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Business
Investing
Entrepreneurship

The Voluntary Life

Updated about 12 hours ago

Business
Investing
Entrepreneurship
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A podcast about living a life of your choosing. Topics covered include financial independence, productivity, freedom, entrepreneurship, peaceful parenting, minimalism, perpetual travel, and rational thinking.

Read more

A podcast about living a life of your choosing. Topics covered include financial independence, productivity, freedom, entrepreneurship, peaceful parenting, minimalism, perpetual travel, and rational thinking.

iTunes Ratings

58 Ratings
Average Ratings
54
2
1
0
1

Thank you

By Samx39 - Oct 22 2019
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Like your podcast. I think you misunderstand Ray Dalio in 396. I think he really is being radically transparent because he might be that radically shallow and lack circumspection. I don’t know that being a tycoon and living out deep convictions are related...Enter WJC, BHO, Trump.

Highly recommend

By Wendi Pilling - May 31 2019
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Very thoughtful and informative on a number of subjects...parenting, entrepreneurship, and financial independence. I just finished listening to Jake’s “Becoming an Entrepreneur” which I purchased on Audible and I was not disappointed. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on the difference between an employee and an owner mindset. I am now reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” based on Jake’s recommendation. Everything Jake does really thought provoking and insightful.

iTunes Ratings

58 Ratings
Average Ratings
54
2
1
0
1

Thank you

By Samx39 - Oct 22 2019
Read more
Like your podcast. I think you misunderstand Ray Dalio in 396. I think he really is being radically transparent because he might be that radically shallow and lack circumspection. I don’t know that being a tycoon and living out deep convictions are related...Enter WJC, BHO, Trump.

Highly recommend

By Wendi Pilling - May 31 2019
Read more
Very thoughtful and informative on a number of subjects...parenting, entrepreneurship, and financial independence. I just finished listening to Jake’s “Becoming an Entrepreneur” which I purchased on Audible and I was not disappointed. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on the difference between an employee and an owner mindset. I am now reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” based on Jake’s recommendation. Everything Jake does really thought provoking and insightful.

Listen to:

Cover image of The Voluntary Life

The Voluntary Life

Updated about 12 hours ago

Read more

A podcast about living a life of your choosing. Topics covered include financial independence, productivity, freedom, entrepreneurship, peaceful parenting, minimalism, perpetual travel, and rational thinking.

116 Why Your Gym Membership Is 300 Times More Expensive Than You Think

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This episode provides a mind blowing way of thinking about the true cost of your monthly expenses. If you are interested in achieving financial freedom, then it makes sense to look at each monthly recurring expense as really costing you 300 times more. For example, a gym membership that costs £80 per month really costs £24,000 (in dollars, a $120 monthly gym membership really costs $36,000). The episode explains this perspective in more detail. In summary:

  • You have financial freedom when you don't have to work to support yourself. Therefore, if you want to be financially free, you have to think of paying for things from the interest on your passive investments.
  • Although there is a lot of debate about the numbers, the most widely used assumption is that you can live from 4% of your portfolio (the so called 4% rule). This assumes that on average your portfolio will make enough to cover for both inflation and you drawing down 4% (I personally think it's better to use 3% to be on the safe side, but let's use the most commonly used assumption to illustrate the point).
  • The 4% rule implies that you need a net worth that is 25 times your annual expenses to be financially free. To apply that to monthly expenses, simply multiply the 25 by 12 (for 12 months) and you need investments that are 300 times your recurring monthly expenses. So any monthly expense really requires 300 times more in capital to pay for it when financially free.
  • This is why for the £80 per month gym membership, you need £24,000 in capital saved to pay that membership when financially free. That figure (£24,000) is more than the annul expenses of most people in the UK.
  • This is why frugality and saving is so powerful as a way to get more financial freedom. It is more powerful to save expenses than to keep increasing your income because more income won't make you more free unless you control expenses.
  • I'm not a financial advisor and as always, you need to do your own research. I think this perspective is useful and it has been very helpful to me.
  • That's why I won't be getting a gym membership again anytime soon. There are plenty of free ways of getting good exercise!
Further Reading:

Jul 17 2013

10mins

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260 Overcoming Negative Emotions

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A review of Peter Breggin's book, Guilt Shame And Anxiety: Understanding And Overcoming Negative Emotions, originally published on another podcast hosted by Jake and Hannah, The Psychology Book Club Podcast. Peter Breggin's book is very relevant to many topics covered on The Voluntary Life. In the episode, Hannah and Jake discuss the challenging ideas presented in the book and how they can help you achieve greater psychological freedom. Show Notes

