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

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

https://www.choosefi.com/091r-real-estate-inside-an-ira/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

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

Get Off The Hamster Wheel And Pay Off Your Student Loans Fast

Pay off student loans fast

The Financial Freedom Clock and the Countdown to FI begins once you have paid off your consumer debt. Now for the first time your savings rate is being redirected from debt repayment to buying your “perpetual money making machine” (FI). Sounds so simple, but the sad reality is that paying down that debt has become increasingly difficult. Digging a Hole Our culture has accepted that massive student loans are acceptable … Read more

A Series Of Fortunate Events

I’m having a hard time even remembering when I first found out about the concept of early retirement, which began my journey towards FI.   You could say that I’m second generation FIRE as my parents retired in their mid 50s. By that point, I was already in my working career and I’m proud to say that I was able to work on a financial plan with them and confirm … Read more

The 10 Pillars Of FI

10 Pillars of FI

By now, you’ve all likely heard the Pillars of FI episode where Jonathan and Brad discuss the building blocks of financial independence. For those of you who haven’t–Jonathan sums up the idea of FI nicely: …instead of focusing on buying stuff to make up for my unhappiness, what if I just focused on happiness? What if I made a list of things that actually made me happy?…What we find out … Read more

Why I’ll Date Personal Capital and Elope with VTSAX

“And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it’s hard to make the good things last. You realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round.” — Wayne Coyne, Do You Realize?, The Flaming Lips, 2002 Musical Interlude … Skip if you must. The Flaming Lips are among my all-time favorite bands. I’ve seen their … Read more

My Mom Was An Extreme Frugalist–Here’s What I Learned From Her

I grew up on Long Island (so, in the NYC metro area). I was one of nine children. My parents were a professor (i.e., not paid great) and a stay-at-home mom. So we didn’t have a lot of money. My mom was the spender of money in our house. She handled our small income with what I now know was extreme frugality. Not even $1 per day For instance, in … Read more

A Diploma May Land You A Job, But It Won’t Guarantee Your Success

Obviously, I am a big supporter of the skilled trades as a career path. It is the path I have chosen, even after I spent four years getting a bachelor’s degree in General Business Management. My college education did get me a job working for a fortune 500 company, making around $42k/year. This is somewhere around the average income for the U.S. But in order to achieve the level of wealth … Read more

Overcoming Negative Money Beliefs To Start On The FI Path

As a child I was constantly exposed to negative money sayings. I still remember that saying “Money doesn’t grow on trees” from my childhood. It was used to argue against buying an item. In the end I had built a framework in my mind, that money is not inherently bad, but scarce. That is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I had created my own world where money was constantly tight. That was just … Read more

Planning For Healthcare In Early Retirement

Planning For Healthcare In Early Retirement_

If there’s a fly in the early retirement ointment–other than accumulating the portfolio needed to make it happen–it’s planning for healthcare. While you’re an employee, you can take advantage of employer-sponsored health insurance. Since it’s a group plan, and usually subsidized by the employer, it’s less expensive than coverage you can buy on your own. But how do you plan for healthcare in early retirement? And that’s the problem. When … Read more

Vitamin FI–Cures All Your Financial Anxiety

Shortness of breath, chest pain, numbness or tingling, nausea and cramping. These aren’t just a list of symptoms on the latest drug infomercial. These are also the symptoms of logging into your online bank account. This is likely how you feel when that credit card statement arrives, or when you check the remaining balance on your student loan debt. So what do you do when financial anxiety hits? Check with … Read more

When You Eat Matters

When You Eat Matters

You’ve probably heard a lot of conflicting advice out there about when you should eat. I’ve heard everything from eating five small meals a day to eating one large meal to fasting for days. The key is understanding how the body works, and using that information to your advantage. The good news is–this is fairly simple. Getting out of storage mode When you eat, your insulin levels rise. Certain foods … Read more

Pursuing FI From The Other Side Of The World

Holy crap. What the heck am I doing? I was having a slight freak out moment. Actually, it wasn’t slight, and my internal monologue was a little more colorful than “crap” and “heck”. It was August 28, 2008, and I just landed at Incheon International Airport. Looking out the window of the plane, I couldn’t understand any of the building signs. I was 26 and seemingly ruining my resume by … Read more

Why I Pursue Financial Independence

This probably makes me weird, but I was thinking about retiring before I ever got my first real full-time job. I went through college during the healthy economic times of the late 90s. Everything was great! Employers flocked to job fairs to hire young talent. Signing bonuses were commonplace. And a bachelor’s degree–oh yes–this was the ticket to landing a good paying job. As I neared graduation, the promise of … Read more

Why Living In A High Cost Of Living Area Isn’t A Bad Thing

I am from a high cost of living (HCOL) area and I see that as neither a roadblock nor a bad thing when chasing FI. In fact, it has several positive elements. A few reasons why I believe this to be true are: the higher earning potential the higher rents (keep reading for my explanation) and the local tax-payer funded services, entertainment, parks, and recreation programs. Now, I’ve never proven that … Read more

Why I’m Choosing FI

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.–Friedrich Nietzsche To succeed on the path to financial independence and/or early retirement, we can definitely connect with the “bear almost any how” portion of that statement. Some of us take great pleasure in the how, especially the nitty gritty techniques and planning opportunities. However, lately I have been spending a lot more time thinking about the “has … Read more

Let’s Win Together–Why I Want To Help You Reach FI

Hello Choose FI readers and listeners. For the past six months or so, I’ve been blogging over at Winning Personal Finance. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be writing here as well. Today, I’ll be talking a little bit about my journey to FI. Enjoy! My theory of FI As much as I want to reach FI, I don’t look at it as a race. … Read more

How I Was Set On FIRE

My first “technical” introduction to Financial Independence (FI) was in 2012. It came down to one exact moment, and I remember the exact words I said to myself. I was in a Christian thrift shop, thumbing through the books. It was there I picked up a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (the cover where he is cutting a credit card with scissors). I looked at the book and … Read more

A Valuist: Intentional Living

I usually listen to podcasts on my runs. It makes the miles fly by and I kill two birds with one stone—I get smarter and fitter. One morning as I was running I had a big smile on my face listening to Brad call himself a valuist. What is a valuist? In terms of financial independence, it’s someone who spends money on experiences or things that they truly place value … Read more

Why Do We Gain Weight?

The science behind weight gain and how to use it to your advantage.

People want to lose weight, but they struggle to do so. That’s why weight loss is the number one New Year’s resolution. Why is weight loss so hard? The first step is to understand why we gain weight. The medical community, media, and health experts have been telling us for years that the way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. This method works on the premise … Read more

An Introduction To The DIY Way To FI

Hello, and welcome to the DIY sector of the Financial Independence arena! I will be presenting DIY skills, tips, tools, and other tidbits as we embark down this vein of the FI rabbit hole. Who am I? Let’s start with a little bit about me, shall we? I grew up immersed in the DIY mindset, and built my first four-story treehouse with the aid of my father General DIY when … Read more

Why Even Bother With Travel Rewards?

Why even bother with travel rewards? My friends ask me a version of this question all the time. People think it’s too much work, requires too much organization, too time consuming, etc. etc. For me, the simple answer to this question is: Because I love to travel! Why I care about rewards I like to stay at nice hotels and let’s face it, if you’re going to spend 10 to … Read more

How Not Being Able To Pay Our Taxes Changed Everything

Three especially important things happened to our family last year: Our fourth child was born. We went broke. We started our debt-free/FI journey. It was a big year. 2017, A Year of Reckoning In April 2017, Señor Firelit and I sat down with our accountant to do our 2016 taxes. At the end of the session, we realized this: come tax day, we would owe $23,000. To our names, we … Read more

Build Your 2018 Financial Independence Action Plan

About 40% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution, and about 90% of those break them. Following their suggestion, I decided to have an action plan for 2018 and, hopefully, stick with my resolutions. Track my spending for a year Thanks to RPF Episode 506 for crystallizing this idea for me. We all know that FI is based on developing better spending habits, not just your income or savings. So, … Read more

My Financial Life In A Spreadsheet

I like numbers and quantifying things. That includes quantifying things like my personal progress towards financial independence. To feed this craving, I’ve started to keep monthly spreadsheets of spending in various categories. At end of each week I manually update a spreadsheet that I’ve set up with simple math expressions to track my savings rate. It takes me a few seconds to update this spreadsheet and instantly, I see the … Read more

College Drop Out : Saying NO to Expensive A’s

I have a deep love of learning. I have multiple degrees, and so far, each has served me well. I know that pursuing another degree would be challenging and rewarded. But I’m on a FI journey that forces me to weigh the pros and cons of paying more money for college. After crunching the numbers and weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided I’m done paying ridiculously high prices for … Read more

Reaching Financial Independence Without Index Funds?

Ask any parent and they will likely have blocked out part (or all) of the first few months of their child’s life. Not because it wasn’t awesome, terrible, life changing or amazing, but because they’re so stinkin’ tired all the time. This is the delirious state that I found myself in when I first learned of the term, Financial Independence (FI). While the rest of the world slept blissfully, I … Read more

The Wealth Building Triangle

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Earn More, Spend Less, and Invest the Rest.” The Wealth Building Triangle is a way of visualizing each piece of that equation and how they combine to move you towards FI. Our engineer readers may know that triangles are the strongest shape out there. The reason for that is that weight (or any force) is distributed across all three sides. The sides all work together … Read more

Why We Stink At FI–But Are Doing It Anyways

Hey everyone! Working mom here supporting a family of four. Budgets are tight, but I know my plans are tighter. Our work lies ahead of us and I’ve been excited about it since day one of this journey. However, we probably aren’t the best example of a FI fam and here’s why: We have student loan debt and it’ll be around for quite some time. My husband is still carrying some … Read more

Why Skilled Trades Can Help You Become Financially Independent

Skilled Trades And Financial Independence Likely not words you hear from someone in their 30s, but that’s what were here to talk about. My name is Cory Kleinfeldt. I am 31, married with three kids, and I believe that you can reach early financial independence without being in IT, in engineering, or going to college. Say what? Why do I want to talk about the skilled trades and money? I … Read more

The Moment My (FIRE) Life Started

Well it wasn’t actually a single moment, it was a series of moments which led to another moment. The Trudge “Trudge” verb – walk slowly and with heavy steps, typically because of exhaustion or harsh conditions. Synonyms: plod, tramp, drag oneself, walk heavily, walk slowly, plough, slog, footslog, toil, trek, clump, clomp, lumber. It started one day when I left the train at my station on the way to work. As with most train stations in the middle of a big city, all … Read more

How Getting More Sleep Will Improve Your Finances

How Getting More Sleep Will Improve Your Finances

Burning the candle at both ends is more than a way of life–it’s an American past time. In a country that values productivity, success and the “hustle” mentality above all else, it’s no surprise that most people fail to meet the standard for a healthy sleep habit. But as research is beginning to show, you can’t cheat the Sandman. Productivity and sleep are closely linked, and people who skip out … Read more