Apr 08, 2022

NGPF Podcast (Classic): JL Collins on gaining financial independence through a simple approach to investing

This is the most popular NGPF Podcast ever which is why we have pulled it from the archives. Enjoy JL's advice on gaining financial independence through a simple investing strategy.

 It started out innocently enough...he wanted to write letters of financial advice to his daughter. J.L. Collins never imagined that his blog would become a favorite source for the financial independence movement. His knack for storytelling and simplifying complex topics has boosted his blog popularity to over two million page views per year and convinced him to write a book, The Simple Path to Wealth. Hear how this proponent of index investing (his Stock Series is a must read for those who want to increase their investing knowledge) throws financial rules of thumb out the window and offers advice to teachers on how to best teach concepts, like retirement, to students. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–1:10 Introduction
  • 1:11–4:20 Starting his blogging career in retirement
  • 4:21–6:09 The philosophy of financial independence
  • 6:10–10:03 J.L.’s sudden rise to fame
  • 10:04–13:46 The 4% rule
  • 13:47–17:46 Great things take time—three years to be exact
  • 17:47–23:40 J.L.’s advice on investing: the simple things are the most worth it
  • 23:41–30:11 As long as civilization exists, index funds will continue to prosper
  • 30:12–34:34 Wealth creation stage vs. wealth preservation stage
  • 34:35–35:02 A word from NGPF
  • 35:03–40:46 How bonds smooth the ride
  • 40:47–49:50 Throwing rules of thumb out the window
  • 49:51–51:25 J.L., a master storyteller
  • 51:26–57:14 Saving for retirement is just a different way of spending your money
  • 57:15–1:00:12 Collins’s Chautauquas
  • 1:00:13–1:02:00 Conclusion

Resources mentioned:

Index funds that J.L. owns:


  • “You can spend your money on a lot of different things… and you can spend that how you wish…  I think the most powerful thing that money can buy is your [financial] freedom.”
  • “10:30 Financial independence is not about what you have, but it’s very much about how much money you need. And it is the balance between those two things that determine whether you’re financially independent or not.”


Over 5 million have played the Arcade game STAX and competed against the computer (and their classmates). The computer wins 80% of the time and they quickly learn about the value of investing in index funds. Find STAX and other Arcade games here


Close out Financial Literacy Month with hundreds of other teachers at NGPF"s National Conference: Financial Wellness Beyond The Trends on April 30, 2022. Register for one or more workshops here

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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