FI Weekly – September 29, 2020

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.

My Fail of the Week: Last Week’s Email

Communication is all about getting your point across, and last week I had a colossal fail when talking about Amazon Smile. There was a lackluster response, which means I did a terrible job of communicating and that’s 100% on me. This is important, so here’s attempt #2:

Do you shop at Amazon.com? Of course you do. Here’s a way to do something good while shopping at the internet behemoth:

Simply go to https://smile.amazon.com/ first and then shop like normal at Amazon. You get the exact same low prices and Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to a charity of your choice.

A FREE donation to your favorite charity is hard to beat! All you have to do is designate a charity the first time you visit Amazon Smile and then go through smile.amazon.com EVERY. SINGLE. TIME you make a purchase and that’s it!

Better yet, automate the process. Update your bookmark, or if you shop through the app, go to Settings>Amazon Smile>Turn on AmazonSmile and you’ll never need to think about it again.

There are a lot of worthy charities trying to make the world a better place. This is the easiest way to give them your help. If you happen to select the ChooseFI International Foundation that’s great, but more importantly, take action to support your favorite charity!

Back to Basics: Calculating Your Net Worth

It’s September 29th and the 3rd quarter of 2020 ends tomorrow. I was reminded by my trusty ToDoIst app that I need to calculate my net worth the morning of 10/1.

I’ve done this exercise quarterly for the last 10+ years and it’s amazing to see the trends over that time period, as well as seeing how the most recent quarter impacted things.

I do this on a simple Excel doc, while Jonathan uses a 100% free account with Personal Capital to track his net worth.

If you’ve never done this exercise, now is the time to start: Write down the balances in all your financial accounts, and include the value of your home. This adds up to your ‘Total Assets.’ Then sum together all your various debts (credit card, student loans, etc.) and your mortgage balance to get your ‘Total Liabilities.’

Then just subtract your liabilities from your assets to get your Net Worth. That’s the entire exercise, which should take under an hour.

It’s so important to know where you are to track where you’re going. Take action today!

What I’m Listening to this Week

I was pleasantly surprised to open my podcast app and see the latest episode of the Everyday Courage podcast featured me and Jonathan talking about ‘Creating a Winning Partnership.’ I rarely self-promote stuff I’m involved in, but I think this is genuinely worth your time.

We talk about what makes our partnership successful and while this is theoretically about business partnerships, I think it’s valid when talking about any relationship in life:

Build the other person up, use complementary skillsets, don’t keep score, and much more.

If you haven’t subscribed to Everyday Courage already, now’s the time – Jillian’s show adds so much value.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Jen said, “This week I called my car insurance company to change my coverage and during the call the representative said that since I’m working full time from home now (reason for coverage change) she could change my car from commuter status to pleasure vehicle and drop my rate! This saved me over $300 for the next 12 months plus she reminded me of the pay in full discount which saved me another $100.”
  • Azar said, “I work in public schools, and I called HR and Fidelity and set up my 403b. I picked FXAIX and will deduct $100 biweekly. It took quite a bit of time to set up and investigate, I really had to sift through the information. Had I not been a personal finance nerd, I probably would have gone with the AXA vendor that comes around to the schools, with high fees that most other staff here use.”
  • Austin said, “I recently re-financed our 30 yr fixed rate (4%) mortgage and HELCO (5.75%) into one 15 yr fixed rate mortgage at 2.5%. We immediately started putting an extra $300-$400 dollars a month on “our side of the ledger” in the form of equity instead of interest.”
  • Sonya said, “I changed our $130 T-Mobile bill to a $60-$80 Google fi one. I’m at home and on wifi, so my data use shouldn’t be high. My husband has been with T-Mobile for so long, he never even thought about looking elsewhere.”
  • Justin said, “Last week I changed the pharmacy and procedure for purchasing our family prescription drugs. For 6 medications and going through our employer’s insurance plan with an HSA, we were spending $1,317 a year at the local CVS. We now use the Kroger/GoodRx membership and pay $580 ($737savings) for the year. We will also save our receipts and get reimbursed at a later date from the HSA after learning about the HSA rules on your podcast.”
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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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