Why I’m Appreciating FI More Than Ever Now

Why I'm Appreciating FI More Than Ever Now

I didn’t think I’d ever want kids.

There was so much I wanted to do/see during my life and I felt like having kids would get in the way.

Two things changed when I got to my late 30s though.

First, my wife’s sisters started having kids and I got to see how fun/crazy they are.

Second, I started accomplishing a lot of the things I had wanted to do…

I don’t think I would have been able to achieve a lot of those things without the 5+ years of complete freedom that FI provided. So thanks to FI and my neices/nephews, I finally came around to the idea of having kids.

But the prospect of being a parent is scary (especially to someone like me who is a big planner and a bit of control freak).

Thankfully, FI helped quell some of those concerns as well…

  • Thoughts of sleepless nights were less worrying knowing that we didn’t have to wake up to go to work
  • Caring for a new person is less intimidating knowing there’s enough savings in the bank to handle any unplanned expenses
  • Parenting with both parents at home is a lot less scary than imagining doing it solo while one person’s off working

So not only did FI allow me to get into a state where I actually wanted to have kids, it also made the prospect of kids a lot less intimidating.

Anyway, enough beating around the bush…

I’m ridiculously pleased to tell you that there is now a Mad Fientist Jr. :)

He arrived on July 14th and Jill and I are both over the moon!

A Brand New Appreciation for FI

I wanted to write this post because I feel like lately, I’ve been mainly focused on the downsides of FI whenever I talk about it.

Since the FIRE world exploded in 2018, most FI content feels like this -> “FI IS THE BEST THING EVER AND IT WILL SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS AND WILL INSTANTLY MAKE YOU HAPPY!!”

That’s obviously not the case but it’s unsurpising most of the online content seems to suggest that. Here’s why…

When a new blog/podcast starts or when a newspaper is trying to get as much traffic as possible, which do you think will get the most clicks:

  • The 10 Ways FI Improved my Life and How It Can Change Yours!
  • Money is Not the Reason You’re Not Pursuing Your Dreams :/

Obviously the first heading would, so that’s why most FI content tends to focus on the positives.

But since I’ve been doing this for over a decade and don’t need to get more readers/listeners/clicks, I feel it’s my duty to share the full story. And since the positives are so well covered by other sites, I tend to dwell on the negative aspects whenever I’m interviewed, so that you get a more-balanced picture.

I wanted to write this post though because since having our son, I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated what FI provides more than I do now.

Jill and I can focus fully on our new addition and we can watch him grow without any distractions. My mom and stepdad came to visit for 18 days and we got to enjoy time with them and didn’t have to share our attention with work. We can nap in the middle of the day and stay up all night if we need to.

I can honestly say I haven’t felt this level of contentment, happiness, and gratitude since I left my job in 2016, and I’m so happy we worked hard and made the sacrifices we did to get to this position.

Fully Realizing the Benefits

Over the last two years, I feel like I’m entering a new stage of life where I am finally reaping the benefits of my past investments (rather than just accumulating more investments).

I’m learning how to enjoy spending money (more on this soon) and man, is it fun :)

As we celebrate 20 years of being together in December, investing in my relationship with Jill has yielded a beautiful son and a partnership that’s never been as strong and loving as it is now.

My focus on health and nutrition over the past decade means that even though I’m an older dad, I’ll hopefully feel just as young as the other dads that I’ll be interacting with soon.

And achieving FI has helped me get mentally and financially prepared to have the cutest little kid I could imagine.

Your Investments Will Be Worth It

Apologies for all this self-reflection today but I wanted you to know that your hard work and sacrifices will likely pay off in a bigger way than you ever even imagined (because that’s how I feel now).

Your investments will only be worth it if you actually start cashing them in though so that’s what my future posts/podcasts will be focusing on.

Since my publishing schedule will be even more sporadic now that we have a newborn, click here to join the 100,000+ others on the email list and get updated when new posts get published.

6+ Years of FI

My FI anniversary (Aug 1st) came and went without me even noticing this year.

I can say that this is the best that post-FI life has been though so I’m even more excited for the future.

I didn’t know this is where I wanted to be but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. And I’m thankful that FI helped me get here.

P.S. Big thanks to Paul H. for the amazing Mad Fientist baby onesie! I promise he likes it a lot more than the picture indicates :)

P.P.S. I released a short podcast episode about this so click here to check it out!

