The Essence of FI
I was listening to the All The Hacks podcast episode with Morgan Housel and the following quote from jumped out to me as the essence of the financial aspect of FI:
“I’ll leave you with one financial hack that might disappoint you, but it’s the only hack that works and it works incredibly well in finance. You want to do well with finance? Spend less money than you make and be patient. That’s 90% of what finance is, and if you can actually do those, you have a black belt in finance. It’s the only hack that I think really truly works in a way that moves the needle.”
It prompted me to reflect on what FI truly means to me. It certainly isn’t about being cheap, pinching pennies, or living a deprived life in any way.
It’s about finding value in everything you purchase, making intentional decisions, and taking action to make life better.
It’s about long-term thinking and the power of simplicity, compounding, and autonomy.
It’s about spending time with people you love, doing things that challenge, inspire, and energize you.
Simply put, the path to Financial Independence is the road to freedom and a better life.
But make no mistake, it takes dedication and action over a period of years.
Perspective: The Tail End
The blog ‘Wait But Why’ by Tim Urban is one of the most profound on the internet, and the post entitled “The Tail End” is the one I reference whenever I’m looking for some perspective on life and the time we have left with the people we love.
As a parent of a teenager, it’s sobering to think that, as Tim said, “It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end.”
But it also makes you value time with the people you love that much more.
If a video of this concept of The Tail End is more your thing, this one called “What Are You Doing With Your Life? The Tail End” has over 5 million views and is well worth your time.
ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week
- Sean said, “Hi Brad! After 4 years on the FI journey my wife and I reached our first $100K in investment accounts! Because I use Personal Capital to track our accounts, our milestone was capped off with the infamous Personal Capital Financial Advisor call. Our 1% better was to celebrate this milestone and reflect on our hard work to get here. It’s amazing that it all started back in 2017 when I contributed just under $200 per month to my TSP account, then slowly ramped up. Today, my wife and I both max our Roth IRAs, I max my company HSA and 401(k) with a 9% match, and my wife just started contributing to her 401(k). It starts slow, but it gets rolling quick if you keep making 1% improvements!”
- Dana said, “This may seem very basic, but I went out for a happy hour with a friend on Monday and ordered a diet coke and shared a snack costing me $11.50 including tax and tip rather than the old me who would have ordered a few cocktails and whatever else and easily spent $40-50. You can still have fun, see your friends and go out while working toward FI. And your health will thank you as well for cutting down on the cocktails! 🙂 Additionally, my husband spent the past couple months going through our credit and debit accounts and cancelling all the subscriptions that we didn’t use enough to justify a monthly cost and then shopped around our insurance and internet bills. All said and done we have cut our monthly expenses by about $300! Then, after all that, we opened a rewards credit card account and are putting all our expenses on there and paying off each month to help fund our travels. Thanks for all the inspiration!”
- Isaac said, “Our 1% better has been listing our 2nd car on Turo. I work from home full time and my wife’s a full time SAHM. We own two, fully paid off cars (an Accord and an Odyssey), but with how little driving I do now with no commute, it didn’t feel like it made sense to have both cars. A friend in the wedding industry suggested we list my car (the Accord) on Turo as with things reopening and people traveling again, rental car companies can’t keep up with demand. We live very close to the regional airport too, so it made perfect sense. I’ve only had the car listed for about a month and already I’m set to make $1000 through rentals!”
- Pradeep said, “I sold my 2nd car (SUV) for which I was paying $600 including insurance. Sold the car for a bit more than what I paid for it 2 years ago when I bought brand new. Cancelled whole life policies and started term life for the same amount saving almost $550 monthly. Now putting that towards my credit card payments and I will be credit card debt free in next 4 months. Thanks for the wonderful tips.”
- Javen said, “My 1% better over the past couple months: We have Lime scooters in my city and I signed up to be one of the “juicers” (people who charge the scooters). I spend about 10-15 minutes each night picking them up somewhere in the neighborhood, charge them overnight, and then spend another 10-15 minutes in the morning putting them back out on the streets. When there are scooters available and I’ve got the time, I also charge scooters during the day. I’ve made about $1,200 over the past two months with only a negligible investment of time and energy. It feels like free money!”
- Miranda said, “My 1% better is signing a new 20-year term life policy today. The coverage amount and contract terms are the same, but since I am starting a new policy, I have gained an additional 5 years of coverage for $394 less per year by shopping around! This basically cuts my premium in half! Since we are in our 30s and healthy, I’ll be referring my husband so he can get a better rate as well and get a referral bonus in the process! Yay! Thanks for inspiring me to get better 🙂