042R | Perfect Utilization

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:

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

042.The Green Swan

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

Links from the show:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

041R | Extreme Ownership

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:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

041 | The High Cost of Living Path to FI

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.


In 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

Links from the show:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

040R | The Power of the Reset Button

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:

040 | Take a Gap Year | Money Metagame

040.The 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

Links from the show:

039R | Cruise Control

Friday Roundup 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:

039 | Millennial path to FI | Fiery Millennial

039.The Millennial Path to FI

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

Links from the show:

038R | Firewalker

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: