“So why am I being interviewed for a miles and points blog?”

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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:  Mad Fientist

Brandon runs The Mad Fientist and writes about financial independence, the benefits of geographic arbitrage, and how travel can actually help you retire earlier.  He plans to achieve financial independence in his early 30s and then ‘slow travel’ around the world, with the help of miles and points!

My wife and I enjoying good food and beer in Portland, Maine

My wife and I enjoying good food and beer in Portland, Maine

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

As someone who always tries to extract the most value out of every single purchase I make, I signed up for Northwest Airlines’ frequent flier program when I first traveled abroad in 2001.

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

My blog is actually not a travel blog but a personal finance blog that focuses primarily on early retirement and financial independence (which is what the FI stands for in Fientist).  By living frugally, saving a large percentage of your income, investing intelligently, and utilizing some of the strategies and tactics that I describe on my site, it is possible to retire very early in life.

I, for example, plan on achieving financial independence next year at the age of 32 and I have not won the lottery or received any sort of inheritance.  I’ve simply saved a large percentage of my income and lowered my expenses to a point that my savings will be able to fund my lifestyle indefinitely.

So why am I being interviewed for a miles and points blog?  I actually plan on using travel as a means to lower my expenses even further, while also improving my quality of life.

Since I will be primarily living off of passive income from my dollar-denominated investments, the value of those investment returns will be much greater when living in cheaper places (this is the core idea behind geographic arbitrage…earn money in an expensive currency and spend money in a cheaper currency).

By living in cheaper but interesting and exciting places, like Southeast Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe, my money will go much further than if I stay in the United States after Financial Independence.

Obviously, paying for expensive flights to get to these places would take big chunks out of my  savings so that’s where miles and points come in to play.  I plan on living somewhere cheap like Thailand or Ecuador for part of the year and then spending the rest of the year in Scotland or America (my wife is Scottish and I am American).  I will use miles and points to travel between these places for very little cost.

So while my site currently focuses on advanced strategies for achieving financial independence as quickly as possible, it will be slowly morphing into one that explores slow travel, travel hacking, geographical arbitrage, and the best places in the world to retire early.

What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?

The best thing you can do to get more miles is to have firm control of your finances.  Being in control of your financial life will allow you to take advantage of the lucrative credit card offers that we all hear about and will allow you to utilize some of the other promotions that require a large amount of capital to participate in (like the current offer from Fidelity that gives you 50,000 AA miles if you deposit $100,000 into a brokerage account).

If you have sufficient savings and minimal debt, every financial company in the world will want you to be their customer and they will pay handsomely to entice you, often in the form of miles and points!

Beautiful high-altitude lake in Tibet

Beautiful high-altitude lake in Tibet

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

After living in China for three months, my wife and I traveled to Tibet.  We flew to a city in the northwest of China and traveled overnight, by train, to the capital, Lhasa.  After spending a few days in Lhasa, we hired a jeep to take us to Everest base camp and then to the Nepalese border.

It was a four-day journey and the scenery was the most incredible I have ever experienced in my life.  The high-altitude lakes, the Himalayan peaks, and the mountain passes were breathtaking (literally and figuratively).

We only stayed one night at Everest base camp and sadly, the peak of Everest was covered in clouds the entire time we were there so I am determined to go back after I achieve financial independence to get a glimpse of the world’s highest peak.

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

They are interested but not interested enough to do the research needed to utilize miles and points properly.  In all honesty, they probably just think it’s another example of me trying to save some money so they probably don’t pay too much attention.

Mt. Everest base camp (17,060 feet)

Mt. Everest base camp (17,060 feet)

Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?

The FlyerTalk is a great resource for researching specific questions that haven’t been covered on the blogs.  I also keep an eye on the forums there to see if any good mistake fares pop up.

Another useful tool that I use is one that I actually created myself.  I’m a professional software developer so, in my spare time, I created a credit card search tool to help me plan my credit card churns: TravelerPlastic.com.

The site allows you to pick the programs that are important to you and then it automatically displays the most lucrative credit cards for those specific programs (it even converts flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards points into the points of the programs you selected).  It also allows you to filter the results by attributes that are important to frequent travelers like annual fees, free checked baggage, lounge access, etc. so it is very handy for figuring out which cards to apply for next.

I currently don’t earn any money if you click on the links on my site though so if you do decide to do your planning on travelerplastic.com, you should still click the links here at Million Mile Secrets when you apply for the cards so that at least someone gets paid for the clicks!

What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?

I got in on the American Express Premier Rewards Gold madness a few years ago when there were multiple “bump the bonus” opportunities.  That single credit card signup netted me over 125,000 Membership Rewards points, which I then converted to 187,500 British Airways Avios points during one of the 50% transfer bonus periods.

I live near Boston and it just so happens you can fly from Boston to Dublin for 25,000 British Airways Avios points roundtrip on Aer Lingus (with minimal taxes and fees).  Since my wife’s family and friends are still back in Scotland, we go there at least once a year so we fly that route quite often.  It’s amazing that one credit card signup has provided us over 7 roundtrip tickets to Europe!

My favorite castle in Scotland (Eilean Donan)

My favorite castle in Scotland (Eilean Donan)

What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?

I wish I had known about the American Airlines Explorer Award back when it was possible to sign up for two 75,000 mile American Airlines credit cards at the same time (using the “two-browser trick”).

I let those signup bonuses pass me by and now that I’m starting to plan a multi-city American Airlines Explorer Award tour through Europe and Asia for next year after I quit my job, I really wish I had an extra 150,000 American Airlines miles sitting around in my account.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Even though I’ve lived frugally compared to my peers and have saved enough of my income to retire in my 30s, I’ve actually been to over 40 countries and have lived on three continents.

What little money I did spend in my 20s, it was usually on travel and seeing new places.  I don’t have many personal belongings but I have more than enough memories to compensate for my lack of stuff.

Any parting words?

Do you hate it when you see a mistake fare that you can’t take advantage of because you don’t have enough vacation days?  Do you have more miles than you have time to use them?

By being conscious of what you spend and investing what you save, it’s possible to obtain financial independence earlier than society leads you to believe is possible.  Once you’ve attained freedom, you can then use it to live the life you’ve always wanted to live and travel to places you’ve always wanted to go.

Imagine what you could do with all the miles and points you’ve accumulated if you didn’t have work tying you down.  I know I imagine it every day and thankfully, in less than two years, it will become a reality!

Brandon– Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

37 Responses to “So why am I being interviewed for a miles and points blog?”

  1. Great interview and will be looking forward to reading your blog!

  2. MMS – love this interview series.

    MF – great blog concept and lifestyle choices. I subscribed to your blog.

    Cheers

  3. Can you even begin to imagine the fright pain and suffering of those lobsters?

    Would you like your bodies to be displayed like this?

  4. Very unique interview. Brandon do you ever worry that as developing nations actually develop your plans to engage in geographic arbitrage will be less effective. Presumably given that you plan to retire by 32 this is a concern?

  5. And you eat that? Sorry to say that but you did not have to advertise yourself as animal eating monsters!

  6. Awesome….inspiring! Your parting words were spot on for me. After all our travel last year (on points and miles) I actually ran out of vacation days for the first time in my working life! And I have so many points I want to use and hope to use, but those pesky vacation days are a serious limitation! Haha.

    I’m hoping to do something similar to you, although I’ll be closer to 34-35 when we hit F.I. As I’ve been getting closer to that point, it’s been an interesting feeling all around. Excitement, a little worry, and a lot of anxiety because it’s so close. I’ve been spending the last several nights just making sure my plans are solid. I’ll have to check out your blog and see what advice you have to offer, especially since you’re VERY close to being at that point! Well done.

  7. This blog has gone to shit.

  8. @Charlie – Thanks! I look forward to hopefully seeing you around my site in the future!

    @Justin – Living in developing nations isn’t part of my core plan but is instead a way to help me draw down on my accounts slower. I plan to save enough so that I can live in the US all year if I wanted to but by living somewhere else that is cheaper, I will be able to increase my margin of safety while doing something that I love to do anyway! Living abroad for extended periods of time is actually the thing I’m looking forward to most about financial independence so it’s great that that plan will also help financially as well. So even if developing nations develop and become more expensive, as long as there are still places that I want to go that have a lower cost of living than the United States, I’ll still be better off.

    @Everyday Ryan – I have my trips planned out before I even get my vacation days so I always run out every year! It’s terrible.

    That’ great you are also going to achieve financial independence in your 30s. The emotions as you get closer and closer are definitely interesting. The fact that the end of my full-time working career is in sight has made me actually enjoy my work more. Since I know I don’t have to do it for the rest of my life, I’ve realized that I do actually enjoy what I do. This was a side benefit of pursuing financial independence that I didn’t anticipate.

    Well done to you as well and be sure to keep me posted on how your journey to FI is going!

  9. @Mad Fientist, what is your experience/opinion of cash value life insurance as a LIRP and IRC 7702-A?

    Great interview btw, I hope I can retire in 9 years (when I am 32 too).

  10. You can achieve “financial independence” tomorrow if your idea of FI is living in a hut beneath a freeway overpass. Or spending half your time overseas in dirtbag countries….

  11. @Dan – Thanks! Make sure you say hello once you’ve checked out a few articles over there.

    @Shame – The lobsters were killed prior to being cooked so it was an instantaneous death.

    @Justiin – Wow, animal eating monsters! Guilty. Although I’m not exactly advertising animal eating because I’m not trying to influence what others do. It’s like accusing me of advertising shirt wearing. I’m fine if you don’t want to wear a shirt when you go out to eat but I choose to, which is why I was wearing a shirt in the picture.

    @lr – I know it’s usually pointless to respond to comments like this but with an unlimited amount of things to read online, why continue to read something you don’t enjoy and then waste even more of your time posting non-constructive criticism? This is something I never understood about the internet. Time is so valuable so why waste it doing things that make you unhappy? Many people really enjoy reading this blog so I’m sure Daraius wouldn’t be too sad if you decided to move on.

    @Grant – The high fees associated with most types of life-insurance plans usually make them bad investments. Fees can really hamper your wealth-building efforts so that’s why I invest the majority of my portfolio in low-cost, total market index funds. It’s a simple strategy but one that has been shown to consistently beat most other strategies (mostly due to the inherent diversification and the low costs involved). If you want to talk further about this, feel free to shoot me an email.

    @Paul – Exactly! A lot of people don’t realize they have that choice though so they spend their best years working at jobs they don’t enjoy to buy things that don’t really make them happy.

    I’m happy to give up a fancy car and a big house to go spend my time exploring interesting countries around the world but you may not. I’d rather work a few years than live in a hut beneath a freeway overpass though but maybe someone else wouldn’t. Figuring out what will make you happiest and then working towards that is what’s important.

  12. Very interesting interview. You are living a dream by achieving FI at the age of 32. If it is possible, may I ask how do you “invest” your money, i.e. dividend stocks, index funds? I also find it interesting that many people from the Southeast Asia are trying/dreaming in coming to stay at the US in order to live the “American life,” and yet, there are people who want to go back there to live… Thanks

  13. Fientist,

    I wish you luck, but I highly doubt you will truly be FI when you expect. There are far too many unknowns that can happen in the next 60 years for you to have covered all of the contingencies.

    Being as young as you are, and in the field that you work, I suppose you do not have lifetime paid health benefits, so watch out for that. There is no way you can expect your savings to keep up with the pace of the rise in healthcare for the next 60 years.

    I suppose you and your wife also have decided (or can not) to not have children. That’s fine–my wife and I did the same. What you can’t know for sure is if your wife will divorce you some day. Good luck on cutting your FI nest egg in at least half then. Hopefully it won’t happen, but you can’t know at this point–you’re still practically newlyweds!

    Inflation? Real interest rate? War? Fraud? Bankruptcies? Defaults? * 60 years… forget about it.

    Hopefully everything in your model plan works out exactly as you figured it might, but don’t forget to consider how fragile your plans might be based on how long they must hold up.

    -Doug

  14. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a mention about financial independence.

    Age of 32? We are talking a 60 year draw down plan, wow! Dude, you are one mega stock crash away from going back to work…if you can get an interview after living around the world for so long!

    Grant: WTF are you asking about life insurance man?

    So many experts lately…I also predict affiliate links coming up soon:-)

    I wish there was an independent audit agency to validate Internet claims to separate the BS from valid statements.

    As always, nothing personal.

    MMS: I will do this interview the week before I get my own links and I will fully disclose it lol. You may be waiting for long long time!

  15. Me thinks assuming to travel on points and miles for at least the next 40 years is a bad idea.

  16. Robert Hanson

    @Shame and Justin Why are you using a computer and the internet? It takes power to run those things, and generating that power generates greenhouse gases that are killing Mother Gaia. Not to mention all of the anti-ecological things that are done in the process of building that computer in the first place. What were you thinking? Turn off your computers now, and leave them off ! :(

  17. It’s funny how there’s always a moron and a jealous person on every forum (or a few). If you don’t like a blog or an interview that you’re reading for free spoon feeding, then stop whining about it and stop coming. It funny how people like to criticize and insult others about what they write while they hide behind a fake name and their computers but don’t have the balls to say the same things to their boss at work. Pathetic.

  18. I love it how people disagree with extreme FDI and so just completely dismiss it, and go back to buying their overpriced useless consumer junk all the while complaining about how they never have free time because they’re always working. Use whatever advice you can live with, and toss the rest, so maybe you retire at 50 instead of 30, but at least not 70. If I’d known this stuff earlier I’d have gone to flight school and be ferrying tourists around the Caribbean on seaplanes right now, rather than sitting in this office all day, even though I probably earn twice as much and have a “prestigious” job.

  19. Congrats on the ability to achieve financial independence at your age. I am also around the age you plan to be financial free as well so it’s quite inspiring. It sounds like you have thought this out pretty well. If you can live cheaply enough and can make a good return on your savings you should do fine.

    I think there are a lot of misconceptions about long term travel because of the way people in the U.S traditionally travel. People don’t really travel, but rather “go on vacation”.

    One can rent an apartment for a whole month for what people will pay for 2 or 3 nights stay sometimes.

    Of course with a ‘regular job’ one can’t take off for months at a time for the most part.

    I think a lot more people are questioning the idea of working till 65 or later and THEN enjoying traveling . There are no guarantees that we will even be alive or able to enjoy the same things at that age.

    One thing I wonder about is health insurance. It sounds like you will be living in different countries part of the year (The U.S and a lower cost country) , how would that work in terms of health insurance?

    I have heard that health insurance is much lower in other countries. In Cuenca,Ecuador it’s supposed to be very low and the quality of care is supposed to be pretty good.

  20. corinne thompson

    Cannot tell you how much you &your lovely wife are like us! We are currently living part of our days down south US in a cheap condo but contemplating taking the plunge on selling it all and enjoying FI.If you ever get to the great white north,Canada eh, or South FL email us! We love lobster and beer! I am late 40′s and DH is early 50′s.Totally subscribe to the frugal living concept.LOVE your style! Peace.

  21. Stocks are so volatile, you can’t put your faith fully into it.

  22. @Nguyen – I invest most of my money in index funds.

    That is an interesting observation about Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the one region in the world that I’ve wanted to visit most so it’s great that it is also one of the most affordable places to live.

    @Doug – True, I could work for the next 20 years and amass millions of dollars, just so that all the contingencies are covered. I’m confident in my numbers though and if something happens a few years down the road that was completely unexpected, I’m confident I will be able to handle it.

    @TravelBloggerBuzz – If you play around with the numbers, you’ll see that drawing down a portfolio for 60 years isn’t much different than drawing down one for 30 years. I’m not going to go into why that is here but just take a look at FireCalc to see for yourself. For example, a $500K portfolio, drawn down at 4% a year for 30 years has a 94.6% chance of lasting for the full 30 years. That same portfolio and withdrawal rate would have an 81.5% of lasting 60 years! Yes, there is bigger chance of running out of money in the second scenario but not nearly as much as most people would expect.

    @ji – We don’t plan to travel for the next 40 years. I’m sure we’ll settle down again eventually, but until then, I’m confident I’ll have enough miles and points to keep us going.

    @Robert Hanson – Haha, amazing!

    @mike – This phenomenon really blows my mind.

    @DBest – I never understood why people choose to completely dismiss things rather than take the time to run the numbers to see for themselves what is possible.

    @laflyguy – Exactly. We plan on renting apartments and staying in places for months at a time so, based on the research we’ve done, this will end up being much cheaper than staying in Scotland or America full time.

    As far as health insurance is concerned, we plan to base ourselves in Scotland for ~6 months of the year so we’ll be covered by the NHS there. When we travel, we plan on getting travel health insurance plans, which will cost roughly $250 per month.

    You are correct that health care is much cheaper in other countries so I imagine we’ll pay out-of-pocket for most things but we’ll still have a catastrophic insurance policy to help us sleep better at night.

    @corinne thompson – Thanks for the nice comment! I’d love to hear more about you and your husband’s plans for FI so shoot me an email if you get the chance (and we can also figure out where/when to meet up for those beers).

    @Romsdeals – I completely agree.

  23. @Mad Fientist, I am assuming you have dabbled into put/call/spread/etc options (possibly futures/forex), do continue to use any of those strategies to hedge any of your risk or do you just monitor the index funds closely?

    I would assume, from past experience, that if I were to do the exact opposite of what I have done in the past, I would have made some money…

  24. @Grant – Nope, I’ve not dabbled in any of that. I simply put as much money as I can into various index funds and then I just let them do their thing. Simple is often best when it comes to investing.

  25. You guys are living my dream! I remember reading a blog interview of an older couple that did the same thing as you. They saved around 100k in the 80′s invested it and live off the investments and do other small work. They lived all over SE Asia while spending pennies on the same dollar if used in the states. They have been doing this for over 20 years, while living through our stock market crash and still being FI and not having the catastrophic collapse like many of these nay Sayers predict!

    Many people get sucked into the rat race. Trying to make big money, buying fancy cars, supporting families, raising children, etc. I wish I could just live frugally and stop spending my money on material garbage. Atop trying have the latest creature comfort just because I can have it. It would be my dream to do what you guys are doing. One day I will have my 80k in schools loans paid off, my car paid off, and enough saved so I can quit my job and live the dream.

  26. @Bobbybobs – I actually just interviewed a couple yesterday for the next episode of my podcast that retired in 1991 (both were 38 at the time) and have been traveling around the world and enjoying early retirement ever since!

    What’s holding you back from living more frugally? Trust me, you won’t miss all that fancy, frivolous stuff.

  27. I will be looking forward to listening to your podcast!

    I guess it was from growing up “poor” in a way. Once I graduated college and grad school and started making “real” money and could afford the things I never had growing up, it started getting out of control. Once my needs were taken care of, it’s only wants from here on out. I just need to control my wants. Stop living the flashy lifestyle. I know what I need to do, just have to start doing it.

    Starting today I will actively start watching where my money goes. Pay down my school and car loans. And get a vanguard account once my school loans are done. I will keep following the blog for inspiration!

  28. @Bobbybobs – The podcast should be ready by early next week so definitely check it out because it’s an incredibly inspiring story!

    You aren’t the only one in that kind of situation but you are far ahead of others living a flashy lifestyle because you realize that the lavish spending isn’t helping you achieve what’s really important to you or making you any happier. It will be hard to cut back at first but I promise, you really won’t miss it. As you see your bank balance increasing and start watching your money earning money, cutting out the things that don’t actually make you happier will actually become a bit addictive. I’ve been ruthlessly cutting back on things for years now and the more I cut out, the happier I become. Remember, freedom is the most luxurious thing one can have!

    Good luck and definitely keep me posted on how everything’s going every once in a while!

  29. Man, Mad Fientist, I’d been considering doing a similar blog as you for years and just never got around to it. I’m 38 and have been FI since the age of 35. I spend like hours a week giving people advice that I should probably charge for but it does feel good to help people get on the right page.

    I used to use the phrases lifestyle arbitrage and city arbitrage all the time. A lot of the cash flow I live off of I generate through investments in New York. When i was living in New York, I was ok but not FI by any means, so I moved to Columbus for a few years but have kept generating the high returns from the New York investment. Anyway, I kept with my plan and now make an upper-middle income salary without working.

    I went to Ohio during the recession and I called it my “wait it out in Ohio” plan. Dirt cheap in Columbus and really nice lifestyle. I live in New Orleans now and it’s not nearly as cheap but I’m buying another cash-flow property and that keeps things easy.

    That would be my advice to anyone is to find a way to mitigate or reduce your rent and taxes in earned income to as close to nothing as possible via the purchase of a small multiunit property that you are willing to live in and fix up. If you can get a place in a transitional neighborhood that has a good chance of making the turn to a prime neighborhood, it’s really difficult to screw up and every month you’re socking away tons of cash you would’ve wasted and the gains and income are largely tax-free.

    Anyway, I always joke that the not working part of not working is actually work in itself b/c I do self-manage 2 multiunit properties, one in NYC and one in Ohio, and I’m always looking to increase cash flow through passive investments. I also, like one reader mentioned above, do quite a bit of investing and I do use stock options to mitigate risk and increase cash flow, but i agree that your plan to dollar-cost average in broad, passive index funds is a very good way for the average person to get started and it doesn’t require anything but a commitment to do so.

    Well that, AND, you should never invest anything that you’re scared to lose 50% of in 1 day. That’s what I tell people about stock investments. If you’re holding for the long term and you lose 50% in 1 day, are you going to need that money? Are you going to freak out and sell or are you going to add? If you’re going to sell, then don’t invest the money that way in the first place. A lot of people just need to be honest with themselves about how much money they need in a safe account to not have to worry about the stock market’s short-term fluctuations.

    One of the reasons I was able to become FI early is that I dodged the last downturn and reinvested at the bottom and then kept doubling down as much as possible (kids, don’t try that at home. just stay invested and add when everyone else is crapping their pants).

    Anyway, I’m going to follow your blog and hopefully will learn some new tricks!

    Good luck!
    Dan

  30. Hey Daniel, congratulations on being financially independent already! How’s it been for the past three years?

    That’s awesome you were able to utilize some geographic arbitrage within the States. Many people think you have to move abroad to take advantage of this strategy but your situation proves that’s not the case.

    Good advice on the multiunit property. I haven’t bought any investment property yet but it is definitely something I can see myself getting into once we settle down somewhere for a few years.

    Your stock investing advice is also very sound. If you can’t handle the swings, you’d probably be better off investing in something else so that you don’t end up buying high and selling low.

    Thanks a lot for the comment and I look forward to seeing you around my blog in the future!

  31. Pingback: Outside the Lab | Mad Fientist

  32. Mad Fientist – I looove your podcast! It’s the best! You’ve interviewed all my favorites and then introduced me to some new ones! I also really like the way you put things. You have some great insights that have made me look at things very differently. Thanks for the inspiration. This was a great article too.

  33. Oh, don’t the complainy-pants come out to comment on posts like this one! Your plans sound awesome.

  34. @madfientist — It’s been good but also created a little bit of a motivation problem for me and b/c my partner is a social worker and not FI, I don’t really get to travel as much as a I like. I’d like to live overseas for 3 months a year but it’s rough with her job to even get travel time. I’m older as well at this point so my friends don’t travel nearly as much as they used to, so I’m pretty much faced with traveling solo or finding some sort of group thing. I’ve started to look more into experiential stuff, like learning how to sail or studying wine, etc, etc since I could go somewhere and do something I’ve wanted to do but not be traveling completely alone (And not being tied into some tourist group).

    The motivation thing is rough as well b/c you now have to answer the question of what you would do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money? For you, it’s fairly easy b/c you have a job that you enjoy that is also mobile. For me, it hasn’t been as easy. Since becoming FI, I signed on with Teach for America, started my own business, and also went to work for nonprofits for a bit but nothing has really been that satisfying yet although I’m thankful for all of the experiences and it’s narrowing my interests down a bit.

    I think starting a nonprofit may be the best thing for me to do, so that’s what I’m starting to work on down here in New Orleans now. But I have the travel itch bad right now so I dunno. Part of me wants to just find something fun or interesting to do overseas somewhere and just take off for a year.

    I’m not complaining or anything. It’s just not as easy as I thought it would be once becoming FI. The big questions still remain unanswered, but I do have the luxury of trying out whatever the heck I want with relative ease. I’ve been in and out of like 4 industries/fields at this point. My resume makes me look like an insane person. I can’t even imagine what someone thinks when they see it now b/c none of it fits together that well and there are huge gaps during times when I’m just chilling out or figuring out what to do next. lol.

    Ahh well. I’ll figure it out I guess. Just haven’t yet.

  35. @Karen – Wow, thank you for your nice compliments! I agree that I’ve been incredibly fortunate to get such great guests on my podcast.

    Thanks again for your comment and I look forward to seeing you around my site in the future!

    @ Gino – Haha, I see you are also a reader of one of my favorite blogs :)

    @ Daniel – Thanks a lot for sharing your story. Most people assume all problems go away once money is not an issue anymore but that’s usually not the case.

    I’ve often worried that I’ll lose motivation to do the things I plan to do when the need or desire to earn money is no longer there. Many of the ideas I’m excited to tackle after FI are business ideas but when money is no longer an issue, will I still have the motivation to start those projects? I hope so but I can’t be sure.

    There are other things I worry about as well…

    - Will I really be able to start withdrawing from my accounts? I’ve spent so many years building them up without taking anything out so I think it will be very hard to finally flip the switch and start withdrawing money.
    - Is free time as enjoyable without the contrasting work time or is it the work that makes the free time what it is?
    - Will I really be able to stop working? I think it will be so easy to just say, “Well, I’ll just keep working for another x months to pad my accounts a little more”.

    I hope to write more about the emotions of financial independence because it’s not often written or talked about but it is an important topic. Akaisha Kaderli, my most-recent podcast guest, talked about some of her emotional struggles when she finally quit her job and it was very interesting.

    Good luck with everything and definitely stay in touch. I’d be interested in hearing how everything plays out and what you end up choosing to spend your time on. The great news is you have the flexibility to try many things and all the time in the world to do it so I’m sure you’ll figure something out!

  36. MMS, this has been my favorite interview you have done. The MF information on his blog was more than insightful. Thanks for featuring him!

  37. Thanks for the great advice. I am very impressed. Although I am curious as to how children and a family would factor into your equation.

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