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121 comments for “Why I’m Appreciating FI More Than Ever Now

  1. Aaron
    September 2, 2022 at 6:28 am



  2. J. Money
    September 2, 2022 at 7:24 am

    Ahhhh welcome to the club, sir!! You’re going to be a fantastic dad. All they want is to spend time with you and get into fun/curious/creative stuff just like you’re already doing so you’re going to be a perfect match :)

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Thanks a lot, J$! And that sounds fantastic, so can’t wait to see what we get into together :)

  3. Ian Threadgold
    September 2, 2022 at 7:55 am

    Hey Brandon, loved this pod, massive congrats on the new arrival! Have followed your pod for years and left full time job 3 years ago now. I have a 12 year old and 6 year old. You are right FI doesnt solve all your problems but the best bit has been being able to spend time with my girls just hanging out in the summer taking them to school just being around and watching them growing up. Also wanted to say you really inspired me to get back into music and have now made 3 albums with my time and listening to you do it as well was a big help

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:23 am

      Whoa, huge congrats on the albums! I’m really struggling to get another song written, let alone a full album. I’m hoping to get a 4-song EP out by December but still have so much to do (and not much time to do it). I’d love to check out your albums so please email me a link!

  4. Lizzy
    September 2, 2022 at 7:57 am


  5. Bryce
    September 2, 2022 at 8:02 am

    So happy for you both!

    Watching our kindergartener move to distance learning in early 2020 was the event that tipped me into finally getting off the one-more-year cycle. I’ve been so thankful ever since that we’d done the hard work earlier and had thus opportunity.

    J Money’s right. They really just want to do stuff with you and it’s wonderful to be able to.

  6. Financial independence nerd
    September 2, 2022 at 8:26 am

    Congratulations Brandon!

  7. Liz
    September 2, 2022 at 8:27 am

    100%. We are not fully FI but being far along that journey (coasting) has helped our parenting journey tremendously.

    Congratulations. Now you will probably want another one (we had 2 just in case something happened to the first one!).

  8. Deborah Young
    September 2, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Congratulations! What happy news! I recall talking with Jill about the joys of parenthood at the Ecuador Chautauqua some years ago. So glad you are getting to experience it.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:17 am

      Yes, Jill remembers that too :) Hope you’re doing well!

  9. Jane
    September 2, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Big congratulations to both you and your wife! Kids have a way of making your grow exponentially if you let them. You’re in for a treat! =)

  10. Naseema
    September 2, 2022 at 8:32 am

    Congratulations ! I love this perspective of FI and how it fosters your parenthood journey

  11. Sara
    September 2, 2022 at 8:32 am

    That’s such fantastic news! Congratulations :) I am sure you and Jill are going to be amazing parents!
    My brother had a son last year, and I have discovered the joy of being an aunty, although I don’t think I’ll ever want kids. I will just enjoy being the cool aunt :)

  12. tony
    September 2, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Congratz! Welcome to parenthoood! It’s crazy, but totally worth it!

  13. DevOnFire
    September 2, 2022 at 8:34 am

    I’m very happy for you and your wife Mad Fientist, I’ve been listening to your podcasts since before you reach FI and you are an inspiration for me and my family.
    Hope your baby brings a lot of joy and happiness to your life!

  14. Cosmin
    September 2, 2022 at 8:35 am

    Congrats and have fun on this new adventure with Mad Fientist Jr :) … being FI will allow you to spend lots of time with your little man! Enjoy!

  15. carl
    September 2, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Angry FIentist…

  16. Tracey
    September 2, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Absolutely love this post. Parenthood is such a gift/blessing and the love you feel for your son will just get deeper and sweeter with each passing year. Congratulations and welcome to the party!

  17. Carrie
    September 2, 2022 at 8:52 am

    That’s wonderful news. Congratulations to you both!

  18. GR
    September 2, 2022 at 8:53 am


  19. Leeg
    September 2, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Congratulations! Children are the best thing. You will learn so much from this journey.

  20. Beth
    September 2, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Congrats! This post made me tear up a little bit. Love seeing how happy you and your family are.

  21. Sudha
    September 2, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Congrats on your little one. They are fun and grow fast. So, enjoy every moment. Yes, being FI affords you the opportunity and time to be with them as much as you heart desires!
    Great article by the way and I like the format too! Thanks

  22. Mike
    September 2, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Congrats! Your life will never be the same!

