There is a raggedy band that gathers in the hills east of Seattle every year over the Memorial Day holiday in the States. From around the planet they gather, each with their own unique story. I was one of those stories.
Camp Mustache III was a resounding success again this year as Joe, Kristin, and Emma put together a hell of a program. Camp Mustache is a gathering of like minded people focused on financial independence and early retirement. Pete Adeney is the guest of honor as Mr. Money Mustache.
Attendees ranged from the young (two impressive young ladies, age 23 and 25 were there) to the less young. Each had a life story to tell on their journey to financial independence. Meal time allowed ample opportunity to catch up with old friends from previous Camps and make new friends. You had to work hard to have alone or quiet time. There was so much to do!
Our group stayed at the Rainbow Lodge in North Bend. The secluded retreat offers ample opportunity to reflect on life and unwind. Cedar wood added to the calming environment. The rooms were simple with twin beds; the restrooms communal. The design encourages spending time outdoors and meditating. The main resort building has several meeting areas. The landscaped grounds have a chapel, plus walking trails.
Okay, the food was awesome! I gained two pounds in a weekend even after climbing Mount Si and walking the facility all day. Every meal was home cooking at its best. The food alone was worth the trip.
It rained nonstop this year until Sunday morning, just in time to climb Mount Si. Temps were a bit chilly, but a t-shirt was fine most of the time. A long sleeved shirt did the trick for evenings.
There were too many breakout sessions to attend them all. Three tracks were running all the time. Yours truly presented on “Should You Do Your Own Taxes or Hire a Pro” and tax issues affecting the audience.
A few of the notable presentations I attended include: a retired NCIS investigator, Hunter Post, discussed gaining clarity while working for and living in financial independence; Doug Nordman shared ideas on early retirement for military personnel (his ideas work for non-military people too); Travel hacking (travel the world for free; it’s easy and fun). I missed sessions on Solar 101 (dang it), real estate investing (already have serious experience in this area), and books and blogs (good thing they wrote all the great blogs and books for us to read on an easel).
The greatest lesson I came away with this year is “One More Year” syndrome. As a business owner I love what I do and don’t want to quit. However, I discovered I can start the transitioning process now. No more “One More Year” thinking for me. I already have enough; it is time to step back. I will provide a post soon on how I am partnering with an employee to transition (sell) my firm to her while retaining the option to prepare some returns during tax season and consult. Clients will see no changes. Everybody wins!
Elevated Financial Independence
Climbing Mount Si is becoming a rite of passage for many attending Camp Mustache. The four mile hike takes you over 3100 feet higher in elevation. It also provides an opportunity to bond with fellow hikers. The climb was muddy this year with all the rain, but the rain stopped about a half hour prior to starting our climb. The temperature was perfect for climbing. The greatest part was the summit. The clouds broke for about ten minutes just as we reached the peak; something we did not get last year.
While climbing Mount Si other climbers noticed our Camp Mustache t-shirts. As a climber passed us going down he said to his friend, “There is another one of those mustache people again. And they don’t even have mustaches!” I could not resist. I replied, “We are a cult.” The man stopped and stared. “Don’t worry,” I said. “We don’t want your money. In fact we insist you keep and invest your money so you can retire early.” He turned away and said, “Sick.” You can’t win them all.
I made so many new friends from around the world at Camp Mustache III. It is hard to keep up with everyone. My mind wanders as I gaze over the fields at home now, wondering what our small group is enjoying today in their personal lives.
Best Said in Pictures
I started downloading pictures from our group and forgot to tag where they came from. Therefore, I am using photos unattributed. Some are mine; some belong to members of our group. Sorry. I’ll take any photo down if it is yours and you request the deletion.
Several people were disappointed they could not attend my session. I worked all weekend answering all the tax questions I could. Emma took a note to contact me in advance next year so I can guarantee attendance at Camp Mustache IV since it fills within a day or so. All the speakers are popular, but my unique message (taxes) is not covered by anyone else (Brandon covers taxes within retirement planning only) so I get to feel loved. Hope to see you at Camp Mustache IV.