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FI Weekly – October 4, 2022: Net Worth Tracking, Online Security, Keys to Happier Living


Taking Action: Online Security

On Episode 397 that released yesterday, I spoke with Tom, a longtime FI Community member, about common sense steps you can take to secure your online & financial life.

Today is the day I challenge you to take action to make it happen!

At the very least, if you don’t have secure passwords, a password manager and Two-Factor Authentication on every one of your financial logins (plus your email accounts and social media), you need to do this ASAP.

Listen to Episode 397 and take action!

Taking Action: Net Worth Tracking

The 3rd quarter of 2022 just ended and that means it is time to track your quarterly net worth.   The fact that it was an ugly quarter with market performance makes it all the more important that you do this and don’t just stick your head in the sand.

The path to FI is not just a straight line up and we know market volatility is an expected part of the process.

Super simple to track your net worth:  Log into all of your investment accounts and write down the account balances.  This sums to your total assets.

Then, subtract out any debts you have outstanding.  These are your total liabilities (note that if you include your mortgage in your liabilities then you need to include the rough market value of the home in your assets!).

Subtract the liabilities from the assets to get your Q3 2022 net worth. 

Do this quarterly for essentially forever, and you’ll be amazed by your progress.  The whole exercise should take under 15 minutes each quarter.

10 Keys to Happier Living

Neal wrote in, “I found this list today on the Action for Happiness website and I wanted to share it with you:”

10 Keys to Happier Living

  • Giving: do kind things for others
  • Relating: connect with people
  • Exercising: take care of your body
  • Awareness: live life mindfully
  • Trying out: keep learning new things
  • Direction: have goals to look forward to
  • Resilience: find ways to bounce back
  • Emotions: look for what’s good
  • Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
  • Meaning: be part of something bigger

The link above leads to a great page from the Action for Happiness website where they drill down into each of the 10 categories. 

Something about this really appealed to me and I wanted to share it with the community.


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Lev said, “My 1% better moment that I’ve been meaning to share was after we had just moved to DC. We were exploring the idea of a home addition, but after getting quotes back and calculating the cost/square foot we chose to reconsider. We applied some critical thinking skills that your show has helped sharpen, and realized just by culling some of the stuff we had in our basement (military family with boxes we’ve moved multiple times and rarely actual opened), we could achieve some of the same benefits. In the process of going through the boxes we found a 401k bank statement from the job my wife quit in 2008 and long had forgotten about, which ended up being $10k in essentially new found money.”

  • Jennifer said, “My 1% better this week is signing up for Talent Stacker (spoken about by past guests Bradley Rice and Anita Smith). I did the free 5-day challenge first. I was already a little familiar with Salesforce as an end user as both my current and past employers use Salesforce. I found the challenge to be interesting. I really like that Talent Stacker has a formula to follow and I can follow directions. I think that structure will be a huge advantage to successfully getting certified and then turning that into job opportunities. Can’t that you enough for the wonderful content you and your team put out. It is just so chock full of specific, actionable advice to make our lives better.”

  • George said, “My 1% better was switching to an MVNO (3rd party cell phone provider). I’d heard you guys talk about Mint Mobile, but never switched because 1) T-Mobile has poor service in my area and 2) We were on a 4-person family plan with Verizon so I didn’t think we would get a better deal going to individual MVNO plans. However, I just found US Mobile that’s just like Mint but on Verizon’s network. So, the service here in Michigan is excellent. And it turns out it was way cheaper. My family’s bill went from $170/month down to $80/month, and we have twice as much data in the plan!”

  • Rob said, “This week my wife and I had two 1% betters. First, we needed to change some lighting and switches in our kitchen. I’ve changed out light fixtures but never added a dimmer switch. After taking a few minutes to look at YouTube videos I felt capable, and safe, doing the work myself. I probably spent an hour and a half total changing out our overhead light and adding a dimmer switch saving ourselves anywhere from a couple hundred to a few hundred dollars that an electrician would have charged. Plus, I learned a new skill that I can use again! Our second 1% came when we purchased I-Bonds from Treasury Direct. Their current rate is 9.62% through the end of October. For us, this was a great alternative to holding cash.”

  • Brandie said, “My 1% better this week was discovering PayPal offers! Most of us know about the extra “offers” through our credit cards, especially AmEx. But PayPal also offers deals. Some can be used in store or online, so they can stack with other rewards. This is a small win, but if I can get 4% back from a store online via PayPal, use an online shopping portal with 2-3x points, and then spend on a credit card with a bonus category, that’s 10% back! Not bad for purchases I was already going to make.”

  • Michael said, “My 1% better was watching two Financial Independence documentaries recommended on the previous weeks’ newsletter: Get Smart with Money and Playing with FIRE: The Documentary. I learned so much from each one and they both made me more motivated to stay on my own current path that I have set for myself to reach FI!”

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