What is Vanilla FI?

Believe it or not, I didn’t originally plan for Pilot Math Treasure Bath to be a book. The idea started as just a blog, until I realized all the problems with that plan.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of blogs about FIRE or the broader Financial Independent (FI) movement these days. I don’t know why, but I find it objectionable how common it seems to be for a person to discover the idea of FIRE and immediately want to start blogging about it. (Blogging is supposed to be cheaply available to the masses. I should have no reason to oppose that, right?)

In my lifelong pursuit of hypocrisy, I started thinking of topics for blog posts almost as soon as I started reading Mr. Money Mustache and the like. Starting a blog is so easy that I almost jumped on the FI noob bandwagon and did it without further thought.

Thankfully though, I took a moment to think a little further into the future and realized that a full-fledged FI blog would need to cover a lot of the basic principles that comprise the framework for the idea of FIRE. I decided I didn’t want to do this for two reasons. 1) The basics have already been covered ad nauseam. 2) The idea of writing about the basics failed to excite me.

As I further considered what I’d write about (and what name I’d choose for) a personal FI blog, I realized that most of what I had to say centered around the common gripes, misconceptions, and simple lack of education I was hearing from the pilots I fly with. Pilot Math Treasure Bath ended up being a catchy name that would allow me to focus on pilot-centric topics and hopefully help out my aviator friends.

I realized that it’d be tough to convince most of the pilots I know to read a blog at all, let alone one that would need at least 15-20 posts to even present my basic philosophy on Pilot Math. I decided that the average pilot would be far more likely to read what I have to say if I consolidated everything into a single book, and that set me on the path I took.

It would have been impossible to explain all my ideas perfectly or exhaustively in a book that I wanted to actually publish, so I figured that this website could host a blog where I could expand on what I’d written in the book.

While I think my focus on Pilot Math makes a lot of sense, I still have a few things to say about FI and FIRE movements in general. That’s what I’m calling “Vanilla FI” here. Anything I write about under this topic should still be pertinent to aviators focused on applying Pilot Math, but I hope these posts will reach some non-pilots as well.

I already wrote one post about inflation in my book’s Pilot Math calculations that qualifies as much as Vanilla FI as it does as a pilot-specific topic. You can also look forward to posts on the Inconvenient (or Unspoken?) Hypocrisy of The FIRE Movement, a mash-up of The 4% Rule and the concept of a Talent Stack, and more. I hope you enjoy reading, and please let me know if you have questions or topics that you think I should cover.

Thanks to Syed Ali from Unsplash for this post’s feature image!

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