Is this a turning point in your life?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Fish
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Fish »

This is like involuntary ERE.

DW loves the simplicity of the stay-at-home lifestyle. No packing school lunches or kids activities. Driving is down to zero. WFH while providing your own childcare can border on overwhelming at times. But even after about a month of this we’re not tiring of it and feel like we could continue indefinitely if needed.

Work is not as fulfilling without in-person interaction and a 100% focus. In normal times I wouldn’t mind working post-FI, but there is little vocational satisfaction in the present trying to work remotely while homeschooling the kids.

Our kids get along really well now that they have no other options for playmates. Do I view this as a turning point in our lives? Not at all, we still desire a return to normalcy. But we’ve adapted rather well to the situation and will cherish the memories.

As for lasting impacts, it has been a lesson to keep investments diversified and to avoid big leverage. Will keep a larger food stash after learning not to take resupply opportunities for granted. DW now has a good idea of what her FIRE could look like at our current level of wealth. Not life-changing, but valuable lessons nonetheless.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Laura Ingalls »

I am going to so far go with no. It has set the record for longest interruption from school in my long history of being a student, K-12 educator, and parent of public school students ( breaking the record from the ice storm/power disruption in 2014.)

It has been seriously weird for my high school senior. So much up in the air. So many senior landmarks not likely to happen. Hard for parents with an even blurrier line between kid and adult.

@ horsewoman I miss live music too. I am just a spectator other than singing in church.

bigato
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by bigato »

Mostly it has given me a taste of what working from home programming, 6h/day mon-fri feels like. It's pretty awesome and I want to keep it after the crisis is averted. If I get authorized to keep working from home long term, I may not want to quit anymore, given that I'd be able to live in my rural property, grow my food, breath fresh air, have peace, etc.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

It's made me reflect on quite a lot of things. For one, just how fragile our current systems really are. A single disruption can cause many unexpected and adverse effects down the chain.

It's also made me realize how most problems are not really problems of science, but rather problems of social behavior. It's also made me appreciate the educated authorities, like the CDC, Dr. Fauci, etc, more and be more wary of various social media personalities. A lot of people I used to think had good ideas have since had outrageously uninformed opinions on covid, and it made me question anything I ever believed from them.

And then it made me realize how a lot of the "bad" habits I have are a whole lot more of a liability in an actual crisis. I'm reminded of the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico, and how there were reports of people becoming severely depressed by lack of television when the power went out. Being forced home all day and trying to avoid unhealthy distractions now gives me more sympathy for how our vices can be a lot more difficult to control during times of crisis. Hence self improvement is really important.

I've never had a high opinion of social media, but after seeing how dysfunctional the social media COVID-19 sphere is, it's helped me pretty much remove all of that from my entire life.

steveo73
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by steveo73 »

Fish wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:53 pm
This is like involuntary ERE.
Yep. I'm in a family of 5 and all of a sudden we are living ERE like. This has mostly come about because my wife is paranoid and refuses to go to work. She is still getting paid so that is great. She has though accepted that this can't go on and she has basically retired. I'm still working but it's full time from home. I've told my wife if we spend at bare bones expenses level we can retire now and she is at this point all for it.

So my wife has retired basically during a crash. I'm not going to retire now but hopefully still within a couple of years dependent on what work is like. At the moment my work is really busy.

jacob
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by jacob »

Technically, it's more like an involuntary "buy nothing" project in which all non-essential spending is curbed. Most consumers having nothing to replace it with feel strong shopping withdrawal symptoms after a few weeks, so I'm glad to see all the "unchanged" reports.

Sustaining a buy nothing experiment for 6+ months causes a resorting of one's "wants" and "needs" and is a great gateway to a high savings rate (in hard-mode) as it forces one to consider other means. (I'd be interested to see if some permanent budget/spending changes obtain when we come out on the other side.) Unfortunately, the shelter-in-place eliminates many of these means.

Alphaville
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Alphaville »

I wish I could have bought nothing, but now that my wife and I are officially living in a co-working space I had to order furniture in a bit of a hurry.

We had been living/sitting/sleeping mostly "on the floor" since last summer, with only a couple of kitchen stools, and I had a standing computer desk, but we had to perform a Reverse Fumio on the place because the city is no longer our layout.

Got 2 armchairs, a coffee table and a bed, plus a foldable exercise bike because getting to our bicycles is problematic right now.

Got also a couple of patio chairs for the balcony so we can have a "third room" (right now the bathroom, aka "second room," is our phone booth for work calls).

My standing desk was just split into 2 sections so that was nice.

Fortunately every item we bought had been analyzed to death, and had been sitting on the wishlists for months, so nothing was unplanned except for the exercise bike. We just pulled the trigger instead of waiting until the last possible minute for each item like we normally do. So far the place feels great, sort of like a coffee shop, and our energy is up due to improved ergonomics and organization. Getting things done is easier.

