Journey to Freedom, ep. 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,

You can find The Fioneers at or @TheFioneers on Instagram or Twitter.

Listen here!

Show Notes & Links

Recommended Books:

“Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

“The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins

Mentioned Podcast: Afford Anything podcast, interview with JD Roth (ep. 305, ep. 20)

Quick notes:

  • Not inflating lifestyle despite pay increase (save 5% more…)
  • Save 25x more than your living expenses
  • When they began, she made only $11K a year! ($30K total for the household)
  • Lean FIRE, Fat FIRE, Obese FIRE, and just regular ole FIRE
  • Demanding jobs actually cost more… money goes towards “self care” to unwind or stay afloat, such as ready-made meals.
  • What changed about spending was not learning about the FIRE movement, but it was learning they could use their money to make their life better & improve their lives today.
  • This reduced the spending triggers on convenience or escape.
  • Lifestyle Design led to “Slow FI”. They needed to find the middle ground between the “YOLO” approach and the “FIRE” approach. They wanted to live good lives on the journey and not just focus on the end goal.
  • “The journey needs to be as remarkable as the destination.”
  • “What can the financial freedom we’ve already built do for us today?” This led to using the emergency fund as “F-You Money”
  • Reducing their income to 40-50% less had NO impact on their savings rate.
  • “If you don’t focus on building a life you love now, you’re not going to magically have that when you FIRE.”
  • SlowFI is between the two extremes. You should design your life along the way–like finding a job you like more, or negotiating less hours, or take a sabbatical or semi-retire.
  • CoastFI – a certain point that once you save enough in the market, you no longer need to save. This will provide a comfortable traditional retirement. If you have a FI number of $1 million at traditional retirement age, then you only need to invest $100k & then you never need to invest another cent and can let that grow on its own. But every extra dollar you invest makes retirement come even earlier.
  • For The Fioneers, if they “coasted” now and did not invest another dollar, they would already have $500k more than what they need, as long as they simply cover their living expenses till the age of 60.
  • Strategy: 100% index fund in every account (401K, 403B, IRA, taxable accounts, etc.)
  • Did a cash-out refi (intended for real estate investment), but used to invest in more index funds. (See JL Collins book).
  • “We are building a life we don’t feel like we need to escape or retire from.”

You can find The Fioneers at or @TheFioneers on Instagram or Twitter.

The Fioneers remain anonymous.

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