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FI Weekly – June 29, 2021

Take Action

The main reason ChooseFI exists is to inspire you to take action to make your life better. Small changes compound to something significant, and you’ll be amazed how wonderful it feels to get started taking control of your life!

A friend of mine recently found the FI Community, and he asked for ideas he could implement today to get started with some quick but significant wins.

Here are the items we talked about for huge impact, but minimal effort (and this represents a small fraction of easy things YOU can do no matter where you are on the Path to FI):

  • Look into refinancing your mortgage. Admittedly this isn’t minimal effort to complete, but getting a quote is nearly effortless and you potentially could save hundreds of dollars every month in mortgage payments.
  • Change your cell phone carrier to either Mint Mobile or Republic Wireless. If you’re still with a legacy carrier, this can be a massive savings every month!
  • Open an investment account at a place like Vanguard or M1 Finance. My friend thought he needed to wait until he had $3,000 to invest in the VTSAX mutual fund, but I told him about the exchange-traded fund symbol VTI which is nearly identical and can be bought at the time I’m writing this for $222 per share (or fractions thereof).
  • Look through your credit card statements and find recurring subscriptions you aren’t using and cancel them for good.
  • Review your insurance policies and get a new quote on each policy you carry (car, homeowner’s/renter’s, life, etc.)
  • Find out what your company 401k match is and make sure you’re contributing enough to get the entire match (free money that’s part of your salary!)

Life Hack for Better Sleep

Andrew Huberman, a Stanford School of Medicine neurobiology and ophthalmology professor hosts the in-depth ‘Huberman Lab’ podcast on all things health optimization and on the recent episode entitled, “The Science of Vision, Eye Health & Seeing Better,” he was adamant about a simple life hack to dramatically improve your sleep. I thought this was important enough to pass along verbatim:

“If you are not viewing the sun, sunlight, even through cloud cover, for 2 to 10 minutes in the early part of the day when the sun is still low in the sky and doing the same thing again in the evening you are severely disrupting your sleep rhythms, your mood, your hormones, your metabolism, your pain threshold, and many other factors including your ability to learn and remember information.

The most central and important aspect of our biology, and perhaps our psychology as well, is to anchor ourselves in time, to know when we exist…and we don’t know time as a real thing because of watches and clocks. We know time at a biological level based on where the sun is.”

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Dave said, “My wife and I have been working towards FI by knocking out debt and upping our investments over the last few years, and you all have been a great inspiration to us. However, there was still one more kink in the chain that I was holding onto because of analysis paralysis – my CAR LOAN! I am a car guy and this was a sports car that I really enjoyed, but I knew the payment was the last thing holding us back. Last weekend, after months of research and going back and forth, I finally traded it in for a reasonable daily driver car. And the best part was – I MADE $5,000 selling the car due to used car costs being so high right now. I don’t regret the move at all and feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. We can now focus our money towards investing and earning interest vs. paying a loan and losing interest. We are pumped to finally have that last financial anchor gone!!!”
  • Spiros said, “My 1% better is moving to a smaller, cheaper, less fancy apartment. My lease here in San Francisco is ending soon. I discovered ChooseFI just in time to stop myself from unnecessarily upgrading to an apartment that would cost me $600/mo more than my current one. Instead I’m downsizing to one that’s gonna cost me $600/mo less than my current one! I just signed the lease 🙂 Thank you for everything that y’all do! In addition to listening to the podcast, I’m also working through your free FI 101 and Travel rewards courses.”
  • Rebekah said, “My wife & I went to the Atlanta Choose FI meet-up on Thursday (Brad note: ChooseFI Local Groups meetups are back!) and made new friends! We have a double date next weekend with a couple we met there! Also, I am on day NINE drinking coffee from home instead of coffee shops!
  • Emily said, “I was recently inspired by some old episodes and other members of the community writing in about renegotiating their internet/cable packages, so I decided to do the same! I currently have Verizon Fios, but I found that Xfinity would offer me the same package for $300 less per year! I also opted to use my own cable modem to save $15/month and decided to do self-install to save the $40 installation fee. When the equipment arrived, I couldn’t get the self-installation to work. I called Xfinity and learned it would be $100 for them to send a tech to my apartment to troubleshoot the issue. I was first able to negotiate down to $70 for the service, but I was still really bummed by how much that would eat into my $300 savings. I told the representative that the $70 fee really didn’t make switching worth it and I asked if they had any sort of retention offer available to waive it. And indeed they did! She was able to waive the service fee completely, and a tech was able to get everything running smoothly. Now to invest that $300 savings!! Thanks so much for keeping us all inspired to get 1% better!”
  • Gary said, “What I did to make my life 1% better this week was to create M1 accounts for my kids. They are 7 and for the past year they have gotten $1 a week in “allowance”. They save 50% into a jar. We took that plus other money they’ve gotten from garage sales, birthdays, tooth fairy and invested it. I created their M1 accounts and explained to them what a stock is and in buying a stock you own part of that company. Also emphasizing investing in index funds. I asked them if they want to own all the companies in the US or the 500 biggest. They each picked different ones which we set at around 90% of their Pies. They went through a list of individual stocks and picked 5. This was fun. I learned more about M1 and they learned about investing Pies and investing/saving 50% of their income. As time goes on they will be excited to see their money grow instead of doing nothing in a glass jar.”

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