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July 4, 2023: Financial Independence Celebration, Jill’s Story of Taking Action and Community Wins

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.

Financial Independence Celebration

On this July 4th – Independence Day here in the US — I want to celebrate you and your pursuit of Financial Independence.

Even though we number in the millions worldwide, we are still a relatively small and surprisingly misunderstood community.

There is this caricature that we are misers and not enjoying life and just living for tomorrow. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a community of people trying to live their best lives and pursue lives of freedom, autonomy, and purpose.

But in order to get beyond the caricature you needed to listen/read with an open mind and realize how life-changing FI could be for you and your life.

And how easy it could be to take small actions to make your life better 1% at a time.

Every path to FI looks a little bit different, but it all comes back to getting up off the couch and taking action to make your life better.

I want to thank you for being part of the ChooseFI community and for subscribing to the newsletter. It means a lot to me.

Here are some community members who wrote in with wins of all types:

Jill’s Story of Taking Action

Jill wrote in:

“Thank you for all of the excellent information you provide. I have been listening for a few months at least now and I am thrilled to tell you that my life is changing in great ways!!

First thing I did after diving into listening to many episodes, was to sign up for Kubera. You talked about it on an episode I believe so I checked it out. I think it’s great and like the idea that my information is protected. I get a daily update which helps me have a better handle on our finances. I don’t obsess about it but I feel more in touch also.

Next, I did the 25x our annual expenses calculation. Much to my surprise, we are at FI according to this rough calculation! My husband and I are 56 so we have been working, saving and investing but we have done a better job that I thought. That’s a funny thing to say. What I credit you with and thank you for is helping me to sit down and look at our financial picture in an accessible way. I have just been going along working and saving – convinced that we do not have enough to retire on. My husband is a ‘there’s always enough’ and I’m a ‘never sure there’s enough’ person which, as you may imagine, leads to conflict. Having a clearer financial picture and understanding of a goal has brought into focus that I can ease up! Maybe I won’t see 10 clients a day when I thought 6 would have me earning a sufficient salary and 4 clients is actually optimum for my happiness. I do still need to work on this ….

I did add in a fun activity for myself. I rode horses as a kid and have always wanted to get back into it but didn’t. Yep, you guessed it – $$ thing. After listening to you talk about spending strategically, the 4,000 Weeks book (which I still want to read) and Die with Zero (which I did read), I took the plunge.

I started riding again!! What a joy it was to reconnect with horses which I love and reconnecting with the happiness riding brought me as a younger person. I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer – and perhaps have it be too long if I were to become physically unable to do this. And, I have the knowledge that this expense will not break the bank. We can afford for me to spend the money I/we earn in this manner. Thank you.

Is that it you ask? Nope! I fired our financial planner after looking at the returns our money has made with her vs. what the same money would have earned in VTSAX over a 10 year period. I was sick about it for a day (and still can berate myself if allowed which I try very hard not to do!!) and then I emailed her to let her know we no longer needed her services. I can do this. Thank you!

Independence Day has an added meaning for our family this year and it comes via you & the FI community. One final, Thank You! I hope you and your family are enjoying this holiday, perhaps on a roller coaster somewhere 🙂

My best to you,


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Danielle said, “My 1% better this is week is depositing my extra paycheck into my high yield savings account. I am a nurse and I get paid every two weeks. Since there were three paydays in June, as soon as that third paycheck was direct deposited into my checking account this morning, I immediately transferred it into my high yield savings account. I am at the beginning of my FI journey so I’m currently working on rebuilding this savings account which houses my emergency fund.”
  • Joe said, “My 1% better is booking a trip across the country for my wife, daughter and myself; we only spent $22.40 on airfare (taxes and fees). We did this using points for me, my Companion Pass for my wife, and our daughter is a lap infant so she rides for free. The cash rate for this trip would have been $1,344, plus the taxes and fees we already paid! We are flying to Florida to meet with some friends and family then drive up the coast stopping at various places in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina along the way to see if they would make a good home. We live in a high cost of living area and are hoping to make a relocation for a cheaper cost of living to make our FI journey and lifestyle even more fruitful. I also booked our rental car via Southwest so I have already earned more points for our next trip. ChooseFI taught me about travel rewards and I couldn’t be happier I found the podcast!”
  • Meg said, “My 1% better is that I finally got my husband on board with working towards financial independence. I have been talking to him about it for a few years, but he never seemed too excited until a recent short vacation. We both noticed how much more relaxed and calmer he felt. Luckily for him I have been maxing out our retirement accounts for the last several years. We are both 51 and I think we can make this happen in the next 3-4 years. He has been listening to episodes of ChooseFI and reading The Simple Path to Wealth and is excited about being able to transition to part time work in the next few years!
  • AV said, “June represented a three paycheck month for me, so my 1% better was putting 85% of that “extra” paycheck toward my mortgage principal. I still have decades to go on my mortgage, but seeing that principal balance drop slightly was immensely satisfying. And could I have contributed 100% of that paycheck? Absolutely. But I’ve come to realize that keeping aside a portion to make occasional small “splurges” helps me stay more focused on this journey long term.
  • Kari said, “My 1% better was making automatic saving transfers feel invisible so I’m not tempted to cancel them when I go overboard on spending. I used to have all of my paycheck money directly deposited to my main bank account and then monthly recurring automatic transfers set up to different savings and brokerage accounts came out of that account. I found myself skipping transfers when my spending got out of hand (because the money was already there, might as well keep it) and thereby seriously stalling my savings goals. So I opened an online savings account with Ally, changed my direct deposit form to deposit the total amount of all of my automated transfers to that account, and updated my transfers accordingly. Now I’m never tempted to go in and cancel or skip those withdraws. My spending focus is still on my main checking account.
  • Nate said, “This week my 1% better has been finishing my first week of marathon training. Doesn’t sound like much but I injured myself the last time I did a marathon and getting back on the horse slowly without injuring myself is my goal this time!”

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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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