Journey to Freedom
By Meg Nordmann
Join author Meg Nordmann on her family’s journey to financial freedom. On her quest to reclaim her time & therefore her life, Meg has embraced a combination of minimalism, sustainability, Stoicism, frugality, slow living and investment knowledge to achieve financial independence. Time is our most valuable asset. You can get out of the “hamster wheel” that society has put us in and achieve a more free life with ample time to pursue your dreams. It requires strategy and discipline, but it is not impossible. Follow along to learn from Meg and others how you, too, can be more free.
Ep. 13 - Why AirBnB Vacation Rentals Are Not "Passive" Income, But So Worth It
When we began looking into short term vacation rental investing, we thought of it as "passive income." But I laugh heartily at the thought of calling any of this “passive.” IT IS WORK. HARD WORK. I wanted to give you an honest description of what actively managing just two vacation rentals looks like in order to get the high return that you want. In the first half of today's episode, I give you a realistic idea of the time and expense involved in running one, but in the second half of the episode I talk numbers with you and go over why the "Return on Cash" is so fantastic with these types of rentals. If this is a type of investing you've considered before, you should know what you’re getting into so you can better decide if this is an investment path you want. Click here to see the numbers and equations discussed. megnordmann.com @megnordmann on Insta & Twitter Sign up for weekly email updates from me here.
July 28, 2021
Ep. 12 - Beth Inglish on Investing in Your Creative Self
Today I'm speaking with Beth Inglish, who happens to be an old friend from my Nashville days early in my career, and is now a professional motivational speaker and artist with a mission to connect people and to teach them how to put their creativity to work. She's built her entire life on openness, creativity and connection, and now she's teaching large audiences to feel the same way. She's blended her experiences with trauma recovery with 13 years of art-making and community leadership into a simple message--to change how people feel. She’s been a creative with a capital C all her life--she’s a visual artist, a musician, a writer, dancer, a stand-up comedian and a fabulous storyteller. Her artwork has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows, public art installations, murals in the homes and offices of private collectors around the world, and even on the outside of a city bus. It’s hard to describe what her art looks like---it’s so expressionist and abstract and colorful and joyful. I’ll put some images in the Show Notes so you can take a look.One of Beth's most significant contribution to her community in Nashville was founding and directing the Nashville Creative Group, which is now an over 9,000-member group of both online and in-person meetups for creatives in Tennessee. Since 2012, the group has had around 100 in-person meetups and inspired an artistic renaissance in Middle Tennessee while simultaneously providing a safe haven of community, expression and connection. It has also provided a model for other cities in bringing forth renewed artistic expression for their city and support its creative class. We talk about this further in our conversation today. So now Beth has taken everything she's learned from these experiences and speaks to audiences across the U.S. Recently, she's spoken to audiences at University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, Bridgestone and Salesforce. I’m so honored to have such an inspiring, intelligent and joyful friend such as Beth in my life and I’m delighted to share her with you all today. While I have plenty of interviews scheduled to chat about investing and financial freedom, I really want to continue mixing in conversations that help with mindset as well. Because that is step one on any journey to freedom--no matter what your end goal is. If you can master your own mind and emotions and harness that in a positive way, then you will be unstoppable and simply enjoy the ride as well. I think you’ll come away from this conversation feeling quite motivated and energized. If you take anything from this conversation, I hope it’s that investing in yourself is the best investment you could make. You’ll hear a lot about the arts in this conversation, but I hope you see that no matter what industry you are in, I’d say all of this still applies. And with that, let’s dive into today’s show. Connect with Beth: bethinglish.com bethinglish.com/hello @bethinglish on Insta Nashville Creative Group Beth on YouTube Episode Show Notes & Photos of Beth's art: megnordmann.com @megnordmann on Insta & Twitter
July 21, 2021
Ep. 11 - Friday Bonus: Ready to Design Your Dream Lifestyle & Build Wealth? Start Living From Your Future
Today's episode is a Friday Bonus--something I'd love to begin doing so that I can add some more mindset tips and non-interview content to the "Journey to Freedom" podcast. Today's show comes from a blog I published recently. You can read the blog here, if you'd like to see a "transcript" of today's show. Preview: If you want to achieve something wildly different from your present, then you have to break the habit of being your current self. To get from Point A to Point B you have to stop living your same ways. It’s been said by neuroscientists “What fires together, wires together” which is referring to the neurological pathways you build in your brain. It will take a repetitive mental rehearsal to build an entirely new way of thinking…which will eventually take you to any goal you may have. I’d like to break down just one of the mindset hacks that I’ve learned over the years that has helped me to achieve many big goals, including one of the most ambitious ones to date: F.I.R.E. (financial independence to retire early). For me, achieving FIRE was not just about hitting a certain number in the bank account. It’s really about lifestyle design–intentionally shaping the best version of your life. It just so happens that figuring out how to take away the stress of finances or the stress of relying on a tradition paycheck for income is a major facet of lifestyle design for most people. “Living from your future” is the best way to reshape your life into what you are aiming to achieve. In order to live from your future, you need to dream big and get very clear on what that dream looks like and feels like. More: megnordmann.com @megnordmann on Insta & Twitter
July 16, 2021
Ep. 10 - (Meet my husband, Jeremy) Former Mechanic Now Enjoys a "Life on F.I.R.E."
