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The Side Effects of Listening to ChooseFI

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

Nurses are always concerned about the side effects of the medications we administer. We want the medication to have the positive effect that was intended, therefore we are attuned to the possible negative effects. This analogy can be compared to many aspects of life. Striving towards positive side effects is what we desire.  For example, if we stop watching TV, the effect may be more outdoor activity or more time with friends and family playing board games. This consideration intrigues me enough to ponder the side effects of listening to ChooseFI.


I first found the ChooseFI podcast in March of 2017 after scouring the web and attempting to find another podcast similar to the Financial Independence Podcast. The Madfientist’s podcast is great, but I had run out of content. I was tired of listening to the anxiety-provoking national news. Seeking an inspiring Podcast to consume during my commute. I listened to a few other big-name podcasts, but their FI angle was lacking. That’s when I stumbled upon ChooseFI’s interview with the MadFientist. 

Like most of us who find this podcast, I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t believe how well this podcast was done, and I felt like I was communicating with my two long-lost brothers twice a week. An hour and a half drive to a little critical access hospital would seem like a blip in time while listening to a couple of episodes at 1.5 speed. They made me laugh out loud. I would sit at the edge of my seat wondering if I could implement any of the show’s advice. I jumped in the deep end without my arm floaties, and I chose ChooseFI. 

Life before ChooseFI?

My family has been on the FIRE path since I found Mr. Money Mustache back in 2014. Back then I had $18,000 of student loan debt, $11,000 worth of debt from a tractor I bought for my homestead, and a mortgage. At the end of 2014, I had just over $80,000 in our retirement funds.

In 2015, we paid off all debt besides the mortgage, and we made a point to not take on more debt. In 2016, we started to work on maxing out my 401k. I had been putting 10% of my income into my 401k with a 5% employer match, but now I was motivated to up the ante after paying off these debts.

We threw $1,200 into each of our Roth IRAs for 2016. The 401k max was missed by $400. That was a real bummer, but along came the motivation I needed via a bi-weekly podcast.

Related: Why Investing Conservatively Is Better

What ChooseFI has done for me

When Mr. Money Mustache was discovered, I started pushing myself to better my family’s situation. We worked on getting out of debt and employing those little green workers for us. ChooseFI has encouraged me to educate myself further, and in light of that, I have subscribed to multiple podcasts to learn more about money, self-improvement, businesses, and more.

I made a goal to read more books since I averaged about two books a year prior to ChooseFI. Since finding ChooseFI, I have read over 25 books, and I am always looking for more. Brad encouraged me to check out Tom Bilyeu’s podcast and his top 25 books to change your life. I am well over halfway through the list, and I have used the library for 95% of these books.

Related: Top Recommended Books To Start Your FIRE Journey

These tools have helped me be more patient. Patience is difficult when working night shifts and trying to sleep in a noisy child-filled house. I have learned how to be a better leader in my job, and I am constantly attempting to put these skills into practice. These books have encouraged me to better many aspects of my life. Time stands as one of the most precious resources we have after our basic needs have been met. 

While reflecting on these thoughts, 2017 allowed us to max out my 401k. We accomplished this a few months before the end of the year. With a little community-sourced info we maxed out both our traditional IRAs for 2017. A brokerage account through Schwab was set up in December. Extra funds were funneled into some Schwab index funds! The forecast for 2018 was even brighter with the introduction of an HSA by my employer.

I travel more

I have been inspired to make marginal gains in multiple aspects of my life. Working on travel credit cards has helped my family take a trip to Washington state for a week last month. We are going to pay for a trip to Hawaii in 2019 with travel rewards. We also got the Southwest companion pass and plan to use it for a couple of weekday getaways up until the end of 2019. 

This podcast has motivated me to educate myself on real estate and starting other side hustles. I have not made the leap yet, but we are pursuing a business that allows my children to have earned income in order to deposit money into a Roth IRA. Second generation FI is close to our hearts.

I earned a promotion at work

ChooseFI has helped me obtain a promotion just by having a FI attitude. What is a FI attitude? This promotion was given to me because I went into the interview with a positive attitude. The outcome did not matter. I was relaxed because I knew my path to FI was not dependent on this position. I have kept notes on all the books I have read and I reviewed them going into this interview. Meditating before the interview relaxed me and I had a surge of confidence and a strong sense of calm. The podcast speaks about opportunities appearing when we put these skills into practice. I applied for a part-time position as a House Supervisor at my hospital. When I went in to find out if I was going to be a fill-in supervisor, they offered me the full-time position. 

Related: Hack Into The Middle Class–How To Become An RN For Less

I have more gratitude

Jonathan and Brad have given this community a generous gift. We can give back by encouraging those around us to check out this lifestyle, and by signing up for credit cards through their link. Authentically trying to help people whether it be with encouragement of their finances or encouraging them on their journey. I believe we can lead by example as FIRE-walkers to show this path can be attainable for those with a strong desire. “When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.” The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

The side effects of this podcast have helped me grow financially and emotionally. My final thought would include learning to practice gratitude. This is something I try and work on in many aspects of my life. Thanking my parents for a good weekend, thanking my wife for a great supper or always caring for the kids while I work, thanking the store clerk for help, thanking our Pastor for his work, and just wishing gratitude on people. These may seem like small interactions, but they have had a profound effect on my life. This was only a little over a year. I end with being grateful for the past year of listening to ChooseFI.

What side effect has ChooseFI had on you?

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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