ChooseFI Logo

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.

Join 66,000+ readers today! 👇



Interested in past newsletters? View the full set of previous emails here!

Brad Barrett sitting in front of a microphone

What Our Readers Are Saying

5/5

"I just wanted to tell you that your newsletter is my favorite email of the week. Thank you for keeping this up so consistently. It is such a a positive and uplifting read. Keep up the good work!"

5/5

"I know you're generating these for a community and not for me personally, but every time I see this email come in, I hear you say, "You can do it, I believe in you!"

5/5

"I just wanted to let you know that your weekly email is the only one of it's kind that I not only read all the way through, but I read immediately. Thank you so much for the valuable content. I especially like the podcast recommendations."

5/5

"A big thank you for starting and continuing to create and deliver quality financial information and encouragement."

5/5

"I've been absorbing your wisdom (and that of the collective) for about a year now. I can't believe how much I've learned and changed. I've taken incremental actions that are really starting to add up."

5/5

"Hi Brad, thanks for everything you do with ChooseFI. It has made an incredible impact on me, my mindset and my family."​

Explore the Archives

December 22, 2020

​ End of Year Review and Planning for 2021 We are finally nearing the end of 2020 (insert your favorite exclamation/expletive here)! This has been such an unusual year in so many ways and it’s critical to get everything in order financially and mentally before the end of the year and have a plan to move forward into 2021 with some momentum to get after your goals. Here are some resources I think will help: For the first time in my life, I’m truly conducting an annual review and setting goals for the upcoming year. Stephen from our Foundation’s free FI 101 course, introduced me to Chris Guillebeau’s article on laying out annual goals that are specific and measurable with concrete action steps and it really appealed to me. I think you’ll find this method valuable: Set your goals Our team put together an excellent Year-End Financial Checklist that I think is well worth your time. We always talk about taking action, and now’s the time to review some of the pillars of your financial life: Complete the checklist Sean Mullaney, the FI Tax Guy, joined us on ChooseFI Episode 274 to discuss year-end tax moves for 2020 and what you need

Read More »

December 15, 2020

​ Mental Models for Clearer Thinking Financial Independence is about so much more than the nuts and bolts of money. It’s about building an empowering mindset that helps you thrive no matter what the world throws at you.  And 2020 has sure thrown a lot at us.  One of the best ways to be prepared mentally is to upgrade your mental toolbox, so you can work through problems clearly and rationally, even when faced with something new and unexpected.  I was first introduced to the concept of ‘mental models’ in Charlie Munger’s “Poor Charlie’s Almanack,” and it has formed the foundation for how I approach problem-solving.  Similar to the ‘talent stack’ concept, building mental models starts with having a basic understanding of a diverse set of disciplines, from cognitive biases to economics, to physics, chemistry, and biology to probabilistic thinking and beyond.  As Shane Parrish, host of ‘The Knowledge Project’ podcast, wrote in his book The Great Mental Models Vol. 1:  “Not having the ability to shift perspective by applying knowledge from multiple disciplines makes us vulnerable. Mistakes can become catastrophes whose effects keep compounding, creating stress and limiting our choices. Multidisciplinary thinking, learning these mental models and applying them across

Read More »

December 08, 2020

Live ‘Year End Wins’ Event Tonight Jonathan and I are hosting a Facebook Live event tonight (12/8) at 7:30 pm EST and we’d love for you to join us! We’ll be chatting with 20+ community members sharing their 2020 wins with the ChooseFI community. This will be inspirational and a great way to encourage us all as we move into 2021. Join the Live Event ChooseFI: Friends of the Library In response to my “free events in your town” section last week, Jami wrote in: “Hi Brad – regarding the low-cost and free family entertainment options, also inquire at your local library. A number of them have passes to museums and exhibitions that you can “check out,” allowing you to visit a place charging admission for free.” Next time you visit the library, approach the librarian, and ask if they have any interesting or unusual items available to check out. You might be surprised at what you find! Here’s a list of 200 unusual items available at libraries across the country: Check It Out! Tiny Habits to Change Your Life Gavin sent me a really interesting email about small habits that can dramatically improve your life: “I just read this article and

Read More »

