FI Lifestyle Personal Finance

How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life in Salt Lake City? (As a Couple)

Photo credit: Marcus Bellamy on Unsplash

How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life in Salt Lake City?

Hello, and welcome to interview #13 in the How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life interview series! Part interview, part spending report, this series will introduce us to FIRE* seekers from all over the world.

They’ll reveal their essential spending and money-saving tips—all to help us learn new ways to save on our own expenses. As a bonus, we’ll also get to discover the unique advantages and challenges of living in different places around the globe.

*FIRE stands for financial independence, retire early. It’s also known as FI—financial independence. For more info, see my FI School series—it’ll teach you everything you need to know about FI (and FIRE).

About the interview series

I created an intro page for this interview series to help explain what it’s about, what’s included (or not) and why. I’ll also link to all the interviews from the intro page—so check back there to see the entire collection.

Jump to the series intro: How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life? (The Interview Series)

Disclosure: These interviews may include affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links—at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Interview #13: Adam from Salt Lake City

In today’s interview, we’ll meet Adam from Minafi. Adam lives with his wife and dog in Salt Lake City, Utah. He reached FIRE in 2018, with his wife following suit in early 2020. As evidenced by the many photos Adam shares in his life updates, they’re thoroughly enjoying retired life!

About Minafi

I first heard of Adam and Minafi on an early episode of the Do You Even Blog podcast. In the interview, he and Pete discuss Adam’s interactive guide to FIRE, which is very cool. (Be sure to give yourself lots of time to play around with the interactive features.)

At Minafi, you’ll find plenty of helpful, insightful content along with other interactive posts, like this Periodic Table of FIRE (I love it)! There’s so much useful info on Adam’s site, you could easily spend weeks (maybe even months) soaking up the knowledge.

My favourite posts on Minafi are Adam’s reflections on life after reaching FIRE. As my husband and I work towards our own early retirement, it’s fun to dream about it vicariously through others! 

I hope you’ll check out Minafi and that you’ll enjoy Adam’s content as much as I have. But before you go, let’s first dive into his interview and see how much it costs to live in Salt Lake City!

Part 1: Getting to know you

Adam at Observation Point in Zion National Park

Tell us about you and your wife

Hey hey! I’m Adam from Minafi if you haven’t already guessed. I’m a 38-year-old guy from Florida who now lives in Salt Lake City, UT. I live there with my wife, where we just celebrated our 15-year anniversary. We don’t have children, but do have a 20-lb poodle mix named Lily, who we spoil between her many naps.

I love to hike, and keep a very organized spreadsheet of all the trails I want to try within an hour drive of our apartment organized by distance and elevation gain. It’s a nice time to relax, get some fresh air and listen to an audiobook for a few hours while getting a little exercise.

For most of my career, I was a software developer (full-stack web developer) working at startups before switching over to a product manager. In the last few years, I started blogging at minafi.com about how to help people reach financial independence through investing, minimalism and mindfulness and using my programming background to create interactive articles (my favorite of which is An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence).

Where are you in your journey to FIRE?

I fell into the FIRE community from a different side than most—through investing. I started investing in 2006 after my mom passed away and left me $100,000. That was so much more money than I’d ever had before (by about $99,000). I was determined to make the most of it and began investing it.

That led me to a financial advisor at my bank. I didn’t know any better at the time and ended up paying far higher fees than I realized (advisor fees, high expense fees and even front-load/purchase fees). Within a few years, I came to realize I could do his job myself and began learning how to invest in tax-optimized, low-fee, diversified index funds.

Skip to around 2012 and I’d been investing for a few years on my own. I had a good idea by that point on how to grow wealth through saving and investing, but no concept of retirement besides “that happens when you’re 65”. After reading MMM’s shockingly simple math post, I realized I could retire sooner and started saving even more!

