Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:13 pm

fell-like-rain wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:50 pm
Besides, this journal promises to be an interesting look into how the other half lives :)
Words can't express how grateful I am that you've chosen little old me to be a case study for you.
fell-like-rain wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:27 pm
I'm a early-20s recent grad living in Somerville, MA (hence the title)
I don't mean to get all WIWYA on you (jk, that's exactly what I mean to do), but when I was your age I was living abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer with $0 in monthly expenses carrying around dog-eared copies of Walden convinced I'd spend the rest of my life as some sort of globe-trotting humanitarian living on pennies while bringing peace and joy (and clean drinking water, and plumbing, and a cure to cancer, and the American Way) everywhere I went. Turns out Thoreau was just an entitled, sanctimonious, hypocritical misanthrope mooching off of Emerson, in pretty much the same way I was mooching off the U.S. taxpayer. Funny how sometimes it takes a few years to gain some perspective.
fell-like-rain wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:27 pm
Of course, all my plans may come to naught if I, say, fall madly in love with someone and decide I want 2.5 kids and a suburban mortgage. Which doesn't seem likely at this point, but being realistic, I probably have little more ability to predict my own life than I do for the stock market.
Speaking as someone who has in fact fallen madly in love with someone and decided to have 2.5 kids (if the dog counts as the .5), along with the [sub]urban mortgage,
fell-like-rain wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:50 pm
I'll just say good for you for
recognizing that your life and priorities (and responsibilities) might actually change sometime in the next 15 or so years, and that you just might make some missteps along the way.

As we say here in the South, bless your heart.

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:14 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:46 am
grocery/home: $1,572.66 (wtf)
restaurant: $1,106.14 (wtf)
entertainment: $697.05 (wtf)
I'm a WTF kind of guy.

The home grocery has been my biggest WTF during this process and based upon your family size, I'd say there is room, but based on personal experience, its harder than you think. It always seems to creep back up.

The restaurant, well, St. Joseph would stop you in the middle of that nice prayer you were offering him and say "Hristo Botev, WTF man". I mean, really, just cut that shit out and that's 13K a year back to you.

Entertainment is easy as it is replaceable. We just made a decision to cut down to one streaming service (HB0) as opposed to four. That's a 1K savings a year for us. We can read, be more selective in what we watch, exercise, and if I'm alone, spend more time making fun of Suo. Maybe its more difficult with kids but I'm sure there are cheaper alternatives.

I left clothing out because I don't have kids and its just too personal.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:42 pm

Jason wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:14 pm
The restaurant, well, St. Joseph would stop you in the middle of that nice prayer you were offering him and say "Hristo Botev, WTF man". I mean, really, just cut that shit out and that's 13K a year back to you.
Amen. July was a bit of an outlier, as my wife's bday is in July, and in her family she grew up thinking that meant you get to treat yourself the whole month, and we had our annual pre-school trip to the beach, which means we eat out more than normal. But in truth it's not that much more than other months. This month I did finally realize that I no longer get much enjoyment out of going out vs. cooking/eating at home with the family. My wife's birthday dinner was at this place where it's almost impossible to get a reservation and so they basically have some sort of lottery that happens at the same date and time each month, and if you "win" the lottery you have to pay for the entire 10-course tasting menu up front, not counting alcohol and tip. Well I won't say how much the tasting menu was per person, but the alcohol and tip alone were $200; and add the cost of a babysitter on top of it. It's insane; and in truth it really doesn't matter how great the food is, imo no dinner "experience" is worth that kind of money. Anyway, lesson learned I hope. For August the number DW and I agreed to for restaurants is $200, which covers some dinner plans we already had as well as an out-of-town trip for a kids' soccer tournament (that hopefully we'll be proactive enough to pack lunches for instead).
Jason wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:14 pm
I left clothing out because I don't have kids and its just too personal.
In my defense, not a single item of clothing in the $935 list of purchases was for me. But regardless I can be a whole lot better next year about buying the kids' school clothes from the used sale the school sponsors, or just by making friends with parents with kids who are a grade or two above my own. That was just us jumping at the convenience of clicking the "purchase" button on the uniform site as opposed to exerting a little more energy and getting other kids' perfectly good, used uniforms.

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:58 pm

I'm not a foodie outside of liking cooking shows, but its obvious that restaurant food is highly addictive. Whether its the flavoring or the preservatives its no different than any other attempt to get a consumer back again. I find that people who eat out, eat out a lot.

