eliminating noise from your life

Camp FI Midwest 2018 – Takeaways on a Great Weekend

Erik Current Events, Thoughts of a Mastermind 12 Comments


One of the sayings I hold true to myself and my life is you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I interpret this saying as if I want to become more successful, then I should spend time with successful people. This average is across many areas (wealth, health, interests, skills, and the list goes on and on)

2 weeks ago, I went into nature at a camp with a bunch of money nerds. 4 days later, I came out rejuvenated, refreshed and inspired to do more and become better.

Spending time with millionaires, people who are on the path to building wealth for the future and people who love talking money and hustling made me want to rise up and become like them.

I’m a dwarf, and by standing on the shoulders of giants, I can see far. Through understanding how successful people have grown their wealth, I can better align my actions with my goal of building wealth for the future.

Camp FI Midwest 2018 was a ton of fun and I’m excited to share with you what I learned, who I met, and some takeaways I have which I hope to apply in the coming months and years.

(Just a note… I didn’t take any pictures because my phone was always in my room – it was gorgeous though!)

What is Camp FI?

For those of you who don’t know what Camp FI is, Camp FI is a gathering of financial independence enthusiasts – people who are seeking financial freedom at a relatively younger age (before age 60, and as young age 30) by investing in the stock market, real estate, businesses, side hustling, or a combination of these things.

This 3 day gathering is held in nature and features successful individuals who have grown their wealth to sustain their future lifestyle without having to be in a traditional job. These individuals give presentations about their area of expertise (I’ll touch on this in the next section). What’s great though is that it’s much more intimate and personal as only about 50 people attend the camp and you can chat and hang out throughout the entire weekend.

In 2018, there were 6 events held in different regions of the United States.

With that introduction, let’s get into my recap of Camp FI Midwest!

The Awesome People I Hung Out with at Camp FI

64 people attended Camp FI Midwest. Among them were bloggers, but also non-bloggers, who wanted to learn more and interact with other people in the financial independence community.

As I mentioned, there are presentations throughout the weekend, but these take up only about 25% of the time. The remaining time is dedicated to hanging out, playing games (inside or outside), drinking, swapping ideas, and making new connections.

Each meal, I tried to go around and chat with people I hadn’t met before to try to widen my worldview a little bit more. What impressed me the most was the diverse set of views and backgrounds of the people who attended.

Some of the attendees were:

  • in their early 40s who were planning on leaving their job in the next 12 months.
  • still in college or just getting out of college and looking to figure out some strategies to build wealth
  • individuals in their 50s winding down their careers or looking for inspiration to get through final stages of work
  • already “retired” and searching for their purpose
  • in their late 20s or early 30s and looking for support and community as they start or continue on their wealth building path
  • high income professionals (doctors, lawyers)
  • real estate investors (landlords)
  • lower income professionals
  • #minimalists
  • business owners
  • side hustle extraordinaires

and I’m sure I’m missing some other characteristics of the individuals here.

As I go through life, I’m looking to stay open minded and try to understand what’s really going on in life. It was awesome to interact with a number of these people throughout the weekend and chat about how they are investing, chat about how they think about money, and learn and challenge my own thoughts for the better.

Hanging Out, Learning and Relaxing

“While you were swimming, I was just trying to get a little bit better ;)” – Young FIRE Knight

Diving in a little bit more to what actually happened at camp, there were a number of fantastic presentations from successful individuals (Chad “Coach” Carson, Physician on FIRE, Tanja from Our Next Life, Mr. 1500, Anthony from Break the Twitch, Cait Flanders). Each of these people talked about different flavors of becoming financially independent (financially free? lifestyle funded? whatever you want to call it).

Some of the presentations weren’t directly related to my situation (Physician on FIRE talking about “retiring early” and raising kids – I have no kids and am very far from a “traditional retirement”), but they were all enjoyable and interesting.

What I loved about all of the presentations was the theme around intentional living and doing what matters and what makes you happiest. The talks by Mr. 1500 and Tanja were touching on the thought that money alone won’t make you happy, so it’s equally as important to figure out that as it is to figure out the investment side of things. I also enjoyed while these people are very wealthy, they are very down to Earth and rational with their thoughts and choices.

Anthony and Cait had great chats on #minimalism and removing noise to be more successful. So many things aren’t necessary to own or have in life – and becoming truly independent involves less resiliance on “stuff” and more focus on doing and having what directly brings you joy. What’s necessary? Why am I doing things which aren’t leading to my long term happiness? These chats had a ton of influence on me and made me think hard about what my goals should be and what I should be doing with my time.

And last but certainly not least, I loved Chad’s talk on real estate. This was directly relevant to me as I’m having some thoughts right now about what to do with my house, and it was inspiring to hear his words on how he has grown to owning 90 units!

I’m not sure if I want to sell, rent, or just stay in my current house, so bouncing my ideas off some real estate superstars was a great experience.

Shout-outs and other activities!

Outside of the presentations, I had a ton of fun playing bags (cornhole, whatever you want to call it), playing basketball, going on a 4 mile run (which kicked my butt), learning Euchre (I still want to go alone!) and playing other card games, swimming in the nearby lake, and playing Cards against Humanity with a bunch of people the last night.

