Travel Rewards Vs Cash Back: How To Choose!

Travel Rewards Vs Cash Back: How To Choose!

The FI community isn’t anti-credit cards, they’re anti-credit card debt. If you use credit cards responsibly, the rewards you can gain can earn you free vacations, access to exclusive clubs, or just extra cash. Today, I’ll break down the difference between the two major reward categories: travel rewards and cash back. Travel Rewards Vs. Cash Back What are travel rewards? Travel rewards are rewards you earn from your travel credit … Read more

Four Ways To Monetize A Blog

Four Ways To Monetize A Blog

Starting a blog can be a great low-cost way to experiment in side hustling and entrepreneurialism. Since you can still maintain a day job, blogging allows you to work a day job. During your nights, weekends, or between errands with family, you can write articles, build an audience, and start conversations on social media to build your brand. It’s a great way to also pick up some extra skills (a … Read more

How To Save Incredible Money By Learning One New Skill Every Month

How To Save Incredible Money By Learning One New Skill Every Month

I’m normally a do-it-yourself kind of guy. There’s a certain sense of pride knowing that I was able to fix this or built that. And it is totally frustrating to me when I have to pay someone for a simple task that I could have done myself. I bet you feel the same way! So, I’m challenging each and every one of you to learn one new skill every month … Read more

Books To Kick Start Your Side Hustle

Books To Kick Start Your Side Hustle

Side hustling truly is FI’s secret weapon. Working your day job can help build security into your life, and of course–perks like health insurance, a 401k match and a reliable paycheck. As great as that security is, it can be deflating to realize you may be locked into a pay grade for some time, and you won’t be able to grow your income as fast as you’d like. Side hustling … Read more

You Can Pursue FI–Even On One Income

You Can Pursue FI Even On One Income

There are a variety of reasons why a couple might consider living off of one income, which can be a bit more challenging for both parties if you’re also striving towards an early retirement date. If you are in a season of your life where an aging loved one needs more care, one spouse is going through some health problems or job loss, or your growing family needs more attention–it … Read more

The Allowance Envelope: The Best Budget Around

The Allowance Envelope: The Best Budget Around

I absolutely love budgeting. Call me strange, but I love it. And, the allowance envelope is probably the budget I use the most.   As a single person, it was the cornerstone of my budget, and it was the easiest budget in the world to follow. Now that I’m married, it’s a relationship saver!  I don’t think my wife would say that she loves budgeting as much as I do, but she sees enough … Read more

My Top 2 Comfort Food Instant Pot Recipes

My Top 2 Comfort Food Instant Pot Recipes

I must admit, when Instant Pot first appeared on the market, I was really skeptical about getting yet another appliance for my kitchen. I’m so glad I gave in and got it, I can’t imagine my life without it now. When you’re cooking with an instant pot, you can eliminate many in-between steps. You can brown the meat for stews and roasts and sauté vegetables right in your Instant Pot, … Read more

How To Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

How To Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

One way to achieve financial independence (FI) faster is by optimizing your expenses. First, you cut the expenses you don’t value. Then, you work on reducing the expenses you do value. One service most people won’t go without is their cell phone service. However, it’s possible to save money both on your cell phone and on your cell phone bill without giving up much, if any, of the value you … Read more

3 Different Types Of Travel Rewards Credit Cards

3 Different Types of Travel Rewards Credit Cards

In this article we will discuss three different kinds of points you can earn by signing up and using different types of travel rewards credit cards: Airline points and miles Hotel points Flexible or transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership rewards and Citi ThankYou points Airline Rewards Credit Cards Many airlines and hotel chains have their own co-branded credit cards, such as Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select … Read more

FI Friendly Alternatives To Expensive Weddings

FI Friendly Alternatives To Expensive Weddings

A recent article in Business Insider estimates that the “average” wedding in the U.S. is anywhere from $25,000 on up to $33,000+. Yikes! If you’re on the path to FI, that is likely not the plan you have for beginning your future together. Some might suggest a FI-friendly wedding would be to go down to the courthouse; and your wedding will cost as much as it takes to file the paperwork and … Read more

How This Couple Paid Off Their Mortgage In 506 Days

How This Couple Paid Off Their Mortgage In 506 Days

According to Jim Rohn, “We are an average of five people that we spend the most time with.” The older I get, the more that quote resonates with me. I’ve learned how to identify people that I want to learn from and be around and be influenced by; and those I do not. Nowadays, when I see FI characteristics in people, the gravitational pull does what it does naturally. Introductions … Read more

My Top Two Instant Pot Soup Recipes For Fall

My Top Two Instant Pot Soup Recipes For Fall

Is there an appliance more versatile than an Instant Pot? Whether you’re a single person or need to feed a big family, Instant Pot is a must have. You can make soups, roasts, a whole chicken, and even bake a cheesecake! One of my favorite ways to use it is to make soups. Nothing beats the one pot convenience and ease of cleanup. You can sauté vegetables, sweat onion and … Read more

