Financial Independence Podcast

By The Mad Fientist

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 Jun 10, 2019


Join the Mad Fientist as he interviews personal-finance icons like Mr. Money Mustache and Vicki Robin to discover the strategies they used to achieve financial independence and retire early! Learn about investing, tax avoidance, entrepreneurship, travel hacking, real estate, and all things related to financial independence and early retirement!

Episode Date
Early Retirement Extreme - A Systems Approach to Lifestyle Design

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I finally got to interview the person who introduced me to the concept of financial independence and early retirement in the first place…

Jacob Lund Fisker from Early Retirement Extreme!

To my mind, Jacob is the founder of the modern-day “FIRE movement” so hope you enjoy the interview!


  • What Jacob has been up to since stepping away from ERE
  • His experience being a financial quant and how it impacted his personal investing
  • The problem with set-it-and-forget-it index investing
  • The importance of staying flexible with your investing strategy
  • Predictions for the next decade and the post-COVID world
  • A systems approach to lifestyle design and why it’s beneficial
  • Jacob’s thoughts on early retirement how they’ve changed since publishing Early Retirement Extreme
  • His current projects and his plans for the future
Jan 19, 2021
8 Key Lessons from the Ultralearning Experiment

Last year, I conducted an experiment in Ultralearning that I hoped would help me achieve a lifelong dream of mine of writing and releasing an album.

I’m happy to say it was far more successful than I ever imagined it would be!

As I mentioned in the initial Ultralearning podcast episode, the hope for the 3-month experiment was that it would accelerate my progress towards my goal and make the process more enjoyable.

Well, it did all that and more…

I ended up finishing a song during that 3-month experiment and I can’t believe it but I just released that single today!

Not only did I write a song during the experiment, I continued writing music since then and I now have enough material for an album!

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this experiment would help me make so much progress but it has!
In today’s podcast episode, I go through everything I learned and explain why the Ultralearning Experiment helped me push past the self-doubt and self-destructive habits that have plagued me in the past.

I also describe the new routines the experiment helped me develop and why those new habits have allowed me accomplish more than I ever have before!


  • How to get your brain ready (and why it’s essential for making progress)
  • The best way to make developing new habits easier
  • What you should focus on and why
  • How to be original and creative
  • Why you should make your project “real” (even if it makes you feel silly)
  • When it’s worth spending more money instead of less
  • Why you should expect to encounter the “gap” and how to get over it
Oct 02, 2020
Morgan Housel - The Psychology of Money

One of my favorite financial writers, Morgan Housel, is on the Financial Independence Podcast today!

I’m not the one conducting the interview this time though (all is explained in the episode).

Morgan’s insight into how to handle uncertainty, market crashes, and this weird stock boom that we now find ourselves in is invaluable so hope you enjoy it!

Big thanks to Gouri, Morgan, and the Bogleheads for making this happen!

Sep 10, 2020
Valuable Lessons from My Fourth Year of Freedom

It’s been four years since I left my full-time job and what a crazy year it’s been!

To celebrate this anniversary and to recap the things I’ve learned during this last year of post-FI life (and the COVID market crash), I recorded a short podcast episode.

Aug 07, 2020
Coronavirus Market Crash - Is This Time Different?

Bear markets are a normal part of investing but is this time different?

As the coronavirus COVID-19 spreads around the world, governments are struggling to limit the economic impact of the disease.

In today’s unplanned episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, JL Collins (author of The Simple Path to Wealth) joins me to talk about this stock-market crash, how it differs from previous crashes, and what you should do about it.

Note: Apologies for the audio quality of this episode. Since this wasn’t planned in advance, I didn’t have my normal microphone so I had to use the microphone on my iPhone headphones :/

Mar 16, 2020
Scott Young - Ultralearning

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m excited to introduce Scott Young!

I first heard about Scott when he decided to complete MIT's entire computer science curriculum in a year.

Scott has taken on a lot of these types of impressive learning projects and he just wrote a great book about it – Ultralearning.

As you know, I’m attempting to tackle a very intimidating project myself so what better way to kick off that effort than with my own 3-month ultralearning project!

In today’s interview, we dive into the details of ultralearning and we design a new ultralearning project from scratch.

Ultralearning projects seem perfect for anyone who is FI or hopes to achieve financial independence one day so hope you get as much out of this discussion as I did!


  • Why ultralearning can help you get to FI quicker (while making the journey more enjoyable)
  • How Scott was able to complete MIT’s computer science curriculum in one year
  • Why the first part of learning something new is the hardest and how to use ultralearning to get past that phase sooner
  • How to learn new languages as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Details about my own ultralearning project and how Scott suggests I design it
  • The imporantance of breaking big goals into concrete stages
  • Why limiting scope is so important when diving into something new
  • What is meta-feedback and why it’s important
  • The power of direct practice and how to use drills to fix specific issues
  • What to do when you hit a block or a plateau in your learning
Oct 16, 2019
Third Year of Freedom

I can’t believe it but it’s already been three years since I left my full-time job!

To commemorate this special anniversary and to recap the things I’ve learned during this last year of post-FI life (which happened to be the best one yet), I recorded a short podcast episode.

Aug 01, 2019
Ramit Sethi - I Will Teach You to be Rich

Personal-finance icon Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to be Rich joins me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast!

Ramit first published his New York Times best-selling book, I Will Teach You to be Rich, back in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis.

He just released the second version today so we discuss what’s changed in the last decade and also talk about FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) – a concept that’s taken the financial world by storm in recent years.