Shoutting out to a number of blogger friends:

  • Young FIRE Knight
    • Awesome to meet a fellow 26 year old on the path to building wealth! I loved hearing your thoughts on your plans for the future and am excited to see how you implement those plans in the coming years.
  • Reaching for FI
    • I’m supposedly a jerk for not being able to explain games, but don’t worry – I’m practicing my Euchre for FinCon! Thanks for the book recommendations and looking forward to hanging out soon
  • Diverse FI
    • I really appreciate your support and kind words for the blog/podcast and looking forward to seeing you again.
  • Financial Panther
    • I know… I gotta start Bird-ing and Lime-ing to work. Keep up the hustle!
  • Miss Mazuma and Fiology
    • Thanks for being great hosts, playing cards with us, and hanging out afterwards at my house!
  • Funky Financials
    • At 23, it’s awesome you are thinking about building wealth for the future and looking forward to hearing about your real estate endeavors!
  • Money Metagame
    • Stop being so good at bags… I’m still salty about getting beat in 4 turns šŸ˜‰
  • Fiery Millennials
    • We are going to get Noah back for bags!
  • Ready Investor One
    • Thanks Paul for sharing your advice on real estate!
  • Clackapedia
    • Thanks for the WordPress tips Kevin!

My Takeaways from Camp FI

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

While mainly, Camp FI was just about having fun with some awesome people, I did have a few takeaways.

First, I wanted to quit my job the instant I got home. Living with an abundance mindset is tough… and when you look at other people doing awesome things outside of a traditional 9 to 5, it makes you want to join them.

Second, it made me think critically about my investment and side hustle strategies. What am I doing to maximize my long term happiness? Are my money decisions aligning with these thoughts? What can I tweak? Should I sell my house, rent it out, or keep living in it? How is this massive asset restricting (or enabling) my future? I still have to think more on these questions and plan to write some content exploring these thoughts in September.

Third, the talks on minimalism (or whatever you want to call it) have started to influence my thoughts around the housing situation, but also work and play. How should I be spending my time to maximize my happiness? Should I be getting rid of stuff I don’t need? What should I be doing with my life?

Finally, a final takeaway was nature is a forgotten beauty and I want to move to the country at some point in the future. I’m starting to hate concrete and want to escape! (this also plays into the minimalist thoughts šŸ™‚ )

Why you need to go to events like Camp FI

With all actions in life, it should start with your goals. What do you want in life? Do you want to become better?

Speaking a little bit more in general, through networking, you increase your average (what I talked about in the opening section). Spend time with millionaires with you want to become a millionaire. Spend time with successful real estate investors if you want to become wealthy through real estate. Cut out excess time with people who aren’t in alignment with your goals (don’t cut out friends just because… but it’s okay to spend a little less time with them if they aren’t supportive).

Last year, I went to FinCon 2017 and loved it. Hanging out with super successful bloggers and podcasters gave me new ideas and inspiration to become better. Going to Camp FI this August gave me a similar high.

Why should you go to events like these? No. Why do you need to go to events like these? Going to events like these with like-minded individuals will inspire you and push you to the next level (if you allow it to).

It’s great to read blogs, listen to podcasts, and read all the books you want on a subject. However, that’s just theory.

Getting out and talking to other people about their successes and failures is incredibly beneficial for growth in a particular subject.

I had an amazing time at Camp FI the other week.

Thanks to the individuals I mentioned above for some great conversations and I look forward to the next event šŸ™‚


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Comments 12

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  1. It was great meeting you Erik and nice recap! There really was so much to take away from this meetup, apply it to our own lives, and just get better šŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the shoutout and hoping to meet up again in real life soon!

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      Thanks YFK šŸ™‚ That was quote was one of the funniest points of the weekend (minus Cards against Humanity). I was dying in the front seat haha

      Maybe I’ll have to come out to DC šŸ™‚

  2. Erik!

    It was fun talking to you at Camp FI. One thing I noticed about you is that you listen. Really listen. It’s refreshing. You weren’t just waiting to talk.

    It’s obvious that you’re a knowledge absorption machine and this is a rare quality in modern humans. And a very valuable one. You’re going to go far my friend.

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  3. Hah, it’s not just the not being able to explain rules that makes you a jerk (I only won Bears vs Babies because everyone wanted someone other than you to win!!), but regardless I suppose I’m still looking forward to hanging out with you again in a few weeks. I’m glad you also went swimming instead of bettering yourself or I’d be too intimidated to play euchre with you ever again šŸ˜‚

    Ahem, I’ve got an email from you I really need to reply to…

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      Oh good, I was hoping that we will be able to play again šŸ™‚

      P.S. Take your time on the email šŸ™‚ September is going to be a busy month!

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  4. Was I there?

    It was a great weekend for all involved, from the most experienced bloggers to the many new friends we met that were starting to explore their own financial independence paths.

    I thought the 7 & 9-year olds might have gotten the most out of the weekend, but time will tell how much my boys got out of it.


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