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099 | Generous Giving On The Path To FI | Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson, owner of a bacon-themed concession stand in California, talks about downsizing his family expenses, spending 8 months of the year managing a non-profit in El Salvador, and why generous giving is important to him.

  • Mike worked in his grandfather’s concession business during college summers, then bought the business after graduation.
  • Getting his products into the media requires doing something new and innovative, and something that media outlets will be excited to share with consumers.
  • How do Mike and his wife talk to their children about their family’s finances?
  • Mike’s family lives in El Salvador for several months of the year, so opted to rent their family home in California and have built out a shed and some sea containers in which their family lives when they’re at home in the U.S.
    • Downsized from 2,700sq ft with pool and 4 acres, to 20’ x 20’ storage shed with two 20’ sea containers.
  • Current living expenses are about $100 a month.
  • What put Mike into the mindset to get creative about how his family would live?
  • Ultimately, seeking adventure might be just as unfulfilling as seeking material things.
  • What really makes life fulfilling is finding purpose and living in the community.
  • Mike no longer needs to work – he’s financially independent – but he’s continuing to work so that he can be generous with his resources and time.
  • Mike’s family lives and works in the U.S. from May through August, so they can volunteer and manage an organization in El Salvador during the rest of the year.
  • What does day-to-day life look like for Mike’s family in El Salvador?
  • Overseas, most of a person’s life happens within walking distance of their home, which changes the understanding of community.
  • Generosity was a value Mike learned in his youth and has continued to develop.
  • There is never buyer’s remorse when you’re generous.
  • Does generous giving slow your path to FI?
  • Living a FI lifestyle gives you more financial margin in your life, so you can be that much more generous.
  • Life doesn’t change when you hit FI: If generous giving isn’t a habit on your journey, it won’t be a habit when you arrive.
    • You can’t guarantee you’ll have those opportunities once you reach FI.
  • Generous giving doesn’t have to be funneled through an organization.
  • People who give are happier.
  • Mike thinks the U.S. is the cheapest place in the world to live.
  • How did an overdue library book cost Mike $10k?

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

Resources shared in this episode:

“Why the heck would a missionary need so much money to live in a foreign country?” – Mike Peterson

The Molecule of More – Daniel Lieberman & Michael Long

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