Episode 100 - The state of the union for the Unconstrained

Most podcasts that get to 100 episodes have pretty much proven themselves. They will likely be around for hundreds more. And that’s my intention here as well. But rather than use this as some celebration, I don’t think that is deserved yet. At 500, I will celebrate. But for now, we’ll use this as a look back on how we got here, and what we’ve learned along the way.

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Show Notes

How this came to be

The dinner at El Charo’s in Tucson, and the observations I had with my own daughter & college.

The fear any father has that they did the right or wrong thing.  The lack of information out there to guide anyone.

The deep down realization following 2008, when the banks showed their true colors.

The way that the power brokers destroy anyone who calls out a wrong in society – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, etc.   How it felt before sitting in a coffee shop, reading IRC chat logs from Wikileaks, and realizing just how important what they were doing was.

Learning about Bitcoin – an alternative to money, that could bypass the banks entirely.  Using it, benefiting from it, empowering others, evangelism, etc.

Then watching humanity show its true colors and destroying any hope it might have for a future (2017, BitConnect, etc.)

I might be ok, but I remember how it felt with the walls closing in around you.  Every month was a struggle to pay the bills.  Every year was a monumental task to file taxes, and the ongoing fear of owing money to the IRS.  

Learning that my wife’s superannuation fund was a liability and not an asset, and dealing with tax attorneys to get it all right.  Meanwhile the govt, IRS, FINCEN, etc. did nothing to tell people who had money overseas of their obligations.  Or the risk of losing it all, and being thrown in jail.

It seemed like there was no hope.  Unless you knew all the tricks, had the time to keep up with these things, you would easily fall prey to it.

Watching our tenants struggle with their lives.  That they couldn’t break free of the bankster shackles.  Talk about Jason at Schwabb and yet he can’t afford to buy a home due to student loan debt.

Watch society think that the answer was a new puppet leader in government – not that government itself allowed all of this to happen.  And when they got their wish, watched the incompetence of leadership destroy hundreds of thousands of lives with the mismanagement of a pandemic.

And yet, I could not be “political”.  The problem wasn’t the politics.  It was that humans (particularly in the USA) had given up their control to counterparties because someone told them that is what they should do.

My wife & I found ourselves on one of our annual visits to see her family in South Australia.  They are in a small country town called Mt. Gambier, which is about a 6 hour drive from the nearest city.  We’d fly into Adelaide or Melbourne and then drive there.  On one of the drives back, we talked about all of these challenges.  I said, “I should do a podcast on this”.  Why a podcast?

Because I believed that if I laid out what I had learned in my adventures, maybe my daughter might listen.  The thing is that I knew that I could not directly tell her.  No kid wants to be lectured by their dad on these things.  But then I realize all her friends wanted the same information.

So episode 1 began.  I introduced the whole reason for it.  To be unconstrained.

I had been listening to a lot of FI and FIRE content before, and somehow had found myself being interviewed on those shows.  I was on the ChooseFI podcast twice before I started The Unconstrained Podcast.

When I spoke to the guys there (and many others), I realized the age difference.  I was about 20 years older than they were, but I had been raised in a totally different country, under totally different economics.  

My approach to things seemed alien to them.

Having had a long career in engineering, I knew the process to solve a problem was to first really study the problem first.  Even over study it.  Unless you were an expert in the “problem domain” you didn’t have any business trying to solve it.  And that seemed to be the core problem that the FIRE community had.

They were attempting to solve a problem that they really didn’t have more than a small amount of experience in dealing with.  They were often upper-middle class people, young families, etc. who decided they didn’t want to do what their parents did.  They wanted to be free of a job, travel the world, have adventures, etc.  

Nothing wrong with that.  But it felt to me that they didn’t really understand what they were seeking.  What exactly was stopping them from those benefits?

It was (IMHO) that they were constrained.  Constrained by decisions that they had made when they were 18 years old (student loans) or constrained by what they were told was how they were supposed to live.  Told by their parents, society, government, etc.

To be free of those constraints would then allow all the rest of it to happen.  Organically.  I knew that.  

