Financial Independence, Retire Early…Go Back to Work?

Discussing the concerns, worries, and interests occupying our thoughts right now. A temporal look from their respective sides of FI, Eric and Jason discuss a new job prospect, while Eric is a little too focused on saving to achieve FI. They probe ideas about how “vacation time” is different post-RE, as well as their current favorite podcasts and books. 

Note: This content does not constitute investment advice and is being presented for informational and educational purposes only.


Show Notes

Eric’s “NOW” page @ 30X40 Design Workshop is where you’ll find links to some of the things that are inspiring Eric right now in his studio: tools, books, YouTube channels, podcasts and more. This includes links to the content he referenced in this episode.

Jason’s reading list – Here’s a list of all the books he’s read recently, is currently reading, or are up next. This is an example of a simple Notion page where you’ll find links out to learn more about these titles. Simply click on the triangles to the left of each section header to expand the respective lists.

Tenet was one of Jason’s favorite movies of 2021 and the link will take you to the film’s website. This movie can be a little challenging to wrap your brain around at times, so be forewarned. But once you get comfortable with “how the world works” in Tenet, it’s a really wild ride. It’s also visually stunning, so watch it on the largest screen you can. At the above linked you’ll find paths to digital copies and other purchase options. Depending on your region, you may also find it streaming on HBO or HBOMax, and potentially other services.


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

Comparing our FIRE Portfolios + Asset Allocations (Part 2)

Choosing how to divide your assets among stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles is a good first step, but asset allocation also impacts your tax rate, portfolio performance, and long-term ease of maintaining it all. In part two, Eric and Jason dig further into their own portfolios from their respective sides of FI and discuss the role of bonds, risk, tools you can use to assess your portfolio and model performance, rebalancing, and an interesting – not often discussed – case for financial advisors.

Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here.

Note: This content does not constitute investment advice and is being presented for informational and educational purposes only.


Show Notes

Portfolio Charts offers a wealth of different portfolio visualization tools and calculators for deeper analysis of your asset allocation, and other personal finance elements. As Eric mentioned in the episode, you’re not likely to find another resource with so many different visualizations available.

Morningstar is perhaps best known as a resource for analysis + ratings for mutual funds. However, the site also has a variety of tools for portfolio analysis and exploration. Some functionality is provided free of charge, while others come with a premium subscription. Importantly, the latter is offered as a 14-day free trial so you can readily use these tools to analyze your asset allocation and then cancel without risk prior to billing.

Big ERN’s SWR Spreadsheet (Early Retirement Now) is a comprehensive planning tool largely aimed at investigating safe withdrawal rate. In line with Big ERN’s standard approach, this is a resource aimed at those desiring detailed, quantitative analysis, and is a bit more “in the weeds”. But having the ability to input your asset allocation along and projected rates of return, is vital to do truly informed modeling. Other tools may be easier starting points, but this one has lots of power when you’re ready to dig deeper.

M1 Pies (M1 Finance) are one of the visualizations Eric discussed to reference the investment approaches of others in the personal finance community, like JL Collins and Paula Pant, which we talked about in Part 1. These are M1 Finance’s flagship portfolio tool, allowing you to see the asset allocations of others and potentially invest in the same approaches.

cFIREsim – This popular tool is the “Crowdsourced Financial Independence and Retire Early Simulator”. cFIREsim is among our favorite sites for performing Monte Carlo analysis of a given FIRE strategy. While you can get started with just a handful of simple parameters, this site is extremely flexible and will allow you to do more complex modeling if that is of interest.

Portfolio Visualizer is a site containing a variety of modeling tools, including the one linked here which allows one to backtest different portfolio asset allocations. While past results are not necessarily predictive of future returns, this approach does allow one to understand the merit + drawbacks of various asset allocations. One useful approach this enables is to compare the performance of your current portfolio vs. a variety of others of your construction.


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

Getting Your FIRE Asset Allocation Right. Here’s Ours (Part 1)

What is the best way to divide up your investments among stocks, bonds, and other vehicles? Asset allocation is an essential yet confusing topic. That said, it is an area of critical importance when thinking about early retirement. This is because decisions made about asset allocation can have huge implications on portfolio performance, taxation, and ease of maintenance. Join us for this first episode in a two-part series, as Eric and Jason talk about their portfolios, the merits of simple vs. more complex strategies, the role of bonds, and the risks they considered along the way.

Note: This content does not constitute investment advice and is being presented for informational and educational purposes only.


Show Notes

Our asset allocations:

I do have a very small crypto stake but it’s well below 1% – Jason

The Bogleheads Wiki is an excellent place to begin one’s research on the potentially complicated topic of asset allocation. Named after and inspired by Vanguard founder, Jack Bogle, the Boglehead philosophy is focused on a “small number of simple investment principles that have been shown over time to produce risk-adjusted returns far greater than those achieved by the average investor”. Most commonly these employ so-called “lazy portfolios” of only a few diverse funds that are low cost, easily managed, and capture the performance of the entire market. The site also has an excellent discussion forum.

An Investment Policy Statement (IPS) is an important starting point for any portfolio. The IPS is a document that – according to the Bogleheads wiki: “defines general investment goals and objectives. It describes the strategies that will be used to meet these objectives and contains specific information on subjects such as asset allocation, risk tolerance, and liquidity requirements.” See the link for more information and a template you can use for your own portfolio.

