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FI Weekly – September 12, 2023: Salary Negotiation, Full Value of Money, Time Savers

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.

Salary Negotiation and FI

The Financial Mechanic joined us in Episode 454 to update her 7 Step framework to negotiate your salary and other benefits.

Listening to this episode is one of the most important things you can do this week – it’s that valuable. 

Here are some highlights:

  • Over your lifetime, that first negotiation can earn you enough (when compounded on itself) to save you 8 years of work.
  • “Can you imagine that really uncomfortable week you have of negotiating can add up to 8 years of freedom on the other side?”
  • Negotiation needs to be a win-win.  It’s a collaboration
  • Do not be the first to offer a salary number.  You want THEM to anchor the negotiation.
  • “I know we can agree on a fair salary.”  This is a major unlock as ‘fairness’ is deeply embedded in human interaction
  • Just ask!  She asked for a relocation or sign-on bonus and got $10k “thrown in” just by asking
  • What else can you negotiate instead of just salary? “I want to go to an extra conference or 2 per year.  Can we find room in the budget for that?”

Appreciating the Full Value of Your Money

Here’s an email from Ben with a great perspective on Financial Independence:

“You’ve talked about reframing the FI message as spending on what you value (including investing) rather than only saving every penny for later. I had a thought:

Maybe FI isn’t the right term for this, but really the imperative thing – the message that everyone needs to hear isn’t just to budget, invest, and become financially independent.

What’s most important is to realize that you could do that, so that you appreciate the full value of your money. Then, to look mortality in the face so you truly see the limits and value of your time, relationships, etc.

Once you have that perspective, you’re equipped to make intentional decisions about what you want to prioritize. You will understand the tradeoffs of taking on debt, purchasing something nice right now, or sacrificing spending power today to invest.

The scope of that concept goes quite a bit beyond financial independence, but for many people like us the informed decision will be to #ChooseFI. Yet this is a bit more universal; everyone could get value from better understanding those things.

The real problem people have is making decisions unintentionally or with the wrong perspective on the value of their money. That can be improved by learning about that value and being encouraged to make intentional decisions.”

Time Savers from the Community (Part 3)

  • Sarah:
    • Yard service 1x per week (saves me hours of nagging my husband and probably my marriage/the cost of a divorce lawyer)
    • House cleaning 1x per month (reduces stress, saves my sanity)
    • Automatic garden plant watering system. Pretty inexpensive (drip hoses, sprinklers, timers on spigots), but amazing.
    • Purchasing extras of certain things so they are always handy / never have to hunt for them: phone chargers, cheap sunglasses, lip balm, scissors, birthday & sympathy cards
    • At home exercise equipment – saves all the time of schlepping to the gym
    • Using a list app for groceries and meal planning – one trip to the store per week and done.
  • Wendy: “My favorite timesaver product I use is an app called AnyList. I use an iPhone, iPad, a laptop, and even a web version. This app will sync my all of my lists. I’ve got groceries, camping, birthday party (both invitees and food), Christmas shopping, and a couple more. The app not only syncs across all of my devices it will also sync with specific people I share any particular list with. Another amazing thing is AnyList also allows me to store recipes and menu plans. So I can store what I plan to cook/eat as well as easily add remove things to my grocery list I may need in order to make the recipes! AnyList can also sync with some online shopping; although, I do not use that feature.
  • Clay: For time saving applications, I recommend Text Expander, which is available on Windows and Mac. It allows for one to type “Snippets” that are custom abbreviations decided by you. These snippets expand out to potentially large amounts of text. I use a series of abbreviations, like “lmkq” types out “Let me know if you need anything from me or have questions,” which I use frequently at the end of work emails or closing tickets.
  • Mike: my wife and I use a shared Gmail calendar that saves us time and organizes us. Oh, and I don’t have any social media on my phone.
  • Miki: a time saving tool I have is our Shark IQ Robot Vacuum with a self-empty base. You can program it to map out your home if you have rooms that are off limits. We turn it on before going to bed every night, it does its thing and I only have to empty it out once every month.

Important Quote about Investing

I saw this quote from the world-famous finance professor Aswath Damodaran, and thought it was perfect for our community as it highlights yet another reason why we don’t actively invest, try to time the market or trade frequently:

“It’s a well-established fact that more activity is the most damaging thing you can do to your portfolio. How often you trade is the best indicator for how much you will trail the market by.”

-Aswath Damodaran, Professor of Finance – Stern School of Business, NYU

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Caleb said, “By the end of August we had (1) paid off the remainder of our student loan debt after graduating with $96k, (2) maxed out our Roth IRAs for the first time, and (3) reached $100k in total investments. Last night was also a great example of how saving for FI can be a buffer for your emotional/mental health. After getting home from a 6 hour drive, an old toilet in our downstairs bathroom that is rarely used started leaking onto our bathroom floor. We shop vac’d out the tank at the back of the toilet and squeegeed the bathroom, and didn’t stress about the cost of replacement with our emergency fund sitting there for moments just like this and monthly sinking funds for home repairs.
  • Gretchen said, “My 1% better is putting on my calendar all the free concerts (classical and jazz) our two universities are sponsoring this year.
  • Jason and Alex said, “All of our 1% improvements have accumulated allowing us to reach Coast FI. Just 3 years ago we were living life at a frantic pace. Everything we learned from the FI community gave us this wonderful gift to live at our own pace and be present for our kids.
  • Lauren said, “We’ve been on a long journey to reduce daycare expenses and finally transitioned both kids last week to cheaper options. We were able to change my daughter’s afterschool care last year to a private religious program, saving over $50 per week but my son was too young to transition into their preschool program. He is finally old enough this school year! At his old daycare, we were spending about $800 per month ($7200 for 9 months), and it’s only $3750 across 9 months at the new school. We also get a 5% discount paying a lump sum up front AND we will get a 25% discount sending both kids to their summer program moving forward. The best part is that we only have one pick up in the evenings, which is way less stressful! We really loved our old daycare but saving money without sacrificing quality is a win/win for us! We wouldn’t have second guessed our daycare spending without learning about ChooseFI.
  • Simon said, “My 1% better has recently been cancelling my Netflix subscription. In part to save €13 a month, but also in part to avoid becoming a passive zombie in the evenings. (We’ve all been there.) Instead, I used some of those savings to join the city library for an annual fee of €20. Most of all, I am enjoying the serendipity of stumbling across, and reading, fascinating books that I had no idea existed, while also escaping the grasp of online algorithms that clamor for my attention. I discovered a book called Wasteland by historian Scott Poole, which traces the roots of modern horror — think of those classic flicks from the 20s and 30s — to the First World War. Super random, but super interesting. And it turns out that the library has a free movie/documentary streaming app anyway, which is not half bad at all!
  • Rebecca said, “My 1% is committing myself to a daily post-work yoga routine at home online where I can be present to my teens (who don’t always need me but occasionally want to check in). The increased flexibility and strength I have makes me feel incredible and the workouts energize me for the evening when I otherwise would turn to a glass of wine and tv (which I still might do but yoga first!).

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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