit significantly

Buy and hold investors should not be impacted as long as they didn’t sell during the downturn Talking through the ‘stubborn’ 4% withdrawals and the impact on success of early retirement. Ern’s look at the real-world ramifications of a market drop and withdrawals ‘If you’re unlucky, you can get screwed twice by sequence of return risk’ example

How to alleviate sequence of return risk Mortgaging your future contributions by buying on margin and front-loading Spreading out your contributions to the equities market over years lowers your sequence of returns risk Ern’s thoughts on front-loading and a description of his investments

Thoughts on Bogle’s prediction that 4% returns can be expected in the near future The “4% rule of thumb” What worries Ern about someone retiring early in the next 10 years? What do you do if you inherit $100,000? Ern’s thoughts on 30x expenses saved up and what his safest safe withdrawal rate would be

Aug 07, 2017
034R | What’s Your Risk Tolerance?

In today's podcast we discuss our thoughts on Part 2 of the Stock Series conversation with JL Collins, risk tolerance, doomsday scenarios and rebalancing.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup and the episode Part 2 of our discussion with JL Collins from The Simple Path to Wealth and JLCollinsNH

What do you do when there’s a large crash in the stock market? Big takeaway from Jim’s episode You can’t sell at the bottom, so you need to steel yourself mentally beforehand

If you’re starting investing, one of the best thing that can happen to you is a market crash You can’t time the market There are doomsday scenarios, but since they are so rare it is silly to plan for the absolute worst case and ignore the other 99.9% likelihood

Follow the math when making the best decision with the information at hand Question from Kevin about when to “take all your chips off the table” That event would have to be extraordinary and destructive for our country and economy

Spend less than you earn and invest in broad based index funds Feedback from Nancy on asset allocation and comfort with volatility and her belief that you shouldn’t take a lot of risk if you don’t need to Jonathan’s example of rebalancing and a hypothetical $1,000,000 portfolio and a 50% market crash

Equities will return significantly higher than bonds over the long term. Bonds do “smooth the ride” but lower long-term returns You want to rebalance in accounts like IRAs, 401ks that won’t trigger a taxable event Brad’s example of his parents investing strategy Over the long term which option is truly riskier?

Investing in stocks and facing volatility or lowering your expected return by investing in cash or bonds The 4% rule is based on getting a return while pulling out money each year, so you can’t just stick it in cash and expect the money to last forever

The power of the ‘perpetual money making machine’ to last forever

ChooseFI was mentioned on Forbes as one of three financial podcasts for people of all ages to listen to

We need panelists to select the finalists for the business building contest with Alan Donegan Lance on our Facebook group pulled the trigger on FI today – congrats!

What did Brad and Jonathan put into place this week as one life optimization? Jonathan’s salad hacks Jonathan is now saying “stimulus and response” out loud when finding something habitual in his life ChooseFI is not just limited to finances. It is a life optimization project Voicemail from Scott (Brad’s brother) Frugal wins of the weeks Itunes reviews of the week 

Aug 04, 2017
034 | The Stock Series Part 2 | JL Collins

This podcast is Part 2 of the Stock Series discussion with JL Collins, author of The Simple Path to Wealth and the website JLCollinsNH; we discuss the Great Depression and the mindset you need to be a successful long-term investor, plus how to allocate between equities and bonds.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Part 2 of the Stock Series conversation with Jim Collins If you have not yet listened to Part 1 you can listen to it here Be sure to check out the associated Friday Roundup here for Brad and Jonathan's take-aways

A discussion of what happened during the Great Depression and the Crash of 1929 A large portion of the crash was due to many people buying stock on margin Jim’s explanation of leverage and buying stocks on margin Jim’s Four Lessons to watch out for Making peace in your mind when a crash/correction happens. What caused it?  Psychology or something legitimate?

Unless you believe the US economy has permanently collapsed, then “the market always goes up” over time according to Jim Jim says the best thing that can happen to a young investor is a market crash as you get to purchase stocks “on sale” for potentially years Savings rate is the most crucial aspect for the FI community since it allows you to continually invest in good markets and bad Bull markets and bear markets are a part of life.

We need to toughen up mentally to prepare for both Jim’s explanation of the 40 year period starting in 1975 showing the calamities that happened and yet how far the market increased Nobody knows what the next 40 years will hold, but we have a dynamic economy What stage of investment life are you in? It varies depending on your age Wealth building and wealth preservation stages and the discussion surrounding both When you’re in the wealth building stage you need to have your psychology correct: Keep pumping money into the market and take advantage of sales when the market goes down 100% equities in the wealth building stage per Jim When you stop working for money you are in the wealth preservation stage What percentage should you have in stocks and bonds in the wealth preservation stage

The more you have in bonds the smoother your ride will be, but the lower your return will be Your tolerance for volatility will determine your percentage in equities and bonds Would Jim ever consider going back to 100% equities? Mathematically you are always better off in stocks than bonds over the long-term

Even Jim contemplated selling during recent market plunges, so everyone is susceptible to this 

Jul 31, 2017
033R |Highlighting the Hamster Wheel

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Unpacking Episode 33 with Dominick Quartuccio and our takeaways from the episode

Intentionality allows you to purchase your freedom, and we want to expand that intentionality beyond just personal finance

Our focus on living a happier, more content and optimized life The ultimate luxury is the ‘perpetual money making machine’ to provide time and focus on what matters in life

How Dominick spent $28,000 this year on personal development. Have you spent any time or money on your own personal development?

Spending on things that you value, and directing money and resources as such How to improve your life for $0 and learn and grow Brad’s challenge: Make one change in your life this week that will make your life better

Break some negative habit and disrupt it in your life this week Jonathan’s change this week: Eating carrots and salad without salad dressing Meditation and breathing.

Take one deep breath. Brad’s description of his meditation practice What gets you excited or nervous about life coming up in the near future? How are you expanding your horizons?

How Jonathan has learned by starting ChooseFI and how it has been the excitement in his life this past year Discussion surrounding guilt over not feeling content with your “perfect” life Limiting beliefs: Don’t let them hold you back and also go back and analyze the beliefs and stories you have been carrying with you your entire life

The value of making small changes over time to improve your health Jonathan’s search for better tea

Feedback from the audience on Episode 33 with Dominick

  • Frugal Wins of the Week: Holly saved money by not going to the movies and bought the game Outburst
  • Adlay fixed his air conditioner after watching videos on replacing a capacitor on YouTube
  • Quote from Paige how she only has control over her spending and savings rate
  • Discussion about contest with Alan Donegan on building a business Voicemail from Jessica with new segment we’re calling “Highlighting the Hamster Wheel”
  • Voicemail from Royce who used our voiceover guy for his side hustle contest submission
  • Voicemail from Thomas about a side hustle to teach English to Chinese students Itunes reviews 
Jul 28, 2017
033 | Design Your Future | Dominick Quartuccio

In today's podcast we speak with Dominick Quartuccio from and the author of the book Design Your Life about disrupting your behaviors and 'creating a future you can't wait to live into.'

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our guest is Dominick Quartuccio the author of Design Your Future who is here to talk about ‘designing a future you can’t wait to live into’ This is a very personal episode for Brad, as Dom is a close friend and the person Brad goes to for advice and motivation FI is focused on freedom and that is what Dominick focuses on, but with an emphasis on energy People in Dominick’s world were asking questions about ‘where to go from here’, even though they seemingly have everything

Community is such an essential aspect of life We all need to be intentional and not drift through life Dominick’s explanation of the term ‘drift’ as defined by Napoleon Hill and what happens if you live an unintentional life How to know if you’re drifting in life? Are you reacting based on fear? Progress is an essential aspect of being a human

What is on your life horizon that gets you ‘excited like a kid on Christmas morning’? How beliefs impact how you live your life and how Dom’s belief held him back from leaving his corporate job Systemic spending. How Dom’s gym impacts his entire system An awakening: Most are unintentional, but Dominick advises looking for intentional awakenings

Disrupting: How to disrupt your behaviors, stories, etc. Possible disruptions would be to abstain from a behavior for a period of time (“no Netflix for 60 days”, etc.) ‘The space between a stimulus and the response’ How to interrupt your normal response after a standard stimulus How 95% of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, etc. fall below your conscious thinking

How the 5% of conscious thought can impact and change the 95% of habits, behaviors and become habitual How to design the future you can’t wait to live into Writing your own eulogy to focus on the ‘celebration of life’ How long do you want to live? What do you want to experience in life? 

What did you leave behind – what lives on beyond you? Shifting your focus to realize you have ‘ultimate authority’ over your life Dominick’s Eulogy A 90 day action plan to set a defined goal to help design your future

The value of small changes and process improvements over time What happens to your energy when working through a 90 day plan and tips to sustain the plan How to curate an internal state that makes you stronger Hot Seat Questions Meditation is Dom’s favorite life hack Dom’s biggest financial mistake: spending too much money launching his business 

Jul 24, 2017
032R | The Checkpoints of FI

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss Episode 32 with Joel from FI 180 on the 'Milestones of FI', plus a life hack voicemail from Noah and Frugal Wins of the Week from our Facebook community.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup after the Milestones of FI episode with Joel from FI 180 We’re having a FI get together in Richmond and hope to expand beyond Richmond

The gamification aspect of personal finance and the milestones When your ‘financial freedom clock’ starts and discussion of where certain types of debt plays into the calculation Financial freedom clock equals positive net worth and all junk debt is paid off Milestone two is when you have a $100,000 net worth (when Personal Capital starts calling you for a personal consultation)

The next milestone is ‘FU Money’ and there is discussion on where this fits into the continuum as the concept is nebulous

Should there be a milestone before $100k net worth and FU money? Adding in ‘checkpoints’ along the way on the journey to FI in addition to milestones Milestone four is ‘Half FI’ which means you have 12.5x your annual expenses saved up

Milestone five is ‘Lean FI’ which means you have enough to cover all your core expenses for life (not including your discretionary expenses) The discussion surrounding the math and psychology of paying off your mortgage or not paying it off The next milestone is the “crossover point” where your investments earned more than you did from working in a given month

The many catchphrases of Brad and Jonathan Milestone 7 is Flex FI, followed by Financial Independence as Milestone 8 and Milestone 9 is Fat FI The power of the concept of Flex FI and how you have an 82% chance of succeeding even at this milestone

The conversation surrounding where Brad is on the path to Financial Independence and where the side hustle factors into the calculation Our ask that the community helps us refine the milestones and checkpoints

How Joel’s FI journey and drawdown strategies can be a case study going forward Voicemail from Noah from Money Metagame on hacks to save on utilities

Take action and make the calls to compare prices on auto insurance, utilities, etc. Frugal win of the week from Michelle about unclaimed property Frugal win of the week from Vicki about Magical Iced Coffee Input from Don and Scott about buying cards and gift giving

Focus on our discussion about gift giving from a prior episode and the Five Love Languages

Jul 21, 2017
032 | The Milestones of FI

In today's podcast we discuss the Milestones of FI with Joel from FI 180; this is a new look at the path to FI and the milestones along the way. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The ‘Milestones of FI’ with Joel from FI 180 We welcome Joel as our first repeat guest on Choose FI The Milestones of FI as a ‘master’s degree’ journey after Dave Ramsey’s baby steps Joel plans to be fully FI in January 2018 Joel is completely debt free and is shooting for $25,000 per year in other spending FI creates a “magic money making machine” that spits out yearly ‘checks’ (the 4% rule) FI is the ultimate luxury purchase to save for this ‘magic money making machine’ The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps explained To get started on the Milestones of FI: Debt Free and/or $1 of positive net worth First FI Milestone: $100,000 net worth when you first start getting calls from Personal Capital to setup a phone consultation 2nd FI Milestone: ‘FU Money’ set; 2-3 years of yearly expenses saved up 1st and 2nd milestone can be similar depending on your yearly spending The 3rd milestone is ‘Half FI’ which puts you halfway to FI in total spending, but actually more than that in terms of time on your FI path The path to FI is not linear and Joel explains Milestone #4 is ‘Lean FI’ which means you have enough money to stop working forever if you cut out the discretionary aspects of your budget (about 30% of Joel’s budget) Lean FI is an ‘emergency fund that would last forever’ as it covers your housing, food and other essentials Lean FI is perfect for people with a side hustle to do it with no risk The ‘crossover point’ could be another Milestone of FI. This is where your portfolio increase is more than the income you’re earning from your job The next milestone is ‘Flex FI’: This is a ‘5% rule’ or 20x your annual spending in your total net worth Flex FI is only viable for people who can build flexibility into their lives from year to year depending on the market returns, etc. FI is not one milestone but a smooth continuum towards this goal Flex FI has an 82% chance of success according to the Trinity Study (75% stocks, 25% bonds) Financial Independence is the 7th 25x your annual spending. All the work you do after you reach FI is completely optional. Now you can do what you want with your time. When you reach FI you can pick and choose what you want to do at work and in life The 8th milestone is ‘Fat FI’: This is 30x your annual spending which is the “closest thing to a sure thing” you can get in life Where is Brad in milestone continuum? Where is Jonathan? What does Alexis and Joel’s milestone celebration look like? Links from the show: The Milestones of FI at Mad Fientist’s FI Laboratory cFireSim Early Retirement Now Fiery Millennials Personal Capital (affiliate link) Slowly Sipping Coffee

Jul 17, 2017
031R | FI Documentary?

