Chautauqua – United Kingdom: August 2017


Ettington Park

Our venue for Chautauqua 2017 – United Kingdom

Some will surely claim, me being an old English Major and all, that it was inevitable. That a Chautauqua was destined at some point to find its way to Stratford-upon-Avon, the 16th century birthplace of William Shakespeare. You know, that guy who wrote some plays a few centuries back? The one I’m prone to quote when someone has poured too much ale down my gullet?

Here’s a quick Shakespeare story…

Once upon a time there was a country woman who made her way to the big city and while there took in a few Shakespeare plays. Back home, she was asked, “So what do you think?”

“Well,” she said, “The plays were pretty good, but I don’t get why he’s such a big deal.”

“Really? How so? Shakespeare is considered the best writer in the English language, after all.”

“That’s just what I don’t get,” said the country lass. “If you really think about it, all he’s done is string a bunch of famous quotes together.”

But, as thrilled as I am to bring a Chautauqua here…


…my being an English Major has nothing to do with it. It is far more a bit of serendipity.

Last October, at Chautauqua Ecuador at Hacienda Cusin (there’s that 16th century again!) Katie and Alan, a very talented and interesting couple from England, showed up. Now in and of itself, this is not in the least remarkable. Chautauquas have a tendency to attract interesting and talented people. That is one of the reasons I love them so damn much: I get to hang out at cool places and meet cool people.

Anyway, it turns out that Alan runs something called Pop-Up Business School in the United Kingdom teaching budding entrepreneurs not only how to successfully get their ventures up off the ground, but how to do that without investment capital…

No upfront money = far less risk = awesome approach

Well, it didn’t take long before we shanghaied him into giving a presentation on all this for our group, and it met with rave reviews. Turns out, not only does he have a cool story with a valuable message, he is a hell of a speaker. He put the rest of us speakers to shame in fact, something for which we are still trying to forgive him.

Mr. Money Mustache did, however, develop a rather fine and hilarious imitation of Alan’s style, which soothed our feelings a bit.  Too bad I don’t have a clip to share with you all.

Alan and Katie, in the Andes

So, here I had this power couple who routinely put on events, had a powerful and inspirational message and who were based in England, where that Shakespeare guy was from. But nothing clicked in my little, and seemingly rapidly diminishing, brain.

But then, on our last full day, I noticed him scrambling about huddling with the other attendees. Didn’t think much about it at the time.

Turns out, that morning, Katie and Alan had a rather brilliant idea and by dinner they’d finished and presented it as a gift to us four speakers.

What they’d done was to track down each attendee, photograph them in situations and spots that exactly captured their personalities, and got them to say a few words about each of us speakers and what Chautauqua had meant to them. When they pulled it all together, we were gifted with this wonderful keepsake:

Hacienda Cusin Attendee Slideshow Review

The second to last slide:

Mr. MM, Rich, Cheryl, me, the Mad Fientist

It brought tears to my eyes (especially looking at myself in that picture above). Walking thru it again just now, revisited all these wonderful people and their kind words, it still does.

That evening, going thru the slides yet again, the idea for this Chautauqua-UK finally clicked.

I thought about it long and hard. I wasn’t sure they’d be interested. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do it. I wasn’t sure we could make the numbers work. I wasn’t sure we could find cool activities and a cool venue. But the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew.

The next day, just before they left for their flight back to London, I pulled them aside and very briefly outlined the concept. They were excited out of the gate, but clearly had a lot to think about. Pulling together a Chautauqua is no small task.

We all returned home and, over the intervening few weeks, kicked it around, decided to go for it and sorted out all the details. And here they are:

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

On the website you’ll find all the details, including the full schedule, the scoop on your chance to have a private meeting with the speaker of your choice and stuff about us, your hosts and speakers.

If that’s not enough, it turns out all four of us speakers have been guests on the Mad Fientist’s podcast. You can give a listen to any and all here:

Millennial Revolution – Denouncing the Cult of Homeownership

PopUp Business School – The Right Way to Start a Business

JL Collins – The Simple Path to Wealth

Including The Mad Fientist himself…

Mad Fientist – 1500 Days Podcast Takeover

OK, time for some random pictures…

The Queen’s digs:

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

We’re coming, your Highness!

