Valuable Lessons from My Second Year of Freedom

Valuable Lessons from My Second Year of Freedom

It’s insane to me that it’s already been two years since I left my full-time job as a software developer.

To commemorate this special anniversary, I decided to release two podcast episodes…

First Year of Freedom

A reader named Robin reached out and said he recorded himself reading through my First Year of Freedom post and asked if I wanted to use it for anything.

It sounded great and since it’s packed with a lot of interesting insights from my first year of early retirement, I figured I’d publish it to celebrate my second year of freedom.

You can check that out here:

Listen Now

Second Year of Freedom

When preparing the above episode for release, I realized that I haven’t written about what the second year has been like.

Since I’ve learned even more valuable lessons during the second year, I decided to record another episode talking all about it.

Listen below to find out what a day in my life is like now, hear all the ways early retirement is different than I expected, and learn what all these revelations mean for the future of the Mad Fientist!

Listen Now

Show Links

Full Transcript

Mad Fientist: Hey, welcome everyone to the Financial Independence Podcast, the podcast that usually gets inside the brains of the best and brightest in personal finance to find out how they achieve financial independence but today is a bit different…

If you listened to Monday’s episode, you’ll know that it is the 2-year anniversary of when I left my full-time job. To commemorate it, I released a recording of a reading of my First Year of Freedom post, which you can check out, and I decided to record this episode of me reflecting on the last year to give you an idea what my second year freedom has been like.

This episode will likely be shorter than you’re used to but hopefully it’ll still give you a sense of what this whole lifestyle is like after you reach your goal and some of the challenges that you face that you may not expect.

I know personally I have not expected a lot of the stuff that’s happened so hopefully you can learn from my experiences and then be better prepared when you eventually quit your job as well.

I think a great place to begin is to actually reflect on my First Year of Freedom post, which you hopefully have read before. Or if not, you listened to being read on Monday in the last episode.

If not, I would suggest go to that. There’s a link in the show notes to that post.

The great news is the only time I actually freaked out about this whole thing was on that first day of freedom, which I talked about in the last post.

Everything else has been really really great.

There’s been challenges, absolutely, but overall the experiences just been incredible.

As I mentioned in that first year post, I was experiencing new things a lot more which has continued into the second year. I recently biked around the Netherlands with some friends, which is been something I really wanted to do for a while.

Just get on a bike for a week and travel around Europe, because it’s so easy to bike around Europe…the infrastructure is great and there’s so much cool stuff to see you in such a small area so there’s a lot of bang for your buck as far as pedaling is concerned.

Since that Dutch trip was so successful, we actually booked another biking trip with friends and had a great time cycling around the wine regions of eastern France and that was it an incredible as well. It just shows the flexibility of FI and what it can provide you because that was sort of a last minute thing.

Our friends were planning a big trip around Europe and asked if we wanted to join them for any piece of it so we just flew out there for a week, biked around drinking great wine, eating great food, and had a really nice time with some friends.

Had we been working, we probably wouldn’t have been able to do that.

So the new fun experiences have continued from the first year and so too has the focus on health. In fact, I think health has become an even bigger focus in the second year because I realized how great it made me feel in the first year and how it’s sort of was like a cornerstone habit that made me healthier in other ways as well.

For example, going to the gym not only made me healthy from the actual going to the gym part but then it made me eat better, it made me drink less beer, because it’s like I’m not going to go to the gym and work that hard and then ruin it with the bunch of beer or something, so it’s been hugely impactful. And it’s been great for my mental health because I feel great, I’m happier, I feel like I’m sleeping better and it’s just been fantastic so later this year I’m going to get my personal trainers, a buddy who just been sending me programs via mobile app, I’m going to get him on the show and we’re going to talk through everything that he’s been putting me through over the last couple of years and it’s going to be a great episode so stay tuned for that.

The decreased stress from the first year has also carried over into the second year, which I’m very thankful for.

It’s actually amazing how awful stress feels when you are able to design a lifestyle that has very little of it. Recently, we were…I can’t remember what the issue was or why I was stressed, but it was like the first time in a while that I can remember actually feeling stressed and it’s like, “Wow I can’t believe people with stressful jobs and stressful lifestyles go through this all the time and how this is just a normal state for people” because it just feels awful and it can’t be healthy for you. So that’s been an incredible blessing.