Sep 04 2016

46mins

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254 Perpetual Travel With Kids Part 1: Interview With Go Curry Cracker

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A fun conversation with Jeremy and Winnie from Go Curry Cracker. Back in Episode 162, we talked about their path to financial independence through extreme saving, and their lifestyle of perpetual travel in early retirement. In this episode, they talk about their experience of perpetual travel as a family. Their son Julian makes makes a guest appearance too! Show Notes:

Jul 19 2016

20mins

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358 Your Purpose In Life Can Change

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One of the alluring goals of the productivity system Getting Things Done (GTD) is to identify your purpose in life and align everything you do with that purpose. That idea sounds good, but what does it really mean to have a purpose in life? That's the topic of this episode.

Show Notes:

Nov 20 2018

16mins

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264 Thomas Stanley's Wealth Index

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In his book Stop Acting Rich, author Thomas Stanley explained a way to calculate your relative net worth, taking into account both your age and your income. He used this calculation to create a wealth index, which you can use to judge whether you are on the path to FI, or whether you are burning more of your income than you should. In the episode I explain how the wealth index is calculated and provide commentary on how to use it. There is also a free website that does the calculation for you. Show Notes:

Oct 03 2016

15mins

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324 Dealing With Manipulative People Part 1

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How do you defend yourself against manipulative people? Part 1 of a discussion about some useful ideas in the book "In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People" by Dr. George K. Simon.

Become A Patron of TVL to get bonus episodes and rewards!

Feb 14 2018

14mins

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148 Mental Decluttering

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This episode is about freeing your mind by decluttering all your mental baggage on a regular basis. Topic covered include:

  • The benefits of going on an information and media diet
  • The importance of having a trusted system for how to declutter your mind and control the information buildup around you.
  • The role of a weekly clear-out, as part of a weekly review 
  • Applying the "inbox-zero" approach beyond email to digital inboxes, physical inboxes, social inboxes, and life in general.

Show Notes

Mar 31 2014

21mins

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82 Savings Vs Wage Slavery

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This episode is about saving money and it's relationship with freedom. Many people are trapped in a "wage slavery" lifestyle, living from month to month. Although their income rises during their career, their expenses scale correspondingly (or even lead ahead, creating debt). There are two approaches to developing the savings that allow get you out of this trap:

  • One route is to increase earnings without increasing expenses, creating savings. The difficulty with this approach is that the higher the income, the bigger the tendency or temptation to spend more on a more comfortable lifestyle.
  • The other approach is to decrease expenses without decreasing earnings, by focussing on minimising living expenses as much as possible. The challenge with this approach is to do so without losing income (for example, moving to a low cost location might not make it possible to keep a well paid job).

Jake talks about his experience focussing on the first approach and discusses some of the benefits in terms of freedom that saving provides:

  • Developing an emergency fund of approximately 3 months expenses reduces a huge amount of stress associated with living month to month and enables you to cope with unexpected expenses or irregular cashflow.
  • Developing savings to cover 1 year of expenses opens up a huge degree of freedom, for example to start your own business, to leave a job if you don't like it or even to change your life in other ways such as by emigrating to another country.
This podcast and blog summary contains only personal opinions, it does not constitute financial advice and I am not a financial advisor.

Oct 31 2012

15mins

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62 What You Can Do To Live Free: Porc Therapy Interview

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This episode is an interview that Jake did on the Porc Therapy Podcast, recorded live at Porcfest 2012. In the interview, Jake talks about some of the things you can do to live more freely whatever society or economy you find yourself in, such as investing in friendships and living abroad.

Jul 02 2012

20mins

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113 Freedom From Your Stuff

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An episode about freedom from stuff. Topics covered include:
  • What I learned living from a backpack for 7+ months
  • Why owning stuff is not wealth
  • The hidden financial and psychological costs of owning stuff
  • How your stuff can control you
  • The goal of purposeful ownership
  • Strategies for minimalism: paperless, zero data and selling all your crap

Jun 22 2013

13mins

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250 Job Free: Introduction

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This episode contains the introduction of the audiobook version of Jake Desyllas' latest book, Job Free. Whether you want to achieve financial independence and retire early, or simply never work for anyone else again, this book provides an essential guide to the different lifestyle-design strategies open to you. You can get hold of the audiobook on Amazon and Audible, and it will shortly be available on iTunes. If you prefer reading, you can also get a paperback or e-book version on Amazon. Show Notes:

Jun 17 2016

21mins

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104 How To Diversify Your Investments

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This episode is about how to diversify your investments for lower risk and higher return. The issues covered include:
  • The problems with a simple "buy and hold" approach, whereby you invest all your money in your one favorite asset (be that stocks, gold or anything else).
  • The problems with the "market timing" approach to investing and why it doesn't work.
  • The benefits of diversifying your portfolio
  • How to properly diversify your portfolio by using different asset classes, rather than just different securities.
  • How to use rebalancing bands to harvest volatility, increase your return and reduce risk.
You can get more information about the concept of the permanent portfolio discussed in this episode in Harry Browne's book "Fail-Safe Investing" and in many of the previous Voluntary Life podcast episodes on investing. As always regarding investment, do your own research. I am not an advisor and this isn't advice of any kind, it's just my own opinions based on my experience.

Apr 19 2013

15mins

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221 Early Retirement Lifestyle Part 1

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There are many practical steps required to reach financial independence, but there are also some interesting psychological challenges to early retirement. Who would you be without your job? What would you do all day if you never had to work? Justin retired at the age of 33. He writes about financial independence at the Root of Good blog. In this interview, he gives his take on the psychological side of financial independence and describes his early-retirement lifestyle. Show Notes:

Sep 24 2015

32mins

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258 Getting Started With Productivity Systems

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This episode is an interview of Jake on the Valiant Growth podcast about getting started with productivity systems. A lot of people want to start using productivity tools and systems, but feel overwhelmed by all the options, jargon, and complexity. This episode will give you clear pointers about how to start simple and achieve massive improvements to your productivity. Show Notes

Aug 21 2016

47mins

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307 Five Ways To Live The Voluntary Life

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Jake's speech at the Freecoast Festival 2017, presenting five ways to live the voluntary life:

  1. Rational Thinking
  2. Personal Freedom
  3. Peaceful Parenting
  4. Financial Independence
  5. Internationalisation

Show Notes:

Sep 26 2017

28mins

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166 Retired at 33: Interview with Justin from Root of Good

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Justin retired at the age of 33. He writes about his journey to financial independence on his blog Root of Good. In this interview, he discusses his path to financial independence from intensive saving. Topics covered include:
  • Saving all salary increases and avoiding lifestyle inflation
  • Cost-effective housing, transport and food choices
  • The importance of having agreement with your spouse towards your financial goals
  • Children and financial independence
Show Notes

Jul 30 2014

58mins

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204 Making Sense of Frugality and Minimalism

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This episode is about making sense of two important concepts: frugality and minimalism. Frugality means to be economical or sparing with regard to money, but this definition prompts the question: what are the criteria for deciding if a choice is economical?  Similarly, the definition of minimalism (to own the minimum amount of possessions) also prompts a question: what are the criteria for deciding what the minimum is? Both these ideas only make sense if they are defined in relation to your goals and purpose in life. Using examples from entrepreneurship, I suggest ways to define frugality and minimalism in relation to your goals. Show Notes:

May 10 2015

25mins

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162 Spend Little, Save More, Travel the World

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This episode is an interview with Jeremy and Winnie, authors of the blog Go Curry Cracker. In the interview, Jeremy and Winnie share their inspiring journey to financial independence through intensive saving. They describe the lifestyle choices that enabled them to retire early in their 30s and travel the world.

Jul 05 2014

36mins

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211 Introduction To Truth And Certainty

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You can't be free unless you can think for yourself. If someone else is doing your thinking for you, then it's not your life that you are living. When you know how to think of yourself, you cannot be controlled or manipulated. Your life is truly in your hands and is up to you what you do with it. This episode is part one of a new series on how to think for yourself. The episode introduces the two biggest problems you have to overcome if you want to think for yourself:
  1. How can you tell truth from falsehood? 
  2. How do you know what you can be certain of?

Jun 30 2015

9mins

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93 About The Voluntary Life Part 2: Empowerment

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Part 2 in the short series of podcasts about The Voluntary Life. This episode is all about the podcast itself.

  • The podcast comes out once per week and is a mix of solo-casts and interviews. Some topics are covered in more detail as a series, like the entrepreneurship series.
  • The aim of the podcast is personal freedom empowerment: providing ideas for finding the maximum freedom in your own life, within an unfree world.
  • The podcast always takes a constructive approach: the angle on any topic is- what can you do to maximise your freedom in this area of life?
  • All the topics are about things that are actionable and personally relevant at an individual level.
  • The podcast aims to explore the approach of living a free and voluntary life across all aspects of life (work, personal relationships, finances etc).
  • We showcase examples of voluntary living through interviews with people who have maximised their freedom in a particular aspects of life.

