Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:28 pm

(@) Hristo

We are very similar in both theology and spending habits. JLF is like the law. His impossible standards serve merely to point us to our failures and our need for grace. And the fact that I still remain here able to say this, is a testimony to his graciousness.

That being said, your commitment to not spelling "dick" at the onslaught of an epic rant is downright fucking monastic.

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:55 pm

One way of lowering your cellphone bill if the 250MB with their free plan is too little:
https://shop.freedompop.com/product/lte ... ent=annual

You have to pay a full year up front($50), but it's unlimited calling, texting and 1GB a month. Comes down to $4.17 a month per phone line.

If that's not enough(for example can't get your wife to agree to 1 GB per month):
https://www.freedompop.com/offer/affsim ... =annual5gb

Unlimited talk, text and 5 GB per month for 149.99 per year. Comes down to 12.50 a month.

FreedomPop uses AT&T's cellular network so coverage should be the same as AT&T's.

If you went with the 1GB annual plan and your wife took the 5GB plan that would bring your monthly cellular expenses to just $16.67 a month. That would be an annual savings of around $1240 compared to your current amount.

I've been trying to use the free FreedomPop plan myself and offloading as much as possible to wifi through messaging apps and VOIP. This might be harder to achieve if used for work purposes though.

P.S.

I wouldn't take jacob too harshly. He is just trying to motivate you by showing what is possible.
Last edited by prognastat on Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:17 pm

Ha! I didn't mean to enter into a dick-measuring contest. It was more to highlight the possible/optional difference in kind vs the comparative difference in degree. It's like going backpacking with a 10lbs backpack vs going hardcore with a 100lbs backpack. People do both, but they are not the same kind of backpacking and so it's like apples and oranges although I don't think that metaphor does it justice. One requires either learning camping/bush craft skills or learning how to suffer and do without. The other requires building 10x more strength/stamina and then doing all the work to carry all the gear in and out.

fell-like-rain
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by fell-like-rain » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:31 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:13 pm
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.
Yeah, at this point the operating plan is essentially "who knows what'll happen next, but whatever it is, it'll probably be easier with a largish pile of cash."

In fact, I just thought of what could be a mutually beneficial arrangement- all you have to do is direct some cash flow my way at about the level of your current grocery bill, and in return I'll say masses in perpetuity for the repose of your soul in heaven. It'd be a double win for you- not only do you get a good word in with the big man, but you also get the assurance that at least one millennial is engaged in a godly occupation, instead of off doing dissolute young-person things like drugs or joining the Peace Corps :D

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:32 am

jacob wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:17 pm

Thanks. I'm clearly a little thin-skinned and defensive about this stuff; and I appreciate your measured response to my rant.

I just don't see superlight or ultralight backpacking in my future, so long as I've got kids in elementary school. Certainly I expect that will change once the kids move out/on. But for the next 13 years or so, perhaps I can just focus on not being a car camper (to belabor your metaphor). If I can focus on cutting everything but tuition (housing is already as bare bones as it's going to get for now), then perhaps I can get to the level of lightweight backpacker, with the understanding that I've got 3 other humans in my house to spread the weight around.

My goal, consistent savings rate of 70% or more. I just don't think I've got much more than that in the cards.

Hristo Botev
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Dante

Post by Hristo Botev » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:35 am

Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:37 am

fell-like-rain wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:31 pm
In fact, I just thought of what could be a mutually beneficial arrangement- all you have to do is direct some cash flow my way at about the level of your current grocery bill, and in return I'll say masses in perpetuity for the repose of your soul in heaven.
No thanks.

suomalainen
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by suomalainen » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:09 pm
who employs and develops, by means of labor,* the many gifts I have received from God to add value to society...

(*) Which is what we were created to do, ... It is in man's nature to seek responsibility and to labor.
But is this our exclusive purpose and nature? Is it really true for all people? At all stages of life? It reminds me of a zippy comic (to which I can't seem to find a link) that was entitled something like "How we mature":

First panel, kid: As we enter life, the basic message we want to convey to the world is: Hello!
Second panel, man: As we enter adulthood, that message changes to: I'm great!
Third panel, old man: And as we enter our golden years, with the wisdom that comes with age, we let out a hearty "$%&# you!" at every opportunity.

