049.Alan Donegan and the Escape Artist

049 | Alan Donegan & The Escape Artist | The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

In today's podcast we discuss The UK Path to FI with Barney of The Escape Artist and Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School, plus much more in the way of life optimization hacks from both Alan and Barney.

 In Today’s Podcast we cover:

  • An interview with Barney from The Escape Artist and Alan Donegan from PopUp Business School
  • Voicemail from Sarah from the UK with questions about reaching FI outside the US
  • Barney started the website after he put his notice in at work once he reached FI
  • How Barney found the financial independence community
  • Barney’s story on what his financial upbringing was like and how his parents had financial issues because of a large mortgage payment
  • How the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ is alive and well in the UK
  • Alan’s family doesn’t understand why they don’t spend more money and why they don’t work in the traditional sense
  • Is there a FI community in the UK? There is a London Facebook group, but not a thriving community in the UK
  • The different options of choosing a job you love versus one that pays a lot of money and you don’t necessary enjoy
  • Creativity and how Barney “underestimated what was possible” for him when he had the time
  • It’s a lot easier to be creative both when you have a “safety harness” but also if you “burn the boats”
  • Debt is a form of handcuffs that keeps you in your current life
  • The differences between the US and the UK: Starting with housing
  • Property ownership is a significant part of the culture in the UK
  • Barney’s thoughts on what he would have done differently with real estate had he started today
  • Seeing a business opportunity in Barney’s idea to live in someone else’s home
  • Health care in the UK and how it is more favorable for those pursuing FI
  • Investing options in the UK and how it differs from the US
  • Discussion of taxation on retirement funds and marginal tax brackets
  • Differences in the cultural understanding of pursuing personal freedom through financial independence
  • The program on FI on tv in the UK that Barney appeared on and the negative reaction and press
  • Alan and Barney’s advice for those pursuing FI in the UK
  • skip to Hot Seat Questions
  • How incremental improvements can make a big difference in life, sports and financial independence (Related article: Why I Pick Up Pennies)
  • Reading books as Barney’s favorite life hack
  • Focus on self-improvement and doing something different and tackling fears

Links from the show:

Books Mentioned in the Show:

Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

Affiliate Disclaimer

ChooseFI seeks to uncover helpful services that help you be financially resilient. However, we may receive compensation, at no cost to you, from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article, including from CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Opinions are the author’s alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of these entities. See our disclosures for more info.

We've updated our Top Cashback Card! Check it out!

Save on Existing Loans

Save On Living Expenses

Save & Invest

Financial Emergency Prep

14 thoughts on “049 | Alan Donegan & The Escape Artist | The Aggregation of Marginal Gains”

  1. Great blog and good accurate insights into some UK specifics. They touch upon a few cultural quirks that us Brits have to consider on the path to FI. Recommended listen!

  2. Superb . I live in the UK and a regular reader of Barny’s blog The Escape Artiste. I really enjoy everything he says, it kind of resonates with me. The Monevator site in the Uk he mentioned is very good but Barney’s blog just seems to take things to a different level. I love the’ biggest you have made’ question as ive been working on FI and in one more year i should have reached FI [ which they say is minimum 25x your required yearly income]
    It was reassuring to hear Barney’s big mistake of selling at the bottom. Having not faced a market crash with my investments at this level im going to have to hang on to his every word of not selling at the bottom.
    Brilliant interview ONE DAY THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL CATCH UP WITH US!!! many thanks

  3. Can I just flag that the Halifax link may be linking to the incorrect broker? I think it may be Iweb, who are owned by Halifax, who are in turn owned by Lloyds Bank Group. Can you check as I’m very keen to move my ISA’s and SIPP to a cheaper broker particularly as The Escape Artists view on paying a percentage fee on FUM resonated with me and I feel so STUPID for paying a percentage fee for so long. As MMM would say, I deserve a face punch!

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing an episode on UK FI!!!! I was so excited to listen to it while on my morning commute. When you mentioned today’s topic, I was like “YEEESSS!!!” There’s very little resource on FI outside the US, and any information I can is extremely helpful. Thanks as well for the UK FI blog recommendations, I haven’t heard about most of them, but will be binge-reading them after work today.

    I am an Australian that have just moved to the UK and this has answered a lot of my questions. Please do one for Australia too! I think there’s a FI community there as well.

  5. I love TEA!
    I especially agree with his “life hack” of reading books.
    It isn’t anything new or especially technological.
    Thanks for this podcast.

  6. I absolutely loved that Podcast !!!

    I’m UK based and have followed TEA for years. If there is ever a Man to write a UK based version of ” Your Money or your Life” then it is Barney. Come on Barney, put me out of my misery !!!

    Alan, thank you for your great insights and your positive outlook is inspirational.

  7. American style FI is a new concept in the UK but the ground was not wholly barren. When I started work in 1989 (aged 16) I was introduced to tradesmen who were sacrificing their 20’s (chasing overtime, flipping houses etc) in order to own their home outright by the time they were 30.
    They were a minority and I don’t remember anyone explaining what they would do afterwards, but the example was there.
    Great podcast!

  8. Excellent podcast, refreshing to hear the UK perspective, keep up the good work guys.

    ‘Interview with the Man’ is one of my favourite aptitude posts too.

    Ps. the ‘Financial Independence London FB group rocks!

    • Hey John, thanks for stopping by 🙂 that’s awesome! I wish I had seen this post before we recorded the friday roundup – I would have given the London group a shout out on the friday roundup !!

  9. Great podcast barney. Lots of what you said resonated with me of your early years and your fear of homeless Ness. I am fortunate I come from a wealthy background but was always taught to stand on my own two feet and there fore I have always had that drive to be secure myself. I have borrowed very little from my family. I’m not as ‘extreme’ (not meant negatively but I can’t think of a better word atm!) in my quest for fi but I am on the path. at 37 and following a divorce 3 years ago I kept my house, my mortgage is less than 4 times salary (less than 3 times joint with my new partner) I have over 125k in a pension and 50k in various savings. Not spelling this out to brag just to say that I totally get the feeling of security knowing that I have a certain amount of wiggle room is amazing and is worth way more to me than a nicer house or a flashier car.. I do think it’s worth having conversations on this with others as for everyone that doesn’t get it you do find people who want to learn. Slowly the message will spread

  10. Great episode Jonathan and Brad. It is good that awareness of FI is spreading in the UK. The concepts are same as in the US but it takes a lot of courage for a lot of people to start investing. The important thing is to take action. I really enjoy listening to your podcast on the drive to and from work. Very inspiring.

  11. Great podcast – thanks for covering UK topics, as others have said; the FI movement is present here but with much less commentary than the US. TEA’s blog is a very good one.

Leave a Comment