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FI Weekly – November 17, 2020

Designing Your Year for 2021

We published an important podcast episode yesterday:  Episode 270 of ChooseFI with Dominick Quartuccio of ‘The Great Man Within’ Podcast; I highly recommend each of you not only listen, but take the time to go through the exercise of reviewing 2020 and designing 2021. 

Natalie wrote in and said, “Hi Brad. I wanted to say thank you for the episode on Designing Your Year for 2021. As I was listening, I made a mental list of my stand-out moments–1) I lost 20 lbs 2) because of COVID, now have the opportunity to remote work forever 3) joined the double comma club in my retirement accounts and 4) got my kids interested in financial independence largely because of Choose FI’s Simple Start-Up and related pod episodes (I taught my 10-year-old how to calculate ROI when playing the game Cashflow for Kids!) 

My work on mindset is going to serve me well to make 2021 my best year yet!

Life Hack: Scanning Old Pictures with Your Phone

Jake sent in a great life hack for those of us with stacks of old photographs: 

This week I found out about the Google PhotoScan app and it helped me digitize my physical photos while saving me hundreds on the photo scanner I was looking to buy! The PhotoScan app is free for iPhones and Android phones. Essentially, it takes a picture of a printed photo in different spots to eliminate glare and make it look like a perfect scan of your printed photo. It takes no longer than a photo scanner and it doesn’t cost anything!” 

Making the Best of It: Anniversary Edition

Laura and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary and even though our plans to go to Europe (Oktoberfest in Munich specifically!) didn’t work out in 2020, we still tried to make the best of it by doing fun things together. We took a day and went on a hike and visited one of our favorite breweries and a few days later we cooked filet mignons at home. 

This was by far the most expensive meal we’ve ever cooked at home, but it was this amazingly decadent luxury that felt really special and was actually enhanced by the fact that we cooked them to perfection ourselves! 

FI is not about deprivation, but about choices, value and trying to find novel solutions to problems. We really didn’t want to spend hours indoor dining at a fancy restaurant, so we came up with a great solution that was actually more memorable than going to our local Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. All for about $30 – hard to beat that. 

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Sara said, “I finally did enough digging and figured out the funds and associated expense ratios my 403b was invested in. Luckily, some of the funds were in low cost Vanguard funds but unfortunately some of them were in funds with expense ratios over 1%! I rebalanced (with a lot of resistance from the website for not allowing it to be managed anymore) and now I’m only invested in low cost Vanguard funds! I can’t wait to see the impact this will have on my portfolio!” 
  • Cristian said, “Just like personal finance apps have helped us monitor and take control of our finances, I have taken control of my physical and mental health by using a few free health mobile apps. After a couple of months tracking my food and water in-take, as well as my activity levels, I realized I became more intentional about my eating, activity, and sleeping habits. Now, about 6 months since I started using technology to my advantage, I have lost a little over 8 lbs. and I feel happier, more energized, and more focused. More importantly, I don’t think I made any sudden drastic changes at any point in the last 6 months. Doesn’t it sound a lot like our journeys to financial independence?” 
  • Susan said, “My husband became eligible for his 401k in October so we have been stocking 75% of his paychecks to that for the rest of the year to Max it out. Covid has shown us that even in a HCOL area we can live on just one paycheck!” 
  • Adam said, “My wife and I recently booked a ski trip in Colorado through a third-party travel agency for our 1-year anniversary using her Capital One Venture Card (one of ChooseFI’s favorite cards: full review here). We intended to use her newly-earned bonus miles to cover the cost, but Capital One categorized this booking agency as a “Bookstore,” making it ineligible for the Purchase Eraser feature. One call later to Capital One, and they manually overrode the coding to cover this expense for us. One 8-minute call saved us $594. You’re a valued customer, don’t be afraid to ask!” 
  • Jen said, “This week when I brought my car in for inspection, I found out I should get all new tires and definitely needed new breaks. I was able to get a discount of 15% because I asked for a paid in full price if I had all the work done immediately.”
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Lessons From a Young Entrepreneur | Ep 422

At least once in most of our FI journeys, we have pondered what our life would look like if we started earlier. Maybe you have even wondered what value could’ve been gained if you had started in your teenage years. Well, for some context into the possibilities decision that could provide, we decided to have 17 year old listener Devin on the podcast to discuss what life can look like when you go against the cultural norm of going to college, and instead opting for an entrepreneurial and FI friendly lifestyle. Oftentimes we mention that there are rewards that come with stepping out of your comfort zone, and the same can be said for going against the societal norm and carving out your own path! For our younger audience who may be interested in getting started with their FI journey, let this episode be a useful resource and reassurance that this journey can begin no matter your age!

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