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill: Republic Wireless Review

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill: Republic Wireless Review

If you’re looking to cut your cell phone bill, you may want to take a look at the monthly plans Republic Wireless offers their customers. My wife and I are huge Republic Wireless fans and have been using their service for a few years now. So what is Republic Wireless? Republic Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that offers service over the Sprint or T-Mobile network on select … Read more

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Actually Work

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Actually Work

If you’re new to earning credit card rewards, you may not have a complete understanding of the ins and outs of rewards points. Today, we’re going to focus on the ins and outs of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points rewards program. Here are the major rules you need to understand to make sure you use your points in the best way possible and to avoid letting your points expire. How … Read more

The Aggregation Of Marginal Gains

The Aggregation Of Marginal Gainsv

The aggregation of marginal gains is a concept made famous by British cycling coach Dave Brailsford, who eventually lead the British cycling team to take home 10 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Previous to this victory, the team had not been able to pull off any significant wins. Brailsford believed that victory at the Olympics would be achieved by focusing on a 1% margin for improvement in everything … Read more

I’m Qutting My Job To Write Comics

I'm Quitting My Job To Write Comics

  As a kid, comic books were a popular form of escape, and they still are today. In fact, the industry is thriving, as can be evidenced with a new superhero movie making its box office debut every time we turn around. Whether we get them as hand-drawn images or video form in the palm of our hands, they hook us. The adventures of Batman, Superman, The Hulk, Thor, and … Read more

Travel Rewards Credit Cards FAQs

Travel Rewards Credit Cards FAQs

Travel rewards and credit cards can be really confusing topics. If you are new to the world of credit cards read on. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about travel rewards credit cards. Table of Contents Q. I don’t have any debt, not even a mortgage, and I have a really good income. Why can’t I get approved for a credit card?Q. I have a perfect … Read more

How To Get The Most Mileage Out Of Your Car

How To Get The Most Mileage Out Of Your Car

Buying the right car is an important financial decision. Buy a lemon and you’ll spend hundreds on repairs and maintenance fees. Buy a trusty vehicle and you’ll have few issues. But it’s not just about finding the right car, it’s about taking care of it as well. Anyone can buy a durable Honda and run it into the ground with poor maintenance. So how do you make your car last … Read more

ICE Binder–The Done For You Legacy Binder You’ve Been Looking For

ICE Binder--The Done For You Legacy Binder You've Been Looking For

No one wants to think about what happens when we die. But, we have to. It’s better to be prepared now than make your family try to guess what you would have wanted after you are gone. That’s exactly why you need a legacy binder! A Legacy Binder is exactly what it sounds like–a binder (or folder, or bin–you get it) full of your personal information that you leave your … Read more

When Should You Buy Prepackaged Or Make It At Home?

When Should You Buy Prepackaged Or Make It At Home?

The ChooseFI Facebook group is always full of lively conversations. Lately, a couple ChooseFI Facebook group members have brought up the topic of prepackaged snacks. Prepackaged snacks and other items are super convenient but may cost more than making the same item yourself. Should you pay more for prepackaged snacks and other goods or should you make them yourself? Here are a few things to consider. The Arguments for Buying … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Save Money On Your Landscaping Costs

ChooseFI's Favorite Tips To Save Money On Landscaping Costs

  Optimizing your expenses to spend money on what you truly value is one of the keys to achieving financial independence (FI). That also means cutting back ruthlessly on expenses you don’t care about. Every dollar you reduce your recurring annual expenses by is $25 less you have to put in your nest egg to reach FI. Depending on where you live, you could be spending a ton of money … Read more

See The West Coast In Style–All Aboard The Amtrak Coast Starlight

See the West Coast In Style

When you’ve reached financial independence, time is on your side. People with traditional jobs have limited vacation time, so they need to rush through their trips. Financially independent people can “slow travel” and soak up the experience to their heart’s content. Here is my favorite way to see the West Coast in style. Slow traveling on the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. Why Traveling By Train Is … Read more

My Five Biggest Travel Rewards Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Travel rewards have allowed me opportunities to visit countries that I’ve always thought to be beyond my reach. Traveling has become such an integral part of who I am that I can’t imagine not traveling, not planning my next trip, not working toward the next award. Travel rewards are one of the pillars of FI and the better we get at this whole rewards thing, the better we are at FI. … Read more

50 Ways To Improve Your Finances By 1%

50 Ways To Improve Your Finances By 1%

Shaving 10 to 20 years off of your retirement date is one of those eye opening ideas that might keep you up at night.  It’s just so exciting! Of course, anybody on the path to FI also knows that after the enthusiasm of a new way of thinking wears off, the journey to FI can start feeling more like a slog. If that’s you and you feel that there’s just … Read more

Where Are All the Tradespeople (In the FI Community)?