Thanks to a windfall after the startup I worked at was acquired, we ended up hitting our FI number (25x yearly spending) about a decade ahead of schedule. It didn’t make us “fly first class everywhere we go” rich, but get us to the “If everything goes right we might not need to work again” level of FI. My wife worked another year and then left her job in early 2020 right before the pandemic.

In my first year of FI, we had a withdrawal rate of 1.78% thanks to my wife’s continued work (and her health care)! In our second year, we had no income coming in and our withdrawal rate grew to 3.26%. It would have been higher, but the stock market has somehow climbed despite everything going on in the world. I can’t say I understand it, but I’ll continue investing in index funds and hoping for the best.

What type of FIRE are you at? (FIRE, Lean FIRE, or Fat FIRE*)

How Chrissy defines FIRE, Lean FIRE, and Fat FIRE

Some people define Lean FIRE as under $40k in annual spending; FIRE as $40–$100k in annual spending; and Fat FIRE as $100k+ in annual spending.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this! After all, $100k could be Fat FIRE in a small Canadian town but Lean FIRE in San Francisco. Instead, I define each category more loosely:

  • Lean FIRE: The essentials with little or no discretionary spending.
  • FIRE: The essentials plus a comfortable amount of discretionary spending.
  • Fat FIRE: The essentials plus a luxurious amount of discretionary spending.

Throughout our spending years, we let our expenses rise with our lifestyle. We’ve spent lavishly on some areas—trips, tasty food, entertainment. Other areas we’re more mindful of: transportation, gadgets and clothing.

After tracking our spending every year for the last decade, it’s fluctuated from about $50k to $100k before setting in around $80k. Based on that, we pursued regular old FIRE with around a 3.5% withdrawal rate. That would be about $2.4m saved up, which is close to how much we have today.

Our only concern with this number is that we don’t own our home. Housing costs make up a large part of our yearly spending—33% in 2020. That puts us at the mercy of rises in housing costs. 

Historically, the stock market has climbed faster than the housing market, but over years (or even a decade) it could go either way. If we do see housing prices spike we may try geoarbitrage as an excuse to lower costs while seeing more of the world.

Tell us about your living situation

We lived in a house we owned in Orlando, FL for 11 years. We hadn’t paid it off, but we were about halfway there thanks to overpaying some months and putting 20% down. My homeowner experience was defined by constantly fixing things and spending my weekends doing yard work. I didn’t love it.

When we moved out of Orlando to Salt Lake City, Utah, we decided to switch to an apartment for a few reasons. For one, we didn’t know the area. We also weren’t sure how long we’d stay in town. We found an apartment downtown that was still shiny and new and settled in. We’ve been here three years so far and love it. 

From that central location, my wife was able to walk to work, and I could grab the Frontrunner (Utah’s rail system) to my job at the time. This allowed us to sell one of our cars and reduce our expenses by about $240 a month ($120 insurance, $30 parking, $30 gas, $60 maintenance).

After living in the suburbs in Orlando, this is the first time we’ve been able to walk anywhere, and we love it! We’ll walk to get groceries, to eat out or to hit up a bar with friends (well, in the pre-COVID time at least). Now we’re still close enough to some good trails to run on, a dog park, and a lot of businesses to get takeout from.

We’ve considered buying a house someday, but we’re in no rush right now. First, we’d want to decide where in the world we want to settle down, then we’ll decide if we want to be homeowners again.

Why did you choose to live in Salt Lake City?

I moved to Orlando for college (go UCF!) from St. Petersburg, FL back in 2000. After college, I stuck around and worked various jobs in town and settled down with my now-wife to make a life there. In 2015, the company I worked for (Code School) was acquired by a company from here in Salt Lake City. 

They offered to help me move, and after a few trips out here with my wife, we thought it might work out. Everything clicked into place when my wife’s work decided to open an office in town! After a lot of back and forth, she was able to transfer here and we knew it was the right decision.

