A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

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IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:28 am

A few pics of the fishing I mentioned.

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My cheapo camera does funny things in low light with some colors, so what I saw with my eyes wasn't quite so bold, but it made for an auspicious omen to begin the day.

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This one is obviously a little manipulated. I converted it to black and white and digitally manipulated the exposure. The featured fish is not among the more noteworthy catches of the day, but it was a nice one and I liked the way the image turned out. To me it's become sort of the avatar of the day.

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This is the only walleye we got all day. It measured about 26" inches or a smidge over, meaning it was on the order of a 7lb fish. Not remarkable for the lake we fished (the eastern portion of the US-side of Basswood lake). It was, however, my personal best. My goal for a while has been to get one north of 30", and this fell well short of that. But I was pretty happy.

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This was my biggest smallmouth bass of the day. I'd like to day it was 21" but it actually came up somewhere between 20-3/4" and 20-7/8". So about a five pound fish. Again, not remarkable for the body of water, but my third/final personal best for that species of the day. By this time in the afternoon all we could do is laugh every time we caught one of these pugnacious little bulldogs--it's like reeling up thrashing patio bricks off the bottom (we got them in about 30 ft of water). Two days later the tendons on the inside of my elbows were sore. Bob, my neighbor/guide on this venture said the number of fish we got in the 19" + inch class was remarkable for a single day, something between 12 and 15 in the boat. He outfished me, but not by a ton. Everytime I'd get a good one, he'd immediately pull one in 1/4-1/2" bigger (he was doing the measuring, and I assume he wasn't fudging whenever that happened ;) ). Of course, the biggest one I had on the line that afternoon was the proverbial "one that got away". I'll not belabor that story, but it seems to always happen, part of what keeps a guy going back.

Didn't get pics but we also got a slew of northern pike that day, and a few were a little chunky. I wasn't in the mood to be handling those guys (I've learned to use long nose pliers to unhook them and release them at the side of the boat, keeping clear of their teeth). I think Bob thought I was "afraid" to pick one up, and the biggest one I hooked he plucked out of the water to show me. Of course the stupid thing started thrashing, sliced up his thumb real good and fell into the boat. Wound up with a gross puddle of pike slime (think runny snot) and blood in the boat. For all their unpleasantness, they are actually excellent table fare.

With all the headache I had getting these things sized right, uploaded to photobucket, and embedded in this post, I forgot about the trout. It was a pretty fish, but fairly small, only 8-9", so not much of a photo subject.

The amusing side note is I put a photos of a few of the fish on my Facebook. Many entries ago I mentioned a woman who I had a date with a couple months back who had gone all skittish afterward. She sent me a note when she saw the pics from the cabin and wanted to get together and "catch up". That catching up happened last night. Her response towards me was, um, distinctly different than the last time. No scorching hot passion yet, but apparently size does matter when it comes to the fish a guy can yank up from the bottom of a lake buried in the boreal wilderness :)
Last edited by IlliniDave on Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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GandK
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by GandK » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:08 am

Go Dave! :-D Of course size matters.

All great pics. That first picture is gorgeous. I'm a sucker for sunrises.

K60
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by K60 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:30 pm

Great pics!!

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Ego
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Ego » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:02 pm

Very nice. It's funny, you are an excellent writer and I often feel like I can imagine your place. Adding a few photos makes it even more real. It looks like an incredibly beautiful part of the country.

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jennypenny
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by jennypenny » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:04 pm

Haha ... thanks for the pic!

I love those pictures. It looks wonderful up there.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:26 am

Here's a few last pictures that emphasize the surrounding landscape since a number of folks commented along those lines. But first I've got one of one of the lil' trout I hooked. Since all the trout in the designated trout lakes are stocked, in the future I'll have little compunction about eating them as these are micro-sized "put-and-take" fisheries.

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The following picture is of Kawishiwi (pronounced by the locals as "kawishaway") Falls. A peculiar thing is that the falls have nothing to do with the nearby Kawishiwi River. The falls are along a chute of water a couple hundred yards long that exits Garden Lake and flows into Fall Lake. They are just a couple miles outside of Ely, Mn and there's a short/easy maintained trail to hike to them. I took this picture in June rather than September.