  23. Sonia
    September 2, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Congrats!! Loved the episode this morning.
    As a single woman this is part of my huge ‘why.’ I want to have a family and spend time with them.. not cry on the way to work! Especially in America, I feel like it’s a must to invest as a woman.

  24. Ginzu
    September 2, 2022 at 9:11 am


  25. Lorie
    September 2, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Congratulations to you both! Your lives will be enriched forever. My baby is 26, and it really is true that the days are long but the years are short. You and others have helped this “dinobaby” get smarter about money, even though I got off to a late start, so kudos to you for escaping the grind at an age where you can still enjoy it!

  26. Kim Simpson
    September 2, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Congratulations : )

  27. Gwen
    September 2, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Ahhh!!!! So excited for you two!!! Congratulations!!!

  28. Kamranicus
    September 2, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Congrats! Cheers to being a new dad! Its a crazy ride, especially the first. We have 3 now and we both work, but working towards FI has made our life much more flexible so we can both spend more time with them. I started following you in 2018 and rode the hype train, but it wasn’t long before the wiser advice started to come out about FI. So I started to work toward my ideal life now (thanks Fioneers!), taking summers mostly off and now quitting my dayjob to build my own business to get the most flexibility I can. So thank you for everything you’ve done!

  29. Samantha
    September 2, 2022 at 9:19 am

    These are great news!!! I got as happy with this news as if you were my cousin
    You guys are amazing!! And your advices and podcast episodes have change my life from great to awesome

  30. Will
    September 2, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Congratulations! Not only on the new arrival but on being so happy. I’ve read that the first couple years of parenthood can be super stressful on marriages, so it’s great that you two are as close and as happy as ever.

    On a personal level, I badly needed an episode like this. My main FI podcast these days is Mile High FI, and, like you, Carl likes to very deliberately counter-program against the general notion that FIRE will solve all your problems. I totally get that approach, but it was pretty invigorating to hear such a full-throated endorsement of FI :)

  31. Kelly
    September 2, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Fantastic! Congratulations to your family!

  32. Erin
    September 2, 2022 at 9:33 am

    Congrats! Spending time with my three boys (all under 7) is a big “Why of FI” for me. Have so much fun and remember, the days may be long but the years are short. Enjoy it!

  33. Jim McG
    September 2, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Congratulations, and I hope his first words, outside of “mum’ and “dad” are “Save 10% of your first pay packet in an Global Index Tracker and continue for life”.

  34. Karim
    September 2, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Congrats Brandon and Jill! I’m so happy for you:) My views on spending and money changed a lot after adopting our daughter. I’m not quite at FI but close enough where I definitely appreciated not having to panic about splurging on things that would improve my daughters life. Best wishes:)

  35. AW
    September 2, 2022 at 9:37 am

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing and always being honest about the pros and cons of FIRE.

  36. Linsey
    September 2, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Congratulations on this next chapter! So happy for you and your wife.

  37. David O'D
    September 2, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Congratulations Mad Fientist! To you, Julie and Junior.

    Trust me,what you are doing now is more important and meaningful than anything you’ve done to date. Enjoy it all and best of luck!

  38. Juan
    September 2, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Congrats Brandon! You are in for quite a ride!
    I have to say, I’d have considered it a small tragedy if someone as kind and capable as you didn’t have kids :)

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:13 am

      That’s very kind, Juan :) Hope you’re doing well!

  39. Jen
    September 2, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Congratulations on your new addition!!

  40. Martin Oharriz
    September 2, 2022 at 9:52 am

    what a fantastic news! wellcome to the club! and yes FI is great to be a parent! keep the good work on it! and great to hear from you!

  41. Laura
    September 2, 2022 at 9:56 am

    Congrats Brandon and Jill! Kids are just awesome. We are so happy for you both!

  42. Steve in Colorado
    September 2, 2022 at 10:00 am

    So many parents are incompetent and put no thought into it. I think you will be a good parent.

  43. Tyler
    September 2, 2022 at 10:06 am

    I appreciated our emails just a few days ago Brandon and when you hinted at a big change I thought this was coming. Congrats on the baby! Parenting with FI goals in mind is a whole other level. Forever you will have a different calculation than the DINK (Dual Income No Kids) FI followers. Kids take a lot more money but they are worth it.

    Best of luck!