But don’t mind these guys…

The Mad Fientist and Alan

Another shot of where we’ll be for the week…

Ettington Park

So if this sounds like your cup of tea, and if you’d like to join us for High English Tea with scones and clotted cream (that’ll be on Wednesday!), not to mention all the other adventures this week of August 12-19, 2017 will hold, I urge you to sign up now:

Registration: Chautauqua – United Kingdom

As with previous Chautauquas, we are limiting the number of attendees to 25. This allows for a much more intimate experience and with more chance for personal interactions with us and with your fellow attendees. It is a big part of the magic, but it also means spots go quickly.

Travel hack your way there for little or no $$$$

My pal, and travel hacker guru, Brad Barrett has for the last couple of years helped our Ecuador attendees make their way to Quito for little or no money. He has graciouly offered to do the same getting the UK group to Heathrow.

His services, for these events, are free (and I also recommend you sign up for his free Travel Miles 101 email course)

If you’d like his help, you can reach him here:

Just tell him, you’re with us!

Wait! What about Ecuador?

No worries. If your heart is set on Ecuador, we’ll be there as always!

Posts announcing the Chautauqua 2017 — Ecuador will go up the week of January 15th. They’ll have all the details and registrations will open then. But let me give you a little preview:

October 7-14 will take us to a new, larger venue: Hacienda Chorlavi. Chorlavi will allow us to expand the number of speakers to five (Mr. Money Mustache, Paula Pant, The Mad Fientist, Cheryl Reed and myself) and the number of attendees to 35.

October 14-21 will take us back to one of our favorite places: El Encanto. In addition to Cheryl and myself, Kristy of Millennial Revolution (fresh from the UK event above) will be making her Ecuador debut and Jesse Mecham, CEO of YNAB (You Need a Budget) will be returning for his third Chautauqua and second as a speaker. Both these are major coups! Attendees will be limited to 25.

Be it England or Ecuador, I hope in 2017 we’ll get to hang out together!



BIG Chautauqua Announcement

Meet the Speakers


Here’s Kristy’s take on it all:

Chautauqua UK: A cackling good time

She 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. ????


The Mad Fientist’s take can be found here:

The Year Ahead



On an entirely different subject…

Recognizing that, as always, it will be a wild ride, I am an optimist about the future of the US and the world.  Despite all the hand-wringing on the daily news, objectively things are getting ever better. I look back over the turmoil of the past 70 years, and at the performance of the stock market in the teeth of all those challenges, and I feel pretty damn good.

Of course not everyone agrees, and scattered around in the comments here on the blog you can find folks taking me to task and predicting doom. Strikingly, other than some silly proposals that depend on market timing, they are long on panic and short on suggestions as to how to handle the potential disasters.

My pal Darrow, however, is one of the most clear-eyed and thoughtful guys I know and he just put up a cautionary post that is short on fear mongering and long on ideas. He opens with this sobering assessment:

“The baby boom generation has lived through a uniquely stable period in human history. Yes, we’ve seen regional wars, terrorism, and economic dislocation. But there hasn’t been wholesale destruction of a developed country, or its financial system, since halfway through the last century.”

His post is titled Alternative Investments for Savvy Retirees: Part 1 and in it he goes on to describe exactly that. His take on international investing is just about the only astute counterpoint to my own I’ve come across.

To be clear, I’m not changing any of my investment choices, but his is a perspective well worth reading. And, who knows, maybe once he comes out with Part 2

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  1. Freedom 40 Guy says

    Whether in the UK or Ecuador – you’re Chautauquas sound like amazing opportunities to discuss and engage with like minded people. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it this year – but perhaps. It is definitely getting higher and higher on my list. Thanks for all that you do and happy 2017!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      They are indeed and it is that engagement that, more than venue or cool adventures, makes them so very special.

      Hope you make it one of these years.

      Just remember: I ain’t getin’ any younger. 😉

  2. Brandon Bronkhorst says

    I’ve been waiting for this post since last year, so I signed up immediately. I’m excited to be around like-minded individuals and explore a country (or maybe more) that I haven’t visited yet.

    See you there!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome aboard, Brandon!

      I think you are the first.

      Be sure to remind me when we meet in England this August!

  3. Mr. 1500 says

    I met Alan and Katie at one of the Ecuador Chautauquas* back in October and they are stellar folks. If you’re at all on the fence about signing up for this event, get off of it and sign up immediately. You won’t regret it.

    *Why can’t I remember how to spell this damned word? I have to double check it. Every. Single. Time.