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The next two are of a small lake known as Glacier Pond 2. It's among the designated trout lakes near my cabin. I scouted it out because it is stocked with brook trout, a species I have yet to angle successfully. Despite their name they are not true trout but members of the related char family (as are lake trout). I took the photos because the < 10 acre lake has some of the iconic look I associate more with the interior of Quetico Provincial Park (adjacent to the BWCA in Ontario). The pics were taken from an unadvertised USFS primitive camp site that I learned about from a local.

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The next one is a shot of Secret Lake which is one of a cluster of small lakes "just across the road" from where my cabin is. It's not much of a fishing destination and the hike is a little vigorous for carrying a canoe or something without a payoff at the end. Sorry about the brown tree in the foreground, but I didn't find many good views of the lake.

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The last two are of Blackstone Lake, a close neighbor of Secret. Again, not much of a fishing destination, but it's much more accessible and has a pair of primitive USFS campsites on it. The first I think was taken at one of the campsites, the second is a beaver pond at the outflow which has added a small bay to the lake. In June the resident beaver was out and about and agitated about me being around. This time around things were very quiet.

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The great thing about September is that the bug population is way down and the trails are generally drier. There are dozens of these small lakes nestled in undeveloped sections of the Superior National Forest outside the BWCA within an hour drive of the cabin (along with all the larger lakes), many of which have good under-exploited fish populations. The ERE applicability for me is that such places add combined opportunities for inexpensive recreation (outside the BWCA there are no fees or permit hassles), moderate exercise/physical activity, and foraging.

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GandK
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by GandK » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:47 am

How beautiful! The picture with the red tree is my favorite.

I giggled about the agitated beaver.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:56 am

Q3 2016 Summary

Obligatory Lumbering Introspective Essay and Thoughts on the Real Side of Life

Well, the numbers below are reasonably encouraging but unfortunately they are not adding much buoyancy to the day-to-day realm. Things aren't bad but it is beginning to feel like the final act is written, and there's nothing left but for time and life to herd me through it. Even that's probably okay--one of the fringe benefits of having a plan to which a lot of thought has been given. However, I am increasingly attempting to find new perspectives for the purpose of enriching both the interim time period and the out years. Another way to say it is with financial constraints loosening over time, my mind is wandering.

For a brief window I did a lot of thinking about opening the door a little wider for working towards some sort of domestic partnership down the road. That arose from a series of occasional interactions/long conversations with a specific friend over the last several months. She checks many of the boxes of a great candidate from my perspective, most actually, (what she thinks she saw in me I'll never know), but I think we both have too firm a vision of our respective futures and there's an undeniable fork in the road ahead. In the last week most of the thoughts in that direction have withered on the vine. I haven't closed the door and barred it shut, but I recognize for me it's a struggle against immense odds. I suppose I need to just keep being me and not form any preconceived notions on the topic. There were a couple folks here who seemed to be rooting for me in this endeavor--sorry I let it all fizzle.

So I've dusted off a couple old hobbies (writing and guitar) to add some texture to my leisure time and offset the autumn tendency for football to drag me into a state of excessive idleness. The leaves here are slow to start turning this year, but the mornings are cool and I plan to restart sunrise hikes on the local mountain trails this weekend. It's been several years now that I've been out of that habit. One difference is I'll probably start bringing a camera. I've grown to enjoy slowing down and taking a few pictures rather than making it a purely athletic endeavor of covering as much distance as I can as fast as I can.

The numbers are:

Invested Assets and Net Worth

In the quarter total invested assets increased by $54,800 after contributions.

Net worth is up $56,400 for the quarter, and $181,500 over the last 12 months. Both figures come on the back of movement in the investment markets.

Savings and Spending

YTD savings as a % of gross income: 57.6%, up from 55.7% as of end of Q2.
YTD savings as a % of after-tax income: 78.4%, up from 75.1% as of end of Q2.

September spending was $3,632 (versus $2,631 in August), well above the target average of $2,416/mo for the year. Recreational travel was biggest contributor to the overage, coming in at about $750, and I had, for me, excessive dining/entertainment expenses for the month.

Average monthly spending YTD is $2,632 which is also above the $2,416 target. I'm now at the point where it will be difficult to meet my yearly spending goals.

YTD spending (excl. inc tax) as % of gross income: 17.6%, up from 16.6% as of end of Q2.
YTD spending (excl. inc tax) as % of after-tax income: 24.0%, up from 22.4% as of end of Q2.