Augustus
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Augustus » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:06 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:42 pm
and if you "win" the lottery you have to pay for the entire 10-course tasting menu up front, not counting alcohol and tip. Well I won't say how much the tasting menu was per person, but the alcohol and tip alone were $200;
I just about had a heart attack reading that. I'm pulling in a similar income, have never spent that much on a dinner in my entire life. Some of my favorite reading is the sports stars who blow through money, I remember one guy was spending like 15k a month on his cell phone bill. It's a trip.

Welcome to the community, good luck reining in expenses. Hopefully your wife is more malleable than others.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:47 am

Augustus wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:06 pm
I'm pulling in a similar income, have never spent that much on a dinner in my entire life. Some of my favorite reading is the sports stars who blow through money, I remember one guy was spending like 15k a month on his cell phone bill. It's a trip.
Your mention of cell phone bills reminded me that I have a forest/trees problem when it comes to reining in spending; I'll spend several days trying to figure out ways to shave $10 off of my monthly cell phone bill, inspired by https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08 ... at-a-time/ --but then in the same month I'll go and blow 20, 30, or 40 times that on some extravagant "experience" purchase. It's obviously important to make cuts to the monthly recurring costs where possible, but I definitely need to make it a habit to have some sort of Pavlovian, visceral response (preferably in the form of stomach bile making its way up my esophagus) every time it enters my mind that I can justify a fancy meal, or some new piece of jewelry or clothing for my wife, or a pair of fancy "supple" $70 tires for my commuting bike (yes, I have an addiction to Compass tires). It's an ongoing process.

Hristo Botev
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

The Suscipe Prayer

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:15 am

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.

-St. Ignatius of Loyola--perhaps one of the original ERE prophets--who gave up a promising and successful career as a soldier and diplomat (the cannonball that took out his legs certainly had something to do with that also) to found the Jesuits and take a vow of poverty. He also wrote a small book of Spiritual Exercises focused primarily on, interestingly enough, detachment and gratitude (kind of a Christian version of Stoicism). I'm finally getting around to reading Jacob's ERE book now, and speaking as a Catholic heavily influenced by Jesuit spirituality, I see a lot of parallels between ERE and the Spiritual Exercises.

From the statement of the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises:

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. All other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him fulfill the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use these things to the extent that they will help him to attain his end. Likewise, he must rid himself of them in so far as they prevent him from attaining it. Therefore we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, in so far as it is left to the choice of our free will and is not forbidden. Acting accordingly, for our part, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short one, and so in all things we should desire and choose only those things which will best help us attain the end for which we are created."

Augustus
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Augustus » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:29 am

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:47 am
The good news is you didn't go out and get a million dollar mortgage. That's a lot harder to get out of. If you optimized groceries, dog, entertainment, cell phones, kids tuition, cars, restaurants, etc you'd probably be at a 60-70% savings rate.

Tackle big ticket items first. Your savings rate is the most important number. Gotta push it above 50%.

For comparison, you should be able to get to 500/mo or less on groceries pretty easily, just make a list before you go and tally stuff up as it goes in cart. Buy a used car with cash to reduce that expense. Family/friends for dog care, Costco for dog food is 20/mo. 200 for entertainment/dining, maybe more depending on kids. Republic wireless for phones is 25/mo per person. Kids tuition? I mean I'm sticking my kid in public, but that's a personal decision.

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:11 am

Yeah 2,6k+ for food in a month is very excessive.

You can easily feed a family of 4 for about $20 a day or $600 a month. That would mean about 2k of your food related spending last month was luxury spending of some form or another. I can understand you might still want to eat out once in a while, but you could easily cut your spending to 1k or less and still eat out at a reasonably priced restaurant once a week.

Personally I try to keep eating out to once a month or less, but a big part of that is also because it is so much harder to eat healthy in a restaurant setting.

Fixing the cell phone plans will help as you could probably at least half that too.

What's in the entertainment budget? It seems high, but without knowing whats in it it's hard to say what to cut there. It does feel like a decent bit should be able to be cut there.

Are the gym memberships annual or monthly? If monthly your wife's one seems excessively high. If it was for a full year then that's pretty reasonable as long as she is using it.

Hristo Botev
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:57 am

This is really, really helpful. Thanks for the feedback and thanks to Jacob for creating this forum.
Augustus wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:29 am
The good news is you didn't go out and get a million dollar mortgage.
Nope, instead we went out and got a half-million dollar+ mortgage on a $650,000 house. :? Thankfully, as part of our downsizing efforts we unloaded that house/mortgage earlier this year, replacing $4,585 in mortgage/escrow (1st, 2nd, and personal loan) payments with one payment that is under $2,000 ($2,125 with the HOA).

