021 - The Pillars of FI

021 | The Pillars Of FI

In this episode of the Choose FI Radio Podcast we focus on the essential Pillars of Financial Independence including index investing, affordable housing, the psychology of FI, tax optimization and more.

Not a good time for a podcast? You can read the article inspired by this episode here.

In Today’s Podcast we cover:

  • ChooseFI Episode 21: The Pillars of Financial Independence
  • While we intend to focus on the roughly 10 pillars of FI, we assuredly have missed some so we hope the audience sends us the ones we’ve missed
  • Low-cost index fund investing is the way to go with investing in the stock market over decades and the best way to grow your wealth
  • We love Vanguard and VTSAX but Schwab and Fidelity have similar funds with similar expense ratios
  • Even the Mad Fientist realized that he couldn’t out-research the market and stuck with index funds while he pursued tax optimization strategies to grow his wealth even faster
  • Another sub-pillar is to not try to time the stock market. You will screw it up since you need to be right on the buying and selling side
  • Affordable housing as a pillar of Financial Independence, since this is the largest line item in your budget
  • Even if you live in a high cost of living area, you can still pursue FI. You just might need to think a little bit differently
  • Sometimes pursuing FI requires tough decisions
  • Car ownership as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • We do not believe in buying new cars – let someone else pay for the depreciation the first few years
  • Look for fuel efficient cars that are inexpensive to repair
  • Your food budget as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • You should focus on $2 per person per meal as a guideline for home cooked dinners
  • Most pillars of FI come down to thinking a little bit differently and being a little bit smarter
  • Jonathan lost 25 pounds during his 3 month challenge to lose weight before his son’s birth
  • Tax Optimization as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Max out your tax-deferred accounts is the advice for the FI community since you theoretically can take it out without paying taxes on it if you use the strategies we’ve previously described
  • Hacking your college education as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Ways to save a significant amount of money on a college education
  • Travel Rewards maximization as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Use rewards points to help travel the world for nearly free. You must pay your cards off on time and in full every single month
  • Cutting the cord on your cable subscription as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Intentionality and how you choose to spend your money is important when assessing FI
  • Reducing your cell phone bill as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Making a small ‘hard choice’ to save big money and have an ‘easy life’
  • The 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate explained
  • Philosophy as a pillar of Financial Independence
  • Unconventional thinking – looking at a problem differently that can help you live the same lifestyle as everyone else while getting wealthy instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck
  • Maximizing the rules: Knowing the rules of the game and planning in advance
  • Planning and creating a framework for life makes everything easier
  • Patience is what makes FI “incredibly difficult.” This is the simplest concept but it takes many years
  • For every $100 you can cut from your budget each month, if you invest that money and earn an 8% return over 20 years it is worth $60,000.
  • Understand the math behind the decisions and know that even small decisions can earn you large results

Listen to Brad and Jonathan's thoughts about this episode here.

Links from the show:The Perfect Introduction to the concept of Financial Independence. Crush the Hamster Wheel and Reclaim your Life







Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

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28 thoughts on “021 | The Pillars Of FI”

  1. Great show today guys! It’s encouraging to hear other people trying to live intentionally. I love that you have these up early on Monday mornings. It actually makes me look forward to getting up on Mondays!

    • Nice, that is awesome feedback. Yeah I started releasing the episodes at 1:00 am on Monday and Friday. I don’t have any control over when I-tunes and Stitcher refresh the feed, but this gives them the best chance to catch it before everyone has to go to work. anyways that was my behind the scenes thought process, but I’m glad that its making your week better 🙂

  2. Just finished this episode and love the high level summary of all of these FI concepts. I agree with almost everything said and there’s definitely a few items I can work on, but I really have to question the 50 consecutive pull-ups thing.

    Mostly unrelated to FI, but how in the world did you go from doing a dozen or so pull ups to 50!?! Are these strict pull ups with no kipping or any other weird momentum things? Going all the way down each time?

    I’d love to see a video of these 50 pull ups because that’s a crazy impressive feat and any info on what kind of program you were following to get to that number would be great. How often were you doing them and how many each time? Did you add any weights?

    Anyway, keep up the great FI work guys. I always look forward to listening to your new podcasts during my longer runs. Cheers!

  3. Great information! I am new to the FI community but have been applying some of these philosophies for many years. Although, I have to admit, not enough of them. I am 50 years old (a BoomerXer, from what I read) and am tightening up my goals for FIRE. It is truly inspiring to read and listen to all of the experiences on the various blogs and podcasts. Still working my way around to all the sights but I have become a regular listener to your podcasts. Keep up the good work!

  4. G’day from Australia!
    Been listening to your show since you started, excellent material and you have certainly softened the grind of the daily rat race, knowing there is a path to getting the balance back in life and perhap working part time in the near future !

    Whilst discussions about the 401k and other pension funds perhaps loose an international listener, much is very translatable.

    Interestingly Australians have quite a hunger for property investment currently with negative gearing tax breaks, property is booming here in Sydney with median house values A$1 million (USD $750k). Similar to Canada I guess. I own a number of properties and after hearing your discussion about low cost index funds, it is getting me to think about alternate paths to FI.

    Keep up the great work, the sharing is great!

  5. New to your podcast in the past month. Trying to play catch-up. Loved the pillars show. Great list. I just finished making a list of long- and short-term goals around each pillar.

    One topic that could be added as an additional pillar would be the “side hustle” and the idea that one should have multiple sources of income while building to financial independence.

    Keep up the great work.

    • lol , we actually just recorded the friday roundup for this week and we addressed that – Great point . Side hustles are definitely a pillar of FI

  6. I have been listening to several FI podcasts over the last month or so……I have started an intentional journey to FI in 10! I thought I would let you guys know that I just signed up with Vangaurd and purchased my first VTSAX. Pretty damn excited. The budgetbytes webpage from 007 is most excellent too. Loving it, keep up the great podcasts and I will keep listening and keep you updated.

  7. Hey guys, love this podcast. I was wondering if someone has made an easy to read chart of these Pillars of FI? I keep coming back to this page thinking there will be something to look at, but alas :). I will keep checking. I think a lot of people would like to have a PDF to download for future inspiration!

  8. I was never much of a podcast user until I came across this FI series. Fantastic information and truly engaging information that covers just about every perspective with real life case studies. I started with this episode and now working my way through the series. I pick up nuggets of useful information that I can truly execute on.

  9. I wonder if one of the pillars shouldn’t be: lead a healthy lifestyle. One of the main drivers of health care expenses is not income or you level of insurance, but merely adhering to common sense healthy behaviors: don’t smoke, drink in moderation, eat a balanced diet (but don’t obsess over the latest healthy diet crazes, like organic and such), and exercise regularly (preferably with progressive resistance). You can save a few bucks forgoing that latte, but you can save 10s or 100s of thousands by just minding your body.

  10. This was such a great podcast. I’m glad the sheet made everything seem so actionable; it inspired me to make this my New Year’s resolution (you guys liked my tweet about it). I’ve started to write about where I am starting from and where I am going on my blog: https://allen.alew.org/2018/01/16/2018-new-years-resolution-achieve-the-pillars-of-financial-independence/

    Based on the response, I’ve gotten from friends I’ll probably turn this into a bigger topic I focus on writing on this year. Thanks for doing such a great job. Looking forward to learning more from you guys and being able to contribute to this community as well.

  11. I so wish you’d have Laura on to do an indepth podcast about food buying and preparing!! I would love to hear a podcast on patience during the savings period too.

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