June 11, 2019

I Binge Listened the Entire ChooseFI Podcast – Here’s What I Learned

Since listening to the ChooseFI Podcast, whenever I’ve had a conversation about money with a friend I have encouraged them to listen. It is a gold mine of principles and strategies that can help foster your financial future.

I went a little crazy with the podcasts lately. In March I discovered the podcast app on my iPhone. It’s quite amazing I went so many years without ever using it. In the past I’ve listened to podcasts from The Art of ManlinessRacerX, and Financial Independence Podcast through their websites, but never from my phone. A friend of mine mentioned the ChooseFI podcast a while ago, and after months of being in the back of my mind I finally gave it a shot. Having already read every post by Mr. Money Mustache, most of Mad Fientist and lots of Go Curry CrackerJL Collins, etc., I was well versed in the Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) movement, but was excited to learn more through this medium. ChooseFI is the first podcast I subscribed to! So they should feel pretty special. There are about 260 hour long episodes and counting, and I listened to them all in 3 months. This worked out to about 2.5 episodes per day.

Spent a lot of time with these

Flying Through Episodes

From mid March to mid May, I listened to 260 hours of content albeit mostly at 2x speed. All the show notes were reviewed, and I got involved in their Facebook group (and my local group). They have congregated what appears to be the majority of the FIRE movement, with nearly 45,000 members in their Facebook group.

Additionally, I have listened to about 100 episodes of The Side Hustle Show and quite a few of Afford AnythingArt of ManlinessFire DrillCoach CarsonMotley FoolThe Whiskey Throttle Show and Robinhood Snacks (the first podcast my wife subscribed to). My recent mission to listen to all the podcasts has often driven my wife crazy. Some days (okay most days), I would listen every spare moment I had at 2x speed, with a garbled mess of words droning through the apartment. I’ve tamed it back now, and try not to listen when I could be spending time with my family.

Main Takeaways

The biggest takeaway from my hours of listening is that the hosts, Brad and Jonathan, are not any smarter than me. This might sound like a slam, but its not. They’re just two fairly normal guys to the outside observer. It seemed that we were about equal in financial knowledge when they started the podcast back in December 2016. In fact, I would dare say I knew more than them on certain topics.

As the podcast progressed, so did their knowledge (and mine). It goes deep into topics like dividend investing, individual stock picking, sequence of return risk, asset allocation, etc.. My favorite guest that gave me the most insight is Big ERN. That guy is something else, very smart. I still need to go through his blog more thoroughly, especially the Ultimate Guide to Safe Withdrawal Rates series.

Another great topic discussed is the Aggregation of Marginal Gains, and how powerful small 1% tweaks can be in your total financial and life picture. I think about this often and try to apply it to my work, church service, family, and of course, finances. This has been a great mindset shift and has changed the way I think about most things.

Smaller Takeaways

The podcast is comprehensive and has helped me analyze and optimize many facets of my life. It’s also made me realize that the hosts are learning alongside me while they produce a podcast. I just passively learn by consuming it, but they learn by creating it which has inspired me to work more on my blog and be a producer rather than a consumer. I read a ton of articles every day (I have so many tabs open on my Chrome.. around 50+) but I am trying to focus more on learning these ideas by sharing them. These are some of my smaller takeaways that still make a big difference.

  • Tax optimization
  • Health optimization
  • Wills and Trusts
  • College hacking
  • How to get into trades
  • Parenting

Things I Have Applied

Creating and funding an M1 Finance account is also one of the best decisions I made due to listening to the podcast. The fact that I can invest money in the stocks and borrow at a low interest rate is amazing. M1 allows me to potentially buy on margin when an opportunity comes up that requires cash quick. This can really help with real estate investing, or getting rid of the emergency fund, as Big ERN suggests (there are at least 3 other posts of his that delve into that topic). With M1, I don’t have to sell stocks and create a taxable event to access my money. I can potentially give my money two jobs, instead of one, which is what I am hoping to do sometime in the future.

M1 Finance makes doing the Ultimate Buy and Hold portfolio extremely easy with their pie chart interface. Alternatively, the optimized VTSAX portfolio can be easily set up with them. Rebalancing once per year is a breeze with a one button click. Basically M1 Finance is awesome.

We’ve also nearly finished putting a will together and should have that done in the next few weeks. Soon we will be ordering a “In Case of Emergency” Binder, or ICE Binder, and make sure our family is secure and can pick up the pieces should anything bad happen to us. We owe it to our kids and family to make a worst case scenario not totally awful and easier to sort through.

What’s Next?

Being caught up is great, and I can catch the latest episodes on Monday’s and Friday’s. My wife will also appreciate the absence of constant jabbering. I’m working through the archives of many podcasts I mentioned above, but exploring more real estate focused ones like Afford Anything and Coach Carson.

I’ve also been listening to The Side Hustle Show. It’s amazing the numerous ways there are to make money, and how side hustles can become the main hustle. While it’s difficult to imagine this realistically happening for me, I’m always looking for opportunities to trying something new. This time in my life, with young kids, a wife still in school, and relatively early in my career is pretty busy, so I’m trying to improve in my main job for now. It has the best return on investment in reaching FIRE.

Which podcasts do y’all listen to? How have they helped you and what are your biggest life changing lessons? Please share in the comments.

Favorite Episodes

It’s hard to narrow it down, but these are some of my favorite episodes. They go far beyond just financial advice but touch pretty much every aspect of life.