This is the first time Ramit has talked about FIRE so it was great getting his opinions on it, especially since he’s often thought of as being on the opposite end of the financial spectrum (my first podcast guest, Mr. Money Mustache, has even jokingly referred to him as his “arch-rival in personal finance”).

Ramit didn’t hold back (does he ever?) so hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!


  • What Ramit likes about FIRE (and what he doesn’t)
  • When you should pay more instead of less
  • How to cure yourself from extreme frugality
  • Why you need to maximize for value instead of cost
  • How to break out of the spreadsheet and start living life
May 14, 2019
Cal Newport – Deep Work, Digital Minimalism, and the Key to a Happy Retirement

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m very excited to introduce author Cal Newport!

I’ve been a huge fan of Cal’s writing for many years so it was a treat to get to talk to him.

We explore many important issues related to early retirement that aren’t often talked about so if you’re thinking about retiring early (or if you already have and are struggling to build the life that you envisioned before leaving work), today’s episode is a must-listen!


  • Why pursuing your passion is overrated
  • How to love your job
  • What is “Focused FIRE” and why it’s likely the best option
  • How to get good at something valuable
  • Why you should replace relaxation with difficult, meaningful activity
  • The importance (and increasing rarity) of deep work
  • Why skillful management of attention is the key to a good life
  • How to perform a digital declutter
  • The importance of high-quality leisure activities
  • Why technology could be ruining your personal life and how to stop it
Mar 05, 2019
Millennial Money - From Broke to Millionaire in 5 Years

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, my buddy Grant from Millennial Money joins me to talk about how he went from having $2.26 in the bank to $1.25 million in just 5 years, 3 months, and 6 days!

We dive into the strategies and tactics he used but we also go deeper and discuss some of the unexpected challenges of FIRE.

We also explore Grant’s new book, Financial Freedom, which is out today and features parts of my own story!


  • Why you don’t need to hit FI or save a million dollars to get the benefits of saving
  • How to make the most of your full-time job
  • Why you should strive for peace instead of money or happiness
  • How to find pleasure in mundane moments
Feb 06, 2019
Tony - Going Back to Work After Early Retirement

It’s easy to think that early retirement will be the answer to all your problems.

After all, how could you not be happy when you don’t have to work anymore?

I’ve written about why early retirement is not a magic bullet but what if it actually makes your life worse?

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I interview a reader named Tony who found this to be the case.

He’s since decided to go back to the same career he retired from and is enjoying work (and life) more than ever.

During the interview, we dive into the overlooked benefits of work and the downsides of early retirement.

We also explore serious issues that aren’t talked about enough, like depression and mental health.

Huge thank you to Tony for sharing his deeply personal story with us.


  • The benefits of having a job that are hard to find elsewhere
  • Why early retirement won’t magically fix all your problems
  • The importance of building human contact into your early retirement plan
  • The dark side of having a driving passion and purpose
  • Signs that you need to seek help for your mental health problems
  • What it’s like going back to work after early retirement
  • The Office Space Effect and how FI can make you a better (and happier) employee
Jan 23, 2019
Monumental Strength – How to Get Fit (and Actually Enjoy It)

I made two big mistakes when I was pursuing financial independence…

The first was I put off happiness until I hit FI.

The second was I also put off my health.

In today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I chat to my personal trainer, Doug from Monumental Strength.

Doug has spent the past two years taking me from a puny computer programmer to a strong, healthy weightlifter!

It’s been a fantastic journey, with numerous unexpected benefits, so don’t wait until FI like I did. Start focusing on your health now and drastically improve your journey to FI (and your life beyond)!


  • Why lifting weights is a perfect activity for improving your health
  • How to build a good workout plan
  • Why free weights are better than machines
  • What to eat if you want to build muscle
  • Why weightlifting is better than running for burning fat and losing weight
  • How to progress to doing more difficult lifts
  • The benefits of intermittent fasting
Dec 18, 2018
James Clear - Atomic Habits and Building a New Identity After Retirement

A challenging aspect of early retirement is the loss of identity you may experience when leaving a career you’ve spent a big chunk of your life building.

However, one of the most exciting parts of early retirement is that you have the time, money, and freedom to create a completely new identity!

How do you do it though?

Today, I had the privilege to speak to the writer who has been most helpful to me as I’ve started building my own new identity – James Clear.

In this episode, we discuss habits, deliberate practice, and how to best create a meaningful and purpose-driven life!


  • What makes life meaningful and how to live better
  • The importance of social connections
  • How to deal with the “pain of discipline”
  • The physics of productivity and why habits are so powerful
  • The importance of having an easy on-ramp to a task
  • Why a habit must be established before it can be improved
  • How to find a keystone habit that can improve multiple areas of your life
  • Why you should optimize for the starting line rather than the finish line
  • The downsides of habits
  • What is deliberate practice and why it’s important
  • How habits can change your identity
  • Why rewards are good (but only if they don’t conflict with your new identity)
  • What is intermittent fasting and why it’s beneficial
Oct 16, 2018
Travis Shakespeare - Playing with FIRE

If you’ve been reading about financial independence for a while, you’ve likely seen that the topic is getting more popular lately.

Although FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) is far bigger than it was when I created this site in 2012, it’s still nowhere near mainstream.

That may change though…

A full-length documentary called Playing with FIRE is currently in the works and the film has the potential to reach millions of people that blogs or podcasts never would.

This is a huge deal.

I was asked to take part in the film and was lucky to get to know the talented people behind the documentary.

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m excited to welcome the director and executive producer, Travis Shakespeare!

Listen to hear how the documentary came about, discover what Travis has learned about FI after spending the last year creating this film, and find out when you’ll be able to see it!