From a financial standpoint, moving can be expensive! Luckily for us, both of our companies were paying us to move. We used the best offer for each part of our move. We relied on one side to move our stuff and pay for temporary housing and the other to move cars, pay for travel, and add a little spending cash. 

In the end, we walked away from the move being 100% free and us getting enough extra cash to pay for all of our new furniture and our first month’s rent. 

It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move for free. I think we would have stayed around a lot longer if that hadn’t fallen into place. Even though we both wanted to move from Orlando someday, it can be hard to get over the hefty price tag.

Part 2: The expenses

In this section, Adam shares his essential expenses and best money-saving tips. But before we get started, let’s review some important notes:

Important notes about the numbers

  • Only essential expenses are included.
  • Discretionary expenses (e.g. travel, gifts, etc.) are not included.
  • Expenses are rounded to the nearest dollar. 
  • Expenses are displayed in the interviewee’s home currency.
  • In this interview, the home currency is US dollars.
  • For your convenience, I’ve included a currency converter for each expense.

For detailed explanations about which expenses are included (or not) see my How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life intro post.

1. How much does housing cost in Salt Lake City?

Photo by Curtis Adams on Pexels

Rent ($1,935/month; $23,220/year) 🇺🇸

We pay about $2,225 a month to live in our apartment. We consider our “rent” component of that to be $1,935 with the rest going towards other categories: $130 for our internet/TV package (the only way to get internet here), $35 to pet rent, $30 for a parking spot, $15 for a storage unit and about $80 for pest/gas/water/sewer/trash. 

For what we pay, we get a two-bedroom corner apartment on the top floor with tall ceilings, a balcony overlooking the mountains, and the usual apartment amenities—a tiny gym, some security and not needing to ever mow a lawn.

Property tax ($0) 🇺🇸

Since we’re renting, we don’t need to pay property taxes.

Strata/HOA fees ($0) 🇺🇸

All apartment and facility fees are rolled up within our monthly rent.

Renters insurance ($13/month; $159/year) 🇺🇸

We pay $13 a month for renters insurance, which is enough to cover replacing every possession we have. I’m still amazed that for $159/yr we have full insurance. As homeowners, we paid between $1,800 and $2,600 a year for property insurance. Renters insurance seems like a rounding error in comparison.

Home maintenance ($150/month; $1,800/year) 🇺🇸

This category includes: home maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and improvements; household goods and supplies; furniture; and appliances.

Let me just say we looove living in an apartment. I no longer have a never-ending to-do list. Now when something breaks, I put in a ticket with our apartment complex and they fix it. It’s been amazing.

Since we clean our own place, our only expenses are home improvements and furniture. When we moved in three years ago we spent about $4k on two new sofas and a bed frame with the hope they last us a decade, which works out to about $50/month if they last that long. 

We spent an annualized $100 a month on home improvements and household goods over the last year for an average of about $150/month for all maintenance, furniture and home goods.

Our biggest purchases now are the occasional new pot, pan or anything else to help us recreate restaurant dishes at home. We’re slowly building out a full kitchen when things are on sale. Next up would be lots of plants, birdseed, general cleaning supplies and occasional candles to build up our house hygge.

Even though I’d consider our former residence a minimalist house, we still spent a lot just to keep it from crumbling. I recently ran the numbers, and our home maintenance costs over 10 years averaged out to about $550/month for a house built in 1990! 

The biggest repairs were for our broken A/C, critters in our attic, a burst pipe (x3), and other hurricane damage that was somehow never covered by our insurance.

Home equity opportunity cost ($0) 🇺🇸

About the home equity opportunity cost ‘expense’

This is an optional expense category, suggested by The Economist from FI Garage. The intention for sharing this is to calculate the opportunity cost of home ownership versus renting.

That is: if you invested the amount that’s tied up in your home equity, how much would that be worth after one year of investing (calculated using a conservative return of 5%)?

Some of my interviewees aren’t comfortable sharing this, which is why this expense is optional. In addition, there are other factors (appreciation, rent savings, other home ownership costs) which could make this number less useful.

