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FI Weekly – January 12, 2021

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.

Favorite Books List

I was blown away by the response to last week’s newsletter asking you to send me the best book you’ve read in the past year. I can’t thank you all enough for the overwhelming response! 

I’m still digging out from the deluge of emails and hope to publish a much longer list of recommended books in the future, but in the meantime, here are the books mentioned most frequently: 

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear (guest on Episode 157 of ChooseFI
  • The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel 
  • The Wealthy Gardener by John Soforic 
  • Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins 
  • Die with Zero by Bill Perkins 
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport 
  • The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran 
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari 
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss 

Quote I’m Pondering

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (the #1 most recommended book above), on Episode 145 of the ‘Feel Better, Live More’ podcast with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee: 

“If there is ever a gap between your goal and your system; if there’s ever a gap between your desired outcome and your daily habits, your daily habits will always win. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions were. It doesn’t matter what you hoped to achieve. It’s what your habits are carrying you toward. And the great irony of all of this is we all so badly want better results in life, we all so badly want to make more money or to reduce stress or to find love or to be more productive but the results are actually not the thing that needs to change. It’s the system that precedes the results. It’s the habits that precede the outcome. Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.” 

Stacking Habits

Keeping with the theme of habit change, I wanted to pass along something I’m working on: I’ve identified taking more walks and learning Japanese as two of my goals for 2021. Instead of taking a 30-minute walk during the day and then separately trying to fit in a 30-minute Japanese lesson, which likely won’t happen regularly, I’ve decided to stack these two on top of each other. 

The Pimsleur language learning software has a great app that allows me to download the lessons and l can listen to them while walking, so in that same 30 minutes, I’m working towards both goals! 

I got over my limiting belief that I needed to be sitting in a quiet room in order to “take learning seriously” and gave it a try. Not only did the walks work well, but I’ve found so much downtime during the day where I would normally listen to a random podcast on my phone where I now sneak in 10 minutes of language learning instead. 

Most succinctly, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

ChooseFI Foundation’s New Free Course

Dani and the team at the ChooseFI Foundation just launched another top-notch free resource to help teach your kids about personal finance and long-term thinking: 

Meal Planning Made Easy

This free course is geared towards 3rd-5th graders to complete at home and the hands-on lessons will teach them how to get a head start on their financial and nutritional well-being. 

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Sarah said, “Our 1% better this week is we’re interviewing with cohousing communities after realizing we were both tired of asphalts, car commutes, and having to buy every tool for our life every 2-3 years, as our work moves us to another HCOL city. We are one brave breath away from committing to a house rental (with the option to buy), which would cut our housing expense in half, and more importantly – provide us with a bikeable, local life with a co-operative principled community, in a naturally beautiful place with excellent public schools (should we get a move on the dreams of stewarding children pre-FI). We are scared, and, hopefully will be reporting that we signed a rental lease in the coming weeks!” 
  • Jake said, “Like you, I maxed out the HSA this week! Also learned my company offers not only a 5% pretax match in our 401K…but also a 5% match for post-tax contributions!! I feel like an idiot for not learning this until now. So in 2021 the plan is to not only max out pretax for my wife and I ($39,000 total like we’ve done for years) but also max pretax to get the match and reach the IRS limit of $58,000! Not only that, I learned my company allows in-service distributions….so I plan to move all of the pretax principle $$ into a Roth IRA using the mega backdoor! So excited for 2021! On track to FI by 2025!” 
  • Cheyne said, “My win this week. I currently work in an auto shop as the mechanic although I love what I do, I decided to start Jonathan’s 5-day Salesforce challenge from Talent Stacker. I’m hoping this is something that I’ll enjoy while being able to increase my income significantly. This will help me really take off on my path to FI. Getting out of my comfort zone and growing.” 
  • Brian said, “Our 1% better this week – My wife and I made almost $500 on for our side hustle watching dogs. All this extra income goes straight to our 2021 Roth IRA’s.” 
  • Stephen said, “I was waiting to max out my wife and my 2021 Roth IRA until the stock market went down a little. It just didn’t feel right putting in at an all-time high. After listening to the latest JL Collins episode I deciding to stop trying to time the market and maxed out both for 2021.” 
  • Robin said, “I just started listening to Choose FI a few months ago. Previously, I thought I was trapped in a job I hate. The worst part? I am self-employed!!! After crunching some numbers, I realized I can start cutting back on work and semi-retire the next few years and FIRE in about 2-3 years. I have also been sitting on about 1/3 of my retirement portfolio in cash, but started putting that money into index funds and some bond funds based on info learned from Choose FI. Thanks to Choose FI, I am no longer depressed every day when I sit down to work as I now have a plan to wind things down and enjoy life more!!!”
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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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