Hristo's FI Journal

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

Post by classical_Liberal »

@HB
Part of this may just be your personal preference to the way things used to be. There's nothing wrong with that, and you should structure your life in the way that's most pleasing.

From a standpoint of Consumerism--->FIRE--->ERE, I've found the critical component between the last two is kind-of hidden the wheaton table. Level 6- understanding yields especially in contexts other than dollars. This means there is limited mental comparison to dollars & cents, and any particular action is viewed in terms of other benefits. This is relevant because even if you have to spend more dollars or energy doing something the "old way", but it provides other value, it may be worth it to you anyway.

Reading the journals there seem to be quite a few people (me included) who are on the precipice of, or new to this idea. It's not about the dollar cost per hour of TV, or whether you can make more in an hour of work than you can save by spending an hour making your own ice cream. It's about the other repercussions that stem from doing it one way or the other.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:07 pm
Part of this may just be your personal preference to the way things used to be. There's nothing wrong with that, and you should structure your life in the way that's most pleasing.
Everything you say is spot on; BUT, part of what I'm saying is that in a whole lot of ways things are the way they used to be--and my personal preference about that is irrelevant. Call it the myth of progress, or whatever. We're still just asking a lot of the same questions Aristotle asked, and not really coming up with anything better in terms of answers. And our artwork focuses on the same themes. They are of course important questions and themes, and it's certainly not a waste of time to ponder those questions and themes. But there's no reason really to chase after the newest, shiniest take on those questions/themes.

Hristo Botev
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The ERE Prophet, Carlin

Post by Hristo Botev »


mooretrees
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by mooretrees »

Duuude. That's so sad/good. Glad I watched it. I think watching his stand up could be considered educational.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

“It’s called the American dream. Because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Just want to get some thoughts from this past weekend down before motivating myself to get the work week started.

The family went to a "cabin" in the mountains this weekend with another family. As is usually the case on these trips, I stress myself out at work at the end of the week trying to get as much pushed into the following week as I can so I can meet DW's schedule of getting on the road Friday morning or early afternoon; and then I spend that entire drive to wherever constantly checking my phone because lawyers have a tendency to drop bombs on one another late on Fridays--it's just something we all do.

After getting to the "cabin" and spending about 30 minutes in the truck by myself managing all the lawyer bombs that'd come in while I was driving, I looked around at my surroundings and was severely disappointed. We'd rented for the weekend a suburban-looking home in one of those TVA dam lake mountain developments where each house is on about an 1/8 of an acre of land at a severe angle (to maximize the mountain views from the back of the house), with neighbors on all sides within earshot, so that you can hear everything they say on their porch, and vice versa. And because the plot of land the "cabin" is built on is at such an extreme angle, there's really no place safe to go outside--so you've got 2 families stuck inside a 4-br house, with 2 8-year-old boys bouncing off of the freaking walls (literally; I had to do some minor porch screen repairs necessitated by the boys' bounce house antics).

To make matters worse, the "cabin" had not one, but two large TVs. And the couple that we went on the trip with are both big college football fans, supporting several different teams that were not playing at the same time. What this means is that my attempt to get everyone out of the house Saturday morning for a hike were cut short because there were games that just HAD to be watched starting at 12pm (game 1), 3:30pm (game 2), and 8pm (game 3) (I went to bed at about 9:15 at the end of the first quarter of game 3, only to be woken up periodically for the next 2 hours when someone felt the need to scream at the TV).

My idea of getting away to the mountains for the weekend involves a tent, or a yurt, or a cabin--provided the cabin looks like a cabin and DOESN'T have a TV, and preferably doesn't even have electricity, or even indoor plumbing (I mean, it's only for 2-3 days!). And activities are reading, hiking, board/card games, cooking/grilling, and sitting around a campfire. This weekend was not that. This weekend was voluntarily locking myself inside a modest-sized home with a whole other family, with no place to send the kids to let out energy, to watch 12 hours of college football, while on the other TV our 10-year-old DD watched 12 hours of the Disney Channel BS we very intentionally do NOT have at home.

And the cherry on top is that we got to pay for the privilege of this "cabin getaway."

What a waste.

ETA: I take it perhaps as a positive that I spent the weekend daydreaming of all the DIY projects the trip was keeping me from working on; wishing that I was spending the weekend at home brewing the next batch of beer, and/or painting the kitchen, and/or finishing the wood rot fix at my front door, etc. etc. I SEE the wastefulness and futility of these sorts of weekend getaway (but not really getaway) trips in a way that I didn't a few years ago.

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Lemur
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Lemur »

Sounds like a nightmare lol.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Lemur wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:59 am
Sounds like a nightmare lol.
Just doing my part to remind folks on this forum of why ERE makes so much more sense than whatever the hell it is I'm doing.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Beware. The further this gets into your head, the less people you are going to connect with and the less you're going to want to participate in "normal" activities.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

mooretrees wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:58 pm
Duuude. That's so sad/good. Glad I watched it. I think watching his stand up could be considered educational.
Carlin has been a big help for me in my years-long journey to try and "reset" my brain so that I can see the stupidity of consumer culture, and all its related wastefulness. My dad got me hooked on standup comedy back in the Comic Relief days, and no one is better than Carlin at being an outside commentator (like Tocqueville) who recognizes and calls out all the absurdity of modern American life. And he makes it SO HARD to NOT see yourself in the people and conduct he is ridiculing--it always starts out as: "yeah, that's so true, THOSE people are so ridiculous." But you can't help but end up at: "oh shit, he's talking about me; and he's RIGHT."

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:46 pm
Beware. The further this gets into your head, the less people you are going to connect with and the less you're going to want to participate in "normal" activities.
I'm definitely starting to see that. Honestly, we've noticed that the friends with whom we spend time with seem to correlate with where we're at on the Wheaton levels. To the extent I can, I've been trying to surround myself (IRL) with folks who are at least one WL above me, so that I can emulate them and aim up, rather than down. This means I've to some extent grown apart from friends with whom I used to spend a lot of time as recently as a few years ago, because they are more like WL1-3, and honestly, we just have very little shared interests anymore.* And I've been spending more time with folks who DON'T have the salaryman mindset, as I work to rid myself of it as well. This largely tracks what both DW and I have been doing in other areas as well. As we try to be better Catholics and parents, we've realized (finally) that we should surround ourselves with people who we view as good Catholics and parents; and spend less time with those who aren't. When you have kids it can be interesting how easily it is to make friends again; it's like back in high school or college (or the military or, for me, the Peace Corps)--shared new experiences with people helps to create bonds of friendships. And when our kids were younger, we were just happy to have friends in similar circumstances as us with whom we could commiserate. But now that the kids are older, we've realized that we can actually be more selective as to how and with whom we spend our valuable time. We can say no, to both people and experiences. And we should have some sort of overarching worldview in mind that guides the what and whom to which we say yes and say no.

Another realization, when we say "no" now to the former WL1-3 group of friends (i.e., when we say no to a guys' trip to Columbia; a girls' night out at a concert; a Disney cruise to Alaska; a couples' trip to Iceland; a family outing to a pro sports game; etc.), it's not necessarily the money that's driving the "no"--as in, it's not necessarily us thinking how much better it would be to take the $30K it would cost for a family cruise to Alaska and use it to build up some more financial security. It's got more to do with the fact that the experience of these "normal"** activities just doesn't appeal to us like it used to. Consumption at that level (and passive spectating, BEING entertained and fed by others, and otherwise fattened up for the slaughter) has just really for the most part become unappetizing and uninteresting.

*An interesting corollary, I've also rekindled some very old friendships, from high school and so on, with those buddies who always, instinctively, looked at life differently than the rest of us, in a sort of ERE way. ERE has kind of helped me to understand and appreciate these guys better, in ways I didn't before.

