FI or bust; FBeyer.

Where are you and where are you going?
jacob
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by jacob » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:07 pm

DK andelsbolig == US condo with an HOA.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:07 am

henrik wrote:You bought a house and still have to pay rent? Or is it something like property taxes?
It's a special form of housing. I don't know if it's idiosyncratic to Denmark but what we're buying is the right to occupy the house. Every house, out of the 25 that comprise our little union, pays rent to this association. The upside to this communist plot is that the price for such a house is easily half of a regular house where you can do as you please. Currently there are rules for what we can and cannot do to our house but that is totally fine with me. If we get, say, a leaky roof or similar, the association pays for the repairs and probably fixes up lots of other stuff at the same time. This means that when one buys a share of such an association (ie buys a house/condo) you have to look at how their finances are doing. This particular association is run by misers and long-term planners. Every one who has seen the books for this association is genuinely surprised that it's possible to be so well off. That is also part of the reason we chose that house, we're quite certain they don't fritter away money.

The condo where we're currently living spent millions of DKr on extra insulation, even though it has no net effect on our heating bill. Those 'improvements' also hiked rent by almost 2500 DKr per month, and all of a sudden living here was not a long term proposition.


jacob wrote:@henrik - FBeyer has a Danish-English translation issue(*) ;-) ... mortgage payments are called "husleje" = house rent.

Orwell would be proud.

(*) Which is peanuts compared to trying to translate "retired" into Danish -> "pensionist" (connotates old geezer being put out to pasture) or much worse: "retired early" -> "f0rtidspensionist" (connotates taking disability SS-payments in the US).
FBeyer specifically refers to rent. The mortgage stays about constant compared to where we're living now, due to the added value of all the carpentry I've done around our current condo :D



wizards wrote:Guess FBeyers house is an "andelsbolig" - sort of a housing co-op.
Regarding the taxes on income from the bonds - which bonds will you be buying?
The yield these days are in no way near 5 % - except high yield/junk bonds.

The tax on bond income/"Kapitalindkomst" is btw approx. 37 % for the first DKK 41,900 and 42 % for the rest (when using the tax deduction for working income).

(Kapitalindkomst has never been subject to the 8 % tax)
I've had a look at sparinvest and their short/long (1-3year/6-9) indexes and recently also some of their high yield/investment grade. I'm not well-versed in bonds so I'll have to familiarize myself further with the intricacies but I thought of adding high-yield as a stock proxy as mentioned above.
I WILL have to start digging around Nordnet too, but I haven't made an account with them yet so I can't see their products.

You mean that above and beyond my current working income I'm 'only' taxed 37 percent for the first 42000 or do you mean to tell me that 'personfradrag' does not apply at all to interest for someone without a salary/wage etc?
In other words. do you mean to tell me that:
1) there is a tax discount on the first 41900 DKr for someone who is working AND earning interest at the same time?
2) or personfradrag only specifically applied for people who receive wages? (No... that wouldn't make sense)

I'm trying to gauge whether I should buy bonds earlier in my portfolio construction process or if I should once again get dizzy with the tax theft in DK and thus NEED to find a job that'll pay me the 44000 per year so I can make use of the personal deduction. But if I need to go that route I might as well make use of the employment deduction of 28000 as well. At which point all of my income covers my expenses tax free.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by wizards » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:02 pm

No. 1 - there is a discount for the first 41,900 (no "topskat" equal to approx. 37 %) and "kapitalindkomst" above 41,900 have a cap of 42 %

http://www.skat.dk/skat.aspx?oId=satser

"Bundfradrag i positiv nettokapitalindkomst i topskattegrundlag 41.900 kr."
"Skatteloft (positiv nettokapitalindkomst) 42 pct."

Most of the Danish bond funds (except high yield) have an effective yield of close to 1 % - deduct the fee (0.25) and at the moment you will often be better off putting the money in bank deposit which could have approx. the same yield but no cost.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have questions :)

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:34 pm

wizards wrote:No. 1 - there is a discount for the first 41,900 (no "topskat" equal to approx. 37 %) and "kapitalindkomst" above 41,900 have a cap of 42 %

http://www.skat.dk/skat.aspx?oId=satser

"Bundfradrag i positiv nettokapitalindkomst i topskattegrundlag 41.900 kr."
"Skatteloft (positiv nettokapitalindkomst) 42 pct."

Most of the Danish bond funds (except high yield) have an effective yield of close to 1 % - deduct the fee (0.25) and at the moment you will often be better off putting the money in bank deposit which could have approx. the same yield but no cost.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have questions :)
Thank you. You are a treasure trove of information!

I am looking at these: http://customer.morningstareurope.com/D ... rinvest.dk

I don't understand bonds well enough to see why this bad performance should persist. If you look at last years performance, then yes, it has been bad, but it's still a 4.5 over 10 years and 4.8 over 5 years.

But you are right about the fees. For the most part they are so severe it's really not worth putting your money anywhere than the bank...

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:56 am

This is not a journal update per se, I just wanted a snapshot of how fucking miserable my existence is right now. Some day I'm going to look back at this and either realize that all of life pretty much looks like this or that I survived in spite of everything.

It's nothing but a long whine so by all accounts ignore this post, it's for me, not for you.

- I'm taking Advanced Data Analysis on Generalized linear modelling and mixed effects as well as a course in computational data analysis, AKA statistical learning AKA machine learning (supervised as well as unsupervised). I'm out of my comfort zone and slightly into my panic zone and all three of my PhD advisors want me to spend LESS time on this and learn more, faster. They'd rather than I focused on maintaining a software suite that a former Master student, turned PhD, turned PostDoc wrote almost single handedly. The PostDoc has now left the group and I'm left with managing and rewriting it so be system independent, documented and easily usable without the need to contact the original author. I was hired to do math for my PhD, in spite of my almost complete lack of math skill, and now I'm doing software consultant work, all the while all three advisors can't understand why I'm not already in the process of publishing something (one year into my PhD) on statistics. I'm being sabotaged from the inside and it's pissing me off to no extent.
- I work days, I work evenings, I work weekends, and it's not enough.
- My 2 year old is very much in the Terrible Two's. It's screaming, whining, crying and hysteria as soon as the tiniest thing ticks her off.
- GF got rushed to hospital with mother f**** heart issues a week ago. 39 years old; heart issues...
- We're buying a new house. That means ridiculous amounts of paperwork. Calling the bank, mails back and forth. Red tape associated with home owners association we're moving from and red tape associated with the home owners association we're moving to.
- I'm selling tons of old stuff that we don't need now that we've down sized our possessions (and are moving into a much smaller house). Dealing with retarded people who think that if something is cheap they are allowed to waste my time by setting up meeting and not showing up. People who haggle about 2 dollars worth of goods at a time in life where I'm working days, nights and weekends... If I don't sell it now, I'll have to deal with it in the new smaller home.
- 80 minutes commute every day.
- My mother has a ridiculously bad back and a psychopathic boss, so my mother is at work way to often, strongly medicated. She spends most of her time sleeping, because she is so worn out from the medicine.
- Mondays and Tuesdays I'm home so late that I only see my daughter during dinner, then we put her to bed and that was it for that day...
- I steal every available moment to visit these forums, 'cause there are never more than 10 minutes at a time to do anything meaningful in. Which is a complete waste of time.
- my study partner in Advanced data analysis got pissy and decided she didn't want to work together with me any more, like real old-school pissy-bitch-pissed in the most destructive manner possible. So I'm now doing the major assignment all alone and there is plenty of work for 2-3 people (I can't team up with anyone else, everyone else in the course is already in a max-sized group).
- My advisors have demanded that the second exam case for my machine learning course has to be strictly research related, so I'm not allowed to work with two others on the default second case, I'm forced to work alone there as well.
- and now my grandmother died...

