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FI Weekly – June 13, 2023: A Year of Wins, Get Involved with ChooseFI, 7 Simple Money Rules

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.

A Year’s Worth of Wins

We call ChooseFI the ‘ultimate crowdsourced personal finance show’ for a reason: You, the community, continue to send in remarkable details of the actions you’re taking to transform your lives.

Seeing these wins further emboldens other members of the community to take action and it’s a positive feedback loop.

Here’s an email from Eric that just came in:

“I can’t answer the ‘what I did last week’ question very well, but I can answer what I’ve done over the past year. FYI, I was never “bad” with money, but I never cared about it and didn’t truly understand the power it has to change your life. When I was younger, I never needed much, but I spent freely and saved the typical 5-10% like a chump.

Here are my hot takes from the last year:

– I turned 35 last May and decided that was a line in the sand for my family’s FI starting point.

– We started to track all spending and calculated we were at about $330,000 net worth, which includes the equity in our house.

– We sold my car and a side by side. Both were paid off and nice, but not adding value.

– I now mostly work from home and drive our family van or bike when necessary.

– I received a decent raise at work I was able to put into investments.

– We restructured spending and made a lot of lifestyle changes that allowed us to increase savings.

– We were able to increase our net worth in one year from $330,000 to $385,000 (some of this was market changes)

– We are targeting a 44% savings rate for calendar year 2023…. this is on a single 5-figure income with three young children! We believe the final savings rate will be more than double what we were saving as a dual income household.

– We’re tracking our actual investment amounts/percents so we understand actual money invested rather than focusing on the ups and downs of the market, and I’m trying to build our emergency fund to cover at least 1 year of expenses. This last point may seem like overkill to some, but I have it in a high yield account (4.5%) and when you’re a single income household with kids’ money concerns are amplified.

When your email offered up a chance to respond with a reply, I couldn’t help myself. Thank you and thank you to the greater FI community!

Eric”

Your Feedback, Questions, Wins and Voicemails

Like I mentioned above, this is truly a crowdsourced community, and it only thrives when you get involved.

Jonathan and I are currently working to make our website more open to feature your success stories and 1% better wins, so expect some news from me on that front in the coming weeks!

I’m also going to record video answers to some of the questions I receive from you each week to post on the website.

All of that to say, now more than ever I need you to keep sending in your:

  • 1% better actions and wins
  • Longer success stories (like Eric’s above)
  • Questions you want me to answer
  • Voicemails that I can feature on the podcast

This community grows best by word of mouth, so I always greatly appreciate you spreading the word about ChooseFI to family and friends and if you have 2 minutes, it would be amazing if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice, as this helps us significantly.

7 Simple Money Rules

I feature Brian Feroldi regularly here in the FI Weekly because the content he puts out on Twitter is truly world-class.

This week he posted yet another amazing Twitter thread of “7 ridiculously simple money rules (that actually build wealth)” that I think you should click through and read.

Brian’s 7 simple rules:

1: The Tracking Rule
2: The Employer Match Rule
3: The Automation Rule
4: The 3-Day Rule
5: The 2X Rule
6: The 50% Rule
7: The Net Worth Rule

I especially liked the automation rule (I automate my entire financial life as much as possible) and the 3-day rule for holding off on impulse purchases for 72 hours.


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Erin said, “My 1% better is thanks to one of your previous Weekly Update emails. Reading about the high yield savings accounts at CIT made me investigate our savings account. Our emergency fund is rarely looked at or touched, so I don’t often go into that account. I was horrified to find out that it was making $7/month in a Capital One account. I switched over to CIT Bank in April and in May alone it earned $148. So yearly we’ll be earning approximately $1776 now vs the $84 interest it had been earning. I’m actually embarrassed that we didn’t catch this sooner and do something about it sooner, but better late than never.
  • Suzanne said, “We are flying a great deal this year between my daughter to/from college and various family trips, etc. I’ve calculated that we are taking 41 one-way trips combined so far all on points. (one-way meaning one leg of a trip per person). I have plenty of points left for several more trips this year.”
  • Brock said, “My 1% better is a lot of small things! I picked up The Simple Path to Wealth from my library, signed up for a travel rewards card and got the points bonus, went to a ChooseFI local meetup, and donated to a cause important to me to help younger professionals!”
  • Andy said, “Every time I think I’ve got things figured out, you toss out an idea to make things 1% better. May is going to be our family’s first Red X month. We are going to England and Wales for 3 weeks with our 3 kids, then Iceland for a week. I thought everything was ready to rock, until today’s FI Weekly made me think about debit cards. I have plenty of 0% foreign transaction fee credit cards, but hadn’t ever thought about the debit card. I called my bank (USAA) and they have a 1% fee on debit transactions. I love USAA for everything else, but it looks like they will be my stateside bank and Charles Schwab will take care of us overseas. I should have my new debit card in the mail in 5 business days! Really looking forward to our first Red X month and my three kids’ (7 yo twins and 4 yo) first international trip. “
  • Anne said, “My 1% better this week is actually my teenage son’s 1% better. After six months of running the college application gauntlet, he chose a local university that was free over a beloved across the county choice that, even with generous scholarship, was still $45,000 per year. Saving $180,000 is a future changer for both him and our family.”
  • Lisa said, “My 1% better is that I recently cut my housing costs by over 50% by moving into a bit of a crummy basement suite. Because of this I have started saving $400 a paycheck towards a future down payment. I don’t know if the market will allow me to buy or if I will actually be able to commit to a city long enough but I figure if I don’t start saving it will truly never happen.”

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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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