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 63,000+ 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

FI Weekly – March 28, 2023: AI Revolution, Millionaire Next Door

AI Revolution Happening Now Part of what makes the FI Community special is we realize the world is constantly changing and in order to make the best decisions going forward, we need to understand those changes and the ‘rules of the game’ of life. We see this in our finances with traditionally unheard of concepts like: I think we’re in the middle of the most remarkable technological change the world has ever seen with the pace of development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially with the recent release of GPT-4. It’s all happening so quickly that what I write today could be old news by next week, and I won’t pretend to be an authoritative expert by any means, but the critical part is that every single person reading this newsletter understands that the world is changing around them and you must start learning about this today. I’ve tried to curate a list of resources and examples that will help you get up to speed quickly.  Even if you don’t read everything below, please at least click on this thread and get acquainted with the amazing possibilities: Resources: Use Cases: Millionaire Next Door Advice Rachael Camp is someone I really enjoy following on

Read More »

FI Weekly – March 21, 2023: FI Hobbies, Unexpected Fun, Things Important and Unimportant

FI Hobbies and Activities I published a fun podcast episode yesterday with my friend Chris Terrell where we talked about some fun, frugal FI hobbies including board games (oh, how we love board games!) and pickleball. If you’re someone who doesn’t think of themselves as a board game fan, I want to challenge you to listen to that episode with an open mind and let me know what you think. I also have an episode coming out soon with Greg from Outside 365 where he challenges each of us to get outside at least “one human powered mile” every day.  This one deeply resonated with me and helped me challenge simple concepts we take for granted like “today’s weather is bad.” Bad is relative, right? And all in our brains.  Greg helped me challenge that notion and I think you’ll enjoy that episode. Laura and I recently found an outdoor hike on the James River that was so unexpectedly wonderful and challenging, especially when we were expecting a fairly pedestrian path along the river. Your city or town undoubtedly has many of these surprises waiting for you – so go outside and look for them!  Maybe someone in your ChooseFI Local Group would like to join you

Read More »

FI Weekly – March 14, 2023: FDIC Insurance Limits, New Podcasts (and Quotes)

FDIC Insurance Limits Silicon Valley Bank, the 16th largest bank in the US, nearly went out of business this past week when there was essentially a run on the bank.  Depositors rushed to get their money out, and it caused a liquidity crisis. At the time I am writing this, a solution is being floated and it seems that all depositors will be made whole.  But this wasn’t clear at the beginning of the crisis, because, by most estimates, over 90% of the nearly $200 billion of deposits at SVB were not covered by FDIC insurance. While this crisis most likely won’t impact you, it’s a good opportunity to refresh your memory on FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insurance and how it works. Per their website, “The FDIC protects depositors of insured banks located in the United States against the loss of their deposits if an insured bank fails.” When you deposit money at a FDIC insured bank, “The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.” This $250k would double to $500k for a joint account. So, in very broad terms, if you have a lot of cash that’s sitting at a bank, as long

Read More »

FI Weekly – March 7, 2023: 11 Simple Rules for a Wealthy Life, How Long to Actually Double Your Money?, Simple Path on The Daily Show

11 Simple Rules for a Wealthy Life I revisited an article I wrote nearly a decade ago called ‘A Lifetime of Financial Advice in Your Wallet’ on my original site Richmond Savers (that site’s claim to fame was the ‘Step-by-Step Guide to Disney World using Rewards Points’ article that we’ve since updated on ChooseFI). Though maybe with some slightly different wording than I’d use today, these ‘11 Simple Financial Rules for a Wealthy Life’ hold up quite well: How Long to Actually Double Your Money? I recently mentioned the ‘Rule of 72’ which is the simple calculation we use to determine when your already invested money will double in value. That calculation is incredibly useful, but it neglects to factor in the essential detail that you are also continuing to invest during this time! So how quickly will your net worth actually double when factoring in these additional investments? Our friend Nick Maggiulli wrote an article called ‘How Long Does it Take to Double Your Money’ where he answers precisely this question. The key additional factor is what he calls the ‘wealth savings rate’ and how that impacts the doubling time. This is an article you want to read. The Simple

Read More »

