It's that time of year! I've been sorting through speaking invitations and comparing event schedules to my personal plans. I now have a rough idea of where I'll be in 2020 — and when. (As I finalize details, I'll update this post to reflect any changes.)
This year, I'll be traveling much less than last.
In 2019, I was away from home something like 3-1/2 months out of twelve. That was too much. In 2020, I'm deliberately saying “no” to opportunities. Still, I enjoy meeting and connecting with other folks who want to improve their lives — and the lives of others. So, I've agreed to a handful of engagements.
Here are the highlights from my “money event” calendar for the next few months.
“Intro to FIRE” Project (March 31st)
Before I do any travel, I have to do some work.
At the moment, most of my energy and attention is devoted to a five-hour audio-only project that I'm writing for Audible and The Great Courses. They've recruited me to create an introduction to financial independence and early retirement. It'll contain ten half-hour lessons on topics ranging from purpose to profit.
My first deadline for this project was January 31st. I turned in half of the course (which totaled about 20,000 words) and am awaiting feedback. The final five lectures are due by March 31st. My aim is to finish these by March 25th, my birthday. (I'd love to have more review time for editing and other improvements.)
In early May, after a speaking gig in St. Louis, I'll fly to Virginia to record the course. I'm not sure when it'll be released, but I'll be sure to keep you updated.
Plutus Voices: Portland (April 16th)
Get Rich Slowly turns fourteen on April 15th. To celebrate, I'll be hosting a Plutus Voices event here in portland.
The Plutus Foundation is a financial-literacy non-profit for which I am a board member. Plutus Voices is “a series of learning and networking events for the financial media bringing attention to important topics”. The Phoenix event, for instance, discussed meeting the financial needs of underserved communities. In Denver, we discussed financial independence and women.
On April 16th (or perhaps the 15th), Luna Jaffe and I will co-host a Portland event during which we'll explore our changing relationships with money. We may or may not be joined by our pal, Dougls Tsoi.
We're in the initial planning stages for Plutus Voices: Portland. I'll post more info (such as time and location) when I have it.
Financial Freedom Summit: St. Louis (May 1st to 3rd)
In early May, I'll fly to St. Louis for the first-ever Financial Freedom Summit. This event is “for anyone interested in pursuing financial freedom”, whether you're just starting you're journey toward F.I. or you've already reached early retirement.
Because this is the first FFS, I can't comment on what it'll be like. I have no idea. But it's being organized by some smart folks, so I'm hopeful that it will grow into an annual mecca for money nerds. I've agreed to speak in some limited capacity — possibly an on-stage Q&A about life after early retirement — but mostly I'm looking forward to hang out with readers and colleagues.
Camp Mustache: Seattle (May 22nd to 25th)
Several years ago, a group of Mr. Money Mustache readers got together at a retreat center outside Seattle over the long Memorial Day weekend. They've repeated this gathering every year since. This year, Camp Mustache tickets sold out in twenty seconds.
Camp Mustache is fun for a variety of reasons. It's low-key. It's egalitarian (meaning there are no “speakers” per se; anyone can present). And it's a place for like-minded folks to share their stories of extreme frugality and travel hacking. For me, it's an opportunity to spend time with people that I don't get to see as often as I'd like.
Chautauqua: Ecuador (August 29th to September 5th)
My big event for the year will be yet another money chautauqua.
In 2013, J.L. Collins from The Simple Path to Wealth partnered with Cheryl Reed to host the first-ever F.I. chautauqua, a week-long retreat for like-minded folks to discuss the path to financial freedom — and what comes after.
That year, I spoke for the first time about about the connection between money and meaning. Since then, I've returned to give the same presentation in 2014, 2016, and 2019. I'll do it again in 2020.
Out of all the money events I'm a part of, the chautauquas (chautauquae?) are my favorite. They're intense. For an entire week, a group of twenty or thirty people spend nearly every waking moment together to talk about money. Each speaker gives a two- or three-hour presentation. Plus, we have hour-long meetings with interested attendees.
Today, there are two different chautauqua events.
- The official J.L. Collins chautauqua hops around Europe. In 2018, it was held in Greece. Last year, we met in Portugal. This year, folks will fly to Croatia. From my experience, this event is targeted at folks who are “fatFIRE”, those who tend to have higher net worths and higher spending. It's deliberately designed as a “premium event”. Dates and speakers for this year's European F.I. chautauqua aren't out yet, but should be announced soon.
- The Ecuador chautauqua tends to have a different focus. It's more geared toward the “leanFIRE” crowd. Presentations are often about the Big Picture rather than simply about wealth-building. And some years are barely about money at all. (In 2016, I hosted a week with Leo from Zen Habits and David from Raptitude. Not really a money event!)
For this year's Ecuador chautauqua, I'll once again be speaking about money and meaning. (This is my life mission, after all!) Right now, it looks like I may also cover the nuts and bolts of FIRE — the basics — but that's not certain yet. And, as always, Cheryl will present on happiness and well-being.
I'm excited to be joined by some of my favorite colleagues:
- Piggy and Kitty from Bitches Get Riches, which is one of my favorite money blogs. (I love it so much that I send them money every month via Patreon.) The Bitches think they'll be speaking about “how to lift as you climb”. What should you do with your financial independence? Share the wealth, contribute to the success of others, and use your newfound power and autonomy to help others achieve the same.
- Tanja Hester from Our Next Life. I just had dinner with Tanja and Mark last Saturday. She told me that she hopes to talk about using money for good, toward purposeful ends. But she'll probably cover more about life after FI rather than the journey itself.
Want to join us? You should book a spot for the Ecuador chautauqua today!
Note that Tanja will host another week in Ecuador. That event — from August 22nd to August 29th — is only for women.
Fincon: Los Angeles (September 30th to October 3rd)
No surprise that I'll be at this year's Fincon Expo, the annual convention for money media — not just bloggers, but newspaper columnists, television journalists, and more. This year, to celebrate its tenth year, Fincon will be held in Los Angeles. (Long Beach, to be precise.)
At this point, I have no plans to speak at Fincon, but that will probably change. I'm sure I'll end up on a panel, or moderating a panel, or participating in some other way. The Fincon folks have become my family. I love them. (And, in fact, I'm writing this while on a week-long ski trip with 25 other Finconners!)
It's possible that I'll add other travel and/or speaking to my year, but it's unlikely. If I do anything else, it'll probably be to fly to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to help remodel the caboose commune.
A few folks in the FI blogging crowd have begun to buy adjacent units from an old caboose hotel. The group currently owns three cabeese, and may soon add a fourth. Two of the cabeese need hard-core renovations, so we're hoping to get together for a work party. But whether I can join the fun is currently up in the air.
I may also be able to make it to one of the Camp FI retreats held across the U.S. I love these gatherings, but it's getting more and more difficult to justify the expense of traveling to them. If I can make it fit with other travel, I'm glad to go. (Camp FI is an outgrowth of Camp Mustache. It's generally held on holiday weekends at retreat centers around the U.S.)
Lastly, there's a small chance that I'll return to Europe this winter to re-visit the Christmas markets. My cousin Duane continues to defy the odds and beat his throat cancer (yay!). He's hinted that he'd like to repeat our trip from December 2018. I would too, and maybe Kim could join us this time. We'll see. I'm guessing that we'll start serious planning for this in October if it still seems appealing.
As always, I'm happy to meet with GRS readers when they find themselves in Portland — especially if they're able to come my direction. Now that I have office space in Lake Oswego, that makes a perfect meeting space. Let me know if you come to town! We can meet up for beer or coffee — or a dog walk.