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119R | Position Of Strength

Jonathan and Brad discuss their favorite books from 2018, negotiating from a position of power, career hacking, and what they would do differently if they were recording episode 1 today.

2019 Reading List

Books can be an amazing source of information for anyone pursuing FI. Whether you want to glean valuable information or enjoy a low-cost form of entertainment, books are a great option!

Try picking up an interesting title from the library or downloading it as an audiobook.

Here is a combination of books from Brad and Jonathan’s reading lists:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Ted Talks by Chris Anderson

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World- and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matter Every Day by Jake Knapp


How To Negotiate From A Position Of Power

Mr. Refined had some great practical advice on how to negotiate your medical debt. In the healthcare industry, many providers know that they will not be compensated for the complete amount of the bill. Once you know that, it opens the door to serious savings. When you receive a medical bill, you can use it as a starting point for negotiations instead of just temporarily solving the problem with a credit card.

Start that conversation with a smile.

After you have made the decision to negotiate, you need to approach it in the right way. It is crucial that you maintain a positive attitude and treat the customer service representative with respect. You will likely need to have several conversations with this person, so being nice can go a long way. If you are a jerk, then no one will want to help you. Think about it from their perspective, would you want to help someone that is yelling at you?

You can’t afford to mic-drop every single phone call.

Also, it is important to take notes during each call. You will likely need to work with the company or the individual several times. Some basic things to note include the time, date, name of the customer representative, details of your conversation. When you call back the next time, make sure to mention these details. It is very obvious when you are prepared for the conversation.

If you are able to show that you have already done steps 1-5, then maybe this person will help you get to the next step.

With a positive attitude and detailed notes, it is more likely that your conversation will go well. Turn each conversation into a “we” problem, not a “me” problem by remembering their incentives.

The little things are the big things in life.

However, it is important to remember that you can apply these negotiation strategies beyond medical debt. You can use these strategies to save real money in your life across all spending categories.

Whatever you are negotiating, it is important to come from a position of strength.

As members of the FI community, you may have more power than you realize. When you have the ability to buy something in cash instead of relying on creative financing, you have the power to walk away. Salesmen do not want to see you leave the store because you are an ideal customer that is able to hand them the money today.

Having the assets to buy an item at once is especially powerful in high margin environments such as furniture stores and car lots.

If you know of other places were fellow FI members can negotiate from a position of strength, then let us know on Facebook or Twitter using #mailbag.

Feedback From The Community

Remember, if you want your question featured then use #mailbox in your posts.

Question from @AfricaFIRE

If you were to look back to your first episode, what one thing would you have done differently?

Hello @AfricaFIRE!

You do not need to wait for it to be perfect. Right now, 200 episodes in, I feel that we could do an awesome first episode. But you don’t get to episode 200 until you’ve done episode 1.

You have to start and take that first step. Don’t be afraid to record that episode and release it out into the universe. Continue to get better at podcasting (or anything) and continue to refine your message.

If you look at our show, we decided that we wanted to take another stab at our first episode, so we made it episode 100. Honestly, if I could, I would make episode 100 episode 1. You don’t have to have your message perfect, just get started and then learn along the way. You always have the ability to hone your message as you go.

Originally, we thought this would be a showcase of experiments in financial independence. The plan was to become case studies for different approaches and report back to the audience. Clearly, that is not where we went with the show. As we realized the power of community, we had no idea how many people had this yearning for this information.

Of course, there are things we know now that we didn’t know then but I wouldn’t go back and change them.

We plan to do an episode about the biggest lessons learned some time this year!

Question from Justin:

Justin is looking for advice about choosing a new career path at 28. What suggestions do you have?

Hello Justin!

Although this is not all that’s out there, here’s what our community has been talking about lately.

The best part about this community is that there are so many people that have experience in different fields. They can really help you to open your eyes to lucrative opportunities that you may have never found in your social circle.

For example, Roger asked, “What is the best trade job?” With over 150 comments, there are many different opportunities with starting salaries of over $100,000 a year!

It becomes a questions of what you really want to do. What sort of changes are you willing to make to realize this reality?

Related: 7 Careers With Six Figure Earning Potential–No College Degree Required!

Shout out to Didier!

With the most encouraging post of the week!

Not a lot of people in my life I can share this with and have them understand. Found out about FIRE in August 2018 with NO emergency fund let alone retirement funds put away. Today I’m proud to say with a healthy emergency fund, I just bought my first share of VTSAX using my first ever Roth IRA account!! The FIRE is spreading my friends.

Local Group News

If you want to find a local group then get started here. If there is not a group in your area, then you can volunteer to organize one by sending an email to [email protected].

There are many meetings happening at the end of the month.

One event that we are particularly excited about is the Junior Achievement Meet Up in the D.C. area on April 8th. The event is from 8:20 to 3:30. We will be teaching kids about basic personal finance skills all day. If you would like to volunteer, then please join us! More information is in the D.C. local group, so find out more here.

Related Episodes:

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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