  4. SJ says

    Can Jim (or anyone who can at least tell me roughly what Ecuador cost last year) comment on if the price of the program (excluding flights obviously) are expected to be roughly the same for UK vs. Ecuador? I wasn’t part of the blog last year so missed the 2016 announcements so don’t have that info to even give me a general idea. I am strongly considering attending and location doesn’t matter so much to me personally but a price difference might (being the good FIer I now am!). Of course, if you prefer not to comment I understand (I can picture any number of reasons you may not want to.) Figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask!


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi SJ…

      You can find all the pricing info on the Chautauqua sites:

      UK: as noted in the post above

      and here for Ecuador:

      You’ll find Ecuador, as a lower cost country, is the less expensive Chautauqua.

      However, the British Pound is trading at all time lows against the dollar and other major currencies, which is one of the reasons we are able to pull this off.

      That said, as with anything, don’t spend the money on this unless you can comfortably afford it while staying on the FI track.

      • wendy says

        Thanks for posting the links, I was wondering the same thing. Seriously considering Ecuador…
        Do you have a mix of singles/couples/age ranges who attend?

        • jlcollinsnh says


          One of the most amazing things about Chautauqua is the incredible diversity of those who attend.

          Age has ranged from 24 to 70+. Couples and singles.

          Race, religion, nationality, sexual ordination…

          Just about in any way people are diverse, that is represented at Chautauqua.

          What we all share is the FI path.

          With all this diversity, as one attendee put it, “I found my tribe!”

          You might want to read thru the past posts I’ve done describing this and those I link to in those posts.

          Should you then decide to come, we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  5. FIRECracker says

    Wow, love the video and the slideshow! But one question: how will you take over the world if you reveal your super-villain shenanigans and lair? 😉

    But now as a part of your FI Illuminati, suddenly all of your ideas are GENIUS!

    It will be an honour to take over the world with you. This is going to be EPIC.

    O Captain, My Captain!

  6. vorlic says

    Enjoy Stratford, chaps! We’re not quite FI-ready to visit this irrelevant get-together of money-obsessed, capitalist, selfish weirdos (ignore me, I’m just jealous 😉 but perhaps our venue-to-be will be in serious contention for a Chautauqua one of these years. Workin’ on it!

  7. sara says

    i have wanted to go to a Chautauqua with you guys for several years but it sells out so fast! i got smart this time and just booked the UK one. yeah!!! see you in august!!!

  8. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials says

    Tough choice between the two locations. I think the October one will fit in better with my schedule though, so I’ll see you in the fall! I’ve been feeling a weird urge to go back the last few months.

    Can’t wait to see more cows with you!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      You’re coming back to Ecuador with us?

      Awesome news!

      It will be great having you there again!

      (Look! A cow!!)

  9. Elena says

    Oh man, now you are just taunting me! :o) So close and yet so far. I think I hear MMM’s voice booming with something like “if you can’t pay for your car out of pocket, don’t get one – your hair is on fire!” And one of your testimonials put it rather eloquently: “if fiscally responsible”. :o)

    Well, I hope you will be doing these for many many years to come. I would love to meet you fine folks one of these days. But first: build business, hoard cash; then indulge in stimulating philosophical discourse in gorgeous surroundings with excellent people for a glorious week.

    We will meet eventually! :o)

    • jlcollinsnh says

      We’d love to have you join us, Elena…

      ..but your priorities are in proper order.

      Stay on the path and soon enough going to things like Chautauqua will be pocket change. 😉

      See you then!

  10. Kevin says

    I would highly recommend to anyone considering going to a Chautauqua….DO IT. What a wonderful, informative, exciting, eye-opening, thoughtful, challenging, mind-expanding, friendship filled trip. Our week in Ecuador, surrounded by like-minded attendees and wonderful speakers, will be one that I will remember and be telling the grand-kids about (should I be lucky enough to live to a ripe old age).

  11. Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions says

    Ah! We missed by a week! We have two going off to college that week (grad & undergrad for the first time!) We’d have an empty nest and head that way if we could. Those kids still have to come first for a few more years! We’ve also signed up for FinCon17 next fall, so we’ll put Chautauqua’s on our “wish list” for 2018. Happy New Year Jim!

  12. Todd says

    Wow – what an incredible opportunity! The Mt. Rushmore of FIRE bloggers all in one place the week of Oct 7-14, along with 35 other like-minded individuals.

    It’s going to take a lot of string pulling (both at home where my wife will be running solo for the week with our 2 yr old) and at work (luckily the week of Oct 7 has a holiday snuck in there – thanks from the folks still grinding the 9-5!), but I’m doing everything I can to join in on the fun in October. I’ve only left the country once in my life (31 yrs old), so Ecuador will be WELL out of my comfort zone – can’t wait! Most looking forward to the opportunity to spend time with other like-minded individuals, as I feel the FIRE journey is often lonely in the “real” world.

