Money at 30: "Choose FI" Book Review "Choose FI" Book Review: Worth Reading? I Think So
Choose FI book cover

Money at 30: “Choose FI” Book Review

Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence

Every day, millions of adults wake up only to head to a job they despise in order to make just enough money to fund a life they likely fell into. And then there are those who wake up and do whatever they’re passionate about because the money they worked for is now working for them. That’s the most basic idea behind financial independence (FI) — but how does one even begin to start on such a path? Enter Choose Fi: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence by Chris Mamula with Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa.

If you’re not familiar Choose FI is a popular podcast where hosts Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa (whose names you may recognize as credited co-authors) interview various guests who are pursuing or have achieved financial independence. Thus, the book features and references some of these guests while also frequently sharing backstory from the two hosts when applicable. Other than that, Mamula handles writing duties, detailing numerous aspects of what it means to Choose FI and how these principals can change your life.

One overarching theme to the book is the idea that pursuing financial independence means thinking differently and stepping outside of conventional wisdom. That’s an angle that really appealed to me and I felt was well executed throughout. Perhaps my favorite chapter in this vein was about tax strategy. While I had heard some of these ideas before, I thought they were very well explained and were truly eye-opening. Also notable was a chapter on college — which the author admits could either be the most or least important section in the book depending on where you are in your life. For me, while I’ve long put my collegiate aspirations (or lack thereof) to rest, I thought this chapter presented some really interesting points and good ideas. Of course it also made me feel a little bit better about not finishing school, so that may have also been a factor.

Other chapters also did a deft job at providing thorough and actionable info without overloading readers with jargon and complex details. Overall, I’d say it might not be quite as in-depth as other works I’ve read on FIRE, but it does provide the “blueprint” its title promises. I will say that I also came away with new ideas as well as a better grasp of certain FI concepts than I had previously been confused about.

As I mentioned at the top, Choose FI is peppered with quotes and stories from guests of the podcasts. While this a smart and clever idea in theory, in practice, it can be a bit distracting. Instead of diving in on one topic or thought, it sometimes feels like you keep hopping around. In other words, it’s as though you’re losing focus while widening the scope. Thankfully, I’d say this critique only really applies to some of the earliest chapters as later sections seem to use these spotlights more sparingly, or when they do bring in an outside perspective, they do so in an extended manner. Personally, I thought this latter approach was a lot more effective.

If I may also nitpick for a moment about something that really has nothing to do with the content of the book, I did find it to be an interesting choice to put a space after each paragraph. Also, the side margins seemed to be a bit larger than normal. On the one hand, this made the 300+ pages fly by but it did take some getting used to. However, I did really love the chapter art as well as the illustrated quotes from the two hosts throughout the book. Those two elements really added a unique visual style to the book that helped bring it to life.

What’s strange is that, while I may have had more less-than-positive things to say about Choose FI than I did about some other works I’ve reviewed, I actually really enjoyed the book. In fact, I’d put it up there with any of the other titles on the topic. Despite my assertion that the early guest quotes detracted from the book, I do think they add something special on the whole. That’s not only because they inject different perspectives but also because it highlights just how much the FI community has grown, leading more and more people to lead better lives. And, if I may say so, it serves as a great advertisement for the podcast as I’m really anxious to finally give it a listen now.

Ultimately, if you have any interest in the principles of financial independence or just have a desire to make money work for you, Choose FI is another one to add to your reading list.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Money@30's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

Dub logo

"Copy-Trading" Platform Dub Raises $17 Million

A FinTech brokerage platform that makes it easy to share and follow portfolio strategies has closed a new round of funding. About the round: Dub has announced that it's raised $17 million — including $15 in equity deals and a $2 million debt facility. The seed round was led by Tusk Ventures with several other venture firms as well as individuals participating. This list includes Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Apex...
snowed in house

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: Surviving Our First Winter

One major difference between Springfield, Missouri and my previous city of residence (Glendale, California) is that, here, we have these things called "seasons." Furthermore, unlike a California winter where you might have to put on a sweater when it dips into the 40s, we do see snow, ice, and occasional sub-zero temperatures here in the Midwest. In turn, when we bought our home in whirlwind fashion, I knew we'd immediately...
loading luggage

American Airlines Announces Checked Baggage Fee Hikes

A major domestic airline recently announced increased baggage fees for customers. About AA's new baggage policies: American Airlines is increasing its checked bag fees in a few ways. Now, customers on domestic flights (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rice, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will need to pay $35 for their first checked bag when booked online or $40 if purchased at the airport. A second checked bag for these flights...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

FedEx Announces Winners of 11th Annual 2023 Small Business Grant Contest

Nearly three months after the entry period ended, FedEx has announced the winners of its 11th annual Small Business Grant Content. This year's event saw more than $300,000 in funds going to a variety of small businesses across the nation. Last month, the company revealed 100 finalists, with that list now being narrowed down to just 10 winners. This year's grand prize winners included KindVR, The Cupcake Collection, Up In...
H-E-B and Central Market  credit cards

Imprint Launches Credit Cards from H-E-B and Central Market 

The FinTech Imprint is partnering with the popular Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B for a pair of new rewards credit cards. This week saw the launch of the H-E-B Visa Signature Credit Card as well as the Central Market Visa Signature Credit Card. With these two (nearly identical) options, customers will be able to earn rewards on groceries and beyond. First, both versions of the card earn up to 5% back on select...
Summer app

Student Loan Benefit FinTech Summer Raises $6 Million

For years, student debt has been one of the most talked about financial topics. What's more, while the debt itself has become a major part of many Americans' lives, discussion of student loans has become political due to efforts to forgive certain loan repayments. However, while we wait for resolution on that front, a FinTech that brings student debt benefit solutions to employers and consumers has raised a new round...
Choice Privileges Select Card

Choice Hotels, Wells Fargo Debut Choice Privileges Select Card

With spring well underway and the summer travel season now just around the corner, Choice Hotels and Wells Fargo have unveiled their latest co-branded credit card offering. Today, the two companies announced the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. Carrying an annual fee of $95, this card will serve as the premium option in the hotel brand's new lineup. Looking at the Choice Privileges Select, it offers a mix of rewards categories....
Melissa Urban holding a Ness card

Health and Wellness Rewards Card Ness Partners with Whole30

In recent years, several unique rewards cards have come to market. These include offerings from FinTech startups as well as brands looking to do something special for their loyal fans. On that note, a recently-announced rewards credit card offering is now working with a popular brand to introduce new benefits for customers. This week, the Ness Card (which is issued by The Bank of Missouri) unveiled a new partnership with...