So this week’s podcast episode bio will be a little different than usual. No Forbes articles and blogger awards to list out and such. But man, is he awesome in all the other ways! This week, I can’t wait for you to meet my husband, Jeremy Fowler. He’s amazing. Originally from lower Alabama, he attended the University of South Alabama and Faulkner University for civil engineering and explored all sorts of engineering, until at the very end, realized he would make more money and --enjoy more-- being an auto mechanic. Which he did enjoy very much until...he didn’t. To be clear, he does still love mechanic work, he just no longer enjoys working for a boss for a dealership or for anyone else. So after 15 to 20 years, he officially had his last day of work on April 12th, 2021. Three months ago, almost to the day today. He’s so much more than that job, though. Jeremy is an avid surfer...he lives and breathes the ocean. He barely owns any clothes--he just lives in swim trunks, barefoot and bare-chested 99% of the time. (No complaints from me…) He also is a passionate woodworker. He’s always been a builder, an engineer, a tinkerer, an inventor, an incredibly handy and curious and mathematical minded man who loves to take things apart and rebuild them and make them better. He’s always dabbled in woodworking but he’s finally getting the opportunity to put in the time to try and master it, now that he’s retired. So these days, I’m getting used to seeing a layer of sawdust on him. Salt and sawdust. He’s also a musician. It’s how we met, actually. I had just turned 20 and it was the day before he turned 24 and I wandered into the bar where he was playing with his rock band--which he’d been playing with since he was like 14 years old--he was the lead singer and bass player and wrote most of their music. He still picks up his guitar and plays pretty much every day. He still dabbles with writing and is always working on a new song to learn. He’s got a great voice. He’s always reading a book or listening to an audiobook or binging some podcast. He never stops learning. He doesn't really do downtime. His downtime means he’s learning how to do something new by watching someone on YouTube. He just doesn’t sit still. But it’s a burning curiosity that drives him--not busyness, which so many people fall into that trap. He just wants to learn and create and I love that about him. He loves to cook. He loves to bake. He loves to garden. He’s unbelievably frugal. He’s an enthusiastic cyclist. He’s an adventurer. He’s traveled to 26 countries now and is nowhere done scratching more off of his bucket list. He’s a father to two adorable little girls, a 2 & 4 year old, who he is constantly teaching and playing with--he’s an amazing Dad. And he’s my husband. We met fourteen years ago and we’ve been married now for 5. It’s been a Great Love. So with that as his bio, let me introduce you to my husband, Jeremy Fowler, who was a little begrudging to sit down and do this, but I’m so glad he did. Tune in to today's episode to hear about what his FIRE lifestyle has been like thus far, and his strategy with investing. We talk about his childhood and how that affected his relationship with money and the big gems of knowledge he discovered in his teens and early twenties that shifted his mindset towards money, saving and investing. Photos & Show Notes: megnordmann.com @megnordmann on Insta & Twitter
July 14, 2021
Ep. 9 - Lessons Learned from Minimalism with Diane Boden
Today on the Journey to Freedom podcast, I have a conversation with Diane Boden, also known as The Minimalist Mom. Diane is the voice behind the top-rated podcast, the Minimalist Moms, which began in 2016, where she spreads her ideas on minimalism during the chaos of motherhood and interviews others in regards to living a life in the pursuit of less. Her goal is simply: think more and do with less. Diane has been featured on other popular podcasts: Find the Magic, With Intention, Pure Nurture, Sustainable Minimalists, The Simple Home Podcast and many others that I’ve also been tuning into for years. She’s been featured in 614Magazine and Columbus Parent magazine. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three children. You can follow her at @dianeboden on Instagram or “Like” the Minimalist Moms page on Facebook. You can also follow the podcast at @minimalistmomspodcast on Instagram for weekly motivation and encouragement. Diane has also just recently published her first book, titled “Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity.” Her book gives the tools to begin curating and editing their home and lifestyle so that they can gain their time, space and sanity back again. This is the Journey to Freedom podcast and it’s not just financial freedom that I want to explore here, it’s all types of freedom--especially time freedom. Learn more about Diane at: https://minimalistmomspodcast.com/ Show Notes: megnordmann.com @MegNordmann on Instagram or Twitter
July 7, 2021
Ep. 8 - Frugality and Investing to Build Serious Wealth: The Millennial Money Woman
Today, I’m thrilled to be chatting with Fiona Smith, better known as “The Millennial Money Woman,” where she blogs about personal finance on her site under the same name: themillennialmoneywoman.com. I’ve been following Fiona, along with around 50 thousand others who follow her, on Twitter at @The_MMW for some time now and I’m so stoked to sit down to have a conversation with the blogger who is taking the finance scene by storm. She’s a contributor to Forbes and the Budgets Are Sexy site (which you may remember from episode 7) and has been featured and quoted as a pundit on many other finance media outlets. Her site has been listed as a Top 50 Personal Finance Blog and continues to be one of the fastest growing finance blogs today. The Millennial Money Woman has a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning and dove head first into gaining as much knowledge as she could in her younger years so she could get a headstart in the game. With that newfound knowledge and healthy money habits, she purchased her first home at 23 and co-founded a community non-profit to help young professionals improve financial literacy. She’s currently on track to become a millionaire in just a few short years, by the age of 30. Fiona’s goal is to distill the tens of thousands of hours of reading, brainstorming and real life experience she’s had so far in finance and pass it down to YOU. And since this is the goal with the “Journey to Freedom”podcast as well, I’m excited to learn from her and to share this conversation with you all to help you along on your own journey to a more free and fulfilling life. Topics covered: Some of the things we chat about is how she began investing at such a young age--in her early teens. All about her nonprofit that helps with financial literacy and how she quit her corporate job to become a full-time entrepreneur. She gives 3 fun frugal tips that will shift how you want to spend your money and how you could be creative with things you THINK you have to purchase. We talk about the fear of failure and the mindset difference between poor people and wealthy people. After a short commercial break we get into the Dollar Cost Averaging strategy with stocks and debunk three myths that many Millennials believe. We’ll talk about renting versus buying, fractional shares and the difference between cash value/whole life insurance versus term life insurance and so much more. As you can see, there’s a lot jam-packed into this conversation which is what I love. It’s such an amazing opportunity to get high-performers like Fiona on the phone so I can pick their brains on every topic under the sun so that hopefully everyone listening will gain at least one valuable mindset shift or tactical advice that will edge them even closer to their goals on their own Journey to Freedom. https://themillennialmoneywoman.com/ Show Notes & links to all resources discussed in today's episode can be found at megnordmann.com
June 30, 2021
Ep. 7 - J. Money on Minimalism in Business and Finance
Today, I’m speaking with J. Money, who is probably one of the most well-known figures in the personal finance blogging space. A father of three, a self-proclaimed minimalist, an avid coin collector and hip-hop fan, J. Money is also an award-winning personal finance blogger with over 12 industry awards, such as “Blog of the Year” and a “Lifetime Achievement” award. He’s been named a Top “Social Influencer” in personal finance & wealth and is consistently featured in media such as Forbes, Inc Magazine, New York Times, LA Times, Kiplinger, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider. He most recently launched a new curation project in partnership with The Motley Fool called “All-Star Money” . With over a decade building communities online, Jay’s projects have now reached over 40 million views. J. Money’s blogging career began with a financial blunder and since then he’s been a very transparent money experimenter and his projects continue to connect the online world with the “real” world. J. Money is a full-time, self-employed, blogger who has publicly chronicled his net worth to the masses for over 11 years, which has now--after 139 net worth reports-- surpassed the 1 million mark. J. Money has had many successful online ventures, but the two he’s probably most known for are BudgetsAreSexy.com and RockStarFinance.com. He currently blogs on his personal site jmoney.biz. He’s very active on Twitter under the handle @BudgetsAreSexy and is well-loved for his authentic interaction and sense of humor. In today’s chat we’ll cover everything from skateboarding and our personal strange collections to how we reconcile that with our minimalist philosophies. We get into what decluttering his online businesses felt like and how he detached from any identity being wrapped up in his entrepreneurial endeavors. We talk about knowing what “Enough” is and drawing limits around oursleves. We talk about how he named his sites and how he ended up in the world of personal finance. We also talk investing strategy and so much more in today’s interview. Tune in to learn more. Show Notes can be found at www.megnordmann.com
June 23, 2021
Ep. 6 - George Sisneros on his "No Spend Year." How getting debt-free afforded him to chase big dreams in Guatamala and lead an epic life.
