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

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Explore the Archives

FI Weekly – September 27, 2022: Tips from Laura, Chrome Safety and Extensions

Money Saving Tips from Laura Over the years I’ve mentioned a number of my wife’s money-saving hacks on the podcast and the community has always wanted more! Laura was kind enough to write up some tips for the FI Weekly: “Hello FI Weekly readers!  Laura here making a guest appearance and taking over the FI Weekly this week! I thought it would be fun to jot down a quick list of some of my tips for making your life with family a little easier, less expensive and less stressful: Google Chrome Safety and Essential Extensions A few months ago, I highlighted some essential tips and tricks to be more efficient with Gmail, and today I wanted to pass along 2 great twitter threads I found for the Google Chrome browser: My favorite little-known extension is called “Fast Dial,” which is basically a visual representation of bookmarked pages. When I open a new tab in Chrome, it is set so Fast Dial shows up instead of a blank tab or some other URL location. I currently have 27 websites bookmarked (from ToDoIst to our ChooseFI Facebook group to my solar panel monitoring login, and a whole lot in between) and they show up as tiles on that

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FI Weekly – September 20, 2022: Cost of Admission for Investing, AI Technology, FI Documentaries

The Cost of Admission for Investing Here’s a long quote from Morgan Housel, author of The Psychology of Money, with one of the best illustrations of the mentality needed for successful long-term investing in the stock market regarding normal volatility: “Anything worth pursuing in life, that has a benefit, has a price attached to it. The world is not so great that it’s going to give you great rewards and ask nothing in return. So, then, the question is, in investing, what is the cost of admission? You want great returns. Everyone knows that you can earn great returns in investment markets over time. But what is the cost of admission? A lot of investors cannot really answer that.  Or they will say something like, “the management fee that you pay to your advisor or broker.” That’s not the cost to investing. The cost of investing returns is putting up with and dealing with and enduring a never-ending chain of volatility and uncertainty and setback and disappointment. That’s the cost of admission. And this is so important because most investors, when their portfolio goes down 20 or 30 percent, they view it as a fine, and a fine means you did

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FI Weekly – September 13, 2022: What $100 a Month Truly Means, App Improving My Life, Growth Mindset Value

What $100 a Month Truly Means In the ‘Community Taking Action’ section of today’s email (see below), Charity said her reducing $100/month in expenses “was not flashy” but I wanted to point out the immense value of every $100 reduction in life expenses: For every $100 reduction in monthly expenses, that’s a full $30,000 less in net worth you need to reach Financial Independence. Yes, $30,000 less! That’s massive. Here’s the math: Let’s say your life costs $5,000 per month, which is a total of $60,000 per year. We know to get your FI Number using the 4% rule of thumb that you simply multiply your annual expenses by 25, so your FI Number would be $1,500,000. Let’s now cut $100 out of this budget, so it’s $4,900 per month or $58,800 per year in expenses. $58,800 x 25 = $1,470,000. This is just simple math, so every $100 you cut out of your life is a reduction of $1,200 of annual expenses which leads to a $30k less you need to reach FI. Sounds pretty flashy to me! App That’s Improving My Life Jonathan told me about the Genius Scan pdf scanner app a few weeks ago, and it is making a

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FI Weekly – September 6, 2022: Return of the Hot Seat, Financial Plans, What I’m Reading & Playing

Return of the Hot Seat I want to take a minute to say a huge thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s FI Weekly!  With the news of Jonathan stepping back from the podcast, I was blown away by all the heartfelt messages of encouragement and gratitude plus all the amazing suggestions for future guests, topics and segments you’d like to see. I was shocked that so many of you specifically asked that I bring back ‘The Hot Seat’ questions we previously asked our guests at the end of the episode. I can guarantee it is 100% coming back starting with the next episode I record (happening today in fact!). One of the questions we asked was people’s favorite books and in anticipation of that question coming back, I wanted to pass along a remarkable resource that David at Runners FI put together: He combed through 500+ episodes to find every time a book was ever mentioned on the podcast to create a list called the ‘174 Must Read Books of FI.’ No surprise that The Simple Path to Wealth was the runaway winner for most mentions, followed by Your Money or Your Life and The 4 Hour Workweek. If you’re

