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Updates & Inspiration for Your Financial Independence Journey

Curated and written by ChooseFI Podcast host & co-founder Brad Barrett, the FI Weekly Newsletter is the weekly check-in you need if you’re pursuing FI.

Every Tuesday morning you’ll receive an email with:

  • Three key sections summarized to maximize your ability to take action
    • Recent examples include: Redeeming rewards points for NYC, finding Unclaimed Property, Gift Tax Exclusion rules, daily routines of high performers…and more.
  • Six ‘1% Wins’ from FI Weekly readers – what they did this week to make their lives better. The secret sauce of the newsletter is the motivation and inspiration you get reading these wins.

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Explore the Archives

FI Weekly – May 18, 2021

The Power of FI Cam wrote in with a powerful message I wanted to pass along: “The most recent episode (320) regarding stress at work made me reflect a little bit on the power of FU money and my own recent win. I’m not FI, but I’m about halfway there (though with compounding interest, probably *a lot* closer :)) I was moved to a new team this time last year, and my skillset and preferred work was not being prioritized, in an attempt to try and inject life into this other team. I was stuck doing work that I was okay at and hated, instead of the work that I was passionate about and that truly lit me up. In January, I decided I had enough, and figured if I couldn’t find a new job in the next few months, I’d still be able to live off my savings for 20+ years anyway, so explained my situation, and said if I couldn’t move into a more favorable position, I would have to leave and pursue something else. I ended up being moved to the team I wanted and have a much better work life now, all because I realized I

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FI Weekly – May 11, 2021

1% Better: Stop Junk Mail ChooseFI is a crowdsourced community and I love getting contributions that are so good I can just cut and paste. Courtesy of Debra: “In the podcast episode 100 ways to get 1% better, stopping junk mail was mentioned. This is the bane of my existence. I live in Tennessee and this is how I was able to stop all junk mail: ​Credit offers and insurance ​Junk mail: Data and Marketing Association ​Blue envelopes of coupons (Valpak) ​Catalogs and opt out by company​ ​Weekly coupon mailer​ ​Phone Book ​Clipper or Market magazine You can sign up for Informed Delivery with the USPS and they will send you an email with what mail you are getting that day. No email equals no mail (equals winning). Once I got all my eligible bills set to paperless, I barely get any mail. The longest I can remember was at least 2 weeks. Hope that helps!” Book Announcement I’m incredibly excited to announce that Brian Feroldi, one of our absolute favorite podcast guests (Episodes 72, 200, 293 and 314), is writing a book with ChooseFI Publishing called “Why Does the Stock Market Go Up?” The premise is really cool: Brian is fielding

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FI Weekly – May 4, 2021

On Decision-Making Decisions are made with imperfect information and by definition are made without the benefit of hindsight. You know what you know at the time, and you try to make the best decision possible. But you can’t know everything, and your worldview is constantly being updated when you learn new things! Annie Duke’s concept of “resulting” is the best way to look at this: It’s so easy to look at the result, after the fact, and try to determine if it was a good or bad decision merely from the nature of the outcome. That is a fundamentally incorrect way of approaching life. You need to look at the quality of your decision and seek out sources of information that will help with that process for all future decisions. Poker is a great illustration of this: You can have the best hand, play it perfectly and still lose. Does that mean you made a bad decision(s)? Or was it just a bad outcome due to chance, but the decision-making process was one you’d repeat? The worst-case scenario of all is making up your mind and refusing to change regardless of what new information comes in. “Flip flopper” is one of those

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FI Weekly – April 27, 2021

A Deep Dive Into a New World I always try to be intellectually open and honest, plus let you know when I’m experimenting with new things, so here’s an update: I recently jumped into the world of blockchain technology, DeFI (decentralized finance), smart contracts, NFTs and even a bit of cryptocurrencies to a degree that surprises even me. Simply put, I am 100% certain this technology is going to change the world in a manner similar to how the internet changed everything. So, I’m just trying to learn, learn, learn at this point. If you aren’t paying attention to this space, you need to start at least becoming aware of it. I’m still unclear how cryptocurrencies are invented out of thin air, most do nothing productive and just seem to be speculative. That will never add up and I suspect most will vanish. And I could spout Warren Buffett quotes at you like, Bitcoin is “probably rat poison squared.” But then I listened to smart people I respect like Mark Cuban and the potential of the underlying technology became clear. This CNBC article on Cuban said, “If Cuban were to start a company today, he would also utilize new technology —