Still, I think it’s an interesting number to consider, so I’ve decided to include it. 😉

You can probably guess this one by now, but we have $0 in home equity. Aside from our 4-year-old car valued at ~$10k, we don’t include anything else in our net worth number outside of investments.

2. How much does transportation cost in Salt Lake City?

Paris Shared Bike, Bus and Taxi Lane” by EURIST e.V. is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Vehicle insurance ($126/month; $1,506/year) 🇺🇸

We have a single vehicle—a 2016 Fiat 500x. We bought it used in cash from CarMax after researching all-wheel drive vehicles with a high ground clearance that we could use to explore Utah. Going down rocky mountain roads in my wife’s Toyota Scion wasn’t fun.

I love our vehicle so far. This is the third car we’ve purchased from CarMax so far. We’ve found that we can get a 2 to 4-year-old car at a great discount and drive them as long as we possibly can.

Gas ($28/month; $340/year) 🇺🇸

Since we’re not driving to go to work, our gas bill has gone way down. At its height in Orlando, we were paying $120/month in gas. We’re driving a lot less now. Most of our trips are errands, hikes or exploring the area.

Also, I don’t include gas for road trips in this category. If I did, it’d be another $20–$30 a month just for that. Instead, I group gas for road trips in my “travel transportation” spending category with airline tickets, trains and any rideshares we take while traveling.

Vehicle maintenance ($60/month; $722/year) 🇺🇸

When we purchased our car, we paid extra for CarMax’s extended warranty with a $100 deductible. If fixing a problem will cost less than that, we take it to another place close by. On average, we’ve spent about $60/month on repairs, oil changes and taxes ($180/yr here!) Here in Utah, we also are required to get an emissions test every two years, which isn’t cheap.

Bike maintenance ($0) 🇺🇸

We have two cruiser-style bikes we mostly use for getting around downtown Salt Lake City. We ride them rarely enough that they haven’t needed any maintenance we couldn’t do for free ourselves.

Parking and tolls ($30/month; $360/year) 🇺🇸

We pay $30 for a parking spot in our building’s parking garage. Having an indoor spot during winter here is GREAT. It saves us time scraping ice off the windshield every time we go out in the winter.

There aren’t any toll roads we use here in Salt Lake City and we rarely need to pay for parking.

Transit ($6/month; $74/year) 🇺🇸

Public transit is free throughout downtown Salt Lake City, which is amazing. While I was working, I paid $116 a month for an unlimited transit pass to get to work. I cancelled that after I left and now we rarely need to pay for any kind of public transit or rideshares.

3. Food

Photo by gemma on Unsplash

Groceries ($622/month; $7,470/year) 🇺🇸

We alternate between Costco and a few local grocery stores we can walk to (Harmons, Smiths and Sprouts) for our groceries. We’ll also hit up a local place we can bring our own containers to or an Asian supermarket which is the only place to buy a lot of things we use. We cook most of our meals at home—anything from curries and Asian dishes to empanadas or homestyle dishes.

Eating out ($351/month; $4,212/year) 🇺🇸

We looove to eat out (or delivery, in the case of 2020). This is one of our not-at-all-guilty-about pleasures. Even in COVID, our eating out budget has been about the same—$350/month. 

We used to eat out less and spend more on each trip. In 2020, we’ve switched to large takeout orders that provide us with six to eight meals from one large order. Our go-to takeout places include a local Ethiopian restaurant, a Thai place that gives huge portions and a Nepalese/Indian place we can walk to.

Our 2020 eating out expense was about the same as previous years. The big difference is that I’ve already tracked “eating out” and the “alcohol” part of a meal separately. The alcohol side of our expenses went way down in 2020 since we can get a box of wine cheaper than cocktails at a restaurant.

