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FI Weekly – August 24, 2021

Benefits of Board Games

It’s no secret that my family loves to play board games.  We talk about board games frequently on the podcast, but thought I’d bring it to the FI Weekly in a little more depth.

Simply put, board games have made us a better family.

They’ve led to hundreds of hours of family time that is invaluable in bringing us closer together.

They help promote rules in our family such as “Barretts never cheat.”  We all know this is the one sacrosanct rule that would be cause for near expulsion from the family.  Growing up, for some reason my dad always playfully (or not in many cases!) accused people of cheating and I made it clear from day 1 with my daughters that we never, ever cheat in games.

If you want your kids to be better decision-makers and negotiators, introduce them to board games as early as you can! 

Many parents underestimate their kids’ ability to play advanced games, but we threw them in the deep end and started playing games like Catan and Ticket to Ride when they were about 5 years old. 

Sure, the first few times we had to co-play with them, but it’s amazing how kids can learn to play even when they can’t necessarily read the cards.  It gets easier every time they play.

A 60-minute game like Catan is filled with hundreds of decisions, constant forecasting for what strategy is going to work for your ultimate goal of winning, adapting to what the other players are doing and how that impacts your own strategy, and negotiating for trades.

Plus, it helps teach probability and how a small sample size of 20 rolls of the two dice can lead to some odd things happening like a total of “3” coming up more times than a “6” even though probability would suggest it’s 2.5 times more likely to roll a “6.”

This also helps illustrate how you can make a good decision and get a bad outcome in life and you have to be okay with that.

Over the ‘infinite game’ long run, good decisions will lead to a successful life.

100 Tips for a Better Life

I came across this article on called “100 Tips for a Better Life” and I think it’s worth your while to read through it.  Some that jumped out to me (all direct quotes):

  • #17: Done is better than perfect.
  • #22: Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small.
  • #34: How you spend every day is how you spend your life.
  • #39: If something surprises you again and again, stop being surprised.
  • #61: It is cheap for people to talk about their values, goals, rules, and lifestyle. When people’s actions contradict their talk, pay attention!
  • #96: If other people having it worse than you means you can’t be sad, then other people having it better than you would mean you can’t be happy. Feel what you feel.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Tracy said, “This week I used Tori Dunlap’s advice to negotiate a 9% salary increase and a 10% drop in my hours – so I have more time at home with next to no impact on my take home pay :)”
  • Jeff said, “I used Trim to negotiate my internet and cell phone bills. I was able to lock in savings of $45/month for the next year, so $540 in total savings. It took less than an hour to sign up and link my accounts. I wish I had known about this service sooner!”
  • Falcon said, “I have really been enjoying the weekly emails! You guys are awesome and I look forward to the show every week. I just wanted to leave you and Jonathan a quick note and let you know that I heard your side hustle episode, and I am a personal case study for the notary gig. I first heard about this a little over a year ago on the BiggerPockets money podcast. I immediately took action and got my notary license, my very first month I brought in $2000. That’s when I realized this was really scalable, and I quit my job to go full-time notary, earning $137,000 (gross) my very first year. I am now regularly bringing in $10-$20,000 per month running my notary loan signing business! As you can imagine, this has super charged my path to FI. Just wanted to let you know in case you were curious about the legitimacy of this endeavor.”
  • Belen said, “My 1% better was opening up a vanguard account. I placed 5k into VTSAX and 5k into VOO! I also increased my 403b contribution to max out this year. Based on my current net worth, it may be possible to reach my FI number in 3 years!! I found the FI community about 5 years ago and I am so happy with my progress. I paid off all my credit card and car loan in 10 months and have been saving and investing ever since!”
  • Andy said, “My 1% better is starting to financially educate my 3 “boys” in their 20s. I retired a year ago at age 57 and I worked 30 years before I started educating myself on what I’d need to be able to retire. In 5 years, I listened to many great podcasts, including Choose FI and learned of the principles of FI, many of which I was happy to learn my wife and I implemented without even knowing it. But what really worried me was the realization that my kids really didn’t have any better a financial education than I had. Since all 3 will or have graduated college debt free, they have a great start. In order to pass along the powerful principles of FI, I basically wrote an 8-page after-action review of my family’s financial performance over the years; the things we did right and the things we could have done better. It was eye opening to calculate what some errors cost, but I wanted some concrete examples to make an impression. I made some recommendations for some good financial books and podcasts as well. The two that are working now have already made some small changes that, over time, will pay big dividends. Love what you folks are doing….keep it up!”

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Lessons From a Young Entrepreneur | Ep 422

At least once in most of our FI journeys, we have pondered what our life would look like if we started earlier. Maybe you have even wondered what value could’ve been gained if you had started in your teenage years. Well, for some context into the possibilities decision that could provide, we decided to have 17 year old listener Devin on the podcast to discuss what life can look like when you go against the cultural norm of going to college, and instead opting for an entrepreneurial and FI friendly lifestyle. Oftentimes we mention that there are rewards that come with stepping out of your comfort zone, and the same can be said for going against the societal norm and carving out your own path! For our younger audience who may be interested in getting started with their FI journey, let this episode be a useful resource and reassurance that this journey can begin no matter your age!

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