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Let’s Make Lemonade With A Twist | EP 269

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • ChooseFI Facebook Community Manager, Jennifer, recently posted a meme that hit home with Brad. It said, “Plot twist: 2020 has actually been the best year of your life. You faced challenge after challenge, you’ve adapted, and you’ve overcome. 2020 has forced you to grow exponentially. Don’t take that for granted.
  • 2020 had been Jonathan’s best year ever. Instead of giving in to fear, doubt, and insecurity, he decided to lean in. By being more intentional with the things that were important to him, like his health, Jonathan has lost 20 to 30 pounds and is in the best shape of his life.
  • Jonathan also sought to build his personal talent stack and built two new businesses. He is feeling more agency and is more fulfilled than at any other point in his life.
  • Previously, Jonathan‘s beliefs about himself were all based on external validation. But as he began to get more freedom and autonomy in his life, he began to question those beliefs and reclaim his identity statement.
  • Learning that things such as student loan debt is good debt and you’ll have to work until retirement age, just aren’t true allowed him the space to challenge the status quo in other areas of his life.
  • Initially, he even questioned whether the success of ChooseFI was the result of a random lightning strike of luck. However, he’s taken his interest-led learning and skills he’s learned, applied them to two new business models, and achieved success with them.
  • The interest-led learning Brad and Jonathan frequently discuss on the show helped Jonathan lean in March, and it also lead Brad‘s eight-year-old daughter, Molly, to learn how to cook a perfect pan-seared chicken breast just like Gordon Ramsay.
  • The things you believe about yourself become part of your identity statement. But you can turn the limiting beliefs around and say that you’re the type of person who can learn anything. It may be just a Google or YouTube search away.
  • You can reframe your identity by asking yourself what you want it to be.
  • Though she isn’t running now at nine months pregnant, part of MK’s identity is that she is a runner. However, in high school, she was the slowest person on the team. She thought she couldn’t do what the other’s on the team were doing, but her coach didn’t have the word “can’t” in his vocabulary. His mindset is something she has carried through to other areas of her life.
  • MK challenges you to take the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary too because once you aren’t allowed to use it, your mindset will shift and you can begin to redefine who you are.
  • A case in point for the power of working to get 1% better was in the news last weekend when Chris Nikic became the first person with Down Syndrome to complete a grueling Ironman triathlon. Emblazoned across his shirt was his training mantra, “1% Better”.
  • You can make a choice every day to live your life a little bit better and when your finances are in orders, everything else gets a little bit easier. You make the choice not to deprive yourself by saving money, to empower yourself, and put yourself in a position where you have the freedom to think about all the other things that truly matter, like health, relationships, and spending time how you see fit.
  • While it’s about making a choice, if you don’t get up off the couch and take action, nothing is going to get better.
  • If you have a question you’d like to have answered on the show, submit them by going to Or reply to Brad’s weekly email, The FI Weekly. Get on the list by going to
  • The first mailbag question this week comes from Sara who wants to know how to master financial independence when you don’t have a 401K. Sara has been working through the podcasts and read, ChooseFI: Your Blueprint for Financial Independence, but her husband is a bartender and doesn’t have a 401K.
  • W-2 employees without access to a 401K could consider being an advocate and talking with their employer about getting a 401K like Waffles on Wednesday talked about when they were on the show. Just giving employees access to a 401K does not have to be cost-prohibitive and can be a win for both owners and employees of small businesses.
  • It’s important to remember there are no rules to FI. Just because others are talking about maxing out their 401K and then doing a Roth conversion ladder, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do. Brad admits it wasn’t until the last two years at his job before he maxed out his 401K contributions.
  • The path to financial independence does not depend on a 401K. It’s predicated on savings rate. The goal is to save that in the most-advantaged way possible. Between marginal tax brackets and child tax credits, it may be fie just putting money into a Roth IRA, which has a $6,000 limit this year.
  • If you have your own side hustle, you have options for retirement accounts, like a SEP IRA or solo 401K. A SEP IRA is easy to set up through any major online brokerage firm and put in roughly 20% of your income. There are potentially even higher thresholds for solo 401Ks when contributing as the employee and employer.
  • The next question is from Conner who wants to know how best to allocate his 25% savings rate between a 410K, Roth, IRA, and savings account.
  • The purpose of saving money isn’t only for retirement. Save for life and having options.
  • Brad thinks Conner is doing a fantastic job saving and while it would be easy to say “put it in the 401K”, having all of his net worth in tax-deferred vehicles may not be the best physiologically. Rather than stick it in a savings account, he could invest in the stock market with a brokerage outside of a retirement account.
  • As much as Jonathan loves Vanguard, it’s not the easiest brokerage to open an account with. In comparison, Fidelity is much easier and still provides access to low-cost broad-based index funds.
  • An upcoming episode will feature Sean Mullaney to review in-depth 401Ks and Roth IRAs. One of the major differences between the two is that contributions to a Roth IRA may be withdrawn tax and penalty-free, which can act like an emergency fund.
  • Join us and share your wins! This year ChooseFI will be holding a LIVE year-end wins episode on December 8th at 7:30 pm Eastern simulcast on Facebook and YouTube. It will be replayed as the final podcast episode of the year. Subscribe to get a reminder at
  • For a chance to win a book from ChooseFI Publishing, share your wins by replying to Brad’s weekly newsletter. This week’s first winner is Cory, who as of last week caught up on all episodes of the podcast after two and a half years of listening. After implementing many of the actionable tips and set Cory is set up for financial success and went from a negative net worth to hitting over $100,000 at the beginning of October.
  • The second winner this week is Jo. Jo and her husband found ChooseFI while she was on maternity leave earlier this year. During that time they refinanced their mortgage, getting a better rate and eliminating PMI, canceled subscriptions, lowered their cell phone and car insurance bills, enrolled in course for Jo’s remaining college electives, was promoted at work and negotiated a substantial raise, will max out 403bs, and opened a non-retirement brokerage account. Also, while focusing on their health, Jo lost 70 pounds and her husband lost 40.
  • Jonathan won his weight loss challenge with and received a check for $2,419.67! Set a bet for yourself by going to

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

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