One dunce and seven experts on frugal living, financial management, and early retirement

Source: Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons

You can’t become financially independent or retire early alone. You need a community of people you can help and accept help from when being in the workforce inevitably wears down your resolve.

Well…earlier this year my friends Sean Merron and Kevin Griffin, co-hosts of The 2 Frugal Dudes Podcast, invited me to sit for an interview in which we touched on that topic. Sean’s an employee and Kevin’s a small business owner, and together they’re two middle-class guys who share their different perspectives on managing their personal finances. We had a fun and sometimes sobering but legitimately profitable conversation.

Now: I’ve been retired for a good long while but have only been involved in the FI/ER community for a couple of years. There are people in this corner of the blogosphere–do spheres have corners?–anyway, there are people working in this space who have done much much more to push this community forward than I have, and Sean and Kevin have hosted many of them.

So I asked Sean to share a few of his favorite one-liners from those interviews, as well as his takes on them.

First we hear from the dunce:

Early Retirement Dude from episode 27, “Surviving Early Retirement” on the relative nature of freedom.

“I think in this movement we lean too much on the “financial independence” leg of FI/ER. Traveling dropout train kids with ten bucks in their pockets are just as early-retired as I am.”

Sean’s take: Being retired means different things to different people and corporate America is hard to get into, but maybe even harder to get out of. It’s about figuring out what retirement means to you and building the freedom you want in your life.

Justin from Root of Good from episode 28 addresses “Discussing Early Retirement with Others

“The whole office thought it was a joke that I was retired. “That’s impossible at 33!”

Sean’s take: Discussing early retirement with your peers or even your friends and family can be awkward. People may think you’re crazy and even look down on you for the lifestyle you live while grinding to escape the grips of the workforce as soon as possible.

Bo Boland from /r/financialindependence on, from episode 29: “The Financial Independence Online Community

“It’s a real eye opener when people realize the simple math behind financial independence.”

Sean’s take: There’s a whole community out there if you decide to go down the road towards FI/RE. Many people have already asked and answered the same questions that may be in your head and it’s just a matter of finding out where to find them.

2 Frugal Dudes host Kevin Griffin on the importance of personal networking from episode 30: “Investing In Yourself

“I realized how far ahead I was of my co-workers who didn’t care to network at meetups or conferences.”

Sean’s take: Investing in yourself pays the best returns. There are many ways to increase your skill sets and build relationships that can increase your income to speed up your financial goals. If something doesn’t exist, start it.

The Frugal Girl talks about square one in episode 31: “Setting Up Your Frugal Kitchen

“We want to maximize our grocery budget so we can focus our money on more important things like paying down the mortgage, traveling, college and retirement.”

Sean’s take: Usually when you start a budget, your biggest shock will be how fast the wining and dining adds up. Most of the time, living a frugal life starts with the kitchen and tackling the grocery budget.

2 Frugal Dudes host Sean Merron on the right investing mindset, from episode 32: “The Psychology of Investing

“I’m glad my day trading attempts are over. It’s hard to find the time to do the proper homework outside of a full time job.”

Sean elaborates: Your brain can work against you if you don’t control what’s going into it. Turning off the noise and building awareness of the feelings you’re experiencing is important for a long-term investment plan.

Mrs. Frugalwoods explains the benefits of frugality in Episode 33: “Taking the Frugal Leap with Mrs. Frugalwoods

“Coming around to this lifestyle has let me eliminate so many things that brought me stress and grief so that I can now focus on what I enjoy.”

Sean’s take: The benefits of living a frugal life are limitless. Live life how you want to live it and see if frugality can speed up your path to a fulfilling, happy life.”

“I’m worried about my car breaking down on me and thinking about leasing something brand new and reliable. What are your thoughts on leasing a car, assuming you can’t buy one with cash?” – Audience question from episode 34: “Listener Case Study with Francis Pasket

“Leasing a car is almost always a bad idea. If car problems are hindering your financial goals, it’s important to get rid of that thorn and focus savings towards what you can afford.”

Sean’s take: It’s important to address financial thorns like an unreliable car so you can sleep at night but not lose sight of how your next purchase could affect your plans for financial freedom. New and flashy doesn’t come without financial burden.

J. Money from Episode 36: “Blogging as a Side Hustle with J. Money

“My blog is mainly just a diary, raw off the top of my head.”

Sean’s take:  Making money on a blog is a great side hustle but you just have to get started. You’ll constantly be improving your blog after you get it up and running but the hardest part is starting with consistent writing.”

So there you have it. We here at Early Retirement Dude imagine it was tough for Sean to glean a few sentences from such an informative body of work, so you’d do well to download a few episodes of The 2 Frugal Dudes podcast for–and I assume you have one–your commute.  Bound to be several things in there that can keep you going when life busts you in the porch chops.

Sean’s take: Dude, really? Porch chops? Porch? I can’t even…

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Author: ER Dude

Sick of your job? After a thirteen-year career, Early Retirement Dude fled corporate America for good. You can do it too! Visit or email

11 thoughts

  1. Listening to you currently on the Fire Drill Podcast…you clearly sound like an Early Retirement Cool Dude. I picture a “too cool for school” jean jacket wearing DJ. Outstanding! 🙂

      1. The cardigan should come in handy as a retiree…along with the requisite pipe and slippers. 🙂 You had a lot of quality commentary on the podcast. No sock darning tips…just keeping it real from a dude that’s walked the walk. Nicely done.

  2. Sounds like I have a new podcast to add to the list. To me retirement pretty much means you aren’t playing the money game anymore. The one where you gain more money for the sake of money. There are lots of people who could retire now, but they can’t conceive if it because it isn’t “normal.” You retire when you’re old, that’s it. Those train kids aren’t playing the game either I suppose. Maybe retirement starts whenever you give up the rat race.

    1. >There are lots of people who could retire now, but they can’t conceive if it because it isn’t “normal.”

      I think you’re exactly right. Gotta have a strong vision for what you’ll do after you retire. “Those who can’t imagine what they’d do after they retire, won’t.”

    2. Totally! People need to ask themselves why are they saving money in the first place? What are they saving for outside of spending? Knowing this answer usually helps people decide how much they truly need.

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