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FI Weekly – August 30, 2022: Beginning of a New Era, What Have you Bought?, Free Events

Beginning of a New Era On the ChooseFI podcast Episode 392 that released yesterday, Jonathan announced that he’s stepping back as the on-air host of the podcast, and that would be his last episode. This is a ‘season of life’ change for him and he’ll continue to work on things behind the scenes at ChooseFI, so all is well certainly. This is bittersweet for me as obviously I’m bummed that he won’t be on the show with me, but it’s also exciting in the sense that the show is now mine to shape going forward. I’d love to involve you in shaping that future direction, as this has always been a crowdsourced show and I want to make that even more obvious going forward. So, here’s my request of you:  What would you like to see for the future of the show? Is there anything I should bring back from the show’s past? What guests would you like to see? What topics should we focus on more intently? Do you have an interesting story or are you facing challenges on the path to FI that you’d like to discuss on the podcast? Hit reply and let me know! What Have

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FI Weekly – August 23, 2022: Student Loan Forgiveness, Legacy Binder, Reading Hack

Student Loan Forgiveness I wrote a note about this in last week’s newsletter and wanted to remind you: If you or anyone in your family has student loans, or you know anyone with student loans for that matter, Episode 391 of the ChooseFI podcast that came out yesterday with Travis Hornsby from The Student Loan Planner is truly a MUST listen. Like stop reading this email right now and go listen kind of important.Tell anyone you know with student loans kind of important. If you’ve read this email or listened to me on the podcast, you know I’m a sincere person and don’t hype things up.  This is essential info that could lead to 25% of all student loans ultimately getting forgiven. The Importance of a Legacy Binder My conversation with Dr. Jordan Grumet (Episode 390) on his reflections from a front-row seat as a hospice doctor to the regrets of his dying patients has made me think deeper about a number of truly essential things. Throw in an annoying sickness I had this week and it got me thinking about basic fundamentals of if I were suddenly not here any longer, would my wife and family know where all of our assets

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FI Weekly – August 16, 2022: Learn to Read Financial Statements, Student Loan Reset, Life Hacks

Learn to Read Financial Statements Brian Feroldi joined us on the show for Episode 389 where we took a look at the 3 essential financial statements and why it’s important for you to have a background knowledge of each. Short answer: Sure, it helps with stock investing, but it’s truly essential for not only business owners but for your understanding of your own personal finances. Brian offered some resources at the end of the episode that we said would be included in last week’s FI Weekly email, but I goofed. Brian was kind enough to remind me and here are the short YouTube videos that provide a lot more clarity: Brian also offers a course called “Financial Statements – From Rookie to Pro In 2 Weeks” for those looking for more in-depth information. Our Most Important Episode Ever PSA:  If you have student loans, it is essential that you listen to Episode 391 coming out this Monday August 22nd. I think it’s the single most important episode we’ve ever recorded. Travis Hornsby, from The Student Loan Planner, discusses how 10% of all student loans can be nearly immediately forgiven and upwards of 25% of student loans can qualify for a limited-time waiver that

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FI Weekly – August 9, 2022: Local FI Communities, Essential Listening Guide, Early Benefits of FI

Local FI Communities I got this email last week from Christian: “The one change I’d like to make is fixing the lack of like-minded FI people I have in my life. Love my non-FI people but would love to not always be the outlier in the conversation when I suggest a coffee in the park instead of dinner at an expensive restaurant as a way of catching up. Do you or Jonathan know of any good ways to find FI meetup groups?” Yes, we definitely do! There are 300+ ChooseFI Local Groups in cities all across the world to help you connect with people in your local area. Plus, there are online ‘cohort groups’ such as ChooseFI travel, meal planning, FI Families, and many more. Find all the info here at the ChooseFI Community page on our site. I’m also a huge fan of what our good friend Stephen Baughier has put together with Camp FI, the immersive FI weekend experience that brings together dozens of like-minded FI folks for a weekend of learning, fun and camaraderie at different sites across the US. You can find all the info on upcoming events at the Camp FI website plus Stephen just told me he’s