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FI Weekly – April 20, 2021

All the Hacks My friend Chris Hutchins, who appeared on Episode 71 of ChooseFI and again on Episode 121R with one of the most important segments we’ve ever published, entitled “How to Get Any Job”, just started up his own podcast called “All The Hacks” that I highly recommend subscribing to.  I’m going to be a guest on an early episode and I’m brainstorming some of my favorite life hacks; off the top of my head, here are a few:  The public library: We save thousands of dollars a year taking books out of the library  ​ToDoIst: I have outsourced my entire brain to the ToDoIst app, down to when I need to schedule my annual physical or when my passport needs to be renewed X years from now. It’s all there.  ​CamelCamelCamel: Nearly every item on Amazon.com fluctuates in price commonly by 10%-50% and you can set price alerts on CCC.  Automate my entire financial life, including autopay on all credit cards and automatic transfers to investment accounts  Sleep: Blackout curtains and cold sleeping temperature (we like 63 degrees)  ​Yoga Nidra Meditation for “non-sleep deep rest” as Stanford neuroscience Professor Andrew Huberman calls it.  I’d love for you to hit reply to this email and send me

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FI Weekly – April 13, 2021

Live Event Tonight We’re testing recording the ChooseFI podcast in a live format, and the Stereo app I mentioned previously wasn’t quite ready for what we needed. So, the experiment moves on:  We’re doing a Facebook Live tonight (Tuesday 4/13) at 7:30 pm ET with Frank Vasquez, host of the ‘Risk Parity Radio’ podcast and a prior guest on one of our most popular episodes (Episode 194 about the role of bonds in your portfolio).  Tonight’s live is about the nuances of investment portfolios, asset allocation, drawdown, and how to build a portfolio with non-correlated investments.  With this event you can actually join us live (video and audio) on the show, so click the link below and have some technical questions ready for Frank!  Join the Live Event 1% Better: Impact of Investment Fees Mary sent in a response to last week’s FI Weekly that I wanted to highlight:  “Just wanted to update you about our LITERAL 1% better this week was detaching our financial advisor from our accounts. One email later our investments don’t need to change and we dropped her 1% in fees! Thanks as always for your content!”  Every few months I want to remind you just

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FI Weekly – April 6, 2021

​ On Motivation Sal Khan, founder of the incomparable Khan Academy (if you have children and are looking to improve their math skills for FREE, there’s no better way than Khan Academy), was a guest on People I (Mostly) Admire.’ This quote from Sal on motivation jumped out to me:  “One of the big questions when we started, especially a not for profit, was how are we going to attract top talent, especially in a place like Silicon Valley where people could go work at Google and Facebook and get all the stock options and whatever else.  And I remember reading a study back when I was a hedge fund analyst and it said that beyond a certain level, pay and things like bonuses, actually they’re not that great of an incentive. Or they can even be a disincentive at some point.  And what really people care about: they definitely need enough pay to feel valued, and feel like they can support their family at a reasonable standard of living, but beyond that it’s all about having mission that you feel a real purpose, feeling that you are working around other people who are alongside and are invested in you and having

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FI Weekly – March 30, 2021

​ What Was Your Best Decision Ever? Dr. Peter Attia asked Steve Levitt, Ph.D. the co-author of Freakonomics on Episode 154 of ‘The Drive’ podcast, “What’s the best decision you think you’ve ever made?” and Steve’s response was insightful:  “I don’t know if you’d actually call it a decision, but the decision to not care what people think about me…I somehow just made a choice to just not care what other people thought about me. Which was a big choice for me because like most high school kids all I cared about was what other people thought about me, and at some point, I just broke with that and was happy to live with the consequences and it’s just a great way to live. It just frees you up from so much burden. I think all of my best decisions are ones that relieved burden.”  Do You Know a Young Entrepreneur? We released ChooseFI Episode 308 yesterday with Rob Phelan from The Simple StartUp and I love Rob’s starting point of: “Do You Have A Budding Entrepreneur at Home?”  If you do, you’ll want to help them explore the concepts of business building so it becomes part of their everyday

