Answering Your Financial Independence Questions

You asked, we answered. Bringing the Two Sides of FI together to discuss changing withdrawal rates, Jason and Eric’s own FI numbers, redefining identity in early retirement, rental real estate, and more.

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Show Notes

Given the diversity of topics and tools discussed in this episode, it was challenging to go into much depth on any one of them. We’ve shared more information below on several of these items so that you can get the full details on each.

  1. Our FIRE numbers: We only briefly touched on this topic in this episode, but we’ve actually done an in-depth two-part series in the past. “So, What’s Your FI Number? Sharing Ours Here” is the first, and addresses the question of how to determine how much you need to achieve financial independence. We decoded the math used to calculate our own FI targets, talked about the different flavors of FIRE, and shared where our numbers fall on the FIRE spectrum. The second part of this series, “Discussing our FI Numbers : Changing our Minds, Talking to Family”, goes a step further. There we talked about how our early FI goals and calculations underestimated today’s needs. We then went beyond the math of financial independence to discuss the psychological aspects, including important conversations we had along the way with family and friends.
  2. Modeling your FI plan’s success: In this episode we showed some examples of modeling using cFIREsim, one of our favorite tools for examining the likelihood of your assets lasting the duration of your retirement timeline. This is a commonly used and highly regarded tol among the FIRE community. Newretirement.com is another great site (with both free and subscription options) that provides similar functionality, while including more in depth planning options. Both can be found on the Tools section of our Resources page.
  3. Modeling rent vs. buy decisions: While this wasn’t a major topic in this show, it is a question that comes up often both pre-FIRE and when thinking about modeling housing costs post-FIRE. It’s easy to model scenarios using the Rent vs. Buy calculator at SmartAsset.com.

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site.

First Year of “Early Retirement” Lessons Learned

Retiring at 47 is early by any definition. In this episode, Jason reflects on his first year in early retirement after reaching his FI goal in 2020. Not everything went smoothly as you might expect. Learn what’s changed, what’s been better, what’s worse, and – importantly – has it lived up to his expectations? If you’re excited to reach this milestone but still harbor some reservations about crossing into “retirement”, Jason offers a grounded, thoughtful perspective on what to expect and how to prepare for such a life-altering transition.

Be sure to read Jason’s milestone post for additional thoughts and details not covered in the video.


Show Notes

Eric here, checking in with a little behind-the-scenes detail. If you’re a long-time viewer, you’ll have noticed we switched sides in the edit. The reason? I joked with Jason after we finished recording the original episode that his next “skill development task” was to learn Final Cut ProX and cut the episode together. He agreed, not knowing the depth and form my critical feedback would take nor the time and effort making changes would entail! The editing switch was a subtle “tell” that we switched roles. And, although I don’t think this marks a permanent shift in our roles for this project, it did give each of us a better perspective on the skills we bring to the collaboration.


You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site.

Talking with our Spouses About FIRE: 2 x Two Sides of FI (Parts 1 and 2)

Part 1:


Part 2:

Talking with a spouse or partner about FIRE isn’t always easy. In this two-part series, Eric + Jason bring their wives Laura + Lorri into the conversation to share their personal experiences. In part 1, they talk about getting onboard with FIRE, financial topics including budgeting and setting the FI number, as well as the emotional aspects of choosing the FIRE path. In part 2, they discuss how they share financial responsibilities, the importance of finding friend networks, talking to their children about FIRE, and their hopes for their post-FI lives.


Show Notes

After recording this episode, Jason realized just how right Lorri was regarding his (non-)efforts to make friends in their new town. That got him thinking about some of the events of the past year, leading him to write a blog post on the topic. We think it’s a good accompaniment to the conversation in these episodes and hope you enjoy it. Do you have any thoughts on making friends in a new town? Please share them in the comments!