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FI Weekly – August 2, 2022: FI Family Taking Action, The Munger Mentality, Community Wins

FI Family Taking Action I genuinely love reading each and every response I get to this FI Weekly newsletter, so please keep hitting reply and passing along your wins and ‘1% better’ changes! In that spirit, I wanted to pass along an incredible email that David wrote in: “Hey Brad – I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that you guys have altered the trajectory of my life. That’s not to say that it was negative before finding ChooseFI. Just that it was uninspired. ChooseFI helped me put perspective on my life’s purpose and, somewhat paradoxically, has created a mindset that has me striving for more work. The kicker is that the work I’m striving for is different than the work I’m currently doing. I found a true passion for personal finance through your podcast and have been learning everything I can about buy and hold investing strategies, tax optimization, and the nuances involved in each individual’s path. I wanted to reach out to show you exactly what your message of “take action” motivated me to do. Here’s a list of the changes I’ve made since December of 2021 when I found the podcast and online community: Signed up for Personal

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FI Weekly – July 26, 2022: Saving on College, Internet is Free University, HotelSlash

Saving on College I don’t usually say things like this, but Jonathan and I have been in a real groove on the ChooseFI podcast recently, pumping out high-quality episodes with some of our all-time favorite guests. After doing this for nearly 6 years it would be easy to get complacent, but we’re honestly just having a blast right now and I think the quality shows in these episodes. If you haven’t listened to the show in a while, now would be a good time to get back into it!  A particularly interesting show was Episode 386 with the Millionaire Educator on how he and his son have both found an ultra-cost-effective way to get a Bachelor’s Degree using internet learning, CLEP Tests, ACE courses and community college. That episode is a must-listen if you or anyone you know are thinking about going to college in the next few years (and the show notes have links to all the resources we talked about). After listening to episode 386, Molly wrote in:  “I listened to podcast Episode 386 this morning and it inspired me to share on Twitter a thread on how I graduated from UC Berkeley when I was 18. I started going

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FI Weekly – July 19, 2022: 1% Changes, Gmail Productivity Tips, Community Wins

1% Changes Make a Huge Difference One concept we’ve talked about over the last 5 years on ChooseFI has resonated above all: The aggregation of marginal gains. Small 1% changes you make at the margins aggregate into massive positive change in your life. It’s time to start looking for these small improvements in every aspect of yourlife, not just financial. Many of my recent wins come in the area of health. Here are 3 quick examples: These are my changes, but most importantly, you need to be on the lookout for small changes you can make in all aspects of your life. When you reduce friction, save time, sleep better, save money, spend more time with family & friends, etc., you end up with a much better life. One small change at a time. Gmail Productivity Tips I spend a lot of time each day using Gmail, so any tip I can find to make my life more efficient in the inbox will be an exponential savings over weeks, months and years.  Here are 2 threads I recommend you reading in full if you’re a Gmail user: Three that I already use or implemented after reading that I think are essential: ChooseFI

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FI Weekly – July 12, 2022: Simple Path to Wealth, Pre-Tax Investing, Kid Entrepreneurs

The Simple Path to Wealth JL Collins is our most downloaded podcast guest of all-time, and his book The Simple Path to Wealth is nearly required reading for every member of the Financial Independence community. I saw a great post on Twitter by JRod Money with a curated set of 10 quotes from the book that will help you build an empowering wealth building mindset.  Some of my favorites: “Money can buy many things but nothing more valuable than your freedom” “Stop thinking about what your money can buy. Start thinking about what your money can earn.” “The market always recovers. Always. And if someday it really doesn’t, no investment will be safe and none of this financial stuff will matter anyway.” “The harsh truth is, I can’t pick winning individual stocks and you can’t either. Nor can the vast majority who claim they can.  It is extraordinarily difficult, expensive and a fools errand. Having the humility to accept this will do wonders for your ability to build wealth.” Pre-Tax Investing: Where Does it Come From? Elijah wrote in with a critically important question that often gets overlooked: “Hey Brad, I’m 20 years old and have listened to your show for over a year

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