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss travel rewards, flipping holidays upside down, buying presents, the upcoming FI Documentary and much more.

Submit your applications for the contest to win a one-on-one business coaching relationship with Alan Donegan from PopUp Business School

Brad’s slow travel vacation through New York State this August How we’ll publish episodes while on vacation and living a FI lifestyle

Discussion of Episode 31 on travel rewards What to do with your strategy after Chase cards Clarification of Brad’s past and future travel rewards strategy Noah’s feedback about an alternate option for staying under the Chase 5/24 rule Feedback from the audience:

Pastor FI on how he switches Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Feedback from Frank on not doing things on holidays or other busy times. Don’t wait in line “with the lemmings” If you’re busy all the time, you need to come up with strategies to make your life better

How Jonathan feels that buying cards for holidays are a terrible waste of money

Brad and Laura don’t exchange presents for any holidays/birthdays/etc. Jonathan’s spending habits for presents for his friends and family

How essential the concept of progress is in the pursuit of FI and the pursuit of happiness

Voicemail from Scott Rieckens on how he’s starting a documentary about the FI community How we can grow the FI movement through this documentary and by spreading the word We’re going to have Scott on the podcast and he’s going to tell us about his Kickstarter campaign for the documentary

Question from Bonnie about tax implications in early retirement Response from Keith from the Wealthy Accountant Follow up from

Brad on action he took to sell his comic book collection Email from

David how he wants to hire Jonathan’s wife Dani to do an audio book version of the book he intends to publish

Frugal wins of the week from our community Can you share items with your neighbors and save money? 

Jul 14, 2017
031 | Travel Rewards What Comes After Chase | Teach Me How To Disney

In today's podcast we discuss Part 2 of our Travel Rewards series including what to do after you've focused on Chase credit cards plus whether you should focus on one trip or a general strategy.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Part 2 of the travel rewards podcast series on where to go when you’re done with the Chase credit card options Does it make sense to go after cards for a particular trip like Walt Disney World or should you focus on Chase cards while you are under the “5/24 rule?” Brad and his wife Laura are both trying to get back under 5/24 and waiting to open up cards

If you are doing this with a spouse you can realistically open 10 Chase credit cards (5 each) What cards would you get from other banks such as American Express, Citibank, Barclaycard and Capital One? American Express has a one bonus per card per lifetime rule Amex has a transferable points program called Membership Rewards that is a quality program (similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards)

The transfer partners we like from Chase Why we like “fixed value” cards such as Arrival Plus and Venture To branch out beyond Chase cards or not? If you’re a member of the FI community it would be hard to ignore the Chase cards to focus on a specific trip like Disney

For people not aware of travel rewards, a “quick win” like booking the Disney Dolphin hotel is a great way to get huge value from your points Buying Disney tickets from Disney does not count as “travel” for credit cards, so you need to use Undercover Tourist (or aRes Travel for Disneyland)

Orlando International Airport is a huge hub for Southwest, which is our favorite airline rewards program Southwest does not limit award ticket availability – it is just based on cash price You have a lot of flexibility with Southwest Airlines miles Flexibility will help you succeed with travel rewards 

Jul 10, 2017
030R | The Side Hustle “Unpacked”

In today's podcast we have the biggest announcement in the history of ChooseFI thanks to Alan from PopUp Business School, so be sure to listen and get your responses in ASAP.


Brad’s thoughts on not doing what everyone else is doing: July 4th, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.

Jonathan’s wife loved the episode with Alan and she is going to use these skills on a side hustle herself

You don’t need a lot of money to start a business – the big takeaway from the episode for Brad Bartering skills and maximizing unused resources were two takeaways for Jonathan’s wife

Mutual benefit from establishing relationships even when you can’t see where the value might come from Sell your value first and then create the product or service You won’t know if your product or service is legitimate until you actually make people buy. That’s the only real feedback Feedback from Luis on the ChooseFI private Facebook group on his wife’s side hustle

How Brad’s business history set him up for success, as he failed and learned along the way

How to find low-cost ways to attempt new businesses

The different mental approach when using a side hustle as a means to get to FI Brad’s personal approach to his side hustles and what would happen if they ‘went away’ Huge announcement of a competition: Alan will work with one winner one-on-one for 12-24 months to help them build their own side hustle business Submit your voicemail submission on our website and tell us why we should select you How this will impact the entire ChooseFI community We’ll bring in our other in-house experts on this project as well Small world stories of meeting other members of the FI community Email from Evan from Bellingar Estates Winery in Oregon What to think about mentally in good times and bad in the financial markets 

Jul 07, 2017
030 | The Side Hustle | The Unspoken Lever of FI

In Today’s Podcast we cover: How Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School has turned starting businesses on its head similar to how FI has turned personal finance on its head and caused us to think differently

How starting a business is truly one of the ‘pillars of Financial Independence’ Brad and Jonathan started up their own business with ChooseFI based on similar principles to what Alan is teaching You need to know what you’re running to in FI and not just what you’re running from with your old job Alan’s FI journey and his goal to get to FI by the age of 40

How Alan was nearly scared off from starting a business by the course he took through the British government with Business Link Started up PopUp Business School with his business partner Simon Why Alan believes you don’t need any startup capital, business plans, etc. to start a business Story of a popup café/restaurant in London and how this person didn’t spend a dollar to get started

The value of networking and genuine human connection What stops you from starting a business? Money is the biggest issue.  Confidence and scared that it will fail are two others and knowing what to do on a day-to-day basis

The value of learning with no risk 5 ways to start a business with no risk

#1: What can you get for free? Actionable steps: Search on Google “where can I get X for free”

#2: What can you borrow? Story of minivan rental business and how they borrowed the minivan and saved 99% of the original business plan amount The only way to truly test your business and get an honest response is if you ask for a sale and see if they buy

#5: Sell Your Value Before You Create It: Sell the idea first, get the money, then produce the content/product Story of Dennis selling lasagna and collecting the money first in order to purchase the ingredients

#3: Could you barter instead of using money? In order to feel comfortable asking for things, focus on relationships and giving value. We all have skills that others would value

#4: Sell stuff you already have Another option is to sell someone else’s stuff and split the profits! Brad’s idea for an online consignment store

How passion and helping others motivates you to work on your business How Alan’s business is helping those who most need the support and how people pay $0 to attend PopUp Business School Hot Seat Questions Favorite life hack: Geographic Arbitrage 

Jul 03, 2017
029R | Valuist

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss our key takeaways from Episode 29: The Reluctant Frugalist vs. the Aspiring Minimalist, plus feedback from the audience as well as two of our in-house experts.

How Jonathan used travel rewards points to book two round-trip flights to South Africa to visit his wife’s family. Only 128,000 points! How to think through a travel rewards redemption and where to start

The essential nature of the psychology when considering financial independence

How to approach your spouse/significant other about FI and what to avoid – namely the word “retirement” What is Brad willing to spend significant money on? Email from Bo about a new term: A ‘Valuist’ and how this applies to Brad Feedback from our Facebook group from Christopher about a ‘false dichotomy’ Feedback from Jessica – there are no rules of being a minimalist, it’s a journey and a mindset Voicemail from Geoffrey about reducing stuff and choice with a cool challenge with your clothes How the KonMari method tidying has transformed lives How to have a conversation with friends and coworkers about FI when they know nothing about it The difficulties of talking about FI at work and how to navigate that Know your audience when discussing FI and figure out an approach that will resonate with people Update from in-house experts: Millionaire Educator released his 2017 Free Money tables Big Ern responds to Mark’s question on the pluses and minuses of ETFs and mutual funds and how to choose between the two New in-house expert: Noah from Money Metagame who will share life hacks Voicemail from Noah about how to save on purchases using discount gift cards as payment Voicemail from Marilyn challenging the ‘sacred cow’ of always buying used cars and how it can be a smarter decision to buy a less expensive new car that you plan to keep for a long time Can a car loan make sense if you have a lower interest rate? How to negotiate on purchases by mass emailing multiple competitors and Brad’s challenge to the audience Frugal wins of the week from our private Facebook group Book giveaway and iTunes review Links from the show: Decision Fatigue article at Wikipedia Headspace Mad Money Monster: Early Retirement Resistance - When Friends Push Back 1500 Days ESI Money Mr. Money Mustache Millionaire Educator’s 2017 Free Money! Tax tables Early Retirement Now Money Metagame Gift Card Wiki Books Mentioned in the Show: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Jun 30, 2017
029 | The Aspiring Minimalist vs the Reluctant Frugalist

In today's podcast we go through a discussion of the mindset differences between a 'reluctant frugalist' like Jonathan and an aspiring minimalist like Brad. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The reluctant frugalist (Jonathan) vs. the mindset of the aspiring minimalist (Brad)

How both these mindsets are valid and strong approaches to the concept of Financial Independence How do you talk to your spouse or significant other about financial independence? Voicemail from Royce about how he can get his wife on board with FI? You need to have a conversation with your significant other about what you want out of life and where you want to go as a team

The pursuit of FI can bring you closer together as it can make you wealthier and happier Jonathan’s story about FI and his wife plus a story of the ‘addictive nature’ of buying stuff How Jonathan changed his entire life with the pursuit of FI FI as the ultimate life hack

You need to see the other person’s motivation and incentives when trying to persuade them Being near or at FI transforms your relationships with your family and friends

How Brad aspires to be a minimalist and live in a hotel Excerpt from Physician on Fire’s article: Minimalism vs. Frugality Frugality and the scarcity mindset How people outside the FI community have to deal with a cash flow scarcity mentality

The differences between a minimalist and a frugal person How free your brain becomes when you remove the clutter from your rooms and your life How Brad’s daughters are different by nature regarding minimalism and clutter

Would you throw out all the items in your house that you haven’t used for some set period of time? 90 days?  1 year? The sharing economy has changed the value of ownership Jonathan’s board game obsession and the value he gets from buying things What a week in Jonathan’s FI future life looks like A minimalist buys one item that fulfills multiple purposes, but is quite expensive and high quality Brand names: Is there any value?

Can you actually find a break-even point on certain purchases? The wardrobe differences between minimalists and frugal people How your brain operates better when you don’t make as many decisions and avoid ‘decision fatigue’ A minimalist doesn’t want a lawn/yard whereas a frugal person enjoys doing it themselves 

Jun 26, 2017
028R | Lending money to Family

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss tax-deferred accounts, the Roth IRA conversion ladder, frugal wins of the week, an 'expert answer' from the Millionaire Educator as well as the Hot Seat with community member Chad!

In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup after Episode 28 where we discussed the order of operations for savings as well as the available ‘buckets’

Brad’s discussion of his new health targets: CrossFit and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and how he saves money through a Gracie Garage

Our preference is to fill your tax-deferred buckets as much as possible Message from Amy on the Facebook group on maxing out Roth IRAs

How the FI community thinks differently in regard to Roth IRAs and investing in general Explaining the Roth IRA conversion ladder

Voicemail from Stephen about the Roth IRA conversion ladder and how the calculation changes when you are making income in FI The essence is living a frugal lifestyle and everything else takes care of itself

Brad’s explanation of how to mentally approach having income in FI and even having a higher income than you anticipated Frugal wins of the week: Call from Eric from our Facebook group about how he saved big on his Chicago apartment The love for the InstantPot from the ChooseFI community Anne Marie raised the deductible on her insurance and saved money on her premiums;

Brad saved on car insurance with Geico Congrats to Eli on his new baby and the newest 529 account!

Question from Scott about 457s and pensions to help with early retirement and the expert answer from the Millionaire Educator

Voicemail from SaraEllen about how to save as a solo entrepreneur in the legal profession and by extension to other professionals as well How you can save on office space by using a coworking space

The Hot Seat with ChooseFI community member Chad How people in the FI community can consider giving back Favorite life hack: Using Swagbucks

The danger of cosigning on someone else’s loan If Jonathan loans someone money he mentally writes it off as never being paid back and that’s how he approaches the decision to loan money

Voicemail from Eron from San Diego on financial advisors and the potential benefits A fee only financial advisor would be the best option for most people (especially in the FI community) 

Jun 23, 2017
028 | Order of Operations | The Buckets | The Roth IRA

In today's podcast we discuss the four different "buckets" available to savers plus an in-depth look at the Roth IRA and the 'Backdoor Roth.' In Today’s Podcast we cover: The order of operations for how you should approach the different “buckets” available to you both for retirement accounts and for your taxable savings Four basic ways for your retirement and investment funds to be taxed Best case is an account similar to the HSA which is not taxed when you put the money in nor when you pull it out

Option 2 is the Roth IRA which is taxed upfront but not when you pull the money out

Option 3 is a traditional IRA, 401k, etc. where it is not taxed when you contribute but is taxed when you withdraw

Option 4 is your regular savings/investment accounts We focus mostly on tax-deferred retirement accounts because that is the best way to lower your taxable income in the current year and reduce your tax liability.

