Working as a team to climb any wall in our way.

Each edition of Camp Mustache gets better than the one before. Camp Mustache SE in Gainesville, Florida (January 13 –January 16, 2017) is the fourth in a series of camps, this being the first outside the Seattle area. I have had the honor of attending and speaking at all but the first Camp Mustache.

Stephen Baughier organized the event with guidance, advice and a helping hand from Emma Pattee. Emma’s experience organizing Camp Mustache in Seattle allowed Stephen to move up the learning curve faster. The added experience and hard work made Camp Mustache SE awesome on every level. For the record, I have already accepted the offer to attend Camp Mustache IV in Seattle over Memorial Day weekend in the states this May. There is no doubt the gathering will be an incredible place to learn and meet like-minded people in the FIRE community.

Several notable names were in attendance. Pete, the guest of honor, was, of course, there. J.D. Roth (Money Boss), Joshua Sheats (Radical Personal Finance), Brad Barrett (Travel Miles 101), Gwen (Fiery Millennials), Jonathon Mendonsa (Chosefi), Zeona McIntyre (ZeonaMcIntyre.com), Brooks Nelson (Gainesville Cohousing) and more were available for questions. (Hope I did not miss anyone.) 

Presentations

Six presentations provided more than enough information to build and maintain wealth. The first session, J.D. Roth outlined the steps towards building a personal mission statement so you can design the life of your dreams. Financial independence (FI) does not automatically make you happy or solve problems. The advice shared by J.D. provided us the building blocks to create the life we wanted where FI is only a milestone along the path toward your goals. (Update: J.D.'s presentation can be heard here.)

Brooks Nelson showed us a cohousing community currently being built in Gainesville. The development will focus on community. The community is designed to foster interaction with neighbors and outdoor activities. Autos and other vehicles play a role outside the development only and biking and walking are encouraged in the development. Cohousing started in Europe and projects are now starting all over the United States. If you want to see what society looks like in the future, look no further. Cohousing developments focused on personal tastes will continue to expand, consuming a greater and greater segment of the population.

Joshua Sheats recorded a podcast live for us Saturday night: Why Bother to Wait Until You’re FI to Live Like You’re FI. Joshua taught us how to live the good life no matter where we are on our journey to financial independence. Hear the podcast on Radical Personal Finance.

I kicked things off Sunday morning with a presentation on Organizing Your Life to Maximize Net Worth and Minimize Taxes. You can review my presentation here. The session was recorded and may be available to the general public at a future date.

Investment properties play a large role in building and maintaining wealth. Zeona McIntyre, with ample help from Emma Pattee, illustrated how we can increase cash flow, accelerating our personal wealth building process. Zeona showed us how she uses Airbnb to supercharge her real estate investments.

Recreation

Before you get the wrong idea, it wasn’t work and no play. Our group enjoyed a team building course where we learned to work together to solve difficult problems. A massive amount of laughing was involved.

Sunday afternoon several attendees spent time at the archery range. Beginners to experts worked together improving their marksmanship.

Basketball, kickball and several hikes filled the remainder of our days. It was all about clean living.




Socializing

Everyone came away with something powerful to improve their lives and that of those around them. People talked well into the evening. One night there was a fire pit; every night contained mild intoxicants. Sharing of stories, telling jokes and asking advice only ended when people were exhausted from the long day. The next morning it started all over again bright and early. You can’t keep a good group down.

The hardest part was Monday when we socialized and said our good-byes. In four short days we all felt like family. Even I met a friend of Pete’s trying to communicate a message to me. I understood. Together we are stronger; together we will transform the world into a better place. Speed bumps along the way are just that: speed bumps. I have a new client who will fly in from Maine to get his taxes done. It blows my mind. There is no doubt he has other issues to discuss. It will be an interesting conversation. We will both learn a lot.

Giving Back

Every Camp I am inundated with tax and financial questions. This Camp I asked Stephen if I could offer one-hour consultations for $100 each, all proceeds going to charity. It is my honor to inform you we raised $1,050! Once all the money is collected the funds will be sent to the Special Olympics. In the past I supported the Wisconsin Special Olympics. The only thing I can’t do is attend their events. I cannot control my emotions. So I do what I can to provide resources to those who can. One Camp attendee has a family member with Down’s. It was a special moment where we made a difference and it affected us personally. That was when I knew the journey was worth it.

An interesting side note on the consultations. I worked on the consults till late at night. One night I gave a tough talk in a consultation on prenuptial agreements. I did not think much of it at the time, but the next morning I discovered there was an excited debate on the subject. I was tired so I went to bed and missed the whole thing. I was provided the final result. The group agreed at the end my advice was the only way to go. I now have a post in the queue in need of writing titled: Avoiding the Gold-diggers. It should be good. And required reading for anyone with a positive net worth or looking to reach FI at any point in their life.

Community

Connections are made fast at Camp Mustache. This is easily the least judgmental group I have ever been a part of. We shared contact information, hugged and cried. If the world were made up of people like this there would be no social issues to worry us.

I know I will meet many of these people again. I look forward to it. Camp is only over by a few days and I already long for the company of my new friends. Anywhere in the U.S. I want to travel I have a couch to bed down on and a friend to talk with. The same applies to many parts of the world.

Later this winter Gwen is skiing in Wisconsin and will visit Mrs. Accountant and me on the way through. She may be surprised at how I live. And my buddy from Maine will certainly be offer a comfortable bed while in town. It will be the first time I put a client up for the night.

A strange, and incredible, world we live in.