If we stay on track this month then our savings rate will be between 65 and 70%, with about $6,600 in spending, which would be a huge win for us, as we've never come to close to that.

As I see it, if we really focus we could get our monthly spending to under $5,000, over 80% of which would be housing and school/aftercare costs. That would result in a savings rate approaching 75%. I recognize that there's obvious low-hanging fruit in the Catholic school education (especially since we live in a good school district that our kids had been going to before we made the decision to switch), but in truth I'd live in a tent before I'd pull the kids out of their school--it's just really important to me and my wife that our kids get a Catholic education, and our attempts to try and supplement their public school education with the Catholic/spirituality stuff through Sunday school and in the evenings just wasn't working.

Here's what I see as a streamlined budget; curious as to ya'll's thoughts:

Mortgage: $1,925
HOA: $200
Utilities: $100
2 cell plans: $80
Tuition: $1,520
Aftercare: $340
Dog: $25
Food, other consumables: $500
Car: $25
Entertainment: $100
Gifts: $50
Internet: $20
Life Insurance: $59
School/Kids' Stuff: $50
Total: $4,994

Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:01 am

prognastat wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:11 am
What's in the entertainment budget? It seems high, but without knowing whats in it it's hard to say what to cut there. It does feel like a decent bit should be able to be cut there.

Are the gym memberships annual or monthly? If monthly your wife's one seems excessively high. If it was for a full year then that's pretty reasonable as long as she is using it.
Entertainment included movies, bowling, kids' haircut, bike stuff I didn't need, kids' school pics, miniature golfing, a concert, and lots of book purchases. All of that stuff can be cut out.

The gym membership is monthly; it's one of those boot camp type gyms that charge an arm and a leg, and DW has some guilt about it and I suspect in a month or two will decide it's no longer worth it. I've learned to keep my mouth shut about those things.

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:20 am

I wouldn't count the haircuts as entertainment, but I'm sure that wasn't a huge part of it.

As for movies try finding alternatives. If you have a decent home TV setup maybe invite friends over for a movie at home and have everyone bring some kind of food/drink potluck style. You actually get to socialise more as you can talk some during the movie without interfering with other people's enjoyment and you get to eat much cheaper better food(concession stand food is horrible both health-wise and just in taste) and drinks. Another option could be the discount theatre if you have one in town. They usually get movies a month or so after the big chains stop showing them and you can watch them at 1/4th the price, concessions are usually still pretty expensive though so you'd probably want to fill up some before going to avoid overspending on them.

I would try in general to find suitable alternatives for entertainment like the ones for the movies for most entertainment spending. Instead of going out to dinner with some friends instead alternate with sometimes them having you guys over for dinner and cooking something that's their specialty for you to try out and you invite them over and make them something good once in a while. You get to still talk and share time together, but now you also get to share your cooking.

As for books this is one I struggle with from time to time, but one thing I do for lots of my entertainment items I want to buy is set price watches for them to drop below a certain price and only buy them once they reach that price. For video games this is very effective as many of them drop 66% of their value within 2 years when purchased new. I don't think books have quite that much of a margin, but there's still savings to be had and it will slow down your purchasing too. Also check your local library, they have many books and these days a lot of them have e-book catalogs where you can check out books digitally.
Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:57 am
Mortgage: $1,925
HOA: $200
Utilities: $100
2 cell plans: $80
Tuition: $1,520
Aftercare: $340
Dog: $25
Food, other consumables: $500
Car: $25
Entertainment: $100
Gifts: $50
Internet: $20
Life Insurance: $59
School/Kids' Stuff: $50
Total: $4,994
I would say the cellphone bill could still be lower, but it definitely is much more reasonable. However beyond that the new budget is pretty lean on the things you've been interested in cutting on. It would definitely boost your savings rate quite a lot and get you to FIRE much quicker.

Augustus
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Augustus » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:39 am

Focus on big ticket items first. Getting to $500-600/mo in groceries and ~200/mo dining/entertainment is the equivalent savings of years of cell phone savings.

I mostly aim for free kid activities, plenty out there if you get creative, I think the only reason people like mini golf is marketing, we start to equate money = (better) fun. It's not true if you can wean yourself off. I'll buy a cheaper membership based activity (museum, etc) once a year, ends up costing a few dollars per person per month. I always bring food/water to those, never eat their stuff.

