A New Chapter for Chautauqua

Happy New Year! 

Chautauqua is one of my favorite things to look forward to each year. It is a life changing event for those who attend, and a constant source of new friendships and continuing time with old friends. Since the first one in Ecuador in 2013 they have brought joy to my heart.

After the covid related hiatus of 2020 and 2021, it was such a pleasure in 2022 to be back in the field with the team and all our guests. We had a wonderful set of weeks in Columbia where we shared stories, had amazing meals, and experienced the culture. Cool place, cool people, cool conversations — The Chautauqua magic!

After returning from the event in September, I have been thinking about what the future holds. At this point the only thing that I have settled on is that there won’t be a Chautauqua 2023. I wanted to share this decision early in the year as I know many people plan their travel to include the event on their schedule.

While it is never easy to admit, the truth is I am now in my 70s and both Jane and I have some health related issues. While in Bogota there was an incident that put us at serious physical risk. We escaped unharmed, but it was a scary and sobering moment and it has given me pause.

I plan to take some time to reflect on the enormous good that has come out of Chautauqua while making notes and discussing with trusted friends ideas for the future. It is possible that this is the end of Chautauqua, but I am hopeful the beginning of a new era for this treasured event will be born during this season of rest.

The folks who have helped me host Chautauqua for the last five years — Alan and Katie Donegan, Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung — have done a great job as evidenced by the tremendous feedback we continue to receive from attendees.

Alan and Katie have told me they plan to develop FI events under their own brand in the future. While I don’t know exactly what these will look like, you may want to keep an eye out for them.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and may 2023 bring you much joy and success!



A clarification:

In the comments it was brought to my attention that this post could be read as Columbia being dangerous and that was not the problem.

Nothing here should be read as negative about Columbia or Colombians, both of which were great. It is a beautiful place and the people are warm, welcoming and very friendly. I’d go back anytime.

We’ve also traveled extensively in other countries in South and Central America and feel the same way about those. That’s why we have kept going back.

This was a case where I simply trusted the wrong person (non-Colombian) and let that person get us into a dangerous situation.


A Foreword

My pals Billy & Akaisha Kaderli have just released the 5th Edition of their book The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and I wrote the Foreword!

But don’t let that stop you. Hit the link and check it out.

This is a fun, entertaining and very practical guide to living the adventure from two folks who are actually doing it, and have done so for the last 32 years.


An interview

Recently Rick Ferri interviewed me on the Bogleheads Podcast.

We had lots of fun — Rick called it “a delightful conversation” –and evidently ruffled some feathers based on Twitter comments.

Give it a listen. I’m afraid to.


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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.
  • Vanguard.com


  1. Bill says

    Perhaps the next non-Chautauqua should be on my back deck in Maine? People can tent in the yard and we can have lobsters and steamed clams while discussing life, finances and health?!

    • Bob says

      I was up in Maine a couple of months ago on the coast (Brunswick, Bath, West Bath). If JL and anybody else is up for that, so am I.

      • Bill says

        Ok, you’re first on the list! I think, seriously, if enough people said yes to this (a nonchautaqua in Maine), JL might find himself happening to be in the area when the lobsters are ready.
        Anyone else interested?

        • CHRISTINE GIBBONS says

          I am!!! The real one was sold out so fast last year. I volunteer my bartending skills (from my younger days 😀).

          • Bill says

            You mean “fresh insights from JL (and some lobster while I’m there)”, right?
            Maybe this will really happen folks!

          • Mark says

            Bill – I think we need to soft-sell JL on this idea. Keep the expectations low so that we don’t scare him off. No work for him. No pressure to come up with some fresh insights about today’s financial markets that force him say, “Seriously, have you read my book yet?” Lure him in with a cooked $6 lobster from the Winter Harbor Coop. It’s about $58 for a 1.25 lb. lobster tail here right now at our seafood center. Loosen him up with a good drink and then maybe he’ll tell us a story or two that makes us think. 😉

      • Bill says

        OK, Carl – when you said “sign me up” you meant to help, right?
        You’re officially on beer detail. With over 25 breweries (and a population under 70K), there’s a lot of beer here!

    • PK says

      Tenting out in Maine is something even “little $ old me” could do! I feel so new, with so much to learn…. Don’t dis-band yet- I need you all! And perhaps since Maine is your neighbor Mr. Collins, the travel would be doable. I could swing by and pick you up on my way by from VT!

      • Bill says

        I’m serious about this idea, and there are plenty of places to stay besides my yard…my business partner from thefireguild.com lives right around the corner and has a great yard too!

    • Andriy says

      Count me in! I have yet to spend in person quality time with FI community. Plus Maine and lobsters are my bucket list.