But they only wanted to dance around the margins of the problem.  To debate ROTH vs. Traditional IRA is not the answer.  To choose which index fund is the best place to invest, isn’t the answer either.

Sure, those things can help, but they avoid talking about the entire problem.

The banks.   The banks got us into this mess – detaching from them will likely get us out.

The problem is that our government won’t detach from the banks.  The banking class is a feeder to and from government.  Goldman Sachs is the most likely place retiring elected politicians go after serving in Washington.  Is it any wonder that Hillary Clinton was paid $500K for a speech at Goldmans?  And for the other party to slam her over this, negates the fact that they would do the very same thing if offered.

Our poisoned relationship with money is the reason we don’t have any.

And just changing where you put your money isn’t going to solve anything.  

When I was confronted by all of this, I realized that the only person who can break this cycle is me.  I have to find a way to thrive outside of the banking system.  That’s what drew me to Bitcoin initially, but it was clear around 2016 or so that the banking system had gone through the 5 stages of grief and eventually strategized to co-opt Bitcoin.  And they did.  And that is where we are today.

I thought that maybe internationalization might work.  That the reach of government & banks might be limited if I wasn’t in the USA.

Nope.  The US tax laws, FATCA, FINCEN, etc. that were all invented and hardened during the Obama administration, have teeth.  And you are a US taxpayer for the rest of your life the second you wear the coat of “US Person”.  The banks were international in reach well before the governments were.  Maybe there was some place in the world though…. Some place where you could be left alone.

That’s what drew me to Mexico.  I have traveled all over the world, and I continue to do that.  I’ve seen so much and learned along the way.  But I’m yet to be in a country that offers more freedom and more opportunity than Mexico.  Sure, I could go and live on an island in the South Pacific, but assuming I can deal with rising sea levels & climate change, the lack of Internet isn’t going to work, let alone the lack of any modern convenience.  I need a society that has that, and yet has succumbed to the will of the banks.

And that’s where I found the sweet spot.  As I record this, Mexico doesn’t have any mortgages.  And it doesn’t have student loans.  And it doesn’t have medical debt.  Mexicans (even Temp Residents) can get free, public healthcare.   Education is affordable and high quality in the cities.  And no one has a mortgage.

That resulted in a happier, friendlier society.  A society that gave a damn.  A society that took care of people.  I found that out personally when I had major surgery in Guadalajara.  And that is why I have become a permanent resident of Mexico.

Meanwhile back in the USA….  Inflation is showing its colors.  As much as our government has lied to us that there isn’t any, ask that to anyone that pays rent.  As that to anyone that shops at the grocery store, or pays for healthcare.

The truth is that our government is taxing us overtly and covertly.  

All the cracks in the system seem to be closing.  The mega-rich have dozens of attorneys to keep them open for their needs, but for you and I they are closing.

As we move forward, we will be dealing with things we probably never expected to deal with.  Something like the script of a Black Mirror episode.

Social credit score
Robots and AI making decisions that affect your lives
Lock downs
Pandemics & health related crisis
Privacy gone
Erosion of wealth and transfer of wealth
More tools to force you to keep your 9-5 job by the power brokers
Reducing life expectancy
Bankers making more money until the day you die

You see, these things are not something solved by some FIRE agenda

You can have millions in the bank, but you can’t escape these things.  

So in the very early episodes of The Unconstrained Podcast, I laid out a set of core tenets that are part of what I call “Financial Sustainability”.  The ability for you to exist outside of money.  Where money is created by the assets you own, and not by your toil.

The idea is that you can survive and thrive without having to work for someone else.

Is that not the same end point that all the FIRE people want?  Is that not the same endpoint that everyone chasing crypto “to the moon” profits want?

Why is it that few achieve it?  

Simple.  They are hypnotized to not believe they can.  Hypnotized from birth it would seem.

So when someone like me comes along who was not raised in that world, can you understand how alien it seems to me?  

It isn’t that I have all the answers.  Clearly I don’t.  But at least I’m able to see a scam a mile away.  And that’s what I’ve been doing on this show.  For the past 99 episodes and what I’ll continue to do going forward.

It isn’t a scam from some Instagram influencer.  It is a scam by the banks, that tells your very government how to behave, what laws to write and why they put themselves first over their constituents.

