Jan. 3, 2023

80 : Living as if You've Already Reached Financial Independence with Susie Ade


On today's episode, Adam Coelho is joined by his good friend Susie Ade. Susie works as a global program manager for driving mental health and wellbeing programs for Google's data centers and is a certified professional coactive coach. Together, they discuss the FIRE movement, designing your life and career in a way as if you've already reached financial independence.

Key Takeaways

  • Developing a FIRE mindset can help you change your life
  • Design your life and career in a way as if you've already reached financial independence
  • Pull in from the future what you think you want and bring it into your life right now
  • Live every day and align with what's most important and brings you the most joy and connection.
  • Find joy in maximizing your savings rate by optimizing for what brings you the most joy.


Guest Bio

Susie Ade joined Google eight and a half years ago and has had a career across sales, marketing, trust and safety, and learning and development. She is currently working towards becoming a certified professional coactive coach and coaches people at Google and outside of Google. She is also a facilitator for Search Inside Yourself, a leadership and emotional intelligence course that teaches emotional intelligence through mindfulness. Susie and her husband are working towards achieving financial independence through a mixed strategy of taking high risks and investing in low cost index funds.

Resources & Books Mentioned

Connect with Susie

Susie Ade on LinkedIn

 

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🔥 Download my Free Envisioning Guide to get started right now!

Transcript

Welcome to the mindful fire podcast a show about crafting a life you love and making work optional, using the tools of mindfulness envisioning and financial independence. I'm your host, Adam Coelho and I'm so glad you're here. Each episode of the mindful fire podcast explores these three tools through teachings, guided meditations and inspiring interviews with people actually living them to craft a life they love. At its core, mindful fire is about creating more awareness and choice in your life. Mindfulness helps you develop self-awareness to know yourself better. And what's most important to you by practicing a kind curious awareness. Envisioning is all about choosing to think big about your life and putting the power of your predicting brain to work, to create the life you dream of. And financial independence brings awareness and choice to your financial life. Empowering you to make your vision a reality by getting your money sorted out and ultimately making work optional. And here's the best part. You don't have to wait until you reach financial independence to live out your vision. Mindful FIRE is about using these tools to craft that life now on the path to financial independence and beyond.

Adam Coelho:

If you're ready to start your mindful fire journey, go to mindful fire.org/start and download my free envisioning guide. And just 10 minutes, this guide will help you craft a clear and inspiring vision for your life. Again. You can download it for mindfulFIRE.org/start

Let's jump into today's episode.

Adam Coelho:

Susie. Welcome to the mindful fire podcast. I'm so glad to have you here.

Susie Ade:

Happy to be here.

Adam Coelho:

So Susie, I'd love to have you start by sharing with the audience a little bit about who you are, your journey and what you're up to in the world.

Susie Ade:

Okay. So I am Susie. I, first thing that comes to mind for me is today I'm living in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm a mental health and wellbeing program manager at Google, and I'm also a career coach on the side. And how I got there is a very circuitous route. So I, I started right outta college at Google about eight and a half years ago. And I got into the company through an entry level job as an account strategist working with small, medium businesses on their AdWords accounts. I think at that time, like I knew this wasn't my forever job, but I loved working with people and figuring out what their problems were, what their goals were for their company and how AdWords could maybe help them get there. But after about two years or so, I decided I was ready for a change. So I moved into the marketing organization, helping our publishing products, drive utilization and adoption. And that was like a nice stepping stone for me. Part of that job was working across a lot of different internal teams trying to achieve a goal. And I didn't realize that there was actually like a job at Google where if you're really organized and you're trying to achieve something You can do this full time. It's called program management. So essentially you're a project manager, but you're overseeing a lot of different aspects of a global program. And so for some time I was trying to get onto the program management ladder. We have that here at Google and it just wasn't really working. I tried like a lot of different avenues interviewed with teams, tried to do part-time projects with them. But yeah, I just wasn't moving in that direction. So I was really serious about quitting my job. I was like, something's gotta give. And in the end I actually ended up taking a three month sabbatical. So I. Traveled to Australia worked on a vineyard and yeah, just tried a whole different way of life. And this is exactly what I think I needed to have a reset, come back or at least explore, what am I outside of the context of work and my life in the bay area at the time. And for sure, I thought I was gonna quit and go full time into the wine industry, but toward the tail end as I liked my life at Google. Like I wanted to try again to find a different path and to really make it work. So I came back with kind of a fresh pair of eyes, just like a reset heart and just also really spread it all out there. Tried a lot of different avenues to get on certain teams. And actually two weeks after I came back, A friend of mine told me that there was an opening at YouTube on a team called like a brand new team. They were sending up called the intelligence desk. And this was like the craziest thing, Adam. It was a team that basically was made up of X, FBI and CIA analyst. And essentially the remit was how do you prevent risks and bad actors from, taking advantage of the platform? How do we essentially avoid mass press escalations and just the worst of the worst happening on that product. And, I have no background in this, but I have the project management skills. And I interviewed with the team and it worked out and I'm saying all this, because I think I had like an idea of what I wanted to do, but I was just open to a lot of different avenues and just letting it move me in whatever direction, like I was just open to a lot of things. So they hired me on the team. That was awesome. That was for about two and a half years. And then I hit that same wall where I was like, I figured this out. The team's it's running really well. I think I'm ready for my next move. And at that time too, my husband and I, we were both living in San Francisco and I'm sure we'll talk about this later, but as someone who's interested in financial independence, it's, that's not necessarily the top place you wanna be. So we did a ton of research to try and figure out where's a city that is more economical one in which, we could start investing in real estate and start to build toward that future. And so we settled on Atlanta, Georgia, where I am now, but at that time it was very difficult to figure out how to. Move into that city, especially staying within Google. So I tried for about six or seven months to find a job out here and it wasn't working. But I was determined. So I told my boss at the time, Hey, I'm I actually wanna take a leave of absence just to move myself out to Atlanta. And I thought at that point, I'd be able to find something more concrete with me, just physically being in this area come to find out three weeks later, COVID 19 would happen. And I'm so grateful that I didn't actually go on that leave of absence because about a week after I, I told my boss that I was gonna go on the leave of absence. I got the job offer to move out to Atlanta, to work within the professional development space for data centers. one thing I'll, say too, like a, thread of my time at Google has been about professional development like building and facilitating team development and just various things that kind of like really help complete the full person. And so this was an opportunity to go out there and try and stand up a group that would help people think about those things really make them top of mind. And I'm so grateful that I stayed with in Google to do so because, I got, they helped pay for my relocation help, help me find a place to live out here. And it was a perfect segue. So I've been out here in Atlanta for about two and a half years now. During that time, my team got dismantled and I was in this limbo where I wasn't quite sure, if I was gonna have a job or where I'd have to go, but I was very persistent in finding other teams at Google that were working on wellbeing in some of the other areas, like team development and so forth that I was interested in. And I was very adamant about just saying I'll offer my time up for free. Whatever you all need me to do. I wanna help. And I think a lot of the folks pushed me off and said yeah. That's you can try and help us. We're not really that interested, but I didn't stop. And I think, I didn't realize at that time, too, that the organization, I was a part of was thinking about bringing on someone to work full time on mental health and wellbeing programs. And as soon as I heard that, I raised my hand to say, I wanna be your right hand woman. I'll do whatever you need. And sure enough, here I am. So it's been about two months or so that I'm now the first employee of a team. That's trying to think about how do we put mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of people that work within Google's data centers. So it's a challenge, but it's exactly where I wanna be.

Adam Coelho:

Very cool. Very cool. There's so much there a lot that I didn't know. What's the difference between your current job and what you were doing before? Like it sounds similar. What's the difference between those two roles?

Susie Ade:

Yeah. So I came out here to work on this team called professional organizational development. So my job there was thinking how do we. Bring professional development and organizational change to this particular group of people that exist within our cloud organization. So to give you context, the data center organization, it's spread out over, 30 or so different data center sites across the world. And oftentimes, it's like in a small town and they're not as connected to the larger Google culture. So that's what we wanted to do was figure out, like what's unique about those places and how do we help inspire culture there. So I was actually in charge of doing leadership development programs and manager onboarding and within that too, I was bringing in wellbeing and other aspects that I just like naturally had an affinity for. And now I'd say my current job is it's similar, but our primary agreement is thinking about How do we drive awareness towards mental health and reduce the stigma around, actually seeking help or admitting that you're not necessarily okay. And that's okay to not be okay. So for instance, right now we're working on a proposal to get onsite counselors and therapists that are present for just walk-in appointments at some of our sites. And we're also just thinking in general, what do we do in a world where people don't talk about their mental health? You'll talk about anything else that's ailing you, but that's the last thing you wanna say. So how do you bring your whole self to work and also, how do you treat somebody that may be coming with depression or anxiety or burnout? I

Adam Coelho:

That's very interesting. And I can see how they're similar yet different and yeah, the data centers do feel like a different part of Google. And they are very physically disconnected from the rest of the offices, but I'm sure there are thousands of people that work in those centers. And they make everything happen on the internet. So pretty important.

Susie Ade:

They are incredibly important. They're working 24 7 too, to make sure that we can have this interview right now.

Adam Coelho:

it's true. Okay. I gotta ask, I gotta ask about the sabbatical. so it sounds like this sabbatical really helped you get some space in your life and to get a fresh perspective on what's important to you and what you wanna do going forward. Is that fair? Yes. Tell me how that came about, how you made that happen. I have been wanting to take a sabbatical since January, 2019. at least not counting all the times. I wanted to quit my job before that, but how'd you make it happen? What did it look like and how did you use that time?

Susie Ade:

Yeah, it's, man. It's such a gift to be able to take that time, but I realize no one's gonna offer it to you unless you actually take it and plan it out and advocate for yourself. So in terms of how I made it happen I had the idea, but I knew it was gonna take some time. So I planted the seed with my team and my manager, because taking three months or six months off it's a huge burden on them. Like they have to pick up your work or figure out a contingency plan. So about six months ahead of time, I told them I was interested in it. And from there it was just about figuring out what were all the moving parts. How could I. Set up my work, such that, like I could hand it off to somebody to do it, or what parts of it could I make a case to deprioritize while I was away? So it was just a lot of upfront planning. And then as soon as I had the green light I wanted to make sure that I like was actually using the time to the max. Like I wasn't just gonna waste it. So I have always been very interested in wine and my father collected wine and for me, it's always just been a gateway into understanding culture and another part of the world that I may not have been able to travel to. And I took actually, before I took the sabbatical, I took several classes in asses in wine education. So I have my wine spirit education trust level three certification and just, nerd it out to a crazy level. And I think the pinnacle of understanding wine was to actually see it happen on the farm because that's where it like 90% of wine takes place there. And the farmer, sometimes they get the credit, sometimes they don't. But it's such a labor love. And I remember my instructor at the time was saying, if you really wanna go to the next level, you have to go there, you have to see it. You have to create the wine. So I put out a lot of Request to folks to see if they would take somebody who had no experience. Luckily I found a husband and wife that have a farm called small fry in Bura valley. And it's actually through the wolfing program. So willing workers on, on organic farms basically they'll take anybody on and in return for helping them out, they'll give you room and board. And yeah, there, it was just very low barrier to entry. So once I was there it was like 12 hour days working on the farm, picking grapes, stomping them, putting into barrel. And I left right before we could actually put it into bottle. But for me that was just I think it was the Reese that I needed to actually put my whole life into perspective to see I didn't need to totally blow up my life, quit my job, go down a different path, but I really just needed a break from my current routine to see that, there's a whole nother world out there to explore. And yeah, I'm very grateful that I had that chance to do it, but then to come back to my life in San Francisco at the time.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Did you get any pushback when you proposed this to your management? what was that experience

Susie Ade:

like? So I didn't, and I remember distinctly our director at the time who I had to go and ask if I could do this saying, you've put a lot of work into this team. And so this is the way we reward people that do that. And so I always do think. In the end, if you work hard for people, and then you ask for something in return, they're usually very open to giving it to you. But you have to ask and also I think a big part of it too, is I had a reason for leaving. I think I was so frustrated at work and I wanted to change and I think they knew that this was a way to also retain me long term. let me go explore. And then hopefully I come back, but feeling recharged and rejuvenated.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. And was this an unpaid leave that you did?

Susie Ade:

Yeah, it's unpaid, but you still get at Google. We're lucky you still get to keep your benefits and that's all that really mattered in case like, yeah. That's I got injured.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. Gotta have that health insurance. And last question on this. Did your husband come with you?

Susie Ade:

No, he did not. So this was, but you were on

Adam Coelho:

the other side of the world, stomping grapes. And he was back in San Francisco grinding he was poor guy.

Susie Ade:

It was really funny though, actually. And I think that part of the reason right before I, I left, he proposed to me. So yeah. He's like smart guy. Yeah. We're gonna, we're gonna lock this down. So you don't leave forever.

Adam Coelho:

Seen one too many romantic comedies about vineyards.

Susie Ade:

Oh, I know. Yeah. I wish it were like that it was not romantic at all. It's a very like backbreaking experience, but also very humbling to see how much work and love goes into creating a beverage that we drink so fast and so readily. But yeah he stayed in San Francisco and this was the first time I really got to travel alone and I really encourage anyone to do that because you have to rely on yourself, you have to know yourself and there's nobody else you have to compromise with in terms of what you wanna do, where you wanna go. And it was, yeah, just a memory of a lifetime.

Adam Coelho:

That's amazing. Yeah. I think I'm getting to the point where I need to ask. Yeah. But I won't be going and leaving my wife here with my son for three months. Yeah, but I've really, I need a sabbatical. I've been doing this for 11 years and not to mention I, the way I think about it's like, I've basically been working since I was like five years old, like I've, I had summers off. But like I was in school, we've all, we're all in school since then. Or even before that. there's been no break right in college internships, study abroad or classes in the summer. there's been no break, it's time. I've saved up money. getting into the fire thing. Like I've created this space, this runway in my life. Why am I afraid to do this when the risk is basically them saying no.

Susie Ade:

I totally agree. I think that's, you should be taking many retirements. I think that's the beauty of financial independence. We've realized that life is short. You can't just wait until, you're in your sixties to really maximize on that. And that's what this was taking that little break to see what does unstructured time look like? And yeah, you surely have the means to do it, Adam. I know you do. I've heard your interviews before. You're very frugal or you would say you're, maybe borderline cheap.

Adam Coelho:

You've been listening yeah, I, I need to do it. there's something that's been holding me back, potentially the, not wanting to put that on the team. And not wanting to put Paul in a bad spot, my manager, Paul, he's been amazing. all right, Susie. when I asked you what you wanted to talk about in this interview, you said you wanted to talk about how. Developing a fire mindset changed your life. That's pretty big. So I want to hear how you learned about fire and what that mindset is, but how developing that fire mindset changed your life?

Susie Ade:

Yes. let's start with what it is. So fire stands for financial independence retire early, and I'm actually more interested in the FI part. So just the financial independence, because I think there's a misconception that you save up all this money and then you just you're like on a beach somewhere. like kicking it. But I'd say for me, I first got turned on to the concept from someone at work. That was just very rigorous in understanding their finances, understanding how to save and maximize all the great 401k and tax saving benefits that we have while working at Google. The second person that really influenced me the, in this way though, was one of my bosses. He had just talked a lot about basically not trading time for money to really think about like, what assets do you have that make money for you while you sleep? So he was a really big advocate of saying, you gotta get into real estate. Are you gotta get into owning something or creating something that is a service that you don't have to trade your physical time in order to reap the benefit. And that's when I started to go down the path that a lot of people do. Mr. Money, mustache, very classic. celebrity I read through his work and then I read the book, your money or your life and all of these people were saying the same thing, how do I describe this? there is a way in which I'd say you break the chains of consumerism. You start to see the world in a different way and you start to see how it's not how much money you earn. It's how much money you save and you start to see, okay. if I don't get even just like a coffee or if I don't go out to dinner tonight, how much more money is that actually worth? In the long run. So it's taking a short term mindset, which, we are conditioned to say, like, I wanna buy these new clothes, or I wanna upgrade my car, or I wanna upgrade my phone and start to think about it more holistically in terms of how are the things that I'm purchasing actually adding joy to my life. What parts of me do? I actually really love. And I got this statement from Mr. Money mustache, he always talks about how he makes decisions on what to buy. It. It all comes down to, is this removing a negative in my life? And I love that because I think we get in this world where we buy things to. To comfort us to numb how we're feeling. They talk a lot about retail therapy, but I just feel like it's gotten the world into such a crazy place. When you just look at all the waste, what we see all the debt that we've accumulated, all the inflation that we're seeing. It's just for me, when I talk about how fire changed my whole mindset, it's really at the core of it. It's about sustainability and defining for yourself what is enough? And I just love that. And there's so many directions. We can go with this, but yeah, I hope that answers the core of your question.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah, for sure. that's a very interesting perspective and I would love to hear more about. You said something there defining for yourself. What is enough? That is a really tricky question. I think it's simple, but it's not easy to answer. And so how do you think about that?