FI Weekly – February 28, 2023: Real Estate Market Update, Buffett Shareholder Letter, Inflation by Category

Real Estate Market Update We had Scott Trench, the CEO of BiggerPockets (the largest online real estate community), on the podcast this week in Episode 426 and it’s an absolute must-listen.  The first half was a fun thought experiment on how to look at what you want your ultimate FI portfolio to look like and then invert it back to what you need to do today to get there. But the 2nd half on a 2023 real estate market update was fascinating. I implore you to listen to it, but I did want to curate four of my biggest takeaways: Warren Buffett’s Latest Shareholder Letter One of my favorite annual activities is running to my computer at 8am ET on a random Saturday near the end of February to download Warren Buffett’s latest Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter. If you’re looking for an incredible amount of financial and life wisdom in a short time, you could do a lot worse than checking out this page with links to all the letters going back to 1977. I’d suggest starting with some of the more recent ones and reading through them. 2022’s letter came out this past Saturday and I wanted to highlight a few

Read More »

FI Weekly – February 21, 2023: FI Community Events, Book on Leadership, Calendar Audit

FI Community Events There are four FI Community events I wanted to make sure you were aware of: Important Book on Leadership I’m a lifelong soccer player and fan, and Abby Wambach is one of my all-time favorite players.  She was an inspirational leader on the field, a truly world-class player and someone who could dominate a match at will. Abby wrote a book on leadership called ‘WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game’ that Brené Brown said “is on my top five must-read leadership books.” It’s a powerful book that I couldn’t put down (finished in about 45 minutes!). This “call to the Wolfpack” particularly stuck out to me: “Be gratefulBut do not JUST be grateful.Be grateful AND brave.Be grateful AND ambitious.Be grateful AND righteous.Be grateful AND persistent.Be grateful AND loud.Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.” Calendar Audit I saw this great post on Twitter from Josh Spector with 10 quick questions to ask yourself about your calendar that will help boost productivity and free up time. Three of my favorites: ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week ​

Read More »

FI Weekly – February 14, 2023: Secrets to a Great Retirement, Goals on an Index Card, Feroldi Newsletter

Secrets to a Great Retirement I just recorded a great episode of the podcast that’s set to come out in 3 weeks on practical drawdown strategies, and had the pleasure of recording it with Karsten (Big ERN) from Early Retirement Now and Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto. You’ve asked me for an episode on drawing down your assets in retirement and after seeing their fun “battle” on Twitter and in their joint article “Is the Bucket Strategy a Cheap Gimmick,” I knew this was the duo to help me tackle drawdown strategies. In researching for that article, I came across “7 Secrets to a Great Retirement” that Fritz recently published and I think it’s well worth your time to read it in full. In summary, they are: Goals on an Index Card and New Careers Shawn Jenkins is a good friend who I met in Greece at the FI Chautauqua event hosted by JL Collins, and now sits on the board of our non-profit ChooseFI Foundation. His career path is incredibly interesting: He was making $25k/year at a non-profit, then wrote his goal on a 3×5 index card: “$100,000 annual income in five years.” He went to Barnes & Noble,

Read More »

FI Weekly – February 7, 2023: True Cost of Car Payments, Little Moments of Joy

True Cost of Car Payments I saw a recent stat that the average car payment hit $777 per month, and I was absolutely shocked that people would willingly take on that large of a required monthly payment for something that sits idle 98% of the time! I wanted to look at the financial ramifications of that decision from the FI perspective in two ways: For people who constantly ‘manage the payments’ on their cars and intend to just keep rolling into new cars every few years, then this $777 (or more!) will always be there. First and most simply, let’s remember that for every $100 in monthly expenses you add to your life, you need $30,000 more in your net worth to reach Financial Independence. That person then needs about $233,000 more in investable assets to reach FI thanks to that $777 per month expense as compared with someone who drives a paid off car. But let’s dive a little deeper on the true cost of that $777 per month ‘managed’ car payment vs. someone with the FI mindset and how they would come out nearly $2 million ahead (!) of the less optimized continual car payment person: As I described

Read More »

