New Job Benefits, FI Workshops, and What Is J$ Up To?

Time flies! It’s been two full months since taking over this blog.

I haven’t gotten any death threats yet, the nasty feedback I receive is vastly outweighed by encouraging emails, J$ seems to not have any regrets so far, and my employer hasn’t fired me yet! (Actually, they just gave me a small pay increase and extended our contract – more on that below.)

All in all, things are going pretty good!

Quick question for you readers … I’ve shared details of a few of my accounts and assets (IRA, duplex, gift accounts) and I have a few more I’ll be detailing soon (Roths, cash accounts, etc). I was thinking of creating an overall summary & tally, then updating the growth and changes every so often. Kind of like J$’s net worth tracking – except I’ll be excluding a few real estate assets and partnerships my wife and I are a part of.

Anyway, would it help if I made a “partial net worth” snapshot and tracked asset growth over time? 

Keep in mind, net worth reports are less about the total $ number, and more about the progression and ongoing process. Growth for my stuff will be pretty slow, given that I’m not able to contribute much with a low salary. Let me know if it benefits you seeing my process anyway.

What’s J. Money been up to!!!??

J$ will jump on the blog soon and write his own update post, but for now I’m going to spill the beans on a few things… (He also sends out personal updates every so often you can see at

First, the big curation website he’s been working on with the Motley Fool team is launching soon! It will include *original video content* written by and starring J. Money himself! You’ll all be the first to know when the site goes live!

In the meantime, J’s opened up an online personal finance apparel store! It supports a bunch of personal finance bloggers and enthusiasts that spread the good word about FIRE in a fun and trendy way! Check it out, and get your gear here –>

Elevate Influencer 2020!

For all you finance professionals and bloggers out there, you might be interested in this virtual conference next week… Elevate Influencer is for personal finance influencers who speak directly to People of Color. I’m attending the first day Aug 13th (You can too for FREE thanks to Motley Fool sponsoring the event). I’m looking forward to educating myself more about the financial challenges faced by People of Color, and how I can use my influence and this blog to help!

Take Control of Your Finances, by Alan and Katie Donegan…

This week I joined Alan Donegan’s Take Control of Your Finances course (also FREE)! You may already know Alan – he’s the guy behind Popup Business School, interviewed by Mad FIentist, ChooseFI and already achieved FI in his 30’s with his wife, Katie! Since COVID pretty much shut down all of their in-person workshops, Alan and Katie are hosting a FREE 8-week beginners course on Financial Independence. Although it started last week, you can still join here

The course covers:

  • Week 1: Net-worth: Monday 3rd August 8pm BST
  • Week 2: Cashflow: Monday 10th August 8pm BST
  • Week 3: Money Beliefs: Monday 17th August  8pm BST
  • Week 4: Debt: Monday 24th August  8pm BST
  • Week 5: Couples and family finance: Monday 31st  August  8pm BST
  • Week 6: Investing: Monday 7th September 8pm BST
  • Week 7: FIRE Principles: Monday 14th September 8pm BST
  • Week 8: Planning for the future: Monday 21st September 8pm BST

(FYI for time zones… 8pm BST = 3pm EST same day in the USA). Also, this is tailored mainly to beginners… But even though you might know most of the basic FI principles, it never hurts to refresh and hear different perspectives! – that’s why I’m attending :)

Camp Progress by Jillian Johnsrud!

Currently I’m taking a Life Design course hosted by Jillian Johnsrud. Jillian is the host of ChooseFI’s Everyday Courage Podcast which you may already be familiar with. Every time I hear Jillian speak, I walk away with really big epiphanies about life, money, relationships, and happiness in general!

Jillian’s got a few other classes available soon in the fall that you might be interested in that cover Life Design, Mastering your Money, and Boundaries. You can check them all out and register here. Note, these classes cost $$ to attend. An investment in your personal development :)

(I have *no* affiliate relationship and get no kickbacks for recommending any of these courses or workshops… Just sharing the good things I come across!)

Lastly, some good news!…

My employer offered me a long-term contract… Yay- now I get some BENEFITS!

It’s rare to be offered benefits as a part-time employee, so I’m extremely grateful for this! Out of the list of ~30 “benefits” that are offered, the 2 biggest interests for me are – healthcare and 401k, baby!