Because of advanced FI concepts such as the ‘Roth IRA conversion ladder’ there is a chance you can pull this money out nearly tax free once you reach financial independence You want to max out your tax-deferred options The FI community looks at this problem differently than traditional financial planners and doesn’t focus on the Roth IRA generally Roth IRA makes sense if you are nearly certain that your tax rate will be higher in retirement than it currently is now (think children under 18)

The issue is this is unknowable at the time of contribution (unless you are at a 0% rate) You can pull out your Roth IRA contributions at any time tax and penalty free Flexibility of your bucket

#4 (taxable savings) is a big positive of that investing option over a Roth IRA The concept of a marginal tax bracket and an understanding of how your income is taxed Financial planners focus on the ‘tax diversity’ play of the Roth versus traditional retirement accounts Income limitations do exist for the Roth IRA

There are also contribution limitations yearly for these accounts How to reduce your Adjusted Gross Income on your tax return to qualify for a Roth IRA The Backdoor Roth IRA option for high income individuals

Discussion of the White Coat Investor article on the Backdoor Roth IRA and how you can convert your money from a nondeductible traditional IRA to a Roth IRA (the ‘backdoor’ Roth) Avoiding the pro-rata calculation How to contribute to the traditional IRA account as a nondeductible contribution and then convert it to a Roth 

Jun 19, 2017
027R | Debunking the Value of the Mortgage Deduction

In today's podcast we highlight our takeaways from Episode 27 with Jay from Slowly Sipping Coffee, plus we discuss the 'Mount Rushmore' of FI and help debunk a lot of the misinformation surrounding the value of the mortgage interest deduction.

In Today’s Podcast we cover:

The Friday Roundup bringing in many aspects of our audience and community plus our thoughts on the Episode 27 with Jay from Slowly Sipping Coffee How to join the Choose FI Facebook group Looking at the great team of Mr. and Mrs. Slowly Sipping Coffee and how they gained flexibility and freedom How they made a game out of personal finance and that enabled them to save big on their credit card bills Just by being more conscious of their spending allowed them to save over 50% of their discretionary spending How ‘grazing’ by shopping at stores like Target can help fuel lifestyle inflation

It’s important how we spend our time. Batch processing with intentionality is a way to fix our inefficient use of time How Jonathan can come up with a system in his life to find a work/life balance between the ChooseFI site and podcast and his ‘real’ life Multitasking is not a real thing What does your life look like post-FI? And when do you start thinking about that life? The Mount Rushmore of Financial Independence: Who do we put on that list? Who would you as the community put on the Mount Rushmore of FI? What do you want to do with your time when you reach FI? Fully Funded Lifestyle Change as an alternative to “retirement for the sake of quitting work” Risk tolerance and cFiresim Article submitted by Luis on CNNMoney on a couple who achieved FI Hot Seat conversation on the Facebook group The power to spread the message beyond of FI beyond this community Message from Austin who is a former student of the Millionaire Educator Voicemail from Ed Mills from the Millionaire Educator on ways to get your children involved in saving money Voicemail from Juan from Finance Clever about the value (or lack thereof) of the mortgage interest deduction and only getting value from it if your itemized deductions are above the standard deduction Brad’s example of the benefit of itemized deductions Feedback from the audience from Grumpus Maximus about retirement calculators and one in particular from Darrow Kirkpatrick at Voicemail from Kris with incredible feedback about the action she took after hearing Noah’s voicemail about removing escrow accounts Voicemail from Steve about the importance of umbrella insurance policies plus feedback from Tiffany about the same More information from Ken about ESPPs and call options 

Jun 16, 2017
027 | Slowly Sipping Coffee | FI vs Risk Tolerance

Today we welcome Jay from Slowly Sipping Coffee to the podcast to talk about his reluctant path to FI, the amazing Mrs. SSC and a Fully Funded Lifestyle Change. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our interview with Jay from Slowly Sipping Coffee How they came up with the name of their blog and how they’d enjoy ‘slowly sipping coffee’ in a more relaxed and free Friday morning

The origin story of their Financial Independence journey: SSC googled and found Mr. Money Mustache SSC already had a spreadsheet where she tracked everything and believed they could retire at 45 before finding the concept of FI How Jay resisted the concept of financial independence because he thought living off $25,000 would be absolute deprivation

The Lightbulb Moment where Jay finally saw the light and started believing in the spreadsheet They set up challenges to cut credit card spending and they reduced spending just by being intentional Eating food at restaurants was a huge portion of their prior budget that they were able to cut Costco can be a great way to save money or it can be an expensive indulgence

How Mrs. SSC is the CFO of their household and the ‘best financial decision’ Jay has ever made How the possibility of layoffs made them consider their lifestyle and what that would look like in FFLC The psychological value of knowing they will ‘come out on top’ even if something bad does happen Have they spoken about Financial Independence and their blog in their real lives? How their friends, family and coworkers react to their FI plans Jay’s mentees and how he is trying to educate them on all things financial How to balance risk with a safe withdrawal rate – Mrs. SSC’s thought process as compared with Jay’s

How you can always keep working due to fear and wanting to pile on your nest egg, but Mrs. SSC’s rebuttal to that You can get to FI without having a six-figure salary Hot Seat questions Favorite life hack: Roasting his own coffee Biggest financial mistake: Cashing out a 401k for absolutely no reason

Advice to your younger self: Don’t spend more than you earn and don’t use student loans for additional expenses 

Jun 12, 2017
026R | Case Study | Part 5 | Final

In today's podcast we discuss our takeaways from Episode 26 with Physician on FIRE plus some exciting developments in the Financial Independence world as well as feedback, questions and comments from the ChooseFI community. In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Friday Roundup after the Physician on FIRE interview from Episode 26 Information for the high income professionals and how it’s important to give details for that aspect of our audience Does the perfect answer exist for high income professionals pursuing FI? It might not be possible to defer enough money to get them out of that high marginal tax rate “A dollar saved is two dollars earned in the 50% tax bracket.” A brilliant quote from Physician on FIRE Everything comes down to living a frugal lifestyle “Doesn’t your spouse deserve a really great lifestyle?” asked the White Coat Investor. “Well yes, and she’ll have one, but she deserves my time.” Responds PoF. The fundamental flaw in the ‘retirement calculators’ that are published online for “normal people.” Your current income is not relevant when considering your retirement number. It is all about your expenses. For new physicians, you need to avoid the blowup in spending on cars and expensive homes when you get that first big paycheck You need to keep your fixed expenses down to a manageable level and you can splurge at the margins on other things Don’t fall into peer pressure to live an expensive lifestyle. Maybe move to a smaller town and practice geographic arbitrage in the US Brad’s own geographic arbitrage in his life moving from Long Island to Richmond, VA Optimized charitable giving with a ‘donor advised fund’ Discussion of the ‘backdoor Roth’ that Physician on Fire mentioned on the episode and the applicability for high income earners A new Camp Mustache event was announced for January 2018 and the tickets are available The ChooseFI private Facebook group is running and extremely vibrant and we’d love for you to join us Scott Rieckens contacted us about a documentary on the FI community that he is embarking on The FI community is on the verge of a breakthrough in the US Brad’s mom is listening to the podcast and had a frugal win of the week Feedback from PastorFI: College hack for student housing Discussing the call from Mark from Student Loan Freedom from Episode 25R about permanent life insurance Feedback from about Ken’s prior call about the ESPP from Olaf. He clarified the tax treatment on the purchase through the Employee Stock Purchase Plan Don’t let paying taxes get in the way of making a smart financial decision Noah from Money Metagame’s call about how to remove escrow to potentially save hundreds of dollars per year Part 5 of the case study with Paul including Paul’s feedback on his daughter’s college plans plus Paul’s summary of the case study Frugal Wins of the Week from the ChooseFI Community Itunes Reviews of the Week and Book Winners Links from the show: Physician on Fire Frugalwoods article on Donor Advised Funds Camp Mustache tickets Join our private Facebook group Scott Rieckens website Mr. Money Mustache on the Tim Ferriss podcast Student Loan Freedom Money Metagame Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia ToDoIst Early Retirement Now Google Docs from Big Ern at Early Retirement Now: Google Doc master file for Safe Withdrawal Rates Big Ern's explanation on how to use this file Doc with Paul's case study numbers with Social Security Doc with Paul's case study numbers without Social Security Fiery Millennials

Jun 09, 2017
026 | Physician on FIRE | FI for Medical Professionals | Financial Freedom vs Financial Independence

Today we welcome the Physician on FIRE to the podcast to talk about his path to FI as well as tips and hacks for other high income and medical professionals to get on the path to Financial Independence.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our guest on the show today is Physician on Fire, who is here to tell us his story as well as some Financial Independence hacks for doctors and other high income individuals His message is for people with high incomes who aren’t looking to live an ultra-frugal lifestyle

What does a conversation look like with a fellow physician in person or on his blog? How difficult is it to delay gratification and not spend significantly when physicians get their “first big paycheck” after many years of not making much money

He recommends physicians paying down their student loan debt so it isn’t hanging over your head Physician on Fire’s own personal history and path towards Financial Independence

He took a “permanent” job at a hospital, which went out of business after 4 years when he lost his job He was financially independent on paper after about a decade of working as an anesthesiologist, but didn’t realize it until he read an article about Mr. Money Mustache How Brad and Physician on Fire each had moments early on in life where a compound interest calculation opened their eyes to the power of compounding over decades

What was Physician on Fire’s plan before he read that article about Mr. Money Mustache? He has a “bigger” FI number than many people, but he wants a margin of safety and wants to potentially spend more in early retirement than he spends now Could he potentially “retire” from medicine and still come back if he so desired?

Are there ways he could make his job better and focus on the aspects of the job that he enjoys? Dealing with high marginal tax brackets and working additional time How does FI impact his “real” life? His wife is excited about the FI lifestyle of living abroad and having more time with POF. Physicians who don’t live in the high cost of living areas on the coasts actually make more money and have lower cost of living Strategies for high income earners pursuing FI: lower your taxable income as much as possible with tax-deferred retirement and HSA accounts Backdoor Roth for high income earners.

You can do this for yourself and your spouse up to $5,500 each His distinction between financial independence and financial freedom and the plan to get there

How he is donating half the profits from the blog through a Donor Advised Fund Hot Seat questions Favorite life hack: Geographic Arbitrage Biggest financial mistake: Building their ‘dream home’ and losing $200,000 upon selling it

Advice for someone starting out in the medical profession: Be smart with the large expenses like housing and cars

Jun 05, 2017
025R | Case Study | Part 4

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss Episode 25 with Keith from the Wealthy Accountant, Part 4 of the case study with Paul including a look at his line-by-line expenses, plus questions and feedback from the audience. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Friday Roundup after Episode 25 with Keith from The Wealthy Accountant The firehose of information that Keith unleashed was incredible! Feedback from the audience about Keith’s episode The value of an S-corp election for small businesses How to find a top tier accountant with passion for helping you When should you form an LLC when starting a side business and are there any benefits of doing so? Danielle’s feedback about our working of “taxable savings.” She used “post-tax savings” which we really like Dominic’s feedback about reinvesting dividends Careers that help you get to FI: Nursing and feedback from the audience on why this is such a positive career on the path to Financial Independence Announcing the ChooseFI private facebook group! Discussion of Camp Mustache Brad’s FI conversation in real life with his friend Justin about $2 per person per meal for dinners How to portion out dinners to save money Laura is going to share her recipes in the new private Facebook group Frugal wins of the week from Jake and Brad Mark Resnick from Student Loan Freedom: Voicemail with a hack on saving money on student loans Discussion of Mark’s voicemail and our request to get one audience member to work with Mark on student loan forgiveness programs Voicemail from Bryce on hacking college How Brad and Jonathan wish they had the knowledge Bryce passed along when they went to college How to start planning early to apply for these scholarships Case study update: Going through Paul’s expenses and analyzing them. What does his post-FI expenses look like? Paul’s expenses drop significantly in his post-FI life $23,000 of his $73,000 annual expenses were on vacations and this can drop significantly in a post-FI life by using travel rewards points and pursuing slow travel Looking at Paul’s actual expenses and what else is “fluff” on top Our update on future case studies: We can’t do these once per month.  More likely 3-5 per year. Jason from Winning Williams is putting together a ‘crowdsourced FI plan’ excel sheet Travel rewards question on how to save on cruises. You can use a ‘fixed value’ card to offset cruise expense Itunes reviews of the week and book giveaway Links from the show: Wealthy Accountant Aubrey’s blog: Dominic’s link from Bogleheads on reinvesting dividends Emiko: to get access to our private Facebook group Winning Williams Money Metagame Seonwoo’s site: FI180 Popup Business School Dash Go Rapid Egg Cooker Student Loan Freedom

Jun 02, 2017
025 | The Wealthy Accountant

In today's podcast we have Keith from The Wealthy Accountant on the show to discuss tax optimization for individuals and small businesses with plenty of tax tips for your FI tool chest.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Keith from the Wealthy Accountant presents his tax optimization strategies for individuals and small business owners Keith is the most knowledgeable accountant we have ever met.

We met him in Florida at Camp Mustache and his exuberance for tax optimization was infectious Keith became the official accountant of Mr. Money Mustache after a presentation at Camp Mustache in Seattle A discussion of how to save FICA taxes by being taxed as an S-Corporation instead of as a pass through entity such as an LLC Keith’s discussion of potential tax law change based on the President’s proposal

For people starting a business, where would Keith start? Business structure, getting kids and spouses involved, etc. Keith believes when you have business income over $50,000 that you should be an LLC taxed as an S-Corp Is there value for someone over the FICA cap in their ‘day job’ for their business to be treated as an S-Corp? Home office deductions vs. renting part of your home to your business entity and how to make it official with a formal contract

What Keith recommends for retirement savings and the rules you need to understand whether you are an employee or if you own a business Keith’s recommendation to speak with your HR department to max out your 401k if they only seemingly offer a certain percentage of your income

Tax optimization strategies for real estate investors including the tangible property rules and how to benefit from expensing items that would have otherwise needed to be depreciated Cost segregation studies and how that can save you money on depreciations Healthcare for small business owners and the lack of options

Discussion of Keith’s writing at The Wealthy Accountant. The goal was for people to “think like an accountant” and to live your life ‘right.’ He believes in saving half your income and investing in broad-based index funds. If you do those 2 things you’ll be successful 

May 29, 2017
024R | How to Hack Your ESPP

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss Episode 24 with Joel and Alexis from FI180 as well as some expert voicemails from Chad Carson about real estate plus Ken talking about ESPP options. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Friday Roundup after Episode 24 with Joel and Alexis from FI 180 Camp Mustache tickets for January 2018 are available for sale, so come and join us! The letter Joel wrote to his younger self and the emotional value of it The sacrifice for living an opulent lifestyle is too great in our opinion as you have finite resources and have to make the best choices Joel and Alexis had a true choice and inflection point where they chose Financial Independence They looked at FI as a game and had fun trying to gain a quicker path to FI. It made them happier and brought them closer together The 72 hour no buying rule that Liz from Frugalwoods informed us about Brad’s new favorite card game: Monopoly Deal Feedback from the audience: Austin’s email about his path to FI with a career that didn’t require a Bachelor’s Degree. He is now earning 6-figures at 25 years of age Itunes review from Derek who is teaching his 5th grade students how to look at money, index fund investing and much more. Geri’s question about reinvesting dividends when you invest in mutual funds. You generally want to reinvest the dividends Question from John about investing in VTSAX in a “taxable” investment and what bucket to put it in? Our advice is to open a standard brokerage account and invest in VTSAX Index fund investing is the most tax efficient investing since there is low turnover and thus lower capital gains that would be taxed in the current year Email from Matt describing how he’s thinking more deeply by listening to our show and reading FI blogs ChooseFI mentions on other blogs FI hack from Ken on ESPPs and Jonathan’s response since he can benefit from it at his job and purchase his company stock at a 10% discount Follow up from our in-house expert on real estate: Chad Carson who gives us a background on how to evaluate the financials behind a rental real estate purchase Travel rewards question about how to review flight and alliance award options. Our  thought is to look at traveling differently and build in flexibility and find saver award availability Travel rewards question about combining Chase Ultimate Rewards points Hot Seat intro music update Itunes reviews and The Simple Path to Wealth book giveaway Links from the show: FI 180 Monopoly Deal card game Winning Williams The Green Swan article: Never Pay Taxes Again Done by Forty article:  Spending is Arbitrary Ken’s blog: Chad Carson’s articles: How to Run the Numbers for Rental Properties How to Travel & Invest in Real Estate - 10 Essential Tools of the Trade Award Hacker

May 26, 2017
024 | FI180 | Make a U-Turn and Choose FI

Today we have Joel and Alexis from on the podcast.  

They changed their financial lives dramatically, going from spending over $100,000 per year to having an 85% savings rate and on the path to FI in just a few short years. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Joel and Alexis from tell their story of how they went from spending over $100,000 per year to having an 85% savings rate FI can only be a few steps away and this story is the perfect example

They bought new cars, a new house and didn’t track their spending at all In 2014 Alexis was in a terrible car accident and that led to the awakening that changed their financial lives. They took the $10,000 they received from the car and invested it in Vanguard

The costs (financial and health) and opportunity costs of a long commute Every month they tried to make one change to improve their finances Their savings rate was only 7% at their lowest and last year it went up to 85% (since lowered to about 75%-80% to add happiness) Joel’s brother is also on a path to FI now and is “racing” them to FI It isn’t a race though – it’s about enjoying the journey and finding happiness

Their happiness has increased after finding this path to FI. “Happiness is the goal” “We were using our spending as a way to try to numb the effects of a workday” They have learned how to cook at home and save money and eat better.

Previously were going out to eat twice per day! Line items from their ‘Our Savings Snowball’ article on what they were previously spending and what they are spending now The awakening when they chose to pursue FI after the car accident in 2014 There are certain things that are in your control and others that aren’t.

Focus on what is in your control Hot Seat Questions Favorite blogs: Mr. Money Mustache and The Wealthy Accountant Favorite life hack: Alexis was not allowed to go shopping without a list and couldn’t buy anything not on the list.

As well as not using a shopping cart or basket Food shopping game called the “$3 rule” where they tried to see how many “luxury items” they had over $3 at Aldi each week How to save big at Aldi on your food bill


May 22, 2017
023R | Case Study | Part 3 | Paul

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss career hacking with ESI Money, Big ERN's analysis of Paul's case study, plus hear our answers to an interesting question posed by audience member Jason about the value of frugality.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Friday Roundup after Episode 23 with ESI from ESI Money Looking at compound interest on the earnings side of a career instead of just on the savings side ESI is now an author on Business Insider. Our question of how he made that connection What jumped out to us from the episode with ESI? Starting at a higher salary, managing the boss, etc. Commonalities of career paths for people pursuing FI and for Second Generation FIRE? Options for seasonal work (such as tax preparation) while pursuing FI Managing the boss: Telling your boss you want to be a high performer and how to quantify it How this sets you up to ‘win’ either in this current job or to land a better job elsewhere The power of networking for Choose FI and our growth Personal relationships matter, even in a digital and connected world Itunes review about us “mainlining the secret truth of the universe”

Our definition of FI being 25x your annual expenses. There is also the conversation of ‘safe withdrawal rates’ Big ERN’s feedback on Paul’s case study and his in-depth analysis of Paul’s early retirement plan ERN’s calculations plus his look at the real-world implication of social security on Paul’s plan Paul’s response to our question about his $70,000 per year of expenses. A full $23,000 is based on travel they took last year With “slow travel” and intentionality they can reduce the cost of their travel while actually traveling more Excluding travel their post-FI expenses are actually only $37,000 Many expenses are reduced once you reach financial independence and Paul has actually identified many of those reductions Feedback from the community: Jason posed a question to us about what we’re “missing out on” by pursuing FI and if the finer things in life are something we should pursue Brad thinks that pursuing FI is a ‘superpower’ that enables him to live a life he enjoys. And if that means “sacrificing” BMWs and Maine Lobster to get there, it is a trade he’s more than willing to make If money is no longer an issue, what changes then? That is the real question Responses from the community on Jason’s question and how they would spend their money College hacking article coming from Edmund Tee on Choose FI Frugal wins of the week from the community Life hack from Steve on life insurance Itunes reviews and winners of The Simple Path to Wealth Links from the show: ESI Money ESI’s article on Business Insider:  I retired at 52 with a $3 million net worth — here are the 10 worst money mistakes anyone can make Early Retirement Now

May 19, 2017
023 | Career Hacking with ESI Money

ESI from ESI Money is on the podcast today talking about Career Hacking and how you can set yourself up to earn millions more over a working career with seven simple steps. In Today's Podcast We Cover: ESI from is here to discuss ways you can increase your earnings through Career Hacking ESI retired at 52 and reaching “financial independence” in his early 40s. He lives in Colorado, which is where many FI bloggers live

Your career is a multi-million dollar asset and it is important to focus on maximizing your earnings There are steps you can take to increase your lifetime earnings while in the same job Start with a higher beginning pay and how to get there Start with a career that has a higher opening pay; negotiate your starting salary; increase your pay through education/degrees How we can use this knowledge and apply it to our kids for ‘second generation fire’

How to get higher than 3% raises per year and how that can lead to millions of dollars of extra income through a career Seven actionable steps to earn more money on yearly raises and grow your career

Step 1: Perform as well as possible in your job Sit down with your boss and discuss expectations and make them quantifiable Document your success and keep your boss informed, which helps “manage your boss”

Step 2: Be likeable or ‘more likeable’ People like to reward and promote people they like, so be nice and considerate

Step 3: Networking is essential You need to help others as much as possible so they will be willing to help you in the future ESI’s actionable tips on how to use LinkedIn to create and foster a network of valuable connections. How ESI reached out to his network when he was looking for a new job and he landed a job in Colorado through the network

Step 4: Be more attractive Dress a little bit nicer and pay a little more attention to your appearance; “date your career”

Step 5: Continue learning and developing your skills How Warren Buffett believes public speaking increases your career value 50% Scott Adams’ ‘talent stack’ to create a valuable set of skills for your life and career Trying to get better at life skills a little bit at a time every day

Step 6: Manage Yourself Life skills you need to navigate life and your company politics, etc. Create a system to getting things done in life for personal motivation and drive Find yourself a mentor to guide you How ESI uses a system he learned early on in his career to manage himself How Brad and ESI both use ToDoIst to manage their lives

Step 7: Market Yourself How you can get huge pay increases when you move to a new job and how to find new options Hot Seat 

May 15, 2017
022R | Inhouse Expert

In today's Friday Roundup we discuss the True Cost of Car Ownership, how to maximize your travel rewards points plus a big announcement on a new in-house 'expert' for ChooseFI! In Today’s Podcast we cover: Episode review of our podcast Episode 22 on The True Cost of Car Ownership Your best-case scenario is buying a 5 to 10 year old gas sipping car Even a low cost car is going to cost you at least $2,000 per year Your fixed structural expenses move the needle significantly on your path to FI, and the car is the easiest one to change.

Comment from Matt on how he introduced this to his algebra class on why buying a new car is a bad decision and what it amounts to when compounded Second generation Fire: Starting out right and not buying an expensive car (plus house hacking) will set people up for Financial Independence by 35

Question on Saverocity about living close or far from work and how that impacts your path to Financial Independence Is bicycling a pillar of FI or is it unrealistic for the vast majority of people and might even turn people off from pursuing FI? In a post-FI lifestyle, does bicycling make more sense? Comment from the audience on Cargo Bikes Voicemail from Rebecca on what to do with her car situation Our thought is that it makes sense for Rebecca’s life and financial situation to move towards the Honda Fit Our final thought on cars: Don’t buy a new car; buy a used car and drive it into the ground Choose FI is bringing on in-house experts on real estate, taxes, business building and all things number crunching Alan’s brainstorming ideas for helping the community build businesses

Should building a side hustle be a Pillar of FI?

Travel Rewards question from Noah: Should he cash in his miles & points and invest them in VTSAX or save them for future travel? Brad’s advice is to save them for future value where the value can be 2x-4x or more How the Millionaire Educator takes his rewards points to invest in an ESA fund Travel rewards question from Satya on travel to India using Chase

Ultimate Rewards points Feedback from the audience: Kevin’s follow up to Friday Roundup 18. He spoke with his wife and she just wants to spend more time with him where she gets his full attention Human connection is the most important aspect of happiness FI in the news: Our upcoming guest ESI from ESI Money was featured on the Washington Post FI in the News: Article that Brittinni sent in about net worth being the key to wealth, not income Frugal Wins of the week from the audience Aaron’s feedback about the true cost of car ownership and he teased us with how he sells boats for a profit Final word on Jonathan’s pullups 

May 12, 2017
022 | The True Cost of Car Ownership

Do you know what your car is actually costing you each year? What about over an investing lifetime? In this episode of the ChooseFI Radio Podcast we cover the True Cost of Car Ownership and you'll be absolutely amazed at the numbers.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: ChooseFI: The Ultimate Guide to the True Cost of Car Ownership Your car payment is a terrible way to spend your hard earned money

We’ll present two different perspectives: Brad will show the long-term compounded cost of buying/leasing new cars continually versus holding a car for 15 years while Jonathan is going to present the yearly cost of your car Brad wanted to see what it was costing someone to constantly “manage their car payments” at a set number forever by buying/leasing new cars

This example is too conservative so a FI person would actually save even more money! In Brad’s example the FI person is buying a new car every 15 years.

