Should You Go to CampFI?
Well first…What is CampFi?
There’s a good chance you’re asking “What the expletive is CampFI”. Even if you knew that CampFI stood for Camp Financial Independence you might be confused. The truth is, each person could answer that question differently and that’s one of the main things that make it so special. At its center, I see CampFI as a place where like-minded people can gather to support each other, be reinvigorated and bring back nuggets to better their lives and their journey to financial independence. Well that’s what CampFi is between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., but then after that, all bets are off and things look a lot more like college. Also, because you’re dealing with a bunch of folks allergic to spending money, you might even get some classic plastic liquor appearances
Day in the Life
This camp is laid out over a three day period on a rotation of locations. This year included camps in Arkansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, and California. Camps will kick back off in January btw. If you’re familiar with FinCon, this is way different. Don’t get me wrong, I love FinCon but it serves a different purpose. You can expect 35-70 people at the camps depending on the location, so it’s much more intimate. You’ll hear from about six speakers, and this isn’t one of those events where they speak and disappear behind a curtain never to be seen.
If you want to really pick the brain of the most interesting minds in personal finance, this is your chance. Your lodging will probably be shared with someone and you’ll all eat together three times a day. There’s plenty of free time spread through the day to setup subgroups to really dig into topics or just have fun with things like archery, canoe racing, YouTube sharing, and heated sporting events. Then you can expect long nights of…well I’ll just say “rowdy”.
The Value of CampFi
CampFI is certainly an investment. You may have to drop some cash on plane tickets as well as the $450 price for the event itself. If you’re reading this, then you probably hate spending money and as someone who saves 70% of their income, I totally understand. However, I truly believe you’ll find this investment to bring serious returns for one of the following reasons.
Reason one: you’ll actually discover a way to make more money because of the trip.
The internet may be full of experts but rarely do you get the chance to pick the brain of these experts for your exact situation. The camp I went to gave me access to a ton of real estate investing knowledge that I was desperately seeking from experts like Paul from Ready Investor One and James from Rethink the Rat Race. There was a ton of expertise across a lot of spaces so there’ll be something for everyone.
Reason two: you’ll leave more motivated and focused for the journey.
There’s no arguing that I love money and finding new ways to make it, but this is by far my favorite part of the camp. We were lucky enough to hear from one of the best living case studies in early retirement, Doug Nordman, who has been proving the 4% rule is solid for over 16 years across two recessions. You’ll also get pushed to take a hard look at yourself and why you’re on this journey at all. Doc G’s speech really had everyone look inside themselves and wrestle with their path and I know I left with the understanding that I probably needed to steer away from my current route a smidge. When you hear these messages, your beliefs are strengthened and your focus is renewed. These little boosts and introspection are vital for finishing the journey to Financial Independence.
Reason three: to simply be with your kind
When I asked the reason for coming, most members stated they simply wanted to surround themselves with people who believed and lived the same way they do. I have to say my faith in humanity was slightly regained when I saw all these people from so many walks of life creating a community centered around self-improvement and responsible spending. The path to financial independence can be lonely and lonely can be discouraging. Finding people you can relate to who are doing the same things you want to do with your life is extremely encouraging. The person I related to was hands down Whitney Hansen. I relate to her low income beginnings and her love to travel on a budget, and I aspire to be more like her with a successful online presence and the ability to help others gain a healthy status with their money.
No Two Experiences Are the Same
I’ve only been to one CampFI so far but it’s obvious that each camper comes for a different reason and each camp is different in itself. The camps take place in different locations with different guest lists. Do some research on who is going or who is speaking to figure out which one makes the most sense to you. A great example is Cody from Fly to FI. He went to his first financial meet-up ever at a CampFI earlier this year and then a few months later he was speaking at this one. He’s also started a blog and a podcast. Be careful though because he blames our community for his unrelenting desire to quit the 9-5 world. So beware of CampFI side effects. Some camps may feature a heavy percentage of people who run blogs or podcasts and then there are those like the one I attended where probably 70% of the attendees didn’t have a business that related to financial independence at all.
What CampFI is Not
CampFI is not an overly structured start to finish guide on how to reach financial independence. Don’t get me wrong, the expertise for any question you have will most likely be there, but don’t expect to sit through speakers delivering presentations on back door Roth conversions or diagnosing the Chinese economy. You also won’t have an agenda so packed that you feel like you have to choose between missing something and having a one-on-one conversation. It is also not a place to catch up on sleep. If you’re hitting the bed at 10 p.m. then you’re missing the best moments and missing the chance to turn acquaintances into lifelong friends.
Still On the Fence?
If I haven’t convinced you yet, go read some of the other testimonials I’ve linked to at the bottom. I also encourage you to go follow FIology and reach out to its creator David about a scholarship. I’m not sure if they’ll always be available but I was lucky enough to receive one this time which paid my entry fee. Just to be clear, I made no agreements to write an article about the camp in exchange for the free admission. Even if you are still on the fence about pursuing financial independence, this is the place for you.
Where else can you sit one-on-one and talk to people ranging from “I just heard about FI and I’m ready to quit my job” to “I’ve been FI for 16 years and trust me, you’ll be just fine” and my favorite (looking at you Doc G) “I just found out about FI and it turns out…I’m already financially independent”. One guy literally came because his buddy sent him a link and he hit buy without even knowing where he was going. I know for a fact that same guy doesn’t second guess his decision one bit. Last but not least are the inside jokes revolving around Disney characters and me pleading for everyone to buy the worst credit card ever created. If you want in on those secrets, you’ll need a ticket.
Watch here for tickets to go on sale: CampFI.org
CampFI Midwest: The-Military-Guide
CampFI Southeast: Fiery Millennials
CampFI Soutwhest: Life In Fire
CampFI Mid-Atlantic: Military-Dollar
As always, thank you so much for reading and I encourage you to sign up for the e-mail list below so you’re always up to date on the latest content