ER Status

With 30 September as my first day of ER, I would expect to deplete 4.3% of my financial assets getting to my 70th birthday, compared to 13.1% at the end of Q2. If things proceeded exactly according to my nominal plan my average withdrawal rate from age 52 to age 70 would be 3.78%, and from 52 to 85 would be 2.22%.

September spending represents an equivalent withdrawal rate of 6.20%; YTD the equivalent rate is 4.98%.

Net of expected proceeds from downsizing my house I might anticipate around $1,995/mo of spending over several decades to be supported by my financial assets alone.

Conclusion

Q3 2016 was a decent quarter, capping off one of the higher rolling 12 month asset growth periods since I started keeping good data.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:29 am

October 2016 Summary

Obligatory Lumbering Introspective Essay and Thoughts on the Real Side of Life

October is commonly a melancholy month for me but this year that attribute proved more acute than normal, especially as the month neared its close. I am questioning a lot about myself and my future, challenging plans and assumptions that have been integral to my course since my late December 2011 epiphany.

First, the potential of entering into a relationship loomed and briefly entered the foreground. Obviously that throws a wrench into any plans that involve a guy going solo in the wild places. Foolishly, I began to consider other options. But somehow I think my subconscious intervened--the whole situation terminated with some odd accusations that because I'm an introvert I would, as a socially defective specimen, forever be a source of feelings of rejection for her. The irony is that she too is an introvert, but doesn't really understand introversion. Some unflattering comparisons of me to her ex- (a full-blown clinical narcissistic) sent things spiraling into the irrevocable. Now only a pile of sulfur-smelling slag remains. It's a shame since we'd had a close friendship for many years prior. I also had another long-term friendship disintegrate. In that case I was judged a bad man because of my political ambivalence (i.e., my refusal to sign on as a card-carrying progressive or to tolerate the standard bully/shaming tactics). That one was worse because it was a multi-decade friendship that was anchored in our mutual passion for the little corner of the Northwoods I often talk about.

However after quite a lot of meandering, both mental and emotional, I seem to be slowly getting back on course. I'm happy the nights are longer and the days cooler. Work is still a source of disappointment, but it pays good.

The numbers are:

Invested Assets and Net Worth

During the month total invested assets decreased by $4,600 after contributions.

Net worth is down $7,400 for the month. Both decreases are driven by the recent sag in the stock market.

Savings and Spending

YTD savings as a % of gross income: 57.6%, unchanged from 57.6% as of end of September.
YTD savings as a % of after-tax income: 78.2%, down from 78.4% as of end of September.

October spending was $3,021 (versus $3,632 in September), well above the target average of $2,416/mo for the year. Some unplanned private charitable gifts (~$750) drove expenses over target.

Average monthly spending YTD is $2,671 which is also above the $2,416 target. I'm now at the point where it will be difficult to meet my yearly spending goals.

YTD spending (excl. inc tax) as % of gross income: 18.2%, up from 17.6% as of end of Septmber.
YTD spending (excl. inc tax) as % of after-tax income: 24.6%, up from 24.0% as of end of September.

ER Status

With 31 October as my first day of ER, I would expect to deplete 4.2% of my financial assets getting to my 70th birthday, compared to 4.3% at the end of September. If things proceeded exactly according to my nominal plan my average withdrawal rate from age 52 to age 70 would be 3.80%, and from 52 to 85 would be 2.23%.

October spending represents an equivalent withdrawal rate of 5.05%; YTD the equivalent rate is 4.97%.

Net of expected proceeds from downsizing my house I might anticipate around $1,983/mo of spending over several decades to be supported by my financial assets alone.

Conclusion

Turning the handle, making sausage. I am a bad man (from the feminine perspective) so I'd best stick to the simple path.

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:09 am

IlliniDave said: the whole situation terminated with some odd accusations that because I'm an introvert I would, as a socially defective specimen, forever be a source of feelings of rejection for her.
That wasn't fair. It is better practice to keep it at the level of behavior. For instance, "It would be my preference to be in a relationship with somebody who was more willing to exert time/energy in conversational exchange and engagement." Then you would have to option of after due consideration responding with either "Although it is not my preference to spend a good deal of time engaged in conversational exchange and engagement, I believe the value to be derived overall from entering into relationship with you, would warrant the effort." OR "I appreciate your honest expression of your preferences. I regret that I must agree that the possibility for amiable long-term contract to be formed between us is now less likely in the light of this revelation. I wish you well, but shall now withdraw my offer."