They have payments for the first 5 years and $0 car payments the final 10 years.  Person B is constantly paying $300 per month.  This is a 45 year study, so Person A bought 3 new cars in the 45 year period At the end of the 45 year period, Person A’s savings compounded to be worth $742,000 versus Person B who was constantly paying $300 per month.

Takeaways: Don’t buy new cars and continue to drive your car as long as possible with no car payment! Most people can’t truly afford an expensive car and house even on a large salary. This is a true key to FI Astounding that $300 per month for 30 out of 45 years are ending up with $742,000 while most people don’t have anywhere near that much money after a lifetime of working and “saving.”

That also shows how little money most people are saving Jonathan’s bad track record with buying cars in his life

The True Cost of Car Ownership Calculator Jonathan’s example for yearly car cost compared a new car for $30,000, a 5 year old car for $15,000, and a 10 year old car for $5,000

Went through yearly depreciation calculation for Jonathan’s three examples Went through a calculation of annual opportunity cost of the year-by-year amount lost at 8% annual return if you would have invested based on these 3 examples Calculation of maintenance, insurance, taxes, inspections, etc.

Also calculate the cost of gas each year depending on the type of car The 20 year difference from having a used car versus a new car is almost $250,000 Jonathan’s determination is you should buy a ‘gas sipper’ that’s at least 5 or 10 years old 

May 08, 2017
021R | Case Study | Paul | Part 2

In today's episode of the Friday Roundup we review our discussion of the Pillars of Financial Independence, take questions and comments from the community and go in-depth on Paul's live case study. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Review of Episode 21, the Pillars of Financial Independence What areas of financial independence did we leave out of the episode? Might have under-discussed savings rate as a pillar of FI Choose FI as one of the ‘5 people you spend the most time with’ The value of $100 savings per month after 20 years or 40 years Can Jonathan really do 50 pullups? Comment from the audience: Charlotte mentioned Geographic Arbitrage as a pillar of financial independence Comment from the audience: Mary suggests that taxes are the largest line item in your budget, not housing like we mentioned Comment from Frank: He thinks we can do an entire episode on how to educate your children on money Comment from Matt: The expense ratio on Vanguard’s VTSAX fund was just lowered to 0.04% FIRE in the News: Anti-frugal event that Isaac showed us and Financial Panther’s list of best new podcasts The value of travel rewards for people in the FI community Frugal wins of the week from the audience: Andrew starting his own Gracie Garage, Tom’s list of incredible life changes, Cassie’s reduction in car insurance, Neal maximizing gift cards that were lying around the house, Tanner saving on free and used items, Heidi cutting cable Live case study from Paul – his responses to our questions from last week’s episode Paul’s response to “how much do your expenses cost you each year” Paul’s response to the question, “do you want to quit your job?” Paul’s response to “what does your post-FI life really look like?” Brad’s thought that the pursuit of FI is not about money – it’s what you value in life and finding happiness both in the journey and post-FI Frank’s question to Paul about what they have planned for his daughter’s college education Will $43,000 of savings be enough to fully fund a four year college education? Thoughts on college education and the value of that education Question to Paul about what is psychologically holding him back Question to Paul about his plans to include Social Security into his FI plan Question to Paul about the breakdown of his investment accounts between different ‘buckets’ Paul’s plan for a Roth-IRA conversion ladder Paige’s comment about the ‘Age of 55’ rule for distributions from your 401k if you are 55 or older after your separation from service Our follow up questions for Paul based on his case study Itunes reviews and book giveaways Links from the show: Money Confident Kids article: Parents are likely to pass down good and bad financial habits to their kids Article from Isaac: Fyre Festival: When a $12,000 luxury festival in paradise turns into chaos Financial Panther article: 9 Best New Personal Finance Podcasts Seonwoo’s article about FAFSA: How a Millionaire Retiree Could Get as Much Aid for College as Someone Who’s Broke  

May 05, 2017
021 | The Pillars of FI

In this episode of the Choose FI Radio Podcast we focus on the essential Pillars of Financial Independence including index investing, affordable housing, the psychology of FI, tax optimization and more.

In Today’s Podcast we cover: ChooseFI Episode 21: The Pillars of Financial Independence While we intend to focus on the roughly 10 pillars of FI, we assuredly have missed some so we hope the audience sends us the ones we’ve missed Low-cost index fund investing is the way to go with investing in the stock market over decades and the best way to grow your wealth We love Vanguard and VTSAX but Schwab and Fidelity have similar funds with similar expense ratios

Even the Mad Fientist realized that he couldn’t out-research the market and stuck with index funds while he pursued tax optimization strategies to grow his wealth even faster Another sub-pillar is to not try to time the stock market. You will screw it up since you need to be right on the buying and selling side Affordable housing as a pillar of Financial Independence, since this is the largest line item in your budget Even if you live in a high cost of living area, you can still pursue FI. You just might need to think a little bit differently

Sometimes pursuing FI requires tough decisions Car ownership as a pillar of Financial Independence We do not believe in buying new cars – let someone else pay for the depreciation the first few years Look for fuel efficient cars that are inexpensive to repair Your food budget as a pillar of Financial Independence

You should focus on $2 per person per meal as a guideline for home cooked dinners Most pillars of FI come down to thinking a little bit differently and being a little bit smarter Jonathan lost 25 pounds during his 3 month challenge to lose weight before his son’s birth Tax Optimization as a pillar of Financial Independence

Max out your tax-deferred accounts is the advice for the FI community since you theoretically can take it out without paying taxes on it if you use the strategies we’ve previously described Hacking your college education as a pillar of Financial Independence Ways to save a significant amount of money on a college education Travel Rewards maximization as a pillar of Financial Independence Use rewards points to help travel the world for nearly free.

You must pay your cards off on time and in full every single month Cutting the cord on your cable subscription as a pillar of Financial Independence Intentionality and how you choose to spend your money is important when assessing FI Reducing your cell phone bill as a pillar of Financial Independence Making a small ‘hard choice’ to save big money and have an ‘easy life’

The 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate explained Philosophy as a pillar of Financial Independence Unconventional thinking – looking at a problem differently that can help you live the same lifestyle as everyone else while getting wealthy instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck Maximizing the rules: Knowing the rules of the game and planning in advance Planning and creating a framework for life makes everything easier Patience is what makes FI “incredibly difficult.” This is the simplest concept but it takes many years For every $100 you can cut from your budget each month, if you invest that money and earn an 8% return over 20 years it is worth $60,000.

Understand the math behind the decisions and know that even small decisions can earn you large results 

May 01, 2017
020R | Introducing Our First CrowdSourced FI Plan & Case Study | Part 1

In today's Friday Roundup we introduce our first crowd sourced case study from a listener and we have a challenge to you:  Implement one life hack this week that will make your life easier and less stressful and send it to us at (or leave a voicemail on our homepage!) and we'll read it on next week's Friday roundup. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our first Friday roundup after a non-guest episode which leaves lots of time for audience input, questions and voicemails We want the podcast to be ‘By FIRE for FIRE’ and make it truly crowdsourced Jonathan and Brad are living a normal middle class lifestyle, just smarter. We aren’t doing anything especially different – just optimizing Brad and his wife Laura had a conversation about what makes their spending different than their friends and neighbors While the fixed expenses are essential (home, cars, cell phones, cable, etc.) the discretionary expenses also make the difference between a non-FI mindset and one pursuing FI How Brad’s kids are not constantly ‘wanting’ new toys, to redecorate their rooms, etc. It wasn’t intentional on the parent’s part, so the thought is that they saw the lack of wanting modeled in the house Jonathan’s frugal win of the week: He superglued a broken lamp in his house and it is still working 1.5 years later!   Upgrading your house not only wastes money, but it wastes a ton of valuable time searching for these items and getting it “perfect” Stressed lives and an ask of the audience: Implement one life hack this week that will make your life easier and let us know about it! It’s so easy to get bogged down in the details of life, business, etc. that you miss the truly essential items that could move the needle and make a difference Brad focuses on things he can get better at over a period of many years such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and stretching/mobility “You are going to be the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and discussion surrounding it Feedback from Deidra: She recommended SBLI for life insurance after hearing our Episode 20 show Brad had a conversation with a friend of his this past weekend on FI and on his plan to retire in 16 years with a pension, fully paid off rental homes and his primary residence paid off, plus 401k and 457 balances Voicemail from Harrison: Info on an alternative to Vanguard and VTSAX. He recommends SWTSX which has  a lower expense ratio and no minimum balance Voicemail from Paul: Part 1 of 3 as a live case study with his life Our questions for Paul for Part 2 of the case study Voicemail from Isaac with a question on travel rewards and how to deal with Chase’s 5/24 strategy Feedback from Nia – international perspective and info for UK listeners Itunes reviews and the 2 winners of The Simple Path to Wealth Where ChooseFI is going: Ideas from the audience and future episodes Links from the show: Todoist SBLI life insurance Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia UK Monevator Blog - How to Invest Books Mentioned in the Show: The One Thing by Gary Keller The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

Apr 28, 2017
020 | Entry Level Middle Class Lifestyle | Intro to Insurance

The Entry Level Middle Class Lifestyle is a tool that you can use to supercharge your path to FI. Jonathan and Brad go through their expenses one line item at a time. Then they start the conversation about a FI approach to insurance, with an emphasis on life insurance

In Today’s Podcast we cover: What Jonathan and Brad’s lifestyle and budget look like. We go in-depth into our actual spending and budget line items What have we talked about previously? How to crush your food budget, how to get fit while being frugal, basics of investing, how to save 75% of your income, tax loss and tax gain harvesting, travel rewards and the unfair advantage for teachers. Housing prices and mortgages for Brad and Jonathan

Jonathan was looking for an older neighborhood with a generational shift going on with kids coming in Brad’s net cost per month is under $800 per month on his house in a great school district in the Richmond-metro area

How to maximize insurance: be sure to shop around and get quotes and don’t be complacent. Also determine realistically how much coverage you need and don’t just follow the advice of your agent.  Increase your deductible as much as possible to save money.

Life insurance: Get term life insurance until you don’t need the insurance any longer (when you’re at Financial Independence). The insurance agent will always attempt you to buy whole life insurance; in the vast majority of cases term life is the best possible option. Once you’re at FI, you can self-insure since you don’t need the lump sum Car expenses: Jonathan mentioned the forthcoming ‘true cost of car ownership’ article Jonathan does currently have a car payment

Brad has not had a car payment on either car for well over 5 years Cell phones: Jonathan has Project FI and Brad has Republic Wireless By being smart about your cell phone you should easily be able to save $100 per month “Easy choices, hard life; hard choices, easy life” Cable bills and internet packages from Comcast and Verizon

Jonathan buys an internet-only package from Verizon What happens when you give up screen time entirely? Talk, play board games, etc. Gym memberships: Brad pays $20 a month for Crunch fitness. Jonathan does not have a membership any longer. 

He paid $1,000 to build a top-notch home gym for a one-time cost Brad now does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu through Gracie University and the free Gracie Garages Take a step back and see what you can work on long-term to get better at life?

Keep track of your food and alcohol budget and it will help you cut down Where do we spend that might be “frivolous” but where we get a lot of value? Financial independence is not deprivation. It is about being intentional 

Apr 24, 2017
019R | Index Investing | How to buy VTSAX

In our Friday roundup Jonathan and Brad discuss the highlights and takeaways from the Monday episode with JL Collins. Then the podcast is opened up and crowd sourced to the community. Find out the specific travel reward perks that are available for active duty military and how to get started with VTSAX if you don't have $10,000 to invest The Friday Roundup #8: Review of podcast with Jim Collins Jonathan’s baby was born! And he’s here recording the Friday Roundup two days later 2nd Generation FIRE and the impact on Jonathan with his new son The value of starting a child on the path to FIRE from the very beginning Index investing as one of the main ‘pillars of Financial Independence’ Jim’s Stock Series changed the trajectory of Brad’s investing life and will benefit him to the tune of millions of dollars in his lifetime There are no investing gurus out there who will help you outperform the market over decades when including fees into the calculation Jim is such a fantastic storyteller Fidelity study of the classes of investors who do the best: dead people and those who forgot they had accounts The best thing that can happen to someone who is young is for the market to drop while they are pumping money into the market. Index investing: Losers can only go down 100%, but winners can go up indefinitely. The index is self-cleansing Why stock picking contests promote the wrong behavior The stock market always go up over decades. You only lose money in the market when you try to “dance in and out of the market” Warren Buffett will invest in a Vanguard S&P 500 index fund Vanguard is growing faster than all of its 4,000 competitors combined (to the tune of 8.5x) Feedback Stitcher reviews – thank you for leaving them and letting us know they exist! Sharing ChooseFI with friends and family Feedback from Steve and Amy on the action they’ve taken since first listening to ChooseFI How police officers and firefighters can access their 401K’s without penalty Travel Rewards and Investing Questions Travel rewards question about travel in Europe for hotels and Ryanair from Anthony and Abby Question from Alyssa about different retirement account options and different investing options and how to get started for younger listeners who don’t have $10,000 to invest in VTSAX in one lump sum The standard advice doesn’t apply for people on the path to FI, so they should max out traditional IRAs and 401k instead of Roth-IRAs Links from the show: The Stock Series at ChooseFI podcast with JL Collins Vanguard is Growing Faster than Everyone Else Combined at the NY Times Neal Landfield article HR2146 how cops, firefighters and EMS can access their 401Ks without the 10% penalty Friday Roundup 7 talk about hotel redemption options including Hyatt and Starwood AwardMapper to see reward hotel options Award Wallet to track rewards programs for free Books Mentioned in the Show: The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

Apr 21, 2017
019 | JL Collins | The Stock Series | Part 1

In Today’s Podcast JL collins from joins Jonathan & Brad on the podcast to bring the Stock Series to life. The Power of Index Investing is one of life's greatest secrets & JL Collins is the ultimate travel guide. This multi part series turns the stock series into an interactive audio companion and this first part is sure to compel you to stick around for each additional entry

The Stock Series | Part 1 Our guest: Jim Collins from

The Stock Series Part 1: “There’s a Major Market Crash Coming!!!! And Dr. Lo Can’t Save You” Lo claimed that “buy and hold investing doesn’t work anymore” and that raised Jim’s ire quite a bit which led to the Stock Series

An overview of the Stock Series and how Jim would explain it Jim’s eight rules that you need to understand in order to succeed with long-term stock market investing

“The Market Always Goes Up” which is very counterintuitive to people, but over the long-term it invariably does The market is always going to stumble or have corrections and you can’t predict when they are going to happen and you have to accept them. Nobody can possibly predict or time the market

The stock series came out of a series of letters to his daughters on financial education When it comes to investing (once you get the basics down correct) the less you pay attention, the better off you’ll be. Fidelity study of the best classes of investors based on performers: Dead people and those who lost their accounts!

