Today’s blog post is a book review for one I highly recommend. Dave Ramsey got me thinking about investing. However, the ChooseFI Radio podcast got me realizing how I could actually start investing. To say it had a monumental impact on my life is not a hyperbole. Moreover, I might not have had the courage to start this blog had it not been for the ChooseFI podcast.
I was thrilled when I saw that Chris Mamula teamed up with Jonathan Mendonsa & Brad Barrett to write a book. They took the many principles espoused on the ChooseFI podcast and put them in a linear fashion. Now you can read the ChooseFI book with much enjoyment.
What is Financial Independence?
Financial independence is having invested assets that produce enough passive income which allows you freedom and autonomy with your life. Your invested assets can be in the market, real estate, and/or business. Whatever your flavor this book will break down the basics to achieving financial independence.
Please don’t be intimidated by that concept. I’ll admit when I first heard it, it was a little daunting because I was starting my investing life so late. What I’ve come to peace with is that I’m just glad I’m starting. It’s never too late to transform your life and your finances.
The information in the ChooseFI book is approachable and more importantly doable. If you are interested in what comes after debt freedom or if you are looking for motivation to pay off your debt, this book is for you.
The FIRE Movement
Maybe you’ve read about the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement in some of the major news outlets. Perhaps you’ve seen the Playing with FIRE documentary. Either way, it’s a movement but what I love about ChooseFI the podcast and the book is that they focus on the FI (financial independence) part and not so much the RE (retire early) part.
Retirement can mean different things to different people and that’s fine with me. Being financially independent opens up a world of choices but that doesn’t mean one has to retire. Regardless, I’m going for FI and this book will give you the blueprint to do so if you want to join me…
The Difference Between the Book & the Podcast
I love, love, love the ChooseFI podcast and find so many of the guest’s stories inspirational. Additionally, Brad & Jonathan have a synergy that’s fun to listen to. It’s even more fun to be a part of it. I had my chance back in the fall of 2018 when they interviewed me. That episode went live in December of 2018 and you can listen to it here.
So what’s missing in the podcast, understandably, is a linear presentation of the information. The format of the show is an interview of guests on Monday and then a roundup show on Fridays. The roundup brings in feedback from the community which is great.
While listening to guests on the podcast, one is presented with a lot of concepts, stories, and actionable tips. It can be overwhelming.
I’ve mostly focused on the basics as I needed them and put other things in a someday bucket in my mind. However, as I advance in my investing life, I’d like to go back to some of the more advanced concepts. Well, this book is the perfect place to search.
The book’s layout, in my opinion, is just right! Chris nailed it.
The book is comprised of five main sections and 15 chapters.
Create Your Own FI Story
It all starts with you & me – the readers. It’s a great way to start a book by engaging the reader into dreaming about why. Everyone needs a why in life and that includes your finances. I’ve found that I’m more likely to stick to my goals when I have a powerful why behind them.
Additionally, this first section tackles mindset. I’ve found in life that my greatest battlefield is in my mind. As a Christian, this means keeping my thoughts captive to Christ. That’s a lot easier said than done. Additionally, it means remaining teachable and correctable. It’s about embracing a growth mindset, as defined by Carol Dweck.
The next four chapters center around spending less. ChooseFI is not focused so much on frugality as it is value-based spending. I can easily get on board with this concept. Value-based spending basically means spending money on the things you truly value and cutting back on everything else.
Once, you go down the rabbit hole of spending less, it becomes fun to find ways to reduce costs without reducing quality. For example, in 2018 I switched to Cricket (an MVNO) with my cellular service and saved about $30 a month. Recently, I switched to Spectrum mobile and have cut my monthly cell bill down by another $16 dollars. And in all of this, I’ve not experienced any negativity with my network, data or calls.
Additionally, in this section, you’ll learn about tax optimization ‘cus who doesn’t want to legally spend less on taxes??
The next three chapters are on earning more. My favorite – career hacking!! There is a limit to how far you can cut your expenses, but no ceiling exits on how high your income can grow.
Sure, reduce your expenses where you can but, IMHO, income is where you should focus most of your time. Your income is perhaps your greatest asset so grow that baby! How do you do that? Well for one, be valuable in your career and two be strategically noticed for your value. ESI money, who is mentioned in this section of the book, is a phenomenal resource on this topic. I recommend you go here for more in-depth material.
The ChooseFI book has an entire chapter on hacking college and/or even skipping it. This is such an important topic with the amount of student loan debt in this country. Who wants to be underwater right out of the gate if you don’t have to be??
Here’s where it really gets fun! In the not too distant past, investing intimidated me. Firstly, I didn’t have the money to do it and secondly, I thought if I ever did, I assumed I’d hire someone to do it for me. However, ChooseFI (the podcast & now the book) breaks it down in a very practical manner.
There is a full chapter devoted to each of the following:
- Laying a foundation
- Index fund investing
- Building a business
- Investing in real estate
Those things add up to diversification!
Lastly, the book ends with the enjoyment of the journey. There are many people who in pursuit of FI burned out and we can learn from their mistakes. How lovely that the book ends with a cautionary chapter to remind us that it’s the journey that matters more than the destination.
The book then concludes with a rediscovery of possibility.
I can wrap it up in three words – approachable, encouraging, actionable. I loved♥ it and highly recommend it. One of the best things about this book is that each chapter ends with clearly defined actionable tips appropriate to the concepts presented.
Most likely it’s a book you’ll want to revisit again and again. I know I will.
Borrow it or buy it, but most just importantly read it!