December 01, 2020

Free Events in Your Town/City On one of our earliest episodes, Liz from Frugalwoods.com taught us something that might be counterintuitive: Entertainment in a city can be incredibly inexpensive. Free in many cases. There are many cultural events, museum exhibits, and university offerings (among many others) that are completely free – if you just take the time to look for them. My family loves outdoor activities and we learned that The Valentine museum offers free “self-guided Richmond history tours” complete with pdf walking guides and maps. 2 of the past 3 weekends we’ve set out, maps in hand, and explored areas of the city we’d only ever heard about! What activities can you find for free in your local area? Words to Live By: Alan Donegan Edition Our good friend Alan Donegan from the Rebel Entrepreneur podcast posted a video on Facebook about a 40 burpees per day physical fitness challenge he’s taking part in with his wife Katie. The video of Alan & Katie doing their burpees rocked my world: At the end of each burpee, they each jumped as high as they possibly could. I wrote to Alan, “Those are legit jumps at the end!” To which he responded, “Push

Read More »

November 24, 2020

The Subtle Art of Saying No A friend introduced me to the Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast podcast this week and said their episode entitled, “The Fundamental Human Relationship with Work” was the anthropological case for Financial Independence, which was fascinating.  This quote from “The Subtle Art of Saying No” episode really impacted me:  “Every bad ‘Yes’ crowds out a much better ‘Yes,’ just as every well-reasoned, well-timed ‘No’ makes room for a better ‘Yes.’  You say yes because in the moment you want to please…that’s a bad yes.”  It’s so easy to say “Yes” or even “Maybe” when you know the answer should be “No.”  I challenge each of you to look for ways to simplify your life by cutting out the reflexive “Yes” responses to meetings, events, calls, etc. that you know in your heart you need to cut entirely.  ​ FI Weekly Benefit: 15% off at the ChooseFI Store I always want the ‘FI Weekly’ newsletter to add value to your life, and this week it is more tangible than most: We just launched the ChooseFI Store on our new website featuring incredible prices on eBook bundles plus some cool ChooseFI apparel and collectibles.  If you use the coupon

Read More »

November 17, 2020

Designing Your Year for 2021 We published an important podcast episode yesterday:  Episode 270 of ChooseFI with Dominick Quartuccio of ‘The Great Man Within’ Podcast; I highly recommend each of you not only listen, but take the time to go through the exercise of reviewing 2020 and designing 2021.  Natalie wrote in and said, “Hi Brad. I wanted to say thank you for the episode on Designing Your Year for 2021. As I was listening, I made a mental list of my stand-out moments–1) I lost 20 lbs 2) because of COVID, now have the opportunity to remote work forever 3) joined the double comma club in my retirement accounts and 4) got my kids interested in financial independence largely because of Choose FI’s Simple Start-Up and related pod episodes (I taught my 10-year-old how to calculate ROI when playing the game Cashflow for Kids!)  My work on mindset is going to serve me well to make 2021 my best year yet!” Life Hack: Scanning Old Pictures with Your Phone Jake sent in a great life hack for those of us with stacks of old photographs:  “This week I found out about the Google PhotoScan app and it helped me digitize my physical photos

Read More »

November 10, 2020

1% Better: Building Life Skills Our family’s latest obsession is the cooking show ‘MasterChef Junior’ with Gordon Ramsay. Early in Season 6, Gordon demonstrated how to make an incredible pan-seared chicken breast. My daughter Molly is learning to cook and wanted to test this out. The next night she gave it a try (with some help from mom and dad) and to say it turned out well is an understatement! This was the best chicken I’ve eaten in my life and it was so easy to make! It was just about having the knowledge and the interest to give it a try. Molly is 8 years old, and now, for the rest of her life, she can cook a piece of chicken like the best chef in the world. She followed an interest and simply watched the YouTube replay a few times, took notes, and tested it out. This is how we all can continue to build life skills to keep getting 1% better every week! Check out Gordon’s technique ​ Increasing Your ‘Luck Surface Area’ Danny Kenny of FI-nancialPlanner.com sent me an article on increasing your ‘luck surface area’ and a TED talk from Dr. Tina Seelig of Stanford on ‘The little

Read More »

