Author: Jonathan Mendonsa & Brad Barrett

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Jonathan & Brad explore the world of Financial Independence. They discuss reducing expenses, crushing debt, building passive income streams through online businesses and real estate. How to pay off debt, Crush your grocery bill and travel the world for free. Every episode is packed with content and actionable tips and no topic is too big or small as long as it speeds up the process of reaching financial independence. If Mr Money Mustache, Tim Ferriss & Pat Flynn came together to make a podcast, this is what it would look like.
192 Episodes
102 | From 90K of Debt to 6-figure Side Hustle | Timika
Blogger and podcaster Tamika Downes reveals how she went from $94K of debt to owning a six-figure income-earning side hustle while continuing her job as a school nurse and raising three children. Timika’s early financial experiences came through immigrant parents, from Barbados, hustling and saving. Having a side hustle was common place in Timika’s family. Despite her family’s habit of saving, Timika finished her education with $94K of debt. After her undergraduate Timika had $24K in debt. Student loans for her master’s cost $35K A second, nursing degree, cost another $30K Choosing to pursue something that you’re not quite ready for can often lead someone to pay more than necessary. Nursing degrees don’t have to cost $30K; immediately after high school students can become qualified Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) working in hospitals or nursing homes while starting at a community college and finishing through a bridge program at a 4-year school. Nursing is a trade; find the most efficient way to get qualified. Many universities offer tuition assistant to the children of faculty/staff, often including tuition at other universities. What options did Timika consider in order to decrease her student loan debt? Timika’s mindset changed when she started to own her life circumstances; taking responsibility for her finances was a natural result. Instead of buying a $20K car, Timika bought a $20K business – a lice clinic. Timika spoke with out-of-state clinic owners and did her homework before deciding to invest in the set up for her clinic. Since opening the business, Timika has increased her talentstack to include: Securing a business lease Blogging Website management Business finance management Timika went to coding bootcamp, for 75% discount as a female minority. The lice clinic is now almost passive income: Timika only devotes three hours a week and has hired employees who manage the rest.   Links: House of FI Reluctant Frugalist Saving Sherpa The Road to Retirement: (Re)Learning to Love Work For more information, visit the show notes at
101R | Side Hustle Coaching Series Part 4
Brad and Jonathan talk about their experiences with W2 jobs and building side hustles, Jose shares his own side hustle tip, and Alan and Tallis wrap up the 4-part Side Hustle Coaching Series.   Brad and Jonathan are jumping into planned spontaneity. Do your actions align with your values? Brad recounts how the accounting firm he worked for right after college, one of the biggest in the U.S. at the time, folded and within 9 months no longer existed. W2 jobs aren’t all that risk-free after all. Having a side hustle is about diversification. Jonathan talks about how Dani is building an audiobook side hustle, using some of the techniques and strategies that Nick Loper talked about in Monday’s episode. Willingness to pivot your side hustle idea gives you a better chance at building a side hustle that actually works. Voicemail from Jose with a side hustle tip from Task Rabbit – sign up to help others with random tasks, and add a little extra cash to your pocket. Brad’s opting to rent a car through Turo, through which customers rent someone’s personal car, similar to AirBnB.   Side Hustle Coaching Call Episodes to review: Episode 30, Episode 56 (Part 1), Episode 77R (Part 2), Episode 85R (Part 3) Tallis reviews how her initial cold calls, starting from further away geographically and becoming increasingly local as she refined her sales pitch. Tallis has 4 dance classes she’ll be teaching soon! Tracking results and feedback from the start of your business is important. Measuring results, and using valid tools respected within the medical community will be important to Tallis’ business. Where does Tallis want her business to go in the next 2 years? Keep pressing forward – it’s impossible to know how the business might grow, but Tallis is building entrepreneurial skills and opening options for her future.   Links: 10 Big Chain Stores That Will Secretly Match Amazon's Low Prices