**Ha! Normal indeed; only in the paradoxical world that I live in could such activities reasonably be seen as "normal."

RockyMtnLiving
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

At the risk of sounding fatalistic, your weekend reminds me of Orson Welles' observation (and here I'm paraphrasing) that one is born alone, lives alone and dies alone.

I think most human relationships -- even those involving persons who are closest to us -- are superficial.

Don't quote me, and I don't have the book in front of me, but I recall that Harari (I think) made the observation that a single human being could only effectively communicate with approximately thirty (30) other individuals; to communicate with great numbers, additional societal hierarchies were needed.

I think everybody is basically alone on this Rock.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

RockyMtnLiving wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:46 pm
your weekend reminds me of Orson Welles' observation (and here I'm paraphrasing) that one is born alone, lives alone and dies alone.
Why? Can you make the connection for me?

RockyMtnLiving
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

You were commenting above in a thoughtful way about your friends. I was just endeavoring to somewhat philosophically respond to that. As I've aged, I've somewhat personally and anecdotally concluded that the notion of "friend" -- maybe even personal relationships more broadly -- is elusive, slippery even. We think we know another human being, for example, but we don't really.

I was really close to my parents -- both now deceased. But did I really "know" them? Not really.

This also bears on my thinking about cosmology, by the way. Had I been smarter, I would have endeavored to have been a cosmologist or astrophysicist. (Armed with a technical background, I'm a former BigLaw partner, so find your blog to be insightful.) I've always been fascinated by "time," for example. I have a basic understanding of concepts such as spacetime, for example; and while I'm not a quantum physicist, I comprehend that "time" as a variable doesn't play a role in many fundamental equations. I'm also curious about the human comprehension of time, and whether time has an "arrow." The human concept of "local" is fascinating.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The intersection between human perception and physics is fascinating to me. And just as I figure that most human relationships are shallow, I wonder what that means when a human being is making a physical observation of a distant nebulae.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by ZAFCorrection »

Interesting trip. My thought process on trips with people is don't get involved in open-ended situations. Either the peeps' goals for the trip need to be well understood, or the format of the trip should be such that it is difficult to get sidetracked by boring shit (e.g., your example of not having electricity). Otherwise, you are herding cats, and even if you hit your goals, you still wore yourself out keeping things on track.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Oh man RML, tell me more; I’m intrigued. Ramble all you want, for sure.

RooBadley
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RooBadley »

Are you ready for some FOOTBAAALLLL
Damn, I thought I had it bad doing Thanksgiving with my wife's side...

Your next getaway sounds great. (The yurt, not the cruise.)

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Admittedly it's more of a Bogleheads number to fixate on than an ERE one, but with yesterday's gains in the market, we just passed into the $700s for the first time for total net worth, at $703,643.39. This is a relief as we first passed into the $600s back in June of last year, and it seemed like we just couldn't get out of the $600s (and even dipped way, way back into the $500s back in March). These days we're focusing more on paying things off, as opposed to accumulating net worth--i.e., paying off our kids' entire K-12 tuition, and then paying off the mortgage--as doing so will knock out what are by far are two biggest monthly expenses and set us up better for FIRE. BUT, I still want to hit that $1mil number, because it's a psychological thing. And we're getting there; and with any luck we'll be there in less than 2 years.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

