Podcast Review: ChooseFI

Gimme a quick summary

  • New-ish Financial Independence podcast taking the medium by storm
  • US centric
  • UK based FI community guests bringing increasing relevance
  • Engaging, enthusiastic, digestible
  • Quality production values

Overall: 8 out of 10

What’s the set up?

A fairly new entrant to the increasingly popular Personal Finance podcast world, ChooseFI has gained a good amount of early traction and profile. Run by two guys, Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa, ChooseFI is a US based (like most) podcast and therefore has a trans-Atlantic bias. There is however a particularly interesting episode (049) including Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School and Barney, aka The Escape Artist, who are both UK-based, which draws US and UK comparisons and offers some valuable closer-to-home insight.

Podcast episodes range from high level FI concepts and discussions through to guests who often specialise in a specific area, which allows the episode space to take a deeper dive in to those concepts (everyone sitting comfortably for an hour’s discussion on the U.S. Roth IRA Conversion Ladder?).

For new joiners to the concept of Financial Independence, a great place to start is episode 21 ‘The Pillars of FI’ and episode 38 ‘The Why of FI’.

abandoned antique architecture building

What does FI Guy 101 think?

This is one of the first FI podcasts I came across via Spotify. Brad and Jonathan are at various stages of FI (Brad being fully FI for sometime and Jonathan clawing his way out of huge US student debt) and are sharing their journey. I found that this made them hugely accessible and down to earth.

They’re also hugely passionate about FI and all things personal finance and this helps to draw you in. Others, however, have found that this enthusiasm has the tendency to go a bit over-board and self-congratulatory at times. Some have described it as having a hint of ‘used car salesman’ about it and this could tie in to my cynical (and real world) view that the podcast acts as part of the sales funnel to drive website traffic where there are chargeable services. For me, the style is synonymous with my stereotype expectations and therefore acceptable. I’d rather someone erred on the side of over-positivity than negativity. I’m also fine with anyone making money and building a business from providing initially free and valuable information. This is the main purposes of almost all podcasts. It’s all good.

The podcast is well produced and the audio is clear and rich which gives it a professional sound and feel. They both have quality voices suited to radio and they have a positive ‘on-air’ chemistry, though I would draw the line at ‘banter’ (no-one does banter like us Brits, after all).

Like most popular podcasts (particularly those around FIRE), they are US-based and the content is therefore focused round their home audience. This can make some of the detailed episodes and discussions quite irrelevant, such as Roth IRA Conversion and public worker tax breaks. That said, you can always take something away from them. Even just listening to how the interviewee started their journey, their approach to frugality or how they view the world in general , there is usually something to learn from.

Their content is generally quality, valuable and I respect their passion. ChooseFI will stay towards the top of my podcast cycle list, for now. But if I hear the words ‘super-powerful’ or ‘unpack all this amazing content’ much more, my patience will wane and my finger may start to tentatively hover over that ‘unfollow’ button. Keep it real guys and let the banter flow.

What about Cash Curator?

If you want a good FI pick me up this is definitely the right place to come.  Brad and Johnathan are two genuinely nice individuals.  Their passion for personal finance oozes from the podcast and you should leave feeling enthused and keen to get started.

At the time of writing they had released 90 episodes. This is a huge amount of effort so let’s not underestimate that.  These guys have produced all the content “ad free” at least as far as I could tell.  Compared to the Stacking Benjamins show, another podcast I like, there are no clearly defined promotional breaks.

The guys really want others to succeed and very much promote the community feel which I really like.  They have interviewed almost all the major players in the FI space and gained actionable insights from them.

For UK listeners, many is the US specific episodes, such as “College Hacking”, “Roth IRA” & “Tax Reduction” will not be relevant.  The episode with Alan Donegan and The Escape Artist is really good, not only for the content but also for the motivational fact that people in the UK are doing this!

I still listen to the podcast however while I blasted through a lot of the early stuff I tend to pick through the episodes I feel will be useful now.  The guys have great voices and I could listen to them all day.  My only concern is whether they are re-hashing the same content? And is there more to learn after 90 episodes? For me I think they have covered the foundations and the later stuff in the podcast is more around self improvement. To be fair, these guys have helped me a lot and have opened my eyes.  I have learnt that FI is not just about having money, it’s mostly about having a life!

Highly recommended.


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