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May 14, 2024: Advice I Wish I Had Known, Mini Retirements, Fee-Only Advisors plus Community Wins

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.

Advice I Wish I Had Known

In what has become an annual segment in the FI Weekly, Kevin Kelly is back on his 72nd birthday with 101 Additional Advices (I wish I had known).

Some of my favorites:

  • Try to define yourself by what you love and embrace rather than what you hate and refuse.
  • Changing your mind about important things is not a consequence of stupidity but a sign of intelligence.
  • Don’t work for a company you would not invest money in because when you work, you are investing the most valuable thing you have: your time.
  • If someone calls you to alert you to fraud, nine out of ten times, they are the fraudsters themselves. Hang up. If you are concerned, call the source yourself.
  • You’ll never meet a very successful, pessimistic person. If you want to be remarkable, get better at being optimistic.
  • Very small things accumulate until they define your larger life. Carefully choose your everyday things.

Advice-Only Financial Advisory Resources

I was chatting with my friend Cody Garrett from Measure Twice Money and he mentioned 3 advice-only financial advisory resources that he recommends.

Since I’m strongly against advisors that charge an AUM (assets under management) fee, but strongly in favor of advice-only/fee-only advisors, I want to pass along trusted resources when I find them.

This info is quoted directly from Cody:

1. Nectarine: $150/hr. for advice (including investments) (1 hour at a time)

2. Abundo Wealth: $189/mo. (after $499 first month) for ongoing advice (including investments)

3. Advice Only Network: An advice-only database to search for an hourly, project-based, or monthly financial planner, including filters for specializations (including FIRE).

[Brad Note: I have zero connection to these companies and earn $0 from you using these links]


Mini Retirements: Jillian’s Group Coaching

I’ve spoken on the podcast recently about how I intend to take a ‘mini-retirement’ later this year, the motivation I owe in large part to my friend, Jillian Johnsrud.

Jillian is running the second cohort of her Career Break/Mini-Retirements Group Coaching program starting on May 20th, and if you are serious about a mini-retirement but feel stuck, this could be the perfect opportunity to take action.

The 10-week program includes a detailed (print copy) workbook (I loved the exercises in this workbook!), 20+ sessions including coaching, Q&As, and a mastermind group.

This type of in-depth, small-group coaching program obviously can’t be free, but if you’re serious about a mini-retirement, this could be what you’re looking for.

The program helps address fears and logistical challenges and since a mini-retirement is such a big financial investment, it will help you get the most from your time off.

Jillian is only looking for people who are the right fit, so click through to the Group Coaching page and then click on the “Book My Call” button.

[To be clear, ChooseFI earns $0 from promoting this – I just feel strongly about the value of Jillian’s program.]


Check In On Those Around You

This isn’t the standard inclusion in the newsletter, but I came across a 2-minute video on World Mental Health Day and ‘checking in on those around you’ that I couldn’t NOT include here.

I heard Scott Galloway mention this video that Norwich City Football Club produced and I stopped ‘The Prof G pod’ to immediately search it out.

I then proceeded to reach out to a few friends who have a lot going on in their lives and whom I haven’t checked in with in a while.

This is an important one to watch.


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week


My 1% better isn’t for me; it’s for my in-laws. About a year ago, you guys had an episode on student loan forgiveness.

I forwarded the podcast to my in-laws, who have never listened to ChooseFI before. They got an appointment with the guy you interviewed, and as of today, $120k of debt has been forgiven between regular loans and parent-plus loans.

$120k episode!

– Caleb

[Brad Note: This was Ep 437 with Travis Hornsby of Student Loan Planner]

Our 1% win for the week was creating my son’s 529 account. We have actually been funding a college savings account through a regular brokerage account in Vanguard (with VTSAX) for years. The hesitation with the 529 account was the limitation on uses.

Our son is an only child and we didn’t like the idea of limited uses if he doesn’t go to college, trade school, etc. It was a game changer for us learning the recent change in the legislation that we can eventually convert up to $35K to a Roth IRA for my son if not used.

On top of that, the funds I was able to buy through my state’s program includes VSMPX. From what I can tell in my research on the Vanguard website, it is basically VTSAX for institutions to buy. I’m happy that we’ll get the same returns and similar low expense ratios as VSTAX.

– Tori

My 1% better this week:

1. Opening my first business credit card from your recommended top cards list.

2. Spending the afternoon at the library with my twin boys, who loved the story time with Daddy, and then going home with a handful of Paw Patrol DVDs

.3. Increased 401k contribution by 1%

4. Cancelled an ancillary service that my utility company was charging $18 a month.

5. Ordered a ChooseFI shirt to show support!!

– Stephen

My 1% win – I am officially under 2 months away from starting a mini-retirement, and over this past weekend, I solidified my plans to climb Mt. Fuji with my 10 year-old son to experience ‘goraiko’ – Sunrise at the top of Mt. Fuji (Talk about the memory dividends)!

– Henry

I have a 1% that I’m thrilled to share.

I’ve been hearing so much about the benefits of mini-retirements and living my values on the way to FI that I decided to try it myself! I work an 80% contract, which means I normally work Monday through Thursday, saving Friday for my side gig.

I asked my manager if I could re-organize my schedule to allow for a full month off in the Fall. After having a few conversations about potential tax and insurance problems, my courage paid off! I’ll be working a little more the next few months in order to go backpacking in the Himalayas for ALL of November!

I’m thrilled to experience a bucket-list adventure without taking a financial hit or quitting a job I enjoy. If I find a temporary renter for my apartment, I’ll break even. I’m only about 15% to my FI number, so this balance feels right for me right now.

– Kiersten

Hey Brad, I’ve been paying into a credit builder account for about a year. They offered me a secured credit card using the contributions I’d already made. I was hesitant but decided to go for it. To control spending, I bought a virtual Starbucks gift card on the Starbucks app and ONLY used the gift card to make coffee purchases. I learned that when you use the in-app gift card, you earn 2 points for every whole dollar spent. If you bring your own mug, you earn 25 additional points, AND they take 10 cents off your purchase. A 99-cent goodwill mug pays for itself in 10 uses. 100 points, and you get a free hot coffee or tea!

If your gonna spend on coffee, may as well do it cleverly! Credit building, budgeting, points earning, discounting, recycling, and coffee getting all-in-one% better!

Side note: Starbucks is literally across the parking lot from my work. They renovated the inside, and I really enjoy the redesign; it makes it easier to talk to others. I go there on my lunch break to read, sip espresso, and engage in conversation if I can. The staff all know me by name because I walk in all the time. When I’m out of coffee money, I just ask for hot water so I can make my own tea!

– Steven

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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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