End Of Year Wins | Part 2 | EP 282

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.

What You'll Get Out Of Today's Show

  • It's Part 2 of ChooseFI's end-of-year wins where we hear directly from our community members. During this live event, listeners shared the actions they've taken during the past year that have helped them to spend less, earn more, and enjoy the journey.
  • This year, the year-end-win episode took place in a three hour live Facebook and YouTube event featuring around 20 members of the community.
  • After listening to the podcast for months or years, how did individual members of the community take in information and take action leading to success in a very challenging year? Success isn't just the nuts and bolts of money. Ultimately, it's a life optimization strategy.
  • In response to Brad sharing in an earlier episode that he was joining Alan Donegan in his burpee challenge, Christine wrote in to share that she was inspired to step up her run by throwing in burpees along the way even if she couldn't complete the pushups.
  • Being perfect isn't realistic. Challenge and struggling are important, as is trying to get to the point of mastery. You grow during times of discomfort and failure.
  • The first end-of-year win comes from Eric. Introduced to FI by his best friends over a year ago, Eric binged listened to the podcast. In January of 2020, Eric and his wife re-scripted their financial life.
  • Eric is an architect and started creating YouTube content as a side hustle on his channel 30X40 Design Workshop.
  • Re-scripting their financial life started with paying down all their debt, including mortgage, with the cash they had saved that wasn't doing very much for them and built a six-month emergency fund.
  • Having that headspace allowed them to take more risks during the year. They don't have a specific monthly budget, but as long as his wife keeps her job as a research scientist, they are good. Everything he makes is going toward FI, including a post-tax brokerage account and 529s.
  • The FI literacy they've picked up from the podcast has shown they are a lot closer to their FI number than they thought.
  • The friend who introduced Eric to FI was Jason, who also had end-of-year wins to share. Jason figured out early in his career that he didn't want to persist working for other people until retirement age.
  • Five years ago, Jason learned about the FIRE community and began to buckle down, working toward a strategy.
  • Jason says they've always been good savers and put salary increases and bonuses toward retirement savings. In 2019, he realized 2020 was the year they could hit FI. He actually achieved it in May 2019 and stayed at his job until June 2020 because he had some things he wanted to see through.
  • In June, they moved from a high-cost-of-living area to a more moderately priced location. He began blogging on his website, The Next Phase is Now, to help work through the tornado of feelings he was experiencing.
  • Before retiring, they lived on their FI budget for a full year to give them confidence. Currently, Jason is drawing from his cash reserves, which he moves from a Fidelity account to his checking account once a month like a paycheck.
  • Next up is a question from Rebecca, who wants to know how to calculate her FI number when both she and her husband have pensions. Jonathan says the difference between your monthly expenses and your pension is what your FI number will need to cover.
  • The book by Grumpus Maximus, The Golden Albatross: How to Determine if Your Pension is Worth It, as well as episodes 057 and 227 with Grumpus are good to check out if you have a pension.
  • The next listener sharing her wins is Sara. Sara sold her care and began investing in VTSAX this year after graduating in 2019.
  • As a new investor, the market fluctuations this year were intimidating, but after reading The Simple Path to Wealth, she felt like she was getting in during a low period.
  • Sara's only debt is $78,000 in student loans which she hopes to pay off by age 30. During this 0% interest period, she has deferred making payments and has saved $20,000. It's a safety net that she's trying to decide what to do with.
  • Her employer offers a .5% match up to 6% in her retirement plan. Sara has increased her contribution since deferring her student loan payments and is looking to roll over an account from a previous employer.
  • Sara is trying to keep her expenses low and estimates her savings rate to be 30-40%.
  • Listener Jake has made a lot of big moves this year, which means undoing all of the American dream ideas that had been drilled into him, like the fancy apartment, car, and clothes. They weren't making him happy.
  • After listening to the podcast, Jake took action and moved into a place that cost him half as much, traded in the fancy car for a used Prius he paid cash for, and slashed his spending.
  • Another big move Jake made was to refinance his private student loans with a 10% interest rate to 4%. He's putting every extra dollar toward student loans and will 100% debt-free by the end of January.
  • The Talent Stacker podcast has lit a fire under him and Jake's goal for the end of 2021 is to hit $100,000 net worth.
  • Being able to work remotely, Jake has moved back in with his parents and reduced his rent to zero. Brad says he credits living with his parents after graduation as the springboard for everything that came after.
  • Zach says it's been a great year figuring out his why of FI and taking actionable steps. He thinks whether we realize it or not, we're all chasing time and health.
  • He wants to travel the world in business class and loves his 2006 Hyundai Sonata. For Zach, finding happiness wherever he is at is the FI goal. It's all about what you personally value.
  • His investments are set up to meet his passive income goal. At the beginning of COVID, Zach started two businesses. While a pandemic doesn't sound like a good time to start a business, Zach says any time of strife and change creates opportunity.
  • Next up is Kosta who says despite the tough year, his path to FI has accelerated and COVID hammered home the need to do it.
  • Three years ago, Kosta and his fiance thought they had made it with their lucrative careers. But when he learned about FI in 2018, he was hooked. They worked together as a team to pay down student loan debt and put a 20% downpayment on the house they bought at the beginning of this year.
  • Health issues that may take both of them out of work motivated them to ensure their later years were easier. And a by-product of FI, Kosta has lost 84 funds this year!

Resources Mentioned In Today's Conversation

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.
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