Susie Ade:

For me, I actually go into the numbers. So in order for you to be financially independent, you need to have 25 times the amount of money that you spend per year. And you start to realize if I can get this down to $65,000 a year, how much money do I actually need in order to live off of, that investment and. I think for me defining what is enough is it's about actually analyzing your day and seeing what were the moments where you actually felt joy. You felt connection, you felt alive, and it is never things for me personally, it's a walk in the park, it's cooking a meal with my husband. It's connecting with my neighbors, getting to know them. It's just the simplest things. It's honestly all about experience and you're not gonna know what enough is, unless you actually take a look at your life every single day. And I just do a very quick examine, like for me, where did I experience, God or light or love. And where were the moments where, It wasn't really there. I spent too much funny on something or I pushed somebody away. I just think you have to take a look at your life in aggregate and also day by day to figure out where are you going to maximize? What's important to you and it's a constant journey.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. It really is. And getting back to the numbers, I think it's easier to say. Yep. Okay. Once I have 25 times my annual expenses I'm done, I don't know. Like, how do you think about that? Like you mentioned that. You're financially independent. Once you have 25 times your annual expenses. And I guess this gets back to the fact that it's not necessarily about the re of fire retiring early, but once you have the fi part reaching 25 times your annual expenses, then what? Like in my mind, it's once I have 25 times my annual expenses, then I can go, leave Google potentially and build a business in, in, being a speaker about these topics of mindfulness and financial independence, or going deeper into the podcast or doing workshops or doing trainings and companies and things like that. I think I'm still working on what that is. But then again, I also getting back to the question of what is enough. When's the point where it's actually enough when you're earning a lot and maybe it's not really gonna Change your life so much to leave?

Susie Ade:

It's a statement that I agree with it. I think that's what actually makes this so difficult for people to actually once they hit their number leave because it's like, oh, I could always earn a little bit more or my stocks may vest, so I'm gonna stay or, I get this promotion at work, but I think that's where you start to realize man, none of this deep at my core makes me happy and fulfill. So figuring out what that is. And actually, I feel like one of your, one of your guests talked about this in an interview, but it's less of what do I wanna do, but how do I wanna feel day in and day out? And you start to recognize like, Staying in a place where you don't wanna be for the money, just doesn't make you happy. And so I think optimizing for that and making your day exactly as you want it to be is what this is about. So the financial independence aspect, why I'm so interested in it is it's just that it's like nobody when finances, aren't part of the reason why you're choosing to do what you do. The whole world is your oyster. You can do anything. And you can say as like J Collins calls it, like, this is fuck you money. Like, if someone's telling you, no, you can't go on sabbatical. You can say fuck you. I'm actually gonna do it. And then you call 'em on their bluff. It's like, oh wait, no, Adam, please don't leave. Fine go. And it's just there. You do everything you wanna do with such intentionality. And it's just so cool to hear the stories of people who reach that point. Sometimes nothing changes about their life, but they start to do things because they know at their core, this is what they should be doing at that moment in time. And that's what fire gives you.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. Yeah. It's true. It's true. It does. But it's also easier said than done, right? Saying F you is tricky, right? I think it's easier if you have a shitty situation, right? If you have a bad situation saying F you is one thing, but if you have a good situation, it's another thing. But I want to call out what you said there. I, and what you said before, look at your day. When do you feel alive? When do you feel connected and when do you feel joy? What are you doing? What, who are you with? And really designing your day like you want, I think is really what this is all about. And that gets to that feeling of enough. And you mentioned thinking about how you want to feel right. That was Morgan Bria. she's a mural artist in the bay area. And that was on episode 14 where we were thinking about what do I want my next year to look like? And she focuses on how does she want to feel and then works backwards from there. But I think that's very useful in the, how do I want to feel when I hit financial independence and yeah. Requires some thinking that's where the mindfulness piece comes in. And for you, when you think about reaching financial independence, what do you envision for yourself, you and your husband.

Susie Ade:

yeah we talked a lot about this because in many ways we're already there and we actually think actually, and I feel like in that episode with Morgan, she talks a lot about this, but it's like, don't even imagine that's where you're headed and what would change then, but start living into that today. because I actually, nothing would change about my life. In fact, like I'm so happy where I'm living, I'm so grateful that I'm doing something that I really love to do, and I find it's very purposeful. And the other thing is like, I feel so grateful for basically the remote first world that just happened overnight with the onset of COVID that allows me to live into this. For instance, my husband and I, we're gonna go for four weeks to live in porta Barta and just work from there. All you need is high speed internet. And you're good to go. So we're gonna do that and we're mapping out where else do we wanna travel? What do we wanna do to our house to make it more open for guests and for friends and family, and how do we actually really lay roots here and embed ourselves in our community. That's what we said was really important to us. So we picked these maybe two or three big buckets of things that we wanna focus on. And we start to integrate that into our lives. And I think from coming at our lives from the mindset of imagine that we already are financially independent, what would we change? It was pretty astonishing that we said nothing. We are so grateful for what we're doing. I wanted to say one other thing too, because I feel like it's an interesting point. My husband and I, in our path to P we approached it a little differently. And I wonder if you and your wife are like this too, but I have a traditional job where, I've got my, my I've got the benefits down. I've got study paycheck. And I also like very conservatively save into, low cost index funds. My husband, on the other hand, he is very risky. He quit his job to create a startup. He invests in cryptocurrencies. He's thinking about risk from an entirely different dimension, but I think the marriage of those two ideas is what actually really helps us study our course such that at any point if I want to take more risk, he would then. Probably quit his startup idea and, find a steady paying job, but we're each in balance of are you, do you feel like you're taking enough risk or do you wanna take more? And how can we support each other in that journey? So it's a really cool balance that I don't think, unless you have a partner you don't necessarily get to do it that way, but that's definitely helped us along the path.