Oct 02, 2018
Chad Carson - Retire Early with Real Estate

Chad Carson from joins me again on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about the various strategies you can use to retire early with real estate!


  • The best real-estate strategies to use to reach financial independence and retire early
  • How real estate can be a good investment while also enhancing your lifestyle
  • What is the Mad Fientist’s Peak Arbitrage™ strategy and is it a good idea
  • Why you should buy utility but rent luxury
  • Thoughts on internet-based real estate investing companies (e.g. PeerStreet, RealityShares, etc.)
  • What you should look for when buying a long-term “Buy and Hold” rental
Aug 31, 2018
Second Year of Freedom

I can't believe it...

It's already been two years since I left my full-time job!

To celebrate this special anniversary, I decided to release a podcast episode containing my thoughts on my second year of freedom.

Find out what a day in my life is like now, hear all the ways early retirement is different than I expected, and discover the most valuable lessons I've learned since leaving my job!

Aug 01, 2018
First Year of Freedom

On August 1st, 2018, it will be exactly two years since I left my full-time job as a software developer.

To celebrate, I've decided to release two podcast episodes that contain all the valuable lessons I learned during my first two years of freedom.

Today's episode contains everything I learned during my first year and on Wednesday (August 1st), I will release everything I learned during my second year of freedom.

It's been a wild ride so hope you enjoy the first of these two episodes!

Jul 30, 2018
Scott Trench - Set for Life

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m joined by the president of and cohost of the BiggerPockets Money Show, Scott Trench!

Scott breaks down the journey to financial independence into three stages and explains what you need to focus on at each step (and why)!


  • The three stages of wealth creation on the path to financial freedom
  • Why it doesn’t make sense to worry about investing right away
  • How to create a “financial runway” and use it to your advantage
  • Why you should try to find a “scalable career”
  • How to turn your biggest expense into an income-producing asset
  • The one question to ask before buying your first house hack
  • The multiple benefits of adding side hustles along your journey
Jun 20, 2018
Marla Taner – Striving for Happiness After Early Retirement

My good friend Marla Taner joined me on the Financial Independence Podcast to go deep into some early-retirement topics that aren’t often discussed.

Marla and I met in 2014 at Camp Mustache and we’ve had a lot of fun (and sometimes heavy) conversations over the years so I thought it’d be great to record one for the podcast!


  • How to deal with a sudden early retirement
  • Rethinking travel after leaving work
  • Finding happiness from within
  • Dealing with losing career identity and external validation
  • How to care less about “success”
  • The effort of happiness
  • Focusing on progress rather than the end goal
  • Doing the work to figure yourself out
  • Justifying the decision to retire early
May 09, 2018
Money Talks – Live from the UK Chautauqua with Vicki Robin

Last August, I was down in England with Vicki Robin (author of Your Money or Your Life) for the FI Chautauqua.

We were chatting about the new version of the book she was working on (which is out now!) and she mentioned that she created a game called “Money Talks” to go along with the new edition.

The card game consists of 52 different cards, each containing a different money question or topic. The idea is, you can use the cards to initiate conversations about money with family, friends, etc. (as you are probably aware, money doesn’t often get discussed in real life so this game attempts to change that).

I thought it was a great idea so I asked Vicki if she’d be up for playing the game with a handful of Chautauqua attendees and I’d record it for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast.

She agreed and that’s what I’m sharing with you today!

Big thanks to Vicki Robin for teaching us how to play, to Ettington Park for the fantastic venue, and to Eduardo, Laura, Kimi, Matt, Brandon, Jason, Lena, and Meghan for taking part!

Mar 28, 2018
Elizabeth Willard Thames – Meet the Frugalwoods

Today on the Financial Independence Podcast, I welcome back Liz Thames (a.k.a. Mrs. Frugalwoods)!

Liz was last on the show over two years ago and a lot has changed.

Since then, she’s made her dream of retiring to a homestead in Vermont a reality, she’s had two babies, and she’s just published a book!

It was great to catch up with her to hear about everything that’s happened over the last couple of years and to find out whether her early retirement dream is actually as good as she hoped it would be.

And since we’ve become good friends since our last interview, it was fun to challenge her on some of her more “borderline” frugal habits and also share my most embarrissing frugal hack :)


  • What’s changed since our last interview
  • Has the Vermont homestead reality lived up to the dream
  • Why you should just start things
  • How to embracing a $0 budget
  • Why you should eliminate everything and then add back the things you enjoy
  • How the Frugalwoods go about buying things
  • My super embarrasing frugal confession
  • How to deal with the long slog to FI after initial period of excitement
  • Why frugality can help build community
Mar 05, 2018
My Brother – Using the Power of Money to Pursue Your Passion

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I interview my little brother while drinking wine next to a canal in Venice!

Brian, who is three years younger than me, isn’t actively pursuing financial independence but he’s done some really impressive things with his money and has used the power that money provides to fully pursue his passions.

In fact, he’s currently in the middle of a ~6-month mini-retirement and is using the time off to travel and hopefully take his music career to the next level.

We dive into a lot of interesting financial topics but we also degenerate into some brotherly chat, which produced classic quotes like this one: “I took my solids elsewhere.”


  • How we are different when it comes to money (including his much more extreme level of frugality)
  • Why he chose to live in a place with no heat, hot water, air conditioning, sink, or toilet
  • How to save money as a musician/artist
  • Why focusing on buying more gear misses the point and how you can avoid that common trap
  • How to utilize the power of quitting even if you aren’t financially independent
  • What it’s like tasting the early retirement lifestyle
  • Why learning a language abroad is a great way to travel
  • The pros and cons of having a day job when you’re an artist
  • How to get a dream job in the arts
  • Using mini-retirements and part-time work to pursue your passion
Feb 08, 2018
Chris Hutchins – Why You Should “Retire” Before You Hit Your Number

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I interview a serial entrepreneur who has achieved financial independence three different ways!