I'm working all the time, I'm working alone, I'm working on things that very difficult for me right now, I commute for too long, I'm being sabotaged by my superiors, strangers waste my time, my daughter is hysterical, my GF is too worn to be of any help and her health is already failing, we're buying a house...

I'm not running on fumes, those are all gone; I'm chopping of small bits of my soul every single fucking day throwing it in the furnace to fuel the rest of the day in the vain hope that it'll all work out for the better in the end.
Image
Last edited by FBeyer on Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:00 am

Based on your description of your situation, it seems to me that you have a great number of responsibilities and current stresses. You can't delegate any of your studies or work and you need some time to exercise/relax, so you are going to have to do more delegation on the home front. My suggestion would be that you hire a young, competent Mother's Helper and delegate all of the clutter control/household goods sales, whatever strictly necessary housework is now being done my you or your GF, and some of the childcare to this person. Since the baby is throwing tantrums, you may be able to serve two purposes if you combine time for exercise with childcare. Throw her in a pack or stroller and go as fast as you can for an hour in the morning or evening. If she starts throwing a tantrum, go faster. Briskly going about your business will reassure her that she has no power. If it makes you feel any better, you should know that you are suffering from one of the known problems of modern egalitarian "marriage" which is that both you and your "wife" currently need a "wife."

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by Tyler9000 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:38 am

That's a lot of stress. I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother. Hang in there, FBeyer.

Try not to get too frustrated with your GF. She sounds just as stressed but handles it in a different way. I'd recommend doing whatever you can to make her life easier. It may not seem "fair" at first, but eventually she will feel better and will be able to do the same for you. Take the initiative to get things off of center, and it will pay dividends later. As an old pastor used to say, a strong relationship is not 50/50, but 100/100.

FWIW, my DW also had a heart scare at a very young age that ended up being completely attributable to stress. Address the root cause, and the symptoms get better.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by JL13 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:21 am

Any one of those things would have my stress level very high. You've got a lot on your plate! Can you cut-away or postpone or delegate any of those things?

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:39 pm

I'm selling tons of old stuff that we don't need now
If you have to get rid of the stuff now and don't need top dollar for everything try a one day rummage sale and donate everything that didn't sell to goodwill. Or hire an auction service or similar to take care of it. Or rent a storage unit when you move and keep the stuff there until you have more time to deal with it.
I steal every available moment to visit these forums
Block ERE for awhile and see if you really need it. You would probably be better off meditating or doing some other stress reduction exercise in your free 10 minutes.

Good luck. It will pass one way or another.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by Dragline » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:09 pm

I am sorry about your situation. I feel like you know you can power through it and would be disappointed in yourself if you didn't.

I can only offer you Shakespeare's advice on pressing forward, from Henry V:

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by DrBrain » Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:16 am

Found your journal about a week ago, was looking forward to your next update, as a fellow Dane about the same age (36), but not this kind of update.
I'm sorry to hear of all the troubles and loss in your life at this moment, I'm sure you will come out stronger in the other end, Keep fighting!!!

One quick note, the stuff you are selling, if the value are low, just donate the stuff for free, feel good about your self and one less thing to take up your time.

Best of luck

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by jennypenny » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:07 am

My condolences on your grandmother, FBeyer.

I had one child who went through the terrible twos, and I remember that time being similar to what you're experiencing. I had just gone indie for work, DH worked in California (we're in Philly) and only came home every other weekend, and my father died unexpectedly and I had to settle his estate including a business that was being sued. There was too much to do everyday, everything seemed urgent, and none of it got done to my satisfaction. I distinctly remember one day when I was trying to stay calm on the phone with a rep from the NY AG's office who was threatening me over stuff from my dad's estate while watching my 2yo open the refrigerator and start throwing eggs around my kitchen. I'm pretty sure that's when I started adding whiskey to my coffee.

I had to learn to step back and view the situation from the outside. When viewed objectively, it was absurd. There were times I would laugh, seemingly inappropriately, at how much there was on my plate and how ill-equipped I was to deal with it. It helped me learn to let go of it all. It's a cliche for a reason. I think learning to let go and just do what you can do is a great coping skill. It's probably harder for ERE-types who like to do things efficiently and 'properly', but it's a coping skill that's worth learning.

I second the idea of hiring a teen as a mother's helper. My only other suggestion is to get outside as much as possible, even if it means packing up your dinner and taking it to a park to eat. The sunshine and fresh air will help settle your nerves, and hopefully wear out your toddler as well.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:04 am

My kids did the refrigerator thing when they were little too. My daughter had pica (would pop anything into her mouth and eat it, I had poison control on speed dial) when she was a just-toddling baby, so my three-year old son would open the fridge for her, and then she would start eating an entire stick of butter or anything else she could grasp. Made me insane until I used bungee cords attached to adjoining cupboards to lock it shut. I think this phase was in close conjunction with the "take all your clothes off and run outside naked except for your cloth diaper and rubber pants worn as hat" phase. The public nudity didn't concern me, but I didn't like having to run and catch them in the snow if I was still in my robe. One of the reasons I only had two kids was I became afraid I would lose one at the park if I had 3 that were mobile at the same time. Anyways, twenty-something years later, they somehow became very polite adults who sometimes invite me for brunch, so...hang in there.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by llorona » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:34 pm

Wow, you're under a lot of stress!

Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim. - Ovid
(Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.)

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:01 am

Thank you all for the overwhelming responses.
As I wrote initially, the whining was mainly for myself. It's a trick that Mindfulness uses as well, but in a different form.
By either putting labels on- or writing down- your worries they become much easier to put into little mental boxes where you mind can handle them. As is often the case, what throws one off is curve balls that you have no idea how to handle, but if you put a well-known label on the idea, you can make use of existing MOs to handle it. Then you can always reflect on it after trying to treat the idea and see if your approach worked well or if you need to develop a new label for similar cases in the future.

So...
The only reason I wanted to write all that saltiness down was to have something to look at and make a point-by-point strategy to tackle it.
As is ALWAYS the case, the obstacle is the way, and the only way to move forwards when you hit a dead end is to either sharpen or change your attitude about a problem.
Image
Captian Jack Sparrow? Not Captain Jack Sparrow? Ha!

So I'll iterate the irritations and outline the solution in bold.

- ... I'm out of my comfort zone and slightly into my panic zone...
And it's all my own fault. I chose, myself, to engage in a PhD in the one scientific topic that I knew I was less competent in than all the others. I CHOSE this challenge and I have to rise to the challenge, or give up now and find an office job somewhere. In other words: push on and learn a little every day. In two more years I'll be much better at this than I am now, and I'll reap the benefits of all that work later.

- ...all three of my PhD advisors ... rather than I focused on maintaining a software suite that a former Master student, turned PhD, turned PostDoc wrote almost single handedly...
Meh. Do my best. When I hit a snag, I'll have to craft a well thought-out question and I'll have to try to get back in touch with the original author of the software suite. How well this project gets finished will not determine whether my PhD turns out successful or not. The planning SNAFU is entirely on my supervisors's sides. I'm doing what I can to help them with the software. Hopefully they'll have learned not to put someone on the cannot-get-hit-by-a-bus list for 5 years in the future... :roll: This firefighting is really their problem. Still, I'm doing my best, 'cause that's the kind of person I am.

- I work days, I work evenings, I work weekends, and it's not enough.
Work efficiently when I'm working. Rest efficiently when I'm resting. Schedule fun and rest. This work load will pass in a few months.

- My 2 year old is very much in the Terrible Two's...
I noticed something peculiar. When I was alone with my daughter, she is MUCH more well-behaved than when we're with her mother as well. So, the obvious fix is to spend as much time as possible, alone with her. So far it has worked out really well. She is already behaving much better.

- GF got rushed to hospital with mother f**** heart issues a week ago. 39 years old; heart issues...
After a few easter holidays, her heart is much better. Mostly it has probably been worries about the house and finding out what our apartment is really worth that stressed her out. We then found out that the apartment is worth 200.000 DKr more than we thought. She then immediately got worried about a 400 DKr bill, 'cause that's the kind of mental blocks she's struggling with at the moment. I'll let it slip as well as I can, but currently that means isolating myself from her. That's not a viable long-term solution, so I'll need to find a way to handle this in the future.

- We're buying a new house...
Almost all the paperwork is done. I'll have to build a lot of stuff in the new house, but that's a few months away. Handle it when it becomes an actual pressing issue. I can't build anything until I actually have the keys to the house in my hand.

- I'm selling tons of old stuff that we don't need now that we've down sized our possessions...
For now, ignore all the twerps. If someone is being a hassle, put them on ice an ignore them. Most of the stuff I'm selling is my GF's. She can move her shit to the new house herself and sell it herself when we get that far. There is no point in martyring myself over this.

- 80 minutes commute every day.
Become better at working at home and/or learn to meditate on the bicycle. I cross something like 5 intersections on an 11 km ride, so there are very slim chances of being run down while 'zoning out'.

- My mother has a ridiculously bad back and a psychopathic boss...
See my mother more. Neither of us know how much longer she'll enjoy life. We might as well see each other as much as possible. In time I'll be glad I did. Becoming a parent myself, I realize how important it is for our parents to see us after we grow up.

- Mondays and Tuesdays I'm home so late that I only see my daughter during dinner, then we put her to bed and that was it for that day...
This, too, will be over in a month or two.

- I steal every available moment to visit these forums, 'cause there are never more than 10 minutes at a time to do anything meaningful in. Which is a complete waste of time...
Well, then, I'll just have to find better ways to entertain myself for 10 minutes at a time won't I? I should probably carry my kindle around with me and see if I can't sneak in 10 mins of Count of Monto Christo here and there...

- my study partner in Advanced data analysis got pissy and decided she didn't want to work together with me any more..
Well then, fuck it. I learned a bit of R from working with her, I might as well take what I can. I can't change her mind anyway and my grades in the course do not matter, so I'll just have to spar a bit with the professor. Luckily I'm the kind of student that cares about understanding a course, rather than care about passing the course, so I develop rapport with my teachers quite fast because I think it's obvious I'm actually interested in what they're teaching. Lucky me.

- My advisors have demanded that the second exam case for my machine learning course has to be strictly research related...
Do my best. What else can I do? Work efficiently, don't overwork myself and It'll pan out as best as possible.

- and now my grandmother died..
Say goodbye, move on, appreciate all she did for me when I was a child and carry her lessons with me. Nothing brings her back, but nothing takes her former presence away either.



SUMMARY OF OPERATION SURVIVE-SHIT-STORM
Work efficiently. Schedule free time. Focus on quality free time. Learn a little every day. Count the days until July 1st where I'll be sitting in my new garden with a beer in hand and Rival Sons blasting from the living room!

Those of you who adhere to Meyers-Briggs will recognize the ENTJ behaviour here :D
Last edited by FBeyer on Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SoCal Will
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by SoCal Will » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:41 pm

Just read all your posts.
We are similar in many ways, though you're about 10yrs younger (and are starting your ERE/FI journey at about the same age I did, early 30s). Many similar interests, viewpoints, etc.

I've been where your GF is now...too exhausted and burned out to do almost anything except sit around. Been where you are too, with too many responsibilities, in over my head at work, no support network to share the burden, grandparents passing away, buying a home, all at the same time. I've had borderline panic attacks in the shower before work, knowing I had to go face another day of misery. You aren't alone, and talking to people about it, even if it's anonymous strangers on the internet, can be really helpful.

It's easy to let your exercise routine slip during such times, and since you bike to work, maybe not an issue for you. But please don't neglect the exercise, it goes a long, long way to keeping you sane and able to cope with these high levels of stress. And while my own stress levels ebb and flow, I've found that life just gets more and more hectic and stressful overall. And that's with a relatively simple lifestyle, and high wage that allows me to have options many do not have (I have over 10yrs living expenses in fairly liquid assets, another 10yrs in illiquid assets). I'm ~ 2.5 years from FI, and probably 4 years from my ER date. Thinking of how quickly the last 4 years went by, I know it will be here sooner than I expect. I'm saving >3x living expenses annually. But being stuck in a hellish grind, on a daily basis...I won't lie, it's hard. Hard to stay motivated at work, hard to retain the zest for life, hard to keep perspective, hard to stick to my plan.

My solution lately has been to focus on short time frames, in the 3-4 month range. I have generous vacation (for an American anyway), and I'm able to "bookend" those 3-4month periods with a week off. It feels like being back in grad school, where you just knuckle down for a few months, knowing you get a break and fresh start if you can just hang on for another month or two. Ironically, I did much,much better academically when I was carrying the heaviest course loads and working on top of it. Since there was no time to ever do anything except school and work, and I knew if I ever slipped or slacked AT ALL, I would never recover...I just sucked it up and made it happen. Periods where I had more free time, I tended to do worse. So there is some weird positive aspect to being over-extended.

Hope you get to spend more time with your daughter soon, they only grow up once! You sound capable and committed, you can do it.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by thrifty++ » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:51 pm

Gosh your life sounds so stressful. Sorry to hear. I have been in a stressful place at times too. Not for some time though, not for a couple of years. I think growing net worth makes everything easier as it grows, knowing you are not trapped, are less exposed and have options. Sounds like you have way too much going on. Hopefully you are able at some point to shut some responsibilities down to make more peace for yourself.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:24 am

Since there is currently a topic on the lifestyle of PhD students, as well as a topic on small celebrations I figured I'd might as well relate to both in my journal (given the recent saltiness).

Decided to ditch the evening work and work longer days 7 days a week instead. The idea is to only work in my cognitively most efficient hours and then spend my remaining time playing with my daughter and being someone's significant other.
My week is now 9-17 Mon, Tue and 9-15 (ish) Wed-Sun.
My work is broken into blocks of 4 pomodoros each. Every morning is usually SQ3R studies and the last 4 are software/programming related since I can do that more easily when slightly fatigued than the other way round.
The nominal work load in pomodoros is therefore 48 pomodors plus 8 hours of lectures and assignments.

