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FI Weekly – July 5, 2022: Taking Action, Making Better & Wiser Choices


Financial Independence Day

I’m sitting down to write this email on July 4th, and in honor of Independence Day here in the US, I wanted to pass along some inspiring stories of Financial Independence your fellow FI Community members wrote in:

Taking Action

LJ & Tiffany wrote:

“We’ve wanted to write for a while now but wasn’t sure how to. So, this 1% better is actually the accumulation of the last 3 years. My wife and I got married 3 years ago and decided to pursue FI together. There have been sooo many decisions that we’ve made since that day through learnings from ChooseFI (& BiggerPockets). It seems like a lifetime ago.

We trimmed our budgets immediately, finished her student loan debt by that December, we have maxed out both of our 401ks, HSAs & Roth IRAs starting that next year and decided to invest my bonus into a 6-Unit multi family property in 2019.

For context, I’m a 32 year old engineer and my wife is a 34 year old middle-school teacher. Well (ironically) 40 months after aggressively pursuing this lifestyle freedom, we now own 40 Rental Units in East TN! My wife has officially retired from teaching to be our property manager and more importantly the full-time parent of our 4-week-old boy!

Every decision we’ve made over the last 3 years has been prefaced with, “does this align with our goals”. We wouldn’t have the motivation or confidence to pursue this without this community and we’ve still got a long way to go (we’re pursuing a pretty Fat FI lol).

But I wanted to say thanks for the continued focus on priority-based decisions and the tools to enable whatever lifestyle someone desires. There are a billion little steps I could reference that we’ve done but it’s the accumulation of all of those 1% decision that continue to get us closer to our dream life. It’s possible!”

Making Better and Wiser Choices

Ariana wrote in:

“Just to let you know that thanks to your podcast with Jonathan and listening to your ideas and sharing knowledge we have improved so much in our household finances by making better and wiser choices.

1) We had about 50k in debt and were able to pay it off in 1 year including our Toyota Prius and now with gas prices we are so happy we made the smart decision to get a hybrid car.

2) Then Chris Hutchins from “All the Hacks” was on your show. We began to listen to his podcast and helped us see that we could flip our truck lease. We paid it off with a personal bank loan instead of returning to the dealer and since it had some equity, we went to Carmax to sell it to them and after paying the loan back to the bank we came out with $6k profits after taxes.

3) Joel from FI 180 came out on your show as well and brought up his favorite grocery store ALDI. Since then, we gave it a second chance and now we are obsessed. We love Aldi and their $3 frozen pizzas and signature pasta sauces. We have saved so much on groceries than before and the quality is superb!

4) Tax season for the first time in so many years our tax liability was only $1k because we have been funding our retirement accounts. Our combined income is $130k per year.

5) We finally have an emergency fund and then some. Because of that we have been able to feel less stressed about money and give and donate much more than before. It feels good to treat people to dinner or give a hand with a smile on our face.

6) Credit card rewards – We were able to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass and we just got back from a week in Hawaii. We used Hyatt points for Hotel and Southwest for the flights so we only spent money on food and attractions that came out to about $500. We didn’t rent a car because we decided to travel with public transportation around the island and it was great! For the first time ever, we came back from vacation so happy that we didn’t put the trip on our credit cards.

7) Housing – We have lived in a 5th Wheel trailer for the past 3 years and we love it. We have been able to renovate so when the time comes to upgrade or sell, we will get our money back or more because they are on demand.

8) I’m planning to change careers from Accounting to Salesforce Admin very soon! I am part of the Talent Stacker Group and can’t wait to get started on my exciting new career!

Phew, so many things but I had to say it! I’m what you can call a “Choose FI alumni”.

Keep up the good work. It’s always a pleasure to listen to you both!”


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Gianna said, “My 1% better this week was getting my husband on board to clean up our spending. We cancelled all of our useless tv subscriptions that we barely watch (we kept Hulu & Disney+ bundle), we called our phone service and removed an extra inactive line we’ve had on our account for years at $5 per month, we also committed to no more Dunkin’ Donuts coffee saving us over $50 a week! That’s a total of $250 per month that we can save and we’ve only just begun. We just started listening LAST WEEK and I feel like we’ve made so much progress so far! I also increased my 401k contribution and am looking into setting up a Roth. Love the podcast!! Thanks”
  • Dustin said, “My 1% better this week is watching my 16 year old son proudly tell his friends/coworkers that he has a retirement account (Roth IRA for Minors) as they discussed getting their first paycheck from their jobs as camp counselors. This led to several questions from them on investing and why he would have a retirement account at 16. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched him explain compound interest and some of the benefits we had discussed. Thank you for helping me introduce the FI principles to my children and others in their generation.”
  • Sarah said, “My 1% better this week is using travel rewards to hack airplane tickets for round trip flights to St. Thomas, USVI in September. Only $30 for my husband and I to fly there and back!”
  • Jessica said, “I was hit with an overdraft fee (had the money just didn’t move it into the correct account in time!!) and happened to be listening to Episode 381 regarding overdraft fees. I didn’t even have to call my bank- I jumped on the online chat window and had the $60 overdraft fee back in my account within MINUTES! Thank you so much! I would have just been so frustrated with myself prior to listening to that episode but now I have an automatic transfer set up and didn’t need to spend $60 on that mistake. Whew! Thanks for all that you do- the ChooseFI podcast has changed my life in so many ways, with this being just one way that I can share!”
  • Spencer said, “I don’t spend very much money on clothes, cars or fancy dinners, but I have been recently spending more on experiences. A few weeks ago, I took my 5-year-old son fishing down in South Louisiana with a charter fishing guide. We caught 32 speckled trout + about another 15 that were too small to keep. The highlight of the trip was when my son and I each hooked a trout and reeled them in at the same time – 2 biggest fish of the day! My son had an absolute blast catching fish, riding in the boat, and hanging out with the captain. BONUS: when we went back the captain’s house to clean the fish, my son and I got to ride The Gator (which is a combo golf cart/4 wheeler) through the woods for 30 minutes, which was super fun. For $850, I got a lifelong memory with my son, a Gator ride + 2-gallon bags full of speckled trout filets. We fried some soon as we got home and it was the best fish I’ve ever tasted. Worth every penny.”

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