Also, I think just my mindset shift with money has changed so much that I am less stressed about a lot of things. Back when money felt like it was scarce or that I needed to save every single penny for the FI goal, I’d worry about lots of things like…What if the car broke or what if something happened and there was an accident and I had to pay for something or what if the hot water heater went out or something.

Now, it’s like, “Okay, there’s enough money there so all of these things could still happen but at the end of the day, you know all you have to do is spend a little money that you didn’t expect to spend and the problem will go away.” So there’s not really any need to stress about it and that’s that’s actually been huge for me. It’s just been such a different outlook and it has allowed me to really not fear as many things or not stress about things that could potentially happen.

Part of this carefree attitude towards money is caused by the fact that money is still coming in so as much as I’d love to write about withdrawal strategies and how that’s been affecting me and how I’ve been selling these investments to maintain my spending and how I’d like to talk about the actual financial aspect of pulling the plug on your job, I really can’t because the credit card tool that I built way before Mad Fientist was even around has been bringing in more money than we actually spend. So it’s a great position to be in but it’s not making me be a very good blogger because I can’t really write about all the things that I planned to write about.

It does show that building these sorts of projects while you are working has the potential to make the transition into post-job life that much smoother and that much easier to deal with from a financial standpoint. Also from a happiness standpoint because if you build something before you’ve left your job, you’re going to have something that you’re passionate about that you can work on after you leave your job so as I’ve mentioned in past articles, the fact that money still coming in, Jill is still working, I worked two years longer than I had planned to…all of these things mean that money is no longer a motivating factor in my life anymore which is really weird to come to grips with.

And that’s what it leads me to the next big thing I learned in the past year, which is learning how to say no to really fun and interesting opportunities that come along. Although I got better in that first year of not saying yes to things just because they could earn me money or they could save me money, I was still agreeing to things because they sounded like they be fun. Having fun is great but it still could keep you from doing things that will give you more lasting happiness and enjoyment.

And that’s something that I’ve realized…I think a lot of my unhappiness during my career wasn’t because I had a bad job, because that wasn’t the case…I had a great job and I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t because I felt like I needed more money to spend money on stuff. It was really because it felt like I couldn’t do the things I really wanted to do and it felt like I didn’t have the time to really pursue the things that I was really passionate about that I thought could give me lasting long-term happiness.

The thing I learned over this last year is that even good stuff can get in the way of that so yes, it was easy to get rid of my job because I was like, “Okay, I don’t really love it so yes, let’s get rid of that and then I can start focusing on these other things.” But then, all these other fun and interesting opportunities arise when you don’t have to worry about money or time but they still get in the way of those things that you really want to be doing!

And that’s something I had to learn the hard way, by overcommitting myself during that first year but now during the second year, I’ve said no to a lot of things, which is really tough to say no to fun interesting opportunities but it has allowed me to get into a better routine and make progress on these things that I’ve always said I wanted to make progress on.

Which leads really nicely into another huge lesson that I’ve learned over the past year, which is the importance of habit.

I mentioned in the past that I didn’t want to travel as much as I thought I would have at this stage in my life. And a lot of the reason is because I get a lot of satisfaction and making progress on some of these things and the only way I can make progress is to have a consistent habit.

To give you an idea of what I mean, I’ll just described a day in my life these days, which may not be too exciting but it is so enjoyable. This is surprising because I never thought I would actually enjoy habits or routine but when you get to design it exactly how you want to, then you actually do.

So normally I wake up naturally around 8 a.m. naturally. I don’t have to wake up to an alarm or anything. I have a nice cup of tea cup of coffee usually try to get some things done on the computer while I’m drinking. That’s actually something I’m trying to change because at first I would check my email first thing in the morning but then that would send me on all these other tasks that I didn’t actually need to complete and it would get in the way of what I really want to do that day. So I’m trying to only check email after 3 p.m. now so that doesn’t happen.

But after drinking a cup of coffee, I would head down to the gym and usually spend an hour to two hours there, just lifting weights, which as I said before, I’ll talk more in depth about when I get my trainer on the program. Then, I usually stop by the grocery store or the butcher on the way home and pick up some stuff for lunch.

I then come back, get a shower, make a huge lunch, since it’s probably the first time I’ve eaten all day (which I’ll also talk about in the health episode), and then I’d spend the afternoon working on the important project that I haven’t actually even shared with you guys yet but I will soon, I promise. There’s a lot of Articles I’m planning on writing about this because it’s been such a struggle but also so rewarding.

So I try to work on that until Jill gets home, if she’s working that day, and then we’ll cook dinner together, have a nice dinner, maybe watch an hour of stuff on Netflix, maybe work a little bit more on some of the projects, maybe do some mad fientist stuff in the evening, and then I try to get to bed by 11 so that I can read until I fall asleep, and that’s usually by midnight.

That’s a pretty typical day but that has taken a long time to get to that stage because you need to figure out what times are good for you to do certain things and when you have the motivation to work hard on certain things and when you don’t.

That’s taken a lot of trial-and-error and I’m going to write about some of this stuff because it’s super important I think to having a life that you’re happy with because like I said before, I think a lot of my own happiness is knowing that I should be doing something else or want to be doing something else but not having the motivation to do it or not having the time to do it or not having the money to do it.

When you reach financial independence, you have the money and you have the time but the motivation is still the thing that could trip you up and it has over the past year or two for me so I plan to get into what worked for me and what hasn’t in future articles but for now I’ll say that habit is the one thing that makes the biggest difference.

If I can get into a routine and I can stick to it, then it makes everything so much easier and then I always go to bed feeling like I did the right thing that day and I feel like I made progress on things that are important to me and it hasn’t been a motivational struggle because it’s routine and it’s normal.

Since my normal day-to-day life is so efficient and focused, that makes me enjoy my vacations more and my trips more so when I go to the States and visit family, I can just relax. And even if I’m not as productive there and if I’m not making as much progress as I would like, at least I know that when I get back I’m going to be making a lot more progress and will be a lot more effective at everything I’m trying to do and that lets me just relax and not feel guilty about it on those occasions when I am somewhere else.

That brings up another point…that’s another reason why I’m trying to limit the amount of trips that we take and limit the amount of fun things that we do because if my whole life is that, then I can’t really feel good about my routine because I’m not doing it anymore.

So it’s been challenging but I feel like I’m making good progress and I’m excited to share some of that with you later in the year in future articles.

I have to say this is a lot different than I expected when I was planning to reach financial independence. I did not think of any of this stuff and it was all the fun things that I was hoping to do like travel and hang out with friends and family all the time and just have the life of leisure and enjoyment. But all that stuff is only really enjoyable when you’re working hard and you feel like you deserve it, like you’ve earned it, so that’s why the focus has really shifted for me this year.

Being a blogger, it’s interesting because you can sort of look back on what you thought you wanted and what you thought you were going to do.

Back in November of 2012, I wrote an article called The Perfect Life and that was an exercise that my wife and I did when we just try to sit down and plan out what are perfect life would look like.

This was a great exercise and it was one of the reasons that Jill, my wife, actually got on board with the whole idea of financial independence.

So I definitely recommend you do it but just know that whatever you think your perfect life is will likely change by the time you actually have the power and the time to live that.

Looking back on that article from 2012, it looks like I did get some of the stuff right but I missed out a lot of things.

My core focus back then was going to be on friends and family, traveling, learning, and creating.

The friends and family thing…absolutely, that’s been great.

The traveling, as I mentioned, I don’t need to do as much of that as I thought I did.

The learning and creating…that is a huge focus and that is something that is been really bringing me a lot of Happiness.

So back then I thought that we were going to live this 3-6-3 plan I called it, which was 3 months living in the States visiting all my friends and family, 3 months traveling somewhere else in the world, and then 6 months living in Scotland and hanging out with Jill’s friends and family.

It’s just amazing how off that would be now!

We tried to travel for 3 months and we realize it was way too long so now I think we’re more one month travel, max.

We also tried to travel and see friends and family in the States for about 2 months and we realized that was way too long too. And it’s not because we didn’t like seeing our friends and family but just not having a home for that long and not having that routine is is just really disruptive. So I think we’re one month max on that side too.

That just means that most of the time we’re going to be in Scotland, which is great!

I did mention in that post that I wanted to spend some time in Thailand, Guatemala and Ecuador and I’m happy to say we hit all those places up since then so that’s cool to see!

The other thing I thought I’d do is create businesses but as I said, when money stops being a motivating factor…you know some of those ideas were just money making opportunities and it’s like, “Well that’s not a really good use of your time, if you know more money is not going to make that big of a difference.”

The other thing that I mentioned in that post was maybe doing a PhD program, which is something I still want to do someday.

I am putting that off to what I’m calling my second retirement, because I feel like there’s so much I want to get accomplished that I still feel like I’m working super hard and I can see a time when it’s like, “Okay I maybe I’ll do a Ph.D program for fun.”

One of my buddies has said that he wants to come over and do a Master’s so maybe I’ll just do it with him for fun.

Then, my proper proper retirement will be being a ski bum on a mountain somewhere and maybe working part time for ski patrol and throwing avalanche bombs and stuff like that.

So what you think you want is maybe not exactly what you are going to want to once you get there so just be flexible, think of other options, experiment, and just have fun with it because that’s really the whole point.

And that brings me to the biggest realization that I’ve had over the last year that I don’t think I had as much in first year…it’s just how good this is and how lucky you are to be able to control all of your time.

There’s been so many times over this past year where I just get this feeling of elation. Really, there’s no reason for it, there’s no external stimulus that caused it…it’s just a moment of pure joy.

Just knowing that you’re in control of your time and knowing that you can do whatever you want and it doesn’t matter if you get kept up late one night because somebody’s noisy in the street or something because you can sleep in the next day, if you need to.

And it’s just these unexpected moments of just pure gratitude that you’re lucky enough to be in this position that you’re in and to be able to live this lifestyle and to have the low levels of stress.

That’s just happened so many times over this past year and a lot more than the first year. I think in the first year I was just really thinking about things and still in the old sorts of mindsets but now it’s just like, this is a new life and I guess every so often I would realize that, “Hey, this isn’t just a vacation or a temporary thing…this is life now and I feel unbelievably lucky to be living it.”

Hopefully this is helpful to you as you’re planning your own departure from work eventually. And hopefully it gives you an idea of where I think the Mad Fientist is heading for the rest of this year and into next year.

I’m going to be focusing a lot on building the lifestyle that you’re hoping to build because I as I said, I’ve had my struggles and I’ve learned a lot about that so I think for the rest of this year there’s going to be a lot of articles focused on that (i.e some of the things that have worked for me and haven’t worked for me) so if you’re interested in learning more about that stuff, then absolutely subscribe to the email list and you’ll get notified as soon as a new article gets published.

There are currently 80,000 people subscribed, which blows my mind, but hopefully that shows that I’m not spamming people and people aren’t unsubscribing.

If you want to subscribe and also get a PDF of all the great advice I’ve received on the podcast over the years just head over to and you can enter email just there and you’ll get a PDF containing tons of great advice I received from all my guests on the podcast over the years.

So that’s what my second year of freedom was like. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun and that definitely was the case. I really can’t believe it’s been two years since I left my job but it’s been a wild ride, it’s been extremely exciting, and I can’t recommend it enough.

For all of you out there who are still on the path to FI and are finding it to be a bit of a grind, trust me…it’s absolutely worth it and all of the things that you’re learning about yourself as you struggle through these times are going to definitely help you build your ideal life once you do walk away from your job.

Thanks a lot for listening and we’ll be back to the normal interview format in the next episode. I have some good ones already recorded that I’m excited to share with you.

See you next time!

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40 comments for “Valuable Lessons from My Second Year of Freedom

  1. Nathan
    July 30, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Really enjoyed this, the narrator has a great voice! I’m so far away from FI that I haven’t even begun to think about what I’ll do when I get there. It’s great to have content like this to help me prepare though! Thanks for all the great info you provide on your site!

    • The Mad Fientist
      July 31, 2018 at 3:28 am

      Even if you’re far away from FI, it still makes sense to really start thinking about what you want out of life so you can start working towards it now!

  2. TrixieB
    July 30, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks for posting! Great voice talent to go with great content. I have reached a very very lean stage of FI and recently gave notice (as in, a week ago)…perfect timing for me to really consider as I make decisions on how to live without paid work being the final arbiter of my time. I have some family obligations that I will be jumping into right away, but those should clear up within the next six months, so I have some time to ease into this next stage. Thanks again! love the podcast.

    • The Mad Fientist
      July 31, 2018 at 3:24 am

      Whoa, big congrats!

      Good luck with the transition and hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

  3. Someguy
    July 30, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Enjoyed this on my bike ride home from work today, especially the comment about saving emails from those whose life you’ve impacted.

    I can point to lots of decisions and moments that were consistent with this FIRE community throughout my life well before it had a name. But approximately 2 years ago, while traveling, a friend handed me a magazine (Harpers?) with an article about MMM. A couple months later, a long-time friend and financial confidant pointed me toward an online community I’d not encountered before. A coworker of theirs had pointed me toward your site.

    Dove in whole-heartedly. Dug deeper. Recalculated. And adjusted. And again. And again. And again.

    I find myself sitting today about 1 month out from a major event with my company, after a reset of our lives with a supportive wife, and a comfort with the numbers I’d not expected courtesy of you, MMM, ERN, and countless others.

    Listening again to your post today, I’m reminded of how I need to put some thought into what the future looks like and how much I’ve to do to prepare, as best I can, for the future I imagine is not so far off on the horizon!

    Thanks for everything you’ve posted and shared. I imagine we’ve got quite some similarities in background. Thanks for leading the way!

    • The Mad Fientist
      July 31, 2018 at 3:35 am

      If you’re getting close to FI, you’re right that it will be here before you know it. Good luck with the major company event and thanks for the kind words!

  4. Donall Garvin
    August 1, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Thanks for this – I can’t wait to listen to this on the way home today.
    And well done on the 80,000 subscribers!
    I thought that I was one of only a brave few (since we both live in Scotland), but you’ve got an army of followers!

  5. Graham Richards
    August 1, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Great blog, I’ve been reading your content for a while and I am about 2 years away from FI so I’m interested to hear your story. I can’t wait to get stuck into all the things I’ve planned, and working seems a waste of my time after 30 years of it, so I’m nearly there.
    It’s important to not call it “retirement” as that has connotations of old age and physical decline, but rather the next stage of your life.

  6. Olivia
    August 1, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Wow, this sounds like heaven! You and Mr. Free at 33 both mention that it gets so much easier once you create a schedule. It’s interesting you both are exercising every day. Health is wealth!

    I didn’t realize that you built the credit card tool prior to starting your blog! Goes to show that code-based side projects have the ability to scale and cost so little in capital to start. Is the new project also a piece of software?

  7. DraggonFIRE
    August 1, 2018 at 7:37 am

    This part nearly brought a tear (of joy) to my eye:

    “There’s been so many times over this past year where I just get this feeling of elation. Really, there’s no reason for it, there’s no external stimulus that caused it…it’s just a moment of pure joy.”

    That’s exactly the feeling I’m so looking forward to. 884 calendar days to go…

  8. Matthew Brown
    August 1, 2018 at 8:43 am

    This was a great podcast, MFer. It struck me this morning in a special way that I wasn’t expecting.

    I haven’t reached FI in the “ultimate” sense of the word, but my life already is beginning to resemble it. I’m a PRN nurse, and I make in one day what I used to make working a full week at my pre-nursing job; and I made decent wages then. But what’s really unique about my situation is that I set my own work days, as many or few as I want, and whatever days I want.

    Financially speaking, I only have to work 5 days a month to cover all of our living expenses and even the “fun” buckets in our budget. My wife and I bought a 750 square foot older house when we got married six years ago (I’m 30 now), and I’ve learned through the internet how to work on houses to make it more space efficient (e.g. flooring the attic for storage) and comfortable (a million other little projects). Our mortgage on this home is less than most people’s car payments, so that gives us huge financial freedom, and we realized long ago that the only reason we would need a bigger home is for “stuff,” which absolutely doesn’t matter. We own used cars that we paid cash for, so we have no debt there. I’ve taught myself to work on cars (again, the internet), so maintenance and repairs cost very little. We only use credit cards for miles and never carry a balance, so we don’t have any “stupid debt,” and as a result we get to fly everywhere in the world for free with those miles. Because of the miles and my job, we take trips often. Last summer I was able to take two months off with my wife and daughter to spend a week in Italy and the rest in Uganda, where we’re starting a non-profit water delivery service for remote villagers who are dying for lack of access to water.

    Beyond our non-profit, I write and record and play music and have been doing it since I was a kid. I also enjoy writing literature, and this year I started writing my first fiction book. I like building things with my hands, which I’ve gotten to do a lot of both for fun and practicality at our small but awesome home. And I love having LOADS of time with my wife and three-year-old daughter. Often as I’m playing with my daughter I’ll pause and think, “I’m the luckiest man alive to be able to spend so much time at home.” I think twenty years down the road when my daughter is out of the house, and I know I’m going to look back on these days and be both proud and grateful that I didn’t distance myself from her or my wife by enslaving myself to “stupid debt,” thereby forcing myself to work more and be away from home. Stupid debt is one of the worst reasons to have to go to work.

    Working a handful of days a month has allowed me the time to write music, work on this water service in Africa to hopefully change thousands of lives, be with my family a ton, and write this book, among countless other smaller “fun” things. But it’s been a struggle to go down this path alone. It’s a path that not one of my friends or family can give any input on whatsoever, because none of their lives are like it. It’s hard to have a beer with your best friends who all work corporate jobs, because while I can relate to their 8-5 grind (I’ve done it), they can’t at all relate to my daily lack of structure that I have to grapple with. There’s just no precedent for this life.

    And that’s why hearing stories like yours, especially about how you’re trying to figure out how to set your own balance of family/travel/fun/personal projects, is so inspiring and encouraging to me. It helps me to know there are others out there forging paths on this strange frontier. So thank you for your openness, your humility to admit the tough parts, and your efforts to share your life; it’s awesome, man!

    • Maria Nicholas Groves
      August 1, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Hey Matthew, read your post and wanted to share that our non-profit does a lot of work in East and West Africa – centered around sustainable water and food solutions. If you want to explore the potential of collaboration, please let me know. Currently, I am working with 3 core non profits as we build a College in the North of Sierra Leone – programs include global health and agri-business. Feel free to learn more at

      • Matthew Brown
        August 1, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        Very cool Maria! I clicked the link but it says the website has expire.

      • Matthew Brown
        August 1, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        It works now, seems like you guys are doing some very cool work!

        Our website is, it goes into depth on the sustainable water delivery services we’re trying to set up.

  9. Shannon
    August 1, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Thank you for sharing. My husband just retired at the beginning of June. For awhile prior, we had been toying with “should we downsize to a lock and leave, so we can travel more easily, move to another city, etc.”. I think we having been trying to plan based on how we expect to feel in the future, rather than letting it play out naturally. In a couple of years we will know what we want to do, I don’t need to predict what that will look like now. I agree that there is great pleasure in routine and habit and getting back to basics. It’s amazing how quickly the day will pass with these tasks alone. It makes you wonder how you ever had time for a full time job. My husband is retired and I am still working, so it does give me a good comparison and appreciation.

  10. Mrs. 50
    August 1, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Just finished listening to your “Valuable Lessons from My Second Year of Freedom” podcast. It really hit me and brought tears into my eyes. Thanks for the lessons. Our FI seems so far away. I can’t wait to feel mine and am ready for the next stage of my life. Keep up the good work. You’re truly inspiring.

  11. Matt
    August 1, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I’m so stoked to be getting some new MadFientists stuff!! I’ve been having some withdrawals. I can’t wait for the new projects you mentioned and the upcoming podcasts.

    It really hits home when you talk about the need to set up your post FI life before you hit FI. My wife and I are going to pull the FI plug in March of 2019 at the age of 35. We’re super excited for that but we have NO CLUE what we’re FI’ing to. All we know is we want to spend more time with our daughter and that we can’t sit behind these desks/computers watching the days go by any longer.

    I appreciate everything you do Brandon and love your work (just like the other 80,000 subscribers…congrats on that by the way).

  12. Rebecca
    August 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Hello! I’d be very curious in any tips and strategies you’ve found useful as an FI “worker” with money flowing in for others who “retire” to meaningful projects that still generate income. At this point, do you mostly just follow conventional financial advice for things like optimizing taxes/investments, or what resources do you find most helpful? Was there anything you wish you planned differently being FI with money coming in vs being FI and drawing down investments?

  13. Accidental FIRE
    August 1, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Habit and routine, love it. I’ve always been a routine person, and I remember a colleague at work picking on me about it and saying “who wants to be a robot?”

    Well, robots get shit done :)

    Great episode.

  14. Fred
    August 1, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I was lucky enough to meet you in Seattle just about two years ago, just as you were starting on your FIRE journey…. So this podcast, 2 years in, short and sweet, is just so perfect and informational. There’s a lot out there about wealth building and the journey to FI. There’s not much about life after FI, certainly not with the clarity and candor you exude in your podcast.

    If all goes to plan, I am one year away from FI (stretch goal), 2-5 years away (comfortably). So this podcast is aspirational for me as well. Much appreciate all that you do!

  15. Mary
    August 1, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    I am also in my 2nd year of FI and I have to say that I have those gratitude moments everyday. I am so blessed to be living the life I am living! In my case, most of the first year was taken up by being a caretaker for my parents. But since I didn’t have money worries or job stress, I was able to be in the moment and fully present for them during the medical crisis. Being able to be a caretaker was one of my reasons for wanting to achieve FI – it is similar to wanting to be there for your kids. I am also able to do much more volunteer work but, like you, have had to learn to say no to some really great sounding opportunities so that I can focus on the things I want to do.

    And I pretty much only eat two meals a day!

  16. wendy
    August 1, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Congrats Brandon! It’s great to hear you sounding happy and settled.
    Habit is a powerful thing and too often we only speak of ‘bad habits’ when our tendency to habituate can also be used for good. Just as you did, I’ve built a weight training/exercise habit over the past (almost) year…
    I’m not FI yet, so one of the best benefits for me is the uplift in emotion & stress reduction in the hours after working out… makes my job more bearable and provides a rhythm to my week.
    Looking forward to hearing/reading more about your lessons learned and your creative projects.

  17. Laura
    August 2, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Great podcast Brandon! Please keep them coming – you are my favorite podcaster (just found you a few months ago) – I’ve listened to every episode. Please put out more content!! Looking forward to hearing more about your life after FI and your new habits and routines.

  18. Financially Free
    August 2, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I’ve been following you for a year and listen to all your podcasts. You’re doing a fantastic job!

    I can’t wait to be financially free so I can experience some of the great adventures life has to offer. I will definitely also work out more. I hope to be interviewed by you at some point in the future :-)

  19. Rachel
    August 2, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Loved the first year of FI post; it really resonated with me. This one was also super valuable.

    As someone who is not FI but who recently quit a corporate/bureaucratic job anyway to go do her own thing anyway, I feel a similar kind of process of change happening in my life. Trying to jot down some thoughts about the stressful parts as I go, but trying to give myself more time to reflect on the positive changes before I start pecking away about those…

  20. grogounet
    August 3, 2018 at 2:46 am

    One of the very best content and relevant. I would add honest.
    All relevant to our situations I guess, with the fear of the before and what to expect in the after

  21. Drew
    August 3, 2018 at 6:21 am


    Excellent episodes….both recaps help put some perspective on things.

    We’ve been FI for several years now but I’m having trouble with the RE portion. It is always hard walking away from a good job with benefits; however, your explanation about recalibrating the role of money and what’s important brings things into perspective. Like you, I don’t dislike my job but it simply is getting in the way of allowing me to spend my day doing what I like, where I like.

    I also identify with your travel comments. We’ve been expats for 10-years now and while travel sounds like fun, you can get a bit burnt out. We’ve just come back from 6 weeks of visiting friends and family in the U.S. and I swear (as I have done before but somehow forgot), I will NEVER do such a trip again. Too long, too many beds, not relaxing and too disruptive to my routine.

    Again, thanks for the great content!

  22. heshpdx
    August 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Hi! Can you share how you generated the transcript from the audio? Do you have software that does that offline quickly?

  23. Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE
    August 3, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing so much detail! I find it so helpful to hear real-life stories of what the FIRE life is like b/c there are so many different ways it can play out. My husband and I are doing a graduated FIRE plan. We still have our youngest in HS so we’re not uprooting yet. We have reached FI if we change our home base from NYC to a lower-cost place. We have the next destination picked out — Tamarindo — but we’re renting out our place there till we can use it more frequently, which won’t be till next year when we’re empty-nesters. Luckily we have flexible businesses that we enjoy so staying in NYC is not too bad. It is just a very fast-pace here, so not conducive to how I imagine a FIRE life — i.e., relaxed, set-your-own pace.

  24. Steve in Colorado
    August 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    I am financially independent at this point but still working part-time for fun.
    I am curious what you are doing for health insurance and how much it costs.
    Pardon me if you already talked about it somewhere else .


  25. Martin
    August 9, 2018 at 1:55 am

    Hi, I found very interesting your post and your way to see life, Im trying to do the same however I wonder how your wife cope with it? she also drop her job? and what about if you decide to start a family? how will you cope with the big amounts of money need it?

    Many thanks

  26. Fredrik
    August 9, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I have thanked you before, but I just want to let you know once again how grateful I am for all of your content. I’m sure all the future posts are going to be just as exciting. Keep posting!

  27. Steve Millard
    August 10, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Love your message and your podcast. I’m a unique story I think. I achieved FI a couple of years ago at the age of 52, late I know but I had an amazing job and frankly made too much money to quit. Then my company went private in a hostile takeover-software industry-and suddenly I was free. No more….one more year….I was free. It took me a good year to allow it all to sink it, clearly I’m a slow learner…but last year just when my wife and I were ready to start living our dreams she was stricken with cancer and 6 months later I suffered a massive heart attack. My wife is now cancer free after 6 months of chemo and radiation and although I survived The Widow Maker I damaged my heart so badly that I am in congestive heart failure. Why is this relevant? It matters because I learned the most important lesson of my life. Whatever it is that turns you on, that motivates you, that tops your bucket list….do it NOW if at all possible. Once I achieved FI I thought I was home free, the world was my oyster. Now I am extremely limited in what I can do physically as the heart failure is debilitating and progressive. I only wish I had started sooner and didn’t wait that one more year every year. Please learn from my mistakes….don’t wait, live the life you want now. You may not get another chance. Thanks for listening.

    • Ani
      August 31, 2018 at 8:34 pm


      I recommend watching Forks Over Knives and looking up Perhaps a change in diet can extend your life.

  28. Nick
    August 27, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Hey Brandon,

    is there a good way to contact you directly or some groups to get involved in around finding meaning…whether FI or not? It’s something I’ve picked up from a number of your podcasts, I think it began with your Kitches episode when he mentioned people hitting FI and then basically moving on to second careers. I KNOW I’m going to be that type of person but I feel like I have a mental block that I cannot think past until my numbers are better. My wife also has a chronic illness so I cannot afford to be too wild in my approach but we still manage to do some cool things as I know there’s a balance to be had (we toured around Portugal for three months while I was on sabbatical.)

    Of late I’ve been a bit obsessed by finding/developing a purpose and unfortunately it hasn’t gone so well. I guess it’s a chicken and egg type argument. Anyway, I’ve heard you grapple with similar questions which I’ve really enjoyed and your thoughts are much more developed than mine. Especially during your episode with Marla, you’re both very eloquent when talking about an extremely nuanced and complex topic, personally, I’d love to be involved in such discussions and learn from people like your fine selves.

    No worries if you’ve no time for this, I appreciate you’re busy and have hit your stride in terms of daily life. Congratulations on hitting year three, I’m looking forward to the review already and another great episode.

    All the best,


  29. Freedom 40 Plan
    August 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    This was a great overview of some of the ups and downs and lessons learned from your FIRE life. Really enjoyed this. As someone who just began my FIRE life about a month ago, there’s a lot of good pieces of information here.

  30. Millionaire Mob
    August 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Great to hear your stories of financial freedom. Can’t wait to get to that moment. This work week has been horrible…


  31. Danielle Ogilve
    October 9, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Great content! I’ve been indulging on your website all night!

  32. Tom
    February 1, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Thanks enjoyed the podcast. I am close but finding it hard to make the change it helps thinking about what all the future days may be like to enjoy what you work so hard to achieve. Does seem Abit anxious to make the leap. Learning from others like you helps a good deal. Thank you for your website


  33. Jeff
    December 4, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Longshot guess: is that picture the Wachau Valley in Austria?

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