You can’t panic when the stock market goes down significantly. You must “know yourself.” If the market is already down 50% would you still be able to hold the course and not sell if you still thought it was going to do down an additional 2/3’s? Quotes from Warren Buffett about not being fearful and buying when others are selling

For a new investor who is investing significant money each month, the best thing that can happen is a huge plunge in the market because they get to purchase new shares on a huge sale In a wealth-preservation state, you should consider buying a percentage of your portfolio in bonds Jim has a 25% bond allocation, which is actually considered very aggressive for his age Warren Buffett quotes about investing in low-cost mutual funds from Vanguard

How does index investing deal with winners and losers in the index? Downside of each company is limited to them losing 100%, but the upside is unlimited The Dow Jones is not the “market.” Just an index with 30 large companies

Stock picking contests in schools in the US are fundamentally looking at it the wrong way and are incentivizing short-term thinking Hot Seat Questions Favorite blogs: Mad Fientist, Go Curry Cracker, Millenial Revolution, The Wealthy Accountant Favorite life hack: Public Libraries and geographic arbitrage Biggest financial mistake/advice you’d give your younger self: Understand the power and value of index fund investing much earlier 

Apr 17, 2017
018R | Capital Gains Harvesting | Never Pay Taxes Again | Part 2

In Today’s Podcast we cover how to harvest long term capital gains tax free. Friday Roundup 7 Review of Monday’s episode with Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker Brad and his family just visited Washington DC for the weekend and used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to stay at the Hyatt Place National Mall Brad’s trip to Walt Disney World with his family, parents and in-laws Jonathan now understands harvesting capital gains and losses after the episode with Jeremy Unconventional choices: Jeremy and Winnie haggling at the farmer’s market near the close of business. Brad going to Disney World before Molly turned 3 so they could get her park ticket for free. Jeremy taking his son on a flight the day before he turned 2 so he could be a lap child on a business class flight Quick hit takeaways from the Jeremy episode: He told his mom he had a ’60 year emergency fund’; he opened a Roth-IRA for his son for earned income on the website. The power of having money and financial independence enabled Jeremy to walk out of his job instead of doing something that he didn’t want to do. Brad’s story of when he left his job and taking the power back from corporate America Investing philosophy and the importance of taking your brain out of financial decisions His financial freedom clock started when he ‘got to broke’ and paid off his student loans Capital Gains Harvesting | Avoiding long term capital gains tax Case study: Married couple with one child. 30 years old.  $120,000 of income and maxing their 401k ($36k in total) Qualified dividends and long-term capital gains are taxed at 0% if you’re in the 10% or 15% marginal tax bracket Understanding how marginal tax rates work for income taxes The definition of FI: having 25 times your annual expenses saved up and invested The long term capital gains tax The long term capital gains tax  defined & explained How the Roth-IRA conversion ladder would work for this couple and how they can harvest long term capital gains tax free by using advanced FI techniques Itunes reviews and questions from the community Reader case study from Kevin: How to work with a spouse from an ultra-wealthy lifestyle and bring them over to the FI lifestyle Find what makes you happy in life and what you value and spend accordingly Kevin’s scenario is almost exactly like our case study on this episode Travel Rewards question: How to maximize hotel points with Hyatt and Starwood hotels What’s coming up on ChooseFI: JL Collins talks about the Stock Series, the Stapes of FI, JD Roth and Kristy from Millennial Revolution, the true cost of car ownership Links from the show: Podcast episode with Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker Hyatt Place Washington DC National Mall How to take a nearly free trip to Disney World with rewards points from Richmond Savers Personal Capital signup link – free net worth and financial tracker JL Collins’ Stock Series Podcast episode: Travel Rewards points Hyatt House Emeryville, CA Recommended Content Introduction to Free Money Part 1 of the Never Pay Taxes Again series

Apr 14, 2017
018 | Go Curry Cracker | Capital Gains, Losses and The Roth Conversion Ladder

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our guest: Jeremey from Go Curry Cracker Jeremy and Winnie are living the geo-arbitrage life: currently in Taipei, Taiwan and then on to a four month trip to Europe They are using travel rewards points to get nearly free business class flights from Taipei to Europe. Using Alaska Airlines miles on Cathay Pacific they got nearly 20 cents per point in value! “Retiring in your 30s is simple but not necessarily easy” The biggest contributing factor is saving a high percentage of your income It’s easier to save a high percentage of your income when you have a larger income Make unconventional choices to save a high percentage 2nd Generation FIRE and how college costs can be lowered Jeremy had $40,000 in debt when he came out of college They have already opened a Roth-IRA for their son and used the income he earned from ‘modeling services’ for Go Curry Cracker He used the 80/20 rule to look at where 80% of their spending was going Sold his car and rode a bicycle Winnie made it so her cooking was the best food in town and they never wanted to go out to eat They spend approximately $2 per person per meal for delicious gourmet home cooked meals Most of their entertainment was community based with friends where they weren’t spending money How did he get started on his FI journey? He took the first 6 years to pay down his $40,000 in debt.  Didn’t take vacation, worked overtime to earn more money. On his first vacation he realized he didn’t want to work forever and started formulating his plan He set a 10 year plan and retired in 10 years plus 1 day from when he started! What was it like when he actually quit his job? The power of FU money and not needing to work plus how much more power it gives you while you are actually working How is he investing his money? 100% of his money is in 2 index funds Wait for compound interest to take hold so you can benefit over decades Unpacking his article ‘Never Pay Taxes Again’ Harvesting Capital Gains and how it enables you to get up to $90,000 in tax free income each year and increase the basis in those funds so you are never paying taxes on the gains Wash sale rules aren’t relevant to harvesting capital gains, only capital losses Harvesting capital gains actually makes it easier to harvest capital losses in the future They also do the Roth-IRA conversion ladder to effectively make their regular 401k tax free Harvesting capital losses to offset other income Avoiding the wash sale rules: Need to buy back another fund (example: Sell Total Stock Market Index fund and buy S&P 500 Index fund) Hot Seat questions Favorite blog: Favorite life hack: credit card rewards points Links from the show: Go Curry Cracker Frugalwoods Podcast Episode: Introduction to Maximizing Travel Rewards points Jeremy’s guest post on Budgets are Sexy Stock Series on Mad Fientist Never Pay Taxes Again on Go Curry Cracker Favorite articles: How to Give Like a Billionaire on They Will Kill You for Your Shoes! on Go Curry Cracker Favorite purchase: Iphone 7 Plus Google Project FI Go Curry Cracker on: Facebook Twitter Instagram Books Mentioned in the Show: The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Apr 10, 2017
017R | The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder | A Case Study

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Friday Roundup # 6 This is our 23rd episode and providing a home for the FIRE community Thank you for our 50th review on Itunes (from Chad Carson!) – we plan to implement the voicemail feature on the website so we can use your input on the show Episode with Brandon from the Mad Fientist This podcast humanized Brandon and you got to hear his story “Early retirees are such a different breed…I’m looking at this through the very focused lens of early retirement.” The built-in benefits of financial independence aside from just the dollars and cents: College, health care, taxes The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder The Roth IRA conversion ladder is the key to early retirement and accessing your 401k/retirement funds and pay little to no taxes on the money It was amazing how open and honest Brandon was: depression, ‘quarter-life crisis’, deprivation period Brad went to a retreat over the past weekend for “designing the life you want to live into” Quote from Keith: “I never dreamed past here.” Dream bigger and find what brings you joy and happiness in life Money is not the end goal. It is a tool to let you live a better life How Brandon tested the upper limits on their spending and how it impacted their happiness (and only a couple of thousand dollars per year) Brad thinking differently: How could he spend a little more money to bring more joy to his life Roth IRA conversion ladder step-by-step scenario: 20 year old guy earns $60,000 per year, has $30,000 of expenses per year and is on a 20 year plan for FI. How does he take advantage of the Roth IRA conversion ladder to pay little to no tax and still fund his early retirement. The Key for the Roth IRA Conversion is to max out the 401K Itunes reviews – thanks to the audience! Question from the audience: Heather about what to do with her 401k after leaving her job. Should she leave it in her company’s 401k or roll it out to Vanguard and her own IRA? Question from Bryan: How the 4% rule works on pulling out money from Roth, 401k, IRA, etc. and how to manage your tax liability in early retirement When you reach FI, you aren’t going to sit back and do nothing when “retired” Where ChooseFI is going: college hacking from Edmund Tee and Seonwoo Lee Tax hack from an audience member: if you can’t itemize every year, consider putting all deductions (donations, state taxes, etc.) into every other tax year so you can itemize every other year and in the off year you get the standard deduction Frugal hack of the week: Jonathan created a standing desk for his treadmill     For More Tax Related Content Tax Optimization for FI Links from the show: Mad Fientist Dominick Quartuccio – Take Command Subscribe to Chad Carson’s email list Dual Enrollment article on college hacking Oristand standing desk

Apr 07, 2017
017 | Mad Fientist an Origin Story

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Today’s guest: Brandon from and the origin story of the Mad Fientist How did the Mad Fientist website come about? He first stumbled on the Early Retirement Extreme website He thought there’d be investing strategies to get him to financial independence more quickly, but he realized index funds were the best way to go about it Then he stumbled upon tax optimization and tax avoidance strategies Finding Get Rich Slowly and other personal finance blogs got him interested, but he looked at it through the eyes of an early retiree and realized the standard advice didn’t necessarily apply “Early retirees are such a different breed” and optimizations can be had when looking at the problems differently for FIRE He took a core tax strategy and pivoted it to the best way to optimize for early retirees

He uses his audience feedback to help come up with ideas for new posts or as ways to update and augment posts The Roth IRA conversion ladder changed the entire game for him and made him max out as many pre-tax accounts as possible How to get retirement money out earlier than the traditional 59.5 age without a penalty? Building a 5-year conversion ladder with traditional savings to cut your effective tax rate down to almost 0% on your traditional IRA and 401k Brandon’s college choice and how it impacted his financial life with minimal student loan debt Brandon took a software developer’s position at an Ivy League University and worked towards a free Ivy League master’s degree

Did Brandon max out his 401k his very first year? What’s the most expensive car Brandon every bought? He leased a Toyota RAV4 but other than that every car he has ever owned is at least 10 years old What financial mistakes has Brandon made or where does he not follow his own advice?

Timing the market and sitting with too much cash Take your brain out of your investing decisions once your plan is set What type of investing does Brandon do? All index funds from Vanguard and cash How has Brandon evolved psychologically as he has approached Financial Independence? Reaching your FI number doesn’t by definition make you happier. You have to find your passion in life They actually loosened up their spending for a year to enjoy life as much as possible.

Total tally: $35,000 of yearly spending. As compared to their normal $30,000 - $33,000 spending.  An insignificant increase in money spent for such a large increase in satisfaction What is the most surprisingly positive aspect of post-FI life?

