281 | End of Year Wins | Part 1
- It's the ChooseFI Christmas Edition where we hear end-of-year wins direct from our community members. During this live event, listeners shared the actions they've taken during the past year that have helped them to spend less, earn more, and enjoy the journey.
- This year, the year-end-win episode took place in a three hour live Facebook and YouTube event featuring around 20 members of the community.
- Despite how tough this year has been, many people were able to implement some of the strategies and tactics discussed on the show into practice and find more margin in their lives.
- The first featured win comes from Valerie. She purchased a condo a couple of years ago and has been working on renovating it. While not a financial win, Valerie says putting it behind her is her biggest personal win.
- Finally closing out the permits allowed her to refinance her mortgage, saving her $466 a month. She was also able to pay off her credit card renovation debt, saving her an additional $600 a month. In total, Valerie paid off $34,000 of debt.
- Besides the debt, Valerie also maxed out contributions to her HSA and because she now has an additional $1,000 a month, she increased her 401k contributions from 8% to 11%.
- Valerie opened her first taxable investment account and rebalanced her portfolio, while her side hustles earned her $4,000, mostly from participating in focus groups.
- Due to COVID, Valerie wasn't spending as much money and it allowed her to focus on things she might not have had the time to do and she's now one-third of the way to her FI number and hoping to retire by 2030.
- Brad comments that cutting $1,000 in monthly expenses is $300,000 less Valerie needs in retirement when using the 4% rule.
- Valerie has been sharing her copy of ChooseFI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence with family members.
- The second end-0f-year-win comes from Michelle who learned about ChooseFI after Googling financial independence while attending a conference. To convert her husband, she had him read ChooseFI's book and then scheduled a date night to discuss it.
- Michelle‘s husband, Greg, never thought he could retire early. They didn't have a lot of debt but bought into the concept of getting 1% better and things began to snowball.
- During the last year, Michelle and Greg joined their finances, maxed out their 401k, sold a rental home, bought a short-term rental, and broke up with their financial advisor.
- They opened a Vanguard account and moved their accounts over after discovering their financial advisor was making a lot more in fees than the $50 per month to come up with an investment plan.
- Because Michelle and Greg met later in life, they had maintained separate accounts. After joining finances and being transparent, they found making small 1% better changes each week didn't hurt at all.
- All of the extra money that came in from COVID refunds or bonuses went toward paying off the debt from new windows. They also started travel hacking.
- Michelle says when breaking up with your finical advisor, chances are they won't understand FI, so state that it's you not them and feel free to contact her for help breaking up with your advisor.
- Up next is Chris, who has been a member of the FI community for about three years. He got started by reading The Simple Path to Wealth and Your Money or Your Life.
- For Chris, the pandemic has been an opportunity allowing him to save $15,000. He's been able to max out his HSA and Simple IRA.
- Chris also has two adult children to who he has introduced the concept of FI, as well as his nieces and nephews who have been very receptive to the information Chris has provided. He says to reach out and if they are interested they will let you know.
- One of the actions Chris took this year was to switch to Policygenius, which saved him 50% on policy premiums.
- The next end-of-year-win comes from Lauren. Lauren found ChooseFI in late-August and is on Episode 61R.
- Lauren got a side gig in August being a census worker which enabled her to pay off all $7,000 she had in consumer debt. With all of the premium pay she earned, it ended up being $1,300 a week. She says she wouldn't have taken on the side hustle if it wasn't for the podcast.
- After learning about 403b's, she switched from stocks and bonds to VTSAX. She and her husband also opened up a joint VTSAX account and reduced all of their monthly recurring bills to as low as they could possibly be. She's currently looking for hacks for satellite service.
- In July, they moved into a home that they are caretakers for, which is an upgrade that eliminated $1,100 in rent. They found the caretaker job through her mother but says other caretaker or home sitting positions can be found online.
- Since August, Lauren has earned or save roughly $9,000 since finding ChooseFI and taking action. They are now trying to pump as much money as possible into retirement accounts.
- When an old job asked her to come back to work for them, she opted to focus on what things were important, like the baby she and her husband are expecting and how they can raise it frugally.
Resources Mentioned In Today's Conversation
- Register for The Simple Startup Winter Challenge and save 15% with the promo code “podcast”
- Automate your investing strategy with M1 Finance
- Sign up for the ChooseFI Foundation's FREE FI101 course
- Get the ChooseFI Foundation's FREE preK-12 finical literacy curriculum
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- Earn $1,000 in cashback with ChooseFI's 3-card credit card strategy.
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