M1 Pies (M1 Finance) are one of the visualizations Eric discussed to reference the investment approaches of others in the personal finance community, like JL Collins and Paula Pant. These are M1 Finance’s flagship portfolio tool, allowing you to see the asset allocations of others and potentially invest in the same approaches.

Portfolio Visualizer is a site containing a variety of modeling tools, including the one linked here which allows one to backtest different portfolio asset allocations. While past results are not necessarily predictive of future returns, this approach does allow one to understand the merit + drawbacks of various asset allocations. One useful approach this enables is to compare the performance of your current portfolio vs. a variety of others of your construction.

“Our Retirement Investment Drawdown Strategy” (Retirement Manifesto) is a great article describing how Fritz employs the bucket strategy to build a retirement paycheck and manage his investment portfolio post-FIRE. This is just one element of our last episode – be sure to watch for helpful background – but is a great example of how one’s asset allocation very much informs how assets are drawn down in the de-cumulation phase of FIRE.

Preferred Stocks (Early Retirement Now) and associated funds, are one of the “hybrid” investment vehicles one could consider in a portfolio. In the linked article, Big ERN talks about how he invests in an ETF made up of preferred stock elements, which have features of both stocks and bonds.


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

Have Enough to Retire (Early)? 10 Steps to Make Sure

Will you have enough to money to retire (early or otherwise)? Achieving financial independence requires many key elements to be in place and special consideration if you plan to retire early. You need a plan: what will you do? What will you spend? Where will it come from?

In this episode, Eric and Jason discuss a recent blog post by Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto where he discusses the “10 Steps to Make Sure You Have Enough Money to Retire”. We cover how we’ve been designing our “dream retirement”, how we track current expenses and project future spend, how Jason is drawing down assets and Eric’s evolving plan to use “the bucket strategy”, and much more.


Show Notes

10 Steps to Make Sure You Have Enough Money to Retire – This is The Retirement Manifesto blog post that inspired our episode. Be sure to visit Fritz’ website for this article, as well as all the associated tools we mentioned in the show. We also highly recommend his three-part series on The Bucket Strategy, which we referred to in the episode.

Social Security is an important aspect to consider in most US retirement income plans. This link will take you to calculators that you can use to estimate your retirement benefits. SSA Tools is another useful site, one in which where you can copy/paste your SSA.gov data and use “…clear interactive visuals that let the user investigate how different choices might affect their overall benefit.” It’s a really good tool for modeling different scenarios. Lastly, Open Social Security runs the math for each possible claiming age and reports which strategy is expected to provide the most total spendable dollars over your lifetime.

New Retirement.com – More and more people on Reddit seem to be discussing this comprehensive retirement planning suite. They have a very full-featured free offering as well as a modestly priced paid version (free trial here + $10 off if you choose to extend!) with a host of really nice features, as well as consulting services. There’s a very active Facebook community as well.

Financial Order of Operations (Money Guy Show) – is a really great resource that “outlines the 9 steps anyone can take to build wealth and reach financial abundance.” We recommend downloading a copy and having a look at the associated episodes on their YouTube channel too. This is an essential tool to ensure your personal financial habits are supporting your FIRE goals.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) – By our observation, there is no budgeting tool more widely discussed, nor with a user base so passionate than YNAB. If manual spreadsheets aren’t your thing, or you’ve struggled with budgeting, look no further. YNAB has a free 34-day trial and the subsequent annual fee readily pays for itself. (affiliate link – a free month for each of us if you sign up!)


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

Retired Early and I Hated It : How NOT to FIRE, Part 2 (Post-FI/RE)

Imagine hitting your FI number, retiring early, and discovering you hate it? In this episode we discuss four examples of such an outcome: from quitting the perfect job and regretting it, to feelings of depression and lack of purpose. Some are unable to find motivation without financial incentives, while others realize they haven’t budgeted enough to do things they enjoy in life.

This is part 2 of our How NOT to FI/RE series. For part 1 and the PRE FI/RE examples, be sure to check out that video here: https://youtu.be/Jb438jvebd0


Show Notes

For Jason’s own thoughts, observations, and lessons learned in his first year of early retirement, check out this Two Sides of FI episode, as well as his blog post.

Are you on Reddit? Join us in the Two Sides of FI subreddit if you’d like to continue the conversation.

Full text of Reddit posts from the episode:

You can find information on the tools we mention in the 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.

How NOT to FIRE – Part 1 (Pre-FI/RE)

How much do you really need to achieve financial independence? We decode the math On the path to financial independence, there are ample opportunities for mistakes and missteps. In today’s episode, we review stories from people who shared their FIRE experiences online in the hopes of educating others. Here we review five of these tales: incurring tragic losses due to trying to beat the market, losing 75% of your portfolio value due to sector investing, regretting aggressively saving at the expense of living your life, and resenting your partner who doesn’t have the same degree of FIRE ambitions as you do.


Show Notes

You can find information on the tools we mention in the 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.

Full text of Reddit posts from the episode:

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.

Want your question featured on an upcoming show? Drop a comment on the video or reach out on our contact page.


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.

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.