Adam Coelho:

So what you're saying is your crypto millionaires. that's what you're telling me.

Susie Ade:

I'm just, it's done incredibly well. this

past

Adam Coelho:

year. Yes. Faster. Or yes,

Susie Ade:

it has, but see, okay. This that's one thing I will say about crypto, which is fascinating because back to this idea of not exchanging time for money, you realize like a lot of people, if you spend. I'm not telling everybody to do this, but spend a lot of time researching. What else is out there in that space? And you maybe hit one or two that do really well, that have a thousand X return, that's much better time spent than you working at a job. You don't enjoy, something that's like crazy hours or you're just not seeing it as fulfilling. So I, I think it's just balancing, like taking risks while having something steady. You can spread it out. You don't have to, it's not all or nothing, but I think you should think about how do you plant a lot of seeds that may have higher payoff over a long term span, and also think about it from like a short term mindset. So it's balancing both of those sides because I think the future of money and how we're gonna make it is gonna be very different. I. What worked before is probably not gonna work, over the next several decades. So you have to really constantly be thinking about what's gonna actually make the difference in terms of having the highest returns on your time.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. It's interesting. I've been looking into the crypto space again, one of the founders of choose fi sends a weekly email and he linked to this podcast with Tim Ferris Christ Dickson and Naval Ravi K.

Susie Ade:

Yes. Oh, he's so good. Yes.

Adam Coelho:

And they were talking about web three and the possibilities and how crypto is not just like the Bitcoin and Ethereum, like value of money. It's also the infrastructure for the future of the internet. And I was like, huh, that's what really, that's different. That's a very different thing. And that opens up a whole new host of opportunities. And so it's very interesting. I wanna listen to it again and I'll link it in the show notes because I think it's really powerful. I was all caught up in the craze back in 2017 which was not even the first craze, but that was the one I was caught up in. I was like, okay, I'm checking coin base too much. I'm acting like I can do anything to influence this. So I'm gonna just set it aside and I'm not gonna invest in it for anymore. And it like I didn't sell, luckily I'm just holding onto it and riding it out. Luckily it's gone up, but it's, I think it's more interesting the opportunities that come on the other side of it, but to answer your question of what my approach has been, I had a lot of success in. Learning about this and just automating my investments into broad base index funds. Really taking advantage of the tax advantage, ways of saving to funnel more money into those vehicles. Like the backdoor Roth, IRA, the mega back door Roth, IRA through the 401k with post-tax dollars. that is an absolute game changer. And so that is, that has been really helpful. But yeah, my approach is basically broad base index funds and I have Google stock which has done extremely well. And so I'm very glad that it was only one year that my friend convinced me to do the auto sale program where it automatically sells. Because yeah, if it was any other company, you probably wouldn't wanna have your employment and your. Stock, a large portion of your net worth tied up in one company, but this one has been growing pretty well. I think it's up like 70% year to date, so not bad. I'm, very grateful for, writing that out. But at the same time, I used to think a lot about wanting to go and work for a startup. I thought I'd work for Google for two years and then go and work for a startup. And I almost went to work for Optimizly back in the day back when I was in the, a sense division, but ultimately I'm glad I didn't because staying at Google has allowed my income to go up quite a bit while. Not having to take significant risk or kill myself, working at a startup that may or may not work out. Having said that I'm still very entrepreneurial. Looking at what your husband is doing, like that is inspiring. But that gets to the question of, okay, what is enough? And when is it a good time to go and pursue that? And then what am I gonna pursue? I don't, that's so much to figure out, oh man,

Susie Ade:

It seems where you are, is like the worst place to be. Like, you're not totally committed to where you currently are. You're not totally committed to where you wanna go. It's like, as soon as you commit, that's when it just feels right. And I will say I've think about. Like these years of my life, where I'm like at my prime as ones in which I wanna gain as many skills as I possibly can grow and transform and screw up and figure out what I wanna do, but also maximize my earnings because I realize there's gonna be a natural plateau. I'm like the most hireable and marketable right now. And so what do I do in that timeframe? And then, the latter half of my life, that's when it can be, maybe more philanthropic in nature or, I can write, or I can teach, like everything I've learned, I can figure out how do I distill that to other people. That's how I've been thinking about my life versus I, go back and forth on it all the time too, cuz I'm very risk at first, but I'm also at the, in the back of my mind thinking there's no other time but right now when I'm able bodied and People wanna hire me for what I have to offer where I think that naturally slows down as we get older.

Adam Coelho:

That is true. And I've thought about that as well. But at the same time, you're also able bodied. And if you've gotten to financial independence, wouldn't, you want to use these best years going and doing stuff other than work. Theoretically, I don't know. both are true, maybe.

Susie Ade:

Yeah. Yeah. It's true. I think the thing I realized too is even when I, when we hit that number, we're aspiring for, it's like, nothing's gonna change. We're still gonna work. We still wanna work hard because that's what makes life meaningful. Like you wanna have something challenging that you wanna get up and do every single day that. Pushes you mentally, physically, emotionally, and then like you can rest because vacation and not working and unstructured time is great up until a point. And then you're craving something that you had before. So I think it's finding that balance between the two.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah, I think you're right. And I think what I need is to create some space in my life where I have the space to rest and really think about these things deeply. That's getting back again to the sabbatical, even if I don't know, what am I gonna do on the sabbatical? And what is it gonna look like? And it's worth thinking about that, but also like just trusting myself that I need some time, I need a break. I've been doing this for so long. Even this particular job I've been doing it for six, six years. you've jumped to a couple of different opportunities, spent two or three years doing each. It sounds like, and learned some stuff realized, okay, I'm not learning as much. Let me go try something new. I have really settled in and said, Hey, this is pretty good. I can make this work. And it's not the only thing in my life, so it's good for right now. But I think I'm at the point where I'm like, I want more meaning I want more purpose. And I want more challenge. But I also need a break and I need that space to figure out what that next step is.