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:31 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
IlliniDave said: the whole situation terminated with some odd accusations that because I'm an introvert I would, as a socially defective specimen, forever be a source of feelings of rejection for her.
That wasn't fair. It is better practice to keep it at the level of behavior. For instance, "It would be my preference to be in a relationship with somebody who was more willing to exert time/energy in conversational exchange and engagement." Then you would have to option of after due consideration responding with either "Although it is not my preference to spend a good deal of time engaged in conversational exchange and engagement, I believe the value to be derived overall from entering into relationship with you, would warrant the effort." OR "I appreciate your honest expression of your preferences. I regret that I must agree that the possibility for amiable long-term contract to be formed between us is now less likely in the light of this revelation. I wish you well, but shall now withdraw my offer."
I get what you're saying, but the introvert crack wasn't really so bad other than its oddity given the long history of our, as it were, heart-to-heart conversations and her own introversion. I'm not the taciturn variety of introvert around those in my inner circle. What really put the FUBAR stamp on it was the comparison to the ex-. After being a shoulder to lean on for 7+ years while she endured that emotional battering...I've never been stunned quite like that before. Once I regained my bearings, and with all my customary emotional maturity ;) , I had no choice but to yank the pin and deploy the incendiary grenade (albeit politely).

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jennypenny
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by jennypenny » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:29 pm

I'm sorry about how it ended. Sounds like she's got some unresolved issues.

And you're not a bad man. ;)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:23 am

jennypenny wrote:I'm sorry about how it ended. Sounds like she's got some unresolved issues.

And you're not a bad man. ;)
Part of me is sorry too, at least that the friendship is gone. But it's also a bit of a relief that the threat of a "relationship" is removed. I guess I'm really dug in when it comes to my position and my vision going forward. She probably does have some things to work through to completely free herself from that prior relationship (it's only about 6 mos out from the divorce concluding), but it's possible that the real issues are mine.

I'm relieved someone besides my mother thinks I am not a bad man!

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:27 am

Gratitude (Some Thoughts Ahead of Thanksgiving)

Over the last few years I've started marking Thanksgiving by taking time each day of the week to focus on gratitude rather than worrying about shopping and such. I decided to start a little early via this unscheduled journal entry. I'm grateful for many things that will go unmentioned. In this exercise I tend to focus on how my outlook has changed in the past year, and on those things that have been reinforced or for which new insight has emerged.

I am clearly out of step with most of the world (by that I mean the society I live in, I suppose). I now expect that what gives rise to gratitude in me is what makes me anathema to many. But I cannot help that. Gratitude is too honest an emotion to bend to social norms or others' wishes.

This year I've been grateful for my wiring. For the ability exist happily during a solo voyage. For the accident of nature that allows me to look ahead and envision possibilities, and chart if not a destination, at least a direction.

I'm grateful I was raised in a time when, as part of growing up, kids were forced out of safe spaces into the world rather than being withdrawn from the world and herded into safe spaces.

I'm grateful for whatever defect I have that allows me to spend an afternoon in the boreal forest just as excited as I was when there for the first time as an eight-year-old boy, and feeling no lack for not instead being on an exotic adventure tourism expedition my friends would envy if posted on Facebook.

I'm grateful that sitting for an hour and watching a woodpecker go about his sacred mission of grooming the birch trunks is more exhilarating than all the math problems I've ever solved.

I'm grateful my heart still pounds when I've got a heavy fish on the end of my line.

I'm grateful every time I hear children laugh outdoors.

Although an introvert, I'm grateful for the eclectic assortment of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues I have.

I'm grateful that I can still have feelings for a woman, and she for me, even if it's a transient occurrence.

I'm grateful that I'm naive enough, and full of enough cognitive dysfunction, that I can still call myself an optimist.

I'm grateful that I cannot find disdain for those who view me with a venomous heart.

And my annual hope is that everyone has more to be grateful for than I.

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by steveo73 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:14 pm

IlliniDave - nice post and nice journal.