You’d think that selling a company to Google or buying San Francisco real estate before prices went crazy would be the best way to reach financial independence but that’s not been the case for today’s guest, Chris Hutchins from Grove.

Although he’s done all of those things, Chris shares how consistent saving actually impacted his net worth more than anything else.

This episode is packed full of useful information, especially if plan to start your own business or want to do something meaningful after early retirement, so hope you enjoy it!


  • What it’s like being an investment banker
  • How to get a job you really love
  • Biggest business lessons learned from working at Google Ventures
  • Why you should always say “Yes”
  • The benefits of doing something interesting every month
  • How aggressive saving can impact your net worth more than selling a company to Google or investing in San Francisco real estate
  • Why you should “retire” before you hit your FI number
  • My new favorite definition of retirement
Dec 19, 2017
Physician on FIRE – Geographic Arbitrage, Sunk Costs, and Gangsta Rap

It’s been a while since I posted a new Financial Independence Podcast episode but I’m excited to share one with you today!

Mr. and Mrs. 1500 from joined me live at FinCon in Dallas to interview the Physician on FIRE!

We sadly only had 25 minutes to record so it’s a short interview but it’s a fun one.

If you ever wanted to hear Mrs. 1500 rap, this episode is definitely for you :)

And if you ever wanted to hear what a podcast sounds like when two out of the three hosts are ridiculously hungover, this one is also for you (see if you can figure out which host is the sensible one).

I’ll be back to my longer, more in-depth interviews soon but for now, I hope you enjoy this wild and entertaining conversation with the Physician on FIRE!


  • How to separate your identity from your job
  • Using geographic arbitrage to spend less while getting paid more (without ever leaving the United States)
  • How to deal with sunk costs
  • What it’s like finding FIRE after already achieving financial independence
  • Plus, an amazing (and original) gangsta rap verse performed by Mrs. 1500!
Nov 14, 2017
Michael Kitces – The 4% Rule and Financial Planning for Early Retirement

One of the internet’s most-respected retirement researchers and financial planners, Michael Kitces, joins me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast!

You may remember that my Safe Withdrawal Rate post drew heavily from the incredible research Kitces has done on the topic so it was great to talk to him directly to dive even deeper into important topics related to early retirement.

During the interview, we discuss…

  • Safe Withdrawal Rates and whether the 4% rule is still safe in the current market environment
  • The unique challenges early retirees face that normal retirees don’t (and also some of the unique advantages early retirees have)
  • How Michael tackles early retirement from a financial planning perspective

If you’re worried about figuring out how much you can withdraw from your portfolio after you retire, this episode is for you!


  • Why Michael began researching safe withdrawal rates
  • What the Shiller CAPE is and how it can be used to determine a better safe withdrawal rate
  • Why the initial criticism of the 4% rule was that it was too low
  • What would be a safe withdrawal rate to use today, considering current market valuations
  • Human capital vs. financial capital and the advantages of having both
  • How to find a financial advisor and what Michael would do if a client came to him with early retirement plans
  • The biggest wild card that early retirees need to be concerned with that standard retirees don’t
Aug 31, 2017
The Happy Philosopher - Semiretirement and Finding Happiness

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, Jeff from The Happy Philosopher joins me to discuss the unique challenges that doctors and other professionals face on the journey to early retirement.

When you invest so much time, money, and energy into your career, it’s no wonder that walking away from your job is much more difficult.

We discuss alternatives to early retirement, which provide a lot of the same benefits but limit the downsides, and we also dive into ways you can increase your happiness during your journey to FI!


  • The unique problems that doctors face when pursuing financial independence
  • How you can separate your identity from your job
  • Why you should focus on happiness instead of FI
  • The benefits of the best drug in the world
  • Why you should stop watching news (and stop worrying about things you can’t control)
  • What is a ‘job share’ and why it’s a great alternative to early retirement
Jul 17, 2017
Mr. Money Mustache – Early Retirement Made Easy (Rebroadcast)

To celebrate the 5-year anniversary of launching the Financial Independence Podcast, I've republished the very first interview I recorded back in 2012 with Mr. Money Mustache.

In addition to the original interview, this episode also contains an updated introduction that tells the story behind the interview!


  • How Mr. Money Mustache and his wife retired in their early 30s
  • Why he decided to start writing about financial independence
  • The benefits of raising children after you’ve already retired
  • What MMM likes most about early retirement
  • Why you need to ride a bike
Jun 12, 2017
Think Save Retire - Selling Everything and Retiring to an RV

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Steve from!

Steve initially planned to retire at the age of 40 but after making some drastic lifestyle changes, he ended up walking away from his job at 35.

One of the biggest factors that reduced his time to FI was his and his wife’s decision to sell nearly everything they owned and move into an Airstream.

If you have dreams of spending your early retirement traveling around North America in an RV, this episode is for you!

We dive into the costs of RV life, the benefits of drastic downsizing, and Steve’s advice for anyone who wants to hit the road after retirement!


  • How to shed the golden handcuffs
  • The problem with promotions and the joy of stepping off the ladder
  • The costs of living in an RV full-time
  • Using a health share ministry for health insurance and going to Mexico for dental work
  • Why you should start with a smaller RV than you think you need
May 16, 2017
Your Money or Your Life – An Interview with Author Vicki Robin

I can’t believe it…

One of the founders of the financial independence movement, Vicki Robin, joined me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast!

