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Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:37 pm

I'm a Texas bred 23 year old college grad who has been living an hour out from San Francisco for about a year. After finishing my degree (B.S. Business Admin and Psychology) with no debt (scholarships and working while taking classes), I worked as a corporate trainer, doing the 9-5 salaried gig. Lived in an upscale apartment complex, drove a decent car, and spent my weekends dining out and partying. I thought I was a retirement genius for contributing 15% to my company's 401k (they didn't match). I was on my way to the middle class lifestyle. Something didn't feel right though. I wasn't content with my lifestyle or my career. I felt directionless.
I decided to start completely fresh, and pay a little back to my country, by enlisting with the Navy. I wanted to do meaningful, hands-on work while protecting the people and freedoms that make America great. Something different than teaching people how to sell things that no one actually needs. I could have cared less about how much money I pulled in.
My goals became more defined. I began thinking more about what I wanted out of my life, rather than living up to the expectations of others (which I learned quickly that it really doesn't matter).
I learned to live without. Small living spaces meant less room for stuff. A smaller salary meant more dedication to money management skills and frugality. Because success at my job requires me to stay fit, health became a major priority in my life. And since I may have to face death head on, I've come to terms with the fact that my time is truly finite and valuable.
When given the option to acquire and consume once I was out of boot camp, I chose to stick with what I had, while many of my brothers-in-arms went on shopping sprees. Even after taking a pay cut with this new path, my savings per month have increased tenfold. And my quality of life has become better.
I hit my year mark this past August, and there have been noticeable differences from who I was before and who I am now.
I don't own a car. I walk or use public transit.

I don't bodybuild. I train for function.

I don't memorize textbooks for degrees. I read library books and websites to learn applicable skills.

I don't make rash decisions. I wait for emotions to subside and go with logic.

I don't seek shallow acquaintances for networking. I build lasting relationships for enjoyment.

I don't yearn for acceptance from others. I do what's important to me, and let the rest take care of itself.
I've been told I'm sacrificing a lot by doing what I'm doing, but I have never felt more free. The plan is to be financially free by 30, but who knows what life may bring in the rest of my 20s.
I've got a blog that I update sporadically now.

http://be-beaudacious.blogspot.com/
It's seen better days. But I'm happy with the work that's up for now. I'll probably use this blurb in the About Me section. Wow did I get on a roll...


Jon
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Post by Jon » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:00 pm

Welcome to the forum!
I actually had to look up the word "Bodacious" :) Its good seeing more 20 somethings joining the board. Are you debt free? If so, you're already way ahead of me at 24 years of age. If you don't mind me asking but what job do you do in the Navy? I kicked around the idea of going to Navy Nuclear school and met with the recruiter a couple of times, but decided it just wasn't for me.


B
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Post by B » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:05 pm

Hi Beaudacious!
What're you doing in your career now? I don't know anything about the armed forces.
PS:

From your blog I can see you're something of a Steve Pavlina fan. I used to read his blog religiously. I don't read it anymore, but I came away with a few gems that have influenced my way of thinking. What are some of your favorite posts of his?


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:39 pm

@Jon - Thanks for the warm welcome! I am indeed debt free. I started working when I was 16, because I wanted to break away from the parental control early on (I love them to death... but it seems that love grows more the further I move away). I obtained my first credit card when I was 20, because I heard credit scores were important. Paid it in full every time though. My parents had saved up some money while I was growing up in one of those tuition funds. I choose a smaller school that gave me a full scholarship, worked to pay off living expenses, and told my dad to keep the money. Effectively I was at zero when I graduated. The Nuke program was offered to me as well. Long hours, 2 years of training, submarine work, and a 5 yr minimum contract commitment just didn't fit for me either. Plus I would have had to wait for a year before shipping out. The job I ended up choosing sent me out to boot camp within a week of me signing up.
@B - Hey B! :)
To answer you both, my current job with the Navy is the Master-At-Arms (MA) rating. Basically, I'm military police / law enforcement / anti-terrorism / force protection. I'm strapped up like Batman, securing areas and acting as first response when things go array. I'm happy where I'm at for now, but I'm leaving options available.


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:57 pm

@B - I was actually refered to Pavlina from some other bloggers I had been following at the time. I think he has some great things to say if you need an inspirational pick-me-up. It seems though that I ended up following a similar path that he discusses, without being aware of him until later. The 30 day stint actually came naturally... I was really into stretching myself through experiences, and I figured a month would give me enough time to see actual consequences of repetitive actions, but let me opt out without seeing too bad of long term effects. If anything, I want to say Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me got me into the whole diet manipulation (in a good way) for 30 days.
I will say though that I always am a fan of male writers putting in their two cents on "How to be a Man" as it gives a little perspective on their own values and priorities.


Jon
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Post by Jon » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:14 am

Yes the Navy nuke program commitment sort of scared me away too, though if one is smart financially, an 18 year old could do the Navy nuke thing and probably end up with $200,000 and a free bachelors at age 25-27.
I've never heard of Steve Palina... what's he all about?


jacob
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Post by jacob » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:29 am

@Jon - Really long blog posts ;)


B
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Post by B » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:02 pm

@Jon

Back when I read Pavlina's blog he was about equal parts practical tips for time management and self-discipline, motivational writing and lifestyle experiments. He became well-known for his polyphasic sleep schedule. He has an interesting life story and used to have a very logical approach to his "30-day experiments".
Then he started getting into subjective reality stuff and a lot of schmoozing with other "personal development" types and their products. The subjective reality stuff wasn't for me, and I had no interest in spending money on neuro-linguistic "brain hacks" or dream spells or whatever.


Matthew
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Post by Matthew » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:17 pm

Pavlina is an interesting read, but regarding the length of his blogs another time management tip might be to not read them:)


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:30 pm

That is one truth to the Nuke program... it's smart from a financial standpoint due to the free degree, experience, and constant bonuses/advancements (Navy has a hard time retaining Nukes, because the civilian side pays huge salaries).
I had a similar issue with Pavlina. The overall message is on point, but his delivery can be grating. Different strokes...
I was never too attached to writers though. It's always been about concepts, ideas, theories, etc. All of these inspirational/motivational/git-er-dun blogs basically convey the same point, just different presentations and packaging.


Frugal Vegan Mom
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Post by Frugal Vegan Mom » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:10 pm

The mention of Pavlina makes me cringe. I know he's popular and got a little hooked myself on his blog a couple years back until I started reading his & his wife's posts on psychic stuff and open marriages. Really creeped me out.


B
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Post by B » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:05 pm

Yeah. It started at subjective reality. Somehow that became psychic powers, dream magic, and open marriages? I wonder how much his readership dropped of at that point.


Jon
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Post by Jon » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:40 am

Sorry to make this post into a Pavlina thread, but based on what others are saying I have deduced Pavilna's approach.
1. Create blog with a wide range of appeal

2. After establishing a large non-paying audience for with free blog material, cull the herd by introducing pseudo-scientific clap-trap and hook the sheep

3. Publish books for sheep created in step 2.

4. ....

5. Profit!
I kid kid! Thankfully Jacob hasn't done this to us... yet... :)


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:05 pm

Well it's been about 6 months, so I'll give a little update.
As my drive to be FI gets stronger as each day passes, I find more and more ways to better efficiency and mindfulness. I'm very much the plotter/schemer type, evaluating options and forecasting every possible outcome, implementing my decisions, and then adjusting. It's as if I'm seeing 5 moves ahead in the game of life and feel like I'm ready for anything that comes my way. It's a control over my life that I've never felt before.
That being said, as I learn more about what I can control, it also has brought to light the things that I can't, and has helped me better understand humility. I was very competitive growing up, which helped me see how preparation and strategy translates into results, but it also came with the negativity of evaluating myself through comparisons and an elitist/arrogant personality. The elitism is a demon I still continue to battle, but I'm more conscious of it and able to squash it when it tries to creep into situations. In turn, I've become more accepting of the choices people make, replacing judgment with understanding. Motivations behind the actions people take fascinate me, and I've crossed paths with some great people due to this openness. Don't worry introverts, I haven't crossed over! But I can definitively state that my distaste for humans has lessened...
As far as work is concerned, there is a very strong possibility of me heading to Japan in January. The wanderlust is still in my system, but thankfully I'm getting paid to wander rather than buying the experience. Also, I'm hoping that if they select me to cross the Pacific, I can get involved with some humanitarian/relief efforts (a test drive of activities in retirement). I was a pretty active volunteer in my community when in school, but this would be my first time volunteering overseas, and Peace Corps has been an option that continues to find itself in the back of my mind. Some would say military service is in a way volunteering, but I yearn to see my efforts have a more directly beneficial effect and be a part of a community that has that same strong motivation.
Though my eye is on the future, I have become very content with the present. Being content will, however, not be accompanied with being complacent... so I continue my journey.


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:59 pm

Just a quick update. I'm about 2 years into my contract with the Navy, and I just received word that I will be heading to Bahrain for my upcoming duty. The unit will be deployable, so I will be traveling. Should be an interesting challenge. I'll be leaving in January for 2 months of training in the states and then will be shipping off for at least a year.
My finances have been going quite smoothly. Last month, I am proud to say that I spent less than $100 total (rent, utilities, and health care are all supplied). My keys to success were free entertainment and cheap meals by cooking.
Health has been good. I decided on getting a vasectomy, which took away some work-out time while waiting to heal. So I'm slowly getting back to my normal fitness routine. Cooking has given me a lot of control over what goes into my body, and those results have shown through. I still consider myself a "foodie" but I tend to splurge on more extravagant dishes infrequently. I've found it hard to go out for food when I know I can cook it better at home.
I also found a new hobby that I enjoy. A couple times a week I volunteer at an internet cafe providing free drinks to service members. I make a mean iced coffee...


