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FI Weekly – December 29, 2020

1% Better: It’s Always a Choice

Brian Eufinger, 2-time podcast guest (episodes 114 and 154 on college scholarships and student aid) and co-founder of SAT & ACT prep company Edison Prep, emailed me an amazing YouTube video called “The Choice” and I’d highly recommend you take 4 minutes and watch it. 

This animated video is the perfect representation of the compounding benefits of making better choices in your life, from listening to an audiobook instead of the cortisol-inducing news, to going to the gym instead of just sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. 

“Small choices become actions, actions become habits, and habits become our way of life.” 

Watch “The Choice”

Community Businesses Started in 2020

I wanted to highlight some ChooseFI community members who started businesses in 2020 and are thriving even amidst all the craziness this year has brought. 

I’m planning to make this a regular part of the FI Weekly, so if you have a success story of a newly started business, let me know! 

Bryan started ‘3×5 Life’, a company that sells super elegant and convenient gratitude journals that fit on a 3×5 index card. I’ve heard the benefits of a gratitude practice on happiness levels but always found journals cumbersome and inconvenient. Bryan’s product really nails all the benefits without the hassle. 

3X5 Life

David is a weightlifter who found himself without weights at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national shortage of exercise equipment that ensued. He designed a mold that allowed him to build his own concrete weight plates at home, and it is absolute genius! This went viral and he started ‘Stix and Stone’ so you can purchase your own reusable mold and make your own plates at home (and hint, hint: I think there’s a business for an enterprising person who buys a mold and then resells the weight plates locally!

Stix and Stone

Paul Levitin first came to my attention when he responded to a FI Weekly email where I mentioned I was struggling with my fitness and exercise routine. Paul is a fitness, nutrition, and health and wellness coach and his business LB3 Fitness offers personalized online fitness coaching. I’ve been working with Paul (and listening to his new podcast The Healthy, Happy, Human Podcast) and I’m really impressed with his philosophy and mindset. 

LB3 Fitness

ChooseFI Community Taking Action this Week

  • Ariadne and Zach said, “This week our 1% win is more like a 1,000% win! Our lives just got exponentially better because we finally met our biggest financial goal yet and saved up enough money this last week to pay off our mortgage! We had originally set a goal of 4 years and we managed to do it in about 2 1/2. We can now say we are officially debt free! That along with our net worth reaching two commas has been a major win for us! Crazy year but staying the course!” 
  • Paloma said, “This week, I finished paying off my student loans, so now I’m officially debt-free! 2020 has been a challenge in many ways, but it has also allowed me to build a strong foundation for FI. Earlier this year, I also paid off my car loan. In February, my boyfriend and I moved from an apartment in San Francisco to an apartment in Oakland, lowering our monthly rent by over $1,000. Then in October we were able to take advantage of the new flexibility of remote work to move to New Hampshire, lowering our monthly rent again by $1,500! Our cost of living is much, much lower here, and our apartment is three times as big! And as you probably know, New Hampshire has much lower taxes than California with no income tax and no sales tax so our take home pay has increased as well. Because of this, we will be able to save far more every month towards our financial independence goals. Plus, we are closer to our friends and family on the east coast!” 
  • Amy said, “Got my rent down to zero and my phone bill down to less than $20 per month. Figured that the only thing I can change right now is my online shopping… so I’m taking a three month pause on all online purchasing!” 
  • Justin said, “This year was eye-opening for me financially, though gratefully I was in a privileged enough position to be able to completely grab ahold of and 180-degrees my financial situation and take my first steps towards an FI life. I turn 30 this week and back in the spring I set three financial goals I wanted to hit by my birthday: 1) pay off $9k in credit card debt, 2) open a Roth IRA and begin investing with just 1% of this year’s gross income, and 3) finish the year with the first half of my emergency fund saved. I’m excited to share that not only did I hit all three goals, but I did so a week early! The momentum is building and I’m excited to start a new decade of my journey in a much healthier relationship with my money and my life.” 
  • Jake said, “This past week I made the last payment on my student loans, bringing me to $0 in debt! I said that I was going to have it done next month but decided it would sound better saying I became debt free in 2020. It feels incredible to say I am debt free at 25, 2.5 years out of college. My goal for next year is $100k net worth.”
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What Are You Optimizing For? | Chris Hutchins | Ep 423

Sometimes on the journey to FI, we ask ourselves the following; do I really need to spend money on this? Do I really have the time and resources for that? These questions may be easy to dismiss by saying no in order to stay on track with your financial goals, but by dismissing them, you could be missing out on something that is beneficial to your personal journey! This week we are joined by friend of the podcast, Chris Hutchins, to talk about the hacks for optimizing your life, the differences between cheapness and frugality, and the importance of valuing your time and what it can lead to. Saving money is an important part of achieving FI, but you should never feel so restricted that you miss out on investing your time and money in things that bring joy and value into your life. While saving is important, it’s okay to spend money. Whether it’s on a trip or investing in something new, there are ways to make it work without feeling guilt or shame. Prioritizing and valuing your time can introduce new experiences and provide happiness as well as perspective while on this journey! 

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