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FI Weekly – January 18, 2022: Doing the Right Thing, Community Q&A, Foundation


Doing the Right Thing

“Doing the right thing is ultimately more likely to ensure you the greatness or the success that you’re after than doing the expedient, sort of self-preserving thing.”

     — Ryan Holiday, author of Lives of the Stoics, on Episode 128 of The Knowledge Project

This quote resonates deeply with me, because I truly think over the long-term that being a good person and doing the right thing for the right reasons is the best possible “strategy” for a successful life. 

Sure, we see many examples of people in positions of power with insider information enriching themselves to the detriment of their stakeholders or constituents, but I contend that over a long enough time horizon this “success” will lead to a bankrupt life where it truly matters: relationships with family, friends and the people who trusted you.

Taking a self-serving shortcut is a losing strategy, plain and simple.  Do the right thing.

Community Q&A

We’ve long called ChooseFI the “ultimate crowdsourced personal finance show” because you the community are able to bring us your wins, life & money hacks, and crucially the questions you have that need answering.

We don’t have enough time on the podcast to come close to answering all of them, but we belatedly realized we can answer a whole lot more of them through our website.  That starts this week!

Here’s the first community question & answer on how to wade through all the questions Vanguard asks you when you go to open an account on their website.

As questions arise in your life, send them to [email protected]. We have our website team monitoring that mailbox to field as many broadly applicable (we can’t give personal financial advice!) questions as possible to feature on the site.

ChooseFI Resource of the Week: Foundaton

The ChooseFI Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing completely free financial literacy resources to students, the military and underserved communities looking for the first steps of an education in personal finance. 

Click this link to go to ChooseFIfoundation.org to access our Pre-K through Grade 12 education for students and teachers, Financial Independence 101, plus a letter from our Executive Director Edmund Tee highlighting how the Foundation is able to bring financial literacy for just $1.58 per person.

If you’re so inclined to donate to the Foundation, your charitable dollars can go a long way to making a difference educating people.

But most importantly, we’d love for you to use these resources and spread the word to people in your life who may be able to take advantage of them.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Sarah said, “Yesterday I booked my first set of flights using points. I booked two round trip flights from NYC to Utah using Chase points to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and it only cost me $20 to cover the taxes and fees! What a thrill! I thought it would be complicated to transfer and use the points, but it was not. Excited to keep capitalizing on sign up bonuses and travel more for free. Thank you so much for creating the travel rewards course where I learned about this. :)”
  • Phil said, “My 1% this January is twofold. First, I cut the cord on cable and recalibrated my internet plan. I’m now saving $122 per month versus last year. Over the course of 2022, that’s a saving of more than 1% of my gross. Second, my employer changed health care coverage to UHG which has a walking/fit plan called UHC motion. This plan pays the user $1 per FIT goal per day for a max of $3. Over the course of the year that’s over $1000. One needs to complete 6 walks of 500 steps or more with an hour in between each, one intense walk of 3000 steps in 30 minutes and 10k steps for the day. We’re 10 days into the new year and I’m 100% and the derivative benefit is how it helps WFH and my waistline.”
  • Kevin said, “I stopped my life insurance policy that wasn’t needed anymore. I’ve been FI for a while now but continued to pay $47 monthly for a term policy of 250k. My wife (kids are all adults) will have plenty of money from the substantial savings in the post-tax and retirement accounts.”
  • Puja said, “My 1% better is that I have started making some of my own household cleaners and personal care products. I have become increasing concerned of climate change, CO2 emissions and all the waste that ends up in the landfills. I am concerned the Earth will not be a safe home to our next generation without making changes in our lives. With a quick google search, I realized that most household cleaners are made from water and vinegar- all household items. Quite a few personal care products are also made from items around the house too- baking soda, corn starch and sea salt. Each of these hacks took me to more than 5 minutes to make. I don’t have to buy the plastic containers decreasing plastic waste and thereby decreasing my carbon footprint. Instead of toxic unknown chemicals in my house and body, I know these natural products are healthy and they work. But also, making my own products are cheaper. Better for the environment, our health and our wallet. A big win!”
  • Tanner said, “My 1% is finally making the decision to bike commute to work. I came to FI by way of MMM, so I’ve been mulling the idea of biking to work for the past three years since getting into FI. One of my hang ups was that in the summer I didn’t want to be a sweaty mess, so I’d wanted to get an electric bike to ease the work some. One of the ebikes I’ve been eyeing for a while went on sale, so after having a talk about it with my wife (we always discuss larger purchases), I went ahead and ordered it. As she said, biking to work is just a me kind of thing to do. It will help us save on gas, maintenance, and will be good exercise on top of that. Eventually we may go down to 1 car household depending on how things go, and that will really be huge savings!”
  • Kelli said, “This week I officially changed to Mint Mobile as my cell phone provider. Going forward, this will mean a monthly savings of $55! Annual Savings of $660. The next step is to convince my family members to make the switch and become eligible for the $100 refer a friend incentive.”

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