Susie Ade:

And I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't say look at everything you've done so far, Adam. It's amazing. I remember listening to your first episode of mindful fire and yeah, look at it now. I don't know how many episodes you are into this, but it's just like, that's huge. You've done the envisioning course, everything you've talked about, you've done. I just dunno if you, you give yourself enough credit for it all.

Adam Coelho:

I don't you're I appreciate that. And yeah, I really don't and I was having a conversation with a woman who I'm in the inner MBA program with this morning. And we were talking about that. She was talking about her improvement goal, and she wants to find more contentment with. Things the way they are. Rather than constantly striving and reaching and chasing the next thing. And I was like, oh my God, you're speaking my language here. And that's what it is. it's constantly what's next. What's next. What's next. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. Not even the money piece, but just like doing enough, I totally forget, we're on a podcast. I have created this podcast from an idea I've recorded 70 episodes and meditations. And I created the envisioning course that I wanted to it's like, all right, cool. What's next onto the next thing. So A lot of what we talked about Susie is enjoying the journey to financial independence and living your life now as if you were already financially independent. I really like that reframe and a big piece of the way that you've done this in your life is to really think about designing your career and your life intentionally. Can you talk a little bit about your philosophy there? Yeah.

Susie Ade:

One, one book, like I probably recommend more than any is called designing your life. And it's from the folks that head up the design school at Stanford. And part of what they talk about is. Actually, this is very meta because you wanna take a sabbatical, you're balancing these ideas of security and safety here at Google versus you taking a bunch of risk and going to startup. We have all of these ideas and their advice is to approach it from the mindset of how do you bias towards action and really look at what do you wanna do and try it within the confines of how you feel safe and secure. So for me, like I actually thought I wanted to switch careers entirely and go into the wine industry, but I wasn't willing to forego my health insurance and some of the safety and security I felt at Google. So I. Designed that sabbatical that three month time where I could really go in full all in and just see if that worked for me. And that's how I've lived. My whole life is like, I do these little experiments. And for me it's about really asking myself, does this feel right? And it, when it feels right. And I think for me, it's a connection between my mind and my body. And honestly, journaling every day, just seeing how did I feel? What did I notice about what I was doing? And I think slowly but surely it starts to all come together and I have to say too, a big part of me designing my life is just being open to whatever comes and really letting go of that control that it has to be a certain way. because that's when I think you start to see, like it's already all here and there is probably something that we're naturally moving towards in terms of what's your purpose, Adam, what's my purpose in life. And I think you're only really able to go that place. If you let it go and just naturally flow with life and where you find inspiration. But I think the core message of what I'm trying to say is you have to bias towards action. You have to try it out. You can't just sit up here in your mind and think it through it just doesn't work that way.

Adam Coelho:

yeah. That's powerful advice. And I'm definitely gonna check out that book, designing your life, like for sure. That is awesome. yeah. Bias towards action makes a ton of sense, right? Like I was thinking about making the podcast for a long time and not doing it. And thinking about it a million times is gonna help me realize if I want to do it or like doing it. Doing it is gonna help me figure out those things. Same thing with the envisioning course, same thing with the work situation. maybe the universe is telling me now is time to reevaluate things and trust the intuition that I need a break. And I need some space to really think through what's next. So I got a bias towards action saying my first meeting with my new boss. I'm going on sabbatical. Yes. I believe in you next year. We'll just send him this episode. Yep. any other tips on designing your career since work is such a big part of our lives?

Susie Ade:

I think one aspect that I've realized because I've worked across a lot of different teams and now I'm finding myself working on like the subject that like, I love more than anything else in the world. And to be honest, it feels very similar to. When I was working in sales or when I was working in marketing or YouTube, because while the subject changes, like I'm the same, and there's still all of these goals of having to hit an objective, having to prove your worth and showing your impact. So sometimes I'm thinking it's less, I think in our minds we feel like, oh, if I'm working on this team or I'm working on that project, I'll be fulfilled. for me personally, that just never feels like it works. One of the exercises in that designing your life book is about looking through the course of the day and finding what activities actually do you feel like they're dragging on or ones in which you have a ton of energy? Like you're like, whoa, where did that come from? Like time just stops and looking at that and trying to figure out how do you structure your day such that You're moving more towards those activities that actually really fill you and give you joy and energy versus the ones that just naturally like lag. And so what I'm trying to say here is I was always raised under the assumption that you have to you have to work really hard on the things that you're in AP at. Like, I have a Korean mother who is like, you suck at these things. I'm putting you in Kuman school until you're just the greatest at math and science. And I always felt like I need to work on the areas that I'm deficient at. But I think now, as I've gotten older, I realize that's the wrong way to see it. It's like, what are the things that I'm naturally good at that? I love that. Give me joy and energy. How do I double down there? And that's the premise of like Clifton strengths too. They'll say the same thing. Like here are your five strengths that are natural to you. Here are the ways in which you can go out and do that. And you just find, if you really pursue your, God given gifts, you're gonna be amazed to see what you find.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah, I totally agree. What was that? Strengths thing. Clifton strengths.