4. How much do utilities and bills cost in Salt Lake City?

Photo by Jason Richard on Unsplash

Natural gas ($25/month; $300/year) 🇺🇸

Since we live in an apartment, a lot of our utilities are paid as part of our rent. Natural gas is one of those expenses that’s included and comes out to about $25/month.

Electricity ($80/month; $960/year) 🇺🇸

Our electricity isn’t included in our rent, and the expense is kind of high because we only have two seasons—hot and cold. The central heat and air conditioning are from two electric heat pumps. 

Our electricity bill goes up during the summer when it reaches 100°F (38°C) outside, with our air conditioner blowing. We usually keep our heater at 64°F (18°C) in the winter and 72°F (22°C) in the summer. It’s almost the same temperature year-round in our apartment.

Water ($22/month; $264/year) 🇺🇸

Our water bill (and natural gas and garbage) are averaged for everyone in our apartment complex. In other words, it’s not based on our usage, but the usage of the entire building. We pay $22/month on average for water and sewer.

Garbage and recycling ($22/month; $264/year) 🇺🇸

I’ll be honest—I didn’t know this was something to pay extra for. In Florida, garbage was included in property taxes. In our apartment now, this is rolled into our rent.

Internet ($130/month; $1,560/year) 🇺🇸

One downside of living in our apartment is not having a choice of internet. There’s Google Fiber in our neighborhood, but we’re stuck paying $130/month for bundled internet and DirectTV. Even though we don’t have a choice, it’s been reliable in the three years we’ve been here—only going down a few times ever.

Home phone ($0) 🇺🇸

We don’t have a home phone. I think the last time I had a home phone was in my college dorm where it was included in our rent.

Cell phones ($35/month; $423/year) 🇺🇸

Both my wife and I use Mint Mobile’s $20/month plan. For just $40, we get unlimited calls, text, and 10GB of data. Since we’re retired and spend most of our time at home (and, well, COVID) we don’t go through the entire 10GB.

Our actual cell phone bill is slightly lower since people occasionally sign up using a referral link from a blog post I wrote about Mint Mobile. I’ve been using them for four years now and haven’t had any problems.

Streaming entertainment ($63/month; $756/year) 🇺🇸

We subscribe to an embarrassing number of services. Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu and Disney Plus are always in the mix. Occasionally we’ve also subscribed to CBS All Access, Xbox Game Pass, Nintendo Switch Online, Apple TV+ and others.

My wife and I are both huge movie nerds. She used to work at Blockbuster and I obsessively watched as many IMDB top 250 movies as I could. Recently for our 15-year anniversary, we rented out a movie theater (which you can do for $99 now!) to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

5. How much do other essentials cost in Salt Lake City?

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

Life and disability insurance ($0) 🇺🇸

Since we have enough to retire now, we’ve opted to not buy any life or disability insurance.

Medical insurance ($196/month; $2,351/year) 🇺🇸

Figuring out our medical insurance was one of the biggest concerns when we retired. For our first year, we found a high-deductible bronze plan with an HSA through healthcare.gov that we paid $350/month for. 

For 2021, we switched to a $195.90/month plan that covers the exact same thing! That’s enough coverage for both my wife and I through the huge University of Utah Medical system. We’re maxing out our HSA, but not using it for any expenses.

Out-of-pocket medical expenses ($128/month; $1,539/year) 🇺🇸

This included getting fully vaccinated for a trip to Taiwan and South Korea we had scheduled for March 2020 that was called off at the last minute (whew!) as well as some much-needed checkups to get some other vaccinations that we needed.

Clothing and footwear ($40/month; $476/year) 🇺🇸

It’s been a personal challenge of mine to spend less on clothing. I don’t think that this number is sustainable long-term, but we have reframed our relationship with clothing since leaving our jobs. We need far fewer “stylish” clothes, and the ones we have are lasting longer.

Personal care ($240/month; $2,880/year) 🇺🇸

This category includes: haircuts, toiletries and grooming services and supplies.

