Walk-Through for The Pilot Math Treasure Bath

This page expands on the endnotes in Pilot Math Treasure Bath. I list all the notes in order by chapter.


Chapter 2: Start With Why

  1. The title for this chapter is a reference to a fantastic book by the same name. It’s written by Simon Sinek, and his ideas are fundamental to your ability to apply Pilot Math. (That’s why it’s the 1st Book of The Pilot Math Bible.) Here’s an affiliate link to his book: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
  2. I have a degree in computer engineering. I did plenty of programming, but much of my program focused on theory. If you want to rapidly get an education that builds practical skills that are immediately usable in real-world programming projects, you cannot beat the education that you can get at a place like Treehouse.

    If you’re skeptical about Treehouse as a company, listen to the founder, Ryan Carson, in an interview on the ChooseFI podcast. I feel like his heart is in the right place and that his company can give you the skills you need to build real-world programming chops far faster than you could by taking college courses.
  3. The Wounded Warrior Project helps wounded military veterans find their next mission in life. The WWP has suffered some scandals in the past and its score on Charity Navigator isn’t all that hot. However, you can’t argue with their stated mission.
  4. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation raises money for the children of fallen heroes. The SOWF has fantastic scores on Charity Navigator.
  5. As the husband of an impressive woman who has dealt with significant sexism in her career as an officer and dentist, and the father of a 9-year-old daughter, I believe in helping young women understand their power and potential. PreFlight is a summer camp that does exactly this while introducing young women to aviation and encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM fields. Expect an entire blog post on this topic in the mid-term future.
  6. Part of solving a problem like homelessness is to build homes for families in need. Not only is Habitat for Humanity great at doing just this, by volunteering with them you can learn some extremely valuable skills.

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Chapter 4: How Much Is Enough?

  1. Mr. Money Mustache is my all-time favorite blogger in the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) community. He holds nothing back and presents a view of our world that is unapologetically optimistic. He’s not perfect, and some of his ideas are difficult to swallow, but if nothing else he presents a state to which we can all aspire.
  2. The second time we reference him here is looking at the post where he talked about giving $100,000 to charity in 2016 because he had more money than he knew what to do with.
  3. The Root of Good is another fascinating FIRE blog. Justin is married and has three daughters. Neither he not his wife ever earned a six-figure salary, yet they retired very early. They do more world travel than most Americans and do a great job of documenting how a life of early retirement can be fun, fulfilling, and attainable.
  4. Mr. Money Mustache used to publish an annual account of his family’s spending. I included a link to his 2016 post. When coupled with his blog posts over that year, it made it pretty clear that it is possible to live an awesome life without spending a fortune. If you apply Pilot Math in your life, you’ll be bombarded with people telling you that you’re stupid and that it can’t work. Posts like this one tell me that the naysayers don’t know what they’re talking about.
  5. Pretired is another FIRE blog that I discovered shortly after diving down that rabbit hole. This post also proves, using real numbers, that you can live a good life with low spending.
  6. This link takes you to official spending data at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s easy to say, “I could never maintain my standard of living with such a high savings rate,” until you see the actual numbers on what Americans spend.
  7. This is the specific spreadsheet I used to come up with the spending numbers for my assumptions in this chapter.
  8. Please feel free to stop by the Calculators page and download a copy of my master spreadsheet. Then, customize it to fit your family’s specific situation.
  9. Bigger Pockets is quite possibly the best resource on Earth for real estate education. They’re a small, agile company founded and run by people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. There is enough free content on BP to teach you everything you need to get started as a real estate investor, or even just find ways to buy or rent your own home more frugally. There are no slimy or scammy people trying to sell you BS courses. (They do have a lot of books, and even some courses, but they’re reasonably priced and the info they contain is fantastic.)
  10. Google Voice is an absurdly easy way to get cheap or free long-distance calling, plus a load of other features. There is no longer any justification for paying a phone or cable company for a landline. Here’s an (older) video about the service:

