Hello again! While I'm busy finishing part 2 of our In Depth 180 series, I'll leave you with a recap of the wonderful time I had this past weekend at Camp Mustache SE in Gainesville, FL. The weekend was absolutely amazing! My wife and I spent our days surrounded by nearly 40 extremely optimistic and energetic FI or nearly FI people. We're still buzzing from the high. Everyone was genuinely interested in our story.
We made tons of new friends, including Pete, a.k.a Mr. Money Mustache, who is just as awesome in real life as he is on his blog. We gave him a ride from Gainesville back to the airport on Monday and chatted about the future of autonomous vehicles, energy production, and other interesting topics. Enough good ideas came up that I'll have blog posts for months!
All weekend long, there was this really contagious energy. It's been years since I've made so many friends so fast, and had this good of a time! Some of the people were extremely interesting. We met our twin FI couple, MK and Jason, who are neck and neck with us as we march towards FI. We chatted by the campfire with an extremely nice FI doctor from Chicago for hours. We met a federal prosecutor, a pharmacist, a dentist, real estate experts, and more. And we met our new friend Bill, who might have the most interesting FI story ever. So many fun people- I feel like I know experts in nearly every field now!
One attendee, Zeona, had a very interesting story. She started buying rental properties across different states, renting them out full time on AirBnB. She told us her story as we carpooled from the airport, and I can tell she's quite passionate and talented in this area. She gave a presentation on all of this along side Emma, another talented real estate investor. Emma helped coordinate Camp Mustache SE with Stephen of The Southern Stache, and they did an excellent job.
JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly and MoneyBoss also presented, and his talk on crafting a personal mission statement really hit home with me. He asked everyone to imagine what it would be like to hear that you only have 6 months left to live. What would you change about your life? He then had us use this to help us build our own life mission statements. His post Finding Purpose just went up this week, and delivers the same message in blog form.
Keith Schroeder from The Wealthy Accountant presented on how to organize your life to maximize net worth and minimize taxes. This guy really knows his stuff! He posted about the talk in detail here. While at the camp, Keith held one on one sessions to discuss taxes, FI goals, etc, and all the money raised was donated to the Special Olympics.
Brad Barrett from Richmond Savers and TravelMiles101 gave a great presentation on travel hacking. If you haven't signed up for the free Travel Miles 101 course yet, you need to- you'll never pay full price for airfare and hotels again! Brad is a really great guy- after his presentation, he sat down with the wife and I and helped us find round trip tickets for a trip to Japan using only our rewards points.
Brooks Nelson from Gainesville Cohousing also gave an interesting presentation on a new community being developed in Gainesville. The idea of cohousing was new to me, but apparently this is popular in Europe and just starting to catch on here in the states. The concept is kind of a halfway point between modern suburbia, where you don't even know your neighbors' names, and a commune, where everyone lives together and shares everything. I hope to see more of these communities popping up in the future- they seem like a very mustachian housing choice to me.
Joshua Sheats of Radical Personal Finance gave the presentation “Why Wait Until You’re FI to Live Like You’re FI?” The idea is to design your life the way you want it, regardless of if you are FI or not. He used himself as an example: although not yet FI, he still makes his own schedule, works on podcasts, which he loves, and, most importantly, isn't a slave to his alarm clock. He actually recorded the whole talk as a live podcast episode, and you can listen to it here.
While we were there, the wife and I did an interview with Joshua, and he insisted our story was so interesting that we needed to start a blog. Other attendees agreed and were super encouraging. Our new friend Kevin lended his expertise, and within a few hours Fi180 was born! This blog wouldn't exist without the support and expertise of these awesome new friends.
There were plenty of other bloggers in attendance this weekend as well. Gwen from FieryMillenials, Jonathan & Brad from ChooseFI, TJ and Fiby40, the list goes on. Everyone was extremely nice and so much fun to be around. A lot of friendships were cemented over cards against humanity well after midnight!
There was more to Camp Mustache than just socializing and presentation sessions, though. We took a two hour team building course in the woods, practiced our archery skills, and hiked to a beautiful lake where we all went kayaking. We spent hours talking around the campfire, playing board games, and telling stories. We even ran races- Gwen is super fast!
Perhaps the most enjoyable time for me though was just sitting in rocking chairs on the patio, listening to everyone's unique stories, and enjoying the perfect weather. January is a wonderful time of year to spend in Florida.
My wife and I learned a lot this weekend. We learned we could quit our jobs tomorrow and become FI immediatley if we were willing to take the equity out of our rental house and leverage it to buy 5 small ones with 5 mortgages (we are not, but thank you Keith for opening our eyes to the possibility!) We learned quite a few tax pimping techniques for rentals and small businesses. And so much other stuff I'm still processing. It was a great experience. I highly recommend it if it comes back around next year.
Since coming back, I've never felt so motivated to work on creative endeavors. Nothing like a motivational kick in the butt from other extremely successful people! Now, I'd better go get writing. There's so much good stuff in store for Part 2 of the 180 In Depth series… on the next Financial 180.