title

House of FI

Wendy Mays and Timika Downes

3
Followers
18
Plays
House of FI
House of FI

House of FI

Wendy Mays and Timika Downes

3
Followers
18
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

Welcome to House of FI! We are glad you're here. Our mission is to help other families on the road to financial independence. If you dream of retiring early but are unsure how to do that AND raise your family, you are in the right place. Our guests will share their journey to financial independence, early retirement and debt freedom. Our guest experts will share valuable information that will help you get to your financial goals sooner. Come on in!

Latest Episodes

You Matter - Prioritizing Your WHY Even When It's Hard

Sometimes life can be so hectic and overwhelming. We get so involved in planning and checking off goals that the WHY of why we do it all anyway can get drowned out. In today's episode, Wendy and Curtis will be sharing about their week at the FI Chautauqua in Portugal and how being in the quiet of such a beautiful country surrounded by like-minded fellow-FIers helped them come to some hard decisions. Chautauqua also allowed Wendy and Curtis to look back and see how far they have come in the 365ish days since the last FI Chautauqua in Greece. In this past year, they have made some pretty out-of the box moves and well as some HUGE progress on their financial goals. They have paid off all their consumer debt. YES! They have cut their expenses by about $6500.00 A MONTH. A MONTH! You read that right. Wendy was able to close her law practice. Curtis and Wendy are able to support their 8 family household on one income for the first time in their lives. They are also under contract on four investment properties which will add another $1,100.00 of cash flow into their monthly budget. And finally, Curt and Wendy have increased the amount of Curt's contributions to his 403b and his 457. They are committed to increasing his contributions quarterly until both accounts are maxed out. What a difference one year makes. The difference is COMMUNITY. It has been widely quoted that you are a compilation of the five people you surround yourself with. YOU are this community and together we can all make a difference in each others lives. Lastly, Curt and Wendy share a major change for House of FI. We encourage you to listen to this episode and find out how you can stay informed about the future of the House of FI Podcast. There are several ways you can stay connected with Curtis and Wendy. 1. Join their Private Facebook Group 2. Join their newsletter

16 MINOCT 16
Comments
You Matter - Prioritizing Your WHY Even When It's Hard

ENCORE Episode Creating a $45,000 a Year Side-Hustle

There is no one way to Financial Independence. However, if you want to speed up your timeline to Financial Independence and Early Retirement - one of the best ways to do that is to increase your income via a side-hustle or a small business. Today we share one of our favorite side-hustler extraordinaires, Julie, from the Millennial Boss blog and The Fire Drill Podcast. Not only is Julie killing it in her regular jobs, but she blogs, podcasts and has found multiple ways to add income into her budget via other side-business, like an ETSY shop. We have been SUPER inspired by her story and hope you are too! AND you are listening just in time to hear that the courses she has mentioned will be opening up again soon in November. If you would like to get on the list to be notified of when they open, follow the links below. When you use our links, it is tracked and we get credit for a portion of the sale if you eventually decide to take one of their courses. SIGN UP WITH OUR LINK HERE The proceeds help you support our show and we thank you in advance for showing us a little love. As a show of our gratitude, when you sign up using one of our links, we will email you a copy of our printable Financial Planner Bundle for FREE. (You must have a confirmed purchase via the link to receive the download for free.) If you would like to purchase our Money Foundations Financial Planner Bundle, you can do that HERE.

52 MINOCT 2
Comments
ENCORE Episode Creating a $45,000 a Year Side-Hustle

1st Generation Immigrant - the Climb from Poverty to Financial Independence

Patrick Aime grew up in poverty and unrest in Rwanda but he had a dream of coming to the United States to make his own destiny. His pathway to the United States was via sports. First, he finished high school in Belgium and then came to the United States to play basketball in college. In this Encore Episode, you will hear how Patrick achieved made his way to America - achieved success, made a lot of money and then lost it all. It was devastating, but Patrick used the grit and determination that got him to the U.S. to rebuild himself a second time. This time he understood the value of money and what he needed to do to rebuild his future. He saved and spent well. Now Patrick has retired in his forties, he is Financially Independent and spends his time between one of his residences in Cabo San Lucas and San Diego.

42 MINSEP 25
Comments
1st Generation Immigrant - the Climb from Poverty to Financial Independence

Encore Episode - From 70 Hours a Week to Stay at Home Dad

This week, we speak with Dan Shaw. In this encore episode, we will hear how Dan engineered his retirement in just five years. He was working 60-70 hours a week and was miserable. He decided he had had enough and after a particularly hard day at work began executing a plan to become Financially Independent. He and his wife buckled down on their spending, ramped up their retirement accounts, optimized their taxes and increased their income via rental properties. He and his wife hit their goal in five years! Now Dan is retired and gets to spend most days with his two daughters as manage his rental properties and projects at home. It's a really great episode to hear some excellent tactics you can apply to your own FI/RE journey.

31 MINSEP 18
Comments
Encore Episode - From 70 Hours a Week to Stay at Home Dad

Increase Your Savings Rate the Fourth Tenet of the FIRE Movement

In today's bonus episode, Wendy and Curtis discuss the fourth tenet of the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Movement - which is to increase your savings rate. In previous episodes we discussed the previous three tenets which are: 1. Rejecting Consumerism 2. Redefining Retirement 3. Tax Optimization A good portion of the United States population has saved less than $200,000.00 towards their retirement. Many will simply have Social Security as their only means of income upon retirement. In a recent CNBC article, they state that many experts recommend people save seven times their annual income for retirement. This is stark contrast to the minimum suggested by the FIRE community, which is at least 25 times your living expenses. To achieve that number, it is not unusual for members of the community to save upwards of 40%, 50% or even 75%. If you are not able to save that much, does that mean you are excluded from the FIRE community? OF COURSE NOT. The point is to strive to increase your savings rate as much as you are able to. One step we have taken to increase our savings rate is to allocate all raises and extra income earned to our retirement. This automatically increases your savings rate. We hope this episode has been helpful to you. If you want to help create a solid money foundation and get your financial house in order, we invite you to participate in our FREE 7-step Money Foundations Course.

16 MINSEP 13
Comments
Increase Your Savings Rate the Fourth Tenet of the FIRE Movement

Suddenly Single - Parenting and Financial Insecurity

Eleven years ago Dawn Holley found herself single after the unexpected death of her husband. As anyone can imagine, her world was turned upside down. In this episode, we have a candid discussion with Dawn about the challenges of parenting and picking up the pieces of her life financially unprepared. With no safety net, Dawn had to make very quick decisions about what items she could sell in her home - just to survive. She packed up what was left and moved herself and her son into her parents home. As she and her son attempted to pick up the pieces, Dawn took the first job she could find, but the pay was not much and covered just enough for daycare for her son and for food. Dawn knew that she needed to increase the income she was earning at the time, of about $20,000.00 to at least six figures. From there she was very deliberate in deciding what type of career she wanted. Some of the requirements Dawn decided on were: 1. They had to be within driving distance of her parents so she could continue to live for free. 2. She had to have the ability to earn six figures. 3. The program had to be free - so she would not incur any debt. Dawn eventually found an accelerated federal program that was one year and was free. (AMAZING RIGHT?) She then treated every clinic she worked in while she was in the program as a job interview. Her thought was that she was building relationships that could help her after she graduated. After several years of hard work and of strategically moving her way up - Dawn reached her goal of six figures. She is now focusing on creating multiple streams of income as she pursues Financial Independence. In addition to her income from wages, she is building her rental income portfolio and other business endeavors. Where Can You Find Dawn: Stepping Stones to FI Dawn's Favorite Read: The One Thing

42 MINSEP 11
Comments
Suddenly Single - Parenting and Financial Insecurity

Investing in Real Estate to Reach Financial Independence

In this encore episode, we discuss how to use real estate investing as a means to Financial Independence. As we dive into our first go at real estate investing (well, really our second - but that's a whole notha' story), we thought this was a perfect show to come back to as we update you on our progress. David Greene of Bigger Pockets was our guest on this episode and it is a great overview of the BRRRR method of real estate investing. It's a really great show. We will see you all back here on Friday! Where you can find David: His Website Instagram Facebook

