m741's ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Frugalchicos
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed May 10, 2017 8:44 am

Hi m741,

Glad you chose Spain as a destination. I am from the Basque Country of Spain.

Which city were you thinking? I recommend using Airbnb and then a website like idealista.com.

Shoot me a private if you need more help.

Cheers,

Frugal Chico

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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Wed May 10, 2017 10:37 pm

@frugalchicos - We're visiting mostly Barcelona, but also a two days in Tarragona. We're staying in AirBnBs.

Any unusual destinations, or sites/restaurants/bars you think of as more classically Spanish/Catalan? (Stuff that's not Sagrada Familia and other big tourist sites).

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Frugalchicos
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu May 11, 2017 8:37 am

Morning m741,

Barcelona is a pretty cool city, Barrio Gotic and Borne are my favorite neighborhoods. Avoid Ramblas and all that touristic crap.

Places I highly recommend: - Canete (it is the exception in Ramblas) and Arume (Raval).
Canete might fall under the fancy/ more expensive kind of place. However, it is a classic and has pretty awesome tapas.

Arume was and is one of my favorite restaurants on Earth. It is a pretty cool family restaurant (two brothers, two restaurants) with homemade food, cheap and delish.

Have fun!!

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m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 » Sat May 13, 2017 8:57 am

10.5 Months Out

Financial changes

I met with my tax advisor two weeks ago. It's always a productive meeting, and he's pretty supportive of my plans (though I haven't told him about not working, just taking a few years off). It's good to get professional confirmation that my thoughts, or what I read online, is a good idea.

I had some action items and notes which may be useful to (American) readers:

* I've been following the Mad Fientist HSA plan (basically, HSA is the best retirement account, so max it out if possible). He confirmed it as a good idea and had a great suggestion: create a new email account, and send all health expenses to that account: receipts, bills, etc. Even bandaid receipts :). So, I'm gonna be doing that. Then it's easy to withdraw and have evidence of the expenses.
* He confirmed that maxing out the IRA this year and next year make total sense, even though I'm not in a tax bracket where that's with pre-tax dollars.
* Since I'm also looking at doing some small freelance web development, possibly in combination with my gf, he suggested creating a separate bank account for write-offs, which makes sense. Just print the statements as a 'business' account and there's tax justification. I feel like there's probably more to be done here: I've never freelanced before, beyond 2-3 jobs for friends.

The rest was more particular to my situation. Besides that, I've been doing the following things:

* Continuing all spending on credit cards to hit spending bonuses.
* Actively listing and selling lending club loans. It takes a few minutes and I'd like to be in an easy position to close the account at the end of the year. Bit-by-bit I'm making progress.
* Continued selling off a lot of physical stuff. It's amazing how much I had in a little apartment. Mostly books, gifts I received but didn't want, and old electronics. I sell through a spreadsheet at work, which means I also track what I've sold. Over the past few months, that's 170 different items. Sure, the bookshelves are a little lighter, but it feels like there's still so much left to sell or donate.

Mindset

It's been pretty rough. Stressful at work, and that leads me to question why I'm staying. But abstractly it makes sense right now. There's some stuff coming up at work, if it goes really terribly (for my team, not for me personally), I may not be able to handle it anymore, which could throw off timings. I'd really prefer to have that extra cash in my pocket, though. Working for another 10 months would easily cover the trip (for two), relocation expenses, etc etc.

I've just got so much whiplash from enjoying and not enjoying work every two weeks. Likewise, I get whiplash finding hobbies and then not having time to pursue them; I don't know whether that will actually change once I don't have a job.

On the whole, right now it's mostly just coping with work, dreaming about not working, and making the most of the remaining time I have in NYC.

In the next two weeks
* Actually set up dental/vaccination appointments
* Donate a bag of stuff to Goodwill (start getting tax writeoffs for physical donations)
* Continue selling loans on Lending Club
* Travel to Barcelona for a week :)

---

@frugalchicos - Borne was not on my list, will make sure to check it out. I don't eat meat or fish, so Arume doesn't look like an option, but I'll put Canete on our list :). It's not expensive coming from NYC!

halfmoon
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat May 13, 2017 9:32 am

m741 wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 8:57 am
Donate a bag of stuff to Goodwill (start getting tax writeoffs for physical donations)
Not that it's a big deal, but you can't write off donations unless you itemize deductions. I don't think you have a mortgage or property taxes, in which case it's usually hard to hit the itemization threshold unless you have significant charitable donations. If you do, be sure to keep a list of the items you donate and their fair market value. If you claim more than $500 in non-cash donations, you'll need to file a separate form documenting the details. Maybe you know this, in which case I apologize for the lecture. ;)

More importantly: congratulations on your impending retirement and travel! Doing this when you're young and adaptable is a wonderful plan.

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Chris
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Chris » Sat May 13, 2017 11:05 pm

halfmoon wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 9:32 am
Not that it's a big deal, but you can't write off donations unless you itemize deductions. I don't think you have a mortgage or property taxes, in which case it's usually hard to hit the itemization threshold unless you have significant charitable donations.
True in a lot of the country, but not in the NYC area, we've got high state and local income tax /-:
Since those are itemized deductions, there are lots of renters who end up itemizing.

halfmoon
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun May 14, 2017 8:19 am

Wow. I'm used to complaints about our (WA) sales tax, but I just googled NYC taxes. You have a pretty high sales tax rate on top of the state and city income tax. I'm going to make a wild guess that property taxes aren't low either. Probably not a good place to live in retirement. ;)

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