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February 6, 2024: Hard Choices, Easy Life, Cut Down on Email and Physical Clutter

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.

Hard Choices, Easy Life. Easy Choices, Hard Life

I saw a post on Instagram from @VisuallyNeeded that reminded me of one of my favorite quotes and it helped me rediscover this section I included in the newsletter 3 years ago:

“I’ve often mentioned Jerzy Gregorek’s masterful “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life” quote, as I think it is a framework for long-term success in FI and in life.

Possibly even more profound is this from Jerzy: “Try to be around people who don’t do three things. They are not sarcastic. They don’t complain and they don’t blame.”

If you sit back and listen, you’ll find these ‘three killers of happiness’ make up 80%+ of everyday conversation. I challenge you to personally stop this madness and also cut out the people in your life perpetuating this negativity.

Instead, look for people who are interested in others, those who ask questions, those looking for solutions, those who understand there’s nuance and subtlety in the world, and that there’s so much to be positive about, even in tough times.”


Cutting Down on Email Clutter

For someone who reached FI, I have a lot of self-imposed, unnecessary stress in my life. This is something I’m working on fixing in 2024 and beyond.

I’m taking a holistic approach and since “the little things are the big things,” I’m starting with the hundreds of emails I get each month.

I learned you can filter emails in Gmail (here’s an amazing tutorial from Zapier), so I’ve been ruthlessly setting up filters to keep the vast majority of emails from ever ending up in my inbox.

Because I’ve been so diligent with this, there are days when I go to Gmail in the morning and have inbox ZERO.

Examples include receipts or invoices that I would normally manually open and then direct to a particular folder, but now that happens automatically thanks to the filter I setup.

Or you might have a sender that you don’t want to entirely filter ALL their emails, but you know you’ll never look at a recurring email with a particular subject line (I get a “Credit Journey” email from one of my credit cards monthly) and want to auto-delete it.

Just se tup a filter for that subject line and tell Gmail where to send it and that email will never appear in your inbox again.


Decluttering Can Change Your Life

In keeping with the cutting down on clutter theme, I found this article from Psychology Today called “Why Getting Rid of Things Can Change Your Life. Simplification, decluttering, and the roots of well-being.”

Here are their key points (quoted from article):

  • Owning less leads to a happier and more meaningful life.
  • Letting go of unnecessary things clears your physical and mental space.
  • You should prioritize experiences over possessions.

Their list of 5 “suggestions to help you reap the benefits of decluttering your home” near the bottom of the article is worth clicking through to read and it was interesting that “researchers found a positive relationship between “voluntary simplicity” (often used interchangeably with minimalism) and well-being.”


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

“My one percent better this week was helping my sister open up a Roth IRA. She is still in college, but she is starting a new part time job. I opened my Roth IRA in college and wanted my sister to get an early start like I did. I told her it is better to start small instead of not starting at all. She is currently in the process of getting her bank account linked, so she can set up automatic monthly transfers to her Roth IRA. I will help her automate the process, so she doesn’t even have to think about it going forward.”

– Alex

“My 1% better came from making a simple phone call. I recently had lens implants done to remove cataracts and rid myself of the need for any glasses, and thought I paid all the coinsurance for the facility up front. I just got a bill from them for almost $700! They had misquoted my coinsurance at 20% instead of 40%, leaving this large balance. When I asked if they would discount it if I paid in full, they wiped out the whole bill! They said because they had made a mistake, they were not going to ask me to pay anything else. ALWAYS call and ask about discounts. You never know!!”

– Christi

“My 1% this week was setting up my Roth IRA through Fidelity and making my first investment into it. I am not eligible for my company’s 401k plan until August 2024 and I didn’t want to lose my investing moment. I plan to set up automatic investments going forward to take advantage of dollar cost averaging.”

– Sara

“My 1% was putting together a finance slideshow where my wife and I talked through everything we have, spend and are saving towards. This helped us make some changes in our budget, feel much more confident and certain of our position and plan, and motivated us to change our insurance deductible and then set aside the cash needed for that deductible into a high interest CD.”

– Eric

“Win to share: In the last few years I decided to open 529’s for my nieces and nephews in lieu of a material present for their first birthdays. I figured that this would be far more meaningful in the long run than some clothes or toys that they will outgrow in the next few months. I deposited $1,000 into an account for each of them. My wife created a certificate to put into a card to explain what we did for their parents. The money will grow for the better part of two decades before it needs to be used for college, trade school, etc.

My long term plan is to make an additional deposit of $1,000 for each of them when they turn 5, 10, 15, and finally graduate from high school. If they decide not to continue their education, I will help them convert their 529 funds into a Roth IRA thanks to the SECURE Act 2.0…and then they will have a HUGE head start on retirement.”

– Nick

“My 1% better, I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It helped structure my system to achieve small goals. I value my physical and mental health, I exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes everyday. I read self help books to help me become a better version of myself.”

– Mark

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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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