YouTube Channel Next Level FI


My YouTube Channel is official! You can check out clips from my recent webinar for those looking to Master Money in Uncertain Times (aka COVID-19 Coronavirus). 

You can see part 2 where I cover compounding to millions to reach financial independence & retire early (FIRE) at   

Subscribe to the latest content at 

Next Level FI on YouTube 

What content do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments  


Mastering Money in Uncertain Times Webinar

So the COVID-19 Coronavirus has created a new normal for a while (see for more posts about that). Many are out of work, & those still with jobs have had to adapt. 

Seeing this as an opportunity to share the many ways to master money to save, invest, & optimize our finances, I created a FREE 30-min webinar on “Mastering Money in Uncertain Times,” including an optional Q&A session afterwards. Register for our next event on Thu 5/14 at 12pm EDT & I’ll “see” you there! 

What are some specific ways you save now or want to know more about? Let us know in the comments 


Covid-19 Stock Crash Stay The Course

My wife in the medical field has been urging our family for weeks about the Covid-19 Coronavirus turning life upside-down (see Destroy Obstacles for more), so I hadn’t been focused as much on how much my stock investments plummeted in the past couple weeks.

What also doesn’t help is watching others in online groups like ChooseFI panic when they know they are supposed to stay the course (I’ll admit even me since I am only a recently-graduated money nerd)

So times like we need wisdom such as from Mad FIentist’s recent interview with JL Collins:

His voice reassures us to stay the course, so WE GOT THIS!


How to Devour Books 25X

I met my goal of reading 25 books for the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge! 

For many years I gave myself the excuse that I didn’t have the time to sit down and read, and barely read 1 book a year. So how did I do it? 

Well listening to audiobooks while driving or training for sports like American Ninja Warrior definitely help. Luckily books in Amazon Kindle format can also be read by Echo devices and even using the Alexa app. 

My Top 5 in 2019 were: 

Tools of Titans – audio / book 

Quit Like a Millionaire – audio / book 

Eight Dates – audio / book 

Open – audio / book 

Your Money or Your Life – audio / book 

You can see the full 2019 list & other books @GoodReads @DigitalBeyond  

This year should be 25 or more books easily, and you may find many of your favorites available at your local library. 

If you don’t already have devices to help check out the Kindle, and you can spread out multiple Echo Dots around the house to read to you when you are not using headphones. 

What books are you looking forward to reading this year? Let us know in the comments 


Start the holiday Playing with FIRE

My favorite time of year is Thanksgiving. Our family gets together to celebrate with lots of food and fun. This year is even more special as we get closer to financial FREEDOM. 

I also am passionate about sharing the message with others, but I know it’s important to start with small actionable steps. 

So as if it was timed perfectly for me to play on repeat while our family is together – the “Playing with FIRE” documentary that I reviewed the theater experience earlier this year is now available on Amazon or other formats. Note that I’m not referring to the comedy movie with the same name that also came  in theaters around the same time. 

They also have a “Playing with FIRE” book (not the steamy romance novel). If you can’t grab their attention for that long at least share a quick video to getting started to open the discussion of mastering money & designing their best lives. 

For an attention grabber, you can start talking about the health benefits of going on a financial diet with questions like “did you get all your FREE MONEY for this year?” If their employer has a 401k plan they may have a match, or even if they contribute to their own retirement plan that can lower the taxes that they pay. 

You’ll know quickly who is interested to learning more. The book that does a wonderful job at laying out a plan is “The Simple Path to Wealth.” It is available by audiobook on Audible, & if you try their subscription service it is free for the first 30 days. They can also check out the author JL Collins’s “Stock Series” on his blog website. Another great option is to listen to podcasts such as ChooseFI, which even has local groups that meet up regularly. 

There are a lot of resources out there and it is tempting to simplifying things by urging everyone you meet to save & invest half or more of their income, but remember that you have to learn to crawl before you walk. 

Happy Holidays! 


Saving Thousands using Travel Rewards and Other Hacks

Our family recently saved thousands using travel rewards and other hacks! 

So credit card debt is the opposite of building wealth, but once you are free of debt and can pay them off in full every month then you can use credit cards to your advantage. A while ago our family had opened up a few travel reward credit cards and had accumulated points that were sitting there. We finally redeemed them and saved over $2,000 on a 5-star hotel weekend getaway on the beach, as well as on flights for all four of us. 

When looking for credit cards you’ll want to look for a card that gives you  a big return of at least several hundred dollars, if not more. Travel rewards cards can be great at this, and our family loves to travel so it worked out nicely. 

The hacks don’t stop at the hotel booking though. Hotels can charge $30 plus a night for parking and tell you that valet is the only option, but you’ll find many times a cheaper parking lot for overnight parking close by. For our last trip since it was a 2 hour drive to the beach I brought my bicycle & found a park nearby that I could leave the car at. You may have to do a little work, but those few extra minutes saved me almost $100 & allowed me to explore the area. 

Another thing I always do when I arrive at the hotel is to fill up the ice bucket to let it melt into drinkable water for later, which avoids the crazy expense that the minibar can add up to. I also check out the gym since that will typically have water, and may have other things like apples. Finally a local grocery store I’ll stock up on basic items for the fridge for morning or evening snacks. 

If you have any questions on travel rewards or other cards, we now have a contact form to answer individually. Feel free to reach out or leave us a comment on your experiences with travel rewards. 

money basics

Make Money a Game and Play to Win

The popular view is that we don’t talk about money and numbers boring, but we want stuff. Throughout history we’ve been known to trade goods and services before money such as spices. If you want your kids to learn to be smart with money you have to make it fun, so having a game to play is definitely the way to go. 

Lately our family will play hours of one of the most popular games Monopoly. 

One thing we found was that we were not following all the rules of the game, such as having a property go to auction if choosing not to purchase it. 

If you don’t already have the game available to play, you can find it at: 

Monopoly Classic Game

What is your favorite money game to play? Looking forward to hearing it in the comments 


Fly high

Birds fly in every direction 

Don’t let limiting beliefs from others stop you from flying in your direction 

There are broke people spending all their money that are afraid you are saving and investing too high 

There are uneducated people who think we can’t learn topics like technology or money for ourselves and need to pay experts as the only way 

There are obese people that don’t want to think too much about the food that enters our bodies, and worry we’ll injure ourselves practicing sports like ninja obstacles 

Don’t be afraid to fly 

Fly high 

Imagine Dragons – Birds (Animated Video) 


Playing with FIRE SOLD OUT movie review and experience

The Playing with FIRE documentary movie premiere in South Florida earlier this week was great! I was introduced to the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) by a wise friend just 2 years ago, so the night was also special to celebrate my FIREversary and introduce family and friends to the power of the FIRE movement at a SOLD OUT crowd.

So how do you explain FIRE in a short amount of time to others? A story of course! In this case, Scott Riekens the Executive Producer dives deep into it with his family, moving out of their expensive California home to sacrifice for a better life long-term. Don’t expect an action blockbuster, but all the big names in FIRE are there and the video quality from Director Travis Shakespeare is superb. Just to see Vicki Robin and Mr. Money Mustache on the big screen was perfect for me. 

Before the movie we were able to meet up for happy hour with food and drinks. I was expecting the crowd to all be retired 30 somethings, but it was a great group with over 20 of us from all walks of life. It was great to hear from others and their stories, including the events they gather at such as CampFI. 

After the movie we also stayed for a special surprise giveaways of books and other prizes from those in the community. We also heard from a couple enjoying their post-FI freedom while living in the Florida Keys. The prizes even included two tickets for FinCon, one of the biggest yearly events that the FIRE community meets for. I didn’t win those, but I did win a toy set for the kids and a FIRE bumper sticker for me that I proudly placed on my 12 year old Toyota Prius. Also my friend Ronald who is currently ranked #1 in the Florida Ninja League joined in and even took a couple pics of the fun. My mom, sister, and wife joined in on the fun as well, and my brother-in-law who was in town even made it to the happy hour beforehand. 

One of the challenges coordinating this event was that the movie is not available streaming at this time, and playing the movie at a theater required that we had at least 60 tickets minimum sold on a weekday. Steven from Even Steven Money was kind enough to setup the event, so I set a goal to tell everyone I know about it and invite them. We knew the event was also a great excuse to get together before-hand for a happy hour. Sharing with our local FI group from the ChooseFI podcast definitely helped, and I also had 5 others join me. 

You can attend or host your own screening in your town by visiting their events page at If you need to find people to join in on the fun there are usually local FIRE groups in most areas – e.g. Meetup, Facebook, etc. You can also find an e-mail template that Scott sends his friends to help explain FIRE, or you can point them to other helpful resources to get them started. 

I definitely will take advantage of opportunities like this so we can spread the power of FIRE to others. Maybe we can even create a Global Financial Independence Day? Sometime close to July 4 may work well for my American friends 🙂 


Playing With FIRE Documentary: A Movie I Will Actually Watch In Theaters This Year

So before we get into the basics of winning with money, I had to share this one. The Playing with FIRE Documentary is coming to my town! 

Okay for many of you that don’t already know what the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Money movement is, this video sums in up in less than 7 minutes: 

In future posts we’ll explore money concepts like the power of compounding interest and rapidly accumulating wealth to live off of perpetually without further income.

This documentary is important because it is the first I know of that can introduce the masses to the world of knowledge that is already available in other forms like books, blogs, and podcasts. 

You can attend or host your own screening in your town by visiting their events page at If you happen to be in South Florida we’re scheduled for Monday July 8, so buy your tickets before they sell out and I’ll see you there and post a review afterwards 🙂