In my mind, I find your statement to be "middle age" centric, which is fine because you're middle aged, but perhaps isn't (yet) applicable to your kids and perhaps won't be applicable to you at some future point in time (even if the difference becomes one of degree rather than kind). I myself wonder whether that "nature to seek responsibility and to labor" is really a nature thing (as in "psychological nature") or a cultural thing or an ego thing or something else. Labor to me is really just a necessity of existing in a physical world - the universe owes you nothing and if you don't lift the spoon to put soup in your mouth (or pay or enslave someone to do it, which also requires work), you will die. As to responsibility outside of yourself and your family? That seems totally optional. Some want it, some don't. Some want it sometimes, but not other times.
Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:09 pm
...but you really have to not be paying attention to think that man can be happy without bearing some kind of burden.
Burdens seem to find us; we don't really have to go looking for them. Thus happiness is more linked to how we approach our burdens rather than whether we have them.

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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:44 am

suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am
But is this our exclusive purpose and nature? Is it really true for all people? At all stages of life?
Probably not. Though I view these things exclusively through a religious/Christian/Catholic lens, which I of course recognize is not how everyone comes at these things (though as a Catholic I nevertheless believe is universal in truth). So for me, our exclusive purpose at all stages of life is to know, love, and serve God; i.e., to live holy lives, which means to become like God as much as is humanly possible, and God is love. Material possessions, marriage, work, sexual intimacy, money, positions of authority, etc. are some of the opportunities life presents to live holy lives--i.e., to show love. And you live a holy life by living a virtuous life. And the role of work (or labor), is only secondarily about providing for our temporal means. It's primary role is to provide us an opportunity to grow in virtue (temperance, prudence, fortitude/courage, justice (to each his fair share, and for me no more than my fair share), faith, hope, and of course love/charity).
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am
Second panel, man: As we enter adulthood, that message changes to: I'm great!
That's just pride.
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am
Third panel, old man: And as we enter our golden years, with the wisdom that comes with age, we let out a hearty "$%&# you!" at every opportunity.
God, I hope that's not what we're working towards.
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am
In my mind, I find your statement to be "middle age" centric, which is fine because you're middle aged, but perhaps isn't (yet) applicable to your kids and perhaps won't be applicable to you at some future point in time (even if the difference becomes one of degree rather than kind).
Certainly my perspective is of a man in middle age (see Dante quote in earlier post). But at all stages of life our essential purpose remains the same: to know and love and serve God. And when you see that as your central purpose then it necessarily follows that life isn't about you; which is no less a radical idea in today's world than Jacob's spot-on ideas regarding consumerism and ERE (and, from a religious perspective, the two ideas--ERE and life's not about you--are very much complimentary, as I noted earlier in my post about St. Ignatius). So I guess, if you wanted to break it out into your 3 panels, and to your point about differing degrees, I'd said that Panel 1 is a little more focused on coming to "know" God (but serving and loving are still important); whereas the second panel is more about serving and I guess panel 3 is a little more about loving God. But the purpose remains the same.
suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am
I myself wonder whether that "nature to seek responsibility and to labor" is really a nature thing (as in "psychological nature") or a cultural thing or an ego thing or something else. Labor to me is really just a necessity of existing in a physical world - the universe owes you nothing and if you don't lift the spoon to put soup in your mouth (or pay or enslave someone to do it, which also requires work), you will die. As to responsibility outside of yourself and your family? That seems totally optional. Some want it, some don't. Some want it sometimes, but not other times.

Burdens seem to find us; we don't really have to go looking for them. Thus happiness is more linked to how we approach our burdens rather than whether we have them.

I get what you're saying, but I don't agree. First, as I said above, labor is only secondarily about existing in the physical world; it's primary role is to provide opportunities to live a virtuous life (just like being a father and husband are primarily focused on providing you opportunities to live a virtuous life--my struggles with patience (i.e., the theological virtue of love/charity) immediately comes to mind). If your goal is to live a virtuous life (and I recognize that's not necessarily how many people view their life goal), I just don't see how you can do that without voluntarily undertaking some responsibility in life. How do you exercise justice (to each his due) without taking on the responsibility of being in a position to exercise justice over another? How do you exercise courage without voluntarily confronting obstacles. Same is true for prudence and temperance. These aren't Puritanical or even Christian constructs; the cardinal virtues go back to Aristotle. Same goes for the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Love isn't a feeling, it means to will the good of the other (i.e., the real meaning of the Golden Rule). And I don't think you can really will the good of the other by sitting on a beach drinking margaritas for the rest of your life or whatever a "free," hedonistic life looks like for you. That's all good and great for a short time, as a vacation from your labor and responsibility, but the vacation cannot become the means and ends of life itself. That's just selfishness (and sloth). And it will ultimately lead to listlessness, boredom, and depression--EVERY TIME.

suomalainen
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by suomalainen » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:24 pm

Yep, I also get what you're saying and will agree to disagree. As a formerly religious person, I have heard variations on your explanation dozens of times, and totally get it. There are slight differences in approach or even doctrine, I suppose, but all in all very similar. For example, your explanation appears to rely a bit more heavily on "works" than on "faith", as you might hear from evangelicals (or at least I did when growing up in the south). "All you have to do is profess your belief in Christ before you die and you are saved!" is something I was told once by a preacher, but to each his own.

