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

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 Rewards 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

Career Hacking As A FIRE Power

Career hacking As A FIRE Power

I absolutely loved the ChooseFI episode about career hacking with ESI from ESI Money.  I listened to it a couple times and realized this is probably my biggest FIRE power right now. ESI was kind enough to give me some career advice specific to my situation. This article is a reflection of that advice and the action I took. Career archive It shouldn’t surprise you that Ms. Fiology has a … Read more

Beginner DIY: Some Tools To Get You Started

Some Tools To Get You Started

So, you finally feel like tackling that big project at your house, and you want to do it yourself. You’ve watched a few YouTube videos, seen at least three episodes of This Old House, read some terrific DIY blogs, and you’re itching to get started. Time to get some tools Ever since the dawn of humanity, tools have been an essential part of our evolution. Without them, we would have … Read more

403(b) Vs 401(k)–Which One Is Best For You?

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve contributed to a 401(k) at some point in your life. It’s usually intentional and not automatic, though that is changing. A good thing about that change is that new employees are automatically enrolled as opposed to having to sign up. The bad part is that the percentage is usually only 3% of their salary. Either way, contributing has many benefits. Forced savings, … Read more

The Why Of FI

Why of FI

Why Choose FI ? What’s wrong with following the traditional path and retiring at 60? Nothing’s wrong with that! In fact, you can still reach FI and continue to work. FI is simply a life of financial independence–a life without debt, monetary concerns, and over consumption. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to reach FI–maybe you want to spend more time with your family, or you want to pursue … Read more

Hack Into The Middle Class–How To Become A RN For Less

Solid middle class jobs can be found in many different fields of study. ChooseFI has featured opportunities for entry into the middle class from being a golf caddy, an air traffic controller, or a Registered Nurse. Or, you could forego college and find excellent opportunities in trade professions. Workers can start as an apprentice, receive on the job training, and work their way up to journeymen. Community and tech colleges also … Read more

Why You Should Fund Your Roth Even If You Won’t Need It

If you’ve read anything from the financial independence community, you’ve read about Roth IRAs. They provide tons of benefits to all retirees, like tax-free growth and the absence of required minimum distributions. There are some benefits more applicable to early retirees, like the ability to access principal before age 59.5. But, what if you don’t need to access principal early, or expect to have enough passive income to sustain your … Read more

The Journey To FI On A Median Salary

I’ve read many articles by the likes of Mr Money Mustache, Mad Fientist, Fiery Millennial and more. I’ve listened to the podcasts, and read the books. High savings rates and index fund investing are great, but first you have to earn the money. According to Wikipedia, the median household income in the US for 2017 was $59,039. My salary as an electrician is almost exactly that, and with my side … Read more

When More Money Won’t Make You Happier

When is enough, enough? At some point, you’re going to want to know when you have enough money to stop ‘needing’ to work. Often referred to as F-You money, is it merely a matter of math that determines your FI number? Let’s examine that. Upon reaching their FI numbers, people will do one of two things: they will either worry or embrace it. The worriers will be concerned about how … Read more

A 2018 Analysis Of The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps

Since the 90’s The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps have been synonymous with personal finance for middle-class America. I’ve listened to many podcasts and I’ve read many blogs, and Dave Ramsey’s name stands out to me above most others. Brad and I are a 6th or 7th generation media personalities. I don’t want to say that we are a dime a dozen, but there are a-lot more of us to choose from. … Read more

Little FI-ers: Is Education Everything? Planning And Saving For Our Kids

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela The Education Dilemma Mr. MoneyPenny and I have two young boys and our oldest is starting Senior Kindergarten this year. Mini MoneyPenny is probably typical in many ways–super energetic and full of joy, but he’s also a bit of an anxious kid–very hard on himself and turning thoughts over and over in his head. … Read more

Fat Is Not The Enemy–You Can Eat Bacon And Still Lose Weight

Picture an unhealthy food in your mind. If you are like most people, you probably pictured a hamburger and fries or some other fatty meal. We have been programmed to fear fat. In many cases this is true–fast food IS bad for you. Unfortunately, those great tasting fries are terrible for your body–but do we really understand why? Some fat is bad, and some fat is actually very good for … Read more

Life Lessons, IRAs, And Nursing–My Start To FI

There I was on a slow (nurses never say this s-word out loud but it may be okay to type it) night shift scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook feed. Fortunately, the majority of my posts are from ChooseFI, but occasionally I happened to see a few other non-FI posts permeate my feed. Abruptly, a post caught my attention. This individual’s post was bragging about their job. Naturally, I perk up … Read more

HSA Study–How I Saved Thousands Switching To An HSA

I used to attend “Broke University” where most of my financial decisions were short-sighted, based on what I could afford today and ultimately resulted in a poorer me. I couldn’t see past what I needed right now. It was survival mode always and I often borrowed from Peter to pay Paul. There was no room for optimization or cost/benefit analysis in this lifestyle. I was stuck in the bottom level … Read more

How I Convinced My Wife To Join The FI Journey

I have been on the FI train for a long time now and it seemed like my wife has just tolerated it. She has always been a good saver, but we had short term goals to save for, like travel or a home purchase. She had career aspirations and didn’t see the point of leaving work behind to pursue other endeavors. Lately, she has gotten much more interested in financial … Read more

How We House Hacked Our Way To FI

It’s fine to celebrate success but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure. – Bill Gates Long before we discovered this idea called Financial Independence, we knew that we had to do something above and beyond what we saw most people doing if we were going to get ahead. But up until our early 30’s the only recipe for success that we knew about was: Go to school and … Read more

Why Walking Is A Great Way To Get Fit

We all want to get fit. So much so that we make New Year’s resolutions, try crazy diets, and overpay for gym memberships we never use. Good news, there’s an easy way to get fit and it’s super simple–just walk more. One of the easiest and most enjoyable types of exercise is walking. Here’s why: Most of us can do it: Once you have checked with your physician, most people can … Read more

Lousy 403(b) Options Led Me To FI Via Real Estate

EarlierFI Lousy 403B

When something is bad, you have two choices: Try to make it better or go somewhere else. That was the case with my 403(b). I got wind of how bad it was here. When the moment came to make a change, I decided to opt for a completely different investment vehicle. The sale While selling their tax-deferred 403(b)’s, all financial advisors will tell you the premise is simple: Pay fewer taxes today … Read more

Award Yourself A Hawaiian Vacation–The Best Award Stays In Hawaii   

Hawaii will always hold a special place in my heart. I fell in love with Hawaii on my first trip to Maui in 2002. We were greeted with leis and I learned how to properly carve and serve a pineapple. By the way, you will never taste a sweeter pineapple than a real Hawaiian pineapple. Both my then boyfriend and I loved Maui so much that, when we got engaged … Read more

Finding My “Why Of FI”

Finding my why of fi

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When I passed the distance marker and read, “1 Km”, I knew that I was in trouble. After all of my training doing hills, cross training, long runs, short runs–I was finally taking on my first marathon. But as my knee began to twinge and a recurring back injury started to whisper to me, I knew that this was going to be a long, … Read more

Social Security Benefits When You’ve Retired Early

Social Security Benefits When You've Retired Early

Does Social Security play any part in your calculations of projected retirement income? If you’ve included social security benefits, have you accurately estimated what those benefits will be, especially if you plan on retiring from work early? For Americans, social security should probably be included in their calculations, but potentially at a lower amount than the estimates provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Let’s look at why that is … Read more

Mindfulness, FI, And The Freedom To Choose

Mindfulness, FI, and the freedom to choose

The psychology behind why we pursue financial independence is most often about having the freedom to choose what we want to focus our time, energy, and money on. Although the movement began with FIRE, some people observed that many of us don’t necessarily want to RE (retire early), we want the freedom to choose how to spend our time. We understand that our values do not always line up with … Read more

Why I Pick Up Pennies

I pick up pennies, and nickels, and dimes, and any sort of currency because it pays well, that’s why! Okay, there…I gave you the answer to my hook. Why should you read on? Well…because there is a deeper mindset behind finding money and picking it up. And I’ll also tell you how well it pays! Where my Pennies Come From You may know that I work in the automotive field. … Read more

Changing Your Mindset And Embracing FI

Changing your mindset and embracing FI

I’ve believed all kinds of incorrect things about myself ever since I can remember. Here are some examples: I’m not good enough. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t deserve to be loved. I need to be perfect. I’m stupid. If you had my life you’d be sorry too. For many years, I learned to live in spite of my skewed perception of myself. I rebelled, found ways of … Read more

Confessions Of A Diet Coke Addict

I am a recovering Diet Coke addict. You may think Diet Coke addiction is not a real thing, but I can assure you my addiction met all of the medical definitions of an addiction. I started drinking Diet Coke in high school, around the time it was reaching peak popularity. In college and all through medical school, Diet Coke served as my main form of caffeine. By the time I … Read more

When To Claim Social Security

Are you afraid that you won’t be able to “get yours” when it comes to social security and therefore plan to take it early? Or do you procrastinate so bad that you don’t think you’ll claim social security until 70? Well, there’s some planning you can do that could significantly change the lifetime benefits you receive. Once you get to retirement, you have the choice of when to start claiming … Read more

How And Why To Start A Career In The Trades

How and why to start a career in the trades

Upon reading the title of this post, you’re probably wondering: Why would I want to work in the trades? Well, for me, I knew I needed to do something physical. I like to move, and sitting behind a desk all day holds negative appeal for me. Why would you want to learn a skilled trade? There are many benefits to working in a skilled trade: Hands-on trade work isn’t capable … Read more

How FIRE is Different Today–Lessons From My FI Journey

My earliest memory of investing occurred when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I was looking at a statement from a mutual fund (this was circa 1967 mind you). My dad talked to me about what the numbers meant and how there was an account for me and that there were separate accounts for my sisters. What stuck out for me were the four digits to the right … Read more

How To Plan Itemized Deductions With The New Tax Bill

This new tax bill has really gotten some press coverage, huh? And let’s be honest, it hasn’t been too good. So, how about some real analysis so you can use it to your advantage instead of worrying about how it’s going to be detrimental? By Bunching Deductions, You Can Deduct More Than Your Expenses! Given that the new tax bill contains a higher standard deduction and limits itemized deductions, is … Read more

How I Lost 77 lbs, And How You Can Too

I’m like you, I work hard to provide for my family and, like most people, I let myself go at the same time. I work long hours and struggle to find the time for myself or for exercise. I’ve often relied on fast food, quick meals, and leftovers which quickly add up to tight pants. And my pants were very tight indeed. But I’ve changed all that, and you can … Read more

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Index

How I learned to stop worrying and love the index

It’s been reported that only one in three Millennials own any stock. For many, this is due to low income and high debt. This makes it tough to even have the money to invest. However, I also think that many of us have just grown up with a lack of understanding in how investing even works. Combine that with a mistrust of the market, based on the dot-com bust and … Read more

What My Parents Taught Me About FI

My parents never taught me about investing. They taught me how to save money and curb expenses, but they never had a huge savings pile or invested money. I feel that my FIRE path has been hindered from a lack of investing knowledge until later in life. Imagine if I started a Roth IRA when I was working part time at age 17 with almost no expenses! Instead my money … Read more

How Will The Trump Tax Plan Affect Investors?

The ink is barely dry on the Trump Tax Plan, more formally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), and taxpayers are beginning to fret about its impact. Most people are at least vaguely aware that the plan lowers most marginal tax rates, increases some deductions, but lowers or eliminates others. But how will the Trump tax plan affect investors? At this point, many of the details of … Read more

The Failing 403(b) Was My Wake-Up Call

Have you ever been so eager to get, do, or have something that you couldn’t see its failings? We’ve all been there, at some point in our lives, wearing those rose-colored glasses. Many times we’re not fully to blame, and sometimes we are. Massive marketing makes it easy to see only the roses, while the reality is vastly different. Join me as I shed light on my failing 403(b). The … Read more

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Deciding To Pursue A Master’s Degree

Should you get a Masters Degree?  The short answer is: it depends. This isn’t the sort of question where sweeping generalizations can be made. I can’t say “Everyone must have an advanced degree!” or, the opposite, “Universities are evil and you may as well light your money on fire!” The fact of the matter is there are lots of reasons why it might be a good idea for you, and plenty … Read more