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Financial Independence Podcast

Join the Mad Fientist as he interviews personal-finance icons like Mr. Money Mustache, Ramit Sethi, and JL Collins 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!

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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! 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


16 Oct 2018

Rank #1

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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! Highlights: 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

1hr 7mins

31 Aug 2017

Rank #2

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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! 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


5 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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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! Highlights: 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 http://www.madfientist.com/jl-collins-interview/


21 Jun 2016

Rank #4

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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! Highlights: 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


12 Jun 2017

Rank #5

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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. Highlights: Different Paths to FI Frugality and Sacrifice How to Have an Expensive Hobby Travel Hacking Slow Travel To read the full article, visit http://www.madfientist.com/radical-personal-finance-part-one/


8 Oct 2013

Rank #6

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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! Highlights: 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

1hr 6mins

12 Sep 2016

Rank #7

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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! Highlights: 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


1 Nov 2016

Rank #8

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Afford Anything – Dive Into Real Estate Investing

Paula from AffordAnything.com joined me to discuss how she’s using real estate investing to achieve early financial independence! Highlights: 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 To read the full article, visit http://www.madfientist.com/afford-anything-interview/


8 Apr 2013

Rank #9

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Chad Carson - Retire Early with Real Estate

Chad Carson from CoachCarson.com 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

1hr 7mins

31 Aug 2018

Rank #10

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Scott Trench - Set for Life

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, I’m joined by the president of biggerpockets.com 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


20 Jun 2018

Rank #11

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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! Highlights: 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

1hr 6mins

5 Apr 2017

Rank #12

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JD Roth – Get Rich Slowly

J.D. Roth, creator of GetRichSlowly.org, 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, getrichslowly.org, he now spends most of his time writing about life and money at his personal site, jdroth.com. 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 http://www.madfientist.com/jd-roth-interview/


22 Apr 2014

Rank #13

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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! Highlights: 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 To read the full article, visit http://www.madfientist.com/street-smart-finance-interview/


21 Dec 2012

Rank #14

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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 CoachCarson.com 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! Highlights: 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

1hr 1min

20 Jan 2017

Rank #15

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Root of Good – A Million Dollars in 10 Years

Justin from RootofGood.com joins me on the Financial Independence Podcast to talk about how he and his wife saved over a million dollars in under a decade! Highlights: 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 http://www.madfientist.com/root-of-good-interview/


1 Aug 2016

Rank #16

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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! Highlights: 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 http://www.madfientist.com/travel-miles-101-interview/

1hr 2mins

9 Mar 2016

Rank #17

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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! Highlights: 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 http://www.madfientist.com/frugalwoods-interview/


11 Dec 2015

Rank #18

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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! Highlights: 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

1hr 2mins

19 Dec 2017

Rank #19

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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! Highlights: 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 http://www.madfientist.com/budgets-are-sexy-interview/


4 Feb 2016

Rank #20