Much of this, as you note, I think comes down to premises and lenses. So, starting with different premises (and lenses and biases, etc*), I react to sentiments like "labor is great or meaningful or purposeful" much differently than others. For example, one reading of your explanation could be of perfectionism - nothing is ever good enough because more can always be done. If that is an attitude that you impress upon your children, it could potentially be quite damaging, as I've seen in my own relationship with my father and in friends' relationships with their mothers or fathers because kids are quite attuned to acceptance/rejection by their parents. Another example could be that such a focus on "living a virtuous life" can also be quite selfish as you could start to view each "opportunity" through the lens of "how does this make me more virtuous?"

This isn't to argue that I'm right and you're wrong, but that each of us can "do well" by our premises/lenses or we can do them poorly. I'm not nearly as certain of my path being Ultimate Truth as you are, but I do think that once a path has been chosen, that one can walk the path well or poorly. Best of luck on your path -- certainly the children will provide ample opportunities for growing in patience! :lol:

* Full disclosure: most of my negative reactions related to religions is due to my anti-authoritarian bent. Powerful people (people who have power over you) give me the willies, as in my experience they tend to be assholes, with few exceptions unfortunately. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and all that.

Scott 2
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:31 pm

Kids gotta learn how to maintain their values in the face of temptation. When does that happen? That isolation is expensive.

I've justified a "pricey" house, about ($260k) currently, with the idea that it is not forever. Figure out your exit strategy and account for it in your planning.

Your other expenses look pretty good to me, especially considering you are in a high earning career. I'm in a similar boat. It's easier to make more money than drop 20% off the food bill or move to save 10k a year.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:06 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:24 pm
Yep, I also get what you're saying and will agree to disagree. As a formerly religious person, I have heard variations on your explanation dozens of times, and totally get it. There are slight differences in approach or even doctrine, I suppose, but all in all very similar. For example, your explanation appears to rely a bit more heavily on "works" than on "faith", as you might hear from evangelicals (or at least I did when growing up in the south). "All you have to do is profess your belief in Christ before you die and you are saved!" is something I was told once by a preacher, but to each his own.
For the record, whether someone is "saved," and the whole works vs. faith discussion are Protestant ideas that don't really make sense from a Catholic understanding of theology. Catholics believe that we are saved by God's grace only; and there is nothing we can "do" to receive the free gift of salvation. However, Catholics also believe that we have to respond to God's grace, and that it is inconceivable that, upon knowing and understanding God's grace, a person would not want to respond to God's grace, through both faith and works. Again, it's just anther way of saying that our purpose in life is to know, love, and serve God. Once we come to know God, we cannot help but to want to serve God and his creation.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:08 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:31 pm
Kids gotta learn how to maintain their values in the face of temptation. When does that happen? That isolation is expensive.
I guess I don't understand where the kids are expected to learn these values; that's kind of the point. It's not about isolation.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:55 pm

I like your journal, and I’m enjoying the discussion of Catholic beliefs. I’m Catholic, but not a very good one, and your view reminds me what makes sense to me about Catholicism.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:34 pm

EdithKeeler: Very glad to hear it. I hadn't intended this journal to have anything to do with Catholicism, but you kind of can't help that consideration of ERE is going to force you to think about what's important and what the purpose of life is. If ERE is about taking the red pill and escaping the blissful ignorance of the Matrix (education, work, consume, retire at 65 if you're lucky and move to a retirement community); then it seems to follow that you have to think about if not the Matrix, then what? ERE is the means, but to what end? Speaking of which, appropriately enough, from today's Old Testament's reading--Exodus 16:

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!"


I love this. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and hundreds of years of slavery, and do the Israelites thank him? Of course not, they complain about how much better life was when they were enslaved. I guess the ERE analogy is that ERE can lead you out of the slavery of consumerism and working 45+ years in a job that you hate; but once you're free and find yourself in the desert--how do you replace the hole that's left where consumerism and work had been?

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:37 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:06 pm
For the record, whether someone is "saved," and the whole works vs. faith discussion are Protestant ideas that don't really make sense from a Catholic understanding of theology. Catholics believe that we are saved by God's grace only; and there is nothing we can "do" to receive the free gift of salvation. However, Catholics also believe that we have to respond to God's grace, and that it is inconceivable that, upon knowing and understanding God's grace, a person would not want to respond to God's grace, through both faith and works. Again, it's just anther way of saying that our purpose in life is to know, love, and serve God. Once we come to know God, we cannot help but to want to serve God and his creation.
That is the classical definition of Protestantism.