Vicki and her partner Joe Dominguez wrote the book, Your Money or Your Life – a New York Times Best Seller that many people consider to be the bible of financial independence (the FI-ble?).

Your Money or Your Life is actually what inspired me to create the FI Laboratory many years ago.

Vicki has been a driving force in the FI community since the 1960s and has a wealth of knowledge and inspiring stories to share so hope you enjoy the interview!


  • The story behind Your Money or Your Life
  • How Joe was able to retire at the age of 31 in 1969 with $70,000 in the bank
  • Why Vicki’s quest to change the world didn’t succeed (yet)
  • How a stage-3 cancer diagnosis changed her plans
  • What’s going to be different in the new version of Your Money or Your Life
  • What she believes are the most important steps in the Your Money or Your Life program
  • How the book’s investment advice has changed and what she is current investing in
Apr 05, 2017
Our Next Life - Retiring to a Life in the Mountains

Later this year, at the ages of 38 and 41, the couple behind will be quitting the stressful, time-consuming jobs that they’ve held for most of their adult lives and will be retiring to a life in the mountains.

This is particularly interesting to me because one of my dreams is to live on the side of the mountain and get a part-time ski patrol job. Because really, what could be better than waking up early after a big snowfall, grabbing a cup of coffee with your buddies, then strapping on your skis and heading up the mountain to throw bombs and trigger avalanches?

Join me for a Financial Independence Podcast interview with Ms. ONL to hear all about this exciting transition to the mountains and to find out what their next life has in store for them!


  • What to do if you’re not naturally frugal
  • Why you should gradually trim your expenses if your spending is high
  • The risk of losing your identity when leaving a long-term, time-consuming job
  • Finding meaning after early retirement
  • Using your money to help out your family
  • What it’s like living in a ski town
  • The additional costs of mountain life
  • How to transition from the big city to the mountains
  • Preparing for the two phases of early retirement


Feb 27, 2017
Coach Carson - The Simple Way to Retire Early with Real Estate

After delivering an epic guest post on the tax advantages of investing in real estate, I asked Chad Carson from to join me on the podcast to hear more about his own experiences with real estate investing.

Chad started with only $1,000 in the bank and was able to build up a real estate empire that now consists of over 90 units!

It’s an incredible story of hard work, intelligent money management, and perseverance so listen to find out how he did it. And if you’ve ever wanted to know what it felt like to be a full-time real estate investor when the entire housing market collapsed in 2008, hear how Chad survived despite making over 50 acquisitions in 2007 alone!


  • How to get started in real estate with no money
  • What is ‘bird dogging’?
  • Why you should invest in something that’s simple and understandable
  • The numerous ways to finance real estate purchases
  • What it was like to survive the financial crisis as a real estate investor after making 50+ acquisitions in 2007
  • The importance of having a cash reserve
  • Why you should house hack or do a live-in flip if you want to retire early
  • What Chad would do if he was starting again and wanted to reach financial independence as quickly as possible
  • Why you need to be cautious when considering passive real estate investing options
  • How buying real estate to live in is much different than buying real estate as an investment


Jan 20, 2017
Fiery Millennials and Millennial Boss – A Millennial’s Guide to FI

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, Gwen from Fiery Millennials and Julie from Millennial Boss join me to talk about millennial finances and what young people should do to reach financial independence as quickly as possible!


  • Thoughts on Chautauqua and Camp Mustache (including the awful financial advice Julie received in Ecuador)
  • How Gwen landed her dream job and how Julie increased her income by 600% in 5 years
  • The benefits of starting your own blog
  • Why Gwen is the real-life Guinea Pig
  • How to get a college degree for free (or as cheaply as possible)
  • Why everyone should have a side hustle
  • How to negotiate a higher salary (including Julie’s story of how she earned an additional $80,000 by negotiating!)
  • What to do if you already have an inflated lifestyle
Dec 30, 2016
Sane Fientist - My Wife's Thoughts on Financial Independence

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I interview my wife, Jill!

It took a lot of persuading to get her on the show but I’m glad she agreed because her perspective is very different from mine so it was interesting to hear her thoughts on financial independence, early retirement, and this unconventional life we lead!


  • When my wife found out I was a weirdo with money
  • My lowest point as a cheapskate
  • Why Jill and I kept our finances separate
  • The importance of figuring out your perfect life
  • How to get your spouse on board with FI
  • Why you should start small when trying new things
  • What I do that annoys my wife most



Dec 22, 2016
Millennial Revolution – Denouncing the Cult of Homeownership

Joining me on today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast are FIRECracker (Kristy) and Wanderer (Bryce) from Millennial Revolution!

Kristy and Bryce exploded onto the scene after a video clip of them attacking the religion of homeownership went viral (it is now the most-viewed and most-shared video on, Canada’s largest news website).

During our interview, we dive into the viral video, explore why they believe buying a home is usually a terrible idea, and find out what they’ve been up to after retiring in their early 30s!


  • Buying a house vs. retiring early
  • Delusional homeowner math and how to avoid it
  • Why you should rent everything
  • The benefits of using a financial advisor
  • How reaching financial independence is different in Canada
  • Why you should follow your dreams on the side
Dec 01, 2016
PopUp Business School - The Right Way to Start a Business

I just returned from a fantastic week at the annual Chautauqua event in Ecuador.

This was my second Chautauqua and just like last year, it exceeded all expectations. 

It’s amazing what can happen when you put a bunch of interesting, intelligent people in a gorgeous 17th century hacienda (located at the foot of an extinct volcano) for a week.

