MinimalMillenial's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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MinimalMillenial
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MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:25 am

I am excited to be able to talk about my finances, goals and progress and learn from everyone from the ERE forum. I'm relatively new at using forums (so much information going on the web it's a struggle to keep abreast), not sure how long I can keep at this but here goes!

Me
Turned 23 within the last month, lives in Singapore and holds a job that pays relatively well (between 35K - 40+K) by most standards. I hold a polytechnic diploma, which is vocational and find that it limits my income growth. Looking to improve my skills and study hack my way to a degree at minimal cost (not going into debt of more than 10-20K). Oh and, I am ENFJ.

ERE
ERE to me means having a peace of mind that I can survive on essentials and use the rest of my money or resources in pursuing of interests or effecting changes in the world. The less I 'need' to live on a day to day basis, the more freedom of choice I will have.

Location
Singapore has grown at a rapid pace in the last 30-40 years and now I find myself in a country that ranks within top 10 internationally in terms of COL. No way to mince it, things are expensive. I live at home with my parents and do not wish to pursue the idea of settling down (aka buying a home) here. I am contemplating chances to move to London (on an independent startup offer with a friend), or California within the next year or so. It's ironic that I picked places with a high COL as well :lol: but it would most likely be temporary, to get a better paying job or more flexibility to pursue a bachelor's degree.

The Down Low
End 2013:
Cash: 20K
Investment: 3K (just started in Dec 2013)
Retirement: 11K + 41K (Personal RA + Government mandatory savings and a portion of HSA)
Liabilities: None ('cept for a forecasted $30 tax bill. Keeping it this way)

Income: 2.4K/month (excluding bonuses usually amount to 3 months or higher.)
Expenses: Approx 900-1K
$250 Household (Parental Rent)
$100 Transport
$320 Food (could be lowered)
$80 Gym (I powerlift)
$30 Phone
$10 Books/Movie
$36 Misc.
$90 Spending Money

I hope to gradually increase my savings rate from an average of 50-60% to 70%, and reduce my assets in cash. But with the move I want to make, it seems that having cash on hand right now is a good idea. My savings right now is probably split in a 35:65 ratio of savings to investment/retirement.

MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:43 pm

To journal my progess it seems like a good idea to also jot down the things I want to achieve in 2014 and reflect on my year in 2013.

2013 in review
2013 was a relatively slow year: 2nd year at my job, keeping up with a constant routine of powerlifting, and some travels. Somewhere along the line I decided to cut down on my consumerism behaviour - mainly the search of new products or technology that gave me a sense of enhanced living standard. As compared to 2012, I probably shopped half as much, but did purchase more whey protein and BCAA/amino supplement as consumables.

The turning point of 2013 was the two weeks I spent in California, surfing a friend's couch and meeting up with a couple of people during a trip up to NorCal. I probably learnt more things during the trip about myself and life than the entire year combined, and it cemented the thought that I need to venture out of my home country to experience more things and grow as a person. Spending two weeks on a sofa bed and a couple of nights on the floor, I became more confident of my ability to adapt and to live with less. The days passed after returning home has since been filled with thoughts on how to put my goal of venturing out on fast track.


Goals for 2014
- Read 4 books each month
- Achieve 70% savings rate
- Pare down belongings to 150 items
- Complete Introduction to Computer Science on a MOOC platform
- Quit my job and spend at least 1-3 months living abroad

MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:02 pm

Ended January on a some good counts and some bad counts. Placing a lot of focus this year on my goals which means I've been spending a fair amount of my time (outside of work) lifting, reading and learning languages and some basic programming.

The highs included breaking several PRs at my lifts (65lb overhead press, 85lb push press, 90lb split jerk and 205lb deadlift @ 130lb BW), keeping to my budgeted 62% savings rate, spending some time hanging out with a friend from Texas, and going full speed ahead by finishing 5/40 books for my 2014 reading goal.

The major low is facing a couple of issues at work. I'm starting to feel like I want a change of job environment and possibly industry all together after a couple of years in my current employment. Also been told lately that I am rather detached at work and not interacting with people as well. Having not much in common with the rest of the work folks, this is becoming a problem since I stopped engaging in office gossips and general water cooler talk. I guess I would have to pick up the slack and feign some interest.

Expenses this month worked out to be about 800 dollars, pretty decent although there's definitely some fat that can be trimmed from my food budget. Am considering to start brown bagging my work lunches again, will have to give logistics a thought. Would like to start incoporating more oatmeal, lentils (ala jacob-style) and green shakes in my diet. An added bonus would be the cost effectiveness of such food choices.

Breakdown of finances for the month
Income: 2400
Others: 83 (includes reimbursements, bank charge waivers, interest, etc)

Expenses: 804
250 (Household)
30.50 (Cell)
80 (Gym Membership)
118 (Eating out)
143 (Groceries/Work Lunches)
13 (Entertainment - ERE book for this month)
100.50 (Public Transport)
20 (Bank Charges for payment issues - called and waived. Added to income subsquently)
49 (Gifts - back paying of xmas gifts and a birthday gift for colleagues)

Currently reading The Permanent Portfolio by Craig Rowland and I'm cosidering adopting the approach for my retirement savings (traditional tax-advantaged retirement accounts) as the mix seems to coincide well with the offerings/limits of my investment options.