A fun story for you (not so much fun for us!) – you may have seen the earlier picture of all four of us together, in one place. That, along with this episode’s thumbnail, was a real photo from Jason + Lorri’s visit to Eric + Laura’s house in Maine – not photoshopped! Naturally you’re wondering why this episode was recorded in our usual remote format vs. in person. Well…we did record two hours of content when we were all together in Maine. However, a few technical issues meant that we decided not to use that footage. It still exists and perhaps will take on a new life someday as outtakes or otherwise. We’re really happy with how this two-part series turned out despite it being in our usual remote format, and hope you enjoy it too!

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

Retiring Early – So Why Am I Worried?

Retiring early is a dream for many but the decision to leave the workplace early can impact us in ways we may not have predicted. In this episode, we discuss the first year of Jason’s early retirement and Eric shares his own concerns as he approaches FI. For many, work provides a sense of purpose and identity, as well as validation, utility, not to mention financial security. What happens when that no longer exists? What takes its place? How does it impact your personal relationships and your personal sense of accomplishment? Much of the discussion about financial independence, retire early (FIRE) focuses on saving and investing, in this conversation we unpack what it means to leave work behind and fully embrace this life-changing transition. Join us for this conversation about life after FI.


Show Notes

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

Financially Independent, Live Anywhere? How to Choose (Parts 1 and 2)

Part 1:


Part 2:

Choosing a place to call home once you’ve reached financial independence can be an overwhelming task, given just how large the problem space is. As Eric nears his FI number he asks Jason for help and advice on how to narrow the range of options of where to live. Jason shares how he and Lorri approached where to live in “retirement” before taking the plunge to move their family. Irrespective of your own retirement path, the “Where to Live” process they used can be applied universally to making decisions about relocating to a new area.

Show Notes

Would you like your own FREE “Where to Live” tool just like Jason and Eric used in the episode? Please fill out the form below to request a copy:

NOTE: Two Sides of FI will NOT share or sell your information with 3rd party sites. If you are a new subscriber to Two Sides of FI you will receive several emails, including one to confirm your email address.


Do your future plans include relocation in the US? We found a great web-based tool called Mapping FI that we think you’ll find useful. While not as flexible as the approach used in the video, this tool is great for narrowing your search by cost, climate, and demographics.


For a closer look at Jason + Lorri’s and Eric + Laura’s “Where to Live” sheets, please see the images below.


You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

FOUR Sides of FI?

Yep, you read that right! Two Sides of FI recently doubled our numbers as we finally got to meet up in person after too long since our last visit together. Did Eric + Laura and Jason + Lorri do anything for the YouTube channel while they were together? Well…we did. But we also had to repeat the exercise once the trip was over due to some technical difficulties. We think the outcome was really great! Check out the video and the rest of the story here.

Lessons Learned in 7 Years Earning Passive Income – A Path to FI (Part 2)

Passive Income Flatlay

Diversifying your sources of income is an important step on the path to financial independence. On average, millionaires have at least seven streams of income. In part 2 of our series on passive income (click here for part 1), Eric shares the lessons learned and mistakes made as he created passive income streams for his architecture practice. In 2020, 90% of his small business revenues came from passive sources, bringing him closer to reaching financial independence. Join us as we explore these topics and more in this second episode in our series about passive income.


Show Notes

For more details on all the sources Eric is employing today to achieve this 90/10 split between passive and active services income, the best source is his website: 30×40 Design Workshop. There you’ll find examples of his current offerings, including courses, digital assets, books, videos and even a few of the physical products he’s experimented with.