101 | Finding your Side Hustle Idea | Nick Loper
Nick Loper, founder of Side Hustle Nation, talks about the benefits of developing a side hustle, and methods to actually develop a good side hustle idea.   You can only cut so much from your expenses; a side hustle helps you expand your earning potential. Nick thinks working just a 9-5 job is risky – what happens if you get fired? Nick advocates several methods for developing side hustle ideas. Method 1: Intersection Method Write out three columns with lists that include what you can do, what you like to do, and the people in your network. Nick used the Fiverr website to test out his first side hustle idea. How important is it to pivot, instead of being discouraged by failure? Some of the best ideas are developed once a business is already in motion. Method 2: What sucks? Find simple sticking points in life and solve the problems. Some people find things on Amazon that suck, and find a way to make them better. There are manufacturing companies in China and the U.S. that work with small orders and require minimal up-front investment. You don’t need a brand-new idea, you just need a different market. Recommended episodes from Side Hustle Nation: Episode 173: How to Turn Your Ideas Into Recurring Revenue, with Stephen Key Episode 263: The Top 3 Amazon FBA Private Label Product Research Strategies for 2018 and Beyond Method 3: Rip, Pivot and Jam Find a business model that’s working, pivot it to a new market, product, etc., and then do the work. Are there side hustles that Nick no longer recommends? Sometimes the opportunity cost for a side hustle may not be worth the cash. One of the best side hustle ideas Nick has heard: Flea Market Flipper. How difficult is it to develop a passive-income side-hustle? Think Maids: found a category of businesses on Yelp that had really poor reviews, and found a way to provide better customer service.   Links: Smart Passive Income GoCurryCracker
100R | Know the Rules
Brad and Jonathan explain how simply knowing the rules can save you thousands on taxes and college financing, Brad talks through the IRA Conversion Ladder and Capital Gains Harvesting, and a few updates from the community. The financial independence movement is growing, and seeing a lot more press coverage. Messaging matters: The Wall Street Journal published one article with two different headlines. Pursuing financial independence isn’t about buying brown bananas, despite what some media would suggest. Brad reached financial independence with intentionality about his priorities in his life. Brad and Jonathan don’t aim to tell people what decisions to make in their life, just give options and information. What did Brad’s family do to reach financial independence? Housing: chose to move to a less-expensive cost of living area Cars: Brad & his wife drive 15-year-old cars Food: don’t go to restaurants often Set up a life that doesn’t cost that much. Pursuing financial independence actually allows people to pursue jobs that they love. If life costs a lot and someone is in debt, it’s very hard to walk away without taking major risks. Knowing tax rules is a huge component of pursuing financial independence. Knowing the rules in regards to paying for college makes a huge difference in how much financial aid your student might be eligible to receive. A message from Matt about researching the actual requirements necessary for a job in nursing – the cost of nursing school can range from a few thousand dollars to more than $100k. Studying nursing in a less expensive area still gives you qualifications to practice anywhere in the U.S., with a potentially huge payoff. Roth Conversion Ladder & Capital Gains Harvesting – the goal is to pay little or no tax. Roth IRA Conversion Ladder: Starts with traditional IRA/401k. If you want to retire before 59.5, taking money out is taxable income. If you’re not collecting significant income, taking money from an IRA is unlikely to push you into a high tax bracket. Capital Gains Harvesting If you’re income is low, your tax bracket can be incredibly low. Email from Dan explaining how he and his wife paid off many of their debts, found a way for his wife to be a stay-at-home mom, and started a small side hustle. Brad shares a frugal win of the week at the optometrist. For more information, visit the show notes at 

