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October 18, 2022: ChooseFI Book Club, Library Hacks, Remove PMI

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.

ChooseFI Book Club

Ginger wrote in with a great idea of doing a ChooseFI Book Club and I jumped on it. The first installment is tentatively going to air on Friday December 16th.

The book we picked is ‘Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’ by Oliver Burkeman, which was recommended by numerous members of our community and seemed like the perfect place to start.

The plan is for me, Ginger and Josue (another community member whose story you’ll hear on the podcast in a few weeks) to talk through the book, our big takeaways, and actionable items.

But it wouldn’t be a book “club” with only 3 of us, so I’d like to get you involved as well.  Grab the book from the library and join us!

Send me an email response or send in a Voicemail with your big takeaways on the questions we’re pondering:

  • What do you see as the most “FI” concept in this book, and how do you see it applying to your life?
  • What is the most exciting idea in this book for you?
  • Has anything in this book changed the way you think about your own FI journey?
  • What actionable steps does this book inspire you to consider?

We’re recording in early December, so you have some time to read the book and pass along your comments and feedback.

This is an experiment, but if we like this format, I could see us doing a handful of these Book Club episodes each year!

Library Hacks

With the book club upcoming, this is a great time to remind you of a few quick tips for the library. As you know, Jonathan and I have long said we are, “ChooseFI, friends of the library” and the library in general might be my favorite “life hack.”

Library Extension is a browser extension which allows you to browse around or Goodreads and see if your local library has a certain book (or ebook) available.  This can save a ton of time and money!

Copying this verbatim from a prior newsletter:

“In this day and age of ebooks and audiobooks, it’s more convenient than ever to use your public library!

It takes me about 45 seconds and maybe 4 clicks to go from “let’s see if they have this book available” to reserved, downloaded and on my Kindle.

With apps like Overdrive, Libby and Hoopla in use by nearly every public library, the process is so simple. Your action item:  See if your public library has ebooks/audiobooks available and walk through the process and take out your first book!”

And just for fun, here’s a link to a Money article that lists “200 Random Things Libraries Will Let You Check Out for Free — From Instant Pots to Skulls.”

Finally, I just found Project Gutenberg which is a “library of over 60,000 free eBooks” that’s well worth checking out.

Getting Rid of PMI

Josh wrote in:

“I hope this email finds you well. I am trying to get rid of my PMI without having to refinance or get an appraisal on my home. I contacted my lender after seeing on my credit report that I paid the 20% of the mortgage needed to get the PMI removed however my lender wants me to pay for an appraisal before doing so. I was wondering if there are any tips out there to solve my issues with PMI and the lender.”

For many mortgage holders, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is one of those seemingly junk fees that’s tough to swallow, especially when you have to pay it monthly.

There’s some nuance to getting rid of it when you get to the point where you have 20% – 22% equity in your home and this article from the CFPB does an amazing job summarizing the details of removing PMI from your home loan.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Lauren said, “My 1% better this week was realizing I could instantly update my car insurance policy and save $200 per year, just by slightly increasing the deductible on a couple things and by removing coverage for a rental car (I don’t commute and my husband also has a car) and mechanical breakdown insurance that I’m not eligible for but have been paying for anyway! I was able to customize all of this on Geico’s website in about 2 minutes. It pays to revisit these things every once in a while.”
  • Jose said, “My 1% better is I went ahead and used Trim to cut my internet bill by 50%! I have also opened up a travel rewards credit card and have now used it on multiple hotel stays along beautiful wine country in Sonoma, CA! My wife has now opened up the same credit card and we will be planning a trip to Canada!”
  • Tom said, “My 1% better was finally getting around to tax loss harvesting. This was my first time ever TLH and I was able to realize around $2,667 in losses which should save me around $640 come tax season. Episode 396 with Bo Loy provided the motivational nudge to finally check this off my to-do list.”
  • Anne said, “My 1% better this week was not feeling pressured to organize evening social activities during a work trip. As a working mum, I can do with the extra time on things that re-energize me, like time at the hotel gym and early nights. In terms of bigger financial wins, I’ve recently gone from working 4 normal days a week to 5 days with compressed hours. This means I get an extra day of salary by working slightly longer days, and still get Friday afternoons off! Thanks for your podcast which always inspires me to take action and recognize the wins.”
  • Anthony said, “My 1% better relates to putting my cell phone service and internet service on my credit card. Both my cell service (Verizon) and my internet service provider (Xfinity) give $10/month discounts if you pay with Autopay. The catch is that you have to Autopay with your bank account, so you can’t earn credit card points. The discount is larger than the points I’d earn, even though my credit card offers double and triple points for categories like cell service and internet service. Then I realized that you don’t have to use autopay even if you have signed up for it! I pay my Verizon and Xfinity bill before the autopay date with my credit card, and can benefit from both the $10/month discount while reaping those sweet credit card rewards points!”
  • Matt said, “My one-percent better is a fully funded lifestyle change for my family and me. Friday was my last day at a law firm after 10 years! I came to the point where I knew my future was not as an attorney at a firm and I needed time to determine what my next season of life has in store. My wife has a job she loves and leaving my job will allow me to serve her and our 18-month-old son in ways that reduce the stress and busyness that comes with two demanding careers + daycare. I’m so excited to have the time and space to decide what’s next in life for me career-wise, and we have the concepts of FI and intentional living to thank for opportunity! And to top it all off, we are stealing a page out of the Barrett family playbook by spending a month in Hawaii this winter since my wife’s job gives her a paid sabbatical every three years! Cheers to you and all ChooseFI does for the community!”

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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