  11. Google Fi is a revolutionary way to get mobile phone service. They contract with other companies to use existing networks, but give you great prices. Free texting worldwide. Mobile network calling is free in the US and cheap worldwide. You can text and make voice calls for cheap or free over any WiFi network. Data is $10/GB no matter what country you’re in. Any unused data gets credited back to your account, as cash, at the end of the month. There are no contracts every. Click this link to let me refer you and we’ll both get a small bonus.
  12. The show Mad Men was a fascinating look at days long gone. It was also pretty depressing to me. I’m glad most of us don’t live like that anymore.
  13. The Millionaire Next Door is yet more proof that if you want to be rich, you can and should spend less than the average American. It’s a fantastic book and well worth your time to read.
  14. Psych is one of my family’s favorite TV shows. This clip is a series of all the things that Shawn admonishes his friend Gus. It’s hysterical, or at least I think so. If you don’t get it, you need to go watch the entire series from the start.
  1. One of Mr. Money Mustache’s best posts, Happiness is the Only Logical Pursuit, helps put car or truck ownership in perspective. If you love automobiles this one may be tough to swallow. Take some time to read it and honestly consider the message.
  2. Yes, some RJ Reynolds execs actually said this. Yes, they’re racist assholes. Don’t smoke because dying from cancer sucks. Don’t smoke because it makes you poor. Don’t smoke because it makes people like that rich.
  3. This is a link to the scientific journal article that asserts an income greater than about ~$75,000 per year does not increase happiness. https://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.full

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Chapter 5: Major Airline Pilot Math

  1. A friend I wrote a post on The Pilot Network highlighting the difference in pay and Quality of Life if you live at your major airline domicile, rather than commuting. This is a must-read if you want to understand the full earning potential of a major airline pilot: https://community.thepilotnetwork.org/posts/careful-what-you-ass-u-mehttps://community.thepilotnetwork.org/posts/careful-what-you-ass-u-me. You can also read this post for free in the TPN-Go app. (Find links here.)
  2. In case you haven’t already discovered it, you can download every spreadsheet I used for this book, for free, on our Calculators page.
  3. Airline Pilot Central is the best website I know to get specific information about airlines. You can find pay rates, mandatory retirement numbers, domicile lists, fleet makeups, and more.

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Chapter 6: Nuts & Bolts – Getting Started

  1. Personal Capital is one of the most common services for budgeting, tracking spending, and tracking your net worth. I think it’s a good service. They’ll give you a phone call when their system shows you with a net worth of at least $100,000, offering you financial advisor services. You’re welcome to politely decline and continue using their system for free.
  2. Mint.com is another service similar to PC. Some people like Mint better for tracking spending and PC better for viewing net worth. I’m happy no matter which one you use.
  3. If budgeting is a weakness for you, then you should consider paying for You Need a Budget (YNAB.) It has a good reputation and can help you get on track. You may outgrow your need for it, but you won’t mind the price when you see how much power it can give you over your finances.
  4. Dave Ramsey has what may be the best system around for getting yourself out of debt. If you have ever carried a credit card balance past the end fo the month or you have more debt than you know what to do with, you need to read and listen to what he has to say.
  5. Mr. Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover is the most concise summary of his philosophy. If you follow his baby steps, you can free yourself from financial slavery. If you do better with mentors, groups, and structure, you may also benefit from attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. They’ll charge you to take it online, but you can frequently find a free course sponsored by a church or other community organization in your city. Don’t ever be afraid to show up and check it out. If you think you need it, then going is a sign of strength!

