In pursuit of financial independence and personal fulfillment

The 12 Days of FI Christmas music video

As far as I’m concerned, the original “12 Days of Christmas” is for the birds. I’ve got nothing against 12 drummers drumming, but what am I going to do with seven swans, six geese, four calling birds, a trio of French hens, a pair of turtle doves and a partridge?

That’s why I’m so freakin’ excited to share this video with you. This is the 12 days of Christmas gifts as they should be for anyone serious about seeking financial independence. We’re talking passive income, assets, money smarts and good habits. Because outside of the five golden rings, that original song was just a money pit delaying your financial freedom.

Join me, Budget Epicurean and My Sons Father as we imagine a more profitable “12 Days of FI Christmas” gifted by some of the most recognizable (Lego) faces in the personal finance blog space.

Be sure to check out the 2018 Lego Christmas music video, “Waiting to Enact Our FIRE Plans.”

 

(Here’s a direct link to video on YouTube.)

How this video came together

For the past six weeks, the three of us have been conspiring to bring you this bit of Christmas cheer.

The inspiration to rewrite this song came to me in mid-September. I have no idea why I was thinking about Christmas songs so far out of season, but it gave me plenty of time to play with the idea. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s a terrible song to rewrite for a blog post.

It seemed ridiculous to type out the lyrics in their entirety, adding just a few words to a growing list of the verses the reader already knows. And just writing each day’s gift, one after the other, doesn’t offer much content. An intro paragraph and 12 short lines of lyrics wouldn’t go very far.

Then in early November I had a crazy idea. What if I got someone to sing my version? That would be pretty cool. And what if I could even find another personal finance blogger to do it? I put out the call on Twitter, and Budget Epicurean responded immediately. I had a collaborator who could sing.

Then I got greedy. I had this vision of making some kind of video to go along with it. Who would be able to turn some nerdy personal finance lyrics into something entertaining? Immediately I thought of My Sons Father’s My Financial Mount Rushmore post. Surely he could find a way to make this song even more entertaining.

He was intrigued and sent along three images with different personal finance Lego characters, each saying something pithy that played off the lyrics for a different day. Brilliant! We were off to the races. I sent him a list of bloggers who fit with the lyrics for each day, and he found their Lego doppelgangers, took their pictures and sent along more jokes.

(A quick shoutout here to Church from My Mattress Money, who hoped to record us some original music. The musicianship was amazing, but we weren’t able to nail the recording quality. Thanks for giving it a try, Church!)

As I began to put the video together, it became obvious the jokes were too much fun to be just static images. This thing had life. So I started adding other characters and conversation to each day, building on the foundation My Sons Father created, until a full-fledged storyline appeared.

The last bit of inspiration came from my 5-year-old daughter, who saw her dad sitting at the kitchen table obsessively listening to the same song over and over and started singing, “On the first day of Christmas, my good friend gave to me.” After about a half-dozen times, it finally dawned on me that she had changed “true love” to “good friend,” which is not only the safe way to play it in her kindergarten class, but also a way better line for a video featuring so many different “true loves.”

In the end, we have guest appearances by Dave Ramsey, Mad Fientist, Physician on FIRE, Mr. Money Mustache, Brad from Choose FI, Root of Good, Broke Millennial, J.L. Collins, Dividend Diplomats, Afford Anything, Fiery Millennials, Budgets are Sexy, Retirement Manifesto and 1500 Days.

Thank you so much to Budget Epicurean and My Sons Father for all the time and creative energy they put into making this project happen. It turned out so much better than I ever could have imagined. This personal finance community is full of so many amazing and fun people, and I hope those featured in the video know they’re in it because we think the world of them.

If you enjoyed this video, please do us a favor and share it with your friends. We would really appreciate it!

The full lyrics

Remember how I said just typing the lyrics would make for a boring blog post? Well that’s still true, but here they are anyway, in case you can’t watch the video for some reason.

On the first day of Christmas my good friend gave to me,  a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the second day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the third day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the fourth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the fifth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the sixth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the seventh day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the eighth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 8 Bogle books, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the ninth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 9 dividend stocks, 8 Bogle books, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the tenth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 10 rental houses, 9 dividend stocks, 8 Bogle books, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the eleventh day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 11-year-old cars, 10 rental houses, 9 dividend stocks, 8 Bogle books, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

On the twelfth day of Christmas my good friend gave to me, 12 months of YNAB, 11-year-old cars, 10 rental houses, 9 dividend stocks, 8 Bogle books, 7 percent markets, 6 tax write-offs, 5 rewards cards, a 4 percent withdrawal rate, 3 Vanguard funds, 2 IRAs and a paid-off mortgage (debt free!)

50 Comments

  1. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto

    OMG, this is absolutely hilarious!! GREAT job, I LOVE the exchanges between the characters, TOO funny. I’m sure folks around me are wondering why I’m watching Lego People on YouTube and LOL at work. Oops, did I really just laugh out loud??

    • I Dream of FIRE

      A life-sized Lego Fritz cardboard cutout may be in your retirement party future!