There is no faith vs. good works dichotomy in Protestantism. Its a matter of order - one is saved to do good works, not one does good works to become saved. And Protestantism believes faith without good works is not true faith. Luther misinterpreted the Book of James which deals with works. They found a copy of his Bible with scribblings "No, no, Jimmy." However, this was parsed out by the second generation of Reformers, namely Calvin as it memorialized its disagreements with The Holy Roman Church. It's not an issue within Protestantism in its classical definition. But it is an issue within the broader based evangelical church which Protestantism gets (often unfairly) lumped in with.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:09 pm

Interesting; I wasn't of that, but that makes total sense. The only distinction I guess I'd make b/w your classical definition of Protestantism and my understanding of the Catholic view is your "one is saved to do good works." As I understand it the Catholic take is that we weren't saved to do good works; rather, God saved us to liberate us from sin and restore communion with him. I grew up Protestant, but Episcopalian (so not evangelical and not classically Protestant); so my understanding of the distinctions between Protestantism and Catholics are not particularly well informed, as the Episcopalian/Anglican theology on this I don't think is that much different from the Catholic view.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:25 pm

EdithKeeler: Very glad to hear it. I hadn't intended this journal to have anything to do with Catholicism, but you kind of can't help that consideration of ERE is going to force you to think about what's important and what the purpose of life is. If ERE is about taking the red pill and escaping the blissful ignorance of the Matrix (education, work, consume, retire at 65 if you're lucky and move to a retirement community); then it seems to follow that you have to think about if not the Matrix, then what? ERE is the means, but to what end?
Lately I've been thinking a lot about stewardship of the earth, stewardship of our belongings, etc., and how that dovetails with work. I think a lot about how time is spent at work (sitting behind a desk for 8-9 hours a day, plus commuting, plus getting ready for work), and how time spent at work earns money to buy things... and how time spent at work is time that can't be spent elsewhere. Sometimes I look around my house and see all this STUFF (and compared to a lot of others, I don't have that much stuff....) and I think about how little other people may have... and then i see all the waste--when I waste food, throw out things I don't use, pick up litter on my dog walks, how when I buy coffee at McDonalds it generates waste.... and the time spent at work makes us buy more convenience stuff (for myself, and as a society), and also makes us be often disconnected from our neighbors. To me, it's all connected, and it's not the way I want to live my life anymore. And it's all interconnected with my faith in ways that's hard to verbalize.

It's funny because I'm watching an episode of "Hoarders" as I write this, an episode where a woman is on the verge of losing custody of her child because of the squalor and the huge hoard of junk in the house and her few friends haven't been inside her home for years. An extreme example of that disconnection from others because of materialism and greed and lives out of balance, but it resonates with me. I admit that i have a lot of doubts from time to time about other aspects of my faith, but I'm convinced that the christian teachings on stewardship of the earth and our belongings and the importance of community and connection are right and good.

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:56 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:09 pm
Interesting; I wasn't of that, but that makes total sense. The only distinction I guess I'd make b/w your classical definition of Protestantism and my understanding of the Catholic view is your "one is saved to do good works." As I understand it the Catholic take is that we weren't saved to do good works; rather, God saved us to liberate us from sin and restore communion with him. I grew up Protestant, but Episcopalian (so not evangelical and not classically Protestant); so my understanding of the distinctions between Protestantism and Catholics are not particularly well informed, as the Episcopalian/Anglican theology on this I don't think is that much different from the Catholic view.
Protestants have a robust view of Union with Christ. I would say it is the fundamental heuristic when discussing salvation. The concept of works is important when stressing the monergistic working of God in the salvific process.

I would say if there is a difference between RC and Protestantism is that Protestantism believes that salvation is a fundamental change in status i.e I was previously dead and now am made alive. My understanding is that RC has more of an existential view i.e. "I was once sick and I now I am healthy." In a nutshell, the Reformation was the bi-furcating of justification and sanctification. But these views cross-pollinate between the faiths. Someone once told me that a Protestant has an obligation to know why they are not RC. It takes some surgical theological parsing as we agree on more things than we disagree with. The Reformation was essentially a soteriological debate that does have implications towards our views on Christology. However, many important doctrines such as the trinity, creation, providence, were never debated.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:52 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:25 pm
To me, it's all connected, and it's not the way I want to live my life anymore. And it's all interconnected with my faith in ways that's hard to verbalize.
Love this; totally agree.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si; it's a Catholic theological take on exactly what you're talking about.

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