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FI Weekly – February 15, 2022: Financial Tracking Spreadsheets, A Life Well Lived

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. Disclosures.

Financial Tracking Spreadsheets

In early January I wrote that we all should do an annual financial audit to have a sense of where we are with our personal finances, both in terms of net worth (assets & liabilities) and your income statement (income & expenses).

However, at that time I wasn’t able to provide spreadsheets that could be used to make the exercise dramatically easier for you.

Luckily our good friend Brian Feroldi reached out with his financial spreadsheet templates that are available for you to download completely for free.

This is a good time to remind you that Brian’s book, “Why Does The Stock Market Go Up?: Everything You Should Have Been Taught About Investing In School, But Weren’t“, is available now for pre-order.

I’ve seen an early copy of the book and it’s genuinely fantastic.  If you have even a passing interest in learning more about investing, you need to read this book.

A Life Well Lived

I saw this Twitter thread from Nicolas Cole titled “30 rules for a life well lived” and a number of them jumped out to me as particularly important:

  • “Make decisions from a place of abundance, not scarcity.”
  • “Live within your financial means.”
  • “Who you are is more important than what you do.”
  • “Don’t judge success by the day or week. Examine it over the course of a year or decade.”
  • “Play the long game.”
  • “The higher you climb, throw down more rope.”
  • “Strive for freedom, not recognition.”

I’m curious to know which of the list of 30 resonated most with you…

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Jen said, “My husband and I decided to put all of our accounts on Personal Capital. We not only found a cash pension account that we didn’t know about from one of my husband’s old jobs (worth over $63k) and transferred it to an IRA; but with the software and tools adding everything in one place we also found out that we’re Millionaires!! What?!? We are in our late 30s with 3 kids under 6… I never thought this would happen!!! Thank you again for all your suggestions!”
  • Maryorie said, “My 1% better this week has been in the making for the last year and a half (so 78% better?). Me and my boyfriend talked to our bosses 1.5 yrs ago about our interest in being promoted to fully remote roles. This led to me being assigned to a huge project in my company that gave me the edge to get promoted. Then when my dream remote role was posted 6 months later, I went for it with full support from my manager (because we had the conversation already ;)) and got it! Now my role will allow me to travel (all expenses paid by my employer) around the US and the world, which will give me insight into if travel is what I really want for retirement. We are now looking to move to Denver for a year or so and spend time in the mountains now that we are not tied to a specific location. The cherry on top is that since I’m remote now I sold my car to Carvana this week for a significant profit which has already been used to max out my 2021 Trad IRA and there is some leftover to help strengthen our emergency fund. Thanks Choose FI for giving us tools and actionable steps so that we can build a life plan that we are in love with.”
  • Aaron said, “My 1% better this week was to track my finances for January. I used to be in the habit of tracking my expenses and net worth every month in an excel document based off the Mad Fientist’s spreadsheet, and I got out of the habit in 2021, so I’m starting 2022 getting back at it. I’m taking a mini retirement for the first half of the year, so it’s a bit of a trial run for what my life might look like post-FI, so it’ll be great to know what my life actually costs when I don’t have a job.”
  • JB said, “We paid off our mortgage! I realize that this sounds like more than 1%.. but it really was just a series of 1% moves over the past 15 years that got us here. Every time we got a raise or reduced our expenses (especially when the kids no longer needed childcare) we automated that addition into our monthly mortgage payment. Now here we are 100% debt free. By the way, with home values up.. it is a good time to check if you have the right loan-to-value ratio to cancel PMI, that was a big help too!”
  • Lexie said, “1% actions I took over the past week: I went into my 401k account and optimized my investment allocation. I read through all the fact sheets of the different funds being offered and consolidated my current and future investments into an index fund that has my desired equity/bond exposure and the lowest expense ratio. The second 1% improvement was that I opened and funded my HSA account for the first time. I started learning about tax-advantaged accounts last year and started funding my Roth IRA last year. This year I continued my research and decided that an HSA would also be a good account for me to have so I took the action to set one up for myself.”
  • Amanda said, “I made my life 1% better this week by doing my taxes! I found the podcast in Dec 2020, so I was able to take actionable steps all throughout 2021 in order to help my tax bill. I’m an educator, so listening to episode 13 really got me headed in the right direction. I opened a 457, 403b, and started maxing out my 457 and my husband’s 401k. When tax season came for 2020, we ended up owing $3000!!! I was devastated and re-did our w4s in order to hopefully come out even this year. Since we have never put more than bare minimum in our tax deferred accounts, we didn’t do anything with the w4 to account for that. Holy cow. We did our tax return this week and we are getting back a whopping $16,000!!! Like, HOW?! It blows my mind how we made the exact same amount of money, saved way more than ever before, AND got a massive tax refund in 2021 as compared to 2020. I intend to try to learn more about taxes as this refund is not good either (Brad note: Amanda means it is too large and they can adjust withholding going forward), however we are doing better than last year! Thanks for everything, CHOOSEFI!”

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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. Disclosures.
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