At $240 a month, our personal care expenses are slightly higher than you might expect. That works out to about $40 for me and $200 for my wife. I don’t envy how much time and money a salon visit takes.

Technology ($40/month; $480/year) 🇺🇸

This category includes essential technology: software and hardware purchases, upgrades, maintenance, and repairs. Non-essentials (video games and consoles, e-readers, security cameras, etc.) aren’t included. 

I wouldn’t consider any of our technology spending essential. I have a 9-year-old MacBook Pro and a 4-year-old iPhone. My wife’s Macbook is 6 years old and her Android phone is about 4 years old too. Our only expenses are software we’ve come to rely on—Dropbox, Todoist, Overcast, Adobe Suite and a few others.

We spent another $232 on “luxuries” which includes electronics and anything else we don’t need, but we want.

Part 3: Adding it all up

Now that we’ve detailed all of Adam’s essential expenses, it’s time to add everything up in some nice, organized tables!

Important notes about the numbers

  • Only essential expenses are included.
  • Discretionary expenses (e.g. travel, gifts, etc.) are not included.
  • Expenses are rounded to the nearest dollar. 
  • Expenses are displayed in the interviewee’s home currency.
  • In this interview, the home currency is US dollars.
  • For your convenience, I’ve included a currency converter in each section. I hope you find it useful!

For detailed explanations about which expenses are included (or not) see my How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life intro post.

How much does it cost to live the FIRE life in Salt Lake City?

1. Housing

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Rent$1,935$23,220
Property tax$0$0
Strata/HOA fees
$0$0
Renters insurance$13$159
Maintenance$150$1,800
TOTAL$2,098$25,179

2. Transportation

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Vehicle insurance$126$1,506
Gas$28$340
Vehicle maintenance$60$722
Bike maintenance$0$0
Parking and tolls$30$360
Transit$6$74
TOTAL$250$3,002

3. Food

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Groceries$622$7,470
Eating out$351$4,212
TOTAL$973$11,682

4. Utilities and bills

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Natural gas$25$300
Electricity$80$960
Water$22$264
Garbage and recycling$22$264
Internet$130$1,560
Home phone$0$0
Cell phones$35$423
Streaming entertainment$63$756
TOTAL$377$4,527

5. Other essentials

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Life and disability insurance$0$0
Medical insurance$196$2,351
Out-of-pocket medical expenses$128$1,539
Clothing and footwear$40$476
Personal care$240$2,880
Technology$40$480
TOTAL$644$7,725

Grand totals

ExpenseMonthly (USD)Annual (USD)
Housing$2,098$25,179
Transportation$250$3,002
Food$973$11,682
Utilities and bills$377$4,527
Other essentials$644$7,725
TOTAL$4,343$52,115

Part 4: Other expenses

This is a special section that’s just for fun! It’s the place for my interviewees to mention any expenses that they’ve done a really good job of optimizing and/or just want to share. 

These expenses won’t be included in the totals (just to keep things as standardized as possible). I hope you find this section interesting and informative. Here are a couple of additional expenses that Adam wanted to share:

Travel and pet

Our largest expenses that aren’t listed anywhere else are travel and pet. When we were working, we’d take two-week trips to Japan or Europe, staying in cheap hotels and traveling on points (except for our honeymoon, where we went all out). We only spent $540/month on travel in 2020—far below our $1,200/month spending of previous years.

Our pup costs another $180/month, which is well worth it for the cuddles alone.

Chrissy’s closing thoughts

Thank again to Adam for sharing his expenses! Only one of my previous interviewees has actually reached FIRE (Steve from Arkansas) so it was fun to have another FIREee to read about. Here are my key takeaways from Adam’s interview:

You can spend lavishly (on some things) and still reach FIRE 

As Adam shares in the Getting to Know You section, “Throughout our spending years, we let our expenses rise with our lifestyle.” Clearly, he and his wife do not subsist on brown bananas nor make their lives miserable—just to save a few bucks!