I also had to order supplies for the 3 month lockdown: mostly protein, fats, and vitamins, and some glass storage containers. And haircutting shears, lol.

No "new project" anything has been ordered yet, and things might be on hold until the fall. We're only trying to make our preexisting work/projects more functional under the new conditions, and so far so good.

nomadscientist
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by nomadscientist »

Like Mao on the French Revolution, "too soon to say."

It was inconvenient in my life. I was bidding to get my contract renewed at the same time contemplating quitting because I really don't like the job and I had a minimal ERE level capital stock. I agreed to the job for less money than if I had space to negotiate and lost enough paper money that ERE isn't a possibility for another year or two at least. On the other hand, I had and continue to have the ability to buy lower priced stocks with a somewhat higher income.

Being in my house isn't that much of a problem. I already have more things to fill my time than I have time for. But the lack of direct human contact with my favourite people will bite after a while.

I don't believe there is likely to be any long term loss to the economy. Of course people are not immortal and four months' lost productivity is not approximately zero, but nor is it large. The people who will die are mostly net consumers and the capital stock will be undamaged.

Social attitudes will change because of this. It is not yet certain how.

One thing that has happened is that East Asian states (dictatorships, democracies; capitalist, communist) have outperformed all Western states ("dictatorships" e.g. Russia, democracies; US-capitalist and Euro-socialist). On a major event driven by social organisation and technological capacity, this has never happened before in human history to my knowledge.

States may or may not be willing to re-open their borders and, to the extent they do, the assumption that North Europeans will have the strongest passports may no longer hold

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Bankai
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Bankai »

nomadscientist wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:44 pm
this has never happened before in human history to my knowledge.
China is around for 4000 years and in their minds, Europe is just an Asian peninsula. Up until Enlightenment and later industrial revolution, Europe was irrelevant in grand (world) scale and the US didn't even exist. China is just regaining it's dominance after a 'blip' of last 150 years or so.

nomadscientist
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by nomadscientist »

Bankai wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:10 pm
China is around for 4000 years and in their minds, Europe is just an Asian peninsula. Up until Enlightenment and later industrial revolution, Europe was irrelevant in grand (world) scale and the US didn't even exist. China is just regaining it's dominance after a 'blip' of last 150 years or so.
China as a continent-state is about 2400 years old, younger than fertile crescent/Mediterranean civilisation, and it had no real conception of Europe until about 1750 or so. Certainly China has never dominated Europe. Meaningful direct competition of the East and West is only about 150 years old. But still, the West was largely sweeping the field until about three months ago.

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Bankai
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Bankai »

I don't see why you can only meaningfully compare East and West in the last 150 years? Looking at things like area/population/economy/army/culture etc. the one time Europe was a match for China was when it was united under Rome. Ever since small nation-states, it doesn't have nearly enough punching power with the exception of the industrial revolution fuelled colonialism. But this is now gone and with even playing field economically, China will retake its no.1 spot in the world, which it held for most of the last few millennia.

The only chance for Europe is very close integration akin to the US (US of Europe) but this will be very hard to implement considering European history, a few dozen languages, etc.

As for the US, well, it's only a couple of centuries (two really long lifetimes) old but it did very well it that time. Will it still do as well for another couple of thousand years as China did or will it share the same fate as the Mediterranean civilizations you mentioned? Maybe, if human nature changes and humans finally start learning from the past...

nomadscientist
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by nomadscientist »

It's only since modern communications, transport, and logistics that Europe, America, and East Asia are competitors in the same game. Before that, Europe dominated Europe and East Asia dominated East Asia. There was no zone of conflict and they could each survive with their independent internal systems at drastically different levels of technology, social organisation, and mobilisation, without feeling pressure from the other and even largely unaware of the other*. I suppose the only exception to this is the Mongol era in which an outside group conquered both China and parts of Europe.

Successful Asian states aren't so new in this era, with Japan defeating Russia in a war in 1905. But Japan was still very much playing catch up to European states in a European game. COVID19 is the first major world event I am aware of in which East Asian states across the board have met a new phenemonon and immediately and drastically outperformed European and descended states. That's true independent of size and resources.

*That was even true of China into the late 19th century but became impossible by the mid 20th century. China experienced its peak of Western direct impingement after the imperial states and their era was already eclipsed.

RealPerson
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by RealPerson »

Bankai wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:39 pm
The only chance for Europe is very close integration akin to the US (US of Europe) but this will be very hard to implement considering European history, a few dozen languages, etc.
Interesting you mentioned this. I suspect that the European Union will be one of the casualties of the COVID 19 pandemic. Right after the refugee fiasco, there is once again a complete national/nationalistic response in Europe to yet another major crisis. It has become quite apparent that the EU is no longer relevant. In effect it exists in name only. Either the EU project will kick start, which is sorely needed, or shrivel up and slowly disappear. I hope it will be the former but I think it will be the latter. Nationalism won't be far behind.

