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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.

Introducing a Finance Podcast by FIRE for FIRE

Welcome to the first ever ChooseFI podcast episode. Jonathan and Brad lay out their mission and goal for this podcast and this community. over this years this podcast has reached millions of listeners around the world and this is the episode that started it all

Why does this Podcast Exist?

  • This is a finance podcast by the FI community and for the FI community
  • We want to build a hub for the entire Financial Independence community
  • Experiments in Financial Independence: Battle test ideas and see what works
  • The “Dream” has been twisted into a mangled consumption fueled hamster wheel.  Let’s reclaim it
  • Take control back in your life
  • How Jonathan took on massive ($168k) student loan debt to go to pharmacy school
  • Jonathan’s 14 year journey feels like a “hamster wheel” of debt just to get back to $0 net worth
  • What are the skills you can learn for free (or close) to earn and invest in a smarter way?
  • Build a finance podcast that’s accessible and document our experiments so everyone can see every step of the way/li>
  • What steps do you need to take to gain financial independence?
  • How do you find what you love and scale that to work for you?
  • Passive Income from multiple sources: Put the work in upfront, systematize it and scale it.
  • Learning new things and expanding horizons can lead to a bright future
  • Having control over your life is priceless and FI can give you that
  • Information sources like finance podcast and books are essential to give you new ideas and tips
  • You have to start learning new skills to help you in the future. Get off the couch.
  • Build a skill set where you’re in the top 20% of a lot of skills and put random things together>
  • Experiment List for 2017: We need your input!
Read Full Transcript


[00:00:01] Your listening to choose by radio the blueprint to financial independence lives here.

Jonathan: [00:00:07] If you're looking to unlock the secrets to financial independence and early retirement your in the right place. Stay tuned and join a community of like minded people who are getting off the hamster wheel and taking control of their lives in the pursuit of financial independence. Choose F-I your home for financial independence online

Jonathan: [00:00:36] Hello everyone and thanks for joining us on our first ever choose FI radio podcast. My name is Jonathan Mendonsa and I'm the founder of choose With me today is my co-founder and co-host Brad Barrett. Welcome Brad.

Brad: [00:00:49] Thanks Jonathan. Very excited to be here. This is wonderful.

Jonathan: [00:00:52] I'm excited too. Well let me first I guess introduce Brad to you our audience. Brad is a financially independent retired early veteran. He has two successful businesses under his belt. He's been a guide and a mentor for me over the last six months. He's also an amazing co-host as you're about to find out. Before we get started let's just talk a little bit about this particular podcast and our community at

Brad: [00:01:16] So our goals are really twofold here with with the Web site the podcast the community. It's really to take the entire financial independence retire early community or the fire community and build a gathering place to bring everyone together. There are so many of these separate silos. There is the real estate community, there's the bloggers, the minimalists, people who focus on efficiency, investors, entrepreneurs, travel hackers, and we want to create this place to bring those separate tribes together. So for those of you who are in this space we want to help you reach a new audience with your message. We want this podcast to be the source for the fire community. And if you're just discovering this podcast for the first time, maybe you're discovering fire for the first time, maybe you saw an article about Mr. Money Mustache somewhere and it led you down the rabbit hole and you found us. We want to teach you what financial independence is all about, and most important we want to convince you that what society has told you is the American dream. That really sucks frankly. And you're going to wake up 20 years from now you're going to be broke just like everybody else. If you follow that American dream. But if you can just make a couple of small changes and follow what this community is doing you can wrest control of your life. You can get freedom. You can reach financial independence. You're not going to be beholden to corporate America the government whatever else is holding you back. You are going to have the control in your life and honestly it's pretty easy. It's not a short process but it's an easy one. And once you're there it is truly magical it's transformative.

Jonathan: [00:02:51] What I love about what you just said is I know for a fact that that is actually what you did and you didn't have it figured out right away. I mean there were a lot of stumbling blocks that you ran into but you're here now you've done it. And if I were going to introduce myself and talk about kind of how I got here it's kind of the opposite of that I was exposed to this community probably from the get go. I was you know one of those Dave Ramsey guys that would just listen to it every day. And I would hear about just the horrors of debt and how debt was ruining people's lives. But at the same time I was planning on going to pharmacy school and taking on six figures of student loan debt. And so now you know this is literally 14 years later and I am a pharmacist and I've gotten the debt and I've paid it off and I'm wondering 14 years later for me just now to have gotten my degree gotten my job gotten all that student loan debt and now paid all that debt off. It feels like a hamster wheel it feels like. What was the point. Was that the most efficient path to get here? And I think if you take that one aspect which is that hating debt and you combine it with all these other skills that you could learn you can just bypass all that. It's just not necessary. And so we're going to explore this theory of what is this most efficient path. What is this "Road Less Traveled?" What are the skills that you do not need a doctorate in order to learn but you can monetize and you can provide an income for you and your family for life? And I think some people call it the laptop lifestyle. It's possible, it's doable, and I think frankly it's just you need to be exposed to it because you're not going to hear about this stuff in school. You're not going to get an education in this and middle school nobody is going to teach you this because they don't know that they've bought into the American dream which is debt and consumerism for 40 years followed by social insecurity.