Jan 23 2013

14mins

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403 Travel, Minimalism, And Parenting: World Wanderers Interview

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An update about how my approach to travel and minimalism has changed since becoming a parent. From an interview on the World Wanderers Podcast.

Show Notes:

Dec 11 2019

44mins

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402 Finding Your Own Path To A Job-Free Life

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A chapter from the audiobook of Job Free by Jake Desyllas.

Show Notes:

Nov 28 2019

18mins

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401 Negotiate For Mutual Profit Audiobook Part 2

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Part 2 of the audiobook of Negotiate For Mutual Profit by Jake Desyllas. Part 1, which covered constructive communication, can be found in TVL Episode 371. Part 2, in this episode, covers the win-win negotiation method, principles, and good habits.

Show Notes:

Nov 21 2019

20mins

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400 What The Voluntary Life Is About

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An overview of the topics covered in The Voluntary Life, why I focus on these topics, and what you can get from them.

Show Notes:

Nov 13 2019

13mins

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399 What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

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A discussion of the lessons that can be taken from Jim Paul's book, What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars.

Show Notes:

Nov 06 2019

12mins

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398 A Review of The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother

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What are the assumptions used in "tiger" parenting, and what is the goal? This episode is a review of The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. 

Oct 28 2019

23mins

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397 How Do You Know If You Can Live From Your Investments?

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How do you know whether you have enough money to live from your investments? What if you stop working and then find out that you don't have enough? This episode is a discussion with a listener about these questions.

Show Notes:

Oct 16 2019

14mins

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396 A Review Of Ray Dalio's Principles

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Ray Dalio is a well-known billionaire investor and hedge fund manager. This episode is a review of his book Principles: Life And Work.

Show Notes:

Oct 09 2019

22mins

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395 Job Free: The Psychological Challenges

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A chapter from the audiobook Job Free by Jake Desyllas.

Show Notes:

Sep 30 2019

18mins

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394 How Much Risk Should You Take When Investing?

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How much risk should you take when investing? Is the Permanent Portfolio approach too risk-averse? Here's a great discussion from a recent livestream.

Show Notes:

Sep 23 2019

20mins

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393 My Experience Visiting An Objectivist Meetup

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What is it like to visit a meetup about the philosophy of objectivism? Here is my experience! This is a bonus episode for patrons originally recorded in early 2018. 

Show Notes:

Sep 16 2019

16mins

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392 Four More Life-Changing Ideas

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This episode is about another four ideas that I think are life-changing. The ideas are: quiet wealth, parent effectiveness, digital minimalism, and argumentation ethics. I explain why these ideas can have such a positive impact and where you can read about them.

Show Notes:

Sep 09 2019

13mins

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391 Startups As A Path To A Job-Free Life

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A chapter from the audiobook of Job Free by Jake Desyllas.

Show Notes:

Aug 30 2019

29mins

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390 Productivity Outside Work

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Should you use productivity systems like Getting Things Done (GTD) for your work or apply it to your whole life? Here's a discussion with a listener.

Show Notes:

Aug 22 2019

20mins

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389 The Challenges Of Living With Purpose

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Highlights from two livestream conversations with listeners about the challenges of living with purpose.

Show Notes:

Aug 13 2019

17mins

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388 Make Yourself Redundant

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A chapter from Becoming An Entrepreneur by Jake Desyllas.

Show Notes:

Aug 02 2019

17mins

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387 Answering Listener Questions About The Permanent Portfolio

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A discussion with supporting listeners about the permanent portfolio investment strategy. How would assets like real estate would be tackled by the permanent portfolio? Why not use international stocks in a PP? Listen to the episode to hear these questions answered.

Show Notes:

Jul 24 2019

23mins

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386 Do You Have To Choose Between Financial Independence And Kids?

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A listener asks if he has to choose between financial independence and having children. Here's a response, including some fascinating data about the wider costs and benefits of having kids. Highlights from two bonus episodes. 

Show Notes:

Jul 15 2019

24mins

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385 Lifestyle Businesses

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A chapter from the audiobook of Job Free by Jake Desyllas

Show Notes:

Jul 05 2019

23mins

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384 Why Self Improvement Disrupts Your Relationship

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Many self-improvement lifestyle changes have a side effect. Whether your are adopting extreme saving, perpetual travel, peaceful parenting, or other changes discussed in previous episodes, the side effect may be to disrupt your relationship. Listen to this episode to find out more.

Show Notes:

Jun 26 2019

12mins

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