Changes in my life: an early return from overseas travel and self isolation at home. We are very strict about it. Other than the temporary disruption in our social life no turning point that I can see.

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jennypenny
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by jennypenny »

Laura Ingalls wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:09 pm
It has been seriously weird for my high school senior. So much up in the air. So many senior landmarks not likely to happen.
We keep saying how lucky we are that our boys are juniors (HS/college) so the lockdown isn't screwing up too much in their lives. I feel badly for the kids who are missing out on some rites of passage.

I'm actually worried about teens in general. Even though everyone jokes about them spending too much time indoors playing video games, they still go out for school, sports, movies, etc. This is going to get hard on them if it doesn't end soon. I also worry what it will do to their longterm outlook. Aren't they supposed to be the next Silent Generation? And now we know it might be because they lived through a pandemic instead of a depression.

ertyu
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by ertyu »

jennypenny wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:27 am
they lived through a pandemic instead of a depression.
they will live through a pandemic and a depression. As will all of us.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by EdithKeeler »

This is maybe a turning point, for me, in some ways. During this “stay at home” period, I’ve been able to work, so money is not an issue. Also, right when we went to work at home, I got the biggest bonus of my life, which was very unexpected. So money is not a factor at all, other than to contemplate leaving it....(those bonuses make it hard, which I suppose they are designed to do....).

I keep thinking I’m ready to retire, but now that work has slowed down—A LOT—I’m not minding my actual job much at all because I have time to do it! The workload is suddenly reasonable again, so I’m not running around like crazy and can get things done 8-5. So I’ve been able to objectively analyze some things about my job, which sometimes I want to leave and sometimes I don’t.

The other thing is that I realize how little social interaction I have outside of work. You strip away my coworkers and I have 2 people, plus family, I regularly interact with. That’s generally not healthy and really not healthy if I retire to that situation.

And, thinking about being a “high risk” person has me thinking about my health in new ways.

Turning point? Maybe, maybe not. But it has made me think about some stuff. A lot of I really can’t do anything about until my mom’s gone, but I can put things into motion.

henrik
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by henrik »

My father (a cohabiting widower, 3 children, 3 grandchildren, barely in the "risk group" by age) has spent a little over a week in intensive care / critical condition due to C19. At the end of the week we finally saw positive signs that he's likely to pull through - certain relevant indicators have been moving towards the green for the past few days.

This experience has made me realise something though - at 40 years old, I am not ready to become the oldest person in my direct family. I'm going to need to figure out what it takes to be ready for something like that.

The isolation part has not been very tough. So far - like EK said above, I've had more time and leeway to actually do my job properly. Also less pressure for social events and such. I happen to like running, which is a pretty solitary activity anway, so I get my exercise in the spring sun:)

mooretrees
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by mooretrees »

I think this is potentially a turning point for me. I am really grateful that I'd started banging my head against the ideas of ERE last year. Financially this pandemic has not affected us. I'm still working in the hospital as an essential worker. However, the anxiety of work and the world has revealed my fairly weak ability to deal well with constant stress. I've learned at work that I can deal with short bursts of high anxiety really well, but I've had training and those situations resolve (on my end) pretty quickly.

It's also really apparent that we are tightly coupled to the grocery store. I put food stuff away earlier than most because of this forum, but I didn't really know what I was doing and how to do this well. Now that we're eating down the stored food, I'm realizing we need to adapt our normal fare to shift to more carbs and frozen veggies. I am adjusting, but I had to brainstorm to figure out meals for us.

One of the things I've noticed on this forum (and in myself) is that is is much easier to only deal with the money aspect of ERE. I don't read every single journal, but most people focus primarily on money, spending and investing. I am no different. But, this pandemic has opened my eyes to how key the Renaissance Man approach truly is to a resilient life. As I write this DH is welding, not very well, but he can still do a million more practical things than I can. I don't have a specific plan in how to work on my Renaissance Man skills, but it has become more important to me.

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Ego
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Re: Is this a turning point in your life?

Post by Ego »

My life has been chock full of turning points. I know what they look like and I know this will definitely be one.

Maybe my threshold for calling something a turning point is lower than it is for others. Maybe I am more sensitive to changing winds. Maybe it is easier for me to turn. I don't know.

What I do know is that when so many friends and acquaintances are drastically affected by something, it is impossible for me to avoid at least a little change myself. I also know that drastic change creates and reveals big opportunities. If my goal is to hold the same course regardless of the new wind direction then I will miss those opportunities.

Also see
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oak_and_the_Reed

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