Instead, they spend lavishly on certain categories and are more mindful in others. (This is what Jesse from Rochester calls “bimodal spending”.) It’s a tactic that many of my interviewees use in their FIRE journeys.

Bimodal spending allows FIRE seekers to enjoy a few luxuries on the way to FIRE while still saving more than the average person. If you’re feeling deprived or miserable in your FIRE journey, consider implementing this style of spending. It could be life-changing!

The benefits of renting

Adam was previously a homeowner, so he’s in a unique position to compare renting and homeownership… and he (like the other renters in this interview series) makes a very good case for renting!

I’m particularly jealous of his lack of maintenance costs and worries. As Adam gleefully says in the interview, “… when something breaks, I put in a ticket with our apartment complex and they fix it. It’s been amazing.” (That sounds so freeing!)

Another huge benefit of renting is the absence of the opportunity cost of home equity. Since stocks have historically gained more over time than real estate, Adam’s money is better off being invested in stocks.

Maybe healthcare can be affordable?

In my interview with Steve from Arkansas, we saw how expensive healthcare in the US can be. However, Adam and his wife have found very affordable coverage for only $195.90/month! 

Granted, Adam and Steve are not the same age and we don’t have all the details to compare their plans. However, it’s great to see that medical insurance doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

I find it especially interesting that Adam’s insurance is through the local university. In his two years of FIRE post, he writes, “Having a one-stop-shop for all medical care and insurance keeps things easy. If you can go that route I’d recommend it.”

If I was American, this is definitely an option I’d look into. What a great find, Adam!

Conclusion

Adam’s spending isn’t ultra-frugal like some of my interviewees, but it’s also not at Fat FIRE levels. I would say Adam’s kind of where my husband and I eventually aim to be—overweight FIRE. 🙂

Adam and his wife show (yet again) that you do not need to live a miserly existence to reach FIRE. You can enjoy yourself, both on the journey and after you reach your goal. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Adam and experiencing a bit of the post-FIRE life through his interview!

Connect with Adam

If you’d like to learn more about Adam or read more of his content, visit him at his blog, Minafi. You can also connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

Share your thoughts

Were you surprised by Adam’s essential expenses? Are any of them significantly different from where you live? Share your thoughts in the comments, along with your own money saving tips!

Join the series!

I’d love for everyone to participate—whether you’re a blogger or not! The more FIRE seekers I can interview, the more useful the series will be. If you’re interested, I have three simple requirements:

  1. You’re at or pursuing FIRE (or FI).
  2. You track your expenses relatively accurately.
  3. You’re willing to share your expenses and money-saving tips.

That’s it! If you’re interested, fill in the form at this link or contact me.

Richard lives with his wife and two kids in Singapore—the most expensive city and country in the world! Wondering what that translates to in essential spending? Find out in this interview!

Court lives with her wife, toddler and new baby in the beautiful Canadian Rockies. By all accounts, they live a 100% Mustachian lifestyle—full of the best (often free) things in life.

Visit the intro page to learn more about the what and why behind the series and access the complete list of interviews.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    steveark
    July 21, 2021 at 6:11 am

    I’ve always enjoyed Adam’s blog and its nice to learn more about him. His spending isn’t all that different from ours. And I love the area he lives in, I think I’ve skied every slope in Utah at least once, such a beautiful place. I had a friend who lived in the same area who was on the opposite side of the spectrum. He was an extreme high earner, seven figures a year plus stock and bonuses and had a mansion in Park City and another one in Houston where he also worked. He was not frugal but simply out earned his spending. He even made a seven figure donation to the university we attended. Sadly he died a couple of years ago from injuries incurred while skiing. He was a good man and a happy guy but I wouldn’t say his life was any better than Adam’s or mine. Once you’ve got enough money to live the life you desire, anything more is really pretty useless other than the joy of giving it away. Great post Chrissy!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 21, 2021 at 8:12 am

      Hi Steve—you’re right that Adam’s spending is similar to yours (which is rather frugal, given your extremely high income and savings)! The difference in your totals is largely from the medical insurance expense, which is difficult to reduce.