Eric’s Current Passive Income Streams:

Video content is at the heart of this passive income strategy. For an introduction to Eric’s YouTube content – made not just for architects – his studio + desk tour is a great choice:

To set the passive income flywheel in motion Eric relies on YouTube’s native function as a search engine and positions the video at the center of a hub-and-spoke approach popular with content marketers. The YouTube video captures search traffic, provides information and builds community. As viewers consume the content, the passive income earning assets are positioned contextually to support the information. In this way, a video can show a process and link out to all the tools necessary to recreate the results shown in the video. Some of the assets are products Eric has created, others are more integrated into the ecosystem, like ads. Each video will earn advertising revenue as it’s watched over and again and will also natively link out to content he’s created on his own site, see his blog for an example. The blog post contains even more helpful details and information as well as embedded affiliate links which earn commissions, and links to products he has on offer. They also crosslink to related video content which, in turn, sets the process in motion once again.

Passive Income-Earning Products:

For those unfamiliar, affiliate marketing is where vendors offer content creators a small commission – generally a small percentage of cart sales – for product referrals. Amazon Associates is one of the largest affiliate programs online and, once the content is created, is one of the most passive forms of income you can create. Joining is easy and direct and they offer commissions of up to 4% of total cart value, making the holidays a particularly lucrative time (see below). The Learn section of 30X40 provides a good introduction to how Eric approaches this key opportunity – one appropriate for all interest areas and content types.

Amazon associates revenue page from Nov/Dec 2020
Eric’s Amazon Associates Dashboard from Nov/Dec 2020

Each piece of content he creates aims first-and-foremost to be helpful and points to resources created to complement the information he’s sharing. From short form video lectures, to digital templates, courses, podcasts, products and everything in-between; he converts the by-products of the active design work he’s doing each day into assets which produce income even when he’s away from the studio. This income is then directed toward hyper-saving for his FI goals.


You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

Passive Income = A Path to Financial Independence (Part 1)

Earning money while you sleep is the dream of passive income that few realize. In part, that’s because it requires a significant upfront investment of active work and time to build the assets necessary. For those seeking financial independence, passive income can be both an accelerator and a plentiful source of cash once you reach FI, and leave your primary career. In this show, we discuss Eric’s experience gained over the past eight years intentionally creating a diverse array of passive income streams. Today, 90% of his small business revenues come from passive sources, bringing him closer to reaching FI each day. Join us as we explore these topics and more in this first episode in a series about passive income.


Show Notes

Eric wrote some extensive show notes in the blog entry for Part 2 of this series on Passive Income. Be sure to check them out!

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

Financial Mistakes We Won’t Make Again (Part 2)

We all make mistakes on the path to financial independence. Learn from ours as we chronicle the poor choices, bad habits, and missteps we’ve made on the road to FI. In this episode we talk about big ticket items like cars, student loans, and mortgages. Mistakes made in these areas can certainly have a large impact on your FI journey! Join us as we explore these topics and more in this second episode in a series documenting our financial mistakes and missteps on the path to FIRE.

Part one of this series can be found here.


Show Notes

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.

Don’t Make These Financial Mistakes on the Path to FIRE! (Part 1)

We all make mistakes on the path to financial independence. Learn from ours as we chronicle the poor choices, bad habits and missteps we’ve made on the road to FI. In this episode, we share our own experiences from our teens through our 30s, reflecting on what we’ve learned in hopes of helping our children avoid repeating them. Join us as we explore these topics and more in this first episode in a series documenting our financial mistakes and missteps on the path to FIRE.


Show Notes

Watching this episode reminded us of a resource we’d seen The Money Guy Show share previously. This table is a really powerful example of the value of saving and investing early. It summarizes the amount you need to have saved by a given age (or made a lump sum investment at that same age) for it to grow to $1M by age 65. And on the topic of helping out your kids, if you invest $1544 in your newborn’s UTMA account and never touch it again, it will grow to $1M by the time they’re 65. Wow!

Jason also decided to blog on this topic, given how common of a financial mistake it is to get a late start on investing – it’s not only him and Eric making this blunder after all! Head on over to the next phase is NOW and be sure to invest early and often to ensure your financial goals are met!

You can find information on the tools we mention in each episode along with additional information in the Resources section of this site. To navigate to this material at any time, just click the menu button at the top of any page on the site.