    San Diego, CA

  44. Court @ Modern FImily
    September 2, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Congrats! We reached FI when our kiddos were born and we wholeheartedly agree with all your pros above. Our why prior to kids was travelling but now it’s be to present parents. Hope you enjoy this next phase in your journey!

  45. Philip
    September 2, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Hi Brandon, many congrats from the Netherlands. Fantastic news. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

  46. Alex
    September 2, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Congratulations Brandon! After reading Mr. Money Mustache’s story about how great it was to become a parent after FI, I wanted to put my head down and work hard for 10 years and do the same. My wife really wanted kids earlier, so we decided to start our family at age 26, nowhere close to FI. Now that I have a 1 year old daughter (and a 2nd kid on the way), I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having her in my life has changed my perspective in a lot of ways. One of which is similar to what you shared, which is I focus much less on the money now. I’m still on the path to FI, but maybe the slow route. I’ve realized that I’m never going to get this time back with my daughter and I would much rather spend time with her than trying to kill myself to make more money.

    Thanks for sharing your exciting news and hope you are enjoying dad life!

  47. Chris
    September 2, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Congratulations! Like Liz, we are “coasting” towards FI and the headspace and stress reduction has made raising our three kids such a pleasure. Enjoy!

  48. Levi
    September 2, 2022 at 10:14 am


  49. Evie
    September 2, 2022 at 10:14 am

    Wonderful news! My husband and I also retired in our 30s before having a baby (now a toddler) and your list of benefits of being FI parents is spot on. It just keeps getting better!

  50. Steveark
    September 2, 2022 at 10:19 am

    It is great you are grateful for you circumstances, and not random ones but ones you created intentionally with purpose and hard work. I do think that the experience of raising kids into adults is marvelous no matter what your work situation is like. My wife and I raised three millennial kids, all now in their 30’s, while I worked a demanding full time job. My wife chose to be a stay at home parent and we both enjoyed our roles. I’ve never regretted having a job I loved, and loved much more than staying at home, and she does not regret forgoing a career outside the home. We all create stories we tell ourselves about why the way we do things is the best way, that’s the human condition. I appreciate how you chose to do parenting but I do not think there is a best way. Kids need attention, love and teaching and some of the best lessons are taught by watching their parents live their lives. You are teaching them that there are alternatives to what most people see as the only path, I hope I taught mine that you can have a career that you truly enjoy if you refuse to settle for less.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:08 am

      I’d say that’s a fantastic lesson!

  51. Bonnie
    September 2, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Wow, congratulations on the birth of your son! You will never regret it, even with ups and downs. Your life will be different forever, much richer, and you will become wiser. I know because I also had a son while in my 30s, and he changed my life. Enjoy and be a loving friend and advisor every day– he will grow fast, and suddenly one day you will wonder how he got to be in high school already. Again, congratulations to you both!

  52. Dave
    September 2, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Ha, love that picture. We just had our second in June. Congrats!

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:06 am

      Congrats on your second!

  53. Mrs Doodlepop
    September 2, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Congratulations!!! So exciting. It is amazing to watch this little being you created start to learn and interact with the world! I love watching mine explore and slowly reveal their personalities. So happy for y’all :)

  54. Wendy
    September 2, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Awww, congrats Jill and Brandon! And welcome to MADFi Jr! Wishing you all best!

  55. Lorena (De Peso a Peso Podcast)
    September 2, 2022 at 10:43 am

    I’m so happy for you and your family- children are amazing beings. Enjoy every minute of it- they grow fast!!!

  56. Fred
    September 2, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for sharing the big news! Congratulations! Enjoy this special time with your little one – how great it is not to even think about going back to work?!

    Now that you are a parent, you may hear that raising kids will cost you a fortune. My own experience differs. As a father of two teenage boys I can confidently state that, if you are frugal, your spending won’t increase much until the teenage years. And even then, you’ll just need to make adjustments: maybe reduce your number of international flights and meals out – it won’t kill you – you’ll just need to update some spreadsheets ;-)

    On a related note, I hit my first big FI milestone earlier this year and almost quit my job forever… But because I still have kids at home, I instead negotiated a fully flexible, part-time role. My boys won’t leave the nest for 5 more years, so I wasn’t planning on traveling the world for months at a time anyway. So I’ll still be around for the support they need and with a lot less distraction from full-time work. And only 5 years to full FI!

