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  • Writer's picturePoints By J

9 Things I’m Thankful For (Personal Finance Edition)

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

“My amazing family, supportive friends, the sweetest dog in the world …”


HMMMM … I have a feeling my personal gratitude list would be quite boring for most folks, but I’m hoping that reflecting on my personal finance-related things I'm thankful for will be both helpful and entertaining.

  1. A friend’s financial transparency—One of my best friends is a personal finance nerd. For the last decade, we’ve transparently shared our salaries, swapped tips about investment vehicles, and where to get great financial information. These conversations give me real numbers and an understanding of how someone else was making it all work. They’ve inspired me to learn more and push for higher salaries. I’m forever grateful to her for her openness.

  2. Travel Freely App—this app plays a huge role in how I stay organized with my credit cards. Every time I get a new card, I enter it. It then tracks my opening dates, how long I have to reach the minimum spend, bonus spend categories, and more. Did I mention that it’s free? I can’t live without it. You can download it here. [link]

  3. My favorite credit card—I know … I am not supposed to play favorites. But in 2023, I need to acknowledge a card that has been in my life for almost a decade. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is my most-frequently recommended option because it is such an unbeatable beginner travel card. The reasonable annual fee, travel insurance benefits, and amazing travel transfer partners make it my #1.

  4. 23-year old Jess—I started contributing to my employer-sponsored 401k when I was 23. This was not an easy decision. I was an account executive at an ad agency, living in Chicago. Prioritizing my retirement meant deprioritizing some of my “wants.” That account has already benefited tremendously from market growth and compounding. I’m so grateful that my younger self made it a priority.

  5. A Roth IRA—This is an amazing retirement savings tool. Qualified withdrawals, including both contributions and earnings, are entirely tax-free in retirement. This means you won’t owe any federal income tax on the money you withdraw, providing you meet certain requirements, such as being at least 59½ years old and having held the account for at least five years. This tax advantage can lead to significant savings in retirement. I’m so glad it exists!

  6. We Should All Be Millionaires—I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. But this book by Rachel Rogers brought me so much clarity about how female-founded and led businesses change the world. It lit a fire in me to start exploring what I could potentially build. I don’t think I’d have taken this leap into launching my small business if I hadn’t read it.

  7. Motivational talks on YouTube—I start every day with a 10-minute meditation and a motivational talk on YouTube. Graduation speeches, TED talks, and random strangers have all helped me get my days off on the right foot. Listening to something inspiring puts me in a different headspace. It helps me feel like there are so many possibilities for the day, and that I can tackle any challenges that come my way. You can call it cheesy, but don’t knock it until you try it. Here is a link to one of my favorites.

  8. Google Sheets—My life’s organizational compass is Google Sheets. It’s where I track business strategies, travel plans, budgets, grocery lists, bucket lists, and more. I would be lost without it.

  9. Credit card points—I’ve earned tens of thousands of dollars in free travel because of my credit card points. Those are experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. For example, spending my birthday this year in a 5-star Washington DC hotel? That never would have happened if I didn’t have the points available for such a splurge. Plus, points have brought a lot of wonderful people (like you) into my life.

I'm also incredibly thankful for every single one of you. Thanks for being on this Points By J journey with me. Your feedback, questions, and warmth have made 2023 a year I'll never forget.

things I'm thankful for
A photo of me at 23 years old. Did I make a lot of mistakes at this age? Yes. Did it help me grow? Big time.

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