040 - Money Metagame

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1 - 15 Jonathan Mendonsa Alright guys welcome back. Today we have a very special episode. We're going to be interviewing Noah and Becky Noah should be very familiar to our community because he's a moderator on our Facebook group but in addition to that he's also the brainiac behind money metagaming dot com.
15 - 42 Jonathan Mendonsa And if that weren't enough he's also our in-house expert for finance related life hacks. So he's got a lot of content on his own. But on top of all that his wife Becky is really the power force behind this idea of actually doing this gap year so it felt totally appropriate to do this interview with them as a couple. And we're very excited to get a chance to tackle this amazing concept and idea which most people in the community can replicate. So help me do this today I have my co-host Brad how are you doing buddy.
42 - 62 Brad Barrett I'm doing well Jonathan Yeah and this should be a fun episode. I had the good fortune of meeting Noah and Becky last year at finconn and I actually went out to lunch with them when I didn't really know them at all and it was a really fun time and now it's cool that Noah is now one of the moderators of our FaceBook group. And yeah they're here on the podcast. It's fantastic.
62 - 65 Jonathan Mendonsa So we're excited to do this. Hi Noah how are you doing today. I'm
65 - 69 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon doing good. You really had me up there. Hope I can live live up to the expectations.
69 - 74 Jonathan Mendonsa Well just in case you can't. We decided to go ahead bring you and Becky on the show today. How are you doing Becky.
74 - 76 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I'm doing well. How are you guys doing.
76 - 102 Jonathan Mendonsa Absolutely fantastic. I would love to just hop right into our main topic and we're going to talk about this idea of a gap year or maybe more specifically the value of quitting early and quitting often. But before we do that I thought maybe we could take just a second and talk about your story the money meta game story and also behind that just you and Becky as this power couple of fi what your journey has actually looked like can you maybe set the stage for us a little bit when did you guys get on this path.
102 - 146 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah I can try to set it up so we'll start with college so and document in college and then ended up moving out to Seattle together for a job. College was Purdue moved to Seattle all the way across the country away from our family and then we just did what normal adults do. We got a fancy apartment downtown we got a dog. And then about a year later we realize the apartment was pretty expensive so we got a big house because you got to build equity right? and then not long after we bought the house is when we stumbled upon this whole financial independence credit card churning travel hacking and all that other stuff kind of happened all at once. And then we really just had kind of a purpose for our finances and we really just started dialing it up from there so we could reach a level where we'd feel comfortable walking away from work at an early age.
college, travelrewards
146 - 157 Jonathan Mendonsa So I'm curious about that. Tell me and maybe back you tell me what was your introduction to FI what came first was it travel rewards or was it this idea of financial independence.
157 - 178 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Oh I think it was kind of the travel hacking that it started. First we took a couple of trips back home and spent way more money than we wanted to on flights and were like I don't think we can keep this up for the long term. And Noah kind of stumbled across ways to get cheap flights and ways to get some points that way but bringing me onto it was definitely difficult.
178 - 194 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And I was not really onboard with it right away just because it seemed so far fetched and so out there. But I've definitely come to realize the excitement of it and the value that it can bring in our future. And I'm I'm 100 percent onboard now.
194 - 221 Brad Barrett Becky talk us through that conversion if you will. So if Noah is anything like like Jonathan certainly and me to a lesser extent you have these kind of harebrained ideas and you bring them to your spouse and as Jonathan says they just kind of give you a pat on the head and say OK here's another crazy thing like is no one like that A and B Like how did he talk you through this or did he introduce you to certain articles that might have changed your mind like you would talk us through how that work. Precisely.
221 - 294 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I think he was just kind of how he modeled it. You know he he brought on the idea like hey I think we can retire really early. And he's always thrown out this number of 40 that we can retire by that age. And that was just completely unrelated me and being brought up in my family are very conservative people who you know work in their jobs forever. Don't really take a whole lot of vacations. I just didn't think that that was. That was the right thing to do. And then he did bring up Pete for Mr. Money Mustache he kinda showed me his blog and I was reading a few articles there and obviously you guys know Pete he's a little more on the extreme side of FI. So that really kind of threw me off. Mike I don't think I want to do that. You know that just seems a little too crazy. And then I think he kind of just stopped talking about it but he didn't. I mean he doesn't love his job to the point where he would he you know wants to do it forever and for me I was at the point where I was really enjoying what I did and I didn't really want to walk away. And I thought that I was abandoning my profession by doing that. And then there came a point where I wasn't loving what I was doing and it was a lot more stress and a lot more exhaustion in my day to day life.
294 - 301 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And that kind of opened up my eyes to really what he was trying to tell me. And I just went from there.
301 - 310 Jonathan Mendonsa So no why don't we go back to your perspective. So what was your introduction to the community and what was your thought process in terms of I need to get my spouse on board with us.
310 - 355 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Sure. So I can tell you the first time I stumbled upon the idea of financial independence was actually on Reddit. It was pretty heavy Reddit user and college and beyond that once we moved to Seattle and at some point they made the personal finance read a default. So it showed up for everybody instead of just being kind of hidden in the corners and someone had to link you to it. And so that started showing up and then I noticed an interesting pattern that I was learning more about personal finance in general was that whenever people talked about retiring early people would send them over to the financial independence subreddit. And whenever people talk about credit cards they would end up getting sent over to like the churn in travel hacking read it. So basically reddit made personal finance a default and then that basically showed me about these other two places that I could go on my own. And yeah just kind of escalated from there.
355 - 408 Jonathan Mendonsa It seems to me so your Web site money meta game dot com is a blend of financial independence and travel hacking. That's kind of how you've pieced it together and I find that very interesting because as you know from our show and what we do we latched on to travel rewards as a as a frankly what we call a pillar of FI. So I think we've very much come to the same place mentally with how we approach this. Maybe for very similar reasons although you know how we're framing it may be slightly different but it is interesting that maybe in traditional personal finance the credit cards are viewed as the bane of your financial existence. It's all about getting rid of the credit cards and I think if you're being intellectually honest you can understand where they're coming from. But at the same time once you're what we have now started calling being a fire Walker. Once you're on this path the merging of those two has synergistic results and it allows you to have this life of freedom and opportunity which you just don't hear about outside of our little universe.
408 - 412 Brad Barrett I know also give us a background on the name if you don't mind. I've always been curious.
412 - 476 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah I can do that as well. So about the time that I discovered both financial independence and travel hacking I mean it's these two like crazy ideas that like if you just go up to somebody on the street who's not familiar with him tell him like oh I'm going to retire by 40 or I'm going to open a bunch of credit cards and travel the world for free. They're going to think you're nuts. Normal people don't do that. I'm very skeptical by nature. But on both of these things like I did my due diligence I did all the research and everything checked out. And even with that credit card it's like I just started small with a single card got the rewards book the flight took the flight came back and like everything worked. And then it's like wow you can do this a whole bunch of times. Nothing had burned down. Nothing exploding. Marriage was still intact. Yeah everything was still good. And then like I said if you just tell somebody they're going to think you're crazy. But I obviously want to kind of spread the word tell more people about this because they're such powerful ideas. And my theory was I would create a blog and put a bunch of information on there. And then whenever these sorts of things came up in conversation instead of having to dive into like several hours of explaining how it works and why we're doing it and everything else I could just point them to the blog. So kind of be it kind of became the point where.
travel, travelrewards
476 - 537 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Well my goal for it was was to be a place that I could point friends and family who were interested in what we were doing or had some curiosity and they could get all the information they wanted on the blog. And it naturally got some readers from there and it's kind of grown a little bigger than I initially expected. But I mean that's definitely a positive thing. And then Brad was curious about the name and so money meta game. Actually I'm still 50/50 on whether or not that now that was a good name to choose because a lot of people mess up the spelling of meta game or add spaces because it's not a common word but the idea of the meta game is something that I picked up from video games which I was really into in high school and college. Basically the meta game is it goes beyond the regular mechanics of the game and involves the high level strategy of how people are doing it at a competitive level. So the theory with the name was just kind of like this is finance or credit cards everything else out like it's at that next level. It's not your average personal finance blog it's it's something that you're not going to read about everywhere else. It's something that will take you outside of the norm.
537 - 549 Jonathan Mendonsa Well it's been well documented on this show what a fan I am of the gamification of personal finance so I applaud you for everything about your branding with regard to the meta game. So we do have a lot to cover today and I don't want to gloss over anything.
549 - 560 Jonathan Mendonsa Do you have any optimization strategies that you use. Specifically I'm thinking about. We have several people that have done house hacking a lot of people that I've done college hacking any cool stories or secrets that you could share with our audience today.
college, househacking
560 - 571 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Sure. So there's a pretty good story on how I got a scholarship and it actually involves how I met Becky in the first place so it ties ties all this together. So actually both of us got a scholarship. It's called the Evans scholars caddy scholarship.
571 - 589 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And you get it for being a golf caddy for several years and then getting good grades in high school. So we both got full rides to college for being golf caddies which is pretty crazy when you tell people that. But I mean it's an awesome program that's mostly throughout the Midwest and like the Big 10 schools but they're actually expanding right now too.
589 - 599 Jonathan Mendonsa Sounds like the biggest life hack ever. So you are a caddy at a golf club and in exchange for that you got free college correct.
599 - 601 Brad Barrett Is that like board as well I mean what are we talking here.
601 - 635 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So it was full tuition. We we did have to pay for room and board but it was ridiculously cheap in comparison to what everybody else pays. I think it was like two grand a year that we each paid in housing and we all lived in the same house. So the Purdue Evans scholar house had about 40 to 50 people roughly every year was coed and we were all Caddies kind of living together and going to college at the same time and it was an amazing network of people like we still have lifelong friends because of it. And we actually donate back to the scholarship every year because it was so amazing for us.
college, homeschool, housing
635 - 647 Jonathan Mendonsa OK. I have like a zillion questions. Let me just spit fire at you and then you just take it and run away. How did you find out about this. Did you play golf. Did each of you find out about this the same way go so with me.
648 - 694 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I grew up south of Chicago and my brother was a caddy to start. He found out through a friend of a family who knew somebody at a country club and got sent to the program. And then when he started caddying just talk amongst everybody else he found out that there was a scholarship that you could apply for in your senior year of high school. And so he did that and he and he actually got it as well he went to Northwestern and then when I started caddying it was always an option of course my parents were really banking on us to get for me to get it. And yeah I applied and it's a little interview process and that small essay that you have to write. Like Noah said it's good grades academics and financial need is also another important aspect of it.
families, scholarship
694 - 733 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So my dad actually found out about the scholarship because he works at the Country Club as a chef that I ended up caddying at. And that's he knew that there was golf caddies at the Country Club and then he found out that they can get a full ride to college which is like amazing. So he's like we have to get Noah doing this. So that's what I did. Caddied for probably five years before I got the scholarship and then even caddied in the summers while I was in college because it is decent money on the weekends and then my brother actually two years later was able to caddy and get the same scholarship as well. And to answer a question I think Jonathan threw it earlier. I do play golf but it has nothing to do with the scholarship. Just play for fun and then Becky is not too much of a golfer now.
college, scholarship
733 - 738 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I'll go to the range with him but I'm not really. I'm not really that good.
738 - 763 Brad Barrett That is absolutely unbelievable. I have I could probably spend the whole rest of the podcast just talking about this. So I mean we're not talking about bad schools either here right. You mentioned Northwestern and Purdue. So I mean that in of itself is incredible. How competitive is it to get a scholarship like this like do you need to live anywhere in particular. For instance is Virginia OK. Can you just apply for this evan's scholarship at any of these universities regardless of where you live.
763 - 775 Jonathan Mendonsa And if you don't mind just bear with me and talk me through that real quick and maybe even more specifically let's say you have a 15 year old child or whatever. You know you're you know it's coming. What do you how do you coach them to lock this thing down.
775 - 833 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon OK. So if you have a kid and you know about the scholarship program the first step is to find a local country club or a golf club that has a caddy program and knows about the scholarship or at least is eager enough to learn more. Because I think this is available for pretty much any golf caddy. But you do have to be sponsored by the club that you're caddying at. So they have to be involved with the program in some way. So both of the country clubs that we Cadie to like have been sending scholars through this program for decades. So like they had it well established but the age that you can start caddying is usually around 13. So if you're if your kids are around that age maybe maybe start looking. I know right now they I think they have 14 different scholarship houses. And those are mostly throughout the Midwest. Almost any big ten school has a scholarship house and then but they also have some scholars over in Washington and Oregon. So I don't know how widespread it is but I I know it's growing. And if that sounds appealing to you at all you should definitely look into it.
833 - 879 Brad Barrett All right. Well I was going to try to teach my girls how to play golf someday but I think they're definitely going to become caddies. That's that's a way better option that really. I mean we talk about second generation FI here all the time. I guarantee you someone listening to this is going to become an Evans scholar just because they heard you guys talking about it so that's so so cool. So you graduated college I think in the last four or five years and then you moved to Seattle. So you talked about buying this house. Seattle is not an inexpensive city. From what I know like. Talk me through that thought process to buy a house. Did you guys do that within months of living there within years and you said that it was before you found FI. So you know talk me through A the decision to buy it and then B like have you ever thought about selling it post-FI and all this stuff you talk through the housing decision in general. Sure.
2ndgenfi, college
879 - 940 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So we moved to Seattle and like we didn't really know anything about the area. We had very few people that we knew in the area. So we ended up just getting an apartment close to where I worked because that was the only thing that really tied us to the area. So I figured if I could at least be close to work then we could kind of explore the city from there. So the very first place we stayed was pretty close to downtown Seattle. I was able to walk to work so that was great for the commuting aspect and then not long after I moved here Becky was able to find a nursing job in the same downtown. Even though it wasn't wasn't quite within walking distance but so we stayed in that place for a year. And it was it was very expensive and we knew that when we got in and they had like a first month free deal because I think it was a newer building. So it was OK at the time but once we stayed there for a year we're like probably isn't sustainable like we didn't know about F-I at this point but we still wanted to save money for the future because that's what everybody tells you to do. So we ended up buying or looking around for houses for a couple of months and we ended up in a three bedroom townhouse just north of the city. And one thing I did keep in mind because I really don't like driving in traffic. I'd have some way to get to my job by public transit.
940 - 983 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So we're pretty close to a bus station so I can just hop on that in the morning and go into where. So we bought a three bedroom townhouse because the mortgage was about five or six hundred dollars less than we were paying in rent each month plus we get the benefits of building equity and stuff like that. But at the time we didn't have a big enough down payment because Seattle's housing is quite expensive. So we ended up doing 10 percent down with private mortgage insurance. But even though it was probably more house than we needed especially after discovering fire and all that stuff and then it being like the best accidental investment we've ever made because the Seattle Housing market has just gone crazy in the last few years. So within a year we were able to refinance and get rid of PMI even though we hadn't paid much extra just because the house had appreciated to where we own 20 percent of it at that point.
983 - 992 Brad Barrett You know have a good life hacks and B we love action motive. Can you just say like what the process would be just to tell the audience how you'd even go about that.
992 - 1024 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes so the process to get rid of PMI was basically just a refinance. So I know with most lenders that you can contact them and if you have 20 percent equity they'll probably make you pay for an appraisal and then if it comes through then they should remove it depending on the terms. I think that's pretty common for conventional loans but we just chose to refinance because interest rates had dropped at that point. And we were going to be paying for an appraisal anyway. So we're able to kind of kill two birds with one stone to where we could lower interest rate and get rid of private mortgage insurance at the same time which is a standard 30 year fixed refinance. This
1024 - 1048 Jonathan Mendonsa is the prototypical case study for the benefits of paying attention and knowing the rules. You looked at the numbers you set the property and this area has been appreciating dramatically we know it has and we could just let things ride take the passive approach and keep doing what we're doing. That's fine or we can just go ahead and look into refinancing because of how everything is appreciated. You get to drop PMI insurance which dramatically increases your expenses each month right. Yes.
1048 - 1071 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Like from the very first moment we got the mortgage like we had the PMI for only putting down 10 percent. I hated paying the PMI just because it's a useless expense like it doesn't benefit me at all. It's just for the lender. It's not gonna help me in any way it's just wasted money. So from the very beginning I wanted to get rid of it. And then over time I was looking at different ways that was possible. And that's when I figured out that maybe our homes appreciated enough. We should look into that.
1071 - 1094 Jonathan Mendonsa All right so you guys have purchased this home. I mean obviously you're already a very optimized family you're looking for ways to win. But it is interesting to me. I'm very curious at what point in this process do you have this I want to start pursuing fi as a reality for my future. And then how do things change for your family compared to what you are already doing. And then how does that affect your savings rate.
families, savings
1094 - 1148 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Sure. So we bought the house and not long after that we started really digging into our finances because we were going to check out all the big boxes that adults do like buy the house and then we're like well what are we doing with our money like what's the purpose of it. And then when we discovered FI having financial freedom became that purpose. So then we just kind of crank everything up from there. And the first step was definitely maxing out our 401k's because up till that point we were just following the general advice of just putting in enough to get the match. So we were contributing something but nowhere near the max. So we we cranked both of those up. I cranked up my contribution to the HSA that I had available and then we both maxed out Roth IRAs and even started saving extra money in a brokerage account like our lifestyle didn't actually change that much. But we had a purpose for the money we were saving instead of just going into a checking account and then eventually going towards a big trip or a house purchase or something else like it was going into investments that had a specific purpose of getting us to FI.
401k, brokeragechoice, hsa, ira, roth, savings
1148 - 1159 Jonathan Mendonsa And I am curious like what sort of savings rate were you guys hitting. Like where did you start and what was the highest savings rate that you achieved. Was there any sort of progression there as you began to get more dialed in on your goal.
1159 - 1168 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Let me check I can pull that up. Okay. So it looks like I have a big spreadsheet with everything it looks like our savings are it was a solid 6 percent in 2014.
1168 - 1183 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And then the next year it was 58 percent and then it's gone gone up a little bit each year since that is so impressive that is that this huge move from 6 percent which I would say traditionally is is doing pretty good. You're on track to 58 percent. I mean this is what we're talking about in many cases.
1183 - 1215 Jonathan Mendonsa There are so many people out there that can easily hit a 50 percent savings rate once they lock down intentionality. And when you're just grazing it just you just wonder where it all went. So wow what a pivot on your part. So I mean obviously when you get to a 58 percent savings rate starts to move the needle and it gives you some options so I think that's kind of a nice place for us to talk about this article that you guys wrote on August 1st. Talking about this idea of a gap year so I know you've been working at this point for four or five years Becky do you want us to tell us a little bit about this decision.
1215 - 1230 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes so I've actually been working a whole year more than Noah. I graduated in 2012 a year before he did so I worked at a hospital in the south Chicago before we moved out here and then came out here and we've been working for years an.
1230 - 1272 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon D like I said before I loved my job I was very happy where I was at. And then I've actually had a couple promotions since then and I think I went a little bit too far too fast and burnt myself out a little bit and was very much tired and was ready to take a break. And we had kind of talked about taking a year off kind of later down the road or traveling more intermittently and we kind of looked at our finances after I decided that I really wasn't happy where I was at and Noah was like let's just do it now let's just take the year and we'll start over after we get back. And that kind of gave me that little push to to quit my job.
1272 - 1279 Brad Barrett Wow. So just to catch everyone up so you guys are taking an entire year off. So both of you are quitting your job is that right.
1279 - 1298 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes. I've actually already quit. I've been unemployed for the last couple of weeks and Noah is planning on leaving in January. So he wants to get a little bit more money for us to take this track then we'll probably hit the road in February once everything is figured out.
1298 - 1314 Jonathan Mendonsa So this is fascinating to me on so many levels one of which is just the pure financial aspect. No I know that you're intimately familiar with the milestones episode that we did talking about how you can you hit the certain markers on your journey how far on the FI path are you based on those milestones.
1314 - 1329 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So based on those milestones if I remember that order right. I think we blew past F-you money and we're at least at about half FI is where I would peg us right now and the goal with this gap year is to kind of all keep working for the next few months.
1329 - 1345 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon We're kind of to save everything in cash and the plan is to not touch any of our investments while we're gone. So we're just going to build up a little cash buffer before we leave and then spend that down for as long as it lasts. Hopefully a full year and then and then come back to the regular working world to finish out our FI journey.
1345 - 1357 Brad Barrett So the house said you haven't seen us I mean you guys have made a life there in Seattle like are you going to sell that house or are you going to rent it. Are you planning on going back to Seattle or is that like kind of still in flux. I mean just depending on where the next year it takes you.
1357 - 1381 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah no definitely our current plan is to rent it out. We feel that we can make a little bit of income while we're on the road and housing market keeps doing really well so we don't really want to sell quite yet plus that is a place for us to come back to if we do decide that Seattle is where we want to settle back down. So hopefully we'll find a renter and we do plan on getting a property manager to help us out so that we don't have to really worry about it.
1381 - 1396 Jonathan Mendonsa So I can imagine that as you're thinking about making this decision and actually announcing it you even though in theory you shouldn't have to justify this to anybody this is your life in reality which we live in. You have to justify this to everybody so what does this conversation look like to your family.
1396 - 1402 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Oh it's been very interesting. My mom and my parents actually are both very conservative people.
1402 - 1412 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And when I first brought this on to them and told them what we were doing they were I think more so worried than anything just because they know that we've been building towards this.
1412 - 1441 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon You know early retirement goal and they think that it's going to set us back and that it's not something that we're going to like but we told his parents and they were just like cool where are you going where can we meet you. And for a little bit different is the answer but yeah it was it's definitely something that my parents are not really 100 percent onboard with. They think that we're going to go out and do something wrong or we're going to lose all our money or we're Yeah we're going to be stranded somewhere and not know how to get home.
1441 - 1449 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah what no. What about your employer. What did that conversation look like. Is it just a straight line in the sand you have a toll. They're not they're not going to know or is there anything there.
1449 - 1452 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Well it's definitely a secret now. So don't tell anybody.
1452 - 1455 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah we're we're really bad at secrets.
1455 - 1478 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon No I just plan to give my notice in January and general it is the jobs like so Becky's a nurse and I'm a software developer. And at least in present day both of those are very highly in demand. So I'm not too worried about being able to find something when we come back even if it's not even if it's not like 100 percent of the salary or caliber we're at now like I don't think we'll have any trouble finding some work if we decide to do that at the end.
1478 - 1482 Jonathan Mendonsa So why wouldn't you guys just keep working and reach full Fi first.
1482 - 1511 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon That is a great question. One that my mom has asked me multiple times but I think like I said prior I just have been really burnt out working as a nurse and I work in labor and delivery. So it's a very high stress unit and I think I just kind of overworked myself and I decided that if I don't walk away now and take a break I'm not going to want to do this for the rest of my life. And I do love what I do and I do I love patient care. So I didn't I didn't want that to affect my future.
1511 - 1561 Brad Barrett Becky I have a question for you. Noah mentioned before when we were talking about the milestones right. That you're after FU money but say so. We kind of affectionately call it that. It sounds like you love certain aspects of nursing but it also sounds like from what you said that you got a bunch of promotions and maybe you're doing certain aspects of your job that you don't particularly love. I don't know how far off I am here but would there be any way to dial that back and you know this is maybe after a gap year. So I'm not trying to dissuade you from this amazing trip by any means but like I could you dial that back and just say like hey these are the things that I love about nursing. And because we have we're on this path and we have all this freedom and because we've created this life that we do have options. OK. I want to do X Y and Z in nursing like is that something you can do when you come back.
1561 - 1585 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Oh absolutely yeah I think that's one of the main reasons I did. I chose nursing as a profession is that there are so many different avenues and different outlets that you can go down. My current plan is to definitely probably not work in a hospital. Coming back I think I definitely want to move towards a clinic or do some more volunteer work in the community. And yeah I mean it's still up for debate and for you know what I want to do.
1585 - 1619 Brad Barrett But it's definitely there are definitely a lot of different things that I can and I can do and I come back yeah that's a wonderfully flexible profession just in general from what I know about it but I want to kind of just shift to Noah real quick because so Noah software development. Do you like the company you work for. Is it one of these jobs that you're giving up and saying oh man I'd love to go back and work for that particular company like that. It sounds to me like your decision to leave might potentially be more difficult than Becky's in a vacuum. But talk me through what your decision making process has been so.
1619 - 1621 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I can say I'm very content with my job.
1621 - 1656 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I don't hate it I don't love it. It's just kind of do it. It's a reasonable number of hours. They compensate me pretty well it's it's my job at this point. It's just kind of there but part of the timing of this is that the way the compensation package was structured when I first joined this company is that a lot of things happened over the first four years like different stocks vest or 401k vest and stuff like that. And once you cross the four year mark there's actually not as much incentive coming up down the line to where it almost makes sense for me to transition to a different tech company around this time anyway. So we're just kind of using that as a small excuse to just take a big break in between.
401k, stocks
1656 - 1678 Jonathan Mendonsa So guys at a very selfish level. Brad and I are thrilled that you made this choice because it gives us a chance to explore some of the details that I'm sure you have to consider all the financial decisions that you have to make as well as all the personal and separating yourself from your community to do what you're doing requires jumping through some serious hoops. Can you talk to us for a few minutes about what those considerations are and explore that with us.
1678 - 1751 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah I can tell you it like we have the house so we plan to rent that out. We have a ton of stuff. So the goal is to sell most of it maybe put a little bit of in storage to come back to and then donate the rest. We also have a dog at the moment so we have to figure out that logistics. We still need to get mail mainly just to get new credit cards. There's not too much else important that comes in the mail. And then the money aspect of actually taking time off is very interesting and especially with the way we're going to time it. If I leave in January then we're going to have almost no income for the entire year. So there's definitely room for some some FI optimization to where we can roll over money from our traditional 401 K into a Roth IRA and just do it up to a level of the standard deduction like completely free. We could harvest a bunch of capital gains in our taxable account and then one of the big I would say elephants in the room that we haven't brought up yet is the health insurance one which will definitely affect our decision of how much we roll over and how much gains we harvest. Because I think we'll probably end up going with a health insurance package on the the Washington exchange and we plan on leaving our address in Washington and depending on how much of that cost us depends on how much quote unquote income we get that year and any fancy fire account tricks we do could potentially count as a lot of income.
401k, health, healthinsurance, ira, roth, traditional
1751 - 1753 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon You have to balance that.
1753 - 1785 Jonathan Mendonsa So let me slow down and pause on that just because that's really valuable because it's kind of like those two are working against each other. So on the one side of that you're looking at maybe I could get some sort of Roth conversion going where you draw up to the limit of free money for you guys which for two people would be about 24000 close to $25000 you could roll that over completely tax free. And then with the difference between that limit and then the end of the 15 percent marginal tax bracket you could harvest capital gains and so you could realize all of those gains without paying any federal tax on that money. That's the one side right.
roth, tax
1785 - 1799 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Correct. I think we can like get upwards of like 80 to 90 thousand dollars in quote unquote income from doing different conversions and gains harvesting and stuff like that. But we might we might not want to. I haven't figured that out exactly yet.
1799 - 1816 Jonathan Mendonsa That's the really interesting piece so that's beautiful right. That's $80000 of income that you'll be to able to realize without paying any tax on that. But then the other half of that is that it hurts you when doing the Washington health exchange. Is that what I understood because that's going to be an income based subsidy. And if you realize all those gains that could actually maybe mess that up.
1817 - 1828 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah that's that's clearly my understanding of it and this is something that's still still an open question in our minds of exactly how we're going to cover health insurance and then how how that will affect what kind of convergence and stuff we can do in the same year.
1828 - 1843 Jonathan Mendonsa That's fascinating. Those are the sorts of conversations that you get very excited about in the FI community. And so I would imagine that if you decide to do one or the other that would have you looking at potentially some sort of health share option instead if you ended up deciding that you are going to try to focus on this income strategy.
1844 - 1851 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah we definitely looked it like the health share ministries as well. And that's that's another option that we're considering. So it's still still up in the air at this point.
1851 - 1880 Brad Barrett All right guys I want to just take a quick kind of step back for a second and just say like What is this trip ride like show so for the audience out there where are you going. Are you going to Thailand or are you going to Europe or are you traveling across the U.S. like what does this trip look like. Is it slow travel. Are you going to just a few places over the year. Is it going to just be a year. I mean what have you figured that out precisely. Are you staying with family and friends you know. I mean I all of these questions that I could be happy with but I'm sure you get the picture. So I'd love to hear about the trip in general though.
families, travel
1880 - 1899 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Our first plan is to drive down the coast so obviously we're in Seattle we want to drive down the 101. We'll probably stop in Portland visit with some friends and then we don't really have specifics spots picked out yet along the coast but the eventual goal is to get to Francisco that's where my sister lives.
1899 - 1973 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And we would probably drop the dog off with her as she has been so kind as to take him for the year and just to be a little bit easier getting around the country without a little corgi running around the backseat. And then after that we have a wedding in Austin Texas in March that we want to get to. So we want to visit a couple national parks along the way we want to hit the Grand Canyon. I haven't really looked at a map and kind of figured out what we would take or where we would go but it'll definitely be slow travel. We want to kind of take our time and not be forced to stay in a place for a couple of days and then get up and leave the place we'll stay a little longer if we don't like somewhere or get up and move. We plan on doing most of our sleeping arrangements in a tent. Either a tent or hotels. We want to do some car camping more towards like the national parks. We still have a lot of hotel points banked up that we can use and we'll probably stay with family affair and the town there. And at that time we have family kind of all over the country. So we're pretty lucky to have places to go and things to see. Honestly a lot of it is up in the air right now. We're kind of making a list of things that we really want to see just in the U.S. because there's a lot of places we have not been to.
1973 - 1997 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon We do want to take a trip overseas to Ireland and Scotland sometime next year. Haven't quite figured that out yet. We do have some friends there so we want to go visit. So it kind of depends on their schedule as well since we're pretty flexible. Yeah they've got it. We don't really have anything else planned or going to kind of just take it easy and do what we want to do and kind of just spontaneously go around the world right.
1997 - 2010 Brad Barrett You know that is so cool. That sounds like an incredible job and I can just picture Noah's mind spinning with. How do you have a list of like every category one Hyatt and Starwood Hotel in the country committed to memory now.
2010 - 2022 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon There's no list. Yeah. I'll definitely be paying attention close and paying attention to all the IHG points breaks because they always have those really cheap hotels like quarterly just kind of spread throughout the country. So maybe a few of those will overlap with where we are at time.
2022 - 2025 Brad Barrett Nice. Yeah that 5000 point and night point break.
2025 - 2039 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon That's right. Yes. IHG which transfer from Chase which we have a bunch of. Yeah 5000 points per night. And they change the list every quarter and you have to book it right after they release it because they sell out pretty quickly. But we actually have a reason to pay attention to it.
2039 - 2061 Brad Barrett Nice. That's great. So yeah with a whole bunch of Chase points you can obviously transfer to high end as well. I know just for the audience out there I get a ton of value out of Category 1 and 2 Hyatt House and Hyatt Place hotels because they actually offer free breakfast and they're usually like pretty nice for the new hotels. In my experience so yeah I'm sure I know you are well ahead of me on that.
2061 - 2075 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon But yeah I definitely like this category 1 and 2 Hiatt's is definitely a work in progress but will be will be definitely maximizing hotel promotions and hotel points and hotel credit cards and everything else because we'll be spending a lot of time and in hotels along with the cabin. Yeah
2075 - 2086 Brad Barrett you'll have to send in a voicemail or two. Certainly across the year with any of your hacks I know the audiences really appreciate your voicemail so far. So yeah that sounds like a good hack for the future. Yes sounds like a deal. Tell
2086 - 2101 Jonathan Mendonsa us about maybe let's talk just for a second about how are you actually getting your mail. Like what did your research tell you so you're going to be out and about based on what it sounds like you've described in this article you can be all over the country for a year. How are you. Planning on getting your mail What does that actually look like.
2101 - 2142 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes. I've done a little bit of research on that and it's definitely not a completely uncommon problem because there's a lot of people that live out of RVs or just are full time travelers. So there are these companies to where you can get a physical mailing address. That's not a box so you can still receive packages and everything else. And then for a fee they can whenever you tell them to they will ship it out to whatever address you give them. So if we happen to be in Colorado or something then we could just say take all of our mail from the last two weeks and ship it to the hotel and then we can get all of our mail that way. So basically you have to pay some sort of monthly fee to have a physical address to where they'll receive all of our mailing packages. And then we'll be able to pay an additional small fee to ship that to us if necessary.
2142 - 2144 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Based on my research so far. That about sums it up.
2144 - 2157 Jonathan Mendonsa So guys what was your inspiration for this. I mean is this total your own dream child or did you see other people doing this that were in our space or maybe not in our space but really had presented the concept of something that's doable. What inspired this.
2157 - 2202 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So we actually attended the Pacific Northwest Camp mustache the last two years. And just going to that event and hearing other people's stories and there were a couple couples there that have taken a year actually one couple in particular they kind of just decided to cut the cord on work and go travel around in an RV and I don't think they worked ever since. They didn't think that it would be. They thought it would just be a year long thing and then it kind of turned into this is their life now. And yeah just kind of hearing what a how they did it and how much fun they're having and how much they're enjoying life. It just kind of sounded like the right thing to do.
2202 - 2208 Brad Barrett Have you guys had conversations about what if that happens to you. Is that. Is that conceivable for the future.
2208 - 2242 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah. Yeah I think so. So before we settle down and have kids we don't really know where we want to settle down where our future for our home will be and we figure this was a good opportunity to kind of see the country and go to cities that we are interested in and see if we like them. And I know we do. We do plan on traveling while we have kids because we do know a lot of people that have done that and have seen how how actually easy it is to travel with children because a lot of people feel that it's an inconvenience or a really really difficult. But looking at our friends and seen them live we realize it's really not much different than the way you live your life.
2242 - 2249 Jonathan Mendonsa Let me ask you a question about about this do you think that this choice is going to make your life more expensive or less expensive.
2249 - 2262 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon That's a very good question. We we don't know yeah it's going to be it's definitely experiment and I think we're really good at tracking our finances and figuring out what we spend and we can add a little bit to that.
2262 - 2281 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So I was looking at the numbers and just living in Seattle between our mortgage and the utilities and basically anything that's like associated with us being fixed in the city costs us like about 30 grand per year. So if we can figure out how to travel and live for less than that then I think the overall year will actually end up costing us less.
2281 - 2299 Jonathan Mendonsa So it strikes me that this is a very brave decision and I don't mean that in like a condescending way but more and just there's so much that goes into this and I don't want to it's a big deal is what I'm getting at. Obviously you guys are excited about this idea but what scares you about this what if anything does it does anything scare you about this.
2299 - 2323 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon We're both pointing at each other that we don't have a good answer. There's nothing nothing specific that scares us and I think part of the reason is because we've saved all this money on this FI journey is that like we we feel comfortable like no matter what happens we can always come back and still be fine like we will never be rushing to find a job we'll never be scrambling to pay bills or anything like that like we have we have this level of comfort to where if something goes wrong we have like a decade to figure it out.
2323 - 2357 Jonathan Mendonsa So I know Brad wants to hop in but I've got a deal. That is so powerful. You guys are operating from a place of strength that I suspected that that might be where this ends up because at this point yeah you're not at FI but as you increase your savings rate for these extended periods of time that the power has continually shifted to your side of the court and you've got this massive window. A lot of people spend life only one or two months away from the edge of total financial disaster. You're 10 years away from having to make any sort of financial decision in terms of whether or not you work or you don't work.
2357 - 2377 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And I think that this couple that I was referring to from camp mustache. They had some really great advice and they're like the worst case scenario of doing this is your current lifestyle. The worst case scenario is we go back to work. We get jobs. We settle down in a place and that's fine. So if we're currently living our worst case scenario it's not that bad.
2377 - 2438 Brad Barrett That's amazing. I'm I'm literally sitting here with the biggest smile on my face. This is the perfect FI story right. This is what this entire journey is all about. It's about getting the power back on your side of the court. And you guys are in your mid-20s right. I mean that is a remarkable remarkable thing it took you five years to get to this place of power where you're not worried I mean you're literally you're taking a year off you're making really what many people would regard as this drastic decision to quit your fantastic jobs and travel across the country and sleep in a tent like that to a normal person. That sounds insane but to people in the FI community we're standing up and cheering because that is an incredible incredible story. And it was because you saved money because you guys jumped into this FI concept in this FI community. You didn't have to wait until you're 70 years old to have a retirement right. You're having a mini retirement now. In your 20s and you're not worried about anything and life could take you any which way.
2438 - 2460 Brad Barrett It's not inconceivable that this 12 month trip turns into a 10 year trip. That's that's not impossible by any means. You never know where you pick up her D.M. nursing jobs or no it picks up some side hustle software developing and I mean that you just literally don't know where your life can go. And that it's just so exciting to me. I'm incredibly excited for you but this is a remarkable story.
2460 - 2461 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah thank you.
2461 - 2484 Speaker It's definitely a crazy adventure and it strikes me that both of you are very creative you know empowered individuals and I'm curious does a side hustle fit into this in any way shape or form. Noah. I know that you have the blog in the background and I'm sure that there is some level of income that comes from the blog but on top of that do you have any interest either of you in any in any sort of alternate side hustle.
2484 - 2504 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon The list of the blog at the moment is bringing in dollars per day so you can extrapolate that out over a year then you know about how much it's making at the moment. But I don't think we have any specific side hustles in mind but it just kind of what you said like we can pick up nursing jobs or I could pick up some remote software work like there's definitely remote jobs available in that field. I don't know. Becky do you have any side puzzles.
hustle, workfromanywhere
2504 - 2521 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Well no not. Not particularly. Part of me taking time off is to figure out if there is something else I want to do. And Noah as well you know if we find something along the way that we really like doing that we can make money off of it can turn into a side hustle. We currently don't have any ideas.
2521 - 2553 Jonathan Mendonsa It strikes me that two people that were able to go to college for free by being full time caddies will likely come up with some sort of unorthodox or unconventional choice to bring in some sort of income. I mean that's the thing that I think we find over and over in the FI community is that most people when they have when they've reclaim their time and then they start investing that time into just being creative and seeing where that goes. Most people can figure out a way to start bringing in an extra five or ten grand a year when they're not tied to the hamster wheel and when you combine that with ten years of savings it can go a long way.
2553 - 2557 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah exactly. You know a lot of different options.
2557 - 2583 Jonathan Mendonsa So no I know that you've been passionate about travel hacking for a long time and I know the blog has been an outlet for you to write down a lot of those ideas. Now you finally have time to execute on these I think to some degree. It's a source of irritation for Brad that he has all these ideas but he never gets to use them. But you know like I'm wondering you've actually now set aside a year to just do this stuff. What do you actually want to do with regards to travel hacking.
2583 - 2603 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Well it'll be it'll be an experiment because without actually having any income I'm not sure if they'll keep approving us for cards. And so that'll be one thing and then the other item is that up till this point because we've been working full time we've been accumulating a lot more points than we've been spending. So we'll actually have a reason to like dwindle those balances down a little bit and actually get the value that we earned a while ago.
2603 - 2613 Jonathan Mendonsa So I don't know which one of you whether this is a becke or a no question. But I am curious in terms of travel rewards that you've already executed your game plan on what was your biggest travel rewards when.
2613 - 2620 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So that's an easy one it's definitely our honeymoon. So we got married just over a year ago and right after that we went on this giant honeymoon.
2620 - 2685 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So I started with travel rewards and credit cards about three and a half years ago about the same time I discovered fi and everything else. And after the first few cards I wanted to have a purpose like what do we say all these points for. They're a trip I can optimize because that's what I love to do. Once you start earning points and stuff and like how can we maximize the value what can we do with this. So the honeymoon was obviously on our radar at that point I think we'd already booked the venue for the wedding and we knew we wanted to go on a big honeymoon so we started pretty abstract with we just kind of an exotic location somewhere. And after looking at a few different options we settled on Fiji and then saved up a bunch of Alaska miles a bunch of American Airlines miles and was able to do business class from Seattle to New Zealand. We spent four days in New Zealand and then we did the return trip was booked with Alaska miles. So we took a 12 day quote unquote stopover in Fiji so it was all one ticket so we went from New Zealand to Fiji spent 12 days in Fiji and then went from Fiji back to Seattle. Also in business class and all of our hotels for those 16 nights I think we're also covered by point. So the entire trip was less than $500 out of pocket which is just amazing.
2685 - 2690 Jonathan Mendonsa What would it have cost. Do you ever price it out to see what it would have cost if you just paid standard fare.
2690 - 2700 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes I'm not a big fan that there are not like huge valuations that you get from business class and everything. But if you if you did book the exact same trip that we took with cash it would have been about fourteen thousand dollars.
2700 - 2708 Jonathan Mendonsa That's awesome. Well done sir well done Brad you've got the business redemption there too and that's something that you have not done yet.
2708 - 2715 Brad Barrett Yeah I was going to ask him about that. So no business class on a trip of that length. Worth the extra miles. I know a lot.
2715 - 2732 Brad Barrett There's a lot of conversation in the travel rewards world and also in the world as it relates to travel words over here like do you just book economy and try to get you know more free flights or was it worth it for a business class or next time would you do first class. Talk me through what that redemption looks like.
2732 - 2782 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes so that's definitely a consideration that we look at a lot. And we're definitely fine flying economy. We took a trip to Europe earlier this year. We did business class one way and economy back just because that's how the availability worked out and that was perfectly fine. But I know for this big honeymoon trip we definitely wanted to do something kind of crazy so we definitely had business class as a goal. But my advice for both people would be too. It's all about how much you're earning and how many trips you want to take. So I mean if you're aggressive with opening up credit cards then you can take business flights when you go internationally and still have plenty of miles to cover that. But if you're less aggressive with credit cards or you go on a lot more trips then it probably makes sense to stick an economy like max out the value of the limited number of points that you do get. So it's all about it's all about looking at both sides of the equation. So if you are earning is very high. And then go for business. Why not. But if you're earning is on the lower end then make those miles last as long as you can.
2782 - 2788 Jonathan Mendonsa Is it going to cause you pain to go a year without opening new cards.
2788 - 2791 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Well I'm going to try to open cards. I don't know how that will go.
2791 - 2813 Jonathan Mendonsa Well we're rooting for you. All right guys. Well before we let you go today we want to take a couple of minutes and introduce you to the hot seat. Becky are you ready for this. I am ready. In a world drowning in debt and rampant consumption. Trapped by the chains of lifestyle inflation.
2814 - 2833 Speaker These questions highlight the secrets of those who are broken free. Welcome to the choose F-I hot seat.
2833 - 2843 Brad Barrett EVERYTIME IT'S SO GOOD IT'S HILARIOUS AND good. All wrapped in one. All right guys question number 1 your favorite blog that's not your own so I'll go first.
2843 - 2858 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So this one is a little bit outside of the fire space but very much so in the travel in space. I mean I have to go with Dr. of credit. They always seem to be on top of like the latest credit card deals the latest bank offerings like discounted gift cards like we've save so much money just by following that blog.
2858 - 2874 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon It's crazy like they they're always on top of all the latest deals and you know I've seen Doctor of credit actually linked to you on at least one occasion that I recollect and I'm sure multiple occasions and I just remember saying Oh wow. Good for Noah. That's that's a nice mention in the travel rewards world.
2874 - 2879 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah you definitely get a little spike in traffic when that happens. So it's always fun to watch.
2879 - 2883 Jonathan Mendonsa All right Becky. Your favorite blog. That's not your husband's.
2883 - 2914 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes. Can't can't quote him here. But you know for me I'm actually not a big blog reader which I know is probably not what everyone wants to hear. But I I've actually gotten more into podcasts. And for me it I need to the way I learn is by audio. I don't really comprehend stuff when I read it. I have to read it like a thousand times to understand it. So I guess for me podcasts are definitely I'm more into an I love. I mean you guys I'm still catching up. I'm waiting. I have an episode.
2914 - 2921 Jonathan Mendonsa Did we just get mentioned in our own Hotseat Brad. That's a first. That is awesome. Oh you just made my day.
2922 - 2935 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah but I also love the Tim Ferriss show. I listen to him on a weekly basis and I want some some fluff in my life. Listen to this American Life which Ira Glass is a great storyteller and he's a lot of fun to listen to.
2935 - 2937 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah it's an NPR show right. Yeah yeah.
2937 - 2944 Jonathan Mendonsa Awesome. Well thank you so much for the compliment. It really does. All right in there with Tim Ferriss I will take that company anytime.
2944 - 2954 Brad Barrett Yeah that's that's like a life's goal for me. I think that's him Paracho is my all time favorite podcast so yeah just to be mentioned in the same breath. That's pretty cool. All right.
2954 - 2957 Jonathan Mendonsa Question number two. No your favorite article of all time.
2957 - 2979 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I'm going to have to go with one on go Curry cracker called Never pay taxes again. I mean it's just an amazing breakdown of all the different little tricks that you can use an early retirement to get money out of traditional accounts and harvest gains to just kind of. We talked about earlier being able to get 80 to 90 thousand dollars as a couple in basically tax free income is unbelievable and that's the article that opened my eyes to that.
2979 - 2994 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah absolutely it totally is a game changer. And even people in the community don't always realize the power of the tax optimization tools that they have available to them. So I think just spreading the word on that is is a massive deal. Joe absolutely couldn't agree with you more.
2994 - 3008 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Becky what about you though that would have to be a mad fientist. Most recently he wrote about a valuable lessons from his first year of freedom and just reading that was really inspiring and really kind of got me excited about this year off that we're going to take.
3009 - 3016 Jonathan Mendonsa Yes. That has been mentioned several times that was on my radar I haven't read that yet but I will definitely do so and we will also link to that in the show notes as well.
3016 - 3018 Brad Barrett All right. Know your favorite life hack.
3018 - 3051 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I'm going to do a really short one first so my mini life hack is that we're actually recording this podcast on a rock band microphone that I got back in college for the X-Box 360. But it's a USP microphone and it works just as good as any other frugal frugal win of the week right there. So my my favorite my real favorite life hack has to be the travel hacking with the credit cards because balancing and living a more frugal lifestyle to save for FI and being able to travel the world credit card trouble hacking is the perfect bridge to be able to make it affordable and still be able to see many parts of the world which is just amazing.
3051 - 3070 Brad Barrett Yeah I agree completely. It is just the perfect kind of hobby for people with the FI mentality. I think it really does go hand-in-hand as you well know. I love travel records myself. So Becky I certainly did not mean to leave you out there. I just know that Noah is the king of life hacks so I wanted to start with him first. But what's your favorite lifehack.
3070 - 3111 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So for me you would have to be there's this app called my fitness pal within the past year both know what and I have gotten a lot more into fitness and we bought Fitbit for each other for Christmas last year and there is an app that links to that where you can track all your calories and workouts and and figure out kind of what you're eating and where you're at. And it has been a huge eye opener for me because you know kind of like what finance people don't really know what they're spending. And I think with food people have no idea what they're eating and how many calories they're actually putting into their body. So I have been very much obsessed with this and it has changed my whole way of eating and my whole way of looking at food.
3111 - 3126 Brad Barrett That's really cool. I've always been curious how those things work and like how much actual effort do you have to go through to enter the information like how accurate is it that those have always been my hang ups and why I haven't pursued something that's so I'd love to hear more about it if you know my.
3126 - 3168 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah. So for accuracy it's kind of I'm actually not quite sure if it's. I think it's in the ballpark of kind of where you should be. But if if something has a barcode you can scan it into the app and it I'll tell you all the nutritional information that's in it. And then you can also create your own recipes and kinda go back to that every time you eat it and it syncs to your fitbit. So it kind of tells how many steps I've taken how many calories it thinks I've burned which is probably not like super accurate but I think it's it's definitely helped. I mean I've lost weight has lost weight in the past year and I think it definitely just kind of being aware of what you're eating just kind of makes you more conscious of how to eat and kind of what to eat.
3168 - 3176 Jonathan Mendonsa I know I saw that you did like a 20 something odd mile run through shark infested water recently. Is that right.
3176 - 3210 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes something like that. No it was the it's the toughest Mudder. It was an eight hour overnight event from midnight to 8 a.m. where you completed as many five mile laps as you can on this obstacle course full of like monkey bars and like 10 foot walls you have to climb over and barbed wire you have to crawl under through mud and jumping in and out of water a bunch of times we crossed a river at one point but I was able to complete four laps during the event which totaled up to 20 official miles. I think my GP s watch said 22 miles but it was a it was a ton of fun. I've been really getting into obstacle course races and this is by far the craziest one I've done so far. But yeah I like it.
3210 - 3211 Jonathan Mendonsa It's interesting.
3211 - 3216 Jonathan Mendonsa People's different definitions of fun.
3216 - 3220 Jonathan Mendonsa All right. Question number four. Becky your biggest financial mistake.
3220 - 3228 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes so this is actually one that we've both been thinking about that we we can't really think of an answer which it's got to be the ultimate answer.
3228 - 3230 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah that's the best possible.
3230 - 3238 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon It's hard. I mean we're still so young in life that we're bound to make a mistake and in finance someday. Have you ever had an overdraft fee. No.
3238 - 3244 Jonathan Mendonsa I know the boss well played well played.
3244 - 3264 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Now I can I can add a little bit. I mean there's a bunch of really small stuff that just doesn't. It's hard to call it like a big financial mistake like obviously should have been maxing our 401Ks earlier like we should have been investing a little more optimally. When we first started it and stuff like that but it doesn't add up to anything significant so far. So we're just trying to avoid making any in the future would be our biggest goal.
3264 - 3295 Jonathan Mendonsa We need to find someone that has made every financial mistake and is at the age of 55 and is turning around and is crushing it. That's the next story we've got to track down Brad that you guys I just want you to know I am super excited because of the decisions that you made up to this point how it's really just opening up the door for this next year for you guys. It's really cool to see we're just making these right decisions over a relatively short period of time the freedom that it gives you. Very very inspiring. You know based on all that and all the decisions that you've made to this point. What advice would you give your younger self. No you go first.
3295 - 3312 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Kind of along the same lines like nothing. Nothing too major just discover financial independence a little earlier I guess and maxed out accounts. But I mean with how far we've come in such a short time I feel like just keep doing what you're doing. My advice just keep following the path. You'll be great at 27. Hopefully keeps going beyond that. Anything to add to that baggy.
3312 - 3341 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I would tell my younger self to not really worry in life in general. I've always been someone I can always think about the worst possible option. And I think Noah has definitely taught me since I've not him too. It will all work out. Don't sweat the small stuff and just kind of like live your life to its fullest and be your own person. I think a lot of what I did was worrying about what other people thought of me and to not worry about that would be I think a huge benefit for my younger self.
3341 - 3355 Brad Barrett That is brilliant brilliant advice and I would love to end the podcast right there but we do have one little bonus question for you I think. I think we should end it there. But I will ask you Guys what's your favorite purchase that you made on Amazon.com in the last year.
3355 - 3358 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes so mine is quite funny.
3358 - 3382 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon I haven't really bought a whole lot of things but I don't know if you guys know I'm like if you take an Alaska flight or a Delta flight they give you those little Bischoff cookies as your. Yeah. I love this as your snack. Well I tried to find them at all of our local grocery stores and could not find them so I found them on Amazon and purchase a three pack like big boxes of them so that has been my little guilty pleasure this year.
3382 - 3391 Brad Barrett That's really cool. Are they still available on Amazon. I'll have to give them you know they definitely are nice. We'll put that in the show notes for sure.
3391 - 3416 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon And mine has to be the thing that I alluded to earlier but it's the it's the GPS watch. So as Becky said we got fit better late last year and were great for a while but you can't like submerged in water. So as I was doing all these obstacle course races I wanted to be able to track my my pace and time like on the course so I got I got a pretty nice watch with a GPS built in. That's super rugged. I can beat it up and I'll still keep working. So that's been a pretty awesome purchase that I've used a lot.
3416 - 3421 Brad Barrett Is it barbed wire proof for you crawling underneath this thing in the middle of the night as well.
3421 - 3423 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon So far so good. Yeah.
3423 - 3435 Jonathan Mendonsa It's still work and after that eight hour sounds like so much fun that I don't believe you all right no and Becky will see you at Florida campfi right.
3435 - 3441 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yeah I think you're going to be encountering. Absolutely so we will see what I think and we'll see you in Florida.
3441 - 3445 Becky "Mrs. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Nice Will you be at both events. Yeah I'll be there too. Wonderful.
3445 - 3459 Jonathan Mendonsa All right well Noah and Becky before we let you go I'm sure people are going to want to connect to your journey connect with their story find out more about what you guys are doing both over money metagame . com and also specifically on this gap year this trip that you're taking. How can people connect with you.
3459 - 3480 Noah "Mr. Money MetaGame" Bouillon Yes. The easiest way is definitely the blog money met a. I have a contact page there so you can comment on articles or just send me a direct e-mail if you want something that you don't reveal to the world. But I'm also pretty active on Twitter. So just add money metagaming all one word. And yeah we plan to keep the blog updated with what we're doing on the trip how much we're spending and everything else that comes to mind. Hopefully we can find some time to write while we're we're out having fun.
3480 - 3499 Jonathan Mendonsa All right guys thanks so much for coming on the show you guys have a wonderful evening and we'll see you soon. You too. Thanks Jonathan. Well this was a really exciting and novel episode focusing on the concept of the gap here. I'm very excited to get a chance to explore this idea with you guys even further in our Friday Roundup which we'll release in just a few days here. Thanks for joining us today. As we continue to go down the road less traveled.

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