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FI Weekly – March 16, 2021

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. Disclosures.

Disrupting Higher Education

I’ve become a fan of The Hustle’s email newsletter for the variety of business stories and their post this week, “Google Goes After Higher Ed,” caught my eye. 

Last year, Google announced plans to offer certificate programs that would take the place of a college degree, for some roles, in their own notoriously difficult hiring process. The thought was that this would give cover to other companies to move away from requiring the general undergraduate degree as a prerequisite. 

In the modern economy, skills matter. If a degree helps you get those skills then wonderful. If you can get them from an online program for a fraction of the cost, then all the better. 

We’ve highlighted this with Jonathan and Bradley Rice’s Salesforce Challenge on Episode 297, where Anita went from a layoff to a six-figure career in a few short months, and we’ve long spoken about the ‘talent stack’ of skills you need to build to be uniquely employable in today’s economy. 

Inc.com updated us on Google’s plans this week and they are moving forward with: 

  • “The release of three new Google Career Certificates on Coursera in project management, data analytics, and user experience (UX) design 
  • A new Associate Android Developer Certification course 
  • Over 100,000 need-based scholarships 
  • Partnerships with more than 130 employers working with Google to hire graduates of its certificate program 
  • A new Google Search feature that makes it easier for people to find jobs for their education level, including no degree and no experience” 

This is a really big deal, and we all need to keep updated on the changing landscape. 

Naval on Happiness

I’ve mentioned Naval Ravikant numerous times in this newsletter as my favorite modern-day philosopher. I highly recommend the most recent episode of his eponymous ‘Naval’ podcast entitled ‘Happiness.’ This is the best 27 minutes of content consumption you’ll spend this entire month. A quote on the hedonic treadmill: 

Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. You start becoming disturbed because you want something and then you work really hard to get that thing and you’re miserable in the meantime. And then when you get that thing you actually revert to the state you were in before you had that thing. It’s not like you get to some blissful peak level that you stay on. There’s this delusion that there’s something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever. That is a complete delusion. No one thing seems to do that…we’re just talking about common-sense happiness – there’s no single permanent solution to it. Rather, it is a process of understanding. It is a process of self-discovery. It is a process of training yourself and seeing certain truths. If obtaining things were to permanently make us happy then…we should all be deliriously happy right now.” 

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Sarah said, “My 1% win is that my husband and I are finally finalizing our estate plans, which is long overdue (we’ve had our own plans, but needed to redraft to reflect our family unit). We are creating a comprehensive plan with wills, power of attorney, living wills, guardianship documents, etc. Well worth the price for the peace of mind.” 
  • Whitney said, “I downloaded the Barrett family cookbook to add some new affordable and yummy recipes to our weekly meal plan. We have a 3-month-old and I recently went back to work so it’s crucial that we have options at home to avoid take out temptation. So far, I have only made the slow cooker BBQ chicken, but my husband loved it and it has fed us for 3 days now! Can’t wait to try more. Beef chimichurri rice is up next!” 
  • Holly said, “Our 1% improvements this week: 1) changing our phone plan for a savings of $155/month 2) slashing $300-$400 off our grocery bill per month with a new plan, 3) using the FI calculators to determine some goals and decide when my husband can retire. Looks like FI is within reach in 3 years. Both my husband and I are stunned that this is actually possible and don’t quite believe it yet.” 
  • Wilson said, “I took the advice you’ve given many times and decided to check my insurance rates through Policygenius. I was surprised and was able to switch my auto, home, and umbrella insurance. I am saving about $800 for this year! I also refinanced my home again in February (after refinancing back in April 2020). In April 2020, I went from a 30 year 3.625% to a 15 year 2.5% with about $700 in closing costs. In Feb 2021, I got a rate reduction to 2.25% and actually GOT $2200 back at closing for my efforts.” 
  • Nathan said, “My 1% improvement has been celebrating the 1-year anniversary of introducing my young children to index investing. A year ago, my kids looked at the computer screen and wondered what the pretty pictures on Fidelity’s website meant. At the time, my kids were only 5 and 2-years-old. I opened UTMA accounts for each of them, with money being deposited each month into an S&P 500 index. They know where money comes from —- hard work —- and so we link that deposited money to their weekly chores. It’s been a year and the kids LOVE to check on their money. Next generation FI!” 
  • Stephanie said, “After a failed attempt at refinance last year, our Debt-to-Income Ratio recently improved enough due to a salary increase at the beginning of 2021, that this week we were able to close on a mortgage refinance, saving $577 per month! So not only did the well fought-for raise help our finances, it also allowed an additional $7K per year of cash flow from the refi that we can direct to a brokerage account to maximize the savings of our new 2.5% mortgage. Furthermore, the lighter monthly mortgage burden, just FEELS more freeing, less stressful, and can allow for future freedom of other work options and flexibility. Feels great!” 

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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. Disclosures.

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