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FI Weekly – December 14, 2021

No Shortcuts (In Life or FI)

“There are no shortcuts in this game (of life). Everyone wants to buy the shortcut, that’s how Men’s Health magazine survives.  No one wants to hear just go to the gym 3 times a week and lift some heavy things and then sleep 8 hours. There are no shortcuts.  The shortcut is to be consistent.”

      – Pro poker player Chris Sparks on the Jorgenson’s Soundbox Podcast

This quote reminded me so much of the FI Mindset of long-term thinking, consistently putting in effort and doing hard things.

There’s no get rich quick scheme that’s going to work miracles, no 5-day fitness program that will get you strong and healthy.

You have to do the work, consistently, over years and decades.

And there are going to be hard times, and periods where it feels like you’re not making progress, but with that long-term mindset and knowing there are no shortcuts, you’ll always have a North Star to guide you.

Sleep Optimization & Sunlight Exposure

I focus a lot on sleep optimization in my own life, as it is becoming clear that sleep is one of the biggest determining factors for performing your best.

Dr. Andrew Huberman spends a lot of time discussing sleep on his popular podcast The Huberman Lab and as a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford, he recently presented cutting-edge data on the impact of sunlight exposure to set your circadian rhythm which leads to better sleep.

To paraphrase, the concept is to get about 10-15 minutes of outdoor sunlight exposure as soon as you can after waking up and then ideally getting a similar amount of outdoor time as the sun is setting. 

Dr. Samer Hattar said on Huberman’s podcast:

“Once you start viewing sunlight in the morning on a regular basis, you not only start to sleep better, you also feel more alert and focused at regular times of day. We all have a hard wired “sunlight hunger’ we need to feed.”

ChooseFI Resource of the Week: Books

ChooseFI has published four excellent books (with more on the way in 2022!) on a variety of essential topics to the FI Community including: second-generation FI, pensions, youth entrepreneurship and general FI concepts.

If you’re someone like me who loves to curl up with a book, or you might want to give the gift of FI this holiday season, check out the ChooseFI Publishing book list with links on how to buy at Amazon and other booksellers.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Steve said, “My 1% better is: 1. I started my new job as a Salesforce Business Analyst after completing the Talent Stacker Program. This job pays 50% more than my previous job and I know it will go up from there! 2. I harvested over $5,000 in tax free capital gains! I made sure to take advantage of it this year when my income was lower.”
  • Anne said, “We opened a 529 account for our 3-month-old daughter this week. We made sure to select the index fund investment option with the lowest expense rate. Due to our FI trajectory, we were able to deposit $1000 into the account upon opening that didn’t impact our budget at all. Excited to watch her account grow over the next 18 years!”
  • Brian said, “I have spent about 30 years on the path to FI as a school teacher (not easy). I have been through a divorce, child support, remarriage, two kids through medical schools, and finally yesterday I realized enough is enough. I can honestly say I have been frugal, and more often than not, stingy. It is time to give back. My 1% is to give more to charity. I set up a Charitable giving fund at Fidelity and I started seriously funding it. However, yesterday morning I was in my favorite local coffee shop. The man in front of me was obviously living on the street. He was unable to buy a cup of coffee because the store was now cashless. I realized this was for me to do. I bought him a coffee and breakfast. It was a simple act and so out of character for me. Felt right.”
  • Mary said, “My 1% was after listening to your episode on tax planning. I calculated our MAGI and realized because we diverted a raise straight to the 401k we were low enough to contribute directly to our Roth! Now we have some extra time to save up to contribute the full max by April 15.”
  • Chris said, “I had joined the community last year a little after I had purchased a brand-new car that was way out of my budget. After a bunch of learning and an upgrade in jobs, this last month I decided to sell it through one of the popular online car buying/selling sites, which refunded me enough money to buy a used Prius with other cash on hand. So now I no longer have car payments and I am growing my savings and putting more towards retirement. I would say it was more of a 20% improvement”
  • Larry said, “My 1% better this week was to install a new gas water heater in my house after the 18-year-old one decided to start leaking. I have replaced electric hot water heaters before (I am comfortable working with electricity) but never challenged myself to work with gas lines. I decided to give it a try and it worked out very well. Two days later my gas clothes dryer was not drying properly. With the help of the internet, I did some troubleshooting, purchased and installed a $25 part, and the clothes dryer is working again. I probably saved $300 to $400 in labor costs by doing the work myself. A great web site for videos and parts for repairing appliances is They have a lot of videos that take you step-by-step through the repair process.”

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