It's official, this is DW's last week as a manager. She's taking a $6K/year paycut, but man-oh-man, is it ever worth it. She can leave all the whining and unappreciated handholding and corporate HR nonsense to someone else and focus on what she actually enjoys doing: serving patients. It's going to be wonderful for her: she's going to clock in, see her patients and likely help pick up the slack of others on her team (because she's an absolute CHAMP!), and then she'll clock out and go home, leaving work at work--punctuated only by the occasional team meeting or internship training obligation. She's been in the management role for over 7 years, and frankly, that's plenty. Not surprisingly, now that she's announced she's voluntarily stepping down, she's been overwhelmed with all of her direct reports lamenting that's she not going to be their boss anymore, and telling her how great she's been to work for and for their careers and for their professional development, and what a wonderful role model she's been as someone who handles so well being a top-notch clinician and manager in addition to a mother and wife. The squeaky wheels were indeed just limited to 1 or 2 disgruntled and miserable employees, but when you've got DW's personality type, with her inability to NOT take personal things personally, it only takes 1 or 2 to make your life miserable. Of course, it's that character trait and empathy that also makes her such a great clinician, and is what her direct reports loved so much about her as a manager.

Upper management also has signed off on her new schedule, so that she'll be able to go into the work early and be home when the kids get out of school--meaning we are DONE paying for aftercare, et al. This new schedule (and getting management duties off her plate) also means that DW will be able to dedicate significantly more time to doing things that she's passionate about, from getting more involved with the kids' school and soccer academy (she's now on the board!), with church, and with spending more time and energy on her various hobbies like knitting, and slow-cooking, and running.

This is what FI is all about, in my estimation--being able to make decisions as to how you spend your time and energy with money being only one consideration of many others, and a relatively insignificant consideration at that.

Notably, and not surprisingly, DW learned today that when they post her management position they're going to have to do it at a Director level, because they know they won't be able to recruit anyone to take the job at a manager-level salary. So just more of a middle-finger from upper management--they've known for sometime that DW was being underpaid, but it takes actually having the leverage to walk away for them to do anything about it. That said, it's telling how awful it is to work in middle management for a large healthcare conglomerate that DW won't even take her old job back for Director-level salary; thanks but no thanks.

RockyMtnLiving
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:15 pm
Notably, and not surprisingly, DW learned today that when they post her management position they're going to have to do it at a Director level, because they know they won't be able to recruit anyone to take the job at a manager-level salary. So just more of a middle-finger from upper management--they've known for sometime that DW was being underpaid, but it takes actually having the leverage to walk away for them to do anything about it. That said, it's telling how awful it is to work in middle management for a large healthcare conglomerate that DW won't even take her old job back for Director-level salary; thanks but no thanks.
Experiences like this explain why philosophers exist: life is largely hard, unpleasant, unforgiving and thankless. (And none of what follows touches upon the many true horrors and hardships of life -- death, disease, war, what have you.) Nobody seemingly owes anybody anything. It is also why, in the twilight of my career and after many other data inputs and experiences, I've come to question Capitalism -- and that's a hard admission for me, as I’ve spent my life (until recent years) as a Libertarian-leaning conservative. No employer owes an employee anything; no equity partner owes an associate anything. Nobody seemingly owes anybody anything. I learned those lessons the hard way and repeatedly over the years in scratching out a meager existence on this insignificant Rock.

Anyway, DW and I were both employed until she was age 41, which is when our children (give or take a few years) were entering middle school. So we, as a married couple, made the following deal at that time (about 20 years ago now):

1. DH (me) keeps working -- I was always the higher earning breadwinner between the two of us (and again, that may have been -- and likely was on reflection -- because of sexism by our respective employers);

2. DW (her) leaves the workforce to take care of the children. We didn't want to have latch-key kids during the period of time when serious troubles could arise (drug use, whatever). That sounds sexist as I write it here now, but it was a joint decision at the time, and remains one 20 + years on now. DW and I remain on the same page to the current day, and that says something about enduring relationships if nothing else, I suppose;

3. Neither DW nor I -- twenty + years later on now -- regrets the deal we made in #2 above. Our children are launched, mature and successful. You can't put a price on that, I guess, but I actually don't know; and

4. All this said, DW in fact sacrificed her career as a necessary result of ## 2 & 3 above, and that is in fact an unfair outcome.

So my view is life is hard, brutally short, unfair, complicated, whatever.

The best thing I ever did was marry DW, that much I know. