Chautauqua UK: A Cackling Good Time for All

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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ME: “So Chautauqua IS a super-villain plot-hatching retreat! Then I only have one last question: can I come next year?”

JL Collins: “Oh, I have such plans for you My Pretty!”

Since JL’s cryptic answer during our last interview, I’ve had a Skype call with The Godfather himself, where he finally clarified what he meant.

You know that scene where Harry produces his very first Patronus during a Quiddich game? A feat he achieved only because he felt like he was on top of the world?

Well, that was me during the call.

If I was a magical, bespectacled English boy, I would’ve produced the biggest, brightest Patronus EVER.

Why?

Because as it turns out, JL’s “plans” was for me to join his super-villain cult by being a speaker at Chautauqua UK!

OK here’s the thing. I joke about the Chautauquas being a cover for a super-villain cult, but, and I mean this honestly, being able to go to one is one of the most coveted things in the WORLD.

Every person that has ever gone to a Chautauqua has RAVED about it as being one of the greatest experiences of their lives. It changes lives. It really does. In fact, one person described their experience thusly:

“I haven’t had this much joy since the birth of my twins.”

OK, either the birth of their twins really REALLY sucked, or these Chautauqua people really DO have the greatest experiences of their lives. And to prove that, here’s a video that the last attendees made describing their experience:

BUT WAIT. There’s more.

In true super-villain fashion, this new Chautauqua UK is going to be held in a Neo-Gothic mansion from 1060AD set on 40 acres of deer-filled English Countryside.

Could there be a better super-villain lair? I think not.

Now, for those who don’t know what Chautauqua is, let me explain.

Take 1 Godfather, 25 enthusiastic readers, 3 famous bloggers, put them into a 12th century English manor for 1 week, and watch the magic unfold.

If you’ve ever dreamed of meeting your tribe, chatting up your favourite bloggers, like JLC, the Madfientist, or (inexplicably) FIRECracker, and then having a 1 on 1 session to vet your path to financial independence, come to Chautauqua UK!

Chautauqua UK, by the way, will be held here:

Ettington Park Hotel, our super-villain lair:

Windsor Castle Tour:

Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) tour:

Oxford Tour:

English Cream Tea:

 

Now, a bit of background on the speakers and our hosts:

Speakers:

JLCollins, aka “The GodFather of FI”

Famous for his Stock series and Simple Path to Wealth book, The Godfather of FI is one of the first bloggers to write about FI and teach us how to invest to become financially independent. He is one of our inspirations for learning how to invest and retire at 31 and we would’ve never gotten this far if he hadn’t shown us the way. For a taste of JLCollin’s talk, here’s an overview of “How to Harness the World’s Most Powerful Wealth Building Tool” from Chautauqua 2015.

JLCollins’s post about Chautauqua UK can be found here:

Brandon, “aka The MadFIentist”

Brandon is a math whiz when it comes to hacking tax strategies to retire sooner without earning extra income. As a fellow software engineer,  he also builds nifty spreadsheets and tools to track your progress towards FI. We are huge fans of his podcast, which we were thrilled to be interviewed on here.

Here’s an overview of Brandon’s talk from Chautauqua 2015, The Shortest Path to Financial Independence.

Check out Brandon’s post for Chautauqua UK here.

Alan from “Pop-up Business School”

Alan built PopUp Business School out of the frustration of setting up his own business and the lack of good advice available.

Since then he has spend the last 6 years travelling around the UK and other countries helping people to build businesses and make money doing what they love.  Alan will run a session on developing a side hustle doing what you love to help you get to FI sooner. He and his wife, Katie, have been interviewed on the MadFIentist’s podcast here.

Alan will run a session on developing a side hustle doing what you love to help you get to FI sooner, so if you want to make money doing what you love, don’t miss this!

And yours truly! Me!

Here are I am scarfing down a ton of British treats. I’ll try my best to save you some at Chautauqua UK, but no promises.

 

Hosts:

Katie & Alan, from “Pop-Up Business School”

Katie and Alan are the creators of “Pop-Up Business School” in the United Kingdom, a free workshop that teaches budding entrepreneurs not only how to successfully get their ventures up off the ground, but how to do that without investment capital.

And they are also the ones who put together this sexy Chautauqua UK official website:

Chautauqua — United Kingdom: August 12-19; official website

Pretty sweet huh?

So if you’re interested in spending a week (Aug 12-19, 2017) with THE JL Collins (aka “The Godfather of FI”), THE MadFIentist, THE Alan & Katie, and THE *ahem* myself,  sign up here:

Want to see what type of shenanigans we’ll be getting into? Check out the schedule!

Tickets start at 2200 pounds/person, which includes lodging, meals, transportation within the country, and all activities. Thanks to Brexit for TANKING the pound, this converts to $2706USD, making it the cheapest time EVER to travel to the UK.

Now, I know that’s not a trivial amount of money, so only sign-up if you can afford it. Otherwise, feel free to continue getting free advice by e-mailing us and and reading our blog.

But if you can afford it, one way to cut down cost is to travel hack the planet ticket using points so you can get there for free! FREE!

Travel Hacking Your Way to UK

Click here if you’re Canadian. Click here if you’re American.

You can also reach out to travel hacker guru, Brad Barrette, who will help you travel hack your way there: brad@richmondsavers.com. His services, for these events, are free (and I also recommend you sign up for his free Travel Miles 101 email course).

There are only 25 slots and from past years, tickets typically sell out within the first week, so don’t delay. Or dilly-dally, as the Downton Abbey people say.

*Turns to JLCollins*

Downton Abbey-Five?” *Holds out hand* “Eh? Eh?”

*JLCollins returns annoyed glare*

OK then. Hope to see you there, my fellow Revolutionaries! World domination is within our grasp! Muahahahah!

Note: If the Aug 12-19 timeframe in UK doesn’t work for you, JLCollins and I will also be at Chautauqua in Ecuador from Oct 14-21, 2017. Details can be found here.

Come meet us at this year's Chautauqua UK! Details here

38 thoughts on “Chautauqua UK: A Cackling Good Time for All”

  1. First off, YES. The Chautauqua is a freaking awesomely amazing time. It can get a bit pricey, yes, BUT every penny I put into it has come back to me tenfold so it was way worth it.

    Secondly, I love that the video freeze frame is definitely me looking out over beautiful Ecuador.

    Thirdly, I’m strongly considering going to this!!

    1. Nice! We have one of the stars in the video on the blog 🙂 Welcome!

      Glad you know that you had fun in Ecuador. Especially since every penny came back to you tenfold! That’s impressive.

      Come to UK so we can do it all again!

  2. Uh oh :). I have looked at Chautauqua in the past and thought it was too expensive for my goals, but if you’re going to be there this is a game changer (I’ve chatted with MMM and the Mad Fientist at a Seattle meet up before). Time to see how to stretch this budget!

    1. *looks around* Who me? Really?

      Very humbled that you think so 🙂

      Oh man, so much travel stuff for us to chat about if you end up attending. You’ll have to tell me all about your Bangkok and Koh Samui trip!

  3. Very tempting. I’ll be UK-adjacent around August 12-19 (in Amsterdam).

    I’d have to change return flight plans to the US AND ditch Mrs. Root of Good for the return flight home and leave her in custody of our three kids for a transatlantic flight. It is unlikely all four of them would survive the flight intact.

    1. Yeahhhhhh. I can see how that talk’s going to turn out. “I’ll go have fun. You do all the work and take care of the kiddos”.

      You should go ahead and ask her. I’ll be over here, quivering in fear.

      1. Nah, it would be a “work trip” lol.

        I asked her, and got the expected response. “Seriously? Really? I mean really? Seriously? No.” 🙂

        Her restraint surprised me. She was in the middle of cooking pho when I asked her and she didn’t throw hot broth on me or smack me with the ladle! That’s true love right there, folks. And she didn’t take me seriously. I tried 🙂

  4. This looks truly amazing. Alas, this costs more than my annual trips to Italy, England, New York, San Francisco, and multiple national parks…combined. My frugal heart just can’t do it, much though I love tea, cream tea, deer, and Windsor Castle.

    Have fun!

    1. No worries. We’ll have a cup of tea in your honour! 🙂

      Hopefully the deer won’t try to attack me like they did in Japan. Apparently holding a stack of deer cookies while being surrounded, not a good idea.