    Mr. Ramsey sometimes gets a bad rep in the FIRE community. His ideas focus on getting out of debt. They’re great for that purpose. However, they fall short of optimizing your overall financial life and outright fail when you finally get out of debt and can start planning for a strong financial future. Use his system for as long as it makes sense, for as long as you have debt. Once that’s done, move on and find some other mentors.
  6. Some parts of the FIRE community can get pretty specialized and may be tough to relate with. ChooseFI is a pretty welcoming part of that community. It’s growing rapidly in part because Brad and Jonathan avoid dogma and search out actionable ideas for a wide variety of people.
  7. Mr. Money Mustache, Dave Ramsey, and ChooseFI only scratch the surface of the goldmine of information available in our world. I list a bunch of others on this page.
  8. Betterment is what’s being called a “robo-advisor.” They charge much lower fees than traditional financial advisors, and have some unique benefits that you won’t get anywhere else. I recommend looking in to what they offer. This is not an affiliate link: http://www.betterment.com.
  9.  myPay is the website where military members setup automatic TSP contributions. If you’re in the military you should click this link right now and make sure that you’re putting as much of your paycheck into your TSP as you can stand! https://mypay.dfas.mil/#/ I generally recommend that military pilots contribute to their Roth TSP because they make far less in the military than they will in the future. However, I discuss a couple strategies for this in the book. Expect blog posts expanding on some of this in the future.
  10. The Simple Path to Wealth, by JL Collins, really is a masterpiece. He wrote it for his daughter and chose to share it with the rest of us. Can you potentially do better than investing in low fee index funds? Maybe, if you dump loads of time and energy into research. I assert that most of us have better things to do in life, especially given the fact that even most professional money managers fail to beat the index funds. (Mr. Collins’ book demonstrates this.) If you want to delve deeper into investing, be my guest. However, until you achieve that education, read The Simple Path to Wealth and do what it says.
  11. My company’s 401K plan is administered through Fidelity. I’ve been very pleased with their customer service and the user interface on their website so far. They have plenty of great index funds with fees that match or even do better than the equivalent offerings at Vanguard. Some parts of the FIRE community have an almost cult-like dedication to Vanguard. There are some reasons to like that company, but there’s nothing wrong with using other investment firms. As long as they offer low-fee index funds, have decent customer service, and a usable website, I don’t care who you use as long as you’re investing!
  12. I don’t take it lightly that I call this post by The Mad Fientist one of the most important FI articles ever written. https://www.madfientist.com/ultimate-retirement-account/ Once you understand this post, you’ll be excited about the advantages that an HSA offers. If you’re stuck with Tricare, you’ll actually be a little disappointed.
  13. We just mentioned Vanguard in #37 above. It’s a great company. It’s so popular within the FIRE movement because it was founded by Jack Bogle, the inventor of the index fund. It’s also interesting to note that it’s investor-owned, unlike any other brokerage that I know of. In theory, this means there’s less chance of a conflict of interest between investors and the people managing their money.
  14. I included this affiliate link to The Simple Path to Wealth twice in the same chapter because it’s such a good book for the novice investor. There’s a reason it’s listed in The Pilot Math Bible.
  15. If you’re interested in Travel Hacking, then Episode 9 of the ChooseFI Podcast is the best, most efficient intro I know of. The information is already getting out of date, but the mindset is exactly what you need to get started.
  16. This link is a shameless plug for Invest in Travel, a blog written by Anthony “el Gato” Felix, my friend from USAFA and Air Force pilot training. He traveled all over Asia for very little money while assigned to a base in Japan. He travels with his family and may be a good example for getting a reluctant spouse onboard with the idea of travel hacking as a family.
  17. As an airline pilot, I read The Points Guy as an important perspective on what my passengers are thinking about. It’s also a very detailed source of information about travel hacking. The website has actually become a pretty big business. There’s nothing wrong with that, but realize they’re going to strongly recommend products to you because they want the affiliate commission.
  18. Award Travel 101 is a Facebook group with lots of resources and info on travel hacking. It’s a convenient place to ask questions.
  19. The Mad Fientist built a website that helps you choose the most useful travel hacking credit card. I think it’s a fantastic piece of software. Since I’m a fan of the Mad Fientist in general, I like to use this site to sign up for reward credit cards to make sure he gets the affiliate commission.
  20. Travel Miles 101 is a free online course that teaches you travel hacking. One of its creators happens to also be one of the founders and hosts of ChooseFI.

