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Intro: Allen’s 2018 New Year’s Resolution

Welcome to Thefiguys.com. I started documenting my personal FI journey on my personal blog in 2018. Now that I am documenting it here, I’m reposting my 2018 New Year’s Resolution: Achieve the Pillars of Financial Independence though slightly altered (and probably improved).

Achieve the Pillars of FI

So I’ve been blessed to be able to make and save a decent amount of money. It has allowed me to live comfortably in a new country for a bit of time. However, I started to wonder what else I could do with my money. It doesn’t make sense to spend it on things I don’t need or want, but I felt like there were better ways to save it too.

I had read about personal finance before. I then started reading more advanced finance techniques with goal of achieving Financial Independence or FI for short. As I’ve read more and more about what people have done to achieve FI, I realized I stumbled upon a rather big topic. Luckily I found the Choose Fi podcast and found an episode they did called The Pillars of FI. This episode summed just about everything that needs to be accomplished to achieve FI.

Since I heard it right around New Years, I decided to make achieving all the pillars my new year’s resolution for 2018. Yeah, I think I’m kind of cheating a bit, because I’ve already done a few of these things. And no I won’t achieve FI this year, but I think putting these things in place will get me closer to that goal. However, I felt like I should just try to put these steps in place for a good foundation now. Let’s review shall we:

I’m going to break it down by what I’ve done and what I am going to work on this year rather than exactly the order given above.

What I’ve done so far/Improving on a bit

  1. Index Fund Investing: I’ve been doing index fund investing ever since I read about it from Ramit Sethi (I believe I’ve read Mr. Sethi’s writings since senior year of college give or take 2 or 3 years before or after; I have also frequently recommended the book I Will Teach You to Be Rich for people who want to start learning more about money in general). Basically, index funds allow you to invest in a wide array of stocks and bonds with minimal fees and have historically shown to beat most mutual funds. For this year, though, I’m kicking this into higher gear by increasing my savings rates (more on that later in the post) and investing more in them. I am also following the recommendations of Jim Collins, who lays out his very simple investment strategy here.
  2. Buy Gently Used Cars: I’ve only bought my last car (a new one), but with cash though (never had a lease on a car and don’t ever intend to get one). The car had sat in the show room for a year, so I got a discount. My parents and my siblings have gone car shopping together the last few times we went and I think we’ve done a decent job of it with better negotiations.
  3. Travel Rewards: After my first trip to London and sitting at the airport, I thought “wow travel is expensive. There has to be a way to make it cheaper.” I got to searching the internet found out about credit card rewards for travel. Using them, I’ve gotten several heavily discounted flights and hotel stays that I would have ordinarily paid for.
  4. Cut the cord and Premium Cell: I’ve never had a cable subscription and don’t have any intention of getting one. I do own a smartphone, but I use them for long periods of time. I also use phones from Oneplus which have been stated over and over as the best phones for the money. I’m on a family plan and it’s discounted from being employed.

What I am working on

  1. Affordable Housing: I don’t live in cheap places for sure as I value my comfort quite a bit (growing up in a small home made me want to live in a larger place for sure). As soon as I get out of my lease, I’m planning on getting a cheaper place to live for sure.
  2. Crush Your Grocery Bill: Also something I struggle with because I live in a newer city and love trying new restaurants. I also haven’t been planning meals very well so I do tend to waste food every now and again. To change this, I need to view restaurants as social gathering place more and also just cook more at home.
  3. Tax Optimization, Multiple Streams of Income, and Savings Rate and the 4% Rule: I decided to combine these three because a) this is what I really need to work on and b) they all go together. This year, I decided to up my salary contributions to my retirement accounts, thereby boosting my savings rate in the hopes of decreasing my taxes. A lot of companies just have a website that just lets you change your contribution amounts on the fly, so something easy to do automatically. What about the multiple streams of income? This falls in line with the tax optimization. Some kind of side business making some money into me is essential. This year I’m going to be spending more time researching this and by the end of the year. I hope have something set up to help my taxes and get me income outside of my job.

Not caring about

  1. College Hacking: I have no children, so this doesn’t matter to me. That said, for the parents out there, a few countries offer free college for foreigners.

So that about sums up what I am trying to do this year. Have any tips or questions? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Credit Cards, Financial Independence, Housing, Investing, Saving, Side Hustle, Taxes, Travel

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