So a week of this looks like:
Wed:
Tidied papers on my desk and filed appropriately
Review lecture for next Monday
surfed stats.stacexchange: compound symmetry
R documentation: gls vs lme models
sent mail to prof. requesting the article for the next machine learning lecture.
Updated lecture notes from yesterday's lecture on clustering algorithm
Shopped for books @ uni bookstore.
Wiki- Decision Theory
SQ3R notes, calc. multivariate random effects

Thur:
Skim the article on tensor decompositions and lecture slides
sent mail to all my supervisors about the article (it looks to be an amazing solution to some issues we've been having)
SQ3R Read on Multivariate linear mixed models
SQ3R Laplace approximation in non-linear mixed models
Matlab Docs how to do principal component analysis on the correlation rather than covariance of data set
Imported experimental data, did PCA and made Pareto graph for poster
reported summer vacation
Bookstore again... I paid with the wrong credit card, so I had to 'swap' the books.
Started building a script for singular value decomposition analysis of stack of experimental images

Friday:
SQ3R reading mixed effect, Gaussian two step models and Laplace approx.
!!! Realize planning SNAFU!!!
Started svd before continuing reading to latency-hide the hour long decompositions
Built prototype script & estmate # SVD components and #image for SVD.
Finished script built correlation plot of left singular vectors with experimental output
SQ3R on how to manually implement non-linear mixed models with Laplace approx.
Make work plans for weekend all through to Tuesday

Saturday (working at local library rather than office):
SQ3R Read article on Tensor decomposition
Wiki - tensor inner products, Frobenius norm
Wiki - kronecker products, khatri-rao products, tensor N-mode multiplication
Tucker Model on Tensor decomp.
find out how k-means clustering is implemented in Matlab
built prototype for data clustering
... got interrupted by group of hippies who were setting up a lecture on thought-field-therapy...

Sunday: (library again)
Wiki: tensor modality
SQ3R Tucker model tensor decomp.
SQ3R CP model tensor decomp and model approximation algorithm.
worked on assignment Mixed effect model on concrete strength prediction from weak initial measurements
planned questions for study and lecture on Monday

Monday:
Build multivariate mixed effect model for assignment
mail HR about vacation
stats.stacexchange safari: crossed random effects in nlme
> fragmented work, made better plan <
bulid simple linear model
chatted with colleagues for more than 30 mins...
idle staring, frustrated with performance.
framed questions for lecture and looked at correlation structure for multivariate ME models.
Lecture, 2.5 hours. Discussed a lot of stuff with prof. after lecture
go home at 15:30...

Tuesday:
late for work. started around 9.30
frustrated with crappy seminar starting soon, couldn't manage proper work, idled in front of ERE and MMM
scanned receipts from bookstore for internal reporting.
seminar @ 10.
registered expenses from book shopping
8 min in situ lecture on correlation structure in mixed effect models.
Lecture on tensor decompositions. 10 min chat on how to implement CP model in our work with prof.
Wrote summary of lecture and on how to implement and filed it away for later use.
16:15 went home

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Fri May 06, 2016 1:53 pm

EXERCISE
Exercising doesn't work if you don't do it. Exercise really sucks in that regard. There is no real compound interest, no critical level from which you can coast and live off of the dividends. Exercise is a battle against entropy and the human body apparently likes to come apart like a dinghy broadsided by a man 'o war.

I'm 'actually' supposed to be doing the Enter The Kettlebell program. This thing happened, though.
I...
I tweaked my shoulder...
















...in my sleep.





















































Yeah. :oops:







So, after 14 days to recuperate (yes, really. Dinghy, Man 'O war, remember?) I had plenty of time to sit down and ponder how I'm liking minimalistic kettebell training compared to my old much beloved barbell training. Truth is, I'm not.
Enter the Kettlebell might get me strong, but it's boring. Too boring.(*)
I don't get to do Turkish Getups after Program Minimum unless I put an extra days of training?
Also, Clean & Press for five ladders of 5 rungs takes an amount of time that feels much like it's asymptotically approaching that of The Heat Death of the Universe(**)

So it's boring, and takes too long.
Screw that, I'm making my own program(***)

I'll disregard any talk of savings rates and all that jazz until I find something that I actually need some feedback about, I'm concerned about my mental well-being as I move towards FI and exercise should be fun, fast, and efficient(****), after all, it's one of the primary sources of well-being.

SO!
I'm trying out an alternative program. 20 minutes per training day, training every other day. There is one strength part and one conditioning part. I don't care how long I spend on each. 15 minutes of strength leaves me 5 minutes of conditioning. 2 minutes of weak-ass pushups means 18 minutes of snatches. Do as you please. Make it 20, make it good!

Strength is variations on one of these:
Turkish Getups
Pushups
Clean and Press

Conditioning is:
Swings
Snatches

Fuck-everything-I'm-here-to-get-hammered:
Loaded carries for 20. Jump rope if you're not up for carrying any more heavy stuff.



So the next two weeks look like:
TGU Swing
Pushup Snatches
C&P Swing
TGU Snatches
Pushup Swings
C&P Snatches
Loaded carries

Repeat...

Now loaded carries could be anything from dinosaur, to walking with two bells in lockout. Whatever. Same with all the other exercises, they can be variations as I see fit but the basic skeleton remains the same. I would like to add pull-ups to the strength part, but I don't yet have a pull-up bar, but I'm thinking of building one for the new house.

This program should then work on shoulders, traps, chest, grip, legs, lats, core and my heart.
At least it looks fun.

(*) I've read through most of the FORTRAN standard, I recognize boring when I see it.
(**) I'm abusing thermodynamics for comedic effect here.
(***) With blackjack and hookers
(****) Obvious lewd joke goes here...







THE NEW HOUSE
It looks like I'll be building a lot of stuff for the new house like fixing some ugly floors, building a closet under the stairs, a complete closet (possibly even two) for the bedroom, a pull-up bar somewhere, a desk, wooden storage boxes and/or a new whistle for whatever fancy shmancy tea kettle we're getting for the kitchen. Our new kitchen is almost all black-on-black so we're actually thinking of shelling out for something exceedingly beautiful (and functional) to spice up the kitchen. Most really nice looking tea kettles don't have a whistle though, so I'll probably have to figure out how to make such a one. That should be fun :P

I'm currently all over Pinterest to find some sexy looking finger joints and things I want to try out. I'm itching to try some fine detail wood work that I actually have to use myself. As a carpenter I'm only used to coarse work and banging the shit out of everything that didn't fit well the first time with a hammer. Carpenters who do furniture and fine-detail construction is a different breed of craftsman around here.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Sat May 28, 2016 8:14 am

Oddly, this journal usually gets around 70 hits per month, the last 22 days it got more than 200. I honestly wonder why that is. The difference seems significant somehow. Either I've reached a critical level of posts where people are convinced that I intend to keep the journal up and they now intend to keep coming back or I've reached just enough content that some are coming back to read something they've seen before (for whatever reason, I don't consider this journal a treasure trove of information as much as a landfill).

It feels like forever since I last posted something, which I guess is a testament to just how mentally fast paced my existence is at the moment.