  5. There’s something wrong with the booking link. It keeps giving me an error saying “the card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit or debit card number.”
    I tried 2 different credit card and called my credit card providers as well, and they told me it’s the site not my card. I’m doing this State side. Is anyone else experiencing this error on using an American credit card instead of their Paypal account?

    1. This is a strange one as several tickets have been purchased already and they have gone through from the states but yours is not!

      I have been in contact with PayPal this morning and I am trying to fix it. Will get back to you as soon as I can with an answer. I am not sure why it is working for some people and not others!

      We are on it.

      Alan

      1. Thanks guys. I called Paypal and got it figure out. Sent in the 1st payment, excited to see you all in August.

    2. Zoe,

      After checking with Paypal, they did confirm that everything is working on their side. We also have had single, shared, and couple tickets come through with no problems for others so looks like it is working.

      Paypal suggested the following:

      1. When you try a second credit card to make a payment sometimes it gets confused with cookies and uses a bit of old data with the new and it doesn’t work. So you can try manually clearing the cache on your browser (Press “CTRL” + “Shift” + “Delete” keys in Windows or Linux, or “Command” + “Shift” + “Delete” keys on Mac) and try again.

      2. Call the toll-free American Paypal customer support number (1-888-221-1161) and chat with them while you enter your credit cards. They will be able to help you solve the problem.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if it works!

      Excited to see you in UK and check out your FI plans 🙂

  6. OK, I have NEVER given you an annoyed glare, at least until now.

    And now I am because you went a wrote a better post about this than mine!

    You had me laughing out loud (and enough to make it worth spelling that out!) and reading parts of it to my wife on the shuttle from the airport to our rented condo here on Maui. The other passengers are surely staying up late tonight trying to figure out what THAT was all about. 🙂

    I’ve now linked to it on my post.

    Well done and done as only FIRECracker can do it!

    1. Me: “JLCollins says I wrote a better post than him. Why he lie?”

      Wanderer: “Right. Clearly he’s saying that so we won’t expect it when he Skypes us to tell us he hates us.”

      Me: “See? You get it.”

  7. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a too much expensive ticket? Yeah, there’s a luxury hotel and a spa… but why?
    I mean, it’s a reunion of people seeking for Financial Independence. Spending 2200 GBP (2700 USD / 3600 CAD / 2580 EUR / 2765 CHF) for the cheapest solution – plus flights – is not something I’d classify FIRE minded.
    Can’t it be done on a much, much, MUCH smaller budget?

    Yes, you’d meet amazing people and will have an unforgettable experience, sure. But why can’t it be done without paying so much? Or is this someone’s well paid job?

    1. Well, this IS the UK so even the deer have health benefits, pensions, and a union for some reason…

      Seriously though, we are not getting paid for this. The cost is not just for room and board, it includes all meals and activities. Which isn’t cheap in the UK.

      Think of it this way though. This isn’t the same as a regular vacation, it’s spending a week with your favourite finance gurus and other like-minded people. In the past, there have been some really interesting attendees like entrepreneurs and even an Emmy award winning film director! And if you can learn something during this week that you can apply back home that increases your savings rate by $2700 USD or increase your investment income by $2700USD, then the experience is more of an investment than a cost. Gwen, one of the attendees, did mention in her comment that ” It can get a bit pricey, yes, BUT every penny I put into it has come back to me tenfold so it was way worth it.”

      If the cost is too high, JLCollins and I will also be at Chautauqua Ecuador from Oct 14-21. The cost for that is $2095USD. Part of the cost will be donated to the local community.

      1. Thanks for your reply FC, re-reading my comment I’ve been rude and I apologize for it.
        Well, let’s do next one in Italy, you can get everything for less than 30% of that price.

        plus, food is real food 🙂

        1. No need to apologize. No offence taken 🙂

          I like the idea of going to Italy…though with all that good food I will likely eat everything that isn’t nailed down. Then there won’t be any food for anyone else.

    2. The UK is not that expensive, trust me I lived there most my life. If they really wanted to do this frugally they wouldn’t travel during peak season (August) and they wouldn’t be staying at the Ettington Park Hotel ($300CAD a night for the cheapest room). I mean just look at the place, it doesn’t speak frugal, does it? The UK is no more expensive than the US, it all depends on where you go and when.

