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February 14, 2023: Secrets to a Great Retirement, Goals on an Index Card, Feroldi Newsletter

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.

Secrets to a Great Retirement

I just recorded a great episode of the podcast that’s set to come out in 3 weeks on practical drawdown strategies, and had the pleasure of recording it with Karsten (Big ERN) from Early Retirement Now and Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto.

You’ve asked me for an episode on drawing down your assets in retirement and after seeing their fun “battle” on Twitter and in their joint article “Is the Bucket Strategy a Cheap Gimmick,” I knew this was the duo to help me tackle drawdown strategies.

In researching for that article, I came across “7 Secrets to a Great Retirement” that Fritz recently published and I think it’s well worth your time to read it in full.

In summary, they are:

  • Work at Staying Healthy
  • Foster Strong Social Connections
  • Find a Clear Sense of Purpose
  • Never Stop Learning
  • Train Your Brain to be Optimistic
  • Practice Mindful Gratitude
  • Have a Furry Friend (they are huge fans of their “canine kids,” so this may not apply to all!)

Goals on an Index Card and New Careers

Shawn Jenkins is a good friend who I met in Greece at the FI Chautauqua event hosted by JL Collins, and now sits on the board of our non-profit ChooseFI Foundation.

His career path is incredibly interesting: He was making $25k/year at a non-profit, then wrote his goal on a 3×5 index card: “$100,000 annual income in five years.”

He went to Barnes & Noble, bought a book, and taught himself Oracle database administration, and exactly five years later made over $100k annually.

The story gets more incredible: He took those skills and started his own software company which became publicly traded and worth over $1 billion.  And then after finding the FI Community and message, he stepped away from his company in 2018.

Shawn sent me over an article he published on JLCollinsNH detailing the Talent Stacker Career Development Program that Jonathan partnered with Bradley Rice to bring to the world.

Shawn sees the value it has provided to the ChooseFI Community (over 500 members landing jobs with an average 1st-year salary of over $73k) and how similar that training is to his mid-career skills acquisition that led to a $100k/year salary (and later success).

If you’ve felt stuck in your current career, I’ve been blown away by the success this program has brought to a lot of people looking for a better path to a six-figure income.

Brian Feroldi Providing Value

There are very few email newsletters that provide as much value as what our great friend (and 8+ time ChooseFI podcast guest) Brian Feroldi produces on a weekly basis with his newsletter Long-Term Mindset.

You know I’m always telling you to CUT notifications and unsubscribe to emails, so an email newsletter has to be truly extraordinary for me to stay subscribed to it, and to then go out of my way to tell you about it.

If you’ve listened to ChooseFI for any length of time, you know how much value he provides, so take my word for it and subscribe.


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Janine said, “Our 1% better this week is paying off our house! We are 30 and through applying the FI principles we’ve been able to save and invest while also prioritizing the mortgage, all on a moderate/low income. We have 3 kids so this flexibility of reduced monthly expenses has allowed me to transition to part time work as a CPA with more time for the kids and running the home. So grateful for the knowledge you’ve shared over the years which has helped us to get here!”
  • Kevin said, “My 1% better is transferring a rollover IRA and a Roth IRA from a Raymond James account to my Vanguard account so I can manage it myself. We initially invested the Roth with a friend, but he’s since retired and I wanted to get into funds with a lower expense ratio. The previous funds had an expense ratio of 1.6% and I got the unfortunate surprise of a 1% backend load when I sold them! The good news is my money is in my hands and in a diversified fund with a 0.14% expense ratio.”
  • Cassandra said, “My 1% better is: I paid the property tax bill for our rental property with my new business credit card in order to hit the minimum spend. I was charged a $140 transaction fee, but will get 90,000 points for the one transaction. Those 90,000 points will pay for 3 nights at a resort with a water park for our family to stay at over the upcoming spring break vacation. Going forward, I have removed the escrow option for our rental property, so each year my husband and I will trade-off applying for a business credit card and hitting the minimum spend with this one easy-peasy property tax payment.”
  • Maria said, “My 1% better this week was being able to give my daughter a low interest loan (4.5%) on close to $11K that she owed on her car that she was paying at a very high interest rate (14%). Why is it a win for me, because it shows that my emergency fund and savings rate is really solid to be able to do this for her. Before FI, I couldn’t loan anybody $300, it would have bankrupted me.”
  • Dathan said, “My 1% better this week is actually going to end up being about 6-7%. My grandpa unfortunately passed away a few months ago. However, I was blessed to inherit his car. Nothing fancy, but he kept it in great shape and it gets me to and from work. With this, I was able to sell my car that I still had 3 years and about $20,000 worth of payments on. This results in what Jonathan always called a tax free raise of several thousand dollars a year that can now be used to pay down other debts much more quickly. My grandpa was a frugal man and I can’t think of a better way to honor him than by using this gift from him to better our own financial position.”
  • Jessica said, “My 1% better was finding some mold on our ceiling, calling in an expert who was very honest about the extent of damage and told us to go ahead and replace the ceiling panel and that would solve the problem. The cause of mold was a roof leak many years ago that was resolved by the previous owner. After many YouTube tutorials, I went ahead and made my trip to the supply store. About $100 later and 8 hours of effort I have a mold free ceiling and a new skill! To have it professionally done would have been $3,000.”
  • Zack said, “My 1% better was spending an afternoon this past weekend working on a budget with my wife. Through the process I learned that we were both already saving a lot more than we thought we were and had the opportunity to invest more instead of having the money sit in savings.”

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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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