I was once a devout catholic, I remember there being a TON of family activities through the church. They're still really good memories for me as well, tubing down rivers, ultimate frisbee, BBQs.

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:57 am

Another idea for fun low cost activities, we had some neighbours that had a projector and would have movie night out on their lawn where the neighbourhood was welcome to bring camping chairs and snacks and share a movie together with the neighbourhood.

slowtraveler
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:08 pm

Definitely not a married man but seeing those expenses is making me feel like a Jason.

Those are ludicrous for these parts of town. I started out living with my family having expenses one month down to 200, which was almost all health insurance.

These days, I'm at about 900/month but living on my own. It takes time, it's not a one and done. Just keep making progress. The recurring expenses tend to be easiest. I mean $80/month on cell phones? Have you tried Google FI, Republic Wireless, or any of the other low cost plans? Over 2k/month on housing? Have you tried downsizing? Food at 500/month for a family of 4 looks pretty good.

There's the big 3 categories of food, housing, and transport. Everybody has to pay something here and these are often the largest recurring expense categories.

I think you're doing well overall on what to move towards- you've already cancelled spotify. Good first steps. The journey always begins with a single step.

Something I'm curious about:
health/dental/vision insurance (and wife's workplace gym membership): 431.18
wife gym: $109

Why the double counting of wife's gym?

Augustus
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Augustus » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:35 pm

slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:08 pm
Something I'm curious about:
health/dental/vision insurance (and wife's workplace gym membership): 431.18
wife gym: $109

Why the double counting of wife's gym?
My assumption is she has two gym memberships :)

Welcome to marriage 101! Spouses get a lot of leeway..

jacob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:25 pm

I'm just gonna steal this for contrast and comparison:
ERE HQ July 2018 wrote: mortgage, insurance, property taxes: $0+$129+$375 (amortized)
less mortgage principle: $0 (we actually own it)
health/dental/vision insurance: $130 (admittedly a good deal, 1/2 of free market pricing)
HOA (water, trash, landscape, insurance, etc.) (includes an extra payment; normally $200): $67 (water and trash)
electric: $75 (my bad, thermostat was set at 80F because I was feeling weak)
gas: $20
my cell: N/A
wife cell: $0 (freedompop)
kids' tuition: N/A
dog: $25 (amortized vet bills), we make our own dog food (counted under grocery)
grocery/home: $100 (garden is producing)
restaurant: $0
car: $103 (depreciation, DW's work pays gas)
clothing: $0 (nothing wore out this month)
entertainment: $9 (netflix, library)
gifts: $0 (nobody had a birthday, etc.)
cleaning lady: N/A
internet: $40 (ARGH!)
term life insurance premium: FI
ATM: N/A
Playstation Vue: Huh?
wife gym: I wish ...
me gym: No
Spotify: N/A
Total: $1,073
Something to think about?

Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:32 pm

Augustus wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:35 pm
My assumption is she has two gym memberships :)

Welcome to marriage 101! Spouses get a lot of leeway..
Yep.
slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:08 pm
I started out living with my family having expenses one month down to 200, which was almost all health insurance.


Congrats? Seem to remember my expenses were pretty minimal when I was living with my parents as well.

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:59 pm

jacob wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:25 pm
I'm just gonna steal this for contrast and comparison:
ERE HQ July 2018 wrote: mortgage, insurance, property taxes: $0+$129+$375 (amortized)
less mortgage principle: $0 (we actually own it)
health/dental/vision insurance: $130 (admittedly a good deal, 1/2 of free market pricing)
HOA (water, trash, landscape, insurance, etc.) (includes an extra payment; normally $200): $67 (water and trash)
electric: $75 (my bad, thermostat was set at 80F because I was feeling weak)
gas: $20
my cell: N/A
wife cell: $0 (freedompop)
kids' tuition: N/A
dog: $25 (amortized vet bills), we make our own dog food (counted under grocery)
grocery/home: $100 (garden is producing)
restaurant: $0
car: $103 (depreciation, DW's work pays gas)
clothing: $0 (nothing wore out this month)
entertainment: $9 (netflix, library)
gifts: $0 (nobody had a birthday, etc.)
cleaning lady: N/A
internet: $40 (ARGH!)
term life insurance premium: FI
ATM: N/A
Playstation Vue: Huh?
wife gym: I wish ...
me gym: No
Spotify: N/A
Total: $1,073
Something to think about?
Oh man, Hristo, you just got Fiskered.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:09 pm

jacob wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Something to think about?
Well, hello Jacob. I didn't realize we were making my journal a d#@k-measuring contest.