November 3, 2020

It felt odd to not acknowledge that it’s Election Day here in the US. While I found a bunch of inspiring quotes about voting, I’ll leave it to this simple one from Jenna Bush that, if nothing else, “We can all agree on the importance of voting.” New ChooseFI Website I’m incredibly excited to announce the new ChooseFI.com website is live!! The whole team is extraordinarily proud of how it turned out. The entire concept was to make it a true resource and easier for you to find and share information as you move forward on your path to FI. A huge thank you to Liz, Giada, William, Annie, MK, Stephen, Melissa, Kelly and the entire team for the thousands of hours they put in to making this possible! Please check it out and let us know what you think (and to go with the launch I created, a new ‘5 Day FI Challenge’ for you to share with friends, family, and colleagues getting started with FI). [edit: the 5 Day FI Challenge course has now closed]. The Simple StartUp Winter Challenge The signup just opened for The Simple Startup Winter Challenge! If you have a 10 to 18-year-old interested in entrepreneurship, this 10-week

Read More »

October 27, 2020

Back to Basics: Everything is Negotiable I’m always on the lookout for patterns in life, and one I’ve noticed from your replies to this weekly email is how emboldened you are by the concept of “everything is negotiable.” Nick wrote in saying, “I only called them because it’s a technique I heard you mention on the podcast and of course they refunded the fee.” Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Ask for a discount, ask for some fee to be waived. Just ask. I know it can be difficult, but what’s the worst that can happen? They say ‘no.’ Then you’re in the same place you were to begin with, and that’s okay. I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many times you get to ‘yes’ with a simple ask. The Income Side of the Equation We clearly spend a lot of time talking about cutting expenses, but the income side of the equation is critically important and can’t be overlooked. I want to point you to three essential episodes from the ChooseFI podcast that provide important life skills that should be reviewed each year: ​Episode 121R with Chris Hutchins. “How to Get Any Job” ​ ​Episode 147 with Tori Dunlap. “Negotiate Your

Read More »

October 20, 2020

This is Brad, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast. Each week I share ideas to ponder, inspire, and motivate you on your own journey to FI. What I’m Listening to This Week: Part 1 I was introduced to Naval Ravikant 5+ years ago on the Tim Ferriss podcast Episode 97 and was blown-away by the depth of his thinking. I was excited to see him pop up as a guest on Episode 473 of Tim’s show this week. Here’ a quote that jumped out to me: “Long term thinking gets you long term results… if you can just adopt long-term thinking in your mindset, you’re just going to have a much easier life…Compound interest applies everywhere: it applies in relationships, it applies in money, it applies in health & fitness.” I was thrilled to see Eric Jorgenson put together “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” and is offering a completely free pdf download of the book! If you’re looking to upgrade your thinking, check out this free ‘guide to wealth and happiness.’ I actually bought it for $3 so I could have it on my Kindle forever….interestingly, Melissa on our team just informed me that I could have sent the pdf to my Kindle

Read More »

August 04, 2020

The Value of Blank Space We talk on the podcast about the value of blank space on our calendars – what we affectionately call the “Red X Month.” Take a red marker and draw a huge “X” over an entire month and plan nothing during that time. While I’m incredibly fortunate to truly take that time away from everything, I think this concept of blank space is valuable for everyone reading this. Start small and plan a week with no meetings or pre-planned events. Learn to say “no” to things, even when it’s difficult. Build this muscle and experience the discomfort of saying no, but ultimately learn to prioritize your most valuable resource: your time. My Favorite Episode? Episode 240 of ChooseFI with Tiffany Aliche “The Budgetnista” may have been my single favorite guest interview in our entire history. She is truly amazing and inspiring and you must listen to it if you haven’t already. If videos are more your style, our team created a handful of excerpts of the interview for your viewing enjoyment: ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week: Brian “maxed my 403b for the first time in my adult life. 403b, Roth and HSA to the max! Just call

Read More »

August 11, 2020

Finding Little Moments of Joy While on vacation, I’ve been thinking about searching out moments of joy more frequently in daily life — even if only in bite-sized chunks. Last night I watched a viral video of two twin brothers listening to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the first time. The pure joy and surprise on their faces when the famous drum solo hit was incredible to watch. It got me thinking about the enjoyment I get from listening to music and how infrequently I go back and listen to my favorites. Then I remembered two of my favorite YouTube videos and how they never fail to bring a smile to my face and watched them both: ​JK Wedding Entrance Dance ​Susan Boyle’s first audition on Britain’s Got Talent Please hit reply and pass along any suggestions you have for finding small moments of joy in your own life! How to Podcast Workshop Round 2 By popular demand, Jonathan is holding another ‘How to Launch a Podcast’ live workshop this Saturday 8/15 at 1 pm EST. Register now for the live event (a replay link will be sent out if you can’t make it at 1 pm): Back to Basics

Read More »