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Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:01 pm

Love the journal; appreciate your posts. To put my comment in 7w5 terms--

It's my preference that you consider the possibility that your statement "I'm a bad man," while endearingly tongue-in-check, is a pre-emptive request for absolution from personal feelings of guilt. I make the suggestion because you've posted it twice in recent threads in regard to employing the nuclear option relationship-wise. As options go, it's a good one to have, but like the real thing, it's most productive for both parties when used purely as deterrent. Also like the real thing, use is apt to trigger feelings of remorse, which brings me back to my above stated preference.

Only you know your friend. It does seem a shame to set aside seven good years over one unflattering comparison. Tempers flare. Heads get hot. You freely admit you and her ex have one thing in common--bad man ( ;) ). Mayhap she regrets the choice of words. Very possibly she doesn't. Only one way to find out.

(Consider also that one of these three facts may be incidental to the other two: 1. My subconscious intervened. 2. She made unflattering comparisons. 3. I pulled the pin.)

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:41 am

2016 Year End Summary

Obligatory Lumbering Introspective Essay and Thoughts on the Real Side of Life

2016 is in the books. The good news is that I'm a year closer to ER. My not-to-exceed date is inside of 2.5 years now. I have a lot of latitude for moving that date forward if it seems prudent (or at least desirable).

I haven't been doing much on the forums here, although I am still an occasional lurker. Life has sort of filled up for me (mostly good) and so I have less time and energy to devote to the internet. It was something that's been brewing as I've dusted off a couple of old hobbies and things having picked up at work, but all the post-election angst was the straw that broke the camel's back. It's not just here, I dialed back my participation in all online communities. It's been good to spend more time disconnected.

I missed one or two updates, so I just tallied up the 2016 totals and left it at that.

The numbers are:

Invested Assets and Net Worth

In the quarter total invested assets increased by $30,600 after contributions.

Net worth is up $31,000 for the quarter and $168,700 for the year. I exceeded all of my projections relating to year end account balances.

Savings and Spending

2016 savings as a % of gross income: 56.2%.
2016 savings as a % of after-tax income: 76.1%.

Average monthly spending for 2016 was $2,625 which is above my target of $2,416.

A new number I calculated: my personal inflation rate from 2013-2016 is 3.9% per year and has been fairly steady.

2016 spending (excl. inc tax) as % of gross income: 17.8%.
2016 spending (excl. inc tax) as % of after-tax income: 24.1%.

ER Status

With 31 December 2016 as my first day of ER, I would expect to deplete 3.8% of my financial assets getting to my 70th birthday. Some of the prior numbers I reported were slightly optimistic due to an error, since corrected, that I found in my spreadsheet.

If things proceeded exactly according to my nominal plan my average withdrawal rate from age 52 to age 70 would be 3.58%, and from 52 to 85 would be 2.09%.

My 2016 spending equates to an approximate withdrawal rate of 4.8%. This was computed by taking each month's spending, multiplying by 12, and dividing the result by my invested asset balance at the end of the prior month. Then, the 12 calculations were averaged. Going forward with the same spending and no non-investment income sources, 2016 spending equates to a 4.2% withdrawal rate.

Net of expected proceeds from downsizing my house I might anticipate around $2,017/mo of spending over several decades to be supported by my financial assets alone.

Conclusion

2016 did everything I needed it to regarding my path to ER.

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:43 pm

In the last 48 hours I've passed the tipping point where, if things proceed according to the set of assumptions I built into my nominal post-ER plan, and if I stopped working today, I'd anticipate a slight growth in financial assets between now and when SS finally kicks in (~ age 70).

So there's that.

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:29 pm

Sounds like it's time to turn in the notice!

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:52 am

cmonkey wrote:Sounds like it's time to turn in the notice!
I was just thinking this morning that if nothing much changes I'll probably not last through the summer. My heart's just not in it any more. Not that my career per se has ever been a passion for me, but I enjoyed the camaraderie and after the first 12 years or so the pay got to be pretty good. Now the money is not so essential, and through time and motion my network of enjoyable colleagues has fallen below critical mass. As the camaraderie wanes I feel increasingly isolated. With my mom back in chemo and my sister still working through a health tale of woe, the "pull" is again strong. On the other side, if I forgo these last 28 months I leave a lot of money on the table and the pragmatic part of me chafes at that.

Either way, in about 5 weeks I'll hit my 30th service anniversary, and I can't say it hasn't been a good run.

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Fish
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Fish » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:57 pm

First of all, congrats on making it this far and reaching another financial milestone.