Brad: [00:04:29] It's in everyone's best interest to keep you on that hamster wheel. That's the interesting thing but it's not in our interest and it's not in your interest. We want to teach you how to how to get there. And I think that's, as Jonathan alluded to, that's the second main purpose of this site and what we're doing here is, is to really take all these ideas and battle test them. OK. I mean you can read 100 different blogs and you're going to find thousands of different ideas but how do you cut through that noise. It's very difficult and I think that's super cool.

Jonathan: [00:05:01] I love the idea of battle testing something. Just just throw it in the ring and see what happens.

Brad: [00:05:06] Yeah. And just find out for real and what we're going to do is we're going to put our money where our mouths are. Right. We're going to take our own money. We're going to invest in all sorts of different things and we're going to we're going to experiment and honestly we're going to fall flat on her face and some things and we're going to succeed wildly and others. But we're going to document every single step of the way so you can see how does this make sense for me. Hey could I maybe do this a little better than Brad Jonathan did or you know maybe can I help the community and maybe you'll be a guest on the podcast. Six months from now or two years from now. But we're going to test everything and try to find out what makes this easier. What are the real steps that you can take to go from from nothing from the regular corporate drone to being financially independent in X number of years. We're not going to promise you it's five. We're not going to promise you it's seven but we can promise you for certain if you follow this path you are going to be wealthy and you are going to retire decades earlier than most people and their retirement doesn't mean sitting on a beach sipping pina coladas with little umbrellas in them. Right? Like that's what people you think you think Florida you think old people. That's not where we're going for here. We're not looking for life of leisure and you know doing nothing productive it's financial independence that's the key. It's not retiring in the traditional let's go play golf sense. It's financial independence it's having control over your life. that is the key.

Jonathan: [00:06:30] Dan Miller has has a book in and a popular podcast series and it's you know it's 48 days to do the work you love. And I just think financial independence is finding the work you love. And doing that it's finding something that you get excited about and finding a way to monetize it and then scale it so you don't have to deal with it anymore. And it continues to pay you and you do what you want to. You work because you want to not because you have to. You're not working so that you can afford your $40 a month couch payment that you got from you know whatever furniture warehouse because they were giving you a zero percent interest for six months. You're not financing your life. Instead you're earning passive income from eight to 20 different income streams because your mind has turned into this creative machine that has found ways to produce money while you sleep.

Brad: [00:07:17] Yeah there's no doubt about it. And you know if you could maybe we'll have my wife on a future podcast she she would almost echo exactly what Jonathan just said which is my mind is constantly working I'm constantly coming up with new random ideas for businesses and you know most of them will never come to fruition. But you put all this information together from all these various sources and you never know what ideas come to you that could be the next million dollar idea or a billion dollar idea. Frankly it's you know like Jonathan said it's creating these passive income streams where your passive income doesn't mean no work necessarily it means the work in upfront and figure things out test it and come up with a plan that works and then you know if you can make that so that you can find people that work for you and actually go through all those standard operating procedures and just run the business then that's wonderful right. That's the dream. And then you can replicate that. It's a process that you can replicate and you know I've seen that in my own business. We're going to talk in a future episode about well each interview each other so you'll hear about my website so I'm not going to waste a lot of time with that now but I've built multiple websites that have become fairly successful and so I've done this myself. I mean three years ago I was a tax manager at a big corporation and sitting in an office from whatever 8:30 to 5:00 every single day doing the same stuff over and over again.

Brad: [00:08:38] And I just started learning it was a quest just really to learn something new to expand my brain to expand my horizons and just see what happened. There was no way that I could have predicted 3 years ago or four years ago or whatever it may have been that I started. Richmond saver's originally I'd be sitting here with Jonathan recording this podcast 24 months into my early retirement I guess you'd call it where I quit my job really almost 24 months ago at this point. It was January of 2014. Congratulations by the way. Thank you. Thank you. And yeah I mean it's just amazing what it's what it's been able to do for my life. I mean having control over your life we can't repeat that enough. You'll hear me say it probably hundreds of times over the next X number of podcasts but the control you have over your life is just priceless. I mean just something simple right. This is going to sound trivial but I have young daughters. They're growing up real fast. My oldest is already 8 years old. She's not going to be a little girl for long. And we have the summers together. This past summer was one of those times where we just we know we're going to look back on that 50 years from now and say that was the best time of our lives because we spent essentially 90 days going to the pool every single day during the afternoon for three hours and just playing and having fun as a family. We went to San Francisco and you know the Bay Area for 10 days and just had a wonderful time going to Yosemite and the redwoods and seeing the cities and whatnot. And it was remarkable. And I have that flexibility because I spent thousands of hours learning about this stuff. But man if you are someone who has dedication and can sit there and just just learn learn new things listen to podcasts. We can give you a list of our favorite podcasts I mean I've picked up more life hacks and business hacks for the podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis than I can even count. And you know I don't remember every single one of these things but they all kind of synthesize in my brain in this kind of weird way it does.

Jonathan: [00:10:30] It's amazing how the ideas come and you start to see the bigger picture we're going to have two different sets of people that are going be listening to us. There's going to be our friends in the podcasts. Financial independence space that we listen to this and they're going to be identifying with a lot of what Brad has just said. I mean that is exactly how they think that is the process that they've replicated that is their life. They're sharing that. And then there's going to be people looking at it from the outside and who are fighting us maybe for the first time on stitcher or iTunes and they're going to be thinking themselves why just don't have any ideas to make money I don't I don't even know how you would even start with that. And you're thinking yourself what if you just told me how I could make money and then I could do that just tell them give me an example of two or three things I could do to make this money. And we'll certainly we can give you examples and there will be examples on our Web site choose F-I dot com. Go to our fishbowl experiment page you can certainly see some of the things that we have done. But the point is there are so many different ways that you can do it. You don't have to find the perfect one. You don't have to find the only one that will work for you you just have to find one and to get there to get to the point where the wheels start to come off the bus and you start to have these creative ideas. You have to start thinking in a certain way you have to start learning new skills you need to have someone model it for you. And if all you're watching is Grey's Anatomy reruns you're not going to get there you're just not. And so you know what are you doing with your free time. Are you taking the time to listen as podcasts and learn five or six new skills that at some point I guarantee you you will use it and it will earn you money. Or are you just watching a rerun. There's there's no benefit and you only have a certain amount of time every single second that ticks on the clock is a second that you won't get back and it's getting you to five years down the road. And right now you could make a choice to start learning one two three one hundred new skills that you can monetize for the rest of your life.

Jonathan: [00:12:16] And I can tell you that right now as of right now we're recording this at the end of 2016. I have in the past three months I have learned no less than 150 new skills. I promise you that. Or more and every single time I learn something new I start to be able to put it into this picture of how I'm going to be able to monetize this down the road and provide an income for myself and my family. And it's exciting. It's way more interesting than watching the newest television show. You know and I'm not hating on TV I love TV but there's there's a reason that I'm spending the time doing this and it's not because I'm just a tech nerd.

Brad: [00:12:51] Yeah Jonathan hit it on the head they're beyond belief. And what he just said rewind this and listen to it again. This is about putting together a tool kit that will help you succeed in life. It's nothing less than that and you cannot point to every single thing that you're going to learn as directly related to I'm going to make money off this but I can guarantee you when you start putting these skills together it's going to create magical things. I mean your brain just makes these connections and you don't have to be world class. This is kind of taken from Scott Adams who is a really brilliant thinker. He's actually the guy who penned the Dilbert comic which sounds a little odd but I highly recommend you check out his blog. He's just a thinker on a a different level and you don't have to be world class at anything. But when you are in the top 10 percent or 20 percent even of a lot of things you're putting together ideas that other people just aren't seen because they're so focused on being in the top 1 percent of whatever their field is work or frankly many people are just focused on being mediocre and getting through life unfortunately. But if people who are successful they take these random ideas and put together this toolbox you know just to talk about Jonathan for a minute. I have been so blown away by his zeal and fervor to learn new things. Honestly I've never seen anything like it and it's a little intimidating even though I guess I am "successful" with Web sites and whatnot and there have been some things that I can help with to help him with and guide him with. But man I've never seen a person just dive into a project like this. It's amazing. I mean you guys are going to learn so much from him. It's going to be remarkable. So you're really in good hands here. I think we've got a lot of really fun things planned. Jonathan mentioned we have an experiment list that we have. You know it's it's the end 2016 now that you know we have mapped out for 2017. But I mean that's just a fraction of what we're going to do and what we hope to do. We need your input right. That's that's what's going to make this community grow. What experiments do you want to see us make. What would be beneficial for the community. And where should we go from here. We have ideas. We are nothing without you guys. So I'd love for you to send us an e-mail. Read this podcast. Give us some ideas.

Jonathan: [00:15:11] Absolutely. And also on our Web site on the right hand side there will be an option for you. You can leave us some voicemail feedback. And so if you have no question that you want answered you can leave us that information and we will actually play it on our show and do our best to give you you know our opinion on that particular topic so we hope you take advantage of that. Well thank you so much. It's been the first episode of the ChooseFI radio podcast. Thank you Brad for doing this with me.

Brad: [00:15:36] Yeah this is amazing. I had a blast. Can't wait for more.

Links from the show:


How to connect with the ChooseFI Radio Podcast | A Finance Podcast

Books Mentioned in the Show:

48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal Price: 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/03/2020

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life Price: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 11/03/2020

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.
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