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120R | Finding The Range

Jonathan and Brad discuss wielding the flexibility of money, how to move to the upper end of your salary range, and how Ed Teem used travel rewards to go hunting with eagles in Mongolia.

The FI Lifestyle

As many of us align our decisions with the goal of reaching FI, we start to realize the incredible power that financial independence can bring you. Instead of basing your life around the things that make you money, you can start to plan your life around the things you want to do. Ultimately, you can design a life that fits around the things that you want it to fit around.

Time is your most precious non-renewable resource.

Even if you have not retired, financial independence will allow you to take control of your schedule.  The newfound power of control over your time can allow you to optimize your life. The small things that you do not even think about can really add a tremendous amount of time back into your life.

You can redesign your week to avoid any peak hours to claw back time every single week. A few of the best time savers include:

  • Grocery shopping on a weekday can save you around an hour each week because you will not be waiting in lines on the weekends.
  • Each chore like laundry or errands that you can do during the week allows you to reclaim your entire weekends for more important things such as spending time with family.
  • Using your flexibility to avoid rush hour can help you reclaim several hours each day.
  • Watching the kids during no school days eliminates the need for an expensive daycare and the last minute stress of finding a babysitter.

Also, if you are able to be completely flexible with your time, then you will be able to minimize your travel expenses. The key to succeeding with travel rewards is flexibility. If you are able to find an amazing last minute deal and take the trip, then you will be able to take advantage of some amazing deals. Last minute deals can even get you into a situation where you won’t want to use your travel rewards.

Check out this thread in the ChooseFI Facebook group for a discussion of all the unexpected benefits of FI.

Listen: Travel Rewards–End Of Year Planning 

Any place that you can build a bit of flexibility into your life will benefit you. Just imagine how that flexibility could improve your life.

Money And Relationships

Anytime we talk about money and relationships, we realize that it requires a soft touch. How you manage money decisions with your partner is truly not a one size fits all message. Instead, it is really about what works best for your relationship.

Jean Chatzky touched on several different approaches to handling the finances in your relationship. Each method has its pros and cons, but the most important message was to talk to your significant other about money on a regular basis.

Listen to the entire Jean Chatzky interview here

The first “money” conversation you have with your significant other is likely going to be uncomfortable because almost no one likes to talk about money. It will be especially uncomfortable if you come to a relationship with entirely different money stories.

We need to give ourselves permission to talk about what makes us uncomfortable.

Although it will be uncomfortable, you need to open up the conversation with your partner about money. Talking through shared goals and individual spending habits will allow you to move towards a common budget together.

Ideally, both people would operate within a common goal. In reality, different people have different focuses that can make it difficult to reach long-term goals together. Although both members of your two-person team may want the same thing, they may not want to do the same things at the same time. If you ever feel the inclination to hide a purchase from your spouse, then you should likely have a money talk.

When you start working together towards money goals, remember there is no single system that works best. Some prefer the mine, yours, ours system while others prefer completely joint accounts. The best choice will depend entirely on your preferences as a couple.

It’s what is going to work for you. Figure out the best system and move forward.

If you aren’t sure where to start, then try picking a system to see how it feels. Reevaluate often and work towards a system that fits best for both of you. The most important part is to have regular discussions about your money.

Listen: From Financial Infidelity To His And Her Money

Asking For The Raise

In this week’s episode, Jean Chatzky discussed the wage gap between men and women. Some of this was attributed to the fact that women do not ask for more during a negotiation. However, men can also have trouble landing the big raise. Is it possible to optimize the income side of the equation by simply asking for a raise?

Yes, it is possible but psychologically difficult to do. For example, Brad struggled to negotiate for a higher salary while his superiors showered him with compliments about his work. Although the company said they valued his performance, the raise that came along with those words was somewhat lackluster. Brad just accepted the incremental raise and moved on. Instead of pressing for a raise, he missed this opportunity. In his own estimation, this likely cost tens of thousands of dollars over the course of his 12-year career.

Listen: Swing For The Fences With Grant Sabatier

If you are in a similar situation, then please learn from these lessons and find a way to maximize the income side of the equation. Start by checking out the average salary range for your profession in your area. Also, do some research about what your competitors are paying for similar jobs. Both of these numbers will be fairly easy to find on the internet.

Start making a list of the additional value you bring to the company. Use this documentation to remind yourself that you should be compensated for the value you add. Bring this documentation to the company as a justification for your negotiation for a raise.

Do not rely on loyalty to a single corporation to pay off. Many times, the outlier earners are those willing to look around for other jobs with different companies. The quickest way to force your company’s hand in a negotiation is to get another offer. Once you have that offer, you can either take it or ask your current company if they can be more competitive. Unfortunately, this is just the way the corporate world works. Of course, you need to do this with tact. Always be polite and respectful.

If you are having a difficult time negotiating for yourself, then consider building relationships with recruiters. The alignment of incentives for a recruiter can help you navigate your way to a higher salary. Also, consider seeking help to polish your resume and Linkedin profile.

Travel Rewards in Action

Edmund Tee is the “OG Digital Nomad.” With businesses that he can run from his laptop, the world is his to travel anytime.

On his most recent family adventure, he was able to take his family of four on a five-month trip around Asia with a sticker price of $65,000. With over 80 nights in a hotel and several business class flights, it is easy to understand how this trip could add up quickly. However, he only paid $5,000 plus tons of travel rewards points for this adventure of a lifetime. It took time and effort to plan, but it was worth the amazing win.

Here are some pictures from their trip:

picture of golden eagle on arm of girl
Ed’s Daughter Ashley and the Ayalum, the golden eagle.
A golden eagle
The family’s host, Ardahk, and Ayalum.
Man standing on a van
Ed’s son Zander on their van.
Eagle and Ed
Ed with Ayalum wearing skins of prey that had been hunted by Ayalum.

Ed’s kids documented what they learned about Mongolia through a video. Armed with iPhones and a great attitude, they created an amazing video about their experience in Mongolia. Not only did they get to learn about beautiful Mongolia and hunting with a golden eagle, but also how to edit and produce a video – which are skills they can carry forward with them.

Related: How To Save Money On Travel With The Right Card

If you are excited to get started with travel rewards, then consider checking out our extensive material. A good place to start with travel rewards is Episode 9 and our Travel Rewards page. You might be surprised how easy it can be. Although travel rewards may not be intuitive on day one, there are some serious ways to save.

Local Group News

The Houston local group had an amazing gardening meetup. It looked like a fun time! Check out a video of the event here.

If any local group would like to share videos or pictures of an event with the larger community, then please mention us on Instagram @choosefiradio. Just put our name in the description so everyone can check out your event.

Finding a local group is easy. Simply head to the Choose Fi Local Page to find the closest group.

Related Episodes And Articles:

New to FI? Be sure to check out Episode 100: Welcome To The FI 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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