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:06 am

      That’s fantastic so big congratulations! Fully flexible and part-time sounds just as good as full FI (maybe even better). Enjoy :)

  57. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure
    September 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Yay! Welcome to the wild world of parenting! Congrats! You two are going to be amazing parents. It’s such an adventure!

  58. Patrick @Aime to Invest
    September 2, 2022 at 11:09 am

    Congratulations to you 3!!

  59. Mike
    September 2, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Having a kid sure changes your life.
    I gave up a lot to things to try to give my kid all the attention he needed.
    Tried a lot of different things.
    The truth he is still a work in progress at 22.


  60. Frugal Mermaid
    September 2, 2022 at 11:44 am

    So pumped for you!

  61. altadoc
    September 2, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Congratulations! Children are amazing little creatures. I am constantly in awe of their curiosity and spirit.

    We had our first child at the ripe age of 45 (for me). It’s certainly led to some big shifts in thinking and how I spend my time, attention, and money. Like you, I am so grateful for the choices I made 10-15 years ago that have led me to rapidly downshift my hospital-based work and spend more time with our child.

    This time while they are very little, is so tender and precious. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’m thrilled for your family and that you can spend so much time together.

  62. Adam
    September 2, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Woh, congrats! I’m starting to understand how time I’m FI can change perspective on things. Having that reduced stress response going 24/7 can lead to unexpected outcomes.

    > Jill has yielded a beautiful son and a partnership

    I read that line as ‘’.

    • Adam
      September 2, 2022 at 11:58 am

      Ops, HTML escaped my joke. Let me try again.

      <%= yield(:son) %>

      • The Mad Fientist
        September 5, 2022 at 10:03 am

        Haha, nice :) Hope you’re doing well!

  63. Dave
    September 2, 2022 at 11:55 am


    I will say that I fully expected a throwaway line about saving the delivery receipts to cash back in the HSA later though… :D

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 10:03 am

      We’re in Scotland so, thanks to the NHS, no money changed hands (best thing ever)!

  64. Suzanne
    September 2, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations to your family

  65. Soma
    September 2, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Congrats!! How lovely to see you have a mini-me now.
    Looking forward to your sharing over the coming years.

    I am FI as well, but have not quit yet. It is in the works in 2022. There have been three blogs that have helped me get here – JLCollins, MMM, and yours. Those were enough for me, I did not really need to read thousands more blogs and books. I started reading and learning around 2016, and it took me five years to organize my investments and life to get here. This summer I was about to close my professional life, sell my home, and start retirement. But the housing market took a downturn in June and put a bit of cold water on my plans. So I think I will wait another year and let this recession pass. I know I will be OK, it is just that there is a voice that keeps nagging me to not do anything rash. Goals and effort towards those goals are good, but there should not be an attachment to those.
    For me, the best grounding is through a twice a year 10-day vipassana meditation courses, and consistent two hours a daily sits at home.
    I am still working on my health side, slowly building new habits, but sleep has improved a lot.

    I share all the above personal info with the intention to thank you and show you how much you have been an inspiration in my journey. I hold you with deep gratitude in my heart. May you and your family be happy and healthy.


  66. Eric Holstein
    September 2, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Congratulations Brandon! This is awesome news! Having kids is a joy! p.s. FI helps you recover from being up in the middle of the night with a new baby too! ;-)

  67. NP on fire
    September 2, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Congrats!! Raising kids has just about killed me, but everyone says it’s worth it… so I’m holding on! Lol! Enjoy the ride – embrace the chaos.

  68. Ani
    September 2, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Congratulations, Brandon! I found you and MMM in 2018 after graduating from college, and one thing that stuck out to me from MMM was that his early retirement plan allowed him and his former wife to be stay at home parents. I work in corporate and I see how difficult it is for my female co-workers to work full-time, take care of a home, and raise their babies. They’re constantly working and constantly tired. I’d only have kids if both myself and my spouse become stay at home parents.

    I love updates from people currently FIRED. It inspires me to keep working towards our FIRE goals. Thanks for sharing.

  69. Sandi Kay
    September 2, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Brandon, I am so pleased and excited for you and for Jill. Watching you create your best life has been a fantastic experience, and you just keep getting better. Congrats on all the hard work, and all of the fruitful planning and decision-making. You guys are inspirational!

  70. Scott
    September 2, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Congratulations Brandon and Jill. It’s a joy to see FI is working for your Family’s life enrichment. Many great adventures ahead. I too reached FI in 2019 and pulled the Corporate Plug March of 2021 @ 58. Because of your inspiration and example it gave us the confidence to FI out.

