TMBA 332: A Conversation with Mr. Money Mustache

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There is some serious ‘badassity’ on this week’s show as Dan and Ian interview one of their all-time favorite bloggers, “Mr. Money Mustache” aka Pete Adeney.

Pete was recently the subject of a profile in The New Yorker, and you’ll hear him share his views on that experience. He also explains why he decided – and how he was able – to retire at thirty and why he believes we should all be optimizing for our own happiness. He also gives his thoughts on achieving freedom through frugality which, he says, enables him and his family to live with a “feeling of ridiculous abundance”.

You can read more about Dan’s thoughts about the ‘early retirement’ philosophy in this recent article.

And stick around after the credits for a little bit of a bonus conversation with Mr. Money Mustache on how the awesome Mustachian community organizes its events.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • The origins of the Mr. Money Mustache blog and Pete’s own frugal habits. (5:46)
  • What it means to be a “Mustachian” and how Pete optimizes in his daily life. (8:52)
  • How much money someone needs if they want to quit their job. (11:47)
  • Why Pete believes we should be looking for difficulty and challenge over convenience. (17:25)
  • Why a millionaire is made ten bucks at a time. (31:04)

Mentioned in the episode:

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 04.14.16
  • Great episode, started reading through the New Yorker article, had to stop halfway, read like a complete hatchet job, was really weirdly written

  • cheers, Pete was easy to talk to !

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    It was refreshing listening to Pete and his philosophy on how to living. I find it so often that people are telling me you should buy this or need that or how cannot you have thing X and I really agree on the point when you think about shelving out that hard earned cash really think about if you really need it. Another way to look at stuff is that they just take away your time all those new gadgets and toys, while instead having a walk in a park or listening to a podcast which doesn’t cost anything can be much more rewarding.

    To the other point, I never thought about in that way to see how much you spend a year and have a goal to reach x25 multiple on that. One more hack as I see it here is maybe even choosing a lower cost jurisdiction so you could even reach this goal a bit sooner if your spending is cut down even more. Also by being creative even after “retirement” probably will earn you more especially if you start doing things you can enjoy, I would see it as one of the main advantages of getting financially free or I could be biased here.

    Good that you pressed a bit on the money management topic just to get Pete’s perspective how he deals with it. I might be interested a bit more how he reached his goal of that financial independence, but my guess the interviews goal was more on his principles rather than life story.

  • Zachary

    Excellent interview. Perfect assortment of questions. One of my favourite episodes so far.

  • Brian

    Great to see the Mustachian and TMBA worlds colliding–I’ve always felt that they had the same core principle at top priority, and actually found out about MMM through a DC-er. Of course, the entrepreneur vs. salary-man gulf can be too wide to cross sometimes. I think a pretty underrated approach by both parties is “minimal” financial independence before throwing all your eggs in the business basket, although sufficient commitment to one or the other usually works out.

    Personally, I TMBA demographic and the Mustache communities could each learn a lot from each other: savvy personal finance and how to quantify f-you money on the one hand, and leveraging location and recurring business revenue to get there quicker on the other.

    By the way, I was hoping you guys would talk to someone like Pete before being snookered by some high-fee financial manager with the proceeds of the business sale. I like Bogle’s “Little Book of Common Sense Investing” as a primer, but there are lots of other good ones that all eventually get to the heart of the matter, which is that the Harvard types with no skin in the game will just lose you money in the end. I can safely say Taleb agrees there too.

    Great stuff!

  • Simon Huntley

    I think MMM brings a great perspective. One thing I was wondering about is his suggestion to throw 100% of your savings into the market.. is that really a good idea for an entrepreneur? Isn’t it a good idea to have some cash on hand for business opportunities? I defintely don’t want my business to be only investment and I think socking away a percentage of profits each year into savings/investments outside your business is really important.. but in the end I do feel like my best investment over the long run is myself and my business. Just interested in your perspective on that..

    I guess it boils down to: how should an entrepreneur balance savings in cash to fund business ventures vs. investing in the market?

  • Favorite episode to date! Super interesting guest and really good questions!

    I certainly don’t resonate with ALL of Pete’s life philosophies but I certainly resonate with his investment philosophy. To me, the passive strategy is the only one that stacks up against decades and decades of evidence.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with his Betterment recommendation. I constructed my portfolios for years with a complicated array of Vanguard ETFs but for simplicity sake recently moved everything to Betterment. I still get the same Vanguard Funds but the experience on my end is way better.

    I also looked at Wealthfront but their philosophy seems to have changed in the past few years and they seem to be more susceptible to gimmicky things and offering what’s popular versus a principle based approach like Betterment. That being said, I still think Wealthfront will do better for you than 99% of other options out there.

  • The cash vs investment thing is a question I struggle with as a business owner. I wholeheartedly agree with the passive investment approach but the more difficult question is how much cash to keep on hand.

  • agree it’s a big question, i don’t personally agree with that strategy, we discussed it at some length on our most recent show:

  • thanks Zach appreciate that!

  • haha thanks Brian! Agree there’s a lot of overlap and affinities here: certainly in our community we have a lot of learn about financial mgmt, and I think the mustachians would benefit from some of the wealth opportunities those in our community are adept at developing.

    Thanks fro the book reco too!

  • woot! thanks :D

    Tossed some money into Betterment on Pete’s recommendation! I think he’s a sharp lad and enjoyed very much talking with him.

  • thanks for the feedback, the earning bit is every bit as important as the savings, but MMM focuses on the latter so we focused there for the first interview. Love the idea of getting creative sooner rather than later as a wealth generation tactic.

  • Hey Dan,

    I was hoping you or Ian would ask Pete what he thinks about market timing for dropping something like $100k into the market. Most of the ‘smart people’ I know are sitting on their cash right now waiting for the bubble to burst so they can buy in at a lot lower price. If the expected return of an index fund for the next 10 years is marginal (says the pundit) does it make sense to go ahead and drop it all in, wait for the crash, or invest a chunk every month/quarter/year?

    And the question about leaving cash available for business investments is a big one. The return for investing in my own business is much greater than anything else I could do, diversity aside.

    This was a great interview thanks for bringing it to us. MMM has put a lot of great information out there over the years and I love his perspective.

  • yeah I’ve basically heard the same stuff– I just pulled the trigger since I don’t plan on re-evaluating for many many years, but if it’s a meaningful part of your portfolio I’d perhaps think twice. I’m not sure Pete has a sophisticated short-term view on that because he’s all about the long term play… I agree I’m not on board with the 100% in the index investing idea esp given our unique knowledge of many early-stage ideas. Glad you dug the interview! it’s easy work when it comes to talking with people like MMM

  • Doppler

    I haven’t read all post from MMM, but today I stumbled on this. Maybe it gives you some insight on timing

  • cheers appreciate that Doppler

  • Mike Meyers

    MMM is an amazing person, but I must say that about 75% of the members on his site just dont get it. They are all very overly pro college which is foolish these days. lol

  • agree in most cases there are better alternatives, they are still pretty hard to see in a ‘mass market’ sense

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