  13. Anita says

    If you’re thinking about attending this, stop thinking and just go! I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and I went to the first one in Ecuador in 2013 and it was one of the best times of my life. I thought about attending this, but I don’t want Jim to think I’m stalking him. 🙂

  14. AJB says

    Hi Jim,
    In an effort to help pay your next trip, I just ordered 16 copies of your book. I got some for everyone at my workplace. Knowledge is power. I have been preaching indexes for years and I believe it’s about to catch on. Hopefully we should see some Dear former advisor letters coming through the printer. Thank you and happy new year full of f-you followers reaching their goal.

  15. vorlic says

    Mr Collins,

    If you fancy a trip to Yorkshire (before or after Chautauqua UK) then you have only to email us. It’s God’s own county, y’ know…

    Accommodation at our humble abode included in this offer, terms and conditions apply 🙂

    Kindest firegards,
    Joe and Olga

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thank you for your very kind offer!

      I’ll send you a PM, mostly asking about those “terms and conditions” 😉

  16. Stu says

    Literally live about 30mins away, but out of my price range at this point. Just think of the lost compounding 🙂
    Maybe one day.

  17. Brent Loomis says


    I am so glad this has all panned out! It is really amazing what the FI community can accomplish when ideas start whizzing around. After meeting Katie and Alan, though, those two can do anything they put their minds to, truly great people.

    I always told myself that I want as many people in the FI community to experience the wonderful Chautauqua, but if there are still open slots in a few months I will look into it!

    Jane and I have also talked about getting coffee the next time she’s in Chicago! I’m sad I missed her over Thanksgiving.

    Hope our paths cross again,


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well, if there are slots still open in a couple of months, we will have cancelled it. 🙂

      But I don’t expet that to be a problem. Spots are being snapped up quickly. So, if you decide in a couple of months you want to come, let Alan and Katie know and they’ll put in in line for a cancellation.

      Great to hear from you! Coffee in Chicago sounds great. If I can come with you guys that is. 😉

  18. the happy wayfarer says


    I just finished A Simple Path to Wealth and I have only one criticism. I wish you had written it in the late 1970s when I graduated from high school. Other than that, it’s perfect. Thank you for such a succinct guide.

    My stepsons, nieces and nephews will be receiving a copy to go along with Jacob Fisker’s Early Retirement Extreme and George Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon. The rest of my investing library is going to the used book store and the proceeds into VTSAX.

  19. Ning says

    Ahh this makes me so jealous! One day, I will make it to one of these events! This year, with starting out a new job and having to take vacation for my wedding, I don’t have many vacation days to spare, but one day!!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      The stars have to align to make this work. Sounds like this is not the right Chautauqua year, but those stars are aligning for other cool things in your life. 🙂

  20. ZJ Thorne says

    I’m really excited that there will be another opportunity to attend this even though this is not the year for me. I also appreciate your calm critique of the doom-sayers (I am one, but I’m a lesbian and am not worried about financial issues but social issues that impact my safety).

    Thanks for sharing Darrow’s piece. Definitely an interesting perspective.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi ZJ…

      First, I am so sorry you have to worry about safety issues these days.

      It is interesting that we didn’t set out to make Chautauqua a safe and welcoming event for gay folks. Never occured to us.

      But from the first one, we have had gay attendees and they have always (of course!) been made welcome. As are all religions (or none), ethnicities and nationalities.

      Just seems obvious to us! And it works beautifully.

  21. Kathy Lee says

    Hi Jim,
    My husband and I are seriously considering coming to Chautauqua UK (from California). Could you please answer these questions for us?
    1. What is time frame that we should plan to reach Heathrow airport in order to catch a ride with your group?
    2. And what time frame should we plan to book the return flight considering we’d like the ride back to the airport?
    3. For some strange reason, my husband wants to visit a traditional pub for a beer. Is that one of the group activities?
    Kathy & Brett

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Kathy…

      Those are questions for Alan and Katie who are arranging the logistics.

      If you click on the link in the post above to the UK Chautauqua website you’ll find the details for #1 & 2. As for the pub, sounds like a fine idea to me. 🙂

      BTW, I believe we are currently sold out. But don’t let that discourage you. Get yourselves on the wait list. Life being what it is, it is not uncommon for some folks to cancel. Frequently I meet people at Chautauqua who have secured their spot this way.

      Hope to see you there!

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