I've been working 7 days per week for about 12 weeks, and I'm currently in the final stages of preparing for what I expect to be my last important exam in university. My mental surplus is really running on fumes and deeply ingrained habits right about now. I'm expending vast amounts of willpower every time I have to sit myself down and open a book (or rather click on stats.stackexchange and marvel at the pedagogical prowess of some of the world's foremost statisticians).
I had a single very unproductive day (rare for me!) and I decided to just do a brain dump to get the turmoil out of my head and down unto a piece of paper where I could get an overview and prioritize yet again. This is basically what I did a few posts ago, but this time I could tell that I was trying to balance a lot of unrelated thoughts at the same time, rather than fix external issues.

I grabbed a mug o' joe, my favourite mechanical pencil (it's bright yellow), a block of lined paper, sat down in our coffee room and stared out the window for a few seconds before I started jotting down all the things that were currently on my mind...

I bent over the paper and opened the flood gates.

At 5 full pages my new Magnum Opus beautifully illustrated all the shit going on inside my head. I was actually quite amazed that I had even gotten anything done the days leading up to this one fatal one where I finally mapped out my incohesive thinking.

By now my coffee was cold and completely untouched and I realized that maybe, just maybe I should get a f***** grip and actively start ignoring a whole lot of shit going on at the moment and focus on what is truly important.

I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing here, but it was tremendously useful to take a 20 minute time-out to make a list, make some decisions, make a smaller list of important things and then get on with my life.

--------------

I read 'Own the World' by Andrew Craig, and somehow it got me excited about stock picking(*).
I'm ignoring stock picking for now, but it has seriously gotten me interested in how one is trained to be a stock picker. Every topic taught has certain feedback mechanism and certain kinds of lectures/exercises one goes through to appreciate the topic and its intricacies. I wonder how one would go about setting up a, say, seminar series on how to learn how to pick stocks; the reading material, the exercises, the gotchas and the actual application of the knowledge. As indicated by almost every piece of research into didactics, rapid and specific expert feedback is the primary way to teach people something, once they are both willing and able to learn that is. :roll:
In a system and obscure and slow as investing, the feedback mechanism would be expected to be exceedingly slow, and I'm thinking if there is a way to speed up the process in any meaningful manner.

None the less, even though Own the World is written in a rather abrasive and generalizing tone he does have some interesting points about global allocations, and especially on the importance of differentiating between the 'official' rate of inflation and the 'actual' rate of inflation. Yet again a piece of investing literature has presented me with options and things to consider, and yet again I see how taxes (in DK) will completely screw me over if I try to build anything like a global portfolio of mixed assets.

For now I'm investing in a global large cap blend fund of stable companies and two large cap value funds covering the EU and the US. Until I find more good funds to pad the portfolio those three funds comprise my portfolio, but in time I'd love a global corporate bonds, global corporate bonds, and global commodities part, as well as some rental property somewhere in the Copenhagen area. I have several friends who are interested in REIT and since I can build stuff, we can buy some horridly ugly properties and make them shine. Then all I need is a revenue generating blog, a part time statistician gig and some book royalties and I'm free(**)

I'm actually seriously considering going part-time much before a 'sane' retirement net worth. It does, however, very much depend on how exploitative the job market for statisticians/physicists/maths/programmers is in the CPH area. I'm VERY good and VERY productive for about 35 hours per week, then my productivity just plummets and all I'm doing is wasting time away from friends and family. I CAN be very good and productive for 45 hours per week, but then I crash and get very little done while I recuperate, so in the long run it's better to work less and maintain a steady progress. I know, because I've been monitoring my work efficiency for the last 4 years(***).

--------------

It's not lentil soup by the way, it's called tarka dal and it tastes awesome! I need to learn how to make my own naan though, but other than that I'm very much enjoying learning about vegetarian recipes. I've made Dal a couple of times and I'm almost at a stable version of the recipe.
Learning to cook is a surprising lot of fun. You build something from first principles rather than from a recipe... then you eat it. What a mind-blowing concept!

I've always cooked, but I've never given the taste, texture and composition of ingredients much thought. Learning is fun.

My daughter is 2.5 years old and she can recognize lentils, chick peas, black and white beans. I was about 34 before I was able to do that :lol:

--------------

My alternative exercise program is going okay. With 20 minutes specifically it's very hard to claim you cannot find the time to exercise. It is exercise, not training however and the lack of specific progress toward a pre-determined goal means one is fucking around in order to move one's limbs in an intentionally encumbered manner, rather than working on getting good at subject X. The strength first, then cardio-till-time-is-up works quite well for me. I'm tempted to look at the time while I'm on the strength part though, which is silly, so I need to condition myself into ignoring the timer once it's set.

I never realized just how brutally taxing it is to press two kettlebells to lockout and do loaded walking for 10 minutes until I tried it... Christ almighty that kind of torture is for people made of a different stuff than I! Loaded carries with kettlebells is slightly awkward though and I'm thinking of ways to supplement it somehow. I need something really heavy and unwieldy (****) and kettlebells just aren't heavy enough for regular suitcase carries or dinosaur-like loaded carries, although they do overhead carries very well!

Heh... My left-hand kettlebell snatch technique is so bad that my latissimus is visibly larger on the left than the right. I'm using muscle rather than technique to bring the 'bell overhead. So there is still much room for progress here. I'm staying with the program for now.

--------------

We're getting the keys for the new house tomorrow. I'm looking very much forward to seeing our savings rate go:
up up up UP UP and awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

PS:
This journal update covers about one third of wanted I really wanted to dump in here. I think the rest goes on the wait-a-month list (like you do every time you think of buying something) and see if it still feels like it's something I need to communicate at the beginning of July.


(*)... 'cause I TOTALLY need to consider all that shit right now!
(**) If you're able to hold your breath until 2024, please feel free to hold your breath in anticipation.
(***) I always thought everyone did this, but it seems that optimizing is not of prime importance for a lot of people on this planet...
(****) Like my ex GF!

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat May 28, 2016 9:56 am

I enjoy your journal, as it really does read as an open window into the mind of a different person. I find it fascinating.
FBeyer wrote: I'm actually seriously considering going part-time much before a 'sane' retirement net worth. It does, however, very much depend on how exploitative the job market for statisticians/physicists/maths/programmers is in the CPH area. I'm VERY good and VERY productive for about 35 hours per week, then my productivity just plummets and all I'm doing is wasting time away from friends and family. I CAN be very good and productive for 45 hours per week, but then I crash and get very little done while I recuperate, so in the long run it's better to work less and maintain a steady progress. I know, because I've been monitoring my work efficiency for the last 4 years(***).
From your OP:
My work ethic is killing me though. I am an absolute sucker for work efficiency
Honestly, in my experience 35 hours per week of sustained high productivity is overkill for most people and the best coworkers I've known get by on far less. Burning yourself out dilutes the quality of your output, and knowing how to pace yourself and embrace down time is an important skill to cultivate.

You obviously have a lot going on right now and I completely understand the anxiety. The only thing I can recommend is to step back and evaluate whether your work ethic is contributing to your happiness or holding you back. Perhaps once school is done you can take a moment to relax and recenter.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Tue May 31, 2016 4:40 am

Tyler9000 wrote:I enjoy your journal, ...
Honestly, in my experience 35 hours per week of sustained high productivity is overkill for most people and the best coworkers I've known get by on far less. ...
You obviously have a lot going on right now and I completely understand the anxiety. The only thing I can recommend is to step back and evaluate whether your work ethic is contributing to your happiness or holding you back. Perhaps once school is done you can take a moment to relax and recenter.
First of all, thank you.