      That’s such an interesting story about your friend. It certainly reinforces the studies that find that, once you reach a certain amount of income, happiness no longer increases. And yes, giving it away (as your friend generously did) may be one of the only ways to add more joy!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris @ Mindful Explorer
    July 21, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Great to see you feature Adam. Cool thing is he is using all his new found FI time by getting outdoors !

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 21, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Chris—thanks for checking out Adam’s interview. He lives in an amazing area to be getting outdoors!

  • Reply
    Joel
    July 21, 2021 at 10:59 am

    This was a really fun read! And a very detailed breakdown for all the categories. It’s super interesting to hear about different cities in the USA. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 21, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Joel—thanks for the kind words! I have loved doing this interview series, if only to experience a slice of regular, everyday life in different places all over the world. I’ve never been to Utah, so it was cool to learn more about Adam’s life in retirement there.

  • Reply
    Court @ Modern FImily
    July 21, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Great interview Adam! I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to renting later on in life for the hassle free living. It is crazy when you think of all the one-off expenses we’ve built in your FIRE plans for housing related expenses (doors, windows, appliances, landscaping, paint, etc). We likely could rent a 1 bedroom for that same cost and then have all our home equity in the markets growing instead. Definitely something for us to consider when the kiddos are out of the house. Awesome seeing another ex-Floridian on here! Back to back interviews no less 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 21, 2021 at 4:26 pm

      Hey Court—ha ha, you’re right! I didn’t realize that you and Adam are both ex-Floridians and that your interviews were back-to-back. What a cool coincidence!

      I resonate so much with your thoughts on renting versus home ownership. Even my dad looks forward to renting one day! That’s saying a lot, given that he’s an Asian-Canadian Baby Boomer immigrant (most of whom prize home ownership as the pinnacle of success and stability)!

  • Reply
    David @ Filled With Money
    July 27, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, that was a great story. I hope to one day get to a level where I can spend $80k per year with my passive investments paying for the majority of it.

    I will just settle for spending like $15k per year with my passive investments paying for it.. *cries in sadness*

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 28, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      Hi David—$80k per year would be an amazing amount of money in passive investments! Even so, $15k per year is nothing to sneeze at. My guess is you’ll easily reach something in the middle, and that $80k won’t be far off once you do!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    July 29, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Hey! Nice to see Adam on here! I’ve enjoyed his writing and design, especially. Great to read a bit more of his backstory, along with his family’s.

    I’ve enjoyed SLC every time I’ve visited (consistently for some years—prior to COVID—for skiing!). A friend group I go with has sometimes thrown the idea around of moving to the area. We’re suckers for the outdoors and the mole sauce. Ha!

    Adam—I’m very curious about the healthcare situation. Jenni and I pay an arm and a leg for insurance currently, through a mix of grandfathered pre-ACA coverage and an ACA plan. It seems like it’s the “U of U Health Plans”, that right? I’m going to look into something similar with our local universities. Boy, it’d be nice to save a chunk of cash!

    Overall, it seems you guys are doing great together and actually enjoying the trip. After all, the point is to build a life that is worth saving for! I can get behind incorporating plenty of hygge in your life!

    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 30, 2021 at 12:14 am

      Hey Chris—so nice of you to pop by to check out Adam’s interview. I have loved being able to get to know each interviewee better through this series, including Adam.

      LOL, I didn’t know that SLC was known for its mole sauce! I’ll have to remember to try some if I’m ever there.

      I’ll try and ping Adam to see if he can share more info about his amazing healthcare plan. I’m no expert on US medical insurance, but it sure sounds like excellent coverage for an unusually affordable price!

      Adam and his wife, like you and Jenni, are living a fantastic FIRE life. I can’t wait for my husband and I to get there one day!

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