Well how about, for a change, we put ourselves first.

How about we turn off the TV channel that they are preaching to us on, and we start to look inward at what we can do.

Because we can solve this.

We don’t have to solve it for the country, or the state, or even our town.  We only have to solve it for ourselves.  

Like we are in some parallel society – existing inside of the turmoil, but with the answers to how to survive and thrive in this mess.

I think, in the end, that’s the only hope for us left.  We can’t make grand changes here.  No government party will.  Not while they are shouldering the burden of decades and decades of mismanagement.  The time to be held accountable for that past us a long time ago.  

Now it is more like “every man for themselves”.  

We must focus on 10 rights of the unconstrained:

1.    The right to have freedom from the shackles of money (Financial Sustainabilty)
2.    The right to be private
3.    The right to travel without restriction
4.    The right to have a long and healthy life
5.    The right to love who we want to
6.    The right to be happy by finding our purpose
7.    The right to be who we want to be
8.    The right to express whatever we want to express
9.    The right to regain control of our lives from counterparties
10.    The right to have equal access to opportunity, but not to bitch if someone else works harder and gets more rewards than we do
But with rights come responsibilities.

We cannot shirk the responsibility that we must take for ourselves.  We have the responsibility to protect ourselves as we need to, but we must never assume anyone or anything is responsible for anything that we cannot do ourselves.

Even if others tell you that you can be richer if you just outsource responsibility.

That isn’t a rich that is sustainable and it comes at a cost of never being able to detach from society ever again.

Our problems run deep – they didn’t come overnight.  They have been growing bit by bit.  Extreme action may be needed here – action for you and your family.  Not some mass uprising, but your way of protecting yourself and yet being able to thrive with others that think the same way.

That’s why I created the Unconstrained Podcast.

The guests that I feature help, in some way, towards the goal of being unconstrained.  I don’t expect to have more than 1 guest per 4 episodes.  That’s what I’ve been doing in the past, and it seems to work.

The popularity of the show has increased 10 fold in the past 12 months, and there is plenty of room for it to grow upward.  I’ve toyed with the idea of doing YouTube videos, but to be honest the amount of work required for that is so hard that it would become a job.  And I don’t like jobs.

But there are things we’ve done (and will continue to do) that have been low maintenance and helpful.  I think the Matrix server is a big part of this (explain it to newbies)

I’ve also been humbled by the number of Patreon supporters we have been getting.

I get asked about doing mentoring for people.  I’m in a position right now where I can do that for those that want some one on one time with me, but there are some caveats.  If it becomes a burden, I reserve the right to stop.  I will only do that to those that are in the higher subscription level on Patreon, only because it is the only way I can put a governor on how many of these I do.  I don’t want the burden of doing this for days each week.  And yet Zoom works great for this.

So I would suggest that if you wanted something like that, you can still get it, but I can’t guarantee for how long.  I want to help out people, but the sheer volume may become too hard.  I may have to find other ways to do it, but for now I am still doing one on one mentoring.

You might also find me on other shows from time to time.  I get asked to do a lot of interviews, and I’m happy to do it.  It is about exposure and hopefully connecting with others and bringing them into our community.

Because everywhere I go, the same problems exist.  And everyone feels them differently.  But they all accept that we have problems.  I’m yet to be debated on whether our society has issues.  Maybe we can debate different ways to try and address and solve them, but never has their been a discussion about whether a problem exists.

So I know others feel the pain too.

It is just most of them are burying their heads in the sand, or think that their learned nature in economics, finance, investing, or something else will solve it.  It won’t.  If you can imagine that you were living in a country of uprisings, economic collapse, starvation, wealth disparity, etc.  do you think debating over Vanguard VTSAX vs. Fidelity is going to be relevant?

So I leave you with this “State of the Union” for the unconstrained.

We have some work ahead of us.  All of us have.  I have to keep an eye out for threats and opportunities.  That’s what I intend on doing.  Whether it is from my casa in Arizona or my casa in Mexico, the Internet is everywhere.

Let the episodes flow and I’ll see you on the next one (and hopefully the next hundred as well).

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