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FI Weekly – March 23, 2021

​ PSA: Tax Filing Deadline Extended The IRS just extended the filing date of your federal income tax return from April 15 to May 17, 2021. I was pleasantly surprised to see this from the IRS: “Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.”  This is an extension of time to file AND pay for 2020.  If you’re self-employed or otherwise pay quarterly estimated tax payments, keep in mind your 2021 Q1 payment is still due April 15th.  ​This Nerd Wallet article provides further detail and also indicates your deadline for IRA and HSA contributions is extended to 5/17 as well!  Keep an eye on your state’s filing deadline as many states might move the deadline back in response to the fed’s change.  Tonight’s Live Episode: College Alternatives I received such overwhelming feedback on last week’s section about Google moving forward with their Certificate Program as a college alternative that we realized this was a pain point that needed further exploration.  Because of this, our team completely updated the “Should You Go to College” article on Choosefi.com and Jonathan

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FI Weekly – March 16, 2021

​ Disrupting Higher Education I’ve become a fan of The Hustle’s email newsletter for the variety of business stories and their post this week, “Google Goes After Higher Ed,” caught my eye.  Last year, Google announced plans to offer certificate programs that would take the place of a college degree, for some roles, in their own notoriously difficult hiring process. The thought was that this would give cover to other companies to move away from requiring the general undergraduate degree as a prerequisite.  In the modern economy, skills matter. If a degree helps you get those skills then wonderful. If you can get them from an online program for a fraction of the cost, then all the better.  We’ve highlighted this with Jonathan and Bradley Rice’s Salesforce Challenge on Episode 297, where Anita went from a layoff to a six-figure career in a few short months, and we’ve long spoken about the ‘talent stack’ of skills you need to build to be uniquely employable in today’s economy.  ​Inc.com updated us on Google’s plans this week and they are moving forward with:  “The release of three new Google Career Certificates on Coursera in project management, data analytics, and user experience (UX) design  A new

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FI Weekly – March 9, 2021

Expected Value in Decision Making I’m reading the book ‘DUCY? Exploits, Advice, and Ideas of the Renowned Strategist’ by poker player David Sklansky and he does a great job explaining a critical concept in decision making that you need to add to your list of mental models: Expected Value (EV)  “Expected value arises most frequently when you must make financial decisions about uncertain outcomes. However, it’s also useful for other types of decisions if you can convert the alternatives to numerical values.  If you don’t convert, you may be unable to compare two or more uncertain possibilities. But when you see EV, you convert your decision into a comparison between specific numbers, and then usually, but not always, select the alternative with the highest EV.  …Suppose I tell you, “I will give you $120 if you take this die and roll a three.” That’s nice of me, but exactly how nice is it? Hopefully you will see that I am as nice as a person who hands you a $20 bill.  That’s the EV of my offer. If I let you roll six times, you would have gotten (on average) my gift of $120 the one time that you rolled

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FI Weekly – March 2, 2021

Quote I’m Pondering “Comparison is the thief of joy” – President Theodore Roosevelt  It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others around you in almost every aspect of life, regardless of how successful or well off you are. In this regard, humans compare on a relative basis, not an absolute one. Those around us matter the most in this comparison.  One of the best aspects of joining the FI Community is that we’ve stepped off that “keeping up with the Joneses” hamster wheel and aren’t as concerned about what others think. Subtracting this ‘thief of joy’ is an often-overlooked benefit of FI that I wanted to point out.  Aggregation of Marginal Gains We talk quite often at ChooseFI about the power of making small 1% changes that compound to something great. This is the concept of the “aggregation of marginal gains” we were introduced to from the British Cycling team where each individual change can seem almost meaningless, but when aggregated together can be life changing (or Tour de France winning in their case).  I cam across an article on CNBC that explained the concept brilliantly and this one section stuck out to me:  “Brailsford believed

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