051 | Mad Money Monster | A Roller Coaster Path to FI

Mad Money Monster

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
  • Hot Seat Questions

Links from the show:

050R | Impact | The Stealth Wealth Community

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


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

050 | Domestic GeoArbitrage | Freedom is Groovy

Domestic GeoArbitrage Freedom is Groovy

In this podcast we discuss domestic geographic arbitrage with Mr. Groovy from Freedom is Groovy.

In today’s Choose FI 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?
  • Hot Seat Questions

Links from the show:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

049R | FI Festival

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:

049 | Alan Donegan & The Escape Artist | The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

049.Alan Donegan and the Escape Artist

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
  • skip to 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:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

048R | The Roadmap to FI

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 unroll.me 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:

048 | The Happy Philosopher | The Happiest Man in the Room

048.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:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

047R |The Rule of 72

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: