What Financial Independence Looks Like Today with Brad Barrett of ChooseFI – EP 323

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Join us in this episode as we chat with Brad Barrett, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast, about the ever-evolving concept of financial independence. In this conversation, Brad shares how things have evolved over the past decade and what financial independence means today. Whether you’re new to the concept or looking for new perspectives, we’ve got valuable insights and practical tips to help you on your journey to financial freedom. Don’t miss it!

Money in and of itself is not the thing that buys happiness. It buys that space.


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Brad Barrett is the host of the top 50 business podcast ChooseFI, a personal finance expert and a certified public accountant. He has a passion for financial independence and helping people take action to make their lives richer in every way: wealth, health, connections and ultimately happiness.  Brad achieved Financial Independence at 35 and lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and 2 daughters.

Financial Independence is accessible to everyone

According to Brad, the fundamentals of financial independence have not changed over the years. It still involves saving money until one’s assets can generate enough income to live on without the need for additional work. This concept remains the same, regardless of the changes that may have occurred in the financial independence movement. However, Brad acknowledges that the conversation around financial independence has evolved.

Brad believes that financial independence is accessible for everybody, although he acknowledges that it may be easier for those with higher incomes or certain advantages. Nevertheless, Brad emphasizes that anyone pursuing financial independence can benefit from it, regardless of their starting point or circumstances. This shift in the conversation has made financial independence more inclusive and relatable for people from all walks of life.

Financial independence is about values

Brad highlights the different aspects of financial independence and how it is not solely about retiring early or accumulating wealth. Instead, financial independence is about making intentional choices with money based on one’s own values and priorities. One of the points mentioned how ffinancial independence is not a race to a number on a screen. It is not about keeping up with others or trying to outdo them in terms of material possessions. Brad emphasizes that financial independence should not be about keeping up with the “FI Joneses” but rather about focusing on the actual financial benefits that come from investing and saving intentionally.

Small changes lead to big results

Brad addresses the misconception that financial independence is only attainable for those who can save 50% of their income. Brad argues that there are no strict rules or requirements for achieving financial independence. It is a journey that looks different for everyone, and the key is to start somewhere and take small steps toward improving one’s financial situation. Brad further emphasizes the power of compounding, where even small savings and investments can grow over time and provide greater financial freedom.

Balance is key for financial independence

One of the key takeaways from the discussion is the importance of balance in achieving financial independence. Jen, Jill, and Brad discuss the idea that while it is important to save and be frugal, it is equally important to enjoy the present and not deprive oneself of experiences and relationships.

Additionally, finding balance can be challenging and that it requires ongoing effort and self-reflection. Brad encourages listeners to hold the tension between different aspects of life, such as obligations and responsibilities, and freedom and flexibility. They suggest that finding a “radical middle” ground, where one can enjoy the present while still working towards financial independence, is key.

What is one financial habit or behavior you had to change in order to make significant progress towards financial independence?

  • Brad: Putting things on autopilot, including savings, investing, and bill payments.
  • Jill: Avoiding cooking due to busy schedule and instead opting to eat out.
  • Jen: Mindset. Adopting the belief that financial independence was not only possible but also worth pursuing.

Bill of The Week

Thank you Brad for sharing your bill about your FRIEND BILL who helped you on this journey of ChooseFI!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

We love love love reading your kind reviews and we especially loved this one:

Amazingly Helpful, Funny and Friendly

Thank you so much Jen & Jill, I’m from northern Canada and have been listening to this podcast for two years. Not only do I love the life hacks and guests, but your podcast and tips have inspired me to make and keep an insanely complex monthly and year-long budget that I visit almost daily and in addition to this, using your tips I was able to renegotiate on all of our insurance, reduce bills, cutout subscriptions, make way better financial choices and setup a second retirement investment savings account with my bank!

Thank you for helping others with your friendly and funny shows and I’ve now started to really really pay attention to my grocery bills. I’m obsessed and having so much fun! Also, I gave a sushi/budget class to my daughter and now her friends are asking for the same budget classes from me, which I’ve also started providing! I love being able to pass along your podcast and your tips to these girls! Thank you both so much!! 😀😀😀👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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