Retirement Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be

We all daydream about what retirement will be like, but will reality live up to expectations? In this episode, Eric and Jason are joined by Fritz Gilbert, who blogs at The Retirement Manifesto. Now nearly four years after retiring early, Fritz brings valuable experience + perspectives to this question. Our discussion goes well beyond the numbers, covering topics including finding your purpose, working “one more year”, determining your FIRE timing, and the keys to success in retirement.

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


Show Notes

Retirement Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be – This is Fritz’ post that inspired us to make an episode of Two Sides of FI together. As you may have gathered from our earlier episodes, Jason completely agrees with Fritz that it’s impossible to really know what retirement is going to be like until you experience it. Now in his fourth year of early retirement, Fritz has a lot of experience to reflect upon and we’re grateful that he’s chosen to share it with us.

Keys to a Successful Retirement – As we discussed in this episode, Fritz recently wrote a book capturing lessons he learned on his retirement journey so far. His own description of the book is a really apt summary: “Covering topics like finances, embracing your passions, and dealing with feelings of aimlessness, grief, and depression that may crop up, this in-depth guide to retired living answers all the burning questions you want to ask—as well as those you’re afraid to. Take a complete look at your newfound freedom and explore what it really means to have a successful retirement.” We highly recommend it!

In this episode, we referenced a number of different blog posts Fritz wrote that we found useful, inspiring, and impactful. Please be sure to check them out:

Freedom for Fido is the charity that the Gilberts started, whose stated purpose is to:
“Free the dogs who live on chains in the North Georgia Mountains. We are a charity which provides free fencing and dog houses for low-income residents of the Blue Ridge area.” This project is clearly an important part of their lives and we’d recommend you check out the great and impactful work they’re doing together with their volunteer community.


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

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.

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.

Two Careers, Two Paths to Financial Independence

Our path through life is heavily influenced by the career choices we make early in adulthood. Learn how we leveraged our chosen professions in science and architecture to chart our respective paths to achieving financial independence. One of us employed a job “leveling up” strategy to accumulate wealth, while the other started their own business and became a successful content creator. There’s a lot to learn from our journeys and we walk you through how we did it!


Show Notes:

Given the length of our episodes, it’s impossible to cover all of the depth we’d like on any topic. As a follow up to this installment, Jason wrote a blog article diving into his “career leveling up” strategy. The piece concerns how he approached advancement in the workplace. Irrespective of your own FIRE status or chosen career, we believe you will find information you can use!

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.