Where Are All the Tradespeople

A couple of days ago I ran into an article on Mr. Money Mustache’s blog called A One-Question Survey–Who Are the Mustachians? The survey asked readers what their fields of work were. Among the choices were such illustrious occupations as Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Teacher. Naturally, I proudly placed my vote in the “Trades” category, and then the results came in. Guess where the trades are on the list? If you … Read more

Frugality Without Deprivation

Frugality Without Deprivation

For some, frugality sparks images of wearing threadbare socks, living without heating or cooling, and eating a diet of rice and beans in order to pinch every penny to an extreme. Some of us may have lived with a parent or grandparent who instilled in us that frugality is a form of punishment or extreme deprivation, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be. For people in the FI community, frugality … Read more

How To Save On Travel With Airbnb

How To Save On Travel With Airbnb

Never stayed in an Airbnb? Let me see if I can convince you of the merits of staying with locals in the new home-sharing economy! As both a regular traveler and an Airbnb host here in San Antonio, Texas–I’ve done my fair share of Airbnbing on both sides. I love that I can still see some of the most expensive cities in the world, but still save for early retirement … Read more

The Triple Tax Benefits Of The HSA

The Triple Tax Benefits Of The HSA_

In the land of opportunity, one major question remains for those who seek to retire early: How will I pay for healthcare? The fate of the US healthcare system is always up in the air and it’s not clear what the future holds for those who retire before they’re eligible for Medicare. Some FIRE devotees have decades to wait before they qualify, which means decades to decide how to fund … Read more

My Garden–How I Cut My Produce Budget In Half

My Garden--How I Cut My Produce Budget In Half

Right about now, my garden really is in high gear and I am harvesting a belly filling and grocery bill neutralizing amount of produce. This will be the third summer we have been in our house and we have been able to have a productive garden each year, easily eliminating the need to purchase vegetables from about May through October. Can everyone do it on the scale that we do … Read more

When FI Is Lonely & What To Do About It

When FI Is Lonely & What To Do About It

When you first discover the financial independence community and a path that’s different from the mainstream, it might feel like a thunderclap that wakes you from a long sleep. For others, discovering this path was simply putting a name and community to something they’ve identified with for a long time. If you fall in the first category, and FI has given you a new zest for life, you might find … Read more

How This Reluctant Spouse Got On Board With FI

How This Reluctant Spouse Got On Board With FI

Granted, if you’re reading this, you are already a FI geek. However, your other half may not be cut from the same cloth. I, (Vicki) was the last one on board with making some changes to what we we were doing, so I wanted to share a bit of our journey. Though I wasn’t a “Reluctant Spouse”, I was a “Clueless Spouse”. Yet, in the past few years I’ve mastered … Read more

How FI Is Different From Personal Finance

While Financial Independence (FI) is personal finance, personal finance is not always FI. Many people come to the FI community and way of thinking because of an interest in money, or perhaps because they’ve worked through Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” and now want to level up their money savvy. But FI is not just about finance. It’s more! FI Is Personal Finance 2.0 FI is different from personal finance, and … Read more

Love Your Life And Career On The Path To FI

I think it’s no secret that many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement have a hankering to quit their 9-5 job. However, there are some of us who want the choices that Financial Independence (FI) will bring but don’t necessarily plan on the RE part. I fall in this latter camp. Whatever your flavor, make sure to love the journey. Life is too short to be miserable … Read more

Safety Tips For Traveling With Airbnb

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to cut your lodging costs to see the world, you had two choices–hotels or hostels. Now, with the popularity of Airbnb for affordable and alternative experiences, we have more choices to curate our travel experiences to our budget and our expectations. Much like online dating, staying in a stranger’s house has become far less taboo than it once was. Additionally, it also opens up … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Make Your Appliances Last Longer

Appliance replacement is something most people have had to deal with at some point in their lives. Sadly, it seems like many appliances built today use the concept of planned obsolescence to require us to buy another appliance in just a few years because it no longer works like it did when it was new. While we can’t force appliance makers to build better quality appliances, we can make sure … Read more

Talent Stacking To Fast-Track FI

The concept of “talent stacking” was originally coined by the creator of the Dilbert comics, Scott Adams, who touted the value of taking a set of connected (or even some unconnected, but relevant), ordinary talents and combining them to create one extraordinary person. An example of a talent stacker would be an insurance broker with a podcast and a knack for public speaking, or a school teacher who knows how … Read more

How Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPP) Can Help Your Early Retirement

Maybe you’ve heard of substantially equal periodic payments, sometimes referred to as SEPP, or maybe more commonly “72(t)” or “72(t) distributions”. Most people probably haven’t, or if they have they have only a vague idea what they are about. It’s something of a complicated topic, but rest assured it can help your early retirement plans in different circumstances. There are two fundamental dilemmas facing just about anyone who wants to … Read more

How To Be A FI Minimalist (Without Being A Minimalist)

Brad and Jonathan discussed the “aspiring minimalist” versus the “reluctant frugalist” on episode 29 of the ChooseFI podcast. If minimalism struck your curiosity and you’d like to dive head first into minimalism, or simply dip your toes in the water–this article is for you. Being a minimalist, traditionally, has been about paring down your collection of stuff to the absolute essentials–sometimes, to a fault. Everything in your possession is being … Read more

How Do Rising Interest Rates Affect Your Path To Financial Independence?