Now, we all think we're special and unique snow flakes, and so naturally I think my situation is unique too, which warrants all the work and optimization. :roll:

Here's the reason:
The reason good people get by on much less is because they have experience within a field. I have no experience like that.
My academic career went like:
1) Study mesocopic physics for about half a year; conduct low temperature experiments in the lab to characterize electron transport through some gold wires.
2) Study Theoretical chemistry and do a research project on FMO theory.
3) Study high-performance/parallel computing for 2 months, then do a year long Master's project on legacy FORTRAN 77 code.
4) Study math/stats for 6 months and start a PhD on Stats in a group of experimental X-ray physicists and photochemists.

I have no real experience within a field, my experience rests on working far out of my mental comfort zone, so my experience in between fields. Thus, to produce results I still need longer hours because these things don't come to me naturally. However, whenever we hit a snag, my natural tendency is to (EXPLICIT WORDING WARNING) crowbar the F*** out of it, which I don't feel comes natural to a lot of people.
I don't get mentally set back by not knowing something, but I do get set back -output wise- due to lack of working experience.

I took the Gallup Strengts Test:
It came up as:
Analytical
Command
Activator
Learner
Input

In other words, two out of five major defining traits about my persona is about acquiring knowledge (Input & Learner). It's an itchy drive. It's a carrot on the end of a very short stick. It keeps me going through endless years of university drudgery because learning new things is m*** f****ing awesome!

Learning new things, unfortunately, is very taxing on the mind, but when you list all the things you've learned, it's absolutely great!

My work ethic has kept me productive and has taken me through university. It brought me from carpenter to PhD student in stats/physics. That's a long way to go. So, you're right that my work ethic is killing me, but it's also taking me new and exciting places. At about this juncture though, it seems that my professional horizon will now expand as drastically as before. I took my last math exam yesterday and now I'm about to start working on applying it. That should take a bit of cognitive load off of my shoulders for at least two years until I finish the PhD.(*)

So the real thing I'm fighting is: My work ethic is killing me, but it is also giving me so many good things in life. (**)








(*) Note that I don't expect a PhD to be easy, but in comparison to coming from an autodidactic math background to state-of-the-art Regularization techniques, high-level statistical analysis and Machine Learning, the mental load is now about application rather than expanding my conceptual horizon.
(**) I just realized that I am quite possibly addicted.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by Tyler9000 » Tue May 31, 2016 11:23 am

FBeyer wrote: Now, we all think we're special and unique snow flakes, and so naturally I think my situation is unique too, which warrants all the work and optimization. :roll:

Here's the reason:
The reason good people get by on much less is because they have experience within a field. I have no experience like that.
My academic career went like:
1) Study mesocopic physics for about half a year; conduct low temperature experiments in the lab to characterize electron transport through some gold wires.
2) Study Theoretical chemistry and do a research project on FMO theory.
3) Study high-performance/parallel computing for 2 months, then do a year long Master's project on legacy FORTRAN 77 code.
4) Study math/stats for 6 months and start a PhD on Stats in a group of experimental X-ray physicists and photochemists.

I have no real experience within a field, my experience rests on working far out of my mental comfort zone, so my experience in between fields. Thus, to produce results I still need longer hours because these things don't come to me naturally. However, whenever we hit a snag, my natural tendency is to (EXPLICIT WORDING WARNING) crowbar the F*** out of it, which I don't feel comes natural to a lot of people.
I don't get mentally set back by not knowing something, but I do get set back -output wise- due to lack of working experience.
Crowbar the F*** out of it! I completely relate.

Much of my career has been in consulting, which follows the exact same pattern of a series of short projects in vastly different fields (toys, medical devices, toilets, tablets, military equipment -- you name it). I've never designed the same type of product for more than two years. Imagine being given a 1-month deadline for a new medical device concept that they plan to roll out to hospitals nationwide and you don't know a single thing about the procedure.

For a long time I compensated with more effort, just like you. Eventually I grew to understand that people were paying me good money to design these things rather than turn to a subject matter expert not because I was a harder worker but because my valuable expertise was my creativity, mental flexibility, and surprisingly effective crowbar skills. Sure I wasn't anywhere near as experienced as all of the engineers these companies already had on payroll, but I could do things they could not. They didn't want my time -- they wanted my thought process.

Once I figured that out, I throttled back a bit. Customers were just as happy, and my stress levels plummeted. Your individual talents are way more powerful than your work hours.
FBeyer wrote: So the real thing I'm fighting is: My work ethic is killing me, but it is also giving me so many good things in life. (**)
Sure. But remember that everything has a tradeoff. Work provides, and also takes away. Be smart about it and don't ignore how it affects both you and others.

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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:06 am

On the nominal date June eighth two thousand and sixteen a PhD student travelled in time.

He was in the cool cellar that belonged to his new house hanging shelves on bare, white walls. The very last shelf would not rest firmly on the brackets because the end of the shelf rubbed up against a protrusion on the wall. He grabbed his old Peddinghaus carpenter's hammer, the hickory worn brown and slick from use, and viciously mauled the end of the soft particle board until the shelf would ride past the protrusion and thus rest firmly on its supports.

Wearing a sawdust-powdered black wife beater and paint spotted work pants he was suddenly transported back to the year two thousand and two and he was a carpenter once again. All the fart jokes, all the lousy radio music, all the tricks you can do with a pencil... The tactile feeling of scuffs, bruises, splinters, kneeling on a screw head and saw dust in the eyes slowly made their way across his nerve ends. He felt how a tall stack of coarse formwork boards rubs against his shoulder and chin as he made his way across a muddy construction site. He smelled plaster board, sawdust, mortar, and fresh paint. He was bare chested, the sun burning against his back as he laid roof tiles. He could feel how he had to stretch to nail boards to a ceiling before hanging plaster. He felt the special kind of weariness one feels after a day of construction. He felt the satisfaction of knowing that whatever he'd just built, would probably be there 25 years in the future.

In the year two thousand and two he realized that he should take a look at flipping real estate at some point in the future, and with that, he found himself back in two thousand and sixteen on a warm and humid summer day outside Copenhagen. He bent down and assembled all his tools and as he closed the door on the finished shelves he wondered what the Danish tax code has to say about house flips and rental properties.

No light shines on the small construction project now but -right before the lights went out- a spark was struck...
Last edited by FBeyer on Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FBeyer
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Re: FI or bust; FBeyer.

Post by FBeyer » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:04 pm

Building and preparing house before the move.
June was FUBAR! Like crazy ass FUBAR. I won't go into details, that would mean naming names, and that won't be conducive to keeping a positive vibe around this journal. I couldn't finish the carpentry work because I had to take over a lot of the painting work, and now that we've moved in, there isn't room to build the last things as quickly as I could've before moving.

The bedroom had a glass sliding door that separated the room into a bedroom and a walk-in closet. The floor in the closet was brown with a thick coat of lacquer on it. The sliding doors also hid a lot of pipes and other plumbing related installations, so now that we broke down the wall, those are visible. We fixed the floor and tore all the wallpaper off. Spackling needed three passes so all in all we went over the walls in the bedroom 12 times before they were clean, plane, primed, and painted. I'm building a faux closet for the bedroom to cover up the plumbing. Furthermore, we have a stairway in the hall, so I'm building a monstrous closet there to utilize the extra 2 cubic meters of space there. I'll post some progress pictures once we get closer to finishing the closet. Everything is hand-made from plywood and MDF and it'll be hand painted as well. We considered taking the MDF doors to an auto shop and have them professionally painted, but the stairwell is hand painted, so we figured the closet might as well be hand painted too.

