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Financial Independence Podcast
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Financial Independence Podcast

Author: The Mad Fientist

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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!
61 Episodes
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! Highlights 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
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!
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.
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 :/
Scott Young - Ultralearning

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! Highlights 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
Third Year of Freedom

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.
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! Highlights 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
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! Highlights: 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
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! Highlights: 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
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. Highlights: 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
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)! Highlights: 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
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! Highlights: 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
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!
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! Highlights: 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
Second Year of Freedom

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!
First Year of Freedom

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!
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)! Highlights: 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
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! Highlights: 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
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!
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 :) Highlights: 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
Comments (8)

Matthew McKibben

I'm an INTJ

Sep 28th

Stuart Broadway

Many thanks for putting this podcast together. It's great to hear 2 people talking calmly and rationally about the current situation in terms of the markets. Stay safe.

Mar 18th

Ki Wi

Really enjoyed it! Clever and simple ;)

May 12th

Travis A

a light house on a storm.

Nov 16th

Samuel Ford

That silver dollar story is beautiful. Great episode.

Oct 6th

Mark Petre


Sep 20th

Holly Dixon Clontz

codecas t

Sep 11th

Jenn Kamatsu

investing real estate

Jul 2nd
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