041 | The High Cost of Living Path to FI

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041.The High Cost of Living path to FI

In today's podcast we discuss the High Cost of Living Path to FI with ChooseFI community members Paige and Sam who live in Los Angeles and have been pursuing FI in a HCOL with sub-$50,000 per year jobs.


In Today’s Podcast we cover:

  • Episode 41: A conversation with Paige and Sam about pursuing Financial Independence in a high cost of living area on a lower income
  • Paige pushed back on our limiting belief that you “can’t” achieve financial independence on a low income in a high cost of living area
  • Sam introduced Paige to MMM but Paige ran with it from there
  • Paige’s back story
  • Paige had a negative net worth in her mid-40s
  • Since Paige has earned and lived in the $30,000 range she is used to that and now that she’s making more she can save that difference
  • Paige intends to hit early retirement in 2025 and has a 50% savings rate
  • She uses her Roth IRA as an “emergency fund” since she can withdraw the contributions at any time tax and penalty free
  • Sam’s story behind retiring “early and often”
  • He did not have student loans and also his parents modeled investing for him well before he was earning income himself
  • Sam’s parents always put gifts and other money into his investing account instead of giving it to him to spend
  • Sam is technically at his FI number, but he does still continue to work
  • Sam’s history of his apartment renting in Los Angeles and sharing apartments with roommates to lower the costs (over a 20+ year period)
  • Sam has never made more than $50,000 in a year
  • Having to be slightly more intense to reach FI in a low cost of living area. The best way being to live with roommates and not having a car payment
  • They don’t buy new items – the “alley provides” and they can find free stuff on the street or at Goodwill, etc.
  • They are very deliberate and intentional about saving money on food and groceries
  • Limiting beliefs on why people like Paige and Sam couldn’t retire early and pursue financial independence and why they rejected them
  • The big three items they can control: Housing, Transportation and Food
  • There are so many free activities in a big city, so it is easy to keep a nearly $0 entertainment budget in a city
  • They are not minimalists at all, but they just don’t buy new things.
  • Sam is an extreme DIY-er and picks
  • How did Sam become a DIY-er?
  • You don’t have to agonize over decisions when you aren’t trying to maximize or perfect each buying decision
  • How they approached their home buying decision differently with the mindset of people who can fix essentially anything
  • Buy a house that is just bad enough that the flippers don’t want it – per Paige
  • What is the long-term play for their new house? Do they intend to buy other homes to fix and sell?
  • Extreme ownership of your decisions and knowing what you want
  • Paige’s plan for early retirement and how to make it to 65 and social security where she’ll get a ‘big raise’
  • Hot Seat questions

Links from the show:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

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3 thoughts on “041 | The High Cost of Living Path to FI

  1. I’m glad you guys did this Podcast and nice job with it. I also live in California and while it’s not easy to achieve FI, it’s not impossible. It definitely takes a few extra years to get there, but it’s not a bad place to live while you pursue it!

  2. This is a great interview! Sam and Paige – you are awesome, thanks for sharing your story. I love hearing from people with a variety of backgrounds and seeing that long term frugal lifestyle success!

  3. This is my favorite episode! I’m 47 years old and live in a COLA so it was relatable. My suggestion for people like this that don’t have an online presence is ask them to submit photos. I would love to see what they look like and their house.

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