* Are you the kind of person who sets New Year's resolutions? Like many Americans, Jonathan used to set weight loss goals for the new year, but not this year. Instead, he and his accountability partner, JD Roth, spent the previous nine months working on it and began the year, at or very close to their goal weight.
* Not having to work on big weight loss goals is allowing Jonathan to be aware and focus on testing smaller adjustments that will make him feel better and have more energy.
* Brad once had an experience while on vacation that made him realize how his normal diet was causing him joint pain. He wasn't even aware he had joint pain until one day it was gone. It was only then that he understood he had a problem that needed to be worked on.
* When you live an examined life, you don't have to accept the things that are reducing your capacity to function as normal.
* Brad thought his morning smoothies were a healthy choice, but it turns out the negative impact was a sugar crash necessitating an afternoon nap. It wasn't something he noticed until he stopped the daily smoothie routine.
* The examined life concept can be applied to your personal finance life as well. It's not as much a goal as it is a mastery of process.
* Brad embraces James Clear's concept of setting up systems that work in his life versus setting goals. He has set up eight different things he wants to accomplish as a part of a system with checkpoints along the way.
* In an attempt to develop two new habits, Brad is habit stacking. With habit stacking, you take one habit you have and combine it with another you want to create. Brad has combined his desire to become more fluent in Japanese with moving more during the day by taking walks around the neighborhood while listening to the Pimsleur language learning app. It's not perfect, but it's a system that is working for him.
* Brad is also following the advice of Chris Guillebeau and conducting his own annual review. This annual review sets the big picture, the intentions, the purpose, and outcomes. It then breaks life down into different areas where concrete goals may be set, such as self, health, family, community, travel, and others.
* While neither has large plots of land in suburban Richmond, VA, Jonathan and Brad have both contemplated starting some sort of micro garden.
* Listener James wrote in to say that he's been able to cut down on his grocery bill by going a whole year eating only vegetables he's grown himself.
* James says knowledge isn't needed. Just try growing things. You'll learn as you go. Also, grow what you are actually going to eat. Kale is great, but not if you won't eat it. And finally, squash is king as it produces pounds and pounds of food.
* Start with a 4'x4′ or 6'x6′ plot of land and plant 2 summer squashes and 2 winter squashes two feet apart. Water the roots, not the leaves.
* If you don't have a yard, get creative like a friend with a yard, a community garden, or a local farm.
* In your own garden, build up your soil health with compost.
* When you are genuinely interested in learning, finding mentors willing to help can be easy. Jonathan's brother, Andrew who edits the podcast, has been interested in sustainable homesteading. Through the ChooseFI Facebook groups, he has found a community to learn from and is getting free room and board in exchange for work.
* You get so much power and understanding in your own life just by understanding the concepts of FI. You don't need to be at your FI number to achieve power and autonomy in your life. It starts the moment you decide to make small changes to make your life better.
* Neither Jonathan nor Andrew have reached FI, yet for all intents and purposes, they are living a financially independent lifestyle.
* The goal isn't to have the most money, it's to be post-money, which is beyond the point where money matters. What do you want your life to look like, and what do you need to pull that off?
* Suzanne sent in a question about expense ratios. She didn't know where to look to find out how much she is paying across their various investments.
* First, there may be a fee attached to the fund for it being executed the way it is, known as the expense ratio. Second, if access to the fund is through a financial manager, there could be an assets under management fee.
* The impact these fees can have on your investments is enormous. They can cost an investor millions of dollars over a 40-year time frame.
* Brad suggested Suzanne google the funds' names or ticker symbol and expense ratio, such as “VTSAX expense ratio”. The result should be just one or two clicks away.
* To reduce costs, long-term investors should use a commission fee platform to purchase funds, such as M1 Finance when investing outside of your employer. Resources Mentioned In Today's Conversation
* Chris Guillebeau's “How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review”
* Grass to Veggies
* ChooseFI Episode 248 You are More than Your Social Capital with Laura Oldanie
* M1 Finance Review If You Want To Support ChooseFI:
* Earn $1,000 in cashback with ChooseFI's 3-card credit card strategy.
* Share FI by sending a friend ChooseFI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence.