Podcast | Barney, The Escape Artist

On board the pod today is Barney, The Escape Artist, all the way from London to talk about his financial coaching program, about the four pillars of financial independence and his own journey to FI!

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Introduction – Barney, The Escape Artist

Today on the pod, all the way from London, I welcome Barney Whiter, The Escape Artist, to discuss his journey to financial independence and escaping the cubicle. Barney is not just your average blogger, he has a degree in economics and has worked for over 2 decades as a qualified charter accountant in corporate finance. He was able to retire at the age of 43, about a decade ago, never having won the lottery or inheriting a fortune, but all while paying off the family mortgage and raising 3 young kids.

How did he do it? Barney talks about the four key pillars of financial independence – earn more, spend less, wisely invest the difference and know how much is enough. Barney says that anyone who follows these four pillars, can reach financial independence. He talks a bit about his coaching program and more about his great escape! Jump on board!


barney, the escape artist

Episode 49: Barney, The Escape Artist

” I spent many years in the Prison Camp and I know how the system works. I wanted freedom, so I hatched a plan and began to dig.  I paid off my mortgage when I was 32, built up my investment portfolio and then quit my job in 2014 at the age of 43 when I’d made enough not to have to work any more. I did this whilst married and supporting a family with 3 kids. I also did this without winning the lottery, inheriting money or dealing drugs. Those are my stripes. I have a degree in economics, I’m a qualified chartered accountant and I had a 20 year career in corporate finance (reaching Partner / MD level). I know more about finance than any normal financial adviser. But I make complex ideas simple in my financial coaching with clients.”

Barney, The Escape Artist

Show Notes

The Escape Artist’s recommended reading

Transcript: Barney, The Escape Artist

Barney, The Escape Artist

Captain Fi: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Welcome aboard the Financial Independence Podcast.

Gday and welcome to another episode of Captain FI, the Financial Independence Podcast, where I open the cockpit to some of the best and brightest in personal finance, as well as those who have reached or are on their way to financial independence. Before we get started, remember nothing said here is financial advice, and you should always do your own independent research before making any financial choices.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the episode and learn something new.[00:01:00]

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Welcome to the Financial Independence Podcast onboard today is Barney, the escape artist to discuss his journey to financial independence and escaping the cubicle.

Now Barney’s, not just your average blogger, he’s got a degree in economics and worked for over two decades as a qualified chartered accountant in corporate finance. And he was able to retire early at the age of 43, about a decade ago. He didn’t win the lottery. He didn’t inherit a fortune, and he did this all while paying off the family mortgage and supporting a family with three kids.

So how did he do it? Well, Barney talks about the four keys or pillars of financial independence. Earn more, spend less, invest wisely, and finally know how much is enough. If you can master these four [00:03:00] areas, Barney ens, sat, Eddie, Tom, Dick, or Harry can reach financial independence. I’m really looking forward to today’s interview and hearing all about his great escape.

So Barney, welcome to the podcast. How you going mate?

Barney: I’m great. Great to be here. Thank you.

Captain Fi: Yeah, thanks very much for your time. You’re joining us from a very nice and warm sunny London,

Barney: Just outside London actually about, about 30, 40 miles outside London. Yeah.

Captain Fi: Isn’t it a pretty small place though?

It’s all isn’t it all the same area?

Barney: Well, London’s quite a big city, but yeah. Yeah. The UK’s a small place.

Captain Fi: I was actually just thinking about this today. I don’t know how this came up, but something about his Majesty’s revenue service came up and I was actually just looking into the size of London and I was trying to compare it to some Australian cities, but it really does morph, even Sydney and Melbourne.

Barney: Yeah. And , I lived in London for years and years and I love it as a hell of a buzz, hell of a buzz. And

Captain Fi: we were talking earlier, and of course you caught up with our our [00:04:00] famous Aussie fire by one of our homegrown Aussie fire bloggers who went and did a stint over in the UK as

Barney: well.

Yeah. And I met him at. A couple of the financial independence meetups in London. So, that’s the beauty of a big city. There’s stuff going on and, people are interested in learning new stuff, meeting other people. And yeah, I bumped into Aussie bu there,

Captain Fi: it’s pretty cool.

I’ve definitely wanting to get a little bit more involved in the fire community. As I travel, I’ve been sort of posting and doing these sort of short notice fire meetups, it’s really just grabbing a beer and a pizza or a meal and having a bit of a chat. But it’s been a lot of fun.

But it’s certainly been a little bit nerve wracking, sort of pushing me outta my comfort zone and getting out there. Cuz as we were talking earlier, , I used to blog quite anonymously and I didn’t really want to put my name on my face out there. But it’s actually not as scary as I thought and I’ve met some really incredible people.

So, Barney getting into the pod before we get started, can you tell the listeners just a little bit about [00:05:00] yourself?

Barney: Sure. So yeah, I’m Barney Whiter. I write a blog called The Escape Artist. As you said, I spent and I did an economics degree qualified as a charter accountant and did 20 years working corporate finance in London.

And so, in that sense , I chose the safe route financially. I mean, know I chose a job that would be well paid. That wasn’t an accident. That was very deliberate. And if I was like Analyzing myself. The reason I did that is, back in the day when I was growing up my parents did the kind of classic thing of buy the biggest house they could.

And that was in 1981 when interest rates went to 17%. And they were struggling for quite a while to pay the mortgage. So, I picked up on that, as a child. And I kind of took from that episode that you never want to be in debt if you can avoid it. You want to own your own house.

You wanna be master of your [00:06:00] own destiny. You don’t ever wanna be like worried about being kicked out on the street. And so that informed a bunch of my life choices, career choices from that point onwards. So yeah, I went and worked in finance, learned everything I could about company valuation corporate finance kind of high finance if you want.

But unlike the other people that I was working with, I was like, oh, well I’m gonna apply that to my home life. I’m gonna apply that to my personal finance as well. So I don’t want to just be one of these guys who’s, a super efficient finance guy, at work for their employer.

I want to translate these lessons to my own situation. And I want to do it so that I can build wealth and so that I can make work optional at some point. And , I always had the idea that in my head, that I’d try and kind of do that by the age of 40. But I missed my goal by three years, but that’s what having three kids will do for you.

But you know, that’s k kind of like my backstory in a nutshell,[00:07:00]

Captain Fi: I wouldn’t say that missing your mark by three years is a horrible failure when you literally achieve financial independence and retired decades many decades earlier than most people. So 43 is pretty impressive.

Barney: Yeah, and I’m kind of joking., I actually don’t see it as being retired. I mean, I see it as, work optional. And I had a lovely, a lovely period of decompression when I kind of chilled out. But eventually you kind of have to find something else to do with your life.

And so, I personally don’t frame it as retirement. I frame it as, yeah, work optional, financially independent, et cetera.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s super important to have that sense of purpose. And I, we were kind of briefly talking about this before we started recording. And yeah, I certainly felt like I was kind of floating and lost for a while before I dove right back into blogging and podcasting.

It’s definitely a lot of fun and the sense of community’s been really important for my wellbeing, social wellbeing. And this is [00:08:00] something that you’ve been doing for quite a long time, I mean, over 10 years now. I’m interested to find out, Barney, what made you wanna write that first post?

If I’m remembering correctly, the 15 clues to living in a metaphorical prison camp.

Barney: Yeah. I had found other blogs cuz when I kind of set off on the journey earning, saving, investing, I basically just had this idea in my head that freedom was possible. And like I, I remember thinking this is way, way back in the day if I had a pot of a hundred thousand pounds and I could earn 10% a year on it, that was 10,000 pounds a year.

Which doesn’t sound like a lot of money these days, but I mean, I remember my first salary when I started work was 12 and a half thousand pounds. So I just had the idea back then that if you could, get your hands on a hundred thousand pounds and you could kind of live like you were [00:09:00] still, a student when I lived off 3000 pounds a year.

Then it had to be possible. So that was literally, that was it, that there was no more science to it than that until fast forward, 20 something years I stumble across. Blogs. Like in the UK there’s a blog called Motivator in the US that there’s obviously Mr. Money Mustache and many others.

And I found those blogs and I’m like, oh, there’s a whole bunch of other people doing this. And more than that, there’s actually quite a lot of science or maths in terms of, the concept of the safe withdrawal rate. The concept of how much is enough, the concept of you are financially independent when you have invested net worth of 25 times your annual required spending.

So I kind of lay on back 10 years ago, found those blogs. I realized, there was a bunch of, as I say, science to [00:10:00] it and I’m like, okay, well someone should write a UK version of this. And so I actually emailed Mr. Money Mustache and he said someone should write a UK version.

So that’s what I did.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s bloody awesome. I found that quite a lot of the fire content online is definitely tailored towards more of that um, s a based audience. And it can be really hard to find stuff that’s actually relevant to, I guess the reader in the home country. So it’s bloody great idea to get it started.

I’m trying to think. Yeah, I don’t really know A lot of British based blogs, obviously, there’s yourself I’m trying to think. There was a YouTuber. Is it money Matters. Oh, I mean,

Barney: There there’s hundreds and hundreds of money bloggers, money, content. Producers, money, podcasters.

I mean, it’s very common. The problem is what most of them are doing is they’re trying to create a side hustle or a side income, which is fine, that’s fine, and that’s laudable. But the [00:11:00] economics of it takes most of those blogs down the path of affiliate links and essentially selling, recommending promoting product in some shape or form.

And so I think we are living in a world where there’s been a Cambrian explosion of information. There’s just no shortage of content about financial independence out there. But just so much of it is unfortunately, is kind of compromised by the business model of I’ve gotta get clicks, I’ve gotta get attention, I’ve gotta drive clicks through to this affiliate link.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it is a bit disappointing. You can definitely tell when you’re not really on a genuine, well quote unquote genuine site. I think it’s kind of fun and it’s fun for me because I do run other websites. So I’m somewhat invested in learning about online business and marketing.

So I do always find it interesting to see how people try and monetize their websites. But yeah, [00:12:00] it is disappointing when you’re trying to talk about a message about, like financial independence. And these websites are sort of cramming credit cards or insurance products, et cetera sort of down your throat.

Barney: And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s capitalism. People have to make money. So I don’t have any moral problem with it, but it does. Inevitably that sort of advertising led model cannot help but compromise the message and compromise the content.

, cuz essentially if you’re trying to , generate click throughs to a credit card thing , you have to put the user in an emotional state that makes them feel comfortable, ready to click. Okay. And so if you’re talking about, budgeting, frugality stop wasting money, stop being an idiot stop, spending your money’s in a bucket shop for the holes.

Well that’s just not conducive to the mood that you want. , those sites want their [00:13:00] users in before they click through to the credit card website. And so there is, that’s the dilemma at the heart of all content on the internet. It’s what are you actually trying to achieve and what are the economic incentives?

Captain Fi: Yeah. Reminds me of that quote, I think it’s Charlie Munger. It’s show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome. I think that’s how it goes.

Barney: That show me the incentives and I’ll show the outcome exactly. That explains the internet.

Captain Fi: Yeah, and look it’s why I was kind of, turned off.

I guess a lot of traditional financial advice and traditional financial advice industry about, getting funds under management and charging fees, which, 1%, 2% doesn’t sound like a lot to most people. But if you consider that, returns are 10%, And if you are getting charged 1%, that means your fees are 10% of your total return.

And it just sort of goes up in compounds from there. So yeah, I had a couple of bad experiences with financial advisors. Not to demonize all of them. I’ve met some really awesome [00:14:00] ones. In fact, I’ve interviewed quite a lot of awesome independent financial advisors on this podcast, which has been really cool.

But I think, I guess the model at which people are consuming information or learning about personal finance is kind of changing. And look, I can’t profess to be, this perfect blogger. I have ads on my site. I use some affiliate links to some products that I use.

Yep. I definitely have to agree with the product and think that it needs to match the audience. So, there’s no way I’d be promoting, like casinos or that kind of stuff. Which is funny because one of the side hustles that I actually looked into was matched betting which some people confuse with like online betting and gambling.

But no, it’s actually the betting arbitrage. And I had an affiliate arrangement with one of a, a training provider that did that, and someone had a go at me saying that I was selling gambling products or something, and it’s well, actually it’s quite the opposite mate.

It’s about taking money from the bookies, not giving it to the bookies. But yeah so do you make money from your blog Barney?

Barney: So there’s no [00:15:00] adverts on my blog. But I promote my own services. I, I promote my coaching on there and I promote my, my kind of subscription website, the Escape manual.

So again, I’m not pretending to be some sort of monk that somehow sort of beyond the profit motive. But I’m only promoting my own services and I’m product. Agnostic. I don’t promote anyone else’s products. And I don’t run any ads.

So, yeah. It’s the only thing I’m promoting is myself. Yeah. Well it’s kinda good cause no one else is gonna do that.

Captain Fi: Yeah. No, I like it. It gives you full control of the supply chain so you can make sure that, I guess no one’s doing anything dodgy. Yeah, it’d be super frustrating.

I guess I’m fortunate I haven’t had it happen. With me for Cats and Fire, but it’s definitely happened on other sites that I’ve run. I’ve had partners that have sort of not really done the right thing and it’s damaged my reputation. So, I guess it’s just something really need to be [00:16:00] alert for.

So that’s actually a really good segue because I was gonna ask you about this. So you’ve got a couple of great tools on the Escape Artist, and the first one is the FI meter which is great and it really does , speak to your background in economics and work as an accountant.

Would you be able to explain about the five meter calculator on your site and how people can use it to plan out their finances?

Barney: Yeah, it’s, that’s a free spreadsheet tool that’s embedded on my website and it just allows you to plug in your. Current age your income, your savings rate and essentially it will just spit out how many years you are away from achieving the position where you don’t need to work anymore.

A and so it’s just a really powerful and informative tool, I think for people to play with. And what you realize pretty quickly when you play with that is that it [00:17:00] doesn’t matter how much you earn, per se, what matters is your percentage savings rate. So it’s what percentage of your take home pay, your after tax pay, you can stash away and invest and get working for you.

And, that in itself is a kind of revelation for people that are not particularly financially savvy because and I felt to distract myself, I used to think that if you earned a big salary that was being rich. But if you earn a million pounds a year and you spend a million pounds a year, you’re saving precisely zero and you’re accumulating precisely zero in terms of net worth.

So, the one of the advantages the farmer is it kind of shifts your attention a little bit away from, what’s my headline? Kind of pre-tax salary to, okay, what percentage of my post-tax salary am I actually getting to work?[00:18:00] Am I getting to work in my compounding machine? And you see very quickly how that drives the time to financial independence.

So, a 50% savings rate, it’s 17 years from broke to never needing to work again. And at a 75% savings rate, it’s six or seven years from broke to never needing to work again. And I use those numbers not because 75% is realistic cuz it’s not particularly realistic for most people.

But it just shows how powerfully your time, your the time that you need, that you have to spend in the workplace is driven by your percentage savings rate. It’s the most important metric in personal finance. And yet very few financial advisors will traditionally talk about it because, they’ll just focus on, the investing part of the equation again, which is fine.

We need to [00:19:00] invest wisely, but if you’re not saving anything, you haven’t got anything to invest.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s super important. And I think when I sort of discovered this metric I think I became a little bit obsessed with it. And look, I’m interested to hear so the TER defaults to a 50% savings rate, and I know a lot of very clever people in the fire community do recommend to save at least half of your income.

But what is your thoughts on a target savings rate and a and sort of the lifestyle on the fire journey? Where do you think people should be aiming for

Barney: more so, so people should look at what they’re currently saving. They should know what they’re currently saving a, and then they should just try and get it up higher.

So, classically the sort of rule of thumb has been just in, out there, in, in kind of normal world has been like, save 10% of your income. The problem is that’s, 50, 60 years of [00:20:00] working life it requires 10%. And so I think it’s kind of meaningless for me to say, oh, I recommend everyone should be on, this number because everyone’s at a different point in their journey.

Everyone’s at a different point in their life. People, have different salaries. And a higher salary unquestionably makes it easier to save a higher proportion of your income. No doubt about that. So I try and avoid one size fits all kind of recommendations. As a, in my coaching, I always meet people where they are.

And so, what are you currently able to achieve and how might we be able to improve that?

Yeah, so generally most people just need to save a higher percentage of their take home pay. So across the population, I mean in the average savings rate for the UK is something like, four or 5%.

But we know, for example, during lockdown the savings rate for the entire country[00:21:00] spiked up above 30%. So we know that it must be possible to save 30% of your income on average. Cuz that’s what happened, when people lost the option to, go out and spend their money when the shopping malls were closed, when cinemas were closed, when theaters were closed.

So generally people should be saving more. And that, it it’s the percentage savings rate as we talked about, that drives the time to financial independence. And thus is the most powerful metric. It’s also, your spending is the action that you have the most immediate and direct control over.

So it’s kind of common for people who discover the sort of concept of financial independence to, go to the other extreme and slash their spending right down to the bone. And I did that a number of different points, during my journey. And [00:22:00] it’s quite a helpful exercise in the sense that you learn what’s possible.

You learn how cheaply it’s possible to live when push comes to shove. And it does help break the link in your mind. Or , in the consumer mind between spending must equal happiness. You realize as you get older and as you experiment with your spending, that actually it doesn’t equal happiness.

Captain Fi: Yeah. Yep. That makes sense. Look I probably went a bit overboard., I definitely used fire as a bit of a coping strategy for Maybe not really feeling like I had the most control over my career, my personal life.

And so, also growing up poor meant that I guess I had a scarcity mindset about money. Geez, I better hold onto this. I better save it and grow it because I might not get it. Back. And, I’m naturally pretty frugal guy and had a pretty good income from my flying career.

And so, saving half my pay was almost effortless for me. And I acknowledge that’s through a lot of privilege and a lot of [00:23:00] sacrifice that my mom gave for us, to have our education. And, from where I lived and the opportunities that I had that, a lot of people didn’t.

So very fortunate and privileged to have that opportunity. But as I said, it was almost effortless for me to save 50% of my salary. And in the end I actually had an average savings rate of around 75 to 80%. And Wow. Yeah, look I don’t think I missed out really on stuff. I traveled a lot for work.

I stayed in hotels for work. I went to nice restaurants for work. Often when I came home, I just wanted to chill out at home. I just wanted to grow my veggies and cook a home cooked meal sort of thing. Really enjoyed reading, blogging watching movies, that kind of stuff. Wasn’t really into the high cost activities and I guess that’s sort of been fortunate for me.

And I kind of, I would say if I have one issue with money, it’s even to this day spending, I just don’t really want to spend. And that’s something that I’m working on. And I noticed that at the moment in the sort of fire community there’s a lot of [00:24:00] press, rabbit’s got bestselling show on Netflix at the moment and everyone’s sort of talking about their rich life.

And so I’m actually, I’m working with my my business mentor. He does a bit of coaching for my life, coaching for me and he’s kidding me to sort of pry open my wallet and wants sort of the moths fly away. Then I can actually get the money.

Barney: Yeah, it’s so interesting, isn’t it? , so I think a lot of us go on that journey, and I mean, I think you described it very well, but the idea of using a sort of fire strategy to try and regain some control in your life, when it feels like you are kind of stuck in a machine.

And that the whole idea of the escape artist, this idea that you’re kind of in a system, in a prison camp, a mentor, a mental slash financial prison camp is based on feeling that. So that totally resonates. With me. Obviously the mistake that we all make at some point is we try and go too frugal.

And [00:25:00] so I’ve got so many frugal fail stories. There was a time when I thought, okay, I don’t need a mobile phone, so I’ll just stop, paying for a mobile phone and that’s just pennywise pound foolish. It was just stupid for someone in a, a high functioning career to try and do without a mobile phone.

So that, that was a frugal fail.

Captain Fi: Work, won’t be able to call you in.

Barney: But again, it’s okay, that’s fine until you , lose your job.

So it’s, stuff like that it’s easy to become, Pennywise and pound foolish. And so you have to guard against that scarcity mindset. You have to guard against that penny pinching mindset. There is a direct contradiction between the mindset that’s required to earn more, which is an optimistic, ambitious, expansive.

I will go out into the world mindset and the mindset that supports spending [00:26:00] as little as possible, which is a defensive, scarcity conscious. I will just make myself small. I’ll make my spending small, I’ll make my footprint on the world very small. I’ll make my life very small. So, Any idiot can kind of earn more, any idiot can kind of spend less.

The hard bit is doing both at the same time.

Captain Fi: I can’t agree with that more, mate.

I’m naturally a pretty frugal guy. My mum was amazing at providing for the family and, we never went without we always had electricity, water, and food. But yeah, maybe we didn’t have the latest and greatest and, sometimes it was a bit embarrassing at school.

But when you get older I’m super grateful and appreciative for everything she’s done. And, maybe not having a Pokemon card, like in hindsight, that just feels really silly. But I think yeah, definitely getting up sort of to the eighties savings rate is probably not the most sustainable.

Method for most people for their journey to fire. I would sort of lean to think that sort of somewhere around [00:27:00] 50% is probably more sustainable and as you said for most people just actually encouraging to save and invest a little bit more. It’s it’s better than nothing.

Barney: Yeah, I’ve read just a ton of books about investing, legends, and I remember there’s one guy, legendary investor, old school, legendary investor called Sir John Templeton.

And he just always, saved half of his income with the aim of achieving financial freedom. And, it’s a very simple effective target. And so yeah, sure if you can get it higher than that if you’re very well paid., if you’re wired to be very frugal, by all means get it higher.

But there comes a point of when is too much frugality? When does efficiency in spending, which I think is a good thing, when does that become penny pinching? Which I don’t think is a good thing because penny pinching comes from or cer certainly when I did it, it often came from a place [00:28:00] of fear, scarcity and kind of wanting to retreat.

And I think, it’s the mindset that you need to earn more in many ways is the direct opposite of the mindset you need. To spend less. So the mindset that supports earning more is an ambitious, outgoing, kind of extroverted challenge oriented, I’m gonna go out into the world and I’m gonna make sure it happen.

I’m gonna create value and I’m gonna get paid for it. That’s a mindset that’s supportive of earning more. The mindset of spending less is much more around control around playing defense rather than playing offense. It’s around think about what you’ve got and preserving what you’ve got rather than getting more.

And so in many ways it’s kind of easy in quotes to earn more money. And it’s easy in quotes to spend less money. The hard thing [00:29:00] is earning more and spending less at the

Captain Fi: same time. And that’s the recipe, isn’t it? There really is no upper limit on how much you can earn. And if you are able to earn more, boost your income, get a raise, start a business and not increase your spending or, even deflate your lifestyle a little bit it’s a really powerful mechanism for building financial success.

Barney: Yeah. So in terms of deflating your lifestyle lifestyle inflation is a trap. It’s a trap that, that most of us fall into as we, get promoted and earn more money. And it’s Hey, everything’s going well, so, I can, I’m worth it. I can afford it, and you kind of upgrade everything.

So in lifestyle inflation is definitely a trap. against that I actually think that if you’re self-aware, There can be a natural tendency. It becomes easier. I found as I’ve got older to spend less, and one of the things you just kind of, with [00:30:00] maturity, it’s easier to see trinkets and boals of consumerism, for what they are.

When I walk through an airport and you see like the Gucci and the l v mh, sunglasses and the handbags and the perfumes, you just see it for what it is. They’re just bo balls and trinkets and overpriced boles and trinkets, and that just comes with age and maturity.

So, The other thing that I think helps you gently deflate your spending is just focusing on health. So, at the moment I’m focusing I’ve quit alcohol that saved me an absolute fortune. The amount of money I must have spent on alcohol over my life is truly terrifying.

So that, that’s, right there is the cost of the alcohol and all of the follows from that, the taxes, the. You’re losing your keys and having new keys cut and all the rest of it, all of the kind of disasters that happen with alcohol, that kind of goes when you stop [00:31:00] consuming alcohol.

And then food, at the moment, because I’m focused on health and losing a bit of weight, it’s amazing actually how little you need to spend on food when you’re just buying, real ingredients, unprocessed food, natural food that you cook yourself, you just naturally save a fortune.

Captain Fi: Oh, absolutely, mate, just on that last point when I went on a bit of a health kit probably about five or six years ago and started doing a little bit of reading and read a few interesting books. I mean, obviously they’re still quite controversial and not everyone agrees with them, but one of them was the China study by Dr.

Colin Campbell. And another one is in Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. And I basically went down to this philosophy of trying as much as possible to eat a whole food plant-based diet. And I’m not saying you have to be dogmatic about it, still occasionally have a bit of meat or animal products but predominantly trying to eat whole food plant-based was a bit of a game changer for me.

Definitely helped me improve my fitness and I had a lot of people almost didn’t really believe me that my grocery [00:32:00] budget was under $50 a week. I’m just trying to think of the conversion rate to pounds. That’s, yeah that’s low. Is that like 30 pounds

Barney: or, yeah that’s low, man.

Yeah. But if you just think about what you could live off and what you would’ve lived off in your ancestral environment, you would’ve some rice, some eggs and some fruit that’s kind of you’re good to go.

That’s what our bodies are capable of and actually in many ways what they function best on. And that’s not a sort of vegan versus non-vegan common. It’s just an argument in favor of natural whole unprocessed foods.

Captain Fi: Yeah, absolutely. I once was told this advice about food and it has a remarkable parallel to the financial industry as well.

And I was told to not buy food that was advertised to me. And so that means when you go to a shop shopping, they say shop around the edges of the shop. So if you go to a standard grocery store usually the fresh produce, your veggies, your fruit the meat, dairy, that [00:33:00] kind of stuff that’s usually around the outside of the shop because that’s the stuff that needs to get replaced the quickest.

Whereas the mountains and mountains of aisles of highly processed, refined fructose corn syrup stuff that’s the crap with the huge margins,

Barney: As you say, anything that’s advertised to you, well that means you are paying for the advertising that the customer has to fund the advertising plus the cost ingredients plus the cost of the processing, plus the huge profit margins.

So, just buy food that’s not advertised is a great heuristic. And it’s one of the, yeah, you mentioned Michael Pollen. The, it’s one of his great food rules. Yeah. But he boils down to those three famous ones, but there’s that little book, full Food Rules is just full of great little kind of mental heuristics like that.

Captain Fi: Yeah. And I noticed that my car insurer, for example I’d been with this particular car insurer for a number of years, and they were consistently the cheapest in the market. And they had [00:34:00] really good customer service. I had a close friend who had to make a claim with them and, paid out no problems.

Anyway they sort of have been growing quite big because they were known as, no frills. Quite a good insurer or, A good reseller of the underwriter and they’ve just been spending millions and millions of dollars on advertising. And actually the proof’s in the pudding because the premium that I got quoted for my last renewal was actually 30% higher than the cheapest competitor.

So I ended up switching. And the company that I went with, they basically do no advertising. So it’s just interesting to see as well a parallel there with, in the finance, with insurance like that, when stuff’s so desperate to get your attention, it’s telling you I’m a wonderful product.

Buy me. Well really is it cuz sometimes if it’s a really good product, it won’t have to even sell itself.

Barney: Yeah. Advertising and marketing. Huge industries, well-paid people, those arm are all funded by the markups and the margins. [00:35:00] So it’s just a, yeah, great heuristic. If it’s advertised and marketed heavily, just go the other direction.

Captain Fi: Yeah, I love it we will get back to the show in a moment, but for now, I wanna ask you a question. Do you have a side hustle? And if you do, is it scalable? My side hustle is building and running websites a form of digital real estate. Now, it might sound tricky to make money online, but really they’re just small online businesses that have low overheads, high margins, and which you can easily scale by outsourcing.

If you’ve ever read the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, then you’re on the right track. What I love about websites is just like my investments, they’re working 24 7 to make me richer and I can put as much or as little effort into running them as I like. I can pay a writer to produce a piece of evergreen content, which is then edited and posted by virtual assistant.

Then it can be viewed potentially millions of times and easily updated by my editors [00:36:00] over the years to remain relevant. If you want to learn more about this lucrative side hustle and retraining for the Digital Workforce revolution, then check out my article about making money online and read my review of the E-Business Institute and their online self-paced courses.

The E-Business Institute cover everything from total beginners. Right through to advanced web design and how to buy, renovate, run, and sell websites for profit. As a graduate of the E-Business Institute, I can’t thank Matt and Liz enough for the valuable web skills I’ve developed. And now I can enjoy growing my portfolio of websites for semi-passive income.

Captain FY listeners can register for free access to some of their resources by following the link in the E-Business Institute review article on captain fy.com. So what are you waiting for? Start learning how to build a portfolio of digital real estate and use websites to make money today.

 Now speaking of something that doesn’t get marketed very [00:37:00] well, and I want to give you a chance to actually have a bit of a shout out here. Can you tell us about the Escape Manual which is the the product that you produce one of your downloadable packs, and how can the Escape Manual help people on their journey to fire?

Barney: So, when I started financial coaching about, like nine years ago, I was wrestling with, well, what’s the most effective and sustainable business model? To do that. And so what I was thinking is, I started, I wanted to start with what actually works.

What do I know that works because of my own experience? And so, we talked about the four pillars. You have to earn more, you have to spend less, you have to invest the difference wisely, and you have to know how much is enough. Now, traditionally, all of those four pillars are dealt with by different people under different roofs.

So,[00:38:00] there are career coaches that might help you or business coaches that might help you earn more. There are kind of frugality gurus or tell you how to spend less. There are in investing kind of. Experts that will just talk about, how to invest effectively. And there’s like a few fire bloggers that will kind of write about how much is enough, but it’s really rare to find all of those four pillars covered, well covered together and covered in the same place.

And you have to get all of those four pillars, right? To do the journey. You have to do that to escape, to financial freedom. And so I just started from a place of, well, what is the right way to communicate those four kind of, those four pillars to explain those four pillars and coaching as part of that.

When you meet someone face to face, you can kind of,[00:39:00] there’s a magic to it. There’s a rapport that can be generated. It’s quite a powerful emotional experience coaching when it’s done right. And so I realized pretty quickly when I kind of talked about coaching on my website that there was a demand for it.

People contacted me, so I’m like, okay, there’s a hidden demand that financial advisors are doing their thing, but they’re more product salesmen more commonly than they are, someone that’s gonna tell you about all of the four pillars. So I realized there was a demand for the coaching, but at the same time you kind of need, I was like, How are people gonna go away from the coaching and drill deeper into the content?

And that’s when I thought, okay, what I need is some sort of like manual some sort of online resource where people can go away and immerse themselves in the ideas that we’ve been talking about in the coaching. So, so originally the skate manual was designed to [00:40:00] compliment my coaching. It’s meet someone maybe force ’em to look differently, a little bit differently in the world, maybe help them, encourage them, support them to aim higher, think bigger kind of fire them up a bit, help ’em get fired up a bit, and then allow ’em to go away and marinade in the new ideas and drill much deeper into those ideas on a private website.

So that, if you like, was the idea. Behind it is to have like synergy between the information on this gate manual and the sort of face-to-face in-person experience of financial coaching.

Captain Fi: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So it’s like a one-stop shop where people can access all of that information.

Yeah I love it, mate. And I guess that leads me really into my next question, which is unpacking financial coaching. So you’ve been doing it for quite a while now nearly a decade. What is a financial coach? How can they help people? Sorry, I’m bombarding you with questions here.

How long do people usually [00:41:00] need your services and how much does it cost?

Barney: So with financial coaching it’s, the idea is that the client. Stays in control of their own decision making. And so for me, I only work with intelligent people who are capable of making their own investment decisions, which by the way, I think is most people who that are capable of making their own investment decisions.

But it’s people that are, that understand that I’m not going to just spoonfeed them and say, you should do this. That is covered by the traditional financial advisory regime which is regulated to ensure that only certain people can give investment advice, financial advice that is tailored to the client.

[00:42:00] And so that’s about like meeting with someone and saying, okay, I, I’ve looked at all the options on the market and I think this insurance policy is the one that you should go for this fund is the one that you should go for. And those people get a commission for that. And that’s the traditional sort of financial advisory slash financial sales model.

That’s fine. , that exists. The coaching is different from that in the sense that it’s about talking with people about, and pros and cons and encouraging them to kind of see other ways of looking at their current problems, helping them with that problem solving, but not recommending product, not selling product, not pushing product being genuinely independent and product agnostic.

Captain Fi: So yeah, I’ve personally done a fair bit of coaching and mentoring in the aviation industry as a flying instructor. And so [00:43:00] I’ve done a lot of coaching, helping junior pilots come through successfully complete their training and also helping them making their first few steps into the workforce.

And I really resonate and agree that it’s not a s spoonfed process at all. It’s definitely encouraging the person to use their own critical thinking and their own skills to come up with their own conclusion. And it’s a lot of fun sometimes really just sort of, helping equip people and sort of poke them in the right direction to, to achieve

Barney: success.

Exactly right. And so it’s teaching people to fish for themselves rather than selling people fish. So, essentially what I’m trying to do in my coaching is to get the person in front of me capable, confident o of making their own informed investment decisions. And essentially, my goal state is to make myself redundant as quickly as [00:44:00] possible.

And you can see there that’s not a very good business model. so that’s why. This has previously not existed or at least not been widespread because financial coaching when done really well is a super highly, it’s a super valuable, super premium product, but it’s not very remunerative for the guy delivering

Captain Fi: it.

Yeah. And therein lies the, like I say, the contradiction or, of traditional financial advice. We mentioned it earlier, it’s shown me the incentive. I’ll show you the outcome. And when the incentive is really high fees and commissions for, products which aren’t necessarily great it can be a bit scary when you can see, banks and some financial advisors really offloading shitty products onto vulnerable people.

So, Barney, how often with respect to the coaching how long do most people do a coaching program for and what are the [00:45:00] costs involved?

Barney: I mean, so the most common thing that I see is actually you get a huge bang for your buck with two hours. So, everyone’s different.

So every client’s different, every situation’s different. So I, I do, all manner of different durations but the most common thing would be spend an hour with someone, meet them face to face, get a really good kind of understanding of their money blueprint, their background, their beliefs around money.

And, in that first meeting you can explain a lot and often you can kind of slightly tilt the way that they see the world. And I invite, very commonly I’ll invite them to go away after that. That first meeting, I always then send them like a follow up note a day or two later when I’ve kind of slept on it and reflect on that.

And that will include follow up reading [00:46:00] tailored to them. So books that I think they would get most value from. And so that, might be a book about a career, that might be a book about investing, that might be a book around, Kind of rejecting consumerism. It’ll vary very much on the person in front of me, but I’ll send them like a follow up note with suggestions for books to read blog articles to read.

I’ll typically send them say, okay, these are the articles on the escape manual that are most relevant to you, that you should have a look at. And sometimes I’ll give them like films to watch that kind of make a point or tell a story or illustrate like a complex concept in a very elegant way.

So I’ll kind of do that follow up. And then often I’ll ask that they kind of reflect on them on the first session and go away and produce kind of a one page financial plan. And then send me a draft of that. And we kind of talk about that in our second [00:47:00] session. And for many people, that’s enough.

Captain Fi: It’s like a really focusing on educating the person and getting them to take responsibility and ownership for their own decisions. Yeah, I love it. It,

Barney: so, it, exactly right. So it’s it’s a meeting. It’s getting rapport. It’s kind of hopefully introducing some new ways of thinking to them, and also helping them identify any blind spots or limiting beliefs that are stopping them, holding them back unnecessarily.

But it’s all done with the handover of power, if you like, the handover of or, it is transitioning responsibility, agency and authority. Back to them by the end of the second session, so that, they’re making the decisions, they’re in charge of their own destiny and they feel confident and capable to do that.

As I say, it’s like the client’s in control all throughout and they retain agency all the way throughout. [00:48:00]

Captain Fi: Yeah, I like it. I think people do need to take responsibility for their personal finances and yeah, I don’t think it’s sensible to just sort of, try and outsource that.

I think, yeah, people do need to take an active role in their own finances, and so I think the financial coaching sounds like a brilliant thing for people to do if they’re not feeling very confident about their personal finances or they maybe just need a little bit more help, bit a one-on-one time I think it sounds like a bloody brilliant thing that you’re doing.

Barney: Just to add to that though, the people that I tend to see, Tend to be like way above average intelligence, above average income and above average kind of financial literacy. So , I’d love to say I was sort of, helping people that were kind of at the bottom of society struggling, but that’s typically not the customer demographic.

These are smart, capable, well-informed, intelligent people.

Captain Fi: Okay. So maybe just wanting to build up a little bit more confidence and just to make sure that they’re sort of on the right track.

Barney: Yeah. It’s that sort kind of second pair of eyes [00:49:00] that people that, like intelligent professionals, they may be perfectly capable and confident themselves, but they’re smart enough to know that.

They don’t know what they don’t know and that, they may not know their blind spots and they see the value in someone that’s kind of spent his life doing this stuff.

Captain Fi: Hey, well look, there’s a reason why most airplanes have two or more pilots, and that’s the exact same reason. We all have blind spots, and by working together, we can usually achieve better outcomes.

Yeah. Now Barney, I just wanna change gears a little bit. We’ve talked a bit about the escape artist and the tools that you offer. But I just want to ask a little bit more about your personal journey to five. That’s all right?

Barney: Sure.

Captain Fi: So look, the big one, the elephant in the room that everyone wants to hear.

What is your investing strategy? So what do you personally invest in and why?

Barney: So I am equity heavy. I try and keep things simple [00:50:00] where possible, so yes, I do quite a lot of research. I’ve gone down the crypto rabbit hole, for example.

I am interested in venture capital, but the great majority of my portfolio is in a simple vanguard global equities tracker fund. So, my net worth is my house which is mortgage free. It’s a bunch of money in a Vanguard Global Equities tracker fund. I’ve got a cash emergency fund, and then I’ve got some, like a spread of kind of slightly more exotic investments.

Captain Fi: Oh, interesting. So my next question was gonna be are you team pay down the mortgage team invest or a little of both, but I kind of get an inkling that you may have been the first is that right?

Barney: So I paid my mortgage off. when I was 36 this was back in the day, when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth.

And back then you were kind of incentivized. Interest rates were quite high and so you were [00:51:00] incentivized to pay down your mortgage also, I found it a very emotionally powerful target to aim for. And so I would, skip spending to funnel money towards mortgage pay down. Essentially cuz of the reasons I alluded to at the start of the podcast, which is, I’d seen what happens when you’ve got too big a mortgage and mortgage rates go up and suddenly, you’re struggling.

So I was always informed by that to want to get out of mortgage debt, a sap.

Captain Fi: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, mate. Now on your journey to fire, you mentioned that you had set a age goal of 40 and you retired at 43, so you put quite a lot of thought and planning towards fire. So did you have a fi number or a passive income that you wanted to generate?

And did you also have a target savings rate along the way?

Barney: So I didn’t, I mean, I would slightly disagree with how you framed it. I didn’t actually give it that much thought. I plucked the year 40 out of the air, [00:52:00] so I, yeah, I pulled that out of the air. There was no science behind the 40. When I was doing all this stuff there weren’t any financial independence blogs. I hadn’t read any of the books. There weren’t any fire podcasts, et cetera. So I was doing it on my own in the dark, stumbling around, making my own mistakes and kind of figuring it out as I went along.

again the 50% savings rate was essentially kind of plucked from the air. And it’s what I kind of negotiated with my wife, who was like, slightly more keen on spending than I was. I was obviously more keen on wealth building and mortgage paydown. So, it, it was a set of compromises experiments sort of switching between periods of spending more and spending less, kind of seeing what effect that had on, on my happiness, but also just dealing with the realities of, married life, having kids moving house.

You have to flex as you go along. [00:53:00] So I, that’s kind of one of the problems I have with, overly simplistic sort of fire blogs that sort of say, you get this job and then you do this for this 20 years, you keep this savings rate all the way through, that’s fine, but life doesn’t work in straight lines.

There’s always unexpected events. We’re always having to flex, adapt, be resourceful, resilient, change path, change strategy. You might have to change career. You might lose your job. You might lose people in your life. Relationships break down all of these things.

There’s a significant element of navigating uncertainty involved.

Captain Fi: you are right. There is a bit of a danger to being overly prescriptive and I think, being flexible and, having that agility is super important. It’s pretty impressive that you’ve managed to achieve what you have especially with such a large family.

And, having to navigate that with a partner that doesn’t necessarily agree eye to eye on everything can make it really challenging. I’m not married and I don’t have kids [00:54:00] yet, and that’s been a, I guess, a huge advantage to me on my sort of financial journey. But I have had relationships where I haven’t been on the same wavelength financially with a partner.

And in the end, , in some of those relationships, that’s kind of been a bit of a deal breaker.

Barney: Lemme ask you a question. Are you planning to have kids? Oh,

Captain Fi: absolutely. Yeah.

Barney: This is a big life decision, clearly.

And obviously , there’s a contradict there or attention if your goal in life is just to get to financial, in defense as quickly as possible and then like just accumulate more money. Having kids is not helpful for that. It’s what are we optimizing for here?

And so I, I actually did have a couple of articles on my blog, back in the day that, I got other people to write, the case for not having children and I got another person to write the case for having children. And I eventually came to the view that it I took those articles down because I don’t.

Want [00:55:00] to hand people a cookie cutter approach that says thou shall or shall not have kids. Cause I don’t think it’s very healthy to make that decision based on money and based on, does that delay me getting to the, this sort of magical kingdom of financial independence? Cause I think, I’m just not sure that’s the right way to look at it.

So the kids thing is a really interesting question and , to me it kind of highlights the problem with just kind of handing down just follow this very simple approach and you’ll reach this point at this age, and you’ll live this lifestyle.

It just it doesn’t kind of chime with what I see in financial coaching, which is just a great. Spread of different people, different ages, different strategies, different way to approach it.

Captain Fi: Yeah, absolutely. I think it can kind of be human nature to want to try and put some certainty or build some kind of certainty into what is inherently uncertain.[00:56:00]

And I know that’s been the case for me as well. And maybe the fire community would definitely overrepresented by mathematicians sort of economists, accountants, and engineers. We all typically like black and white, yes or no answers, although maybe less so economists.


Barney: That’s one of the reasons I called the blog the Escapee Artist. So it’s not the escapee engineer, it’s the escapee artist.

Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s like a nice subtlety. I didn’t actually pick up on that before. And in answering your question about kids, one of the reasons why I wanted to work towards financial independence was to have kids because my job was not very conducive to a successful family life.

I worked with, a lot of senior captains that might have been, on their sort of second or third divorce, and kids don’t really wanna speak to them anymore. And I guess it kind of speaks to my own father wound in that, I grew up without a dad. Well, I had a dad, but he just wasn’t interested in [00:57:00] me.

Or my brothers and sisters and who moved overseas and they said never really paid child support or contributed in any meaningful way to our childhood. And it put a lot of stress and pressure on my dear mum, right. And I saw just how hard she worked. And, looking back, I really appreciate everything she did for us.

But it made her life so hard. Trying to raise a big family alone. And so, One of my goals, I guess, was to be able to work, less either part-time or run my own business or maybe just do a couple of shifts a week. I know some pilots flying for Virgin that have a great lifestyle.

Maybe do two or three bids in a rolling, roster, fortnight roster and still earning quite good money. And so that was kind of the plan for me. So I wanted to be more of an active parent, take more of a active role in my children’s life. But, I guess, like you say, life doesn’t always work out how it’s planned.

I’m unfortunate that I’ve met a really lovely partner. She’s quite switched on financially. She works in [00:58:00] the medical field and yeah, we share a lot of values. And so we are, we’re just taken easy, not rushing into anything. And when the time comes hopefully I’ll be ready.

Barney: No that’s great. That’s great. And, a great situation to be in as a prospective parent.

Captain Fi: Yeah. Now, look, we’ve kind of, spoken about this a bit throughout this interview. But I guess I just want to reiterate it for the sake of the audience. And I guess these two questions are kind of really the same thing.

So I guess the first one was, what does financial independence mean to you? And the next one is, what does quote unquote early retirement look like for you? If at all? Now, I’m guessing they’re kind of gonna be answered by the same question, and you’ve alluded to the fact that you need projects, you need passion, you need engagement.

So what’s your take on that?

Barney: So . I think that you need something to do. And so people very often get a whole bunch of things from their job, which is not just money.[00:59:00] What do they get? They get a routine. They get a structure to their life. They get challenge, they get some element of teamwork.

Hopefully, perhaps they certainly get an element of socialization from it. And so those are all important things that, that somehow need to be either replaced or replicated or achieved kind of in other ways post-financial independence. And so at one end of the spectrum, that could be, well, you carry on working where post-financial independence in the same job.

and so you, you keep all those good elements, or it could be the other end of the spectrum. And this was closer to my what happened to me is you need to rebuild a new life or you need to discover a new life and build in new life and find ways to achieve those different elements consciously.

And so I think there’s two kind of forms of transition. There’s what I did and it sounds like what you [01:00:00] did, which is a cliff edge transition from where you go from working, very long hours, high pressure deadlines, essentially to nothing almost overnight. So you kind of fall off a cliff in terms of a number of hours worked.

So that’s a cliff edge transition. A glide path transition is a lot easier. And a lot more suitable for more people is where you kind of work flexibly change job or, work from home a bit more. Go down from five days a week to four days a week to three days a week, or you carry on doing what you’re doing, but you work as a consultant, contractor, interim, et cetera and you just kind of adjust the dial in a slightly more subtle way in order to maybe dial down the working hours a bit and dial up the freedom of it.

So you know that, that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re aiming for a sense of meaning, purpose fulfillment. We are [01:01:00] not just aiming for a number on the spreadsheet.

Captain Fi: Yeah, , it’s so much more than just a, a number.

And mate, I actually really like that terminology the glide path to retirement. I think the cliff edge for me was definitely quite abrupt. And it did basically leave me feeling like I was kind of falling. I guess I leaned pretty heavily into caring for my mum for a period of time. But certainly after she passed I definitely felt like I was sort of floating.

I didn’t really have that purpose. And it was quite unsettling. And so it’s nice to be able to be rediscovering a bit more passion personally for getting into it, like sort of blogging and podcasting and getting involved in community organizations and volunteering. Certainly.

Giving me a bit more of the passion, a bit more of the structure and the social interactions, which you mentioned before is like super

Barney: important. Yeah, I mean, I just ran a series of experiments, so I did some volunteering I worked I did volunteering for a nature charity and did some wildlife conservation stuff.

And I did some like fun minimum wage jobs. I [01:02:00] worked at the barman, worked at festivals stuff like that. And so, I tried different things. I ran different experiments. And I think that’s normal, healthy, but generally I think a glide path is easier than a cliff edge.


Captain Fi: a hundred percent. It’s funny my mentor, Matt, he refers to that as being called sampling from the smallest board of life. And if I had a dollar for every time he told me to do it, I’d be a rich man. Yeah. Awesome. Hey, I’ve had an absolute blast recording. Before we finish up, I just gotta ask you a few agonizing questions, which everyone seems to hate.

Oh, yeah. But I think they’re great because one of the ways that I’ve certainly learned is by looking at what successful and clever people are doing and trying to emulate them. And that includes where they’re reading what they’re listening to, and generally how they’re sort of prioritizing their lives.

so the first question is, and I know there’s probably quite a few but do you have a favorite [01:03:00] book or couple of books that you might recommend?

Barney: Well, the two favorite financial independence books would be one, the Millionaire Next Door, and Two Your Money Or Your Life. There are many others, but to me those are the OGs of the kind of the fire world.

I’m a big fan of reading lists and so I’ve got reading long personal finance, I’ve got personal finance reading list. I’ve got a kind of self-development reading list, health reading list, all these different areas are like super important, I mean, in many ways books are the ultimate life hack cuz , you take the knowledge that someone has built up over the course of their life and they’ve, spent two years distilling that down, digesting it down, and you can just.

Buy that for a few bucks on Amazon and get the benefit of incredible wisdom. So I think finding the right books, yeah is a superpower

Captain Fi: There two awesome reads. They’re both two of my [01:04:00] favorite books as well. And I’ll include, I’m gonna put your reading lists in the show notes as well.

So if anyone’s listening to this and wanting to have a look at Barney’s reading lists. Just go to the captain fire.com blog the episode of the Escape Artist. And just before we get to the transcript, you’re gonna have the show notes. And they’ll be linked in there or just basically Google the escape artist blog and head straight to Barney’s site and go through his navigation bar and you can access those.

Okay, so next agonizing question. So are you a podcast guy? Do you like listening to podcasts? Yep. Yep. Awesome. Absolutely. What are a couple of your favorite?

Barney: again you’d have to narrow it down for me in what sphere of life?

Captain Fi: Oh, look, I mean, I, a fairly open question. So I mean, obviously the topic here is finance, but there are a lot of parallels as we’ve talked about between, personal development health, fitness and food. But just genuinely interested to hear what you’re currently listening to. So it doesn’t have to be personal finance.

Barney: I don’t listen to any [01:05:00] personal finance podcasts. I just don’t know if the format works for it. Yep. I mean, you briefly mentioned like Ramit satis kind of TV thing earlier in the conversation, and again, , that for me didn’t work.

Actually I managed to sort of strong arm my family into watching that with me cause I kind of thought it would be good. It would be interesting kind of, financial education, but it got thumb, it got thumbs down from the wider household. I’m afraid my kids were not impressed.

Captain Fi: Oh, yeah.

It’s funny. Not everything’s gonna resonate. So I guess it’s important to find what does, and what I think is brilliant these days is there’s so many different ways to get information and education. Like you can read books, you’ve got documentaries, there’s blogs you can listen to podcasts, and even on social media now reels and tos.

 I mean, you’ll be careful, like there’s a lot of bullshit

Barney: I think my highest quality kind of most [01:06:00] underrated podcast at the moment would be one called Modern Wisdom. And it’s presented by quite an interesting guy. I think it’s called Chris Williamson, he’s a Brit who kind of originally got famous by being on one of these awful TV shows, like Love Island or something.

But he’s just built up a really thoughtful, nuanced, intelligent set of podcasts kind of dealing with the world and how to be how to kind of think more clearly in the world. And so there’s a bunch of themes dealt with on that. On that podcast. I mean, he does cover finance a little bit, but more so, health, more so stoicism more so male versus female kind of dilemmas in the modern dating market.

So it’s kind of a really interesting set of stuff that, that is covered very [01:07:00] badly by the mainstream media.

Captain Fi: Ah, cool. Actually I’m looking forward to having listened to that. I’ll put that on my playlist for when I go jogging. So check out the first episode tomorrow. Awesome mate. Look really appreciate your time.

Just finishing up now with the last question, and I think I know what these are gonna be. I was gonna ask what are your top three pieces of advice for someone pursuing fire? But I reckon you can probably give four. They might sound like the pillars.

Barney: Again, a lot of the teaching process, the communication process, the learning process and the internalization process is repetition.

So, it’s like, how do you get these messages into your brain? You need to repeat ’em over and over again. So my four pillars, it’s earn more, spend less, invest the difference wisely, and know how much is enough.

Captain Fi: There’s no need to overcomplicate it. I think that’s a pretty awesome finish right there.

Yeah. Brilliant, that makes a lot of sense. That last one’s super important too. , knowing how much is enough because, you can certainly keep going on this hamster wheel as long as you like. But [01:08:00] when you get off is you have to know when is enough. Right. And it’s a difficult question to answer.

Barney: Yeah. And I think that, , in many ways it’s helpful. Valuable and healthy to carry on earning post-financial independence. It’s certainly really important to keep , learning and growing. So, this idea of lifelong learning in some ways is not consistent with a sort of traditional retirement model where, you basically turn your brain off, go put around a golf course, and then wait to die.

better to kind of keep learning and growing, all throughout life.

Captain Fi: Absolutely lifelong learning. That was a key tenant in my role as a pilot as well. We always used to say, the day you stopped learning, it’s the day you should hang up your wings and stop flying.

Cause you become dangerous. Barney had an absolutely awesome time recording with you today. It’s been awesome to hear about your story escaping from the workplace and learning about what you [01:09:00] do on the Escape artist. If people wanna learn more about you or contact you, whereabouts can they go?

Barney: Yes. So the blog is www dot v escape artist or one word, me. So ww dot the Escape artist Me and that’s my internet headquarters.

Captain Fi: Okay, awesome. I’ll have a show notes to that in the blog and also notice you do social media, you’re on Twitter as well?

Barney: Yeah, I’m on Twitter. Awesome. I probably shouldn’t be, but I

Captain Fi: am now.

I know I spend way too much time there as well. Mate. Okay. I’ll chuck that in the show notes again. So, definitely recommend you check out Barney’s blog, the Escape Artist. Have a look. He’s got some really awesome articles up there and a few really great tools and resources, so encouraged to to go and check him out.

And definitely add him on Twitter if you have any questions. Barney, thanks so much for your time, mate. It’s been a pleasure.

Barney: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Cheers.

Captain Fi: Thanks for [01:10:00] listening to another episode of the Captain Fire Financial Independence Podcast. To read the transcripts or check out the show notes, head over to www.captainfire.com for all the details. If you have a question for the captain, make sure to get in touch. You might even make it on the airwaves.

You can reach me online through the Captain Fire contact form or get in touch through the socials. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a number of online finance and investing forums. And finally, remember the information presented on the show and the links provided are for general information purposes only.

They should not be taken as constituting professional financial advice. You should always do your own research when making any financial decisions and make sure it’s appropriate for your personal circumstance.[01:11:00]

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