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FI Weekly – September 28, 2021

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. Disclosures.

Favorite Board Games

Last month in the newsletter, I wrote out my case for the significant benefits of board games to make you a better decision-maker & negotiator, plus how they help you focus on both long-term and probabilistic thinking. 

In short, I think board games are one of the best tools to upgrade your mental skillset for life.

I promised I’d list some of our favorite games other than just Catan and Ticket to Ride – the old favorites that I always mention.

This is also your chance to use one of my other favorite life hacks: CamelCamelCamel.com (CCC).  Create an account at their site and you can copy the website URL of any product from Amazon.com into the search box at the top of CCC and see how the price changes over time. 

For instance, as I’m writing this, Catan is $42.95 but one glance at the chart at CCC shows it often goes down into the $24-$28 range. 

You can set a “Price Watch” and they’ll email you when your item drops down to the price you ideally want to pay.  And you can do this on ANY product on Amazon.  It’s crazy how much prices change throughout the year.

Our Top 10 Board Games:

  • Dominion: The best deck-building game around. 13+ expansion sets make this infinitely variable. We were obsessed with this all of 2020.
  • Sequence: A real classic and one we go back to again and again. Learn to play in 2 minutes but a deceptively strategic game.
  • Splendor: Gather gem tokens and map out your strategy to accumulate resource cards and points.  Every game has a different strategy on how you win, but easy gameplay to learn.
  • Cover Your Assets: For a silly looking game, it’s hard to describe how much fun this game is to play. Easy to play and fast-paced with some good-natured stealing of cards involved makes for a rip-roaring good time.
  • Quixx: Simple to play but with lots of probability-based decisions involved adds up to a lot of fun. This is our go-to game to bring with us on outings (along with Monopoly Deal below).
  • 7 Wonders: A “pass & play” game where each player chooses one card from their hand to keep, and then passes the remaining cards to their neighbor, which adds a unique element to the game. Early strategy and resource decisions lead to end-game success or failure; sub-30-minute games with a lot of strategy and fun.
  • Catan (Expansion) Cities & Knights: I know I said “no Catan” in this list, but we’ve actually stopped playing the original Catan in favor of this expansion set.
  • Monopoly Deal: This is not boring old-school Monopoly.  Fast-paced, short games and a ton of strategy. Best $7 you’ll spend!
  • Clue Master Detective:  Expanded version of the original Clue game adds a little more complexity and strategy.
  • If you’re looking for more complexity and longer games, here are our two current favorites: Castles of Burgundy and Terraforming Mars.

Ultimate Guide to Emergency Funds

Our team continues to put out excellent content on the ChooseFI website and I wanted to let you know they just published their next ‘Ultimate Guide,’ this time it is the ‘Ultimate Guide to Emergency Funds.’

I think this article is worth perusing no matter where you are on your path to FI, but especially if you’re just starting out, the $1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge is a real motivator to help get you started.

Active vs. Passive Investing

“The academic research on this is unbelievably clear and consistent…between active and passive investment. It is almost impossible, net of fees, to outperform the market over the long-term.

Only 1/3 of professional investment managers outperform the market in any one year. After 10 years it’s less than 15%.

So, what makes you as an amateur think you can do this if you’re not spending all of your time trying to find companies that are likely to beat their expectations?”

— Andy Rachleff, co-founder of Wealthfront

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Valerie said, “This week I feel like my 1% better is much more than 1%!!! First, I took advice from a few of your episodes a few weeks ago and asked in advance for a 10% raise this year, and I just got word back that they are going to approve it. Can’t thank you all enough! So, I increased my earnings. Next, I saved money: I was able to put up my own deck railings (while my husband was at work). And finally, in regards to family legacy, I had some great conversation with my 17-year-old explaining that we have money but don’t keep up with the Joneses, and how to be smart about retirement savings. I explained how we are planning to FI/RE at 50 and he could retire from full time work at an earlier age even if he gets serious about future saving and avoiding debt from the start. He asked a lot of great questions and I feel like our second generation has such an advantage for FI and are gaining the knowledge and motivation to move with it!”
  • Kim said, “Hi Brad – here’s my 1% better in life: It’s T-Minus 12 working days until I take my “Do it Yourself Sabbatical”, gap year, mini-retirement, and/or career pause. I am not sure what I am calling it yet but I am giving myself at least a year break to spend time with family and think about what I want to do next. I have been practicing law for 14 years and am fortunate to be able to give myself this option. Thanks to the ChooseFI podcast for sharing various stories and highlighting diverse paths to FI.”
  • Brianne said, “On one of the podcasts, you and Jonathan discussed local “buy nothing” groups on Facebook, which I joined right after listening. Not long after joining, my husband and I found out we are expecting our first child and are due in January! Well, thanks to your recommendation, I’ve been able to get over $1,000 worth of free baby items from local moms in the buy nothing group! Almost every week I come across something I have on my registry and am able to take it off because I got it for free. This will be a HUGE resource for us as our child grows, thank you so much!”
  • Kevin said, “I love these emails. It’s like my cheerleader for my FI life. My 1% better this week is hitting 10x expenses. I’m celebration, I upped my 401k contribution.”
  • Lina said, “Just wanted to share a little kitchen hack I came up with while cleaning out and reorganizing my pantry cabinets. I ended up throwing out so much expired food which just absolutely kills me on many fronts. But things just tended to get shoved to the back, and I was always in too much of a hurry to dig and check for expirations dates. Alas, my hack: take a sharpie and label in big numbers on several places of the jar what the expiration date is. That way you can see at a glance which bottle to use. It’s especially helpful for things like PB, pasta sauce, salsa, dressing, etc that you might have several of. I also put everything back in using reverse date order, like they do at the store (soonest to expire at the front) but if you don’t have time/energy to back date, you can just use your sharpie going forward and it takes 3 seconds to help eliminate food waste and help your budget on one of your family’s biggest costs!”
  • Katia said, “What I did to make myself 1% better this week: I maxed out my Roth IRA for 2020! The first time I’ve been able to max out an account and am on track for the same in 2021. A small first step in investing, after becoming debt free last year, but one I’m proud of.”

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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. Disclosures.

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