Luckily I didn't have to fix anything in the kitchen. Although it's only two years old, it wasn't built particularly straight and the door handles are placed oddly. For now it's merely irritating, I hope I'll develop a blind eye towards all those boo-boos. The fridge is out of plumb though. The door automatically swings shut when you open it, but not all the way shut, and THAT is freakin' annoying!
The kitchen is much more spacious than we anticipated, so all our pots aren't stacked on top of each other any more and all our things, including everything in our pantry, now fit neatly and appropriately in the drawers.

Me gusta.


Moving and the new house in general
9 hours. It took nine hours to haul all 'our' stuff 30 minutes away... I managed to move most of my possessions while I was still building things in the house. I loaded a bike trailer with a small cardboard crate and moved most of my things on bike. That means that the 9 hour slog was my GF's stuff and our furniture.

I unpacked all my knick knacks in 2 hours, excluding unpacking clothes because we still don't have dressers. The unpacking included setting up shelves in the cupboard and the like. 17 days after the move-in and my GF's stuff is still in crates and stored in the basement. And speaking of the basement...

The basement storage room:
Eight cubic meters. Full. Of. Shit!
The room is 2, by 2 by 2 meters(*) and it looks like a stone golem's giant's concrete heart clotted with parasitic furniture, unused books, old paintings, baby toys, and prams still in this world to suck the life energy out of me.

We have so much surplus stuff that I can't keep my tools in my own storage room.
A storage room with no place for tools...

I know that people like 7w5 or gandk apparently have the ability to not see other people's clutter. But when I am the one who has to move it, store it, repair it, keep it, and manage it, I HAVE to see other people's stuff. I don't know how to develop the ability to not care, but my life and time is spent managing all that shit and it's draining, like crazy draining, to be the one that carries that particular torch.

I've come to absolutely detest other people's physical possessions...

Back to the house
HOWEVER, all my needless and pointless bitching aside, the amount of furniture that we decided to actually keep inside the house and the way we've been able to decorate the house, means that there will be MUCH less stuff around -compared to the old apartment that was 30 square meters larger- once we get properly settled. I'm thinking of posting pictures of our living room since I have a feeling that some people on ERE think I'm kind of a crazy person who own 10 things and a set of tools, and I wanted to show how much stuff one actually ends up keeping, even if one does decide to keep only those things you use and/or love during a decluttering binge.(**)
Once we got rid of all the useless and/or ugly stuff, we're left with some rather beautiful stuff actually. Not something that's worth stealing, just stuff that's beautiful enough and useful enough.

The garden is nice. It's small, it has an apple tree(#) with Cox Orange apples and it's easy to keep. There is an open patio where one can set up a barbecue and get rained on. There is also a covered patio where one can sit and listen to the rain. Since it's been raining for the first half of July it's been very nice to crack the garden door open and listen to the meditative sound of heavy rain drumming on the plastic roof covering the patio.

We got wasps the day after we moved in and we now have 10 wasps or so constantly buzzing about our patio! The little stinging twerps were summarily poisoned but after 10 days of waiting for the nest to die I'd describe their reaction to getting sprayed as: Zero. Fucks. Given. Tenacious twats!
I think I might be allergic to wasp stings (every time I've been stung it's been a lot worse than last time) so I'd rather not handle that nest. The loss function associated with a type II error is rather large if you're allergic. So for now, the pest exterminator will have to show up again and spray the striped suckers once more.


No internet for 10 days.

On the list of interesting things to discover about yourself and modern life was this: Internet access doesn't necessarily make for a better existence. It was a prime example of how we human apes misuse technology and claim that technology is an across the board improvement without thinking any further.
We couldn't hook up our router to the existing installation, so we had to call a technician to set it up. My GF's job paid for the installation so that was great. But, in the 10 days when we had no internet connection we had to use the local library (which is literally just around the corner from where we live!), and that turned out great. We actually spent time together in the evening. My daughter stopped begging for ipad related entertainment. No disturbances during meals because the little one doesn't want to finish her meal and watch noisy youtube videos(****)
My daughter absolutely loves the library. There is a very good children's department and some days she's been begging to go to the library from the minute she wakes up. I love it!


Local Nature

60 years ago the Home Owners Association decided to make a small communal fruit orchard. That means that 12 meters from where we live there are cherries, rhubarb, strawberry, gooseberries, blackcurrant, blackberries, red currants, and apples. We can pick as much as we like from it, since no one else wants to pick berries... So we did! In 14 days I estimate that we've harvested 5-8 kilos of fruit and it barely shows.(*****)
So the little one has now learned to pick fruit and she absolutely loves it.
Me personally, learned that gooseberries make an excellent substitute for rhubarb.

There are three motorways close by, but the sound of traffic becomes a perfect monotonous white noise (perfect for meditation). Besides, there are so many blackbirds constantly singing all over the neighborhood that we can hardly hear anything else.
In case you're wondering: blackbird song is a household favorite.




Children, frugality, independence, and idle parents:

I read The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson. It's a really messy production that violently contradicts itself on every other page. It's almost a 1 star book if it didn't have so many great ideas in it. He makes a few very good points though chief of which are:
1) humans, children and adults alike, whine because they are dependent and incompetent. All whining can be traced back to lack of skills to do something about one's ailments.

2) Children become happy when their parents are happy, so sacrificing your own happiness for the childrens's sake is counter productive.

3) It's your duty to turn work into something fun. MAKE it fun if it isn't already. Sing, put on music, fool around. Your kids will naturally participate in housework when they haven't been conditioned to think that it's punishment. And you'll enjoy it more too, guaranteed.

4) Don't praise and congratulate your children every time they contribute something to the family. Heap the same amount of praise on your children as you do towards your spouse, lest you teach the children that being part of the family is something special for them.

Once you apply some systems thinking, you'll realize that creating a happy little social tribe of independent children means less work for you, which gives you time to sleep late and have hangovers. As long as the children know they have your unconditional love and the children are (not just feel like they are) an integral part of the family they will not feel left out from playing on their own. As Toms suggests: Tell the kids what you're going to do, and ask if they'd like to join. In most cases they will.

Just immediately changing my view on how to approach my daughter, how to help her become independent and how to incorporate her into chores means that we've been: Mowing grass, Using tools to build things around the house, Baked bread several times(******), Cooking evening meals, Cutting fruit with actual sharp knives, Cleaned up after our meals. All without fuzz or whining. None. Zero. Nothing. She's tremendously well behaved when the father is around.

On the topic of toys
I made my daughter a small rifle from 12mm MDF and the following days we had a John Woo shootout all over the living room; me with the MDF rifle, my GF with an accu drill, and my daughter dual wielding bananas.
Fun for the whole family!

Furniture and stuff from the kitchen also makes for excellent toys. I estimate that my swiveling IKEA recliner has made at least 10000 revolutions supporting a smirking, small, blond, girl, stricken with dizziness induced nystagmus. MORE daddy, the refrain goes, and she earns herself another 50 revolutions before we repeat the refrain and reverse the direction of spin.

