What’s Stopping You from Reaching FI? | EP 299

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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. Disclosures.

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What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • It’s ChooseFI’s first live radio show! Recorded live on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm Eastern using an app called Stereo, the live shows will be replayed as the Friday Roundup episode.
  • The topic of this interactive live show is: “What is stopping you from reaching financial independence?”.
  • Lorraine has a question about allocation and investing in one of Vanguard’s funds like VTI or VTSAX but the answer is situation-dependent.
  • It’s important o know the investing timeline Lorraine is looking at, but hopefully, it’s investing for the long-term. Investing for the long-term provides for the highest likelihood of success. However, it’s money needed for something critical like an emergency fund, maybe consider keeping what you need in a savings account and investing the rest.
  • Other factors to consider are risk tolerance, net worth, job security, and whether you have an emergency fund. How sacred you were in March is a good indicator of your risk tolerance. The right allocation will allow you to sleep at night, be confident in your plan, and stay the course.
  • The best thing to do is take action and get invested without getting hung up on the details. Keeping your expenses low with low-cost broad-based index funds, like total stock market or S&P 500 index funds, make a significant difference over your investing lifetime.
  • Getting to the point where you can make work optional can often seem like luck. However, the FI community believes we have the power to impact change in our lives and in our communities. Taking small actions to optimize and seeing that you can still live a life without a feeling of deprivation becomes a motivating positive feedback loop.
  • No matter how much you earn, the message of FI can be valuable. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, it doesn’t matter how much you earn. You need some amount of gap between what you earn and what you spend.
  • Growing the gap by cutting expenses is usually the most effective place to start, but you can widen the gap by earning more as well. It doesn’t mean going back to school or taking on a second job delivering pizzas. One way to increase your income is by negotiating your salary.
  • If you research the highest paying professions, the search leads to a list of six-figure careers, however, the return on investment in these career paths is not what it seems. They may require a significant number of years in school and the student loan debt that goes along with it.
  • Today it’s possible to skip a degree program in favor of a certificate program and land a high-paying job in less time and at less expense.
  • Matthew has been listening to the show for about six months. One question he’s had is how people are retiring early when you cannot withdraw from retirement accounts without a penalty until you reach the age of 59.5.
  • There are strategies for investing in retirement accounts where it goes in tax-free, grows tax-free, and is withdrawn tax-free ahead of the traditional retirement age.
  • Investing in something like a traditional 401K account lowers your taxable income and gives you a current tax deduction. Once you reach FI and decide to not work anymore and are living off savings, you are earning $0. You can at that time pull take money from your 401k and convert it into a Roth IRA, an after-tax account, in a process known as a Roth IRA Conversion Ladder.
  • The conversion is a taxable event, however, your earned income is $0 so the only amount subject to tax is what you convert. Even then, the total amount won’t be taxed. You can still take the standard deduction and only be taxed on the remainder at the lowest possible marginal tax rate. The account will then grow tax-free.
  • Another method to access 401K retirement funds a few years earlier is with Rule of 55.
  • One listener wants to know what other podcasters or influencers Brad and Jonathan follow. Brad’s long-time favorite is The Tim Ferris Show, Dr. Peter Attia’s The Drive, and Naval. Jonathan’s podcast listening tends to be focused on what will help build his talent stack. On YouTube, he likes Real Coffee with Scott Adams.
  • The book by Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, had helped Jonathan change his mindset. He went from fearing failure, to understanding there is a process and failure is completely fine.
  • Brad thinks the best podcast that exists is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.
  • Listener Josh left a voicemail saying the episode featuring the Millionaire Educator and the mentality of keeping money on your side of the ledger was one of the most impactful shows for him. The Millionaire Educator learned the rules and used them to his advantage to reduce his tax rate to zero.
  • When the question of dream podcast guests came up, Jonathan says he’s going to reach out to Scott Adams, while Brad’s dream guest would be Mark Cuban for his open-minded and entrepreneurial spirit. Send in your ideas for who you’d like to hear on the show.
  • The next voicemail asked when is the best to move from 100% equities to bonds if you are about halfway to FI. Jonathan projects he’ll be at FI within 10 years and currently doesn’t have anything in bonds. He thinks he would make the move to become more conservative once he has a clear exit date in mind, such as within five years. The conventional split is 60% stocks and 40% bonds, but it should match your risk tolerance.
  • Brad mentioned that Big Ern discussed how paying off your mortgage is an alternative to holding bonds in your portfolio. Although Brad has reached FI, he doesn’t have any bonds either. He thinks a young adult with a long time horizon, equities have the highest likelihood for maximizing net worth.
  • If you can reduce your structural expenses at the point of retirement, it could act as a substitute for having bonds. Passive income is another alternative.
  • Jonathan is currently allowing his equities to continue to grow, but before he retires, he will pay off his mortgage and get rid of that structural expense.

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

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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. Disclosures.
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