Today, I’m chatting with George Sisneros, a 55-year old who has been taking the personal finance "Money Twitter" scene by storm over the past few months. George has swam with sharks in Belize & smoked a Cuban cigar in Havana. He’s explored ancient Mayan ruins & grabbed an alligator by the tail. He’s jumped out of an airplane and ran a marathon. He’s climbed and spent the night on Volcán Acatenango, the 3rd highest peak in Central America.He’s summited Capitol Peak, which is “arguably the most difficult of the 58 Colorado 14ers.” He’s played in the World Series of Poker in Vegas. And he’s a bilingual Latino from the States who is now a Christian Missionary living in a small Guatamalan village, where he is happily married with 8 kids, and has built a school and helped establish a safe house for severely malnourished babies under 1-year-old. And to top it off, he also does high-level coaching for successful entrepreneurs and executives & gives them “one-on-one accountability.” This is a highly personalized, very involved level of coaching, so he only works with 5 clients max at any given time. The top of his website sums up his mission quite neatly: "My passion is helping you get your time back so you can summit more of life’s mountains.” So you can see why I thought George sounded like JUST the kind of person I wanted to chat with on the top of The Journey to Freedom. In today's show we talk about everything from wrangling alligators, to launching a school and clinic in Guatamala. We discuss his No Spend Year and what the holidays look like with no presents. We discuss how to nurture a long lasting marriage, his new deep dive into the world of investing, and how to live a more intentional life. Head to megnordmann.com for complete Show Notes and links to all resources mentioned in our conversation today. Follow George at: @OneGSisneros gsisneros.com
June 16, 2021
Ep. 5 - It's true, Adulting Is Easy. | A look at real estate investing as a FIRE path.
Adulting is not easy. It’s made up of tasks we typically dread. They are things that overwhelm us, baffle us or bore us. Often, adulting is hard because we don’t understand the task on a fundamental level--and most adulting tasks revolve around money in some way. Insurance, retirement, savings, taxes, estate planning, bills and pretty much anything personal finance can feel bewildering. Lauren has made it her mission to take the fear, confusion and dread out of these adulting tasks and make it EASY….hence, her blog and podcast’s name, “Adulting Is Easy.” As of this podcast publish date, Lauren has 7.5 rental doors at the young age of 31. She and her husband plan to achieve Financial Independence (and Retire Early, if and whenever they feel like it) in around 5 years, even with a "FatFIRE" lifestyle spending of around $100k a year. She is proof that you can achieve a more luxurious level of FIRE at a younger age and she combines both real estate and stock investing in her strategy. Blog: https://www.realadultingiseasy.com/ Twitter: @AdultingIsEasy For more links and resources from today's chat, visit the Show Notes at megnordmann.com
June 9, 2021
Ep. 4 - The Frugal Expat shares his geoarbitrage adventure
Today's episode is a conversation with Steve Cummings of The Frugal Expat blog. Steve is an American and an adventurer who has traveled most of the U.S. and 19 other countries, and his wife Sarah is an Australian who has logged adventures in about 56 different countries. The couple have a travel blog called “Cummings and Goings” and another site, called "The Frugal Expat." I discovered Steve via his brand The Frugal Expat and saw that he was currently living in Taipai, Taiwan, and was intrigued to hear about his journey to financial freedom and how he jumped into the the expat life--something I’m very much looking forward to doing myself. Steve, The Frugal Expat has not always been frugal and he’s obviously not always been an expat. So we’ll hop into this conversation to find out about how his life of travel and wealth building began. Show Notes can be found at www.megnordmann.com
June 2, 2021
Ep. 3 - Stoic Minimalism Steered Us Toward Financial Independence
In today's episode, "Journey to Freedom" host Meg Nordmann reads an article of hers that was published for Simple Money Magazine in August 2020 titled "Stoic Minimalism Steered Us Toward Financial Independence." The article begins by describing her family's Big Dream that is driving their aggressive saving and investing and then breaks down two philosophies--minimalism and Stoicism--which have been a crucial part of their mindset and habit changes on their 'journey to freedom.' Keep in mind, the article was published in August 2020. Today, in May of 2021, they are officially financially independent. They estimate they have one to two years before embarking on the next chapter: geoarbitrage in Costa Rica. Read the full article here. @MegNordmann on Instagram and Twitter www.megnordmann.com