What does his life look like 5 years from now/what does he want to do with his life? Hot Seat Questions Favorite life hack: Find out what makes you happy Advice to your younger self: Just get started today 

Apr 03, 2017
016R | Friends of the Library

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Friday Roundup #5 Recap of house hacking episode with Chad Carson from Real estate investing is one of the pillars of Financial Independence ‘Keep it super simple and try to do the fundamentals well’ quote by Chad Chad put in the extra effort to walk neighborhoods on Saturday mornings to learn about real estate House hacking is essential knowledge for someone getting started with FI The main levers to pull to get on the path to financial independence Housing is the biggest line item in most budgets and this can be a game changer House hacking for ‘2nd generation FIRE’ Brad lived at home after college graduation and saved many thousands of dollars instead of renting an apartment If you have a solid income and you aren’t saving money then you aren’t a “success” Moving forward ChooseFI will bring in other real estate mentors to help educate all of us Itunes reviews Feedback from Libertarian Investments about our appearance on Radical Personal Finance on earning more than $100,000 income and how it makes paying down debt much easier Can you earn $100,000 a year without going to college? That wasn’t what we were arguing on Radical Personal Finance Unconventional choices: Brad and his wife Laura decided to pick up their entire lives and move 400 miles south to Richmond, VA. This was a long-term play to afford the FI lifestyle on one income. Message from Ken on the benefits of libraries and the assortment of ways you can get value out of your local library. He also thought the 10 year timeline to reach FI was unrealistic We agreed and thought 10-15 years is much more realistic. And even if people take 20-25 years it is still a huge win over where they would have been otherwise Debt-free isn’t the goal – it is financial independence Comment from Tallis on how the podcast has been “life changing” for them. They already put a plan on paper for early retirement! Feedback from Isaac that the Roth IRA is the “worst” investment vehicle and we’re going to unpack this in the future Jonah said dollar cost averaging provides far below average market return. While we agree mathematically, it is still difficult psychologically for people to dump a bunch of money into the market at one time Travel rewards question from Ben on the timing of the Southwest Companion Pass Travel rewards question about hotel rewards and how to maximize Hyatt and Starwood Episode 17 coming up: Behind the scenes look at the Mad Fientist Links from the show: Podcast episode: Coach Carson Coach Carson’s website Sign up for Chad's email list Article about Chad as a Clemson Tiger football player Chad’s first house hack & house hacking guide ChooseFI podcast episode on travel rewards

Mar 31, 2017
016 | House Hacking With Coach Carson

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Real estate investing and house hacking with Chad “Coach” Carson. On the path to financial independence, how much of your own budget is going towards housing? After Chad graduated college at Clemson, he got started with real estate investing in his college town. How financial independence and real estate investing have allowed Chad to move his family to Ecuador for about 1.5 years. When they moved to Ecuador they sold most of their possessions and rented out their house for 2 years. When Chad graduated college he kept his expenses extremely low and actually moved into his business partner’s spare bedroom to help save money. This led to his concept of “house hacking” as a way to keep housing expenses down to nearly zero House hacking: buy a multi-family rental unit and live in one unit while you rent out the rest and have them essentially pay for your house payment entirely Easy to become rich saving the money you’d otherwise be paying for your house and car payments Keep it simple and pay attention to the fundamentals with your financial life How do you get started with real estate? Where do you find a multi-family unit to buy? What to look for: neighborhoods with charm, safe, public transportation nearby Avoid cookie-cutter neighborhoods on the outskirts of town with new construction Chad recommends hiring a real estate agent at the beginning. Have them run searches based on your desired neighborhoods and automatically send you new listings. It is essential to walk the neighborhoods and talk to people to gather intel. Tip: walk with your kids to seem less intimidating and go on a Saturday morning when they are out It’s important to think differently and take that extra step to find great deals. Have to reach out to people and get outside your comfort zone Real estate: The numbers crunching has to come into play at some point. Put together a profile of what makes a good deal upfront Follow the ‘1% rule’: You are looking for the monthly rent to be 1% of the purchase price ($1,000 per month rent = $100,000 house price) Chad was able to pull his equity out and invest in another deal Small investors need to avoid 5 or more unit complex in order to get the most favorable owner-occupied financing Once you have an owner-occupied financing, you can move out and keep the favorable financing rates and rent all the units How to get started finding financing if you have no money saved and no contacts? Options: FHA 203k Loan in order to remodel and do a house hack or Fannie Mae Remodeling loan Building relationships with local real estate investors and private lenders Real estate debt snowball to fully own these properties as a path to wealth and financial independence Chad’s personal strategy: 15% of his assets are currently in index funds with a goal of up to 33% and the vast majority of the rest is in real estate, cash and financing/note investing Chad and his business partner have approximately 90 rental units currently Chad is not interested in growing as large as possible – he wants to find a balance in life and keep it as simple as possible to meet his financial independence goal Hot Seat Questions Favorite life hack: Planning and actually writing it out. Weekly, monthly, yearly Biggest mistake: buying into other people’s goals and getting sloppy with purchasing a lot of properties at the height of the 2007 bubble Links from the show: Root of Good House Hacking Guide - How to "Hack" Your Housing, Live For Free, & Start Investing in Real Estate How to Retire Rich With Ugly Houses and Embarrassing Old Cars Stock Series at The Debt Snowball Plan - How to Get Free & Clear Rental Properties The All-Cash Plan - How to Get Free & Clear Rental Properties How Many Rentals Do I Need to Retire FHA 203k Loan information

Mar 27, 2017
015R |The 'Joneses' Are Bankrupt

In Today’s Podcast we cover: How much we appreciate our listeners and the feedback and comments we’re receiving Recap of guest appearance of Justin from Root of Good Justin is living a relaxing and chill life set for himself in early retirement. This is what FIRE is all about! It was only a 10 year journey for him to make this happen. No matter when you are starting, you can make this happen and become financially independent in 10-15 years. The Jones’ went into foreclosure! Something we plan to discuss in-depth in the future: Hacking college and finding a way to do it more cost effectively. Edmund Tee and Seonwoo Lee are producing content to show how to hack college and save tens of thousands of dollars. The FIRE community learns the rules and help maximize and we see this with college, taxes, health care, etc. True wealth is not about income, it is about net worth. You must save money! The only thing your children care about is you spending time with them. Try to create some separation from your phone and computer and set boundaries where you shut them off at a certain time. Creates a much happier life. Comments from the audience: Kyith had a comment about allocation as you approach true FIRE and moving all money to Vanguard and just blindly investing in the market. Brad thinks taking action is the most important thing. Inertia is so powerful that you need to just take that first step. Question from Paul: Where to put your savings? Online bank like Capital One 360. Vanguard investments like a low-cost ETF and take advantage of dollar-cost averaging Jonathan would max out his Roth-IRA as a savings vehicle since you can withdraw your contributions tax and penalty-free at any time Brad’s win of the week: Took some money from large cash position and invested in VTSAX If you had a paid-for home, would you go out and borrow money at 3 percent to invest? Brad’s struggle with paying down his mortgage and would he do this investment strategy with a paid-for house. Itunes reviews of the week Matt’s comment about effective altruism Cohousing community in Georgia that members of the FIRE community are investigating creating How powerful it would be to live in a FI community instead of ‘keeping up with the Jonses’ Travel Rewards questions: Does Southwest accept transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards and have them count towards the points needed for the Companion Pass? Ruth’s question: If I don’t plan on traveling much in the next 3 years should I focus on the Companion Pass sooner than that? Links from the show: Podcast Episode: Justin from Root of Good Article on how the Jones went into foreclosure Get Rich Slowly Capital One 360 Article: Best Online Banks The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins Richmond Savers Guide to Disney World using Travel Rewards points

Mar 24, 2017
015 | Root of Good | 2nd Generation FIRE and College

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our guest: Justin from Root of Good Justin had access to 401k and the 457 retirement plans 457 plan is an extremely valuable took for early retirement as there is no 10% early withdrawal penalty

Justin’s early retirement journey: Retirement at 33 Saved over 60% of his income to help retire early Justin has a wife and 3 kids and was still able to retire early What does a day in the life look like for Justin and the Root of Good family? “Optimal spouse selection” is important on the path to early retirement.

You both need to align and be compatible with the savings mindset Being early retired gives you the flexibility to spend your time as you choose and live like a billionaire from a prior era Justin followed the Early Retirement Forums to model the behavior as he was learning about the path to financial independence Does it really cost $300,000 to raise a child?

They spend $29,000 to $34,000 per year including luxurious vacations Quote of the day: “If you want to be average, it’s going to cost 300 grand” How they save money on cruises for the family: Go in the off season, look for deals online and book through a shopping portal like Ebates, don’t book excursions through the cruise line How does early retirement impact your children?

Great lesson to teach your kids: I worked really hard for 10 years, saved money, and now can enjoy life for the next 50 For people who save money, it isn’t a stressor, it’s a tool to live a better life You have so much extra time to spend with your children when you are early retired Significant tax savings from having children 2nd Generation FIRE: How to pass this concept on to our children and to teach them to get started even before we did

Planning for children’s college while early retired How to get college credit while still in high school (AP classes, classes from local university, etc.) Once you get to college, how do you pay for it? How to hack the FAFSA: they don’t look at retirement savings or home equity for calculation Don’t pay sticker price for college! Financial aid and scholarships are plentiful Some elite schools offer full scholarships to “lower income” people of which early retirees may qualify Will college still be relevant in 10 years and how will you pay for it? 

Mar 20, 2017
014R | Introducing FWOTW

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Highlights from the guest episode with Carl from 1500 Days Could you reach financial independence with a 10 to 15 year timeline? Jonathan’s timeline is much shorter than 10 to 15 years The mechanics of FI are easy, but we discussed the larger questions in this podcast about happiness and what life is all about It isn’t about money, it’s about life When you have time, you can explore all these new passions and fill it with the right things in life When you are pursuing FI and you have money in common, you have so many other things in common People are talking about making real-life FI communities of like-minded folks and see the power of community He had an epiphany: You don’t have to work until you’re 62 to retire. You really can life a different way and make it happen.  But we need to present this info to as many people as possible Brad posting 100,000 mile odometer. Per Jonathan, it represents a life choice that enables us to get to FI faster Rampant materialism of the neighborhood that Carl and Mindy moved into and moved out of only weeks later Friday’s podcast will be a crowdsourced roundup of the FI community Corrections from prior show: 457 plans: are not protected from creditors in bankruptcy and there are 457 for hospitals and charities. You also need a “separation of service” in order to pull the money out. Corrections: Roth IRA contributions can be pulled out penalty and tax free at any point (do not need to wait 5 years) Success story from Jason: Have really taken a lot of the things they’ve learned from ChooseFI and started to implement. Opened 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred cards, is already tax planning for 2017, and wants to move his money to Vanguard. Timing the market and avoiding a “bubble” when investing. Take your brain out of investing decisions as much as possible. Itunes review from Australia! Question about net worth: Why do some bloggers exclude liabilities from net worth? How do we track net worth? You must include your liabilities in a net worth calculation We plan to share our income reports from Choose FI to help people follow along with how we’re building our website Travel Rewards question: What are your favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners and how do you transfer the points? Our favorites are: Southwest, United, Hyatt and British Airways Ask the audience: Please send us your favorite personal finance articles from the past year Frugal wins of the week: Jonathan and his wife are preparing for their first yard sale. Brad made his last preschool payment for his youngest daughter We need your feedback! And a big thanks to Isaac for continually sending in helpful information Links from the show: Podcast: Carl from 1500 Days Rockstar Finance Net Worth Tracker Mad Fientist tax optimization articles Sign up for our email list at Choose FI podcast on Travel Rewards Slowly Sipping Coffee: The 'Lightbulb' Emails Fervent Finance  

Mar 17, 2017
014 | The Phases of FI with 1500 days

The Phases of FI with 1500 days (Mr 1500) Our Guest: Carl from 1500 Days The Phases of Financial Independence Close-knit community at Fincon and FI generally, Its amazing how much you have in common with somebody when you share a philosophy about money

What is your philosophy about money? It isn’t about money – it’s a tool to a better life The goal of his site 1500 Days to freedom Their real estate investing experience Buying a McMansion and selling it within 2 weeks How one bad day at work led him to MMM and the concept of early retirement

The importance of health Surrounding yourself with the best possible people Live in a place that has outdoor pursuits, the best possible library and a strong community

Raise your children to be good, hardworking people and raise your knowledge every day Explore the world and give back by volunteering Time is the most essential resource, and it's slipping away from you unless you plan for it Develop passions to design the life you want to live with the time available.

Without passions, FI would be a prison The Four Phases of FI Financial independence doesn’t mean not earning money. It means following your passions Hot Seat Questions 

Mar 13, 2017
013R | Control Your Tax Rate | Keep the Money on Your Side of the Ledger

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Highlights from the Millionaire Educator Episode The benefits for teachers and public employees: 403(b) and 457 How the Millionaire Educator controlled his tax liability down to almost $0 The benefits of keeping your expenses below $30,000 per year Jonathan “crushing” his tax bill in 2017 Bryan’s question about the “Separation of Service” clause and moving to Vanguard Vanguard vs. Schwab vs. Fidelity: Does Schwab have the lowest fees? How to get approved for a credit card with no credit history? Case Study from Tyler: International Teaching Itunes Reviews Frugal Wins of the Week New Apps Brad Found: Robinhood and Loyal3 What’s to come with ChooseFI podcasts Links from the show: Podcast episode: The Millionaire Educator Sign up for our email list: Vanguard Schwab Fidelity Getting started with travel rewards – podcast and step-by-step guide Dave Ramsey episode of Choose FI Best Credit Cards for No Credit History from Loyal3 Robinhood Personal Capital signup link

Mar 10, 2017
013 | The Unfair (FI) Advantage of Teachers | 457b

Our guest: Millionaire Educator shows us how to invest your money. He shows how teachers, firefighters, police officers and public employees can leverage the power of pretax savings to supercharge their retirement , and become millionaires.