There’s a lot to be thankful for in today’s economy. With the Dow at 25,000,  the stock market is near historical highs. Housing prices have recovered from the Great Recession and are setting new records. And unemployment is so low that there are more job openings than people looking for work for the first time in 20 years of data collection. But, with the economy humming along like it is, … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Keep Your Water Bill Low

Reaching financial independence takes a lot of work, so why make it harder on you than it needs to be? By reducing your expenses, like your water bill, you can reduce the amount you need to save to reach financial independence by 25 times your annual savings if you use the 4% rule. Of course, you’ll have to continue saving money on your water bill from now until forever to … Read more

Financial Independence And The Future Of Work

Financial Independence And The Future Of Work

Getting ready for changes on how you produce income I recently listened to a thought-provoking podcast interview from McKinsey Consulting about the future of work. It was based on a recent report on the projected impact of automation on the nature of work by the year 2030. Further digging revealed a very interesting global discussion that is now underway on what work may look like in the coming decades. I … Read more

Applying to Colleges? Why You Should Consider Small Private Schools

The Prevailing Wisdom Talk to almost anyone in the financial independence community about higher education and you will hear the same theme. Go to a community college, take as many AP tests as you can, only consider large public universities–this is the mainstream wisdom that seldom gets challenged. On the surface, all of this makes perfect sense–the tuition is cheaper at a state university and AP credits and college courses … Read more

10 Things You Can Get For Free At Your Library

When you’re searching for family-friendly activities that don’t cost an arm and a leg, look no further than your neighborhood. In today’s age of “just Google it” or “there’s an app for that” it is easy to overlook your local public library. You remember… it’s the place you used to go as a kid before the internet provided all the answers. Now it’s time to revisit this treasure chest of … Read more

House Hacking With Airbnb

House Hacking With Airbnb

If you already own a single family home and aren’t in the market to be a duplex or another multi-family home anytime soon, you may feel that you have missed the boat on house hacking. Fear not! You absolutely can take advantage of the magic of househacking if you have a pool house, or even a spare room. If you have a room that’s usable for a guest–you too can … Read more

How To Calculate Your Savings Rate

How To Calculate Your Savings Rate

If you’ve been hanging around the financial independence community, chances are you’ve heard people quoting their savings rates. Why? A savings rate could allow you to calculate how many years until you reach financial independence. For others, a high savings rate is a badge of honor they’ve worked hard to obtain. Here’s how to calculate your savings rate. Regardless of why you may want to calculate your savings rate, I’m … Read more

You’re Debt Free, Now What?

Debt free

You’ve worked hard for months, possibly years, to become debt free. For some of you, this may mean you’ve paid off your student loans and credit cards. And for others, it means you have tackled your mortgage as well. “Debt free” is a term that means different things to different people, but if you’ve been laser focused on a particular goal for a sizable amount of time and you’ve crossed … Read more

What Does Retirement Really Mean?

Ah, early retirement! Pitch your hammock right now, because you’re not going back to the cubicle like everyone else! That sounds amazing doesn’t it? Many aspiring FIRE walkers (as we’re lovingly called) latch on to the idea of retiring early with glowing fervor because it would be so absolutely nice to kick our feet up and relax a bit before we’re in our 70’s. For us, we’d like to have … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Keep Your Electric Bill Low

lower your electric bill

If you’re working toward financial independence (FI), chances are you’re looking to optimize your expenses. By reducing the amount of money you spend each year, you shrink the amount of money you need to reach financial independence by 25 times that amount if you’re following the 4% rule. That means what seems like a small monthly savings can turn into a huge long-term savings if you can keep up the … Read more

How To Start Commuting By Bicycle

How To Start Commuting By Bicycle

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” –John F. Kennedy There aren’t many things that I get as much enjoyment out of as riding my bicycle to work. Ignoring the cost benefit for the moment, just imagine the efficiency of completing one task and simultaneously knocking three things off your “to-do” list at the same time: Spend some time outdoors in the fresh air. Exercise. Get to-and-from work. … Read more

Are You Maxing Out Your 401(k)? Don’t Miss Out On The Employer Match!

Don't Miss Out On The Employer Match!