      • Bill says

        You bet I will (though you won’t need that sleeping bag in the summer)…well, wait. The weather IS getting weirder every day…
        Who else wants to come to Maine??

  2. Mark says

    Totally understand your decision. I’m sorry that our paths did not cross in that forum. However, I think the lesson here is that time flies. Another reason to value our time. Personally, I would like to see Chataqua continue in its present from, under that name, with maybe a new generation of organizers. The aura of self-lessness and not-for-profit that surrounds Chataqua is something to be cherished. Maybe the right person will step forward. If not, I’ll add it to my list of events missed that I’ll regret. The first was the Joshua Tree tour. But you know, to each their own.

  3. Rakesh Mishra says

    Thank you JL. Thank God you all are safe. Can we please have a domestic Chautauqua within USA? I would be happy to join. Thank you.

  4. Physician on FIRE says

    I’m sad to hear that the magic may be ending and that you had a frightful experience in Colombia.

    Your events have brought great clarity to many in the FI community, and I hope others are able to continue that legacy in some form or fashion if your Chautauqua does not make a return in 2024 or beyond.

    Happy Holidays and I hope our paths cross in the New Year.


  5. Laura D. says

    I will be forever grateful to have learned from you and met you and Jane. Chautauqua was a special experience that I’m sure we’ll all cherish the memories created during it; I know I will.
    I understand your decision and greatly respect you for it. Your lessons changed my life, for the better. I definitely hope to meet you somewhere again in the future, dear sir. Thank you for everything.
    Laura D.

  6. Austin says

    Sorry to hear about this JL. You’re an inspiration to so many and have changed many lives for the better, including mine.

    Have a Happy New Year and take care of yourself.

  7. Leelamma Joseph says

    I can’t believe that there is no more Chautauqua in the future. But if it is possible to have anywhere that you may be around, why not in that place.
    Just a thought only. Your wellbeing is very important.

  8. Kate D says

    Hi JL,
    Choosing to move in a new direction is full of new opportunities. You’ve laid great groundwork for anyone who might enjoy furthering the effort. I have such fond memories of sharing time with you on Ecuador way back in 2017 or so. I’m confident I’m not different from others. I love seeing the picture of you on your book that I took at that event and that I get to carry that treasure with me along with all the safe advice I received that week. Thanks for making a difference in the world.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Kate…
      Wonderful to hear from you, and thanks for the kind words.

      Very few pictures of me look good, but that one of yours was perfect. And a perfect fit for the book cover.

      So glad to have met you in Ecuador. Hope our paths cross again!

  9. carl says

    Some of the happiest moments of my life happened at Chautauqua. Pure joy.

    I’m so happy and thankful that I was able to attend these events.

    Jane and JL, like long and prosper.

  10. Gradragstoriches says

    I have not had the opportunity to attend a Chautauqua but all the blogs and podcast have been very positive. I’m sure it will be missed but fully understand.
    I am glad you survived the ordeal and I’m sure we all will continue to follow and enjoy your blogging.
    Have a very happy new year!

  11. Carlos says

    Wow it sounded like South America is dangerous and chautauquas should be held in the “safe” US only.
    Bla!! I really hope this is not the case of I’d be extremely frustrated with this blog. I love South America and as one, I can say US is as dangerous or more in some places than most cities in SA.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Carlos…

      I can see where the post read that way, but that was not the case at all.

      Nothing here should be read as negative about Columbia or Colombians, both of which were great. I’d go back anytime. We’ve also traveled extensively in other countries in South and Central America and feel the same way. That’s why we have kept going back.

      This was a case where I simply trusted the wrong person (non-Colombian) and let that person get us into a dangerous situation.

      I’ll add an addendum to the post to make this clear.


  12. vorlic says

    Happy New Year, Mr Collins. May it bring only good things to you and yours.

    You have been an immensely positive influence in my life since I read The Parable of the Monk and the Minister here. A real FACEPUNCH moment. More than Pete’s website could ever have done for me 😜

    Stay sane
    Stay sage
    Stay on plan


  13. Vigdis says

    Happy new year! I am currently reading your book, the simple path to wealth and I absolutely love it. I have read many books about finance and this one is the far best.. since I live in Iceland I have to invest about 1 million EUR to be able to invest through Vanguard. I can invest in Vanguard through financial advisors for lower amount but then with all kinds of fees. Are there any alternatives for people outside of the US?

    Thank you and I wish you and your family all the best in the coming year 🥰

  14. Alex S. says

    I would love to help moving the mountain to Mohamed! Thank you JL for your wisdom and looking forward to the new book!

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