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Chapter 7: Nuts & Bolts – Advanced Topics

  1. I don’t think picking individual stocks is worth it for most pilots. However, after reading Beating the Street by Peter Lynch, I feel like I could do it on a limited basis. (Lynch is a mega-millionaire who ran several of Fidelity’s funds. He made billions for investors.)
  2. Although I strongly recommend just following The Simple Path to Wealth and using the rest of your time to do more meaningful things, I acknowledge the possibility that an investor could gainfully invest in individual stocks. Investor and Motley Fool writer Brian Feroldi discusses some of the reasons that an individual investor could be successful during Episode 75 of the ChooseFI podcast. He makes a compelling case. If you’re looking for an excuse to try your hand at picking individual stocks, this is the podcast you want to hear.
  3. I can’t say enough good things about Bigger Pockets. If you even think you might want to try your hand at investment real estate, you absolutely need to go to this website and consume everything you can find. Much of it is free. Anything not free represents countless hours of hard work. I wouldn’t feel bad rewarding that hard work to buy a product that will benefit me.
  4. This isn’t the most user-friendly website, but if you’re looking for an alternative investment that offers unbelievable (pork-barrel politics-funded) tax advantages, the US Energy Development Corporation is a good place to start. If you can’t get the information you need here, ask a financial advisor to get the info for you. If you need a financial advisor familiar with these investments, let me know and I’ll introduce you to mine.
  5. This is an affiliate link to Tim Ferriss’ website about his “Real-World MBA.” Tim is an interesting person who has accomplished a lot in life. His book, The 4-Hour Work Week, is fantastic and it will blow your mind. I don’t intend on following everything he’s teaches, but you can glean a wealth of useful ideas from him. At the very least, every person in the US Air Force needs to read this book and change their mindset on meetings and work in general.
  6. Here’s the link to the original Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. Expect a blog post on why Bitcoin is not an investment. If you want to play with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you’re welcome to…but only after you’ve read and can at least understand the basics of this white paper. As a computer engineer who meets those criteria, I promise that you don’t want the risk of getting involved in that stuff unless you understand it.

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Chapter 9 – Reserve Officer Pilot Math

  1. I wrote a 3-part series on what I consider to be The Ideal Military Pilot Career Path for The Pilot Network. Here are links to the articles membership-only TPN website:




    You can also read them for free here:



  2. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) guarantees your ability to serve in the Guard or Reserve without losing your day job, or even suffering any negative consequences. USERRA codifies the five total years of military leave that you’re allowed to take from your job. I wrote an article about USERRA for Pilots on BogiDope.com.
  3. After I wrote about The Ideal Military Pilot Career Path on The Pilot Network, I realized there’s an even better way to approach a career as a military pilot. I wrote about this on BogiDope.com. Since I’d already used “Ideal,” I called my new post The Ultimate Military Pilot Career Path.

    Don’t go to the USAF Academy. Don’t go to AFROTC. Don’t go to OCS for Active Duty service. Instead, apply directly to a Guard or Reserve unit and let them send you to OCS and pilot training. Even better, if you enlist with that unit right after high school you may be able to get them pay for college, you’ll accrue 4 years toward a military retirement, and you’ll drastically improve your chances of getting hired by your unit as a pilot. In my opinion, this is truly the best way to become a military pilot.
  4. I’ve written summaries about my first three years at my major airline so far. I mention my 3rd Year in Review here because I came up with a total compensation per day (and thence hour) figure that compares meaningfully with the total compensation per hour for Reserve service I derived in this chapter.