Susie Ade:

Yeah. Clifton strengths. They have the book strength finders. So you, if

you

Adam Coelho:

buy, okay, so it's that, that yes. Is the Clifton strengths. Okay. Got it. So the strength finder of book. Yeah. Those I have, I've done that. Mine are pretty hilarious. what are yours? One of mine is maximizer, which is hilarious. my wife is like, oh my God. Yeah. Like always pushing, like I'm always pushing. Can I get a little bit more, never enough right Yeah, I don't remember what the other ones are, but they're all like very much relationship based, like building trust, and to the point of leaning into our strengths, like more and more I've realized that my main strength is being able to connect with people and to build trust very easily. I don't know why, but I'm good at that. What I'm not good at is like organization and, keeping all the details in order and all of that type of stuff which is a big part of my job. But building trust, I feel like that's so important for me. I can build a relationship with somebody and then I rely on that relationship when I inevitably. Screw up on the other side of things. And it's been working, 11 years strong

Susie Ade:

Yeah, the quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your relationships. That's what this is all about. So that's an amazing gift that you have.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. So where does coaching fit in? You mentioned at the beginning that you are a career and fulfillment coach, and that's a new thing that you've been doing. How did that come about and where does that fit into what you're doing now and how you see yourself going forward?

Susie Ade:

Yeah. That's like a perfect segue from what you're saying about trust and, building relationships, because that's what coaching is all about. And when I was talking about like skills that I naturally have there's a few for me, like it's intuition, connection, empathy. These things that I thought, the world will tell you, they're just soft skills. They're, nothing to write home about. But coaching is actually a profession where if you are gifted with those things, like it's meant for you. So the premise of coaching is really just working with people, talking to them as though they are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole, and just pulling insights from them, reinforcing who they are and repeating back to them. What they're telling you, just like you keep saying, you need a break, you need a sabbatical. that's literally all you're doing. It's just mirroring to them. And I stumbled into it because I was really interested in actually going back to school for clinical psychology, but. When we talk about taking risk for me, I still didn't wanna quit my job. Not having income, not have health insurance. It just seemed like too big of a risk for me to leave. So coaching felt like the next logical option for me, it's one in which I could do my certification. So I'm certified through a co-active Institute and I could do it in my after hours of work. And I still get that interpersonal part of what it would've meant to be like a counselor or a therapist of somebody, but I can do it within the confines of, my day job. And yeah, that just felt right. And I think for me, as far as like where coaching integrates into my day job, I can't, I feel like I've really drank the Kool-Aid here, but I feel like it, it has helped me in every possible way. Coaching with my team, as I'm working with people at work, when I'm with my husband, it just teaches you to approach life, not from the mindset of like, how can I problem solve? How can I give advice? How can I tell people how I would do things and more just what's already here, what insights can we pull from this person? And let them come to their own conclusions because ultimately we have all the answers within us and that's really what the power of coaching provides

Adam Coelho:

you. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So you've been coaching me this whole call, huh? Yes. Now, you know. Yes. Now I know. And so you mentioned, this is something that you're doing, on the job, or maybe just naturally as you interact with people, it changed your mindset, but are you also doing it on the side as like a side hustle?

Susie Ade:

Yeah, I am. I'm lucky. So it internal to Google, we have a program where people can sign up to have one-to-one coaching with me. So I do that about 20% of my time. And so right now I'm in the like six months toward like actually getting my certification before, like there's an oral exam and things like that. And I need a little over a hundred hours of coaching. So I've just put an, a note out there on LinkedIn saying, does anybody wanna talk about fulfillment or need to shift in their life? Reach out to me. And so for like a discounted rate, I've been working with a few clients that were just in my network, but. I don't have eventually I wanna have a site and really make, turn this into something real. But right now I'm very much in that exploratory phase. Like also figuring out what type of coaching do I wanna do? Who do I wanna work with? What are gonna be my values, things like that.

Adam Coelho:

Very interesting. And I don't know if this is possible, but if people are interested in talking to you about working with you, how would they get in touch with you?

Susie Ade:

Yeah, I think just find me on LinkedIn. So Susie Ade you'll see me there and just direct message me. I'd be happy to talk to anyone if they wanna work with a coach.

Adam Coelho:

Very cool. I will link your LinkedIn in the show notes. All right, Susie, let's switch gears now into what I call the mindful fire. Final four. You ready?

Susie Ade:

Yes. I've been waiting for this.

Adam Coelho:

So Susie, the first question is related to something you said earlier, and you said that developing a fire mindset helped you break free of the chains of consumerism, pretty strong statement. pretty strong. how has your spending and purchasing behavior changed as a result of thinking in this way and having financial independence as a goal

Susie Ade:

Yeah. It's changed by spending habits because I think as soon as you stop spending on superficial things one first you have to realize they're superficial, but then you, look at I think you see that a lot of the things that you were buying and spending money on, have no material bearing on your life. And you also start to see the bigger picture let's say, you just want a pair of shoes and you go buy a pair of shoes. Like we just get instant gratification now, just think of all the other things that are influenced in that whole supply chain. And what difference does it make if you buy something brand new and then you're finished with it in six months and you throw it away, where does it go? And for me, I started to see it from that lens. I don't need something new. And the fact that when you do buy something new, it instantly loses half of its value. That should be a sign that man we are living in just a crazy world. And so I'd say like on a very practical way, I've just started to look at all the things I have and to see the value of when I actually need something versus when I really want something. And when I want something and I put it in my cart, I let it sit there for some time before actually buying it. And you realize I didn't even need it in the first place, half of these things I don't really need, they're not gonna fulfill me in any way instead, what can I do with that money? There's so many other things that you can do that actually have a material benefit both on you and maybe the other person that you're interacting with. So last thing I'll say on this I think if you look at the psychology they've done tons of research on people that actually give away something and how happy they're, they look at their report to happiness versus people that receive something. People who give away feel happier than those, that actually get something in return. Or even when you buy something for yourself, it's such a short bit of gratification that you feel. So I'm just starting to see and be very analytical into those moments where I actually feel like wow, buying that thing made a lasting impression all my life or somebody else versus just getting the quick thing, which is what consumerism is all about. So hope that answers it.