Take this information to learn how to invest your money and retires decades before your peers Ed’s journey from a college basketball player to a Spanish teacher Graduate school led to $45,000 total debt at age 33 Taught ESL in Saudia Arabia and paid off debt Returned to the US from Saudia Arabia with a $110,000 net worth Had to figure out the concept of FIRE before it even existed Taught in public school in Georgia for the next 7 years

The two retirement plans available to public sector employees: 403(b) and 457 Teachers can fully fund both of these accounts ($18,000 to each in current year) Putting away this money helps dramatically decrease your taxes

In 2007 his net worth was $400,000 2009: Next phase of their retirement journey 403(b) fees are significant, so it was to their benefit to move jobs to roll their 403(b) accounts to a lower fee (‘separation of service’ clause) 457b is a special account as it doesn’t have the 10% penalty for pre-59.5 age withdrawals

Phase 3 of retirement plan: Starting in 2014 they worked for 2 years and saved $238,000 What they are living on: a) $90,000 from 457s b) 72-T withdrawals from IRAs How to control your tax bracket for big savings (potentially down to $0)

Debt avoidance: debt is paid with after-tax dollars Geo-arbitrage and living abroad or even just a lower cost state 457b account is an emergency fund that is pre-tax dollars

How Brad and Ed are not “perfect” with their investing Pay increases for teachers when attaining new degrees. Raises that last a lifetime Earning extra money for coaching and extended day teaching to max out retirement accounts How they saved over $100,000 in a year towards retirement accounts 

Mar 06, 2017
012R | Introducing the Friday Roundup

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Our first Friday Roundup Highlights from Frugalwoods episode Frugality is not about deprivation Freedom is the goal of financial independence Different perspectives: Brad the naturally frugal and Jonathan the ‘reluctant frugalist’ Your life is so much less stressful with money in the bank Email from Isaac: How have others responded to you being “openly FIRE” in your real life? Email from Evan: Has some tax hacks he wants to pass along Questions about travel rewards – do Chase points expire and how to transfer? Update on Jonathan’s goal to lose 30 points by April 22nd Update on Brad’s fitness goals Update on Jonathan’s student loan payoff Links from the show: Podcast episode: Epic Frugality with Liz from Frugalwoods Money Mustache: How to Go from Middle Class to Kickass Sign up for our email list: Getting started with travel rewards – podcast and step-by-step guide Personal Capital signup link

Mar 03, 2017
012 | Living Frugal Frugalwoods | Save 75% Of Your Take Home Pay

Living Frugal is a Powerful FI Tool Liz from Frugalwoods coaches us through the ultimate guide to frugal living The benefits of minimalism and living frugal Frugalwoods family saving 70%+ of their income Their conscious decision in March 2014 to pursue financial independence

Entirely possible to pursue living frugal anywhere including large metro cities. In fact these cities may have built in advantages like transportation What is the difference between someone who saves 70%+ and everyone else?

First ask ‘where you want to be’ Not a sacrifice but a reorientation of how you spend and your priorities The benefits of living frugal: happiness & joy How they actually moved forward in March 2014 with their newly ultra-frugal lifestyle

How the Frugalwoods family saves on food & groceries Does it make sense to pay off your mortgage? How they spend nearly $0 on entertainment Bring your own food to work every day and save $20+ per day No car payments & buying used cars

Buying nearly everything used No impulse buying – wait 72 hours after you want to make a purchase Embracing imperfection: why & how they cut each other’s hair living frugal can simplify and streamline life

The Frugalwoods homestead in Vermont Educating yourself when making a major purchase You don’t need to spend money to be happy: frugal substitutions Hot Seat Questions Favorite Life Hack Hacking the soda stream 

Feb 27, 2017
011 | Welcome To The Hot seat

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Future guests and how our interviews will be different than other podcasts

Introduction to the “hot seat”

  • What’s your favorite blog that you’re currently reading?
  • What is your favorite article of all time
  • Favorite Life Hack Biggest financial mistake
  • What advice would you give to your younger self? 
Feb 20, 2017
010 | Skinny Waist, Fat Wallet (How to Lose 30 lbs in 3 months)

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Fitness and nutrition from a financial independence mindset Jonathan’s quest to lose 30 pounds in the 3 months leading up to his son’s birth JD Roth’s talk at the Camp Mustache event to create a personal mission statement Jonathan’s post-it note goals for his next 3 months of losing weight Be intentional about your goals Eating to live, not living to eat

The dangers of carbs and processed sugar Frugal, ripped, lean and wealthy

  • Set a goal and find some accountability partners
  • Brad’s goals: 15 pullups and a six-minute mile
  • Go to sleep on an empty stomach: benefits and discussion
  • Drink more water: ½ to 1 gallon per day How to eat a better breakfast and why to avoid sugar and carbs 24 hour fast one day per week
  • in Jonathan’s plan Bulletproof Coffee, intermittent fasting and ketosis Prepare your meals ahead of time
  • Avoid a deprivation mindset
  • Movement is essential Take breaks during the workday to walk Interval training: HIIT on treadmill
  • The benefits of lifting weights
  • Building exercise into your day
  • Take these actionable tips and implement them 
Feb 13, 2017
009 | Travel Rewards: How To Travel The World For Free (The Easy Way)

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Why Jonathan started with travel rewards: Wife’s family in Zimbabwe: $6,000 in flights every two years

What is this travel rewards strategy all about?

Minimum spending requirement defined Options to meet minimum spending requirement

Return on investment: instead of 1.5% rewards, you can earn upwards of 33%

Impact on credit score and Brad’s personal experience Is this strategy right for you?

The Chase Gauntlet and why you want to focus on Chase cards first Where to start? Chase Ultimate Rewards

How to earn the Southwest Companion Pass (and the value of the pass) Business credit cards Ultimate Rewards points and three ways to redeem them

Jonathan’s trip to Zimbabwe: Helping him save $6k in 5 minutes How to search for flights at United’s website

If this strategy can take Jonathan to Zimbabwe, it can take you anywhere! Other destinations with ‘sweet spot’ options: Costa Rica, Hawaii, Europe

If you want to take 1-2 nearly free vacations per year, this strategy is right for you

Travel Credit Cards

Feb 06, 2017
008 | Avoid Bank Fees at All Cost

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Don’t piss off the accountant: Bank Fees Americans spent $32 Billion in overdraft fees in 2016

Bank accounts and credit cards should be financial tools you use for free Overdraft fees mean you have no money and the bank is loaning you money for $35 at a time

If you don’t have $1,000 in savings you have an emergency Jonathan had one overdraft in 2016 but his system for putting it on a credit card avoided a fee

One fee leads to another. Come up with an action plan to avoid them If you get hit with a fee, call your bank to ask them to waive it

If you threaten to leave your bank over a fee, they will almost always waive it

Determine if you need a local branch for your bank to save more money If you’re getting hit with any fees, you need to sit down with your banker to come up with a plan 

Jan 30, 2017
007 | America’s Food Obsession | How to Crush Your Grocery Bill

In Today’s Podcast we cover: America’s food obsession: We’re fat and broke How Brad’s family saves money on food Being smart with ingredients.

How often does Brad’s family go out to eat? Go out for lunch instead of dinner Emergency meals in extra freezer Being efficient shopping at one store.

Cut down on business Plan out the 2-3 meals you want to cook for the week Index of Top 50 recipes (A++ recipes) to cook Getting five nights of dinner out of cooking two meals Jonathan’s plan: cook for multiple nights and don’t waste food

The waistline test and the fridge test Food budget programs Making food prep psychologically easy. Simplicity is key

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan and 10 items Jonathan buys 31 loaves of bread from one 25-pound bag of flour, 18 cents per loaf Find out your price per unit on your staple foods

Jonathan doesn’t eat out at restaurants where he needs to leave a tip (goes to Chipotle and Panera) Health consequences – don’t overeat To cut down on portions, plan for leftovers Take willpower out of decision-making Small tweaks to make your life better over years Healthy lifestyle saves money on healthcare 

Jan 23, 2017
006 | The Power of Partnerships | ChooseFI Origin Story

In Today’s Podcast we cover: The Power of Partnerships How Brad and Jonathan met Our decision to partner up on Choose FI The importance of taking action

The value of personal relationships in an online world What to look for in a partner Complementary skills and how it can help beat the learning curve How to find a partner in your niche

Find people you connect with and meet in person if possible

Split up the duties in the partnership to create an effective partnership Partnerships likely aren’t going to be 50%/50% in time spent, but you can still add value

Have an understanding from the outset what the partnership will entail to avoid problems down the road 

Jan 16, 2017
005 | Why Everyone Needs Dave Ramsey and Why You Should Ignore Him

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Dave Ramsey and Jonathan’s history following him Dave’s unyielding stance on debt: don’t do it Review and evaluate Dave’s teaching philosophies Baby Step 1: Get an emergency fund of $1,000

Baby Step 2: Pay off all your debt except for your mortgage Explanation of the Debt Snowball Our hybrid approach to the Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche Advice isn’t “one size fits all.”  You need to figure out what works for you! The 4% rule explained and the impact on financial independence

Dave Ramsey says to not take advantage of 401k match if you’re paying off debt The math of personal finance vs. the psychology of personal finance

Baby Step 3: Get 3-6 months of expenses in savings Our personal emergency fund strategies

Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement funds

Baby Step 5: College funding for children Baby Step 6: Pay off your home mortgage early

Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give Please leave us a written review on Itunes to help the podcast grow

Corrections from the show Roth's do not require any seasoning period. You can withdraw your initial contributions tax free at any time for any reason. It does not have to season for five years. Practically this makes the Roth even more powerful as a possible savings vehicle during your teens and college years when your tax rate is very low 

Jan 09, 2017
004 | Get Off The Hamster Wheel | Jonathan Backstory

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Interviewing Jonathan to hear his story August 2013 Jonathan graduated from Pharmacy School with $168,000 student loan debt

How did he get to that point? ‘Followed the rules’ to get his pharmacy degree but came out owing $1,000 per month in interest You don’t have as much money as you think: the impact of taxes

How many years of work he gave up to pursue advanced degree and then pay down the debt just to get back to $0 net worth Would there have been a more efficient way to earn a $100k+ income?

How Brad saved 90% of his income the first 2 years living at home and how it set him up for life Jonathan paid off his $168k of student loan debt in 3.5 years (!)

What it takes: Incredible focus & intensity Create metrics to track to make paying down debt a fun game He looked at every single monthly expense to see if they could save money

They were able to cut their cost of living from $60k per year to $38k per year Is there a need for an emergency fund?

Differences in financial personality types When loans are paid off where does he go from here? Plans for 2017: emergency fund, create blog and podcast, create new streams of income 

Dec 27, 2016
003 | Let’s Talk About Fees | Why Investment Fees Are Evil and How to Avoid Them

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Avoiding fees when investing How to invest your 401k?  Nobody knows!

Index funds and low cost ETFs are the way to go Readings that changed our investing trajectory Who outperforms the market?  Nobody.  

Hold the course and buy the entire US market. You aren’t going to find a brilliant financial advisor who can outperform the market Running an investment scenario and seeing the impact of fees on a 40-year return

Scenario 1: $100k into VTSAX and letting it ride for 40 years = $2.13 million

Scenario 2: $100k into VTSAX but hiring an investment advisor.  40 years = $1.46 million

Scenario 3: $100k into actively managed fund + investment advisor. 40 years = $1.03 million VTSAX isn’t the only option, but keep in mind that FEES MATTER! This strategy allows us to sleep easy.

Buying “US” companies also gives you exposure to international markets Warren Buffett’s advice to his trustee: Invest 90% of his estate in a “very low cost S&P 500 Index Fund (I suggest Vanguard).”   

Dec 23, 2016
002 | Why Failure Matters | Brad Backstory

Brad Barrett shares his entrepreneurial journey online

The skills learned, even from ‘failures’: ability to create websites, The value of personal relationships, even in an online world.

The value of being a “real” person and how people relate to that Aligning your incentives with your audience to create a successful site and a win-win Turning an online website into a “real” business


Dec 20, 2016
001 | ChooseFI Podcast: A Finance Podcast for the Middle Class

Introducing the First Episode of the ChooseFI Radio Podcast. A Life Optimization podcast for the Financial Independence Community

What are the skills you can learn for free (or close) to earn and invest in a smarter way? What steps do you need to take to gain financial independence? How do you find what you love and scale that to work for you?

Get off the couch. Build a skill set where you’re in the top 20% of a lot of skills and put random things together 

Dec 18, 2016