    Blessings and Joy to you and yours – Scott

  71. ThomH
    September 2, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    Long time reader and infrequent poster here. Congrats on the new baby! You are about to experience life like never before and it will be amazing! I now have two thirty-ish year old amazing daughters. I can only imagine what it would have been like to spend unlimited time with them growing up. We FIRE’d about five and a half years ago at the ages of 50. We now are experiencing our first grand daughter, and I can only tell you that it gets EVEN better with grand babies! So hold on and ride the wonderful wave you’re on! It’s a beautiful life you’re living. Enjoy every minute and congratulations again!

  72. Corwin
    September 2, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Congrats man! Our second kiddo was born early 2021, so not too long ago – I still remember very well the late night feedings and sleep deprivation. It will end one day, I promise! And when you’re fighting with Jill at 2am about why the baby won’t stop crying, remember this phrase: “the baby is the enemy” ;-) Also I highly recommend coming up with a list of soothing techniques (like the The Hold, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2C8MkY7Co8) so that at 2am when you’re horribly sleep deprived and can’t think straight, you can run down your list for ideas. That saved us a bunch of times.

    Having kids is simultaneously the most difficult and rewarding thing you’ll do. When our first kid was young (and I was still working), I always told people my day job was my EASY job. The real work started when I got home. I was very grateful that we’ve been FI since our second kid was born – it’s made things MUCH easier, as you describe.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Hahaha, that made us both laugh out loud, thank you :) I can definitely see us using that phrase at some point!

  73. Lisa
    September 2, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Haha, way to bury the lede! Congratulations on your little dude. You picked the best possible time to have him.

  74. Roger
    September 2, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Congrats Brandon! Having children will change your life in many unexpected yet wonderful ways. You are indeed lucky to have achieved FI beforehand. I began my FI journey after having kids and have often reflected that I would love to spend more time with them while they’re growing up, because the years really do fly by. While I probably won’t achieve the milestone by the time my eldest leaves the nest, it may happen before my younger one does.

    I realize FI won’t solve all my problems, and I sometimes wonder whether staying in a job I don’t love is worth it, just to attain FI. Fortunately, my job isn’t the sort that takes me away from the family too much, because that certainly wouldn’t be worth it. Anyway, best of luck! Parenting is certainly an adventure!

  75. Regina
    September 2, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Congratulations to you and Jill. I echo many others in saying how wonderful it is that your successful journey to FI enables you to have this time with your son. I didn’t reach FI until much later, but am enjoying time I have with my 21 year old daughter now. She just finished school and is looking for the job that will bring her to FI early. She is listening and learning, so she has a shot at it. Best of luck!

  76. Rob and Sam Fatzinger
    September 2, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Congrats Brandon. If you are in the DC area and need babysitting, drop them off with us and our brood. We’ll watch them.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:53 am

      Hahaha, I now have even more respect for what you both have done!

  77. Naya
    September 2, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Congratulations! This photo brightened my day. It’s refreshing to see this and hear your thoughts about FI/RE and becoming a parent. There’s so much anti-child talk in the FIRE community and I think it’s crazy. The #1 reason I’m going to FIRE in the next couple of years is to hang out with my kids more! Huge congrats to you and enjoy every precious moment with your new little one! Kids are awesome.

  78. Seongmin Nam
    September 2, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    Congratulations to you and Jill! You have planned and worked hard to arrive at this point in your life.

    I don’t know if you are still living in Edinburgh, but if you are, it is such a beautiful city with lots of green space all around. It is a great and safe city to raise a child. I lived there for one year and long to return. Having recently gone through a serious medical crisis in the States, I can really appreciate all the convenience of living and the lower costs in Edinburgh. I walked to my doctor, dentist and pharmacy and groceries. I miss hearing the Scottish accents at cafes and walking through narrow and dim-lit paths past midnight with my teenager daughter and feeling totally safe. I didn’t have to worry about gun violence.

    Your being FI means more time to be with your young family, and the time and attention you give to your child will benefit everyone.

    Wish you all the best!

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:52 am

      Edinburgh really is a fantastic city so let me know if you ever make it back and we can try to grab a coffee or something :)

  79. Erica
    September 2, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Awwww so happy and excited for you! Really glad you’re sharing this perspective because I’ve been mulling the same thing for over a year. I’m not at FI yet but I think that’d be a circumstance where I’d consider having kids. Great blog as always! :D Thank you!

