Pay Back And Pay Forward Time

One of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was a thank you note to a few bloggers who were instrumental in getting us started on our path to FIRE.  They showed us the path we wanted to take for our lives was actually possible and gave us concrete ideas on how to make it happen.

We started down our path to FIRE pretty financially illiterate, particularly on the topics of investing and retirement planning.  Like many people, we were truly trying to do things “the right way”.  However, there is so much noise in the financial industry that it is very hard to know who to listen to and what to believe.  There are some people with good intentions but bad information.  There are many more whose primary purpose is to sell fear, greed, and hysteria while making things as complicated as possible to benefit themselves before all others.

One of the primary purposes of this blog is to help others find a way to use finances to build a better life.  We very freely share our experiences and ideas.  However, at the end of the day there are already people doing much of what we want to do.  It simply makes more sense to promote and share their ideas than to try to reinvent the wheel.

Today, I would like to recommend two books that were released in the past month that I have just finished reading.  Both were written by bloggers featured in that original post and both would appeal to many if not all readers of this blog.  I would like to share a brief review of each.

JL Collins:  “The Simple Path to Wealth”

Regular readers of this blog most likely already know of Collins.  I featured his “Stock Series” as my #1 resource for those looking to become DIY investors.  I also refer to the concept of “F-You Money” that he popularized frequently in my own writing.

I can not recommend this book highly enough for those of you that want to become DIY investors but feel that it is too complicated, confusing and time consuming.  In our welcome page, we describe ourselves as an average couple.  One area where this is extremely true is that we, like so many others, had these self destructive thoughts.

JL Collins writing, more than anything that I’ve ever read before or since, destroyed those negative beliefs.  He made everything that seemed so complicated for so many years seem simple and easy.  He gave us confidence to take control of our investments and our finances.  This in turn gave us much more freedom to live life on our terms.

The book is based on the “Stock Series” with substantial editing, reorganization and new content to make it more readable than the original series that was put together piecemeal.  I encourage you to buy the book to support the author and get the information in a short concise package.  I ask that you to at least click over and read the “Stock Series”.  In either case, I promise you will not be sorry that you did.  It may just change your life as it did ours.

Darrow Kirkpatrick:  “Can I Retire Yet?”


Kirkpatrick’s writing has had a similar impact on our planning.  I originally found his blog several years ago through a guest post he wrote comparing big wall rock climbing to wealth building.  As an aspiring “Dirtbag Millionaire”, I had found the man to show me the way to early retirement.  I’ve been a regular reader of his blog ever since.

The thing that I most enjoy and find useful about Kirkpatrick’s writing is that, consistent with his background as an adventurer, he never oversimplifies things as “safe” or “risky”.  He realizes that every decision you make has risks that must be managed or accepted to achieve the outcome you desire. This theme is consistent throughout the book.

He also has a rare gift of being able analyze information in a very rational manner.  Many issues such as healthcare, investment returns, inflation, social security, and taxes have massive effects on the success or failure of our retirement planning.  Kirkpatrick manages to present them without all of the hype, fear and politicizing seen in many places.  He simply tells it like it is and helps his readers develop a realistic plan based on best case, worst case and average scenarios.

His book is the most comprehensive that I have found for DIY retirement planning.  It emphasizes early retirement planning.  It provides extremely practical knowledge and insights allowing the reader to answer the title question “Can I Retire Yet?” with confidence.  This book is an excellent resource regardless of what stage one is at in planning their early retirement.  I recommend it highly to any reader of the blog.

Pay Back, Pay Forward

My hope is that some of you will buy one or both of these books and support these authors.  I hope that promoting the books can in some small way pay them back for all that they have done to help us on our journey.

I also have a second motive that is even more important to us.  I want to shine some light on the quality work they have done.  Hopefully, this will allow us to pay it forward and help others get started on their own path to financial independence.

Please help us to pay back these gents who have given us so much and pay it forward to those seeking to get started on their own path to financial independence.  Some ways to do this are to buy a book for yourself if you think it would help you, buy one for someone else as a gift, spread this post via social media, write your own post to promote their work or that of someone else who has had a similar impact on your own journey.  Thanks for helping out!

9 comments on Pay Back And Pay Forward Time

    1. If that’s the impression you got from the post then I got my point across. I hope you enjoy the books!

  1. Good stuff ~ I love your Pay Back, Pay Forward sentiment. We all learn a lot from each other, with special thanks to the early contributors like these two! I too am a big fan of JL Collins’ blog and now The Simple Path to Wealth – it’s a great resource that delivers the “what you wish someone had told you message”. And I look forward to checking out Can I Retire Yet – thanks for the tip.

    1. Obviously agree with your sentiments about JL Collins by the tone of my post and glad I can turn you on to Darrow’s work. Hope you enjoy.

    1. Agree ZJ. I am probably the least unlikely blogger ever. I have always hated writing and my first blog post was the first time I ever did anything on social media in my life. Still don’t even have a personal FB, Twitter, etc. I was amazed how these people that I had never met were able to impact me and it inspired me to start writing to see if I could have a similar impact on others. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I just heard the JL Collins interview on the Mad Fientist podcast, and really enjoy how simple and distilled his investing philosophy has become. Two funds! Who else is recommending something as simple as that?!

    I love our blog space for how much knowledge and inspiration we all give away and soak up for free. We feel lucky every day for having fallen into this wonderful group of people — including you guys! 🙂

    1. Awww shucks. Thanks!

      His recommendations are in line with those of John Bogle. We personally don’t go that simple, favoring a bit more diversification with intl funds, a bit more small cap and REITS. We do however stick strictly to low cost index investing. His writing also gives context to all investment decisions we make. As long time readers of he blog, you know how clueless we were with investing before finding the stock series. To call it life altering is no exaggeration.

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