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FI Weekly – December 5, 2023: Tribute to Charlie Munger, Fundamentals of FI, What I’m Up To plus Community Wins

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. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

Tribute to Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger is the person I’ve quoted the most in this newsletter over the years, as his wisdom can help you live a “richer” life in every way.

Charlie passed away last week at the age of 99, and in tribute to Charlie, I’m planning to read his book Poor Charlie’s Almanack again this coming week. The book just rereleased today and it’s only $27 on Amazon as I type this (was previously $60+ for the prior version).

I also wanted to highlight some of my favorite of Charlie’s quotes:

  • “Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Systematically you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. Nevertheless, you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.”
  • “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.”
  • “The big money is not in the buying and selling, but in the waiting.”
  • “The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win.”
  • “I did not intend to get rich. I just wanted to get independent.”
  • “It’s such a simple idea. It’s the golden rule so to speak: You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. There is no ethos, in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any other person to have. By and large the people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t win just money, not just honors. They win the respect, the deserved trust of the people they deal with, and there is huge pleasure in life to be obtained from getting deserved trust.”

Fundamentals of FI

I’m going back to basics on the website with a series of “Fundamentals of FI” explanation videos.

Here are the first five of these short (5-7 minutes each) videos I published:

What I’m Reading, Watching and Playing

I get a surprising number of emails asking what board games we’re playing as a family, or what books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, etc.

Though it feels weird to talk about myself this overtly, enough people have asked, so I’m going to make this a fairly regular feature in the newsletter.

Here’s what I’m:

Watching: Season 45 of Survivor on CBS.  This is our favorite family show and it’s still just as good all these seasons later.  Catch up on Paramount+ and for the real Survivor lovers out there, check out ‘The Survivor Buff’ podcast for in-depth analysis after each episode.

Reading: I just finished The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie on audiobook (I dislike audiobooks, but this series was remarkable) and the Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.  I haven’t read two fantasy series of this quality in a long time!

Playing: Qwixx is a 10–15-minute dice-rolling game that’s fun for the family and throws in probability, and some on the fly strategic thinking.  If you’re looking for a portable game that’s easy to learn and quick to play, It’s hard to go wrong with Qwixx.


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Hillary said, “My 1% better was signing up for some extra contract work this fall AND setting up the direct deposit to go straight into our high yield savings account. I’m a nurse and in the fall there are temporary positions at vaccine clinics but I’ve never taken advantage of them before. There is something about the money going straight into savings that is very motivating. I set us up for 1% better for about 12 straight weeks!
  • David said, “My 1% better was pushing to have Vanguard funds included in my employer’s retirement plan. After about 2 months of effort, the Vanguard funds offered have at roughly 1/7th the fees of the funds they are replacing.
  • Alex said, “My 1% better this week is saving on our heating bill. Since the winter is coming up, we decided to install a weather strip at the bottom of our exterior doors to cut down on the cold air drafting into the house. Last winter we noticed this after doing our renovations to the house. There is not a good way to calculate the savings to our heating bill, but I know it will help.
  • DC said, “My 1% better is booking our first trip for my family of five with points and miles. We utilized only two credit card sign up bonuses to book five round trip plane tickets and a four night stay in Washington DC for Spring Break. Our hotel is within walking distance of the National Mall and a three minute walk to the metro station so we won’t have to spend money on a rental car or parking. Daily breakfast is also included at the hotel which will reduce the amount of money we have to spend on food while we are there. We’ve wanted to give our girls the gift of travel but have been limited to one vacation per year because traveling with a family of five gets pricey. Utilizing points and miles, we’ve paid only $56 out of pocket, saving a total of $3,453! The icing on the cake is that this will be our four year old’s first time ever on an airplane!
  • Casimir said, “My 1% better this past week was finally paying off our mortgage. Given our interest rate, it wasn’t quite the best decision from a pure math perspective, but it definitely was from a hassle and mental health perspective. We’re now fully debt-free, and I spent a big portion of the holiday weekend going really deep on our expenses to figure out how close we are to pulling the FI trigger. Not quite there yet, but very, very close.     
  • Chris said, “My 1% better this week was using Black Friday to replace my wife’s 5-year old Kindle that needed to be charged almost daily. First I used CamelCamelCamel to see what a good price would be on the Paperwhite option (and set a price alert in case they went on sale early). Then when Amazon didn’t lower the price as much as they did last year, I clicked on the Trade-in option. I learned we could get a $30 Amazon gift card credit plus a 20% discount on any eligible Kindle purchase. The discount allowed us to meet the target price and the gift card credit is icing on the cake. Plus the old Kindle now goes into an electronics recycling program.

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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. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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