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July 18, 2023: FI Community’s Money Rules, What I’m Reading & Watching

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.

FI Community’s Money Rules

In last week’s newsletter I linked to a Ramit Sethi post about his ten ‘Money Rules’ and then asked you to respond with some of your money rules.

Here are some of the amazing responses you sent in (this is a longer newsletter today because I wanted to include so many of these emails):

·  Alison’s money rules: “1) Save & invest 50% the second my paycheck hits my account 2) Always have 3 months emergency cash fund 3) Any purchase is always bought in full 4) It’s always worth paying more for a direct flight 5) Vacations are not the time to worry about money 6) Don’t buy a salad at a burger restaurant 7) Don’t loan anything out that you want to have back 8) Talk about investing and savings to anyone who will listen! 9) When you’ve decided to spend, spend without guilt 10) Only buy second hand clothing (this one is more for the planet)

·  Rachel’s money rule: “Like so many FI’ers, I had a hard time overcoming the guilt of spending after so many years dedicated to saving. A few years ago, I came up with a solution that flipped the mental switch for me. Each year I choose 10 charities that have personal meaning to me. I set up monthly donations to each of these charities that, over the course of the year, equal 5% of my previous year’s spend. Example – If our family had $60K in expenses last year, I will be donating a total of $1,200 to these charities ($100 per month spread over 10 charities). I LOVE IT!!! Each year I have the pleasure of picking my 10 charities. I try to touch upon a wide range of issues with my selections: animal welfare, a local park I frequent often, our city’s food kitchen, Doctors Without Borders, women’s rights and issues, environment, etc. I consider this to be my “indulgence tax” and derive great joy from putting my wealth and good fortune to work for others.”

·  Jenny’s money rule: “A Money Rule I always follow is: when going to the theatre, always spend money on “good” seats. For me, that’s either center orchestra, (or stalls on West End) or first/second row mezzanine. No nosebleeds for me when it comes to musicals!”

·  Don’s money rules: “1) Have 2+ forms of income 2) Invest first > spend remainder 3) Understand how to use assets strategically in case of emergencies 4) Determine what makes you happy and spend on it 5) Eating healthy costs less in the long run 6) No limit for health and education 7) Be able to pick up the tab with friends and family 8) Marry once and marry proper 9) Understand what matters most to the spouse and make sure they are able to do that 10) Think long term with money and move on to living in the moment

· Sean’s money rule: “Money rule for flights: My rule is cross an ocean, get business class! East coast to west coast is about 4 to 5 hours to me and that is not worthwhile. Most of the time you get a big recliner and not a lay flat to allow for sleep. But transoceanic flights are longer, on better equipped aircraft, and those are worth business or first but on award travel (points/miles). Have used this for travel US to Spain, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Fiji, New Zealand, and Hawaii. All with miles.”

·  Michael’s money rules: “A few of my personal “spending for happiness” rules: Whenever I fly somewhere as a digital nomad for more than a week, I will always book one-way flights because it makes room for serendipity and often results in more efficient travel. For longer travel it typically makes little sense to fly into and out of the same city and it unnecessarily constrains you into leaving a place before you really want to. One-way flights tend to be more expensive than round trip fares but the flexibility that it offers is well worth it for me. Never go out of your way to get cheaper gasoline. The price difference between cheap and expensive gas stations for a gallon of gas is often $0.10 or less. For the 10 gallon tank in my car that difference in price is often less than a dollar – hardly worth stressing over.”

·  Tony’s money rule: “One thing I never compromise on is comfortable footwear, especially when it comes to working out, running, or daily wear. $200 pair of running shoes every 6 months? No problem. $15 pair of dri fit socks? Absolutely. $75 pair flip flops to wear every day in the summer? Yes please. All you need is a blister, or bad knees/hips/back and you’ll be more than willing to spend on what works.”