53 MINSEP 4
Comments
Investing in Real Estate to Reach Financial Independence

BONUS Episode - Redefining Retirement, How We Plan to Retire at 55

In today's show, we discuss the Second Tenet of FI which is Redefining Retirement. For some, that means retiring in the traditional sense and not working at all; for others, it simply means choice or freedom to do what you want. This may mean working on passion projects or just working less. It also means rejecting the traditional retirement age of between 65 and 75. Choice, Freedom and Retiring "to" something were the common themes when others were asked what Financial Independence means for them. Financial Independence means you have enough passive income via investments to cover your living expenses when you choose to retire. For many, that means they have saved at least 25 times their annual expenses. Then, based upon a safe withdrawal rate of 4%, you are free to withdraw that amount every year to live on. If you want to get a more in-depth explanation, this article from Kiplinger is one we refer back to often. It is important to remember that the 4% rule is simply a guideline and you may need to adjust up or down depending on a variety of factors. Another way, and the one we plan to use to retire at 55, is to have income properties that generate an annual income at least equal to our living expenses. Our plan is to continue to invest in low-cost index funds but we do not intend to draw upon them if we don't have to. If all goes as planned, our index funds will be left as a legacy for our children.

10 MINAUG 30
Comments
BONUS Episode - Redefining Retirement, How We Plan to Retire at 55

How to Travel the World with Kids

Is it your dream to travel the world, but the one thing that prevents you is that you have children? In today's episode, we talk to Vicki Van Essen, who has traveled the world full time with her husband and children for the past year. When asked if it was everything she dreamed of, she responded... ...you'll have to listen to the full episode to hear her response! IT BEGAN WITH AN IDEA The dream began percolating several years ago before Vicki's second son was born. She and her husband, who is from Morocco, each had family ties to other countries and really wanted to travel more. The more the desire grew, Vicki began researching whether or not it was even possible. GETTING CONNECTED One of the first things Vicki did was to get connected with other people who were traveling the world or who wanted to travel the world with children. She connected with other parents in a Facebook group. It was through this group that she began to develop the idea and really begin to think of what it would take to implement such a wild plan. Would her husband truly be on board? DEVELOPING A PLAN To her elated surprise, her husband very quickly was on board with the idea. They would need to think about several things: Income Cost Housing Visa/other travel restrictions Healthcare and other insurance Schooling Lack of family friends Alone time In the episode, you'll hear how Vicki and her husband tackled each one of these issues. We also discuss the most family-friendly countries as well as whether or not they had any cause for concern as a multi-cultural family. VICKI'S TIP FOR MAKING THIS LIFESTYLE WORK: It is important to check-in with every family member to make sure they are ok with the arrangement. Because if it's not working for one family member, it's not working for anybody. STAGES OF FI Before leaving to travel the world, Vicki and her husband were "Coast FI" this gave her and her husband assurances that they would be OK financially. DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AS A FAMILY? Vicki suggested checking off some of these boxes first: Passports Where you want to go and how long you can stay there Health insurance and/or travel insurance Know your budget and expected budget while traveling VICKI ON THE FINAL QUESTIONS Money lessons from childhood? Vicki remembers her mother asking, "do you really need that?" This has helped her in life and during travel. Lessons she would like to pass on to her children: Money translates into freedom. WHERE TO FIND VICKI Instagram - onewayticketfamily Onewayticketfamily.com Other Resources Mentioned: Worldschoolers Facebook Group VICKI'S FAVORITE READ Blog: Our Next Life

43 MINAUG 28
Comments
How to Travel the World with Kids

BONUS Episode - The Tenets of FI/RE

As the FI/RE movement becomes more mainstream, explaining what the core values and beliefs are can be daunting. In this episode, Wendy and Curtis explain six of the core tenets of the community. Each tenet also embraces specific actions, mindsets, and strategies that flow from the core tenet. THE SIX FI/RE TENETS 1. Rejection of Consumerism 2. Redefining Retirement 3. Tax Optimization 4. Increased Savings Rate 5. Community 6. Life-Optimization In this episode, we discuss the first tenet, REJECTION OF CONSUMERISM Embracing frugality - but not at the expense of things that bring value or joy (not deprivation) Not keeping up with the Joneses Minimalism Materialism does not equate to happiness Elimination of Debt Reduction of Spending (cutting cable, reducing housing costs, buying used cars, cutting grocery/food expenses) YOUR WHY One of the first steps to embracing this journey is to really understand WHY you want to obtain Financial Independence. What is your reason? For us - it is Legacy and creating a different future for our children. We are doing that by saving more, spending less and increasing our income.

10 MINAUG 23
Comments
BONUS Episode - The Tenets of FI/RE

Latest Episodes

You Matter - Prioritizing Your WHY Even When It's Hard

Sometimes life can be so hectic and overwhelming. We get so involved in planning and checking off goals that the WHY of why we do it all anyway can get drowned out. In today's episode, Wendy and Curtis will be sharing about their week at the FI Chautauqua in Portugal and how being in the quiet of such a beautiful country surrounded by like-minded fellow-FIers helped them come to some hard decisions. Chautauqua also allowed Wendy and Curtis to look back and see how far they have come in the 365ish days since the last FI Chautauqua in Greece. In this past year, they have made some pretty out-of the box moves and well as some HUGE progress on their financial goals. They have paid off all their consumer debt. YES! They have cut their expenses by about $6500.00 A MONTH. A MONTH! You read that right. Wendy was able to close her law practice. Curtis and Wendy are able to support their 8 family household on one income for the first time in their lives. They are also under contract on four investment properties which will add another $1,100.00 of cash flow into their monthly budget. And finally, Curt and Wendy have increased the amount of Curt's contributions to his 403b and his 457. They are committed to increasing his contributions quarterly until both accounts are maxed out. What a difference one year makes. The difference is COMMUNITY. It has been widely quoted that you are a compilation of the five people you surround yourself with. YOU are this community and together we can all make a difference in each others lives. Lastly, Curt and Wendy share a major change for House of FI. We encourage you to listen to this episode and find out how you can stay informed about the future of the House of FI Podcast. There are several ways you can stay connected with Curtis and Wendy. 1. Join their Private Facebook Group 2. Join their newsletter

16 MINOCT 16
Comments
You Matter - Prioritizing Your WHY Even When It's Hard

ENCORE Episode Creating a $45,000 a Year Side-Hustle

There is no one way to Financial Independence. However, if you want to speed up your timeline to Financial Independence and Early Retirement - one of the best ways to do that is to increase your income via a side-hustle or a small business. Today we share one of our favorite side-hustler extraordinaires, Julie, from the Millennial Boss blog and The Fire Drill Podcast. Not only is Julie killing it in her regular jobs, but she blogs, podcasts and has found multiple ways to add income into her budget via other side-business, like an ETSY shop. We have been SUPER inspired by her story and hope you are too! AND you are listening just in time to hear that the courses she has mentioned will be opening up again soon in November. If you would like to get on the list to be notified of when they open, follow the links below. When you use our links, it is tracked and we get credit for a portion of the sale if you eventually decide to take one of their courses. SIGN UP WITH OUR LINK HERE The proceeds help you support our show and we thank you in advance for showing us a little love. As a show of our gratitude, when you sign up using one of our links, we will email you a copy of our printable Financial Planner Bundle for FREE. (You must have a confirmed purchase via the link to receive the download for free.) If you would like to purchase our Money Foundations Financial Planner Bundle, you can do that HERE.

52 MINOCT 2
Comments
ENCORE Episode Creating a $45,000 a Year Side-Hustle

1st Generation Immigrant - the Climb from Poverty to Financial Independence

Patrick Aime grew up in poverty and unrest in Rwanda but he had a dream of coming to the United States to make his own destiny. His pathway to the United States was via sports. First, he finished high school in Belgium and then came to the United States to play basketball in college. In this Encore Episode, you will hear how Patrick achieved made his way to America - achieved success, made a lot of money and then lost it all. It was devastating, but Patrick used the grit and determination that got him to the U.S. to rebuild himself a second time. This time he understood the value of money and what he needed to do to rebuild his future. He saved and spent well. Now Patrick has retired in his forties, he is Financially Independent and spends his time between one of his residences in Cabo San Lucas and San Diego.

42 MINSEP 25
Comments
1st Generation Immigrant - the Climb from Poverty to Financial Independence

Encore Episode - From 70 Hours a Week to Stay at Home Dad

This week, we speak with Dan Shaw. In this encore episode, we will hear how Dan engineered his retirement in just five years. He was working 60-70 hours a week and was miserable. He decided he had had enough and after a particularly hard day at work began executing a plan to become Financially Independent. He and his wife buckled down on their spending, ramped up their retirement accounts, optimized their taxes and increased their income via rental properties. He and his wife hit their goal in five years! Now Dan is retired and gets to spend most days with his two daughters as manage his rental properties and projects at home. It's a really great episode to hear some excellent tactics you can apply to your own FI/RE journey.

31 MINSEP 18
Comments
Encore Episode - From 70 Hours a Week to Stay at Home Dad

Increase Your Savings Rate the Fourth Tenet of the FIRE Movement

In today's bonus episode, Wendy and Curtis discuss the fourth tenet of the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Movement - which is to increase your savings rate. In previous episodes we discussed the previous three tenets which are: 1. Rejecting Consumerism 2. Redefining Retirement 3. Tax Optimization A good portion of the United States population has saved less than $200,000.00 towards their retirement. Many will simply have Social Security as their only means of income upon retirement. In a recent CNBC article, they state that many experts recommend people save seven times their annual income for retirement. This is stark contrast to the minimum suggested by the FIRE community, which is at least 25 times your living expenses. To achieve that number, it is not unusual for members of the community to save upwards of 40%, 50% or even 75%. If you are not able to save that much, does that mean you are excluded from the FIRE community? OF COURSE NOT. The point is to strive to increase your savings rate as much as you are able to. One step we have taken to increase our savings rate is to allocate all raises and extra income earned to our retirement. This automatically increases your savings rate. We hope this episode has been helpful to you. If you want to help create a solid money foundation and get your financial house in order, we invite you to participate in our FREE 7-step Money Foundations Course.

16 MINSEP 13
Comments
Increase Your Savings Rate the Fourth Tenet of the FIRE Movement

Suddenly Single - Parenting and Financial Insecurity

Eleven years ago Dawn Holley found herself single after the unexpected death of her husband. As anyone can imagine, her world was turned upside down. In this episode, we have a candid discussion with Dawn about the challenges of parenting and picking up the pieces of her life financially unprepared. With no safety net, Dawn had to make very quick decisions about what items she could sell in her home - just to survive. She packed up what was left and moved herself and her son into her parents home. As she and her son attempted to pick up the pieces, Dawn took the first job she could find, but the pay was not much and covered just enough for daycare for her son and for food. Dawn knew that she needed to increase the income she was earning at the time, of about $20,000.00 to at least six figures. From there she was very deliberate in deciding what type of career she wanted. Some of the requirements Dawn decided on were: 1. They had to be within driving distance of her parents so she could continue to live for free. 2. She had to have the ability to earn six figures. 3. The program had to be free - so she would not incur any debt. Dawn eventually found an accelerated federal program that was one year and was free. (AMAZING RIGHT?) She then treated every clinic she worked in while she was in the program as a job interview. Her thought was that she was building relationships that could help her after she graduated. After several years of hard work and of strategically moving her way up - Dawn reached her goal of six figures. She is now focusing on creating multiple streams of income as she pursues Financial Independence. In addition to her income from wages, she is building her rental income portfolio and other business endeavors. Where Can You Find Dawn: Stepping Stones to FI Dawn's Favorite Read: The One Thing

42 MINSEP 11
Comments
Suddenly Single - Parenting and Financial Insecurity

Investing in Real Estate to Reach Financial Independence

In this encore episode, we discuss how to use real estate investing as a means to Financial Independence. As we dive into our first go at real estate investing (well, really our second - but that's a whole notha' story), we thought this was a perfect show to come back to as we update you on our progress. David Greene of Bigger Pockets was our guest on this episode and it is a great overview of the BRRRR method of real estate investing. It's a really great show. We will see you all back here on Friday! Where you can find David: His Website Instagram Facebook