Thought exercise. Suppose you were already retired, and you were offered your job at the present level of salary, benefits and future incentives. Would you accept it? Are you continuing down the same path due to inertia?

I don't think retirement has to be a binary decision either. You might be able to negotiate a consulting position, reduced work schedule, remote work, sabbatical, or even continue full-time but cherry-pick the best parts of the job to better align it with your web of goals.

Also check if your employer would allow some kind of "pre-retirement leave" that would allow you to stop working immediately but claim early retirement benefits in 28 months' time as if service were uninterrupted. With 30 years under your belt that would be a very reasonable request.

There are a lot of parallels between your path and mine (only that I'm ~20 years behind) and I'm watching your journey closely so I can gain the benefit of your experience. Best of luck as you continue to navigate your post-FI life!

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:39 am

Fish wrote:First of all, congrats on making it this far and reaching another financial milestone.

Thought exercise. Suppose you were already retired, and you were offered your job at the present level of salary, benefits and future incentives. Would you accept it? Are you continuing down the same path due to inertia?
Thanks Fish,

Indirectly I've been through the thought exercise you suggest. The answer would be if I found myself unemployed today in the financial position I'm in today and could replicate my current job in a geographic location that dovetails better with my future plans, there's a decent chance I would take the job, or at least think seriously about it. Here where I live now I probably wouldn't take the job, I'd just bail. Unfortunately, telecommuting/working remotely isn't an option (due to the nature of my work). Plus, I've concluded it would be next to impossible to find equivalent employment back home. I'm in too much of a niche.

It's a mix of inertial and desire for some additional financial margin that hold me back now while the pulls to leave are as described in my prior post.

My company is a large and stodgy one so they're habitually disinclined to be flexible with policy in individual cases, but I think I will investigate whether there's any wiggle room in the LOA policy for someone close to retirement age, or if they have a "pre-retirement leave" policy that just doesn't get advertised much. Those are good ideas so thanks for mentioning them. I may not get to check out immediately without taking a hit, but might be able to leave 6 mos or a year in advance of turning 55 without the significant hit to retirement benefits (which is now the lion's share of the cost of leaving prior to "retirement age").

I could go part time, I know several people around my age who have taken that step, but I'd still be hanging my hat ~650 miles from where I want to, and while I'm here I may as well work full time to maximize the financial side of things.

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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Fish » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:45 am

Also given your mother's health situation(*), FMLA would allow up to 12 weeks unpaid leave while protecting your job. Maybe you've already been making use of this.

A large employer might also offer a similar type of LOA which would be longer duration but not job-protected. In your case it seems the goal is making it to age 55 to collect retirement benefits, so taking time off unpaid (without causing a break in service) while having the option of returning to work seems ideal.

And if you happen to get laid off during an extended LOA, it might actually work to your advantage to collect some form of severance and even unemployment benefits if you're so inclined.

(*)I think FMLA is allowed for immediate family only (excluding siblings) while your employer's LOA offering may include your sister. Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that fully understanding your employer's policies is critical to maximize your benefits. I'm advising this like Jacob advises people to understand the tax code. It's a high return on effort activity. Read the policy manuals (the actual controlling documents that HR would refer to for making decisions). Talk to HR about your family health situation and ask what the company can do to allow you more time with your mother and sister. (BTW, I wish them the best and hope they will fully recover!)

IlliniDave
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Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:24 am

2017 January Review

I've decided to streamline these monthly entries. I got in the habit of reporting a lot of data over the last couple years mainly because discussion of metrics and numbers was much more prominent around here at the time.

January was a pretty good month. Expenses were relatively low for me, right around $2K, and growth in invested assets was above normal at about $24.5K. As I mentioned a few days ago, If I were to ER today per my nominal plan/forecast I'd have about $700 more on my 70th birthday than I do today.

I've done a good job rehearsing my future leisure-driven lifestyle, having logged a little over 40 hours of guitar practice and spent about a third that amount of time writing during the month.

In the wide sense I'm still in a holding pattern, wrestling with balance between topping off the coffers and getting on with life. My NTE walkaway day is currently 849 days off.

IlliniDave
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:54 am

I ran across some old papers recently and from them I was able to recall today is my four years free-of-meaningful-debt anniversary! I still use a "rewards" CC to funnel all my bills/purchases through but it gets paid in full 2X per month.

From a psychological/emotional perspective that day was a big deal to me.

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