My taxable account would then be treated separately and comprise of a stock/bond allocation mix. I've yet to read up on value investing and growth investing strategies but it's definitely on my reading plans in the very near future.

Thoughts, anyone?

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Chris
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by Chris » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:27 pm

MinimalMillenial wrote:I'm starting to feel like I want a change of job environment and possibly industry all together after a couple of years in my current employment. Also been told lately that I am rather detached at work and not interacting with people as well. ... I guess I would have to pick up the slack and feign some interest.
Based on your previous post, you said one of your 2014 goals was to quit your job this year. Why is being disinterested in your job a problem if you're planning to quit? It seems to me that if your plan is to leave this year anyway, spending your energy on learning about new industries makes sense. Especially since you have enough of a bankroll to cover more than a year of expenses.

MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:15 am

@Chris you've brought up some really good points. I am learning coding and getting more into the tech industry at the moment, something I think I would want to move on to.

Corporate bonus pays out in July yearly for my job, so I plan to quit right after. Between the age gap, lifestyle differences and actively learning about future job opportunities and lifeskills, I definitely have not been doing a good job keeping up with them and after several mentions from colleagues I feel compelled to put a bandaid on it.

MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:42 am

February 2014

Short update: in between a barrage of work stuff and trying to simplify/automate larger parts of my life I have decided to post (detailed) quarterly updates and brief monthly updates just to check in and stay accountable.

Image

Relatively happy that my expenses for the past two months are pretty low - not to the point of spartan but I have definitely cut out any unnecessary buying of anything other than food. Surprisingly I do not feel the urge to purchase things, and no longer scour gear review sites and lifehacker daily deals do not really tempt me.

Work
People relations at work is slightly better now, an advice from a friend that I do not have to pretend to fit in with the work crowd, but just do enough so they don't think I dislike them is working. But I do have to take some time out to try and socialise with people at work at least once a week.

Work in itself has been a drag of late, I definitely am feeling a large part of being a cog, as the lowest in the food chain I just simply have to carry out the wishes and directions of those higher, irregardless of feasibility or practicality. There's definitely a lot of busywork as things are with every other big corporation, but I am rising up to the challenge. Despite not looking forward to work in the morning, feeling exhausted mid-day swimming in busywork, at the end of the day I manage to get 80-90% of the work done and carry forward no urgent tasks. Productivity levels is definitely on the rise.

Power of Habits
I recently signed up for a 30-day trial of Audible and downloaded The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg as my free credit. Estimated to be about 60% through the book, it's definitely thrown things into perspective for me. How true is the quote by Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

I am looking forward to turning my desired actions into habits so that leveling up in life would be more automatic much like getting up and heading to work in the morning and losing yourself in a flurry of actions to achieve the expected outcome.

On the topic of willpower as a finite resource, it's something I've been feeling for the past two weeks as a project at work kicked into high gear. Returning home feeling like I've barely caught my breath, it feels like I'm lagging (slightly) behind in some self-improvement goals. The journal, 2 coursera courses and learning languages on duolingo have taken a backseat and I'm pushing myself to get back on the horse.

Fitness
My diet has also taken a slight beating, affected by a combination of less intensive workouts and work team desperately trying to use up the team bonding budget - which equates to A LOT of eating, more than I thought possible. As a result I probably gained 2-4lbs in the past two weeks (weight flacuations). Back to the grind once March is over and the budget is wholly used up.

I'm back on Sheiko training and plan to include more olympic lifts, barbell complexes and more frequent cardio as much as possible on my 'one day on, one day off' workout schedule.

Welp, this is getting a little longer than I intended although I barely touched on finances. Till next time.

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archi
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by archi » Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:00 am


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Chad
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by Chad » Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:04 am

Do you do all the power lifts? Or, do you specialize for competition? I'm just curious because a long time ago I almost went down that path and it still interests me a little.

MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:38 am


MinimalMillenial
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by MinimalMillenial » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:44 am

Chad wrote:Do you do all the power lifts? Or, do you specialize for competition? I'm just curious because a long time ago I almost went down that path and it still interests me a little.
I do all 4 power lifts (including overhead presses) and am trying to incorporate some olympic lifts in my training (currently only at Clean and Jerks, not really mobile enough for performing a Snatch). Would be interesting to join a competition someday, but I messed up some nerves previously and am still trying to get my squat back to speed (>1x BW)

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Chad
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by Chad » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:20 am

The snatch is a bitch. You really need to have everything (strength, speed, skill, coordination, and mobility) to perform it.

I must say I miss having 3-4 plates on each side banging around, as the weight pushes you into the ground. There is something about having control over that much weight. I've been trying to work my way back up to this.

lightfruit55
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Re: MinimalMillenial's Journal

Post by lightfruit55 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:57 am

Hi MM,

It's been a long while since you updated your journal. Did you end up living abroad?

p.s. I'm from Singapore too and around the same age as you. Always interested in reading up on fellow Singaporeans' ERE journey.

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