At this year's event, an attendee named Alan gave an impromptu presentation about why and how you should start a business and since it fit perfectly with the week's other discussions about financial independence and happiness, I knew I had to get him on the podcast.

Since leaving my job in August, I’ve realized how important it is to have something meaningful to work on to fill the void after leaving your career so I think creating your own business is something everyone should consider.

A side business can not only help ease the transition to early retirement, it can reduce the pressure on your portfolio after you quit and it can even help you reach FI sooner so listen to today’s episode to find out the right way to get started!


  • Takeaways and surprises from the Chautauqua in Ecuador
  • Why you should do work you love
  • How NOT to start a business
  • Why entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be risky
  • How to start a business for free
  • The importance of selling your value before you create it
  • Why you need to just get started
Nov 22, 2016
Adventuring Along – From $0 to Retired in 5 Years

Want to know how two teachers were able to go from $0 net worth to retired in just 5 years?

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, Ali and Joe (a.k.a. Arebelspy) from Adventuring Along join me to talk about how investing in real estate supercharged their progress to early retirement.

We not only dive into how they achieved financial independence in spectacular fashion but we also explore their equally impressive retirement so far. In the past year alone they have hiked the entire El Camino de Santiago, had a baby in Istanbul, Turkey, and published a romance novel!


  • Dollar-cost averaging into real estate
  • How to purchase real estate in a place you’ve never visited
  • Best books for real estate investors
  • Grasping the concept of ‘enough’
  • Importance of challenging yourself after retirement (both mentally and physically)
  • Cost of having a baby in Turkey
  • How much money you can save by staying out of the United States
Nov 01, 2016
Mad Fientist – 1500 Days Podcast Takeover

My podcast was hijacked!

During this year’s financial blogger conference (a.k.a. FinCon) in San Diego, Mr. and Mrs. 1500 from took control of the Financial Independence Podcast and put me on the hot seat (a very hot seat, indeed)!

You’ll remember that last year at this same conference, I recorded an in-person interview with the 1500s. Well, this year Mr. 1500 figured it’d be fun to turn the tables on me so he and Mrs. 1500 interviewed me for my own show.

Sadly we only had 30 minutes to record, and the people on stage before us ran late, so this is a short but action-packed episode.

Big thanks to Mr. and Mrs. 1500 for doing it and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


  • What I was like as a child and what got me interested in money
  • Details about my first job
  • Why I started the Mad Fientist
  • My path to financial independence and what it was like leaving my job
  • The story behind my free Ivy League master’s degree
  • What it was like to be on the front page of
  • Details of our 3-month trip around the world
  • Why my wife is gross :)
Oct 11, 2016
The Military Guide – Angel Investing, Market Crashes, & 14 Years of Early Retirement

Today on the Financial Independence Podcast, Doug Nordman (a.k.a. Nords) from The Military Guide joins me to talk about how he achieved financial independence at the age of 41 by serving in the military!

Doug retired way back in 2002 so we dive into how he dealt with the market crashes that occurred at various stages on his path to financial independence, what 14 years of retirement has been like, and how he’s found meaning outside of work.

I know many of you enjoyed Doug’s wisdom and insights on the previous episode so check out today’s episode for his full story!


  • Thoughts on over 14 years of early retirement
  • Details of his investing strategy and how it’s changed over the years
  • Mistakes he made and lessons learned
  • How to deal with market crashes when you’re still working, about to retire, and already retired
  • What it’s like to live and work on a submarine
  • Difference between pursuing FI as a military service member vs. a civilian
  • What angel investing can teach you about investing and why it may be the best way to give away your money


Sep 30, 2016
Camp Mustache – Q&A with Mr. Money Mustache, Afford Anything, & The Military Guide

Today on the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m excited to share a live Q&A session with Mr. Money Mustache, Paula Pant from Afford Anything, and Doug Nordman from The Military Guide!

This panel discussion took place back in May at Camp Mustache — an annual retreat in the Pacific Northwest organized by Mr. Money Mustache readers.

In this episode, you’ll not only hear about…

  • Mr. Money Mustache’s biggest splurges
  • The investing mistakes I still can’t seem to avoid
  • Paula’s favorite thing about financial independence
  • Doug’s suggestion for discovering the meaning of life

…, but you’ll also get varied and diverse perspectives on some of the most important questions facing those on the path to financial independence and early retirement!


  • Top recommendations for people who are close to achieving financial independence
  • How to stay motivated when pursuing FI
  • What is the meaning of life
  • How to foster a good online culture and community
  • Tips and tricks to stop you from trying to time the market
  • The biggest challenges of reaching FI and how to overcome them
  • What we splurge on and why
  • Mr. Money Mustache’s thoughts on being featured in the New Yorker
  • How to handle changes in your relationships after reaching FI
Sep 12, 2016
BiggerPockets – Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, and How to Build an Online Empire

Joshua Dorkin, founder and CEO of, joins me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk real estate and entrepreneurship!


  • The story of how BiggerPockets got started
  • The advantages of “scratching your own itch”
  • Why you should study other verticals and other successful businesses
  • The incredible power of “fake it ’til you make it”
  • The right way to build an online empire
  • How long it actually takes to become successful
  • Achieving financial independence through real-estate investing

To read the full article, visit

Sep 05, 2016
Root of Good – A Million Dollars in 10 Years

Justin from joins me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about how he and his wife saved over a million dollars in under a decade!


  • The tax benefits and true costs of children
  • How to have a positive net worth after graduating from college
  • What is interest rate arbitrage
  • How to amass a million dollars in ten years without six-figure salaries
  • Why you should quit your job before you’re actually ready to retire
  • How to easily get $4,500 in free travel

To read the full article, visit

Aug 01, 2016
JL Collins – The Simple Path to Wealth

JL Collins joins me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about stocks, bonds, real estate, and his brand new book - The Simple Path to Wealth!


  • Origin of The Simple Path to Wealth
  • What’s changed about his investment philosophy over the last four years
  • Three simple steps to financial independence
  • Difference between good debt and bad debt
  • Why buying a house is an indulgence
  • The only two funds you need and why you don’t need to invest in an international fund
  • When should you invest in bonds and why the decision has nothing to do with your age
  • The bad investing habits Jim and I still can’t shake
  • The important lesson Jim learned from working with the top stock analysts in the industry

To read the full article, visit

Jun 21, 2016
Mike and Lauren – Medical Tourism, RVs, and Why You Should Question Everything

Mike and Lauren join me on the Financial Independence Podcast to discuss medical tourism, full-time RV living, and the importance of questioning everything!


  • The ins and outs of medical tourism
  • Reasons to give birth in another country
  • Benefits of having multiple passports
  • How to obtain dual citizenship
  • Total cost of having a child in Costa Rica
  • The actual income numbers of their popular YouTube channel
  • How to prepare for living permanently in an RV
May 18, 2016
Side Hustle Nation – Invest in Yourself

Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation discusses the importance of side hustles and how they can make your path to FI shorter and more enjoyable!


  • Why you need to diversify your income
  • How Nick got his start selling shoes online
  • The importance of investing in yourself and your business
  • Why a low barrier to entry means you should just give it a shot
  • Focus on the three Cs – Creation, Connection, and Contribution
  • Why fientists can take more risks and be more speculative
  • How to start a side hustle
  • Why you should tap into existing marketplaces

To read the full article, visit

Apr 04, 2016
Travel Miles 101 – Travel Hacking and Financial Independence

The guys from Travel Miles 101 stop by the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about investing, early retirement, and the benefits of travel hacking!


  • Using FI savings to become an entrepreneur
  • Dealing with extreme lifestyle inflation
  • Why P2P lending is like investing in extra-junky junk bonds
  • How travel hacking increases your options and decreases the stress of travel
  • Why travel hacking is the perfect hobby for fientists

To read the full article, visit

Mar 09, 2016
Budgets are Sexy – Challenge Everything

J. Money from Budgets are Sexy joins me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about the benefits of challenging everything in your life!


  • The importance of tracking your net worth
  • How not to buy a house
  • The importance of side hustles
  • Why J. Money is the Miley Cyrus of personal finance
  • How to live like Benjamin Franklin and why you should try it
  • The ways personal finance has changed over the years
  • Why you should challenge everything in your life

To read the full article, visit

Feb 04, 2016
Frugalwoods – Making Frugality Fun

The Frugalwoods joined me to talk about how frugality can help you reach your financial goals sooner and also increase your happiness in the process!


  • How to maintain a high savings rate while living in an expensive city
  • Tips for avoiding frugality-induced isolation
  • The importance of large goals
  • Keys to making frugality fun
  • When to give up a good thing
  • How to get a free graduate degree
  • The multiple fringe benefits of frugality
  • How to have children without delaying your early retirement

To read the full article, visit

Dec 11, 2015
Financial Mentor – Hedge Funds, Happiness, & Over 15 Years of Early Retirement

Todd Tresidder joined me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about active investing and lessons learned during 15+ years of early retirement!


  • Building wealth with paper assets, real estate, and entrepreneurship
  • Protecting your money during turbulent times
  • Pursuing good goals vs. bad goals
  • Finding happiness both before and after achieving financial independence

To read the full article, visit

Nov 24, 2015
1500 Days – Pulling the Early Retirement Trigger

The 1500s from joined me for my first in-person podcast interview to talk about real estate, the economy, and entering early retirement!


  • Most tax-efficient strategy for building wealth with real estate
  • Pay off mortgage early or invest?
  • What is a 1031 exchange?
  • Transition to early retirement with part-time work
  • Alternatives to early retirement
  • Will the economic future be as rosy as the past?
  • Is the 4% rule safe?
  • How to prepare your portfolio for less economic growth
Sep 29, 2015
Millionaire Educator – Financial Independence on Teachers’ Salaries

Hear how two teachers used tax-avoidance and geographical-arbitrage strategies to save nearly a million dollars in only 16 years!


  • Using international and domestic geographic arbitrage to increase income
  • How to save $250,000 in 3 years on teachers’ salaries
  • Setting up SEPP 72(t) distributions to access retirement account funds before standard retirement age
  • Going from $0 net worth to nearly $1 million in just 16 years
  • Living off 457(b) funds while fully funding other tax-deductible accounts
Jun 17, 2015
Empire Flippers – Buying and Selling Websites

Justin Cooke from joined me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast to discuss website investing!


  • Hear how Justin went from building an outsourcing company in the Philippines to building, buying, and selling niche websites
  • The difference between online and offline businesses and investments
  • Six different buyer profiles
  • When to sell your website
  • The future of online business investing
  • Justin’s recommendation for someone just starting out
  • Longterm prospects of website investing
  • Why better looking doesn’t always mean better

To read the full article, visit

Oct 22, 2014
JD Roth – Get Rich Slowly

J.D. Roth, creator of, joined me for the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about finding personal and financial freedom!

In less than ten years, J.D. went from having $35,000 of consumer debt to becoming a self-made millionaire. 

Since selling his incredibly popular blog,, he now spends most of his time writing about life and money at his personal site,

On today’s show, J.D. shares what he’s learned over the past decade of writing about money and personal finance and describes how you too can find personal and financial freedom.