  80. Kelly Fuette
    September 2, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    This is the best news! Congratulations to you and Jill! What a wonderful reflection and a God given blessing as a new baby and era in your life. I too never thought I’d want kids until my nieces came along and I saw what a family real, loving marriage and family looks like. Now in my late 30s and my husband 50, we’re on the baby train too! It’s not too late and there’s so much beauty, challenge and life that children bring. I am looking forward to watching little Mad FI grow!

  81. Mary
    September 2, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    Congrats on all fronts!!

  82. Josh inya
    September 2, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    Congratulations, so happy to hear the news. We need more FI dad’s in this community! Welcome to the ultimate adventure and so glad your enjoying it!!

  83. Brendan
    September 2, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Congratulations Brandon! Fatherhood is such a blessing. I pray for continued health and happiness for you and your family.

  84. Aida
    September 3, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Congratulations ! Happy to share your joy xox

  85. Jsamee
    September 3, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Woohoo–my baby just turned 1, and at almost 40 I’m actually way more into this whole baby business than I ever thought I would be. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy parenthood as much as I do.
    Also, asap, I recommend listening to (not reading) Janet Lansbury’s “No Bad Kids”, it totally shifted my mindset and its the #1 thing I would recommend to every new parent!

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:50 am

      Added to my reading/listening list (thank you!) and congrats to you as well :)

  86. Wade
    September 3, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Congrats! I always love your content and you helped me get on the financial independence path.

  87. George
    September 4, 2022 at 7:51 am

    Congratulations! Any chance you’d mind sharing details of how you focused on health and nutrition?
    The arrival of my first child, while in my late 30s, made me acutely aware of the need to shift my investment mindset from “for money” to “for time/health”.
    With our second on the way, and a lot of progress toward FI, we’re transitioning to a lower cost city, shifting to one income, and focusing on health and wellness. Thank you and congratulations!

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:49 am

      I actually plan to write an article about this, because I feel like I’ve settled into a really good routine (hopefully I’ll get that done sometime next year).

      Quick summary though, this is what’s worked best for me:

      • Intermittent Fasting (usually only eat between noon and 8pm and only have two big meals per day)
      • Lift weights 3x per week and focus on the movements that provide the most bang for the buck (e.g. squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull ups, shoulder presses, barbell rows)
      • Cook most meals and try to make them as healthy as possible (oats with seeds/nuts/fruit for breakfast, fruit/veg/protein powder post-workout shake, tasty homecooked meal with protein/veggies

      Look out for the full post next year!

  88. Dan
    September 4, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Congrats, I wish a good health to your baby.
    Keep enjoying the life and the freedom that FI is giving to your family.
    Thanks for this post full of motivation.

  89. Michael L
    September 4, 2022 at 11:39 am


    A child will be your biggest challenge letting go of the planning and control freak aspects you mentioned. You’ll be better for it. Ironically, those things afforded ultimately you the time to really be present with your child and self-reflect.

    Totally agree with the Janet Lansbury recommendation above. She also has a podcast Unruffled.

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:40 am

      I actually already feel like I’m better for it. I was starting to really stress about the pregnancy scans and I found myself in bed worrying one night and I thought, “I’ll be able to relax after the 12-week scan”. But then I thought about it and thought, “Actually, I’ll feel better once he’s born”. Then I thought, “No, I’ll probably relax a bit when he’s gained some weight and is past the newborn stage.” Then I freaked out and thought, “I’m probably never going to stop worrying about him!”

      I was talking to my sister-in-law about this (she has 3 kids) and she gave me some great advice that calmed me down and has allowed me to be relatively stress/worry-free since. She said, just take it one day at a time and don’t worry about the future. Is he healthy/happy today? Great…just relax and enjoy that. There’s no use worrying about him as a teenager when he’s not even been born yet. It was great advice and it has helped me snap out of those worry cycles anytime I think about what future challenges could arise.

  90. James
    September 4, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    As another older dad (two toddlers) who is still working, my main struggle with parenting has been managing the demands of work. Not having to work would completely change the equation and massively improve quality of life and your relationship with your children. That said, I’m curious how your FI situation changes now. For me kids have been very expensive and will continue to be as I am budgeting for private education and college as well as a larger dwelling. If you are not working you can save some expenses like childcare but I wonder if you have enough cushion to absorb the impact?