    Spoiler Alert: military compensation is pitiful compared to low-end major airline compensation. I don’t mention this to suggest you shouldn’t serve in the Reserves at all, but I do think you should only serve enough to meet the minimum requirements to earn points toward retirement. Beyond that, the only possible justifications for Reserve military service are things other than money.
  5. Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, is such an important book that I made it the 4th Book of The Pilot Math Bible. One of the fundamental ideas in the book is a question: “What is an hour of your life worth?”

    In this chapter, we’ve derived specific figures that show how much the US military values those hours. Are they enough, or do you deserve better?

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Chapter 12 – Baby Pilot Math

  1. I wrote Pilot Math Treasure Bath because I want to help pilots enjoy great flying careers and achieve financial freedom. One of my goals is to help young pilots reduce the costs of flight training. I’m doing that in part by setting up a website that lists as many aviation scholarships as I can find.
  2. The Kolstad Scholarship is $5000 for college, but I include it here because you have to be a glider pilot to receive it.
  3. The Costello Insurance Primary Training Youth Scholarship is good for $2000 toward earning a glider rating. This scholarship could help fund the absolute quickest path to earning money as a pilot, long before you accrue 250 total hours for a Commercial Pilot certificate.
  4. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has a great scholarship program.
  5. The Ninety-Nines offer several scholarships.
  6. Here’s a link to scholarships offered by Women in Aviation.
  7. Even the FAA has scholarships available. This one is for a helicopter rating.
  8. John and Martha King are legends in the flight training world. They’re now giving back by funding scholarships in conjunction with the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI.)
  9. For a pilot willing to work hard and take a less-traveled path, earning a Glider Flight Instructor rating at or around 25 hours, or a Sport Pilot Instructor rating at 150 hours are great ways to start earning money while accruing flight hours far sooner than your peers.
  10. This FAA website offers a bunch of wonderful ground school resources for free. If you’re an aspiring pilot you really should download everything on here.
  11. If you don’t know where to start with your self-study, I recommend the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook. This is a free way to get much of the knowledge you need to earn your Sport or Private Pilot certificate.
  12. The 3rd installment of my “I Want to be a Pilot, But I Need Cash Now” series discusses several ways to save money during your flight training.
  13. 14 CFR Part 61 is the FAA Regulation that explains the requirements for earning a pilot’s license. If you’re working toward a rating, you need to start by reading the requirements.
  14. The Civil Air Patrol is a great way to accrue flight hours while serving your country and community.
  15. I wrote about ways to make sure you have a good experience with the Civil Air Patrol in Part 5 of my “I Want to be a Pilot, But I Need Cash Now” series.
  16. If you want to be a pilot, you need to take as many Advanced Placement classes as possible in high school to earn credits for and/or test out of college classes.
  17. The same goes for International Baccalaureate classes.
  18. The College Level Examination Program (aka: CLEP tests) represent a third way to get college credit for a ridiculously small amount of money. If you want to be a professional pilot, you absolutely must try to get credit for some of your college classes by taking CLEP tests.
  19. I did an intro to aviation course at Aims Community College one year as a kid. It turns out they’re a relatively affordable college with an aviation program. They could be a good way start knocking out your flight training and your college classes.
  20. JetBlue’s Pilot Gateway Programs have led the industry for many years. As time goes on, I predict that all airlines will have to come up with ways like this to recruit and train pilots.
  21. Delta’s Propel Pilot Career Path Program is relatively new. They work closely with students at partner schools and will offer a defined and all-but-guaranteed path to becoming a delta pilot to those students during their senior year in college.
  22. There are a lot of great aviation colleges in the United States. However, some of them are unbelievably expensive. I would not go to one of those unless I had an equally-unbelievable scholarship or other source of funding. If I were interested in Delta’s Propel program, I’d do everything I could to get in to a more affordable partner school like Middle Georgia State University long before I’d consider somewhere more expensive.
  23. The Bigger Pockets Money Podcast covers the idea of house-hacking in several different episodes. You might as well start from the beginning and listen to them all.
  24. The ChooseFI Podcast also discusses house-hacking in great detail on several episodes.
  25. I keep mentioning the BP Money and ChooseFI podcasts because they’re great resources. You don’t have to listen to every episode. You don’t have to ascribe to the overall philosophies they advocate. However, you can absolutely gain some useful information from these resources.
  26. A Root of Good post entitled $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax is simply fantastic. It explains completely legal ways to significantly reduce your taxable income.

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Chapter 13 – Flying Solo – Single Pilot Math

  1. A fascinating post on a blog called Go Curry Cracker (I didn’t name it) lays out a way to legally live life without paying taxes. The catch is that the author plans to live on far less money than most pilots I know would ever consider. It’s worth reading anyway though. You can absolutely pick up some useful ideas, even if you plan on spending more than Jeremy.
  2. Seth Goldman and Honest Tea are an awesome example of how a hobby can become a side-hustle that becomes a multi-million dollar business. I highly recommend Guy Raz’s interview with him on the How I Built That podcast.
  3. Gary Erickson and Clif Bar are another great example of a side-hustle that went big. You may enjoy his interview on How I Built That too.
  4. Here’s a link to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation website, in case you want to learn more about it.
  5. Edmunds.com has a Cost of Car Ownership Calculator that will tell you exactly how much your car is costing you. If you think it’s just gas and a little extra for registration and insurance you’re living in a dream world. You owe it to yourself to run all of your current vehicles through this calculator.

    Could you enjoy driving a less expensive car while filing up your Treasure Bath more quickly?

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Chapter 14 – Dead Zoners

  1. David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell is a fantastic read. In fact, I could say that about all of his books. They’ll challenge the way you think. If you follow these ideas to their logical conclusions, it’ll save you Bathtub-fulls of money over the course of your life.
  2. Michael Kitces is a big thinker in the Financial Planning realm, and this necessarily includes the FIRE movement. His website is a great place to read about the 4% rule.

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Chapter 15 – Side-Hustles

  1. I started writing about side-hustles on The Pilot Network. I did a 3-part series there.
  2. I’m trying to populate a list of good pilot side-hustles on pilotmathtreaturebath.com. It’s a daunting task because the list is potentially endless. I promise to do my best.
  3. One of the reasons I know that making my list of side-hustles is a big task is that Nick Loper has already generated a generic version of this list at Side Hustle Nation. It’s a great website that deserves some of your time.
  4. The Aircam is a twin-engine, kit aircraft that was originally designed for National Geographic photographers at low altitude. It’s performance was so amazing that it’s become a fantastic kit aircraft. It now has options for an open or enclosed cockpit, two or three seats, and amphibious floats. If videos of these aircraft flying in formation don’t make you drool, then you don’t deserve to call yourself a pilot. Here are a bunch on YouTube.

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Chapter 16 – Debrief

  1. Just go read this: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/. This is quite possibly the most important blog post in the history of the Financial Independence movement. Once you read it, you will never view money or personal finance the same way again. Enjoy!
  2. Paula Pant is a fantastic author and thought leader in the Financial Independence movement. Her blog, Afford Anything, may be far more palatable for most pilots than other bloggers like MMM.

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Chapter 17 – The Way Forward

  1. One of the sweeter pieces you’ll find in the FIRE movement, this article was written mainly by The Mad Fientists’s wife. In it she explains how she finally got onboard with the ideas he’d been blogging about. You should read it. More importantly, you should show it to your own spouse or significant other.
  2. If this book didn’t exhaust your interest on the subject, I recommend a lot of other books, blogs, podcasts, and other resources for further research. I jokingly call this list The Pilot Math Bible.

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  1. Marc Himelhoch wrote Cockpit2Cockpit, the book that has become the de facto guide for transitioning from the military to the airlines. If you hope to make that transition yourself, you absolutely must read his book.
  2. I found Michael R. Hicks because he writes a lot about self-publishing on his blog. He also happens to write some fun science fiction. I’ve read all his books and enjoyed them. He offers the first book in each series for free.

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