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FI Weekly – March 8, 2022: Spring Decluttering and Community Success Stories


Spring Decluttering

On the ChooseFI website we just published “7 Decluttering Tips to Organize Your Life” as part of our March ‘Spring Cleaning’ month, and I really recommend you check it out.

I get intense psychological satisfaction from decluttering and turning a room into an “oasis” that’s free of clutter, so this article speaks to my soul.

Laura and I got started decluttering our living room in an effort to turn this room, which is normally a source of stress, into one that is actually enjoyable to spend time in.

Community Success Stories

My favorite part about the FI Weekly is reading the emails you all send me each week as they are loaded with amazing success stories, questions, suggestions and actions you’ve taken to make your lives better.

I’m thrilled when I get emails that are so good that I want to copy and paste them into my next newsletter.  Here are two:

Asking For a Raise:

Sarah wrote in:

“Last year I listened to several ChooseFI podcasts about asking for a raise. I did the salary research, reviewed my accomplishments, and in October, I finally mustered the courage to ask for 15 – 20% more. (When I told people close to me that I was doing this, many of them were surprised at how much I was asking for. I would not have had the confidence to ask for this much if not for reading about others’ stories in this newsletter asking for this much or more.)

My boss filed a formal “grievance request” on my behalf with HR (side note: I find it hilarious this is what my company calls asking for a raise). When he got back to me, it was with the news that they could not give me any raise at that time, but I could try applying for promotions to get potentially 10-12% more. I figured I gave it my best shot, and let it go.

Fast forward to March, and my boss tells me there’s been an HR investigation into salaries, and they’re awarding 15% raises to top performers, myself included! I know that asking for a raise back in October put me in the best position to receive this, and I can’t help thinking it may have contributed to the investigation as well, helping other people to get paid fairly.

Thank you so much for providing the resources that planted the seed in my mind to ask for more!”

A New Career and a Better Life:

Brandi wrote:

“I owe you guys a HUGE thank you. A year ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers with a third baby on the way, and my husband was working as a higher-level manager for the same company he’d been with for 5 years. Every summer during the busy sales season his workload would quadruple and it was like I’d see the light of his soul go out for 6 months at a time. His mental health always took a back seat, and although he’s an incredible husband and dad and always made sure to be physically present during those times, he couldn’t be mentally present. We’ve talked about him quitting each year when summer time rolls around, but it’s been hard jumping into the unknown.

WELL, a year ago I heard Anita’s episode 297 on Salesforce and thought it sounded awesome, but literally forwarded it to my brother saying “this sounds like a great opportunity, but I’m not sure if it’ll fit with my lifestyle right now.” Instead of keeping that mindset I decided there was no downside to looking into it. I ended up getting certified and landing a job last summer, essentially doubling our household income (since I was a stay-at-home mom prior). I still get to stay home with my kids, but I now have a job that I love and am flourishing in.

Of course, summer is getting closer and my husband was dreading the start of his busy season for work. He had a few weeks of heavy depression (which is not his norm – it was completely from the stress of work). We had a conversation about what we wanted our life to look like, and how we’re in a great position to design our life. The next Monday he put in his notice and he’s officially quitting and starting his own business!!

I am SO excited for this next adventure. Since our expenses are taken care of with my income (even with maxing out my 401k) he’ll have time to build up the business without feeling the stress of needing to pay for expenses. We seriously wouldn’t have even thought making these kinds of decisions were possible if we didn’t start listening to your podcast. I love how you talk about being smart with money, but more importantly smart in a way that allows you to prioritize what’s important for you and building a life you want.

Thank you, thank you!!”

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Wendy said, “1%? I have a change that doesn’t feel like I can put a number on it. After 30 years, yes 30 years, I have finally paid off all $125k of my student loans! I cried. The immense sense of relief and knowing that dark cloud on my life was gone forever brought me to tears. Why did it take so long? I took out both undergraduate and graduate school loans, used forbearance option multiple times, deferred payments for a long time while I had kids and cancer, didn’t budget to focus on my loan repayment for many years and paid the minimum due so I could try to live like I didn’t have them. I have worked full-time without stopping for more than 6 weeks. This has hung over my entire adult life. Thanks to the ChooseFI show and honestly, the Borrowed Future podcast, I became fired about accelerating my repayment the past 3 years and made huge strides quickly once I put focus on them. I listen to the podcast frequently and wanted to experience that sense of freedom for myself that everyone talked about. As a PSA, don’t burden yourself with student loans, it’s not worth the mental cost. Be accountable and focus on quick repayment if you already have them. It’s worth it to feel alive again!”
  • Amy said, “My recent win was redeeming Chase Sapphire Reserve travel reward points for the first time. My family of 5 is traveling to Portugal for 8 days, and the total cost of airfare and lodging is $450 out of pocket – just $90 per person for this amazing vacation. Thanks to Choose FI Travel Rewards 101 for showing how to keep my travel dreams alive while pursuing financial independence!”
  • Liz said, “I refinanced my student loans! I never thought taking out a loan would be something I looked forward to, but I had taken advantage of the 0% interest rate to pay down my federal loans from $256,000 to $182,000. This week I just signed the paperwork to refinance the remaining balance, locking in an interest rate of 3.5% from the original 7% interest rate. This will save me thousands of dollars in interest, and speed my payoff goal from 5 years to 3 years. I could not have done it without the knowledge and motivation received from this podcast.”
  • Sam said, “Our 1%: I want to thank Laura (Brad’s wife) for her wonderful cookbook. Each January we go on a financial “fast” trying to spend as little as possible. We reset our credit cards (nice way to discover those little subscriptions that we forget about) and generally try to only buy needs. Part of this year’s practice was having “frugal meals.” Each night my wife would cook one of the meals and part of the conversation included the kids (11, 8, 4) guessing how much per person the meal cost. They LOVED it (the meal and the games) and we not only saved a LOT on groceries, but we also came closer as a family. Thanks for helping this year’s financial fast to be a success!”
  • José Manuel said, “First time I’m writing! From Chile actually! While listening to the last episode sharing the outdoor experience and call to action, my head afterward started to link it with what you mentioned regarding community during the episode I want this to be my 1%, I want to engage with more of my neighbors and grow the feeling of community of all us. I believe this will make my family and myself better off. To be more present in our space, not the meta one…”
  • Cindy said, “My 1% better this week started with reading your latest newsletter which led me to episodes 364/365. As promised, they’re pretty darn good! After listening and feeling super motivated, I took action and transferred 10k that was just sitting in savings into an I bond. I feel better knowing at least some of my cash won’t lose its value over this unknown period of inflation.”

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