·  Andrea’s money rules: “The things we guilt free spend on are health. Gym membership with childcare, therapy, going to the doctor (which may sound normal but we wouldn’t go before unless we needed to, now we’re focusing on preventative care and checkups). And on the same page of health is food. Lastly is books for my kids. We utilize the library a lot, but my oldest is starting to read and every time he finishes a new book I’ll take him to Barnes and Noble after school to pick out a couple new books. I don’t even bat an eye at cost, because if my kid is excited to read it’s worth whatever tag price.”

·  Rebecca’s money rules: “1) Sometimes it is worth it to “buy time” (E.g. driving in the fast lane with a toll, paying for the fast train, taxi instead of bus etc). 2) Money should buy happiness. If it doesn’t, you are using it wrong. 3) Shop around for a good deal and but don’t get stuck in “analysis-paralysis”.”

What I’m Reading & Watching This Week

Here’s a list of 4 items I came across this week that I think are worth your while:

·  A ‘Retirement Readiness Checklist’ by Christine Benz from Morningstar (link)

·  Dr. Peter Attia created video tutorials for 7 items of movement, mobility, and balance he considers fundamental (link)

·  First video that gave me full body chills this week (be sure to read the description below the video first): “Beautiful Moment as Crowd Helps Lewis Capaldi Get Through Song” (link)

·  Second video that gave me chills (be patient and watch this to the end!): Best commercial ever? (link)

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Leah said, “My win of the week is getting a new job and increasing my overall compensation by 40%! I decided to search around after being underpaid in accordance with salary standards in my profession and having my current job’s leadership team decline to increase my pay after multiple discussions. I negotiated the job offer with tools I learned from your podcast (Brad’s note:  Episodes 147 and 211 are loaded with actionable advice on negotiating salary). Along with increased pay, the commute is much shorter and I get more time off. Thank you to your podcast for giving me the tools to negotiate a higher salary and for getting me so much closer to FI.”
  • Kelsey said, “Hey Brad, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but my 1% better is buying things on Prime Day. Hear me out, I’m a big spender, and love a good impulse buy… but that wasn’t my approach this year. Instead, knowing it was coming, any purchase I needed to buy but could wait I’ve been watching for the past month or so. My son’s carseat, my husband’s earbuds (replacing the 7 year old pair that finally gave in), the sheets for our guest bed we recently added, all things that I would’ve bought anyways, I chose to wait and watch, and ended up getting for >50% off.”
  • Annemarie said, “My 1% better this week: moving iPad charging location to the basement. This absurdly miniscule change has drastically improved my sleep habits! The temptation to read or mindlessly browse at bedtime is much tempered by the friction of having to put my shoes on, go downstairs, and retrieve it. I have gained on average an hour of sleep per night.”
  • Jackie said, “My 1 percent was to do a year end review on the anniversary of my job change from long term care pharmacy back to community pharmacy. My biggest win was to decide to greatly increase my charitable giving by donating to a local community group with each paycheck.
  • Bill said, “My 1% better this week is getting a realtor and starting the hunt for rental properties. With our home paid off what we are searching for now is to replace cash flow. We have always lived below our means so it will come much easier than others.”
  • Danielle said, “My 1% better this week comes from using your advice to book my airline travel with Southwest points. I booked a round trip flight a few weeks ago using my Southwest points to visit a friend. Both of our lives have had a lot going on in the last month and we decided to reschedule our multi day visit for a later time this year. I was able to cancel my round trip flight and 100% of the points as well as the taxes and fees were refunded back into my account. That feeling of not losing any money due to a trip cancellation is such a high.”
  • Rex said, “My family supports our local Zoo and Natural History Museum. One of those was up for renewal and I was looking through the benefits of being a member. It turns out that Zoos and Museums often belong to reciprocity associations giving you free entry or discounted entry and other places belonging to the association that are outside your local area. We are going to Santa Barbara, CA in a couple of weeks and will be getting into their Natural History Museum, Aquarium and Moxi Science Center for free and the Zoo at 50% off!”

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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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