53 MINSEP 4
Comments
Investing in Real Estate to Reach Financial Independence

BONUS Episode - Redefining Retirement, How We Plan to Retire at 55

In today's show, we discuss the Second Tenet of FI which is Redefining Retirement. For some, that means retiring in the traditional sense and not working at all; for others, it simply means choice or freedom to do what you want. This may mean working on passion projects or just working less. It also means rejecting the traditional retirement age of between 65 and 75. Choice, Freedom and Retiring "to" something were the common themes when others were asked what Financial Independence means for them. Financial Independence means you have enough passive income via investments to cover your living expenses when you choose to retire. For many, that means they have saved at least 25 times their annual expenses. Then, based upon a safe withdrawal rate of 4%, you are free to withdraw that amount every year to live on. If you want to get a more in-depth explanation, this article from Kiplinger is one we refer back to often. It is important to remember that the 4% rule is simply a guideline and you may need to adjust up or down depending on a variety of factors. Another way, and the one we plan to use to retire at 55, is to have income properties that generate an annual income at least equal to our living expenses. Our plan is to continue to invest in low-cost index funds but we do not intend to draw upon them if we don't have to. If all goes as planned, our index funds will be left as a legacy for our children.

10 MINAUG 30
Comments
BONUS Episode - Redefining Retirement, How We Plan to Retire at 55

How to Travel the World with Kids

Is it your dream to travel the world, but the one thing that prevents you is that you have children? In today's episode, we talk to Vicki Van Essen, who has traveled the world full time with her husband and children for the past year. When asked if it was everything she dreamed of, she responded... ...you'll have to listen to the full episode to hear her response! IT BEGAN WITH AN IDEA The dream began percolating several years ago before Vicki's second son was born. She and her husband, who is from Morocco, each had family ties to other countries and really wanted to travel more. The more the desire grew, Vicki began researching whether or not it was even possible. GETTING CONNECTED One of the first things Vicki did was to get connected with other people who were traveling the world or who wanted to travel the world with children. She connected with other parents in a Facebook group. It was through this group that she began to develop the idea and really begin to think of what it would take to implement such a wild plan. Would her husband truly be on board? DEVELOPING A PLAN To her elated surprise, her husband very quickly was on board with the idea. They would need to think about several things: Income Cost Housing Visa/other travel restrictions Healthcare and other insurance Schooling Lack of family friends Alone time In the episode, you'll hear how Vicki and her husband tackled each one of these issues. We also discuss the most family-friendly countries as well as whether or not they had any cause for concern as a multi-cultural family. VICKI'S TIP FOR MAKING THIS LIFESTYLE WORK: It is important to check-in with every family member to make sure they are ok with the arrangement. Because if it's not working for one family member, it's not working for anybody. STAGES OF FI Before leaving to travel the world, Vicki and her husband were "Coast FI" this gave her and her husband assurances that they would be OK financially. DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AS A FAMILY? Vicki suggested checking off some of these boxes first: Passports Where you want to go and how long you can stay there Health insurance and/or travel insurance Know your budget and expected budget while traveling VICKI ON THE FINAL QUESTIONS Money lessons from childhood? Vicki remembers her mother asking, "do you really need that?" This has helped her in life and during travel. Lessons she would like to pass on to her children: Money translates into freedom. WHERE TO FIND VICKI Instagram - onewayticketfamily Onewayticketfamily.com Other Resources Mentioned: Worldschoolers Facebook Group VICKI'S FAVORITE READ Blog: Our Next Life

43 MINAUG 28
Comments
How to Travel the World with Kids

BONUS Episode - The Tenets of FI/RE

As the FI/RE movement becomes more mainstream, explaining what the core values and beliefs are can be daunting. In this episode, Wendy and Curtis explain six of the core tenets of the community. Each tenet also embraces specific actions, mindsets, and strategies that flow from the core tenet. THE SIX FI/RE TENETS 1. Rejection of Consumerism 2. Redefining Retirement 3. Tax Optimization 4. Increased Savings Rate 5. Community 6. Life-Optimization In this episode, we discuss the first tenet, REJECTION OF CONSUMERISM Embracing frugality - but not at the expense of things that bring value or joy (not deprivation) Not keeping up with the Joneses Minimalism Materialism does not equate to happiness Elimination of Debt Reduction of Spending (cutting cable, reducing housing costs, buying used cars, cutting grocery/food expenses) YOUR WHY One of the first steps to embracing this journey is to really understand WHY you want to obtain Financial Independence. What is your reason? For us - it is Legacy and creating a different future for our children. We are doing that by saving more, spending less and increasing our income.

10 MINAUG 23
Comments
BONUS Episode - The Tenets of FI/RE
hmly
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