Welcome to the Fishbowl: FI Experiments for 2017

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ChooseFI Favorite: top rewards card for beginners

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card​

Looking for the best credit card to start earning travel rewards points? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick. With a 50,000 point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months), the $95 annual fee waived the first year, and ultra-flexible points (transfers to 13 airlines & hotels!), this is our top choice!

ChooseFI Favorite: top rewards card for beginners

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card​

Looking for the best credit card to start earning travel rewards points? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick. With a 50,000 point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months), the $95 annual fee waived the first year, and ultra-flexible points (transfers to 13 airlines & hotels!), this is our top choice!

welcome-to-the-fishbowlWe started ChooseFI.com as a financial independence laboratory.  While many aspects of your journey to FI are simple (save a significant percentage of your income, invest most of your money in low-cost index funds, max out your 401k, etc., etc.) there is still a lot of room for experimentation, especially on the making money side of the equation.

We know you might not have the time or resources to run all these experiments yourself, so we’re going to do them ourselves and blog about them every step of the way!

So ‘welcome to the fishbowl' where you can watch the good, the bad and the ugly of all of these experiments!  Some might succeed beyond our wildest dreams and some might fail miserably, but you can be sure that we’ll document every step we take and post it here for all to see.

At the end of each experiment, we’ll all be wiser and have a blueprint for success in each of these areas.

Choose FI Experiments for 2017:

Experiment: Building a Blog

captureThis is the most obvious experiment of all! Jonathan and I are launching ChooseFI.com in early 2017 and we’ll document everything we’re doing to build, grow and succeed with this new
site from the ground up.

Building a blog is the ultimate ‘side hustle’ and we know it appeals to a lot of people in the FI community.

The metric we’ll use to measure our success is page views per day.  By the end of 2017, we hope to have 5,000 pageviews per day.  This is a huge goal, as neither of my other successful websites (RichmondSavers.com and TravelMiles101.com) are even at that level, but we think it’s doable for Choose FI.

Experiment: Starting a Podcast

podcast-answer-man-siteSimilar to building a blog, this is a ‘side hustle’ with significant upside potential! Neither of us has any experience whatsoever with starting a podcast, but Jonathan just built a studio in his home (wow, did he go all out!!) and bought some training materials from PodcastAnswerMan.com and we’re getting down to work recording our first episodes so we can go live in early 2017.

I simply have no idea what to expect with the results of this podcast, but we hope to quickly get to the point where our episodes are being downloaded thousands of times per month.

It would also be nice to get 250 ‘five-star' ratings on Itunes in 2017.

We plan to post at least 2 new episodes per week and will keep these episodes to under 30 minutes each, as that's a nice bite-sized amount that you can consume in a day's commute or while exercising.

Experiment: Peer-to-Peer Lending

lending-club-logoLending Club and Prosper are interesting alternatives to traditional investing; with P2P lending you are actually loaning money (in increments as small as $25) to people who applied for loans through those websites.  LC and Prosper are marketplaces that connect borrowers and investors looking to loan money for a significant return.

Our plan right now is to invest ~$2,000 on each site and document the process, how we selected the loans to invest in and to report back on our performance.

Experiment: 3 Hour Car Flip

car-flip-pictureThis is one of the experiments I’m most excited about!  Jonathan follows the 3 Hour Car Flip site which they describe as “the simple way to buy and sell cards for profit” and he is going to document his very first ‘3 Hour Car Flip.’

He is going to buy a beat-up used car, repair it and ‘flip’ it for a profit in a matter of days.

Jonathan has no experience with this, so if he succeeds it should be 100% replicable by you!

Experiment: Real Estate Investing

roofstock-entryThis particular experiment is still in the planning stages, but Jonathan and I are each interested in real estate investing and we want to thoroughly research the field and find out what our options are.

I’ve recently been following Paula Pant at Afford Anything, Chad Carson at CoachCarson.com and came across this gem of a podcast from Listen Money Matters on Roofstock.com, so my mind is spinning with ‘single family rental’ options.

Our experiment might be taking the plunge and buying a single family home that we’ll rent out, or it might be as simple as investing in a fund through Fundrise or Roofstock.

Stay tuned!!

Experiment: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

fba-amazon-logoFBA is also known as ‘retail arbitrage’ where you buy products on clearance locally (or online as ‘online arbitrage’) at a huge discount and then sell them on Amazon.com for retail price and make the difference (less fees) in profit.

A friend of mine does this locally here in Richmond, VA and it is extremely interesting to me! My wife Laura intends to research this and start her own FBA business in 2017 (our youngest is going to kindergarten in the fall, so Laura is going to have a lot of time on her hands!).

The goal is to make $1,000+ in net profit every month, which we think is quite attainable with the right amount of research and work ethic.

What Experiments Should We Add?

The above is our tentative list of experiments for Choose FI in 2017.  If there are any experiments you want to see us run in 2017 (or you’re running yourself and want to document on our site!), be sure to comment below:

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to the Fishbowl: FI Experiments for 2017

  1. I am new to your website. Good luck with the above experiments I am interested in how they turn out. I have personally done Lending Club with an aggressive strategy similar to Mr. Money Mustache but after 2 years I am only getting 2.5% so I am pulling my money out. It is too illiquid for those poor returns. I also recently purchased a property with roofstock after listening to LMM and although it is early it has been a very smooth process and I am happy with the results. I am curious how the FBA works out.

    Good luck
    Rob

  2. Hi, found your site on the Dough Rollers Face book page. What are your thoughts on Lending Club? I have a small amount invested but and thinking about cashing out r/t several write offs. I’m interested in your results. Please post

    • Oh cool, glad you found us that way — didn’t realize we were mentioned there 🙂

      Lending Club: I’ve long been a fan, but it seems like their underwriting went bad when they were trying to expand so heavily (maybe 12-24 months ago) and us investors are paying the price now. I had about $20,000 in there and the defaults are just piling up and my return is plummeting. I’ve been pulling all my cash out of there when I get repayments. Not loving them right now needless to say!

  3. I just started listening to your podcast a couple weeks ago… I had no idea you started it this year! Everything sounds so polished as if you had years of experience.

    Great job!

  4. Hey there, I love your podcast and site. Did you ever move forward with the 3-hour carflip? What happened?
    Also, I’ve been investing in Lending Club for 10 years and have been pulling my money out as loans are repaid. Their CEO was ousted and an SEC investigation found some pretty bad stuff.

    • I haven’t done the car-flip, This year I ended up focusing on the travel rewards, and building the podcast, website. Next year I hope to branch into real estate. Yeah Lending club went downhill fast, Thanks for reaching out and glad your enjoying the podcast

  5. Hmmmm….. your 2017 Experiments sound interesting. Did you ever invest in the single-family home? My own research is that residential real estate can provide returns for sure but not great returns because of:
    – tenants who only lease for a year or two & then move out
    – vacancy for a month or so when they move out
    – more realtor commissions to pay to get a new tenant
    – tons of repairs when a tenant leaves that you have to do before you can lease it again, flooring, painting, etc.
    – maintenance even while you have a tenant: plumbing issues, roof leaks, fences, trees falling, you name it
    – property taxes that you pay and not the tenant
    – building insurance that you pay and not the tenant
    After all the above you’re lucky if the cap rate on the investment is above 6%.

    I have the perfect antidote to all of these problems. It’s a very particular commercial real estate investment and it solves many of the problems above.

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