To read the full article, visit

Apr 22, 2014
Forever Jobless – Internet Business Investing

Billy Murphy from joined me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about investing in online businesses!

What if I told you you could create $2,000 of monthly recurring income from a single $25,000 investment? Thanks to the low multiples some online companies are selling for, you could potentially fund your early retirement with a very small initial investment.

Billy takes us through how he went from being a professional poker player to creating a very successful poker training site. He then describes how he started buying e-commerce stores (his first investment was a site making $900 profit per month that he bought for $4,000) and shares what he learned buying, improving, and selling sites.

Hear why Expected Value (EV) is as important in everyday decision-making as it is in poker and find out what Billy would do to create a consistent $2,000 per month income stream if he was starting from scratch today.

Apr 07, 2014
Go Curry Cracker – Ten Years and a Day

Jeremy and Winnie retired a few years ago, in their thirties, and have been traveling around Central America ever since.

They were kind enough to join me from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to talk about their journey to financial independence and early retirement.

Discover how they were able to achieve financial independence and hear why moving to a cheaper locale can be a great way to smooth the transition into early retirement!

To read the full article, visit

Nov 21, 2013
Radical Personal Finance – Part Two

In part two of the podcast, the Mad Fientist explores some very powerful tax-avoidance strategies for early retirees.

It’s possible to achieve financial independence earlier in life, without having to decrease your spending, increase your income, or assume any additional risk, simply by using tax-advantaged retirement accounts in an intelligent way. 

Today’s episode explores the various retirement accounts available and explains the most optimal uses of those accounts for people on the path to financial independence and early retirement.

To read the full article, visit

Oct 10, 2013
Radical Personal Finance – Part One

Listen to part one of my Radical Personal Finance podcast interview where I discuss frugality, travel hacking, and financial independence!

A couple of months ago, a guy named Joshua emailed me to ask if I’d be a guest on his new show – the Radical Personal Finance podcast. I agreed and we ended up having a very interesting two-hour conversation.

Since then, however, Joshua has been forced to take down his podcast (for undisclosed reasons) and since he’s not sure when he’ll be able to put it back up again, he has agreed to let me publish our interview here (thanks!).

I couldn’t bear to hear myself talk for a full two hours though so I decided to edit the interview down into two smaller parts and today, I am publishing part one.

It was great being on the other side of the interview for once so hopefully you enjoy hearing a bit about my personal journey to financial independence.


  • Different Paths to FI
  • Frugality and Sacrifice
  • How to Have an Expensive Hobby
  • Travel Hacking
  • Slow Travel

To read the full article, visit

Oct 08, 2013
Retire Early Lifestyle – Perpetual Travel

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli from joined me to talk about 20+ years of travel and early retirement!

In 1991, Billy and Akaisha quit their jobs, moved to an island in the Caribbean, and have been traveling the world ever since.

Their initial retirement savings of $500,000 has survived the dot-com bust, the 2008 financial crisis, and over two decades of early retirement.

Discover how they did it, find out their recommendations for the best places in the world to retire, and hear what it’s like to be perpetual travelers!

To read the full article, visit

Jul 29, 2013
Lacking Ambition – Three Months After Financial Independence

Mike from joined me for an episode of the Financial Independence Podcast to discuss how he achieved FI in just over 3 years!

After working for just over three years, Mike was able to amass enough savings to purchase (with cash) three single-family houses. By living in one of the houses and renting out the other two, he now has enough rental income to completely cover his living expenses.

During the interview, Mike discusses how he was able to buy three properties, each for under $25,000, in a region that is typically considered to be an expensive market (New England).

In addition to real estate investing, I also talk to him about his time living in a tent in the New Mexico desert, discuss how he too was able to obtain a free Ivy League degree while working full time, and find out what life is like three months after achieving financial independence.

To read the full article, visit

Jun 03, 2013
Afford Anything – Dive Into Real Estate Investing

Paula from joined me to discuss how she’s using real estate investing to achieve early financial independence!


  • Frugality vs. wealth building
  • Mental energy is limited so use it wisely
  • Think like a creator, not like a consumer
  • Scarcity mindset vs. abundance mindset
  • How to start investing in real estate
  • Real estate niches and strategies
  • Becoming a real estate agent
Apr 08, 2013
Street Smart Finance – The Real American Dream

Shilpan from Street Smart Finance describes how he was able to build a million dollar real estate portfolio after coming to America with only $20!


  • The Value of Hard Work
  • Commercial vs. Residential Real Estate
  • Tax Benefits of Real Estate
  • Stock Losses vs. Real Estate Losses
  • LLC vs. S Corp
Dec 21, 2012
JLCollinsNH – The Importance of F-You Money

In this episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I interview Jim Collins from to discuss the importance of F-You Money!


  • The Importance of F-You Money
  • Surviving Black Monday
  • Don’t “Swing for the Fences”
  • Active vs. Passive Investing
  • Why Vanguard?
  • Three Simple Steps to Financial Independence

To read the full article, visit

Oct 01, 2012
Mr. Money Mustache – Early Retirement Made Easy

Mr. Money Mustache shares his early retirement secrets in an interview for the new Financial Independence Podcast!

Mr. Money Mustache retired in his early thirties and has recently emerged as one of the most inspiring personal finance authors in cyberspace. His entertaining and informative articles, which can be found at, give you the “punch in the face” you need to get you on the right track to financial independence.

It was great having him in the Mad Fientist lab to talk about his path to financial independence so I hope you enjoy the discussion with him as much as I did!

To read the full article, visit

Jun 01, 2012