F U Money - Automate Building Wealth Using the ESI Framework

ESI stands for “earn, save, and invest” and it’s the process that powers your wealth-building engine. Learn how you can automate your finances using the ESI framework to reach financial independence faster so you don’t have to keep working for money.
F U Money - Automate Building Wealth Using the ESI Framework

Wish you had the confidence to quit tech, go live in the woods, and play D&D all day?

You might be closer than you think.

ESI stands for “earn, save, and invest” and it is the main loop that powers your wealth-building game. By turning the dials of ESI up or down, you can build a perpetual money-making machine. Learn how giving yourself a raise, geoarbitrage, house hacking, 401k automation, pay-yourself-first, and other financial design patterns help you automate your wealth building and reach financial independence faster.

This is not an abstract talk, it’s a personal finance story.

As the son of an immigrant, nobody taught me how to build wealth but as a Fortune 500 software developer I had the privilege of not needing to think about money… until I had kids. Paying 2X for daycare was a suckerpunch to the gut and that’s when I stumbled across the FIRE crowd. Sacrificing everything to retire early didn’t appeal to me but slowing down and enjoying the journey did.

Even with a house, wife and three kids, applying the ESI framework took our 14% savings rate to over 50% after 2 years which let us take summers off, slow travel, and gave me the confidence to work for myself.

I definitely play more D&D now but I don’t live in the woods.


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What People Say 💖

Collected in session feedback. Yes, it's all of it.

Amazing and informative talk! Thank you for sharing your experience!
Financial Independence is the most important topic of this conference in my opinion. Great information for any person with life changing benefits if you look at it seriously. I'm very glad to see this was the path the speaker ended up on and hopefully this talk has helped to spread the word to others as well. Great personal story!
Excellent presentation and storytelling!
Excellent talk!
Fun, inspiring, and entertaining!
Great combo of personal finance and a touch of programming thrown in!
Great life skill presentation. Loved having a non-tech topic.
More of this!
Polished content, great slides.
Very good public speaker! A good topic that a bit of devs don't know, even though it's not a strictly technical talk.
Very prepared & polished - good story-based presentation.
Well-presented, practiced, engaging and good info.
Some good advice, some not as relevant. Interesting trade-offs. Great slides and well-prepared presentation.


Connectaha 2023
MDC 2022: Money is Undefined: Design Patterns to Refactor Your Financial Life (June 22, 2022)
Abstract Growing up as the son of an immigrant, my family never discussed money openly. We never sat around the family computer and rebalanced our asset allocation on Christmas Eve. If you understood that sentence then this talk isn’t for you. It’s for everyone else. Even though I
MDC 2021: Money is Undefined or Not an Object (May 4, 2021)
MDC 2021 | Minnesota Developers ConferenceMinnesota Developers ConferenceAbstractI was financially illiterate. I was making a six-figure income but didn’t understand how to manage it until 9 years into my career. No one ever explained it to me plainly. No one told me that if I saved half my income o…

Free Resources

Looking for all the patterns, links, and resources from the talk? I've created a 58-page PDF of everything I mentioned and more below.

Here is the list of what's covered in the downloadable PDF, in order of appearance:

  1. Self-Employment
  2. Work-Study
  3. Student Loans (Anti-Pattern)
  4. Pay-Yourself-First (Reverse Budgeting)
  5. 401k Automatic Contribution Increases
  6. 401k Company Matching
  7. Renting
  8. Geoarbitrage
  9. Sabbatical
  10. Forbearance (Anti-Pattern)
  11. 401k Loans (Anti-Pattern)
  12. Job Hopping
  13. Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)
  14. Home Ownership (Possible Anti-Pattern)
  15. House Hacking
  16. Roth Emergency Fund
  17. 4% Rule / Safe Withdrawal Rate
  18. Savings Rate
  19. Budgeting
  20. Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments
  21. Refinancing Mortgage (Possible Anti-Pattern)
  22. Snowball and Avalanche Debt Repayment
  23. Summers Off
  24. Daycare FSA
  25. Travel Rewards Cards
  26. Meal Planning
  27. Bill Optimization
  28. Monthly Fee of 173
  29. Opportunity Cost
  30. Index Investing
  31. Passive Income
  32. Dividend Investing (Dividend Kings)
  33. Automatic Investments
  34. Triple Tax Advantage of HSAs
  35. 457B Early Withdrawal
  36. Lifestyle design
  37. Shield of F U Money
Some of these links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may receive commissions if you purchase through them.

Download the ESI Patterns

This PDF contains the topics below, a pared-down version of the full slide deck.


There are many personal finance podcasts to choose from, but these are the ones I listen to.

Check out Financial Podcasts Hosted or Co-hosted by Women and the Top 5 Black-Owned Podcasts as well!

YouTube Channels


These are some of the highest-impact blogs I've read.

Finance Books

I've read these books, and I'd recommend them if you're interested in diving deeper into personal finance.

Lifestyle, Productivity, Self-Development Books

Separate from finance but equally important, these books helped change some of my mindset around getting things done and figuring out what's important to me.


These are articles I reference during the talk, many of them are commonly cited in the financial independence community.