FI Weekly – January 31, 2023: Skill of Spending, Tax Brackets, The Real Flex

The Skill of Spending Mr. Money Mustache was recently on Episode 377 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, and he eloquently described something in a way I had not heard before. He talked about a lot of the fun of pursuing Financial Independence as developing your “skill of spending.” I’ve always referred to this in a related manner where I say pursuing FI is “living the same middle-class lifestyle as everyone else, but getting wealthy in the process.” MMM cut this to its essence when he described the ‘skill of spending’ as something worthy and laudable in and of itself. If everyone else is spending $100 per month for cell phone service and you can get a nearly identical plan for $15 through Mint Mobile, that is part of your skill of spending. If everyone else spends $5k+ to take their family on a vacation, while you used travel rewards points and saved on your car rental through Autoslash, that is part of your skill of spending. If everyone else buys the most expensive house they can pay for each month, but you’re in the same area and school district for a fraction of the price, that is part of your skill of spending. This skill of spending

Read More »

FI Weekly – January 24, 2023: Keep Moving, Power of Consistency

Keep Moving As part of making 2023 my ‘healthiest year ever’ I am making a concerted effort to get outside and walk at least a mile every single day. While there isn’t anything magical about 10,000 steps per day necessarily, I think it’s directionally accurate in the sense that most of us simply don’t move enough. And that’s even for people like me who exercise and consider themselves healthy.  When I started tracking my steps, there was no other conclusion other than this:  I simply wasn’t moving enough during non-exercise hours. I heard Dr. Peter Attia say the following on the Limitless series on Disney Plus and it stopped me in my tracks: “We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving.” This ties in so beautifully with Dr. Attia’s concept of the ‘Centenarian Decathlon’ which is where you look at the things you want to do as an 80 to 100-year old and work backwards to what you need to be doing today and in the intervening decades to make that a reality. Want to be able to pick up your great-grandchild when they come running at you to say hello, instead of getting knocked

Read More »

FI Weekly – January 17, 2023: Mindful FIRE Resources, Free Annual Credit Report, Fear Wasting Your Life

Mindful FIRE Resources This week’s guest (ChooseFI Episode 420), Adam Coelho was kind enough to create a free guide specifically for the Choose FI community. This guide builds on Adam’s experience teaching mindfulness, meditation and envisioning to over 2500 of his fellow Google colleagues around the world. The free guide includes: Free Annual Credit Report Cody Garrett from Measure Twice Money published a helpful post on Twitter that I wanted to pass along: “Time to check the annual credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax! Review your contact information, payment history, account numbers, responsible debtors, opening and closing dates, credit limits, and highest balances. Free at AnnualCreditReport .com“ I want to reiterate that this is entirely free and this is different from just checking your credit score.  Each of the 3 main credit bureaus have a file on you and you really need to periodically check this for accuracy. Since they are required to offer us this free service annually, you may as well take advantage and give it a quick glance at the beginning of each year. Fear Wasting Your Life I listened to Bill Perkins, author of Die With Zero, on recent episodes of All The Hacks with Chris Hutchins and The Drive with

Read More »

FI Weekly – January 10, 2023: Secure 2.0 Act, Bold Move, Best Investment Writing of 2022

Secure 2.0 and the FI Community Sean Mullaney, the FI Tax Guy, just put out an article on the ‘Secure 2.0 and the FI Community’ that I think is ultra-valuable. I’m going to publish an episode with Sean on the podcast later this month to dive into the nuance of Secure Act 2.0, but I always want to get this info out as quickly as possible via the FI Weekly newsletter. The two most intriguing items to me are: Bold Move and Doing Hard Things I had planned to recommend the National Geographic series on Disney Plus called ‘Limitless with Chris Hemsworth’ here all on its own. If you have any interest in longevity and increasing your healthspan (and who doesn’t?), you’ll get a ton of value out of it. But I’m able to double up that recommendation with a few other interesting related items: Episode 419 of ChooseFI came out yesterday with Dominick Quartuccio on ‘Your Bold Move for 2023’ and I’ve come to a conclusion for my ‘bold move’ for 2023: I want to get in my best shape ever and really focus on my health and fitness. I don’t know yet precisely what that will look like, but

Read More »