October 27, 2021
Hi Everybody! Not a big blog post today, just a quick announcement: I will be heading to the 2022 Chautauqua in Ecuador as one of the invited speakers. The event will span an entire week: June 18-25 in 2022. So, if you want to spend a fun-filled week in a beautiful location with an opportunity to interact with like-minded FI and FIRE enthusiasts and four awesome FIRE thought leaders please consider joining us there!
Here are more details…
What is Chautauqua?
The Chautauqua movement was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It brought together people for the purpose of entertainment, self-improvement, and access to presentations by experts in various fields. Think of it as TED talks before there was an internet.
Chautauquas with a FI/FIRE focus started in 2013 in Ecuador, just north of Quito at the “Above The Clouds” Hacienda in a beautiful, relaxed subtropical environment. The local organizer is Cheryl Reed. Previous speakers include Mr. Money Mustache, Paula Pant (Afford Anuthing), Brandon (Mad Fientist), and many more thought leaders from our small but growing community.
The upcoming Chautauqua will be the 12th meeting of its kind in Ecuador after taking a break during the pandemic. Aside from yours truly, The Fioneers (Jessica and Corey) and Gwen Merz (Fiery Millenial) will be the invited presenters. That’s a really impressive lineup and since the number of attendees is limited to no more than 20, you’ll have ample access to the speakers. You’ll also likely have to move soon if you want to join because after only a few days, half of the spots are already taken. You can register that the Above The Clouds website and also find out more information there.
Just briefly, the event will include presentations by the speakers, Q and A, roundtable discussions, and a one-one meeting with one of your presenters. But there will also be an extensive non-FIRE program to keep us inspired:
- A trip to an active volcanic crater lake called Cuicocha.
- A weaving demonstration by Indigenous people of Peguche waterfall hike.
- Stand on the equator. Watch Indigenous women harvest Agave honey and tour the oldest hacienda in Ecuador and have a picnic of ancient foods of Ecuador.
- Condor Park: We will see birds of prey that are being rehabilitated fly in a dramatic setting against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains.
Though, there’s nobody keeping us from talking about Safe Withdrawal Rates while standing on the Equator! 🙂
How much does it cost?
The cost for the 7-day event is $1,950 per person, assuming double occupancy. $2,350 for single rooms. This includes all meals, local transportation (including transportation to/from Quito airport), and entertainment. Not included would be the flight from your home to Quito, Ecuador. And other incidentals, like alcoholic beverages, tips, and trip insurance.
That certainly looks like a steep price tag for frugality-minded FIRE folks. For this reason, I don’t recommend this event to folks who aren’t at least well advanced on their path to FIRE. Don’t go if you have to go into credit card debt to pay for this trip. I would go even further; don’t go if you don’t have enough money to max out your 401k matching contributions. But if you can afford the event you have to go! True, you might be able to “meet” more financial “gurus” at a FinCon event for a quick chat in the hallway. But at a Chautauqua, you will have much more intense interactions with both the presenters and the fellow attendees. Anyone I’ve ever talked to confirmed that this has been an awesome life-changing event. It’s like boot camp for financial geeks. (Initially, I wanted to call it the Woodstock for financial geeks, but that might have some improper connotations!)
All attendees will have to be vaccinated. Cheryl, the organizer, assured me that all health protocols in effect in Ecuador at the time will be followed to ensure a safe and healthy event.
What’s in it for the speakers?
For full disclosure, as a speaker at the event, I will be fully comped, i.e., I don’t have to pay the event fee and my travel to and from the event will be covered. Coach class airfare, in case you wondered. On top of that, I will get a small stipend to cover my incidentals on the trip. Needless to say, the cost of bringing in the speakers will be rolled into the fee for the paying attendees. There will be haters who will try to dump on the organizers and speakers. Well, what else is new?! I can only assure everyone that I will attend this event because I believe in the FI/FIRE cause and I like to hang out with like-minded people. I will not make money off of this event, and I don’t need to either. I will gladly take a week off from my busy early retirement schedule and I will put together a kick-a$s presentation as well. I normally attend only two events per year, FinCon and one of the CampFIs. But for the Chautauqua, I want to make an exception in 2022.