  2. Dividend Diplomats

    This video is amazing! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I can picture this song become a staple in every household in 10 years. ? It definitely will be in my house. The animation is amazing and I love all the comments for each person. You hit the banter between Lanny and I pretty well. The one thing you missed is the height disparity ? Lanny is sadly much taller than me ?

    Bert

    • I Dream of FIRE

      So we should have stacked two sets of legs on his Lego guy? 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials

    AH-MAZING! I love it! I am in stitches. You nailed everyone’s personality! …..and I really do hope my car lasts through the winter haha!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks, Gwen! We’ll hold out hope for your Christmas miracle.

  4. Slow Dad

    Gold! Well done guys 🙂

  5. Amy @ LifeZemplified

    AWESOME!!! Great messages too! Merry Christmas!

  6. Justin

    OMG, I have arrived. 🙂 I have found fame and fortune and I’m getting my 15 minutes of internet fame!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      One day, they’ll erect your Lego statue at Legoland. Then you can deduct the full cost of that trip, too 🙂

  7. the Budget Epicurean

    Glad you had the idea, and I’m glad I shoved my fears aside and jumped in! This was so much fun to be a part of. I’ll never sing the “other” lyrics again 🙂

    • I Dream of FIRE

      I’m glad you did, too, otherwise today’s post would only be slightly amusing and all text! You did awesome.

    • Mr Groovy

      A foodie with a melodious singing voice and a penchant for personal finance? It’s the reverse triple threat! Great job, BE.

      P.S. I hope you get The Singing in the Rain reference.

      • the Budget Epicurean

        Hahaha thank you so much Mr. Groovy! I’m so glad it’s a triple threat but in a good way… What can I say I’m like a parfait, or an onion, I have many layers. Happy to have dusted off my vocal chords for this project. 🙂

  8. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    That was amazing. Well done guys!

  9. Mr. SSC

    Awesome video, well done! Love the side chatter of the Lego personalities, “I will punch you in the face!” lol

  10. Brad @ ChooseFI

    This is truly hilarious!! Wow, I am blown away. My wife Laura and I just watched this together and we were just dying laughing.

    Really appreciate you including me and what an amazing effort all around!!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks, Brad. Your Chase Gauntlet episode inspired me to try travel hacking, so it was especially fun for me to work you into the video and give you a flying reindeer named Chase 🙂 We just booked our first hotel with points and will lock up the Southwest companion pass in early January, all thanks to you.

  11. Carol @ DownsizeYour2080

    That was so creative and so well done! Thank you for taking the time to create it for the viewing pleasure of many ?

  12. Rewirebehavior

    I love the video! It’s amazing! I think we can use it year-round. You’ve made me so happy! Thank you!!!

  13. wendy

    snort, snicker, guffaw (the heck with lol)

    that was great!

    thanks for putting together such a fun vid!

  14. Paula Pant

    OMG — the speech bubble line “I was just going to take the toilet paper” (during the 10th day of Christmas) made me burst out laughing. LOLOLOL.

    This is so awesome. ? ?

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Haha, I thought if I remembered that story from however long ago that podcast was, surely you would. Glad you liked it!

  15. Mr Groovy

    An instant classic. With so many cameos from the legends of FI, it’s the Mad Mad Mad World of Christmas songs. Awesome job guys.

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks, Mr. Groovy. My Sons Father will have to keep a lookout for a purple Lego cat before next Christmas 🙂

  16. Nick True

    This is absolutely fantastic! Good job putting this together. I smiled and laughed the whole way through. Love it ?

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks, Nick. That’s what we were hoping for!

  17. Dave

    Great job. That was really creative and such a good message. My Sons Father always brightens my day with his Lego art. This one might be the best.

  18. Adam | Minafi

    Awesome work on this! Hilarious and in the holiday spirit. 🙂

  19. Matt Spillar @ Spills Spot

    Lol this was amazing! Awesome work guys.

  20. Physician on FIRE

    My LEGO character making Dave Ramsey’s head explode is the best thing to happen to an animated head since Trent made little Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed in NHL ’93.

    Great job, everyone. So much fun.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • I Dream of FIRE

      A Swingers reference? That made my day!

  21. ChrisCD

    That was so incredibly awesome. Who is that guy? lol.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your amazing talents.

    cd :O)

  22. cy

    This is so great! I’m going to play this all season long. Haha. Thank you for sharing.

  23. The Frugal Humanist

    This is hilarious!! Thank you all for conspiring to do this!! Happy Holidays!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks for watching. Happy holidays to you, too!

  24. The Lyon

    Funny and educational–I had to Google “YNAB” and was inspired to check out a Bogle book. Well done!

  25. Chad Carson

    This is amazing! Love all of the thought, creativity, and humor that went into this. Well done!

  26. Jerry Brown

    Wow, this is pure gold!

  27. Hatton1

    Great fun

  28. jlcollinsnh

    Brilliantly done…

    …and I’m honored to be one of the 12!

  29. Karen

    Bahahaha! Saw this on JL Collins’ latest, had to come over to add to the pile of thumbs up. Good show, folks.

  30. Lynda

    Love it!!

  31. Erika Wilde

    Hahaha “I’ll name him Chase”. This was so nerdy and good!

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