One super easy way to put an extra few percent toward your savings rate is earning a retirement savings match at your employer. Every additional percent of your income, or your employer’s match, that you put away puts you a few months or sometimes years closer to financial independence (FI). If your employer offers a retirement savings plan at work, such as a 401(k), 403(b), 457, Thrift Saving Plan or … Read more

How To Get Books For Free (Or Crazy Cheap)

How To Get Books For Free (Or Crazy Cheap)

If you’re an avid reader, or want to instill a love of literacy in your children, new books can be mighty pricey. While most of us bibliophiles love the exciting allure of a well organized bookstore, most of us do not love the price of a brand new hardcover! If this is you–read on to see how you can get books for free, or crazy cheap! The Library This one … Read more

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Or Invest?

mortgage or invest

When it comes to optimizing your money, one hotly debated topic is whether you should use your available income to pay off your mortgage faster or invest the money for the greatest return. The future is unknown, but there are emotional and logical arguments to be made for investing or paying off the mortgage first. Planning for financial independence means you consider even more factors to find the right answers … Read more

Is It Ever Too Late to Start My FI Journey?

Is It Ever Too Late to Start My FI Journey

The most popular financial independence (FI) stories on the internet these days seem to be the ones where people latch on to the idea of FI early in their high earning career, save a massive percentage of their income and retire in their 30s. All while traveling the world. Unfortunately, many people have never heard of the FI movement and even if they are aware of it, many didn’t find … Read more

What Is House Hacking?

House Hacking

House hacking. You’ve heard about it, and people in the ChooseFI community gush over how awesome it is. So, what the heck is house hacking and how can you do it? So, What Is House Hacking? House hacking is a term used by both real estate investors and the Choose FI community pretty regularly. Traditionally, house hacking refers to buying a multi-unit home (as opposed to single family home) and … Read more

Life After Dave Ramsey–Baby Steps 8-10

Life after Dave Ramsey

Nearly everyone on this site has heard of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. He’s changed a lot of lives! And helped people get out from under piles of debt. Of course that’s all well and good, but what happens after you’ve completed all of Ramsey’s seven Baby Steps? What happens when you’re debt-free? How do you maintain financial freedom? I’ll answer these questions and more today! This piece … Read more

Why A Side Hustle Is FI’s Secret Weapon

Secret Weapon

There is magic in the side hustle. If you’re on the path to FI like most of us are, and you’re not already making six figures with three rental properties already under your belt, side hustling can be a lever to FI you’ll want to pull. Honestly, there’s only so much you can do to cut costs, even with awesome ways to cut recurring expenses like house hacking and going … Read more

SiteGround Review–Web Hosting Made Easy

SiteGround Review--Web Hosting Made Easy

So you want to create a website so you can get your side hustle going. Here at ChooseFI, we highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress site. To do this, you will need a domain and a host. While there are many hosting services available, we recommend SiteGround as they can meet your needs with just about everything related to your website. At first glance When I started researching SiteGround, I was … Read more

The Side Effects Of Listening To ChooseFI

Nurses are always concerned about the side effects of the medications we administer. We want the medication to have the positive effect that was intended, therefore we are attuned to the possible negative effects. This analogy can be compared to many aspects of life. Striving towards positive side effects is what we desire.  For example, if we stop watching TV, the effect may be more outdoor activity or more time … Read more

How To Eat Frugally While Traveling

Honestly, part of the best thing about travel is the ability to try new, delicious foods. But, if you’re traveling somewhere that’s not known for its culinary scene, or you’re spending a lot of time (and money) to even get to your dream destination, you’re likely spending a good wad of cash on pretty sub par airport or gas station food just to get where you’re going! If that’s you, and … Read more

Passion To Profit: A Journey In Self-Publishing

Passion to Profit

Decisions to be made There are many people who have been able to successfully ‘game’ the self-publishing world to reach a #1 best seller in a given category in a matter of days. I was never in this for the quick wins. My dream is to be the next Margaret Atwood, or the next Stephen King, or, perhaps more appropriately, the first MK Williams. I wanted to take the stories … Read more

How To Build A Perpetual Money Machine

How would you live your life if you knew you were the owner of a money machine that perpetually put out enough for you to cover your expenses, year after year without having to work? As long as you maintain the machine, it keeps pumping out money to cover what you need to live. Pretty fabulous isn’t it? The concept of the perpetual money machine is essentially the bedrock concept … Read more

Five Reasons I Went On The Dave Ramsey Show

Dave Ramsey Show

In the Financial Independence (FI) community, the name Dave Ramsey always stirs up some debate. I get it, but Dave Ramsey was really the first catalyst for me overcoming some limiting beliefs. I am a fan of giving credit where credit is due. Here are five reasons why I chose to share my testimony on the Dave Ramsey Radio show. Gratitude For My Mentors I couldn’t have achieved what I have … Read more

7 Careers With Six Figure Earning Potential–No College Degree Required

7 career earning potential

Achieving financial independence quickly requires saving the largest percentage of your income possible. While you could cut your spending back to the bare bones minimum, it’s often easier and more productive to focus on earning more income. After all, it’s easier to save a large percentage of your income if your job pays you well. Unfortunately, many of the highest paying jobs require advanced college degrees. Sadly, obtaining a four … Read more