In an earlier post I mentioned I don’t have health insurance currently, so this problem might now be solved. I’m not eligible for the healthcare plan until after 30 days of employment, so there’s time to evaluate this option… (at first glance, the lowest cost HDHP plan to cover me and my wife is $8,400 per year!! 😩. Might be cheaper to just sign up via Covered California!)

As for the 401k plan, like any good FIRE nerd I read the entire 17-page brochure the second it was sent to me. Then, I called the 401k plan administrator to introduce myself and ask them additional questions. I’m not sure what shocked the administrator more; receiving a call from someone actually interested in learning, or the fact that I wasn’t even a hired employee yet!

More to come on the healthcare and 401k details as I enjoy the glorious onboarding process.

Wishing you all a happy and relaxing weekend!

– Joel

*Typewriter up top by Markus Winkler!

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  1. Dragon Guy August 7, 2020 at 11:02 AM

    Congrats on the contract extension. It’s nice that you can get insurance, but it’s definitely something you need to look into the details. I’ve found that although some employer sponsored insurance is more expensive, the doctors and facilities that are covered are better than what can be found in the marketplace plans. Funny how you mention the first thing you did was read the 401(k) plan info and call them up. I’d be doing the same thing but with health insurance! It’s all about the details!


    1. Joel August 7, 2020 at 9:10 PM

      Thanks DGuy! I can imagine insurance is at the top of the list given your health surprises in the past. Reading your stories is helpful and inspires me to be better about health insurance. Cheers!

  2. Beau W. August 7, 2020 at 11:53 AM

    Exciting news for you Joel. Sorry about the insurance deal. Its a major downer that insurance is so freaking expensive these days. Hope too read more about the 401k plan. Have a great weekend sir.

    1. Joel August 7, 2020 at 9:09 PM

      Cheers Beau. Insurance is just a part of life. We’ll figure it out one way or another! Yep I’m excited to start thinking about 401k options. Will be sharing for sure! Have a good weekend!

  3. JoshDoesFatFIRE August 7, 2020 at 12:05 PM

    Congratulations on renewing the contract!
    You are doing a great job and making no attempts to imitate J Money, which I love. You are blogging as your own person.

    Great that you will be beginning to share partial net worth update and things like that. On my blog they are my most read posts and I think they are what a lot of people check out FIRE blogs to actually see. Nothing wrong with keeping a few things private!

    Best wishes!

    1. Joel August 7, 2020 at 9:12 PM

      I really like the NW updates on your blog Josh. And I like that you go through the extra effort to convert to USD, even though you’re in the UK. Keep it up mate. Have a great weekend!

  4. J August 10, 2020 at 12:33 PM

    Congratulations on getting your contract extended and being eligible for benefits! I’m curious what kinds of questions you asked your 401k administrator, though. I’m wondering if I’ve been leaving something out in my own 401k analysis. :-) J Money’s net worth articles were absolutely my favorite articles, so I would love to see something like that again here. It was nice to have something to high level benchmark to, even though I am much further down on the dollar amount scale than he was. It has been amazing to see the curve on my net worth graph begin to take a similar shape as I passed the $100K in investments mark a few years ago. Even though you said you current income is small, that might be helpful to see for those who are earlier in their journey, have more modest incomes, or who have/may be considering basic real estate.

    1. Joel August 10, 2020 at 6:04 PM

      Congrats on crushing the 100k mark J! It’s great to follow and benchmark against higher net worths – but keep it mind it all comes down to daily habits and steady contributions. I’ll share more on the 401k overview shortly!

  5. Dollartrak August 11, 2020 at 8:23 AM

    Sounds like the new employer has you locked in with the golden handcuffs! Trust me, there are worst things in life :).

    1. Joel August 11, 2020 at 10:37 AM

      Haha! Yep, the brainwashing is beginning!

  6. Matt August 16, 2020 at 10:55 PM

    Congrats on the extenion!

    I would love to hear your take on the healthcare benefits over what you’ve seen in your history. We have the majority of our health care covered in Canada so it would be interesting.

    1. Joel August 17, 2020 at 2:21 PM

      Hey Matt! I’ll share the healthcare options and stuff soon! It’s tough to talk about, because everyone’s health needs are very different. I am fortunate that I don’t visit the doctor much (knock on wood), so the value for me is all about insuring against big accidents (impossible to predict!).

      Since I was born and raised in Australia, I paid $0 in healthcare costs for the first 22 years of my life! With this privileged upbringing, I don’t think I’ll ever feel satisfied with the healthcare situation in the US. I’m a spoiled brat! More to come on this!


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