    • The Mad Fientist
      September 5, 2022 at 9:33 am

      Yeah, we have enough cushion. We’re not planning on high education costs though because I went to public school in NC and then had in-state tuition at UNC (and I feel like I turned out okay) so I imagine we’ll encourage the same (we’ll see though, because things could change).

  91. Jon
    September 4, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Congrats and welcome to the greatest adventure there is!

  92. LazySod
    September 4, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Congrats man, now you know why you worked so hard towards FI. It is the perfect lifestyle for young families. Enjoy it!

  93. Brigid
    September 4, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Congrats to you guys. Get sleep when you can and enjoy the ride!

  94. Thomas
    September 5, 2022 at 9:37 am

    Congratulations, so happy you decided to become parents and you have the mindset, community and resources to make the most of it!

  95. The Mad Fientist
    September 5, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Thank you, everyone, for your lovely messages!

    I’ve always known I’ve got the kindest readers/listeners on the internet but you keep proving it, again and again :)

  96. Jason
    September 5, 2022 at 11:33 am

    Congratulations! Being an “older dad” just gives you more to share with your kiddo. More experience, more patience, more knowledge. The lessons you’ve learned in life are the gift you bring to your children. I am so happy for you and Jill, and most importantly, your son. May he have a charmed, and maybe a little “mad” life ahead.

  97. Nate
    September 7, 2022 at 11:31 pm

    Congrats mate!!!! Its so cool to get your perspective on this transition and what freedom financial independence adds to it!

  98. Jim
    September 9, 2022 at 11:46 am

    About time to stop that “5th year will be my last update to you”
    C’mon MF, you’re a lighthouse to many so why don’t you keep updating us on your FIRE life? Keep it as a journal for your kid to read in the future, just like JL did. I bet he’ll love to read it when he’ll be a your age

  99. wulumuqi
    September 18, 2022 at 7:27 am


    I stopped work when I became a dad myself, six years ago. I now have two kids, age 6 and 4. I am very glad to have had all this time with them when they are small.

    I do think it’s worth flagging to the FIRE community that this is a risky time. If you look at firecalc, some years didn’t work out with the 4% rule, like 1973.

    And there are good reasons to think we could be in a 1970’s situation, eg here is Druckenmiller saying we could be in for 15 years of markets trading sideways like in 1966-82:

    Now this is fine, because I have the time to find some additional sources of income. But I do sometimes think FIRE feels a bit like a religion, and just trust in the 4% rule. I would caution people to look under the hood here and consider carefully.

    Personally I have switched more to inflation-proof, recession-proof dividend aristocrats like AbbVie, Enbridge, and some others. Jay way I think I can preserve my capital. But whether dividends will grow as fast as inflation the next decade I am kind of doubting, which is why I will need to find additional income outside of my portfolio.

  100. Demetri
    September 19, 2022 at 5:21 am

    Congratulations. I’m in a similar boat with my hopefully soon to be wife where we have that concern raising the family while working. But thankfully I should not have to work full time much longer (full-time anyway) and I can help out so she is not running around like a chicken with its head cut off managing the household. I could technically stop working now but with inflation and the markets where they are, I am hesitating pulling the trigger.

    It is a great feeling. I probably have 10 years on you so I understand you’re concern about being an older dad but you really aren’t and yes leading a healthy lifestyle should help in the long run not to mention the extra time you have with your child that other fathers won’t have since they’re working

  101. Max
    September 26, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Children are the best thing on life…and combined with FI it is almost like glory…..you’ll have plenty of time to share and grow together. Congratulations. Enjoy any single moment.

  102. Jackie
    September 28, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Congrats! I haven’t checked in here in a while so very happy for the update and news! I recommend you get on the Daily Dad distro list now. Very amazing short daily read that has been incredibly impactful for me since having kids!

  103. Brandon
    October 16, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    My new wife and I are having our first child come January. We will not be FI yet, but we will be well on our way for funding her retirement and 529.

    My wife and I are both librarians and can see ourselves working until our mid fourties or early fifties so we are not super early FIRE but our jobs aren’t that stressful and pay us well for the area that we live in.

    It is always great hearing from you. Take care!


  104. Charlotte
    December 6, 2022 at 2:16 am

    This was such a heartwarming post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how you decided to go for it.

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