How To Get Your Spouse On Board With FI

How To Get Your Spouse On Board With FI

So, you’re absolutely fired up about FI, but your significant other or spouse totally isn’t. You’ve devoured dozens of podcast episodes and poured over FI blogs and perhaps even contemplating what you’d do in your post-retirement life. Anyone who is within earshot can hear you drop terms like “house hacking” and “geo-arbitage” that are now fully integrated into your lexicon. Of course, you may be super excited about discovering and … Read more

Our Expensive Dog

Our Expensive Dog

One topic that comes up from time to time in the FI community is the high cost of pet ownership and its impact on our individual journeys to FI. Mr. Money Mustache had a take a few years ago about how great it was that dog ownership is optional because you can do without and reach FI faster. To his credit, he also balanced this opinion out with a rebuttal from … Read more

Losing a Loved One: The Importance Of A Financial Legacy Binder

Losing Loved One

In April of 2017, my family received devastating news when my mother-in-law called us one day from Florida. Through tears and sharp, sad breathing, she told us that the sudden onset asthma symptoms she’d been coping with during the previous six months were actually the signs of terminal, stage 4 lung cancer. Her prognosis was finite, she only had months remaining to live, and with that news, we were instantly … Read more

Making Your Own Milestones To FI

Making Your Own Milestones to FI

“What gets measured gets done” I’m sure you’ve heard this quote a million times before. Whether it’s when you have to set targets at work or New Year’s resolutions, the more measureable a goal is, the more likely it will be achieved. This could be putting a quantity or timeline around the goal such as, “eat five servings of fruit or veggies a day” or “learning to dance the waltz … Read more

The Journey Begins–Why I’m On FIRE

The Journey Begins--Why I'm On FIRE

“Are you almost done daddy?” My oldest son eagerly asked, dressed in his policeman Halloween costume. Behind him stood his younger brother, dressed as batman, his younger sister as batgirl, and his baby brother as Spider-Man. They had been looking forward all day to a trunk-or-treat at the church and had been doing their best to be patient. I was sitting next to our only vehicle with dirtied hands and … Read more

Why Investing Conservatively Is Better

Why Investing Conservatively Is Better

When doing work with clients, I have several ways to determine the correct allocation they should have to stocks and bonds. More often than not, I find that clients are over allocated to stocks and are therefore taking more risk in their portfolios than is needed. Today, I want to discuss why investing more conservatively is usually better at helping clients meet their financial goals.  Having a lower allocation to … Read more

Beyond Stoicism, Building Your Unique Path To FI

Beyond Stoicism

On Episode 52, Brad and Jonathan sat down with Todd Tresidder from the Financial Mentor to discuss the FI State of the Union. They discussed that there was currently a one dimensional path to FI, popularized by Mr. Money Mustache and widely followed and his fan base that involved stoicism and low-cost index fund investing. Stoicism from the Mustachian point of view, involves being happy with less and avoiding the endless … Read more

Extreme Stacking And Optimizing Hotels.com

Extreme Stacking And Optimizing Hotels.com

If you don’t have enough hotel points with one chain for your whole stay or want to stay at non-chain hotels, one of the best ways to save money is to book your stay on Hotels.com. Let’s look at how you can stack discounted Hotels.com gift cards, cashback from shopping portals, and which credit cards you should be using. Buying Discounted Hotels.com Gift Cards Online There are several ways to … Read more

The “Baby Steps” Of FI

The Baby Steps Of Financial Independence

“Baby Steps” is a term popularized by Dave Ramsey to teach people a step-by-step process to help them pay off debt and take control of their finances. Perhaps the Ramsey way of thinking lead you to the financial independence movement and you’re looking for something more, or maybe you’re starting on your own financial journey from day one and need some next steps to get inspired, FI style.  The goal of … Read more

Top Five Lessons From Women On FIRE

Top Five Lessons From Women On FIRE

When people hear about financial independence and early retirement, or the FIRE community, they often picture a 30-something high income male software engineer with no kids, riding his bike everywhere, and possibly traveling the country–or the world–as a digital nomad. Unfortunately, when this is the image people picture, most people don’t see themselves in that person. This can cause them to dismiss the idea of financial independence all together, thinking … Read more

Top Recommended Books To Start Your FIRE Journey

Top Recommended Books To Start Your FIRE Journey

If you’re just getting started on the path to FI and are hoping to reach financial independence and dream of early retirement, there are a lot of helpful books out there to frame up your journey and keep you motivated along the way.  Additionally, if you know of anyone who is interested in FI/RE and you want to send a useful book their way, the recommendations below are intended to … Read more

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card–A Travel Rewards Card Like No Other

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards Card--A Travel Rewards Card Like No Other

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go on vacation for free? Of course it would! Well, that’s the whole point of travel rewards. If you’re looking to get the best travel rewards card out there, look no further than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Not only do they have one of best rewards programs out there, but there’s a host of other bonuses as well! Here’s a quick snapshot … Read more

