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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:

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    • 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

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

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August 18, 2020

Words to Live By: Jerzy Gregorek Edition I’ve often mentioned Jerzy Gregorek’s masterful “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life” quote, as I think it is a framework for long-term success in FI and in life. Possibly even more profound is this from Jerzy: “Try to be around people who don’t do three things. They are not sarcastic. They don’t complain and they don’t blame.” If you sit back and listen, you’ll find these ‘three killers of happiness’ make up 80%+ of everyday conversation. I challenge you to personally stop this madness and also cut out the people in your life perpetuating this negativity. Instead, look for people who are interesting themselves and interested in others, those who ask questions, those looking for solutions, those who understand there’s nuance and subtlety in the world, and that there’s so much to be positive about, even in tough times. Free Weekly Credit Reports I spoke about my love of ToDoIst recently on a podcast and our CEO Ed told me that one of my tasks was hopelessly outdated. It used to be that you could get a free credit report from the 3 bureaus annually, so I spread them out over the year, but he

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August 25, 2020

Focus on Simplifying I’m a part of a mastermind group that ChooseFI podcast guest Dominick Quartuccio runs, and we’re currently focusing on simplifying our lives. I singled out my tendency to “just quickly check email and Facebook” as a constant low-level stress in my life, and then set out to fix it. I very simply took a sheet of paper and wrote “Times Checked Email/FB” on it and wrote the days of the week down the page. This paper sits next to my keyboard and every time I check my email accounts and FB I jot down a tick mark to keep track of how often I’ve checked. Just by adding this little bit of friction and gamification, I’ve dramatically cut my times per day down to well under 5, with the goal of 2-3 in sight! My challenge to you: find a point of stress in your life and find a way to simplify starting today. ChooseFI: Friends of the Library My family quite literally saves thousands of dollars each year by using our public library, and I wanted to pass along a PSA reminder to all of you: Libraries are a great way to save money, and in this day

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September 01, 2020

What I’m Listening To In my self-improvement journey, increasing the quality and quantity of my sleep has arguably been the single most important factor. I’m obsessive about my sleep! Dr. Peter Attia’s podcast ‘The Drive’ is a must-listen, and in Episode 126 he had Matthew Walker, Ph.D., author of Why We Sleep, on the show to discuss immune function and sleep and they passed along 5 actionable tips to improve the quality of your sleep: Regularity: going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day. Darkness at night:I personally bought blackout shades for my windows (here are the ones I bought) and unplugged or covered all those pesky little lights on electronics. Temperature: It ideally should be cold in your room for the best sleep. We keep the AC off during the day but kick it on about 90 minutes before bed. Don’t hang out in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep, get up, do something else and come back. Alcohol and Caffeine: Avoid caffeine in the afternoon (or later) and try to avoid alcohol in the evening. The Simple StartUp Fall Challenge After the success of the summer camps, Rob Phelan is running The Simple

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September 08, 2020

Next Generation Financial Independence Doug Nordman and Carol Pittner’s book “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence” is available today! This is a MUST-read book to help teach financial literacy and financial independence. I love the format, as they wrote it from both the perspective of parent and child. I picked up a lot of tips we’re using with our own kids! You can find all buying options at Choosefi.com/nextgen or:o orBuy it on Amazon What I’m Struggling With I have fallen out of my exercise routine and I’m struggling to get back in the groove. My wife Laura challenged me, as I talk on the podcast how I exercise ~5 times a week, but I haven’t been living up to that ideal the last few months. We decided to do a 30 burpee per day challenge this month and so far, it’s going well. It takes about 3 minutes a day, is great exercise, and the accountability to each other is everything. Starting small and getting back in the habit is proving ultra-effective. What are you struggling with? What small change can you make this week to move in a positive direction? Check Your Receipts Matt sent this in

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September 15, 2020

Making the Best of a Difficult Situation My daughters started virtual school last week and the care and effort the teachers put in to make this a “real” school year is astonishing! Nothing is ever perfect and there have been some minor hiccups, but it was a great week. The attitude and mentality you approach a situation with generally dictates your outcome. Laura and I could have infected the kids with negativity and complaints about this less than perfect situation. Instead, we chose to focus on the positives and asked a variation of: “What if the worst thing that ever happened to you turned out to be the best thing that ever happened?” My 3rd grader set up a bike-riding group with her friends, so they all meet at our driveway for recess and ride bikes for 20 minutes! And then they rotate hosting daily picnic lunches. This is an incredible way to look at the problem and come up with the “best thing” solution. What I’m Listening To The newest episode of The Mad Fientist podcast with Morgan Housel, author of the recently released ‘The Psychology of Money’ is a must-listen. It is so jammed packed with essential quotes

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September 22, 2020

Back to Basics: The Impact of Fees Following our theme on the podcast of ‘Back to Basics’ I wanted to quickly touch on the impact of fees on your investments. This illustrates why we believe in low-cost index funds so strongly. From Vanguard’s site: “Imagine you have $100,000 invested. If the account earned 6% a year for the next 25 years and had no costs or fees, you’d end up with about $430,000. If, on the other hand, you paid 2% a year in costs, after 25 years you’d only have about $260,000. That’s right: The 2% you paid every year would wipe out almost 40% of your final account value. 2% doesn’t sound so small anymore, does it?” I wrote an article years ago that walks you through a few examples – I think it’s good to get a refresher on this critical topic. ChooseFI Foundation: Easy Way to Support I just found an incredibly easy (and free!) way to support our Foundation’s mission to bring FI and financial literacy to underserved communities. At ‘Amazon Smile,’ with one click you can select the Foundation as your designated charity and then do your future Amazon.com shopping at smile.amazon.com. Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchases at

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September 29, 2020

My Fail of the Week: Last Week’s Email Communication is all about getting your point across, and last week I had a colossal fail when talking about Amazon Smile. There was a lackluster response, which means I did a terrible job of communicating and that’s 100% on me. This is important, so here’s attempt #2: Do you shop at Amazon.com? Of course you do. Here’s a way to do something good while shopping at the internet behemoth: Simply go to https://smile.amazon.com/ first and then shop like normal at Amazon. You get the exact same low prices and Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to a charity of your choice. A FREE donation to your favorite charity is hard to beat! All you have to do is designate a charity the first time you visit Amazon Smile and then go through smile.amazon.com EVERY. SINGLE. TIME you make a purchase and that’s it! Better yet, automate the process. Update your bookmark, or if you shop through the app, go to Settings>Amazon Smile>Turn on AmazonSmile and you’ll never need to think about it again. There are a lot of worthy charities trying to make the world a better place. This is the easiest way to

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October 6, 2020

As part of the “take action” credo at ChooseFI, we always advise you to get new quotes on your car and home insurance each year. You’ll be shocked at how much you can potentially save just by going to a different insurance company. I’d always start with traditional carriers like Geico, State Farm, and Allstate to get a baseline, but two companies just were introduced to me that are disrupting the insurance industry in unique ways: Metromile: My car is a large paperweight right now, so paying for car insurance based on how many miles I drive is really appealing! Ed, our CEO at ChooseFI, switched his auto insurance for 2 vehicles and 2 drivers to Metromile and was able to get his monthly cost under $40 a month when his city was locked down. Even with some summer road trips, his monthly auto insurance is less than $60/month. The downside is it is currently only available in: AZ, CA, IL, NJ, PA, OR, VA, WA. Check out our in-depth review of Metromile here. Lemonade: Jonathan used Lemonade to get his latest homeowner’s insurance policy and he couldn’t stop raving to me about how quick and easy it was. In classic Jonathan-style, he

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October 13, 2020

What Have you Splurged on Recently? We talk a lot about cutting expenses at ChooseFI and while there’s room in most budgets for cutting wasteful spending, the path to FI is decidedly NOT about deprivation. It’s about finding what you truly value in life and putting your time, energy, and resources into those things. I think this is critical, and to prove this point I’ll share a recent expensive purchase we made based around value: We bought a Concept2 rowing machine for our home gym for around $900. I agonized over this purchase at first, because my frugal nature is still strong, but here’s how I framed it around value: All four of our family members will use this multiple times per week, as it’s incredibly easy to use and actually fun. It’s amazing exercise and we significantly value health and fitness. And while most items you buy depreciate 75%+ instantly (check out a garage sale to prove this point!), this rower could be sold at any moment for at least $650. Fun Activities for Less Jonathan, a new member of our Facebook group, asked a great question recently: “What fun activities do you and your family like to do

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