Adam Coelho:

it's a great, it's a great point. And, I used to think a lot about every dollar I spend is $10 in retirement. That was helpful for me initially. But on the other hand, I also almost never wanna spend any money. And I've come to like more recently, I'm trying to ease up a little bit on, we shouldn't spend any money and cuz you know, we're in a new place, in a new house and a house really will cause you probably have noticed there's a lot of things you gotta get for a house and then there are things that you want. And I think my wife really enjoys. I'm buying some things for the house and decorating the house and making it her own and all of that. And I need to realize that, oh, I'm trying to realize that she gets joy out of that. And it brings her value. And I may not value those things. I may not, I wouldn't seek it out. But if she likes it, I'm not gonna ruin it for her, like I have in the past. Yeah. So it's just an evolving thing for me. yeah, I also recognize like times when I've bought something and I'm so excited when I first buy it and then get it. And then it's like, oh, okay. Whatever. And it's like, oh, what a waste? What a waste

Susie Ade:

Yeah. One of the premises of FIRE is that delay gratification, like how much more meaningful does it feel when you save up for something and you buy it? Versus just getting something without any thought. I'm sure your wife loves decorating and buying new things. And that gives her joy. There's that's for sure. A real thing. I think I would ask her to like, is she getting caught up in like you have to have all these things for all these different seasons and very much a keeping up with the Jones' mentality or is it really deeply tied to something that fulfills her? And for me, when I ask myself those questions, it's like, I never wanna step foot in like a TJ max or a home goods, because that's just like it bombards to the point where you think you need all these things and you really don't. And you also look on the secondary market and people are giving things away, giving them away. So when I talk about consumers of like, That is what I'm saying there's a whole nother world in which you don't have to spend anything to still get the same benefit and you just have to do a little bit more work, but it's more gratifying when you do a little bit more work.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah, no, it's true. It's true. I'm trying to balance it. okay. So the second question is what piece of advice would you give to someone early on their path to financial independence?

Susie Ade:

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is to. Two things. One is, remember, it's not about how much you earn, it's how much you save. And the second thing is really take ownership of your finances and understand it because money is power and I'd say, no, one's going to take better care of your money than yourself. So my advice to folks who are just starting out is take a look at Mr. Money, mustaches blog, and there's two books, your money or your life, and the simple path to wealth. Those will open up your mind to what this is all about and really see if this is something for.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. Great advice. Great advice. those books, I recommend all the time, especially simple path to wealth. Yeah, I think it's, just educate yourself, like you said, you need to have awareness of money and your money situation or you're gonna be living in a challenging time. So the third question is what piece of advice you would give to somebody getting started with meditation and or mindfulness?

Susie Ade:

so for folks just starting out, I'd say for me I started with head space, something very simple. That's just a minute of meditation or like deep breathing. And I would say like it, my advice is don't force it, it should be very enjoyable. It should be luxurious to meditate. You want to look forward to it, but if you're trying to sit for five, 10 minutes or something that you're not able to do, it's don't go that path. Yeah that's what I would say. The last thing I wanna say about this, cuz I have been meditating for some time is the point of meditation really is to just accepting as they are and to notice how wild and crazy your mind is and to bring it back to some focus of attention. But I think we are so starved. we're in a really crazy place because we don't actually allow this to happen just to sit there and observe your mind. We're very quick to go to work, to pick up our phone, to watch TV, to pick up a book. And I think the people we've evolved from have many hours of just open mind wandering and there's a huge benefit to that. I think seeing it from that perspective, I hope would make people who are early on in, in meditation and mindfulness really try it on for size, cuz there's nothing wrong, nothing to fix, whatever you experience is, how it should be.

Adam Coelho:

Yeah. That's great advice. And I really like the advice of starting small and making, letting it be easy, right? Not forcing it, not making it to be a bigger thing than it needs to be, especially at the beginning. All right, Susie, the last question is how can people connect with you online and learn more about your coaching and everything that you're working on?

Susie Ade:

Yeah, I'd say LinkedIn is the best way. So Susie Ade and if you're not on LinkedIn, feel free to email me at Susie eight, google.com an open book and always here to chat.

Adam Coelho:

All right. Perfect. I've really enjoyed this conversation, Susie. I thank you for all of the free coaching and thank you for being here today on the mindful fire podcast.

Susie Ade:

Thank you for having me, Adam. This was awesome.

Adam Coelho:

Thanks for joining me on today's episode of the mindful fire podcast. If you enjoy today's episode, I invite you to hit subscribe wherever you're listening to this, this just lets the platforms know you're getting value from the episodes and you want to be here when I release additional content. If you're ready to start your mindful fire journey, go to mindful fire.org/start and download my free envisioning guide. And just 10 minutes, this guide will help you craft a clear and inspiring vision for your life. Again. You can download it for mindfulFIRE.org/start

Thanks again. And I'll catch you next time on the mindful fire podcast.

Susie AdeProfile Photo

Susie Ade

Global Program Manager, Mental Health and Well-being at Google

Susie joined Google 8.5 years ago and has had a career across sales, marketing, Trust and Safety, and Learning and Development departments. Today she's a Global program manager driving mental health and well-being programs for Google's Data Centers. Her circuitous career path helped her uncover her mission to help others discover their own inner resilience and life purpose. She's currently working toward becoming a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and coaches people at Google. Susie also facilitates Search Inside Yourself.

Susie lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband. Together they're working toward achieving Financial Independence through a mixed strategy of taking high risks (e.g. pursuing start-ups, investing in crypto, etc) coupled with investing in low-cost index funds. At the same time, they find joy in maximizing their savings rate by constantly optimizing for what gives them the most joy.