Financial Freedom 1 (February 2019)

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FF pic.jpg

Financial Freedom 1 (February 2019)

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Taking Control of Your Finances to Live the Life You Want

Do you feel in control of your financial life? Without it, it’s hard to live the life you want. Learn the basic math, mindsets, and behaviors to build towards financial freedom. We'll explore the influence of your family background on how you’ve lived your financial life and discuss the hidden assumptions of consumption and debt in our capitalist system. The goal is owning all of your time, attention, and energy without worrying about money for the rest of your life.

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Spring Online Cohort: February 7th - April 7th (Registration closes February 12th)
Tier A Pricing: $347 ($30/hr or above wage earners)
Tier B Pricing: $257 ($16-$29/hr wage earners)
Tier C Pricing: $179 ($15/hr or below wage earners)
See our Pricing + Generosity Policy for more information on tiered pricing.

PUGS is about both learning and community. Register with a friend and get 25% off with the code YOUVEGOTAFRIEND

This is a self-paced online course, meaning you can take it wherever you are (even if you don't live in Portland) and according to your own schedule. You will be in an online community where you challenge and support each other as you work through the lessons. You have two months to complete 32 lessons, each about 30-60 minutes long. It’s work. And it’s transformative.

"I feel a lot more in control of money than I did before… it’s less of a scary thing I want to avoid, and now a thing I feel like I can look at with less shame or negativity." - N.V.

The cards are stacked against many of us and that the myth of "work hard and you'll live your dreams" is simply not true. It actually requires us to be very strategic and unhook ourselves from the paradigm to find an escape hatch. This course is the start.” A.B.

  • Understand the basics of money.

  • Write your financial manifesto about how money fits into living according to your values and who you want to become, and make a plan to execute it.

  • Change your money mindset, which matters more than strategy or tactics; those who have reached financial independence have different attitudes and beliefs about money than most people.

  • Learn how to distinguish between the essentials and the excess in your life and learn how enough is better than too much.

  • Take the emotional scripts out of money decisions and balance present spending and future spending with clear eyes.

  • Make a budget, lower your expenses, eliminate debt, increase savings, and live with more financial security.

  • Feel in control of what's coming in and what's going out and lower stress and self-doubt.

  • Increase your amount of free time by reducing expenses and the amount of time you spend working.

  • Heal the split between money and your values, making your life one integrated whole.

Here's a radical idea: you should take control of your finances and work towards financial freedom. Financial freedom is the ability to do what you want with your time, attention, and energy without having to worry about money. The true meaning of financial freedom isn’t being able to buy whatever you want; it’s owning every hour of your time for the rest of your life.

There is only one person responsible for your financial health: you. Yet most people spend very little time thinking about or learning how to manage their finances. Most people live unconsciously or avoidant about money. As a result, people get victimized by the capitalist system and live in financial fragility and feeling like they never have enough. You can remove that worry and scarcity in your life by taking control of your relationship with money and build the life you want.

This course will help you examine the reality of living in a capitalist society and help you take ownership of your relationship with capitalism and consumerism. You will dig into the larger picture of money in your life, understanding the largely unconscious and unexamined beliefs you have about money, and consider how they affect you. With moral vision and thrift,  you can take control of those beliefs and the direction of your financial future. You'll learn the seven levels of financial maturity, from financial dependence, or living paycheck to paycheck, to saving conventionally, and, lastly, having financial freedom. We'll explore the influence of your family background and the hidden assumptions of consumption and debt in our capitalist system. The course is about reclaiming ownership of your time, attention, and energy and freeing yourself to do what you want to do without worrying about money for the rest of your life.

  • Feeling more empowered and in control about money and your finances

  • Having a budget that aligns with your values

  • Knowing how much you need to retire

  • Cutting your monthly expenses

  • Having a goal for when to retire

  • Feeling more comfortable talking about money to others

The course is work. It’s doing math, it’s emotional work, it’s a serious reexamination of your lifestyle and beliefs. It’s also worth it. People who have finished the course report saving $100-$800 per month more because of the changes they made in themselves. In other words, the course pays for itself many times over for those willing to do the work.

Module 1: Understanding money. Talking about money is taboo in our society, which means we aren’t often aware of our relationships with it. We'll start with our internal assumptions about money, where they came from, and how they dramatically influence our lives. Then we’ll talk about the personal savings rate and how it affects how many years you have to work.

Module 2: Reducing consumption. The personal savings rate only has two components: spending and production. We'll talk about the profound personal and global implications of taking control of the first: consumption. How do consumption and debt increase stress in your life? How do they affect the world environmentally? How does a culture of more systemically keep people in a cycle of chronic dissatisfaction?

Module 3: Writing your manifesto and making a budget. We live in a financial system that requires people to be in debt. We’ll talk about breaking consent to the high-consumption, debt-driven system. No matter where you are on the path, working towards financial independence moral vision and willingness to change. You’ll draft your financial manifesto and learn about the behaviors and attitudes that ensure financial security. Then you'll make one-year, five-year, and long-term budgets that match your values, aspirations, and priorities.

Ultimately, financial freedom is about desiring and believing in a different future than a consumer capitalist one. It's about being able to take care of your loved ones while making creative contributions to the world without waiting until you're 65. Read about Douglas's own experience of achieving financial freedom by age 42.

"This course was great! It really helped me re-examine and re-create my relationship to money. I'm totally inspired now to think and learn about money, and am starting to save and invest in the future that means the most to me. Douglas is a living example of financial freedom, and was an skilled facilitator, guide, and advisor during the process. Take this class! It's the best investment (in your dreams) that you'll ever make." - Dan Daly

"The Financial Freedom course changed my perspective on money and removed a lot of mental and emotional barriers I was having to taking control of my financial life, as well as providing me with a lot of practical information. Highly recommend!" - Kronda Adair


You have two months to complete 32 lessons (about 30-60 minutes apiece). You'll have support and accountability from other students in an online discussion board, as well as Douglas, the instructor. Unlike other PUGS courses, you can take this course at your own schedule, anywhere in the world. The class community is important, so be prepared to share and contribute on the online discussion board; it's where a lot of the learning comes from. This course has a money-back guarantee; if you finish it and after a few months, you haven’t moved substantially towards your financial goals, we’ll refund you 100%.  Click here to learn more about the online course and for more details on how it works. 

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Douglas Tsoi, JD, is the founder of PUGS. For twenty years, he worked as a lawyer, schoolteacher, and climate change activist, saving half of his salary and investing the rest. That earned him financial freedom at age 42 to do what he wants with his time, which includes helping people take control of their finances, make a plan, and live the life they truly want (after soccer, napping, and traveling).