Community Feedback and Tips
1) Paul wrote in and I wanted to share since the quotes he posts daily to Instagram are really profound. I’ve bookmarked his account and I suggest you do as well:
Love reading these emails. It’s a gentle reminder to keep motivated. The luck surface area note (from last week’s FI Weekly newsletter) is great. I haven’t heard that term before. But the sentiment is true. You have to be ready.
A way to keep myself personally on track, I’ve been posting a quote every day on an Instagram account I created. I post myself every morning. Helps keep me grounded. I’ve been saving quotes for years and planning to give them to my daughters when they get older. But figured, I’d post them and share the account with them and anyone else who happens to come across them.
I tell you this because I think the quote I posted today lined up with the luck surface area.
“The unprepared mind cannot see the outstretched hand of opportunity.” – Sir Alexander Fleming
2) Russell then wrote in with info on a program I hadn’t previously heard about:
“I’ve been meaning to write with my ‘1 percent better’ for a while and this week’s newsletter has pushed me to finally do so because you included the Challenging Your Thinking section about home ownership. And while I agree with both of the articles you shared, after a lot of thought, my wife and I decided to buy a home last October.
A huge contributor for us to be able to afford a home at that time is that we worked with a non-profit called NACA, or Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. Their goal is to make home ownership an affordable reality for low- and moderate-income earners. Some of the major benefits are: no down payment, no closing costs, and a below market interest rate. In fact, our interest rate is 1% lower than the market at the time coming in at 1.865%. So our 1% better for last year will actually be 1% better for 30 years.
The main reason I’m writing is because I’ve barely seen or heard anything about NACA and if I hadn’t stumbled upon someone else’s recommendation on Reddit, we would have had to continue saving for a larger down payment while trying to keep up with the rising prices of homes. NACA saved us lots of money at closing, and it will continue to save us money on interest, as well as the money I was able to invest instead of paying 20% down on the home. I know the program isn’t for everyone, but I think a lot of people in this community would benefit from it, and I even think it could be worth it’s own episode on the podcast.
Also, give a thank-you to Laura for us as we’ve been making our way through her free cookbook. We’ve made 5 or 6 so far and they’ve all been hits so it’s going to get lots of use in our house.
3) Sarah’s suggestion for documenting memories is one we’re going to try:
“I just listened to the episode about ‘Bold Moves’ and Brad was saying he doesn’t take pictures often so it would be difficult for him to go back and review his macro and micro moments of the year. Our family have been doing something similar for a few years and it might be a great solution for him.
We keep a glass jar out in our living room that has a pen and paper squares in it. Whenever we have a special moment whether it’s a fantastic camping trip or a snuggle session in a hammock. Then one of us can write about that moment and date it, then put it back in the jar.
On New Year’s Eve we read back all the moments as a family. We have such a great time recalling these memories and laughing about funny things that happened.”
NFT Beginner’s Guide Podcasts
It’s no secret that I think the new world of Web3 and NFTs will revolutionize how we think about digital ownership and scarcity, as well as communities online.
That said, I don’t think much of what passes for NFTs today would be anything close to an investment, and 99% of what currently exists will go to $0.
It’s important we all learn about this emerging technology and have a mental framework for how to think through it and because of that, I joined Dominick Quartuccio and Bryan Stacy on the ‘Great Man Within’ podcast for a 2-part series that I’d highly recommend:
- NFTs: A 101 Beginner’s Guide with Brad Barrett (Part 1 of 2)
- NFTs: A 101 Beginner’s Guide with Brad Barrett (Part 2 of 2)
ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week
- Faith said, “Our family of 4 is going to Universal Studios Orlando for 5 nights for our first real vacation! I have already booked the room and bought our 5-day passes for the parks. So far everything has been covered in full by travel rewards and I am anticipating the plane tickets to be $400, or less. We were hesitant to get credit cards because we have a history of carrying debt – but we are saving thousands of dollars on this trip and pay our cards in full every month! Thank you for your podcast, I am so happy that I found it. The information you and Jonathan provide has been life changing!”
- Whitney said, “I filed my taxes early this year and for the first time ever (nerd alert) was actually excited about doing so! Numerous episodes of the podcast inspired me to pay closer attention to my paychecks and marginal tax bracket. I modified my investment strategy around reducing my taxable income as much as possible so that more of my money could go to work for me. Only minor changes were made to my usual contribution amounts. Mainly, I paid close attention to the buckets where funds were going and tracked my progress monthly to ensure I stayed under the 22% bracket cutoff. I had roughly the same gross income between 2020 and 2021 but I was able to reduce my effective tax rate from 7.6% in 2020 to just 2.8% for 2021!!! As a 6-figure earner, I am still really amazed that this is even possible. I sometimes get laser focused on my savings by trying to cut expenses, but I’m so thankful I finally had that “Aha” moment. Paying closer attention to a few details here paid off far more than I ever could have saved by scrimping. Your advice saved me thousands, literally. Thank you so much!”
- Caleb said, “Our 1% is a 62% increase in our salaries since the start of the pandemic. My wife went from evenings, weekends, and a 35-minute commute to a hospital, to four working days during the week, a 15-minute commute, and a 45% pay increase. After leaving public accounting a year and a half ago, my salary has increased 78% with my most recent promotion, while my hours have dropped ~15-20 per week. All of this has accelerated our student loan payoff date, pushing it up from our goal of December 2022, to June of 2022. During this time, we’ve still been able to enjoy our favorite things like going out for coffee on Saturday mornings and meeting up with friends at breweries a couple times a month. Our next goal is to hit $100k net worth before my wife’s 25th birthday next year, but still have time on our side if we don’t 🙂 Thank you for everything you all do at ChooseFI. It has been a complete perspective shift since I started listening over a year ago, and a life changer as a result.”
- Jen said, “My 1% better is that instead of calling an appliance repair person, waiting 3 weeks, and paying $180 just for them to show up, I looked up what the error codes on my washing machine meant, YouTube’d how to fix it, ordered the correct size socket wrench ($20 for a set of 20 sizes), and spent 20 minutes with my husband fixing it. I’ve run 2 loads of wash with no error messages since :)”
- Ben said, “My 1% better this week was keeping meal prepping and having friends over for drinks at my house. Not eating out for little meals and reducing going out for drinks in grad school helps. I also used the salary negotiation tips to get a baseline salary offer and now am looking for competitive counter offers from other companies and my current job.”
- Bill said, “My 1%better this week is I took my old acoustic guitar out of the closet and put it where I will see it every day. Wouldn’t you know it I have picked it up more times this week than in the last 2 years. I never realized how at peace I am when just strumming whatever rhythm comes to my mind. Internal peace is the true goal!”