Our sofa and sofa table has now been a high-diving platform, climbing wall, gymnastics boom, and trampoline for about a year. Sofa pillows turn into caves. So do all blankets and chairs in the living room.

A single cardboard moving crate has now served as a ship, post office, cave, turtle shell, fluff toy storage, and transmogrifier for 2.5 years.

My daughter still hasn't seen the inside of a toy store. She doesn't need to.

I'm now trying my best to turn everyday chores into fun, by choosing to do so. Sing, dance, listen to music, make some noise, behave like a child, put on a smile and the much-ridiculed yes-hat and get chores done with a happy face. My daughter is quickly picking up that cooking and cleaning is something fun, not something you frown while doing.

We're cooking with my daughter almost every day. She's been helping me bake bread, and stir in yeast, so many times that she's started to crumble her play doh' into a small bowl and pretend to pour water on it while stirring it with a spoon. If your children don't know how to do things around the house, I will stick my head out and claim that it's because you didn't spend the time to teach them, not because children can't learn.


Investments
I'm still reading and tinkering constantly. I think I'm converging on something that appeals to me very much though.
I've convinced myself that I really should include real estate investments in the portfolio, for maximum diversification.
My Global Crowbar portfolio, now in the form of a 'three fund' portfolio (except it's totally not a three fund portfolio, and it's totally not split solely between stocks and bonds only).

1/3 Global stocks
1/3 of stocks in a low cost low volatility index. It's just slow and steady with no major arm waving. It tracks the MSCI World Minimum Volatility Index with rather low expenses. The fund gets a 5/7 on a volatility scale.
1/3 of stocks in large cap value in EU, US and Japan. 6/7 on volatility.
1/3 of stocks in Small cap blend in EU, US, and Japan. 6/7 on volatility.

1/3 Global bonds
One fund with an expense around 0.3% tracks bonds from all over the world, but predominantly inside Europe. The fund keeps 60% of its holdings in gov and mortgage, 25% in corporate bonds and 15% in high-yield. Perfect! Very very close to the mixture I wanted if I had to construct the bond part of the portfolio from separate funds myself. I've compared the 5 year performance of the local fund, with the ishares fund that tracks the total us bond market and they're almost identical oddly enough. In other words, the fund performs like I wanted it to.

1/3 Real estate
Find, and fix (apply some of my professional carpentry skills) some real estate in the Copenhagen area and try to either flip it or rent it out. I'm still reading up on RE investing in Copenhagen and Denmark in general to find out whether I'd rather be flipping apartments to families who can't be bothered to fix things themselves or rent out smaller apartments.

On Portfoliocharts I've modeled this as:
11 Intl developed
11 Intl value
11 Intl small cap
34 Total Bond market
33 REIT

It looks like the portfolio grows steadily in a lot of different climates and the stability is very appealing to me. It looks like a slightly more volatile version of the permanent portfolio except my portfolio has no gold component.

Surprisingly the portfolio seems to yield a very high return, but I'm actually more worried about stability. Slow and steady; I don't need to be rich or entertained by my investments, I need them to return ENOUGH! That's 4 percent without too many bumps on the way. Splitting a portfolio evenly among the three major assets seemed like a sensible thing to try.

The rolling returns from my global portfolio look very nice, since they showed me that a 2-3 year cash reserve is sensible. Given that 2/3 of the portfolio returns a steady income, rather than relying on appreciation, I reckon that a 2+ year cash buffer along with steady income will take the sting out of major corrections.

So overall, if there is someone making money in some part of the world I'm somewhat set to make a little money off of it. Unfortunately emerging markets is very expensive in mutual fund form, so I'm lacking Russia, Southern America, Africa and the Middle East. I'm on the lookout for a cheap emerging markets fund though.

Bull markets: stocks
Bear markets: 2/3 portfolio is in fixed income and a 2-3 year cash cache (see what I did there) should work as a balm as far as I can tell.
Inflation: rental property
High-interest: Bonds
SHTF: Find a job. Any job. It's not THAT bad.

The portfolio will be built stocks first, then rental, then bonds. Stocks first due to taxation of dividends and appreciation being different than income from bonds and rentals. Then I'll try my hand at flipping/rentals. In case I muck up something, I'm still deep in the accumulation and can patch up any idiocy with more work or money, which is better to do first than right before I'm set to ride off into the sunset. Mantra: Fuck up while you can still afford it.

Speaking in terms of Danish wood money (about 1/7 exchange) I'm looking to invest half a million in stocks, then half a million in real estate, then half a million in bonds. At that time, I'll most likely be looking to build a 2 year cache and then pull the plug.

I've decided against gold and commodities in my lazy portfolio. Commodities might be uncorrelated with stocks a lot of the time, except when the market crashes, which is when you truly need the diversification. The return on commodities looks non-existent too, so for now, those are out. Gold... I can't make myself own physical gold, and buying 'virtual gold' through an ETF looks like it has a million conceptual holes in it. Owning gold only makes sense to me if you own it physically, all other approaches look like a speculator's way to approach gold holdings.

I think I can emulate a lot of the behavior on the entire index fund portfolio with very low cost ETFs but ETFs are taxed in a different manner than non-accumulating mutual funds and Danish mutual funds so I'll have to look into making a switch at some other time. The low-volatility stocks and large cap value portion of the portfolio grows steadily for now, so i'll just hang on and try not to make any rash decisions while I plan out the final portfolio. I AM looking at buying into a lot of separate funds though but I'd rather feel that whatever I've built makes sense, rather than feel that it's too simplified.

I'm rather disappointed that people didn't freak out more over brexit though... I had money ready for some cheap stocks but the prices weren't affected much. I bought what I could after the exit and it is all well and good. I take what I can.

My target portfolio unfortunately comprises 8 mutual funds and a rental property, not 3 funds (global stocks, global bonds and global REIT), but I guess you can't have it all.

The Future
I have too many moles to count and keep track of, especially since most of them are on my back(*******). Now that one of them has started permanently itching it's very easy to make the decision to see the doc...

(*) It's the most cubic room I've ever seen. If it wasn't clotted with stuff, it'd almost be beautiful with its complete lack of aesthetics.
(**)You'll have plenty left, start tossing your trash!
(#) As a funny side note, I can't see my apple tree from where I'm sitting because we put a flower decoration on the window sill and it's blocking the view... #firstworldproblems
(***) With more than 20 million hits per week I reckon those channels are racking it plenty of money.
(****) Those with toddlers might have come across those colored surprise eggs videos. They are hell on earth. Keeping children away from digital entertainment is not about laziness or other health concerns about digital entertainment, it's about keeping them away from Surprise Eggs videos. They are horrendous, absolutely mind numbing, disturbing, debilitated, and useless! Surprise Eggs videos are made partly from satanic abuse and partly from the Dust of Yog Sothoth, lovingly and greedily(***) produced in Russia. Fuck me I hate those abominable productions!!!
(*****) In case you're wondering, yes, we eat a lot of fruit; correspondingly we pass a lot of gas. This household is all about making our own fun!
(******) Baking pita bread is great! Watching those little suckers puff in the oven is SO satisfying!
(*******) Some people claim you get a mole where a weapon has pierced you in a former life, in which case I was grapeshot in the back during the American Civil War.

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