May 26, 2021
2. A Purple Life: Anonymous FIRE blogger is enjoying early retirement
Today I’m chatting with A Purple Life-- an anonymous blogger that has caught the attention of a lot of folks as she is radically transparent about her finances at APurpleLife.com. She started her blog in 2015 and publicly hatched a plan to retire in 10 years at age 35. In the meantime, she decreased her spending, increased her wages, and took advantage of domestic "geoarbitrage" (meaning, she moved to a less expensive city) and instead reached her goal in HALF the time and retired in 2020 at the age of 30. Her blog catalogs her journey to and through early retirement. If you’re wondering about the “purple” part, she does have purple hair and the only photo of her on her blog is one taken from behind--with the wind blowing her beautiful purple hair, so you can’t even see her face. She has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Insider, ChooseFI podcast, Bigger Pockets podcast and so much more. Her blog, A Purple Life, even won the 2020 Plutus Award for best FIRE content & Blog of the Year. She posts a new blog every Tuesday and is very active on Twitter (@APurpleLifeBlog) and Instagram (@APurpleLife), while still protecting her identity. We discuss how she is AirBnB-hopping with just a backpack and enjoying her stress-free nomadic lifestyle as an early retiree. We also discuss how she achieved this big milestone and how her investments are only continuing to compound and grow. Show Notes: www.megnordmann.com Twitter, Instagram: @megnordmann
May 19, 2021
1. The Fioneers: Lifestyle Design meets Financial Independence
Today we are chatting with Jess of “The Fioneers” (who blogs alongside her husband Corey) --the couple have become one of the more popular and carefully watched Financial Independence bloggers as they document their journey to FI or FIRE--the acronym for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” The couple has a little bit different approach to this goal which is more focused on designing their Dream Life throughout the process, rather than having their Dream Life be the End Goal. They’ve also created an intentional life of giving back. After getting married, they moved to a third-world country to teach English, and over the past decade, they’ve held various jobs of giving back to the community, often working for nonprofits. They may be out of the corporate rat-race in one sense, but working for nonprofits have come with their own set of challenges, including financially. But despite this, they still continue to maintain a high savings rate. Jess has recently stepped away from her nonprofit job and begun an entrepreneurial journey which includes coaching & writing for The Fioneers brand. The name “Fioneers” is derived from “FI” (the acronym for Financial Independence) and “Pioneers” because they are driven by a love for travel and adventure. They’ve now travelled to 8 countries and have a goal to travel to 100 countries together before they get too old to travel. Because of this ambitious goal, they are working to not only be financially independent, but more importantly, location independent. If there’s anything mentioned in our chat today, such as books, links, podcasts and other resources, I’ve included those with links and some quick notes in the Show Notes, which you can grab from my website, megnordmann.com. You can find The Fioneers at www.thefioneers.com or @TheFioneers on Instagram or Twitter.
May 12, 2021
The "Journey to Freedom" Podcast is launching soon! Host introduction & podcast topics
Welcome to the "Journey to Freedom" Podcast! The goal is not simply to have lots of stuff or lots of money--the goal is living life on your own terms. Whether it’s decluttering our homes, getting out of debt or striving to build financial independence, what we are all seeking is actually TIME. And time is ultimately our freedom. Owning your own time is true wealth. On this podcast, we’ll explore ways we can reclaim our life. Please join me, your host Meg Nordmann, on this journey to freedom. In this introductory episode, you'll meet the host and understand the topics covered in this podcast, which aims to explore freedom of all types. Time freedom, financial freedom and freedom from material consumption are just a few of the topics that will be covered in upcoming episodes. Expect conversations on minimalism, the Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) Movement, Stoicism, investment strategies, geo-arbitrage, expat life, alternative lifestyles, time hacking and so much more. Break away from the cultural norms that keep you stuck, trapped or chained in some way. It's time to get inspired and take action on your own journey to freedom. Please subscribe and you'll be notified of new episodes which will release each Wednesday. Visit www.megnordmann.com or @MegNordmann on Instagram or Twitter to connect!
May 8, 2021