Did We Budget Enough for Travel in Early Retirement?

What happens if all the travel you want to do after retiring would break the budget? In this episode, Eric and Jason talk about the importance of travel to their early retirement plans. Topics discussed include financial concerns, disagreeing with your spouse, the value of planning by age range, and much more. Be sure to check out the show notes below.


Show Notes

Essential Background:

Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life by Bill Perkins – was mentioned by Eric here, and is a much-discussed book in the FIRE community. It’s intended as a “practical guide on how to get the most out of your money—and out of your life”. If you like the aim of prioritizing memorable experiences far ahead of simply accumulating money for later in life, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Are you familiar with the Camino de Santiago? Jason talked a little about this including his plans to walk the most famous of the Camino routes, the Camino Francés (the French Way), in 2025. There is a wealth of information available online, including on YouTube. If you’re US-based, consider checming out the American Pilgrims site.

Wondering what that word was we were trying to pronounce when talking about traveling to Croatia? Hvar is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, located off the Dalmatian coast, lying among several other islands. It’s consistently ranked in the top of many lists concerned with the best of island travel, and Hvar promotes itself as “the sunniest spot in Europe”.


Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first two years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

One More Year: My Decision to Postpone Early Retirement

Imagine changing your mind about retiring early just as the finish line comes into view? What factors might cause you to consider working one more year? In this episode, Eric talks with Jason about the idea to delay his retirement. They discuss why he’s considering it, finding alignment with his spouse, how others reacted to the idea, and much more.


Show Notes

Essential Background:

  • If you’re not familiar with Eric’s 30×40 Design Workshop business and his FI journey, you’ll want to see our two-part series: Passive Income = A Path to Financial Independence (Part 1) and Lessons Learned in 7 Years Earning Passive Income – A Path to FI (Part 2). Those links are to the show notes pages, which link both the episodes themselves and a host of related content that you’ll want to check out – particularly Part 2. In that post he shares tons of information on his various passive income streams
  • This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the concept of “One More Year”? Given last year’s market volatility, a viewer asked Jason if he would feel more secure had he worked another year or two before retiring early. We talked about his thoughts on that in an episode called Do I Wish I’d Worked One More Year?
  • Alignment with our spouses is a topic that’s come up multiple times on the show, including in this episode. Particularly for critical financial decisions, it’s essential to be on the same page. Many seem to agree that our two-part series where we discuss our FIRE paths with our spouses, Lorri and Laura, is must-see Two Sides of FI content. Check it out here: Part 1 and Part 2!
  • In this video we mentioned Jason’s recent conversation with Jordan, “Doc G” Grumet. Check out “Fulfillment Beyond FI: Life After Early Retirement with Jason” for the Earn and Invest podcast episode in question. But that actually wasn’t the first time we talked with Doc G. In fact, one of our most popular Two Sides of FI episodes of 2022 was our conversation with him titled “Will You Run Out of Money or Time? FI Advice From a Hospice Doctor“. In those show notes, you’ll also find a link to our earlier joint appearance on E&I as well as to Doc G’s impactful book.

Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first two years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

Will This Get Us Kicked Out of the FIRE Movement?

Would you spend $1000 on dinner for a special occasion – or more? Eric and Jason recently enjoyed a milestone birthday celebration with their spouses + friends at a world famous restaurant. The total cost may shock you. In this episode, they talk about the experience, spending decisions pre- vs, post-financial independence, and whether it was actually worth it.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:

Interested in learning more about The French Laundry? Their website is a great source for further details about the restaurant, their current menus, as well as Chef Thomas Keller. At the site you’ll also find links to his other restaurants; helpful if you’re based in places like New York, Las Vegas, or Florida!

The image below is a photo of the menu from our meal at the restaurant.

A photo of the menu from our French Laundry meal

Perhaps like us, you’ve enjoyed episodes of A Chef’s Tour, and may remember Anthony Bourdain once visited The French Laundry on that show for a very special dinner. While the menu served to him and the other chefs was even more expansive than the normal, it provides a ready example of the artistry of Chef Keller and his team at the restaurant.

For more on Chef Keller, we recommend checking out his MasterClass episodes. Far from highly technical haute cuisine guidance, these videos are simple to understand for cooks at any level, and provide excellent foundational instruction on kitchen technique.

Speaking of milestones, free resources like Empower (formerly Personal Capital) can make tracking FI milestones, a lot easier. We both use and really like this free tool for tracking investment accounts, understanding asset allocation + rebalancing opportunities, and monitoring net worth. Empower employs a simple account linking process to make it a more automated experience. Give it a try risk-free! (affiliate link; free program )

A note from Jason – Every episode of Two Sides of FI provides an opportunity for reflection, and this episode provokes a lot of emotions for me. On one hand, it feels really good to recall memories of a truly special and wonderful experience, sharing a key lifetime milestone with Eric, Lorri, Laura, and our friends. However, openly talking about spending a lot of money on something as luxurious as fine dining admittedly feels more than a little weird. I don’t think it’s unusual to feel emotions like guilt or embarrassment in this situation, is it? In any case, I truly enjoyed our conversation about this wonderful occasion we spent together, and I earnestly hope that you will too.


Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first 1.5 years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

He Retired Early, She Didn’t: A Coast FI Case Study

How would your spouse feel if you retired early while they kept working? In this episode, Eric + Jason talk with our friend Erik, who recently left the workplace while his wife continues to work. How does this arrangement work for them, and why is a coastFIRE path their choice? Topics discussed include being thrown into retirement, finding purpose, talking about FIRE, and much more.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:

The FI journey is far from a solo one for most people, particularly those with long term partners or spouses. Particularly for the kinds of weighty decisions that we discussed in this episode, it’s essential to be on the same page regarding one’s FI path. Many seem to agree that our two-part series where we discuss our FIRE paths with our spouses, Lorri and Laura, is essential Two Sides of FI content. Check it out here: Part 1 and Part 2!

Want even more candid conversation among spouses? As a bonus, check out the conversation with Eric + his wife Laura, “FI-nancial Decisions – Transitioning to FI with Laura + Eric”, for a behind the scenes look at how they decided to revise their revised asset allocation.

Erik and Deb have termed their path as one following CoastFIRE principles. This is a term used to describe someone who isn’t yet FI but has already put in the necessary effort to mathematically achieve that goal without further contributions. Did you hear our earlier conversation on this topic in an podcast-only episode two years ago? If you missed it then, you’ll definitely want to check out A CoastFI Path to Financial Security: An Interview with Catherine.


Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first 1.5 years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

Can You Reach FI Faster? Advice From Someone Who Did.

Can you shorten the time to achieve financial independence (FI)? In this episode, Eric talks with Jason about his journey to FI and the steps he took to reach FI faster and retire before 50. Topics discussed include risks taken + sacrifices made, how Eric’s path differed, why early retirement is so attractive, and much more.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:

The FI journey is far from a solo one for most people, particularly those with long term partners or spouses. As we discussed in this video, it’s essential to be on the same page regarding FI path decisions. Many seem to agree that our two-part series where we discuss our FIRE paths with our spouses, Lorri and Laura, is essential Two Sides of FI content. Check it out here: Part 1 and Part 2!

Want even more candid conversation among spouses? As a bonus, check out the conversation with Eric + his wife Laura, “FI-nancial Decisions – Transitioning to FI with Laura + Eric”, for a behind the scenes look at how they decided on their revised asset allocation last year.

We mentioned BaristaFIRE in today’s episode. In the linked post from Financial Samurai, he describes it as “being able to retire before the conventional age of 60+, but taking on a part-time job (e.g. like at a coffee shop) for supplemental income and potentially subsidized health insurance.” This article provides a good look at this path, and is an effective primer for those seeking more information. In addition to the financial calculations provided in the article, there are numerous supporting tools available online including this BaristaFIRE calculator from Walletburst.

Another common FI path is called CoastFIRE. This is a term used to describe someone who isn’t yet FI but has already put in the necessary effort to mathematically achieve that goal without further contributions. Did you know we talked with someone on this topic in an podcast-only episode two years ago? If you missed it then, you’ll definitely want to check out A CoastFI Path to Financial Security: An Interview with Catherine.


Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first 1.5 years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

Halfway to FI? Surviving the Boring Middle

How can you accelerate the boring middle on the path to reaching your financial independence goals? Online FIRE communities are full of posts talking about the challenges of “the messy middle” and, “the long boring middle.” Eric and Jason discuss the topic from their pre- and post-FI viewpoints, sharing their own experiences.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:

We referenced several Reddit posts in this episode. For more on that, check out these links – and don’t forget to see the comments, where you’ll often find good value in the many different viewpoints in our community:

If you DO like tracking FI milestones, free resources like Empower (formerly Personal Capital) can make that a lot easier. We both use and really like this free tool for tracking investment accounts, understanding asset allocation + rebalancing opportunities, and monitoring net worth. Empower employs a simple account linking process to make it a more automated experience. Give it a try risk-free! (affiliate link; free program )

The Tail End is the great Wait But Why post that we discussed in this episode. We wholeheartedly recommend it as a must-read for anyone – but be prepared for some thought provoking stuff!

Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life by Bill Perkins – which Jason did end up reading! – is discussed often in the FIRE community, so no surprise it came up in this episode. It’s intended as a “practical guide on how to get the most out of your money—and out of your life”. If you like the aim of prioritizing memorable experiences far ahead of simply accumulating money for later in life, you’ll definitely want to check it out.


Have you checked out the Two Sides of FI Discord server? If you’re not familiar, this is an instant messaging social network. Ours is meant to be a community for viewers of our show, as well as a space to discuss all things relation to FIRE. It’s totally open, free of charge, and is anonymous as you’d like. This makes it a safe space to talk about financial topics you might otherwise be sensitive about sharing. Come check it out and see if it fits your interests! There are both desktop and mobile apps available.

Did you know Jason resumed blogging? To be notified of his future posts, please consider subscribing here. He’s also archived his old blog, which documents the first 1.5 years after he retired from his career, and started even before Two Sides of FI began. Get more information on those archived posts here.


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

Our Net Worth Is Up! Sharing Our Financial Review Process

Do you have a process for regular financial reviews? If not, you aren’t alone – many people are unsure about how to calculate their net worth and keep their personal finances on track. In this episode, Eric and Jason share their simple pre- and post-FI review processes for net worth tracking, portfolio review, setting savings and budget goals, and more. Check the show notes for all the details.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:


In this episode, Eric mentioned Empower (formerly Personal Capital) for summarizing his portfolio performance as a part of rebalancing. We both use and really like this free tool for tracking investment accounts, understanding asset allocation + rebalancing opportunities, and monitoring net worth. Empower employs a simple account linking process to make it a more automated experience. Give it a try risk-free! (affiliate link; free program )

In this episode, Jason mentioned that he uses the software called YNAB to budget. What is YNAB? You Need a Budget is a popular budgeting tool for many in the FIRE community. If manual spreadsheets aren’t your thing or you’ve struggled with budgeting in the past, this may be a good solution. YNAB has a generous, free 34-day trial so you can see how well it works to help you understand and control spending. (affiliate link; no credit card needed for trial )

Are you interested in tracking net worth, income, FIRE progress, and your budget all in one convenient tool? This popular Reddit post by Redditor u/BloomingFinances outlines a free and powerful way that you can do just that.


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

Retiring With $2M: Here’s How We’d Spend It

Love it or hate it, budgeting is an essential part of financial success. In this episode, Eric and Jason share their own financial details using a simple, model budget and offer tips for making budgeting a less daunting task. See the show notes below, which include the full details of our budgets.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

This is a copy of Eric and Laura's budget fitted to the model described in the episode.

Eric + Laura’s Budget (click to enlarge)

This is a copy of Jason and Lorri's budget fitted to the model described in the episode.

Jason + Lorri’s Budget (click to enlarge)

Essential Background:

Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life by Bill Perkins, is discussed often in the FIRE community. As Eric shared in this episode, it’s intended as a “practical guide on how to get the most out of your money—and out of your life”. If you like the aim of prioritizing memorable experiences far ahead of simply accumulating money for later in life, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Lumpy spending in retirement is another commonly discussed budget issue. Sinking funds are only one way to think about these occasional – and sometimes very large expenses. In the Reddit post “Budgeting for ‘one time expenses’ in retirement” and the comments, you’ll find some thoughts on this topic.

Eric mentioned Empower (formerly Personal Capital ) for summarizing his portfolio performance. We both use and really like this free tool for tracking investment accounts, understanding asset allocation + rebalancing opportunities, and monitoring net worth. Empower employs a simple account linking process to make it a more automated experience. Give it a try risk-free! (affiliate link; free program )

In this episode, Jason mentioned that he uses the software called YNAB to budget. What is YNAB? You Need a Budget is a popular budgeting tool for many in the FIRE community. If manual spreadsheets aren’t your thing or you’ve struggled with budgeting in the past, this may be a good solution. YNAB has a generous, free 34-day trial so you can see how well it works to help you understand and control spending. (affiliate link; no credit card needed )


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

Am I Failing at Early Retirement?

Has your shrinking retirement portfolio left you considering part-time work to ease your anxiety? Inspired by a blog post from Go Curry Cracker, we discuss BaristaFIRE, time freedom, what it means to be “unemployable”, and what work we might consider post-retirement. Be sure to see the links below for the show notes and to the blog post referenced in the video.

Show notes may be found below the video


Show Notes

Essential Background:

Failing at Early Retirement, a Go Curry Cracker blog post, was the inspiration for this episode. As we discussed in the video, in the article you’ll learn how author Jeremy took on some seasonal part-time work as a UPS driver, and what he learned from the experience.

We talked a lot about BaristaFIRE in today’s episode. The linked post from Financial Samurai is a comprehensive look at this path, and is a good primer for those seeking more information. In addition to the financial calculations provided in the article, there are numerous supporting tools available online including this BaristaFIRE calculator from Walletburst.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a great IRS program for US taxpayers who qualify for free federal tax preparation. If you’d like information on VITA including how you can volunteer like Jason is doing, be sure to see the IRS Tax Volunteers page.


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

Never Run Out of Money in Retirement – Use This Free FIRE Calculator!

Show notes may be found below the videos

Part 1: Walkthrough of the SWR Toolbox

Do you want to avoid the biggest retirement risk? This simple to use tool will let you model your safe withdrawal rate and help ensure you don’t run out of money. In this walkthrough video, we teach you how to use this powerful, flexible, and FREE tool created by Karsten Jeske. Using the SWR Toolbox, you can ensure that you have a personalized plan that works with your own financial situation.

Part 2: Eric + Jason discuss how they’re using the SWR Toolbox and how Jason is struggling to spend as much as he can safely do in early retirement

How much money can you safely spend in retirement? In part two of this series on safe withdrawal rates, we discuss the #1 tool we’ve found to help you answer that question. Topics covered include the SWR Toolbox, our thoughts on Social Security, the challenges of spending in retirement, and how to get comfortable with increasing your withdrawal rate.

Part 3: Walkthrough of the CAPE-Based Rule tab in the SWR Toolbox

Do you like the idea of a portfolio withdrawal strategy that can’t run out of money? This walkthrough video is the third part in our Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR) series, and teaches you how to model a variable withdrawal strategy based on the CAPE ratio. Using this powerful and FREE tool created by Karsten Jeske, you can design a personalized plan that works with your own financial situation.


Show Notes

Download the Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR) Toolbox

  • The Safe Withdrawal Rate Toolbox is available via Karsten Jeske’s Early Retirement Now blog. The current version can be downloaded via Part 28 of the SWR series. This is also the post where the revisions to the calculator are described. To see the history of this tool, you’ll need to go back to Part 7. We found reading both posts to be essential to really understand how the tool works. Please ensure you follow the directions in the video to make your own copy of the tool. There’s no need to email Karsten to request edit rights!

Essential Blog Posts

Safe Withdrawal Rate series: This is the landing page for the 57-part SWR series (it will surely continue to grow) for which Karsten is best known. Be sure to start with the guidance he provides on how to navigate this great but expansive content. Many essential topics are covered in the series and not all of them involve deep dives into math! While we think all of his posts are interesting, you’ll find guidance below about the specific articles we think are most important to the topic of this video – in addition to Parts 28 and 7 listed above.

In Part 3 of this series, we covered the CAPE-Adjusted Safe Withdrawal Rate tab in the Toolbox, and described what the Shiller CAPE is. For those who want further details, there’s ample material available on Karsten’s blog for you to review. In addition to the introduction to the feature provided in Part 28, Big ERN recently wrote several posts concerning a new “better” CAPE ratio – i.e. CAPE model 2 in the SWR Toolbox. This article introduces the concept, while the next, “The 4% Rule Works Again! An Update on Dynamic Withdrawal Rates based on the Shiller CAPE – SWR Series Part 54” dives into details on how the SWR Toolbox employs this factor to model a variable withdrawal strategy. To go a level deeper on the foundations of this approach, including how to evaluate these types of strategies, you’ll definitely want to read Part 18: Flexibility and the Mechanics of CAPE-Based Rules.

Sequence Risk is more important than your average return rate. Surprised? Be sure to check out Part 15: More Thoughts on Sequence of Return Risk. As mentioned in the video, SWR is overwhelmingly determined by the first 10-15 years of portfolio drawdown.

Are you the kind of person who wants all the gory details about the math underlying the SWR Toolbox? If so, you won’t want to miss Part 8: Technical Appendix. It’s got all the information you need to fully understand how Karsten’s approach works. There are also some good references at the bottom of the post on related material found elsewhere.

Did you know we’ve spoken to Karsten twice before? “What the FIRE Community Gets Wrong” was the first time he came on Two Sides of FI. We covered a lot of ground in this episode about safe withdrawal strategies – so much so that we also released a follow-up video called “Karsten Spoke, We Listened. Here’s What We Learned”. These two episodes are popular with our audience for a good reason and are definitely worth viewing for anyone interested in SWR strategies.

Our second conversation with Karsten also featured Fritz Gilbert (from The Retirement Manifesto), in a continuation of their debate about the merits of bucket strategies. In “What’s Wrong with This Popular Retirement Strategy?” we covered a lot of ground that you won’t want to miss!

Other Show Notes

cFIREsim (or  Crowdsourced Financial Independence and Retire Early Simulator) is a very popular and powerful FIRE calculator created by Lauren. We found a lot of value in this tool throughout our FIRE journey, and clearly many others do as well. In the developer’s words, “What can cFIREsim do? At its core, you can enter information in the a few simple inputs and return the basic simulation. At its most complicated, it can determine your portfolio success based on 80 individual portfolio adjustments, multiple types of inflation, multiple types of market returns, and graphically show you the results. There are many options to choose from outside of the ‘Basic Inputs’ “, including a number of variable withdrawal strategies under “Spending Plan”.

Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW) is another method besides CAPE-adjusted WR for allowing market conditions to influence the amount you take out of your portfolio in drawdown. As mentioned in part 2, VPW is popular among some adherents the Bogleheads approach to investing. As you’ll read at this link, this method “adapts adjustments to portfolio withdrawal amounts to the retiree’s retirement horizon, asset allocation, and portfolio returns during retirement… to allow the retiree to spend most of the portfolio using return-adjusted withdrawals. By adapting withdrawals to market returns, VPW will never prematurely deplete the portfolio.”

stickK is the app Eric mentioned in Part 2 to help track adherence to a goal – like keeping to spending your planned withdrawal rate. Created from a behavioral economics framework, stickK allows you to create “Commitment Contracts, [which are] a binding agreement you sign with yourself to ensure that you follow through with your intentions—and it does this by utilizing the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability to drive behavior change.” We’ve not tried this yet but this is a pretty appealing (an a little scary) idea!


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