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:12 am

Well, I've hit my 3 year mark for my contract, so I figured an update was in order.
I'm currently on a ship floating on a body of water around the Middle East. The work is better than I expected (I had low expectations going in other than an increase in pay). Also, I received a promotion, which was shocking in the sense that I wasn't actively pursuing it. Can't complain about receiving more pay for the same job. I'll be out here longer than I intended, which I'm fine with. Since I'm living on a ship, I literally have no expenses. When we visit ports, it feels weird being around commerce.
Met a frugalista in San Diego who I hit it off with instantly. She was up for the challenge of a long distance relationship and has been a fantastic partner thus far. Being in this relationship, I've realized on my own that I've had personal baggage that I've been holding onto. That pile is slowly being worked down. She's not ERE, but fully supports my attempt because it means more time for us in the future. Delayed gratification is such a turn-on.
Financially, I'm at point where I could make my money last a decade at the same standard of living I've averaged over these past 3 years (assuming inflation and investments canceled each other out). There are quite a few options available for me should I choose to leave the Navy. That peace of mind has helped me get through some of the rougher parts of this job.


lilacorchid
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Post by lilacorchid » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:52 am

Thanks for the update. It's really interesting to read a year's worth of living so condensed! And spending $100 a month!


pooablo
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Post by pooablo » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:05 am

Wowzers! Very impressive life. You've certainly lived several lifetimes at the ripe old age of 25. I'm curious to see your next update a year from now. Enjoy the Middle East!


aussierogue
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Post by aussierogue » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:12 am

@beaudascious
are you checking / hunting pirates? Im in the shipping game and its quite a ride sending ships into that area.


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:36 pm

Thanks all.
@aussierogue: I can't go into too much detail, but I can tell you that I'm in the protection business. "Quite a ride" indeed.


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:47 am

So a fellow forum member sent me a sweet message requesting an update, so I figured I would share my news with the forum at large.
I wrapped up my time in the Middle East last month and am currently stationed in Japan for at least 2 years. I'm probably an hour train ride from Tokyo. This country is awesome... It's been my dream to live here ever since I joined the Navy. The food is small but satisfying. The people are nice and pleasant to be around. All sorts of places to visit, whether it's the big city, the beach, mountains, or a shrine in the countryside. Everything I could want in a duty location. Expensive if you're non-ERE, but geo-arbitrage for me.
I've committed to another 6 years of service, which will put me a little under 10 total. Seems like I'm heading in the direction of 20 years, but I'm putting away savings so that it won't be necessary.
Also, got married this year. Remember the San Diego frugalista? Our wedding was at the courthouse of my hometown with immediate family from both sides. That leave period was a hectic logistical nightmare, but worth it. Now I'm trying to get the wife to think about ERE as well. She's working her way through the book, but so far she says that this guy is basically saying the same thing that I've been telling her throughout our relationship. Sorry Jacob... Stole your thunder.
While on that leave, I worked a few days at a good friend's brewery. I enjoyed the product and experience so much that now I'm a partial investor. It's a small percentage of my portfolio, so even if he does go belly-up, it won't send me too far back financially. (Obligatory plug time) So if you happen to be in the DFW area, look for Firewheel Brewing Co. on draft at some of the fine bar and restaurant establishments (if they don't carry it, demand they get it). They also do tours. His pale ale is his signature. (End of plug)
This week I turn 26. 25 was certainly eventful.


vivacious
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Post by vivacious » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:45 am

You have the best military job possible--Japan for 2 years. I have visited and I love it also. Update us about your life in Japan if you can.
Also, how are people recovering from the disaster? Are they ok? Is it safe from a nuclear standpoint? Hope things are ok.
The only thing I don't really like about Japan is the cost of living, which is one of the highest in the world, but the culture, films, and everything else are amazing.


Beaudacious
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Post by Beaudacious » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:22 am

I've only been here for a month, so I really can't make much of a statement on the recovery. Also, Fukushima prefecture is the area that was hit hardest, which is quite a distance north from where I live.
Here is a news story on Japan two years after the disaster.
The area that I am in seems to be moving along. Don't know how safe I'll be... it's either I'll be fine or my disability check will be huge once I get out...
I agree with you that the cost of living is very high, but yen has been taking a hit (currently around 95 to the dollar). My plan is to limit my excursions to about once a month while taking advantage of my CoL-Adjustment to build my savings up, similar to what I did in the Middle East. Looking forward to a climb up Mt. Fuji in August as well as a sumo tournament in September.


Beaudacious
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Re: Howdy!

Post by Beaudacious » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:38 am

Wow... it's been a while since I've been on the forums, but I figured I'd give an update as I'm approaching the milestone of 30. So let's speed through 4 years in a post.

When I last posted, I lived outside of Tokyo soaking up the culture while saving as much as I could to prepare my eventual life back in the states with my wife. Unfortunately, for those two years I spent it alone as my spouse was attending grad school. And those years took a toll... when I moved back to the states, we couldn't make up for all of the time away. So we split (amicably), and I ended up in San Diego back on the grind.

Since then, I traveled to various parts of Asia for work, stood by my family as my mom passed, tried polyamory (don't think it's for me), lightened my workload as much as I could... and also hit my FI goal of 300k in what I thought would take me 10 years (took less than 8). I may be up for one last deployment before my contract ends and that will be my last for good; I'm hanging up my dog tags for good and moving on to something else. Don't know if I'll stay in Southern California, but I do know that I'm game for opportunity.

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