100R | Know the Rules


100 | Welcome to the FI community
Brad and Jonathan look back at the ChooseFI’s growth during the past 100 episodes and hit the highlights of financial independence for new community members and recap their own financial independence journeys.   Jonathan considers himself a reluctant frugalist, but the idea of not having to work won him over. Brad and his wife were natural savers, but chose to move from Long Island, NY, so that they could save more and work toward financial independence. If you want to take back your years and have the option to stop working before your 60s, you’re going to have to live differently and make different choices. The key to long term freedom is saving money. The benefits of pursuing financial independence are felt long before reaching FI. Jonathan put himself in a position to leave his pharmacy job when it stopped working for him and his family. A huge quantity of life’s stresses can go away if you’ve got some money in the bank. What you earn minus what you spend = the gap. The goal of the ChooseFI community is to help you grow the gap, and pursue what you’re most interested in. ChooseFI isn’t about the money, it’s a life optimization strategy. Small sacrifices add up in the long term. What is a talent stack, and how did it change Brad’s life? Starting with current income is the wrong place to start calculating the number you need for retirement. FI number = 25 x annual expenses (4% rule of thumb) If you’re only saving 1%, it’ll take you 100 years to replace on year of expenses. Getting as close to possible to a 50% savings rate is when things really start to move quickly. Being rich isn’t watches and cars – it’s money saved and pursuing what’s more important to you in life. What major decisions put Brad on the path to FI?   Links: Mr. Money Mustache
099R | Market Fluctuations | Stick to Your Plan
Brad and Jonathan review Monday’s episode about generous giving and resource stewardship, then catch up on voicemails and updates from the community about dental school, fall activity ideas, and the recent dip in the stock market.     Jonathan recaps his recent family vacation and travel to FI Chautauqua Greece. Chautauqua was most importantly about community. Jonathan saved nearly $1,200 on a bill for his son’s broken leg just by asking for an adjusted cash-pay price. The Playing with FIRE Kickstarter event far surpassed expectations. More than 1,000 supports More than $100k Review from Monday’s episode with Michael Peterson. Michael continues to work because he wants to be able to give. Geoarbitrage might not always be what we think; moving to ‘less expensive’ countries also usually involves a big lifestyle change. Considering oneself to be a steward of resources, not just an accumulator of money, puts members of the FI community in a unique position to be generous and consider their impact on world. Voicemail from Brian Feroldi from Motley Fool: stock market is down about 10%, but no need to panic, as drops in the market are normal and bound to recover in the long term. Buying stock when it’s down is like buying stock that’s on sale. Voicemail from Chris who tries to support 2nd and 3rd generation FI by supporting childhood entrepreneurship. Hansi asks the community for help brainstorming 31 free/inexpensive things for couples to do in the fall. Drive to look at fall foliage Toast pumpkin seeds Backyard fire pit Josh, a dentist in Oregon, opted to go to dental school in Oklahoma for half the cost of a school in Boston, and then chose to work in a rural group practice to significantly increase his income. Using money he put into his 401k, he purchased a practice in Bend, OR and improved his lifestyle. Expects to pay more than $1.2 million of loans in the next 5 years. In the medical industry, working in more remote locations tends to increase income. Voicemail from Matthew who is a military dentist – military pays for the cost of dental school, plus a stipend, in exchange for a few years of service to the military, and a guaranteed job.   Links mentioned in this episode: FI Chautauqua   For more information, visit the show notes at
Comments (8)

Clay Connolly

I love this podcast! I have been binging almost every episode over the last 2 months. They seem to give the perfect level of explaination for me, not too in depth, but not too basic to where I'm bored. The hosts also seem like authentically nice guys. Also enjoy the guest they bring on and the questions they ask them.

Oct 5th

B Pack


Oct 3rd

Andrew MacPhee

Great episode, with loads of takeaways for beginning real estate investors.

Sep 4th

Misaki Miyashita


Jul 27th

Kamil Banc

I had an issue with "what do you do?" for a while so I just tried to boil down my life (past, present and future) into a motto that I can stand behind. that's when I came up with 'Adapt and Create"

Jun 25th

Brendan Leighton

Great Podcast! I'm 27 making a little over 20k/year and finding their advice is helping me move into a better financial mindset. My only hope is I can make this mindset a habit before I'm making more money. The podcast seems to be more generated for career professionals but others like me who haven't hit that tier could still gain something.

Jun 17th

Pavlina Atanasova

love the accountant's breakdown on the new tax law. Super helpful since I am a small biz owner and I try to deduct as much as possible! 😁

Feb 19th

Christopher Wills

This podcast adds so much to the FI arsenal. The Friday round up is great because it breaks down the previous show and pulls nuggets out for the audience. kudos guys.

Dec 30th
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