Overcoming The Desire To Shop

Overcoming The Desire To Shop

I’m not sure if it’s just this time of the year when I’ve been stuck indoors for months or what, but I’m feeling awfully spendy nowadays. Fortunately, this urge doesn’t come up too often. Here’s a few items I’ve been looking at for a few months and considering purchasing. In late January, I bought myself an expensive toy. Now that some time has passed, I am just as happy with … Read more

4 Ways To Help Hit Minimum Spend On Travel Rewards Cards

If you have ever opened a travel rewards card, then I bet you have worried at some point about hitting minimum spend requirements. After all, you get a huge amount of value from these cards from these initial signup bonuses and reaching those bonus requirements are essential! When my wife and I first started down the road of building our travel rewards portfolio six months ago, hitting these minimum spend … Read more

Why This Homesteading Property Is Perfect For Us

Why This Homesteading Property Is Perfect For Us

I recently purchased a property that my wife and I plan to use to homestead. Here are the reasons why this property fit the bill for us and see if I can convince you to be as excited as I am! Location The location of the property is about as good as we could get I believe. It sits between two small towns, about 10 minutes from each. Those towns … Read more

Is It Worth Giving Up Stuff You Love To Reach FI?

Is It Worth Giving Up Stuff You Love To Reach FI?

Should you give up stuff you love to reach FI/RE? The answer to this question is as simple as it is ambiguous–“well, yes you do, and also no you don’t.” If you’re on the FI/RE path and you’re wondering if it’s okay to still have two cars, hire a nanny, pay for a cleaning service or spring for a spa visit, read on. FI Is A Continuum & A Process Most … Read more

Beginner’s Guide To Reaching Financial Independence

Beginner's Guide To Reaching Financial Independence

Hello! New to Financial Independence, A.K.A. FI? Welcome, we’re happy you’re here. This guide will walk you through the basics of financial independence but if something doesn’t fit for your life that’s ok. This is your journey and your life. Use the tips you find helpful and toss the rest. We know as a group we can get a little extreme (ok, a lot extreme), but our community is full … Read more

How And Why To Set Up A Roth IRA Conversion Ladder

How And Why To Set Up A Roth IRA Conversion Ladder

A lot of people would love nothing better than to be able to retire early. But saving for it, and actually doing it, are two entirely different endeavors. The basic problem is the way most people save, and that’s through tax-sheltered retirement plans. But that creates an early retirement dilemma: if most of your money is sitting in retirement plans, you won’t be able to access them early without incurring … Read more

Our Homesteading Journey Begins!

Our Homesteading Journey Begins!

My wife and I would like to move out of the DC area at some point. We have dreams of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city and homesteading. I’ve been on the lookout for properties that will meet our needs. Well a few weeks ago I found one that seemed perfect and we made an offer! We are still waiting for the closing date, since our contract is … Read more

How A Beginner Went To Paris Using Travel Rewards

How A Beginner Went To Paris Using Travel Rewards

This article was written by a member of our Facebook group, Shannyn Allan. Here’s her story of how she used travel rewards take a dream trip to Paris. The ChooseFI community is a vibrant space that’s full of really smart people who are thinking about their goals differently than most of the mainstream. When I discovered this community, I was inspired by the general attitude that you can approach any … Read more

Why You Should Pursue FI Even If You Can’t Retire Early

Why You Should Pursue FI Even If You Can't Retire Early

After pursuing FI for a couple of years, I find myself in a place where I may not actually reach FI any earlier than the traditional age, 65. Life has led me down a road where my savings rate isn’t quite what it used to be. But, I’m okay with it! And, I’ve found so many benefits of Choosing FI along the way. If I had to do it again … Read more

How Stopping Drinking Will Make Me $500,000 Richer

How Stopping Drinking Will Make Me $500,000 Richer

At the beginning of my FI journey, I basically reviewed each element of my life. I sorted these elements into two distinct buckets–things that added value to my life and things that didn’t. The things that added value to my life were things such as family, friends, health, exercise and financial security. The things that didn’t add value to my life were things such as excess spending, trying to keep … Read more

Get The BEST Price On Life Insurance With Policygenius

Get The Best Price On Life Insurance with Policygenius

One of the things that you’ll hear us talk about is the simplification and optimization of each line item in your budget. I have very optimistic outlook on life, but I still plan for different possibilities and I want to assure my family is safe even if something goes wrong. A critical piece of that planning–especially if you have people who depend on your income–is term life insurance. And if … Read more

Why You Should Never Buy A New Car

Why You Should Never Buy A New Car

This article was written by Jon, a member of the ChooseFI community, in response to the podcast episode 29R. Episode 29R: The Reluctant Frugalist vs. the Aspiring Minimalist deals with a host of issues. But, the one I’ll discuss today is the age old question: Which will save me the most money, buying a new or used car? I can understand the fear and frustration of having a car that … Read more

Guest Post: What I’ve Learned From ChooseFI

What I've Learned From ChooseFI

This is a guest post from a listener of the podcast. He’d like to remain anonymous for now, so he’s going by the name MrSeabiscuitman. To further protect his identity some of the details in his story have been changed. We’ve used an asterisk (*) to point out when we have changed a detail. My background I’m currently 29yrs old, and up until the age of 23 had grown up … Read more