So, you're saying I beat you in Internet and it cost me less per person to cool (my thermostat was set at 82; we wore shorts, and we are from the South and know how to handle summers), heat, and (maybe?; can't tell from your numbers) medically insure my family? And that your clothing costs and my personal clothing costs were exactly the same? (I also had nothing wear out this month, except my 15-year old Alden work shoes are due for but have not yet been taken in for their biannual re-soling; maybe when I'm retired I'll learn how to do that myself). Also, does your library charge you a monthly fee, or are you just implying that I'm not aware that there's such a thing as a library? Personally, I normally can't justify the recurring monthly expenses of streaming services like Netflix; though, admittedly, my expensive unlimited cell phone plan does include HBO streaming. We got Spotify for one month (July) because we were going to the beach with the extended family (my in laws pay for the beachhouse so that they can get all the grandkids together once a year) and all the cousins are obsessed with The Greatest Showman soundtrack, and Spotify was cheaper than buying the CD--and I consider pulling songs for free from YouTube to be stealing; and we did Playstation Vue (to answer your "Huh?," it's an OTA TV service you can cancel at any time) because my wife is a big soccer fan, and she wanted to watch the World Cup in July. As for the car category, and gas, apart from the cost it took to get my family to and from the aforementioned beach, my "gas" is included in my food budget; and my wife's "gas" is included in electric, because we bought her a used $8,000 Nissan Leaf last year for cash that she uses to commute. For gifts, what can I say, I've been blessed with a lot of Godchildren and nieces and nephews, and my kids keep getting invited to birthday parties and I haven't been able to bring myself to say: Sorry junior, but you can't go to that party because our family, on principle, doesn't believe in participating in this capitalistic, consumerist society where kids expect to receive birthday gifts when their parents host a party for their kids' friends.

Sure, something to think about. But to be honest--and I recognize I'm being defensive here--I have no interest and don't find much value in doing a category-by-category comparison of my expenses to yours. Seems a bit juvenile and unproductive; especially in a vacuum absent context. Our lives and circumstances are different. To give just one example apart from the obvious kids' one: I can't do my job as an attorney in today's world without having some kind of cell phone, because I don't spend my entire day sitting at my desk by my work phone, and my clients also expect to be able to reach me after work hours, and in this day and age I think that expectation is reasonable. Also, the kind of work I do--which I enjoy doing, worked hard to earn the right to do, which I think is beneficial to society, and which I likely will continue to do in some capacity as long as I am competent to do it, regardless of FI--I can't do anywhere except in a handful of expensive, large metropolitan areas. And I have no interest in moving out to the suburbs or exurbs where I can find a house I can pay cash for, because doing so would mean I'd have to drive to work at least a few days a week, which would of course mean I'd spend 1-3 hours a day sitting in traffic in my car and not seeing my wife/kids. So, instead, I chose to move to the cheapest living option I could find that was biking/walking distance from work and my kids' school, and that could accommodate my family of 4.

What I am interested in is: (1) being a good husband and father and raising kids who understand that life isn't about them, that they are obligated by God to serve God, and by extension, God's creation; and (2) being a good and ethical member of my profession who puts my clients' interests above my own, who competently advocates on their behalves, and who employs and develops, by means of labor,* the many gifts I have received from God to add value to society. I'm also interested in achieving FI because (a) I believe doing so will make achieving (1) and (2) above easier (and indeed, as I've moved closer to FI over the past two years, it has been easier to do (1) and (2)); and (b) I am interested in reducing my impact/footprint on the environment and just consuming less in general. But it's a long road, and it's a big transition to make with a family of 4 when the momentum is going the other way. But we are taking baby steps, and I'm fine with baby steps.

(*) Which is what we were created to do, which is why in so many journals on this forum ERs complain of boredom after spending a month or a year or more traveling around, or gardening, or reading, or whatever. It is in man's nature to seek responsibility and to labor. That doesn't mean there isn't something fundamentally screwed up about what responsibility/labor generally looks like in our society; but you really have to not be paying attention to think that man can be happy without bearing some kind of burden. Again, many of us have a screwed up idea of what that burden must look like; and many if not most of us take on burdens that in hindsight we don't really want, because we were ill-informed at the time we took on the burdens and we lived in a society that somehow makes those burdens seem obligatory and logical.

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