      This is basically a meetup of uber rich people who no longer need to live a frugal life, have likely already reached FI and don’t need to worry about their spending anymore. It’s certainly not for people currently trying to live frugally, as you could do this kind of trip for half the cost if you really wanted just by going to a cheaper hotel at a less expensive time.

      Think about it, the most mainstream FI bloggers are coincidentally the most wealthy ones. The lesser wealthy ones generally aren’t as big because they don’t have some crazy financial story to back up their success. “How I retired at age 31” is far more interesting than “how I lived frugally for 25 years on average wage to retire at 50”.

      Think about Financial Samurai, Mr. Money Mustache, Millennial Revolution, JL Collins, Mad Fientist. They’re all freaking loaded, have worked in high paying careers and largely have retired with multi million dollar bank accounts. These are the kind of guys going to this retreat, not the guys earning average wage trying to scrimp all their life to increase their savings rate 5%. Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to belittle the success of the big bloggers, they’ve worked hard to get to where they are, but they’re certainly not very relatable to their average reader so don’t expect their spending to be either. Most of their readers wouldn’t dream of spending $3,300 on a 1 week trip to the UK excluding flights.

      However, I’m not saying they should do it differently. If I was in their shoes I’d want to make it a special trip and not worry about the cost. I’d want to stay in hotels that look like castles during the summer and do all these wonderful activities whilst I’m there. I certainly don’t blame them for wanting to make the most of it!

      1. Fair point, but as I mentioned above, Chautauqua is not the same as a vacation. I’m 100% for financially responsibility (I wouldn’t say frugality because sacrificing for the sake of sacrificing makes no sense to me). As you can see from my posts, we do splurge on things that make us happy (Kobe beef, scuba diving, hiking in the Swiss alps, none of those things are cheap) and then ruthlessly cut on unimportant things (cars, houses, purses, gadgets, etc, basically THINGS that give me more stress and don’t add to my happiness).

        But things I do think is worth spending money on are EXPERIENCES. Especially experiences that cannot be replicated. Can I replicate the life-long FIRE friendships and connections I’ll be making at Chautauqua with a regular vacation to the UK? Nope.

        There is a HUGE difference between meeting people online and meeting them in person. To give you an example, when we were writing we did pay out of pocket to go to writing conferences (to NY) a lot. This is one of the reasons why our vacation costs were so high. But as a result of these trips, we got SO many literary agent and author connections, they’ve paid off tenfold! We would’ve never been published by Scholastic if we never found those mentors and friends in NY, who later helped us out a TON (for free I might add).

        Again, this not to say people should be financially irresponsible and mess up their budget just for this trip. That’s the exact opposite of what we stand for. This is why we offer free financial advice and the investment workshop so people can learn regardless of their income.

        However, for people who CAN afford it and they are going on vacation ANYWAY, going to Chautauqua would give them the added benefit of making connections and sharing knowledge with big names in the FI community. That to me is worth the cost.

        But feel free to make your own decisions 🙂 As I mention in this post, if the price is out of range, continue reading the blog and connecting with us online for free. We run this blog because FIRE is our passion, not because we’re in for the money (otherwise we would’ve quit a long time ago).

  8. I’ve only heard great things about this event. I would love for my wife and I to attend one in the future. I wonder if there are any versions of the retreat that could be web-casted for those unable to attend or afford such a trip. I’m assuming part of the allure is that it is a small group with intimate discussions, but was wondering nonetheless.

    1. Yup, you hit the nail on the head. Meeting people in person and having a small group of like-minded people is the main reason why people have said “it’s one of the best week of our lives”. You wouldn’t get that same feel with a web-cast.

      I will do a write up of my experience when I get back, so you can see what it’s like.

      Hope to see you guys at a future Chautauqua!

  9. I am so tempted to go since you will be there 🙁 unfortunately I planned 2 other trips already that will be using up all my vacation days. This sounds amazing! I want to bring my partner too

    Maybe next year :3. I’ll just continue stalking your blog

  10. I also had the same credit card issues listed above, but was able to get a debit card to work. Missed out on some miles, but at least I’m going! See you in the UK! Will Wanderer be around as well?

    1. That’s awesome, Joshua! Sorry about the miles 🙁 but SO EXCITED that you’re coming. And yes Wanderer will be there to meet you as well. See you in August!

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