What To Do When You Get Stuck In Your Starter Home

What To Do When You Get Stuck In Your Starter Home

Sour Lemons There is an old saying that goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Sometimes you’ll face undesirable outcomes or situations, but the saying urges you to stay positive and make the best of those unanticipated events. So, as someone who is officially locked out of my town’s real estate market, I’d say my current housing market is pushing me to make the best of my situation. Below is … Read more

The Breakdown Of Our Budget–Why Following A Budget Doesn’t Always Work

The Breakdown Of Our Budget--Why Following A Budget Doesn't Always Work

After months of pushing to reduce our expenses, I have recently come to the realization that we can’t really cut them down any more. We have a budget and we largely stick to it, but I don’t think those expenses can be reduced much further. Below, I will lay out our monthly expenses and then discuss why it doesn’t really matter anymore! The budget breakdown Mortgage: $1,853 (We live in … Read more

Refinance Your Student Loans With Credible

Get The Best Rates On Student Loans With Credible

If you wondering whether this is worth your time, studies done by Credible show that users of this amazing platform save, on average, $18,000 in interest. This is not a rounding error, this is an important conversation and an important part of your overall FI strategy if you are starting out with student loan debt! Money we don’t pay in interest is an money that we can get working for us. … Read more

How To Lower Your Healthcare Costs

How To Lower Your Healthcare Costs

After meeting some people at CampFI and talking about what I do for a living, I was encouraged to write an article about ways to be a smart consumer of healthcare. I work for a broker/third-party administrator and we insure a lot of small businesses. I know a lot about health insurance, at least in Ohio. Healthcare Cost According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), the average annual … Read more

M1 Finance Review-Completely Free Automated Investing!

M1 Finance Review--Completely Free Automated Investing!

It’s no secret that investing is complicated. So anytime it can be made easier, folks get pretty excited. That’s why there’s been a lot of hype about M1 Finance, a completely free automated investing robo-advisor brokerage hybrid. Today, I’ll take a closer look at all that M1 has to offer. What is M1 Finance? M1 Finance was founded out of pure frustration by Brian Barnes. He (and many others) believe … Read more

An Interview With FI-nancial Planner About Becoming A Financial Advisor

An Interview With FI-nancial Planner About Becoming A Financial Advisor

One of my highest priority 2018 goals is to start down the path towards becoming a financial advisor. I’ve always said that I wanted to help people with money once I was financially independent. After I started my blog Winning Personal Finance, I realized that it would be a mistake to delay this goal (that I’ve already had for 12 years) much longer. If I was still a student, becoming … Read more

Retirement Plans For The Self Employed: SEP IRA Vs. Solo 401(k)

Retirement Plans For The Self Employed: SEP IRA Vs. Solo 401(k)

The SEP IRA vs. Solo 401(k)–which is the best retirement plan if you’re self-employed? In truth, you can’t go wrong with either. They’re the very best plans available for the self-employed, especially if you’re a sole practitioner But, let’s take a close look at each and see where they’re similar, where they’re different–and most important–which is most likely to work for you. Simplified Employee Pension (SEP IRA) The SEP is … Read more

Hiking Through Student Loans And A Career To Financial Freedom

Hiking Through Student Loans And A Career To Financial Freedom

This is a guest post by Millionaire Mob, a blog focused on investing in dividend growth stocks and travel hacking. We have helped thousands of people with bettering their financial future through passive income and dividend investing. Hiking Through a Student Loans and a Career to Financial Freedom It was gloomy, rainy day at a midwestern college. Looking out the window there was no one around and not much to … Read more

Why You Need A Legacy Binder

Why You Need A Legacy Binder

What is a Legacy Binder? It’s a central location where you keep all necessary information concerning your life. It can be a folder, a portfolio, a pouch, a suitcase, or a literal binder. You can even create a digital Legacy Binder at Fidsafe. But regardless of what you use, it serves to store the information that would become necessary to your loved ones upon your death. It’s not a subject … Read more

Geo-Arbitrage In South Korea

I hadn’t heard of geo-arbitrage when I moved to South Korea. But, with a little intentionality, I think someone could easily move here and accelerate their path to FI. Let me share a few things that I’ve learned from moving to South Korea. Before I get into the tangible savings, let me touch on the psychological. I’ve re-defined what I look for in a home. My peer group has changed, and therefore I’m … Read more

Personal Capital Review–The Ultimate Net Worth Tracker

Personal Capital Review--The Ultimate Networth Tracker

Personal Capital is by far my favorite networth tracker. It has an incredibly intuitive interface. It allows you to aggregate all the different accounts that you have–and it’s free! If you take some time to think about it you may realize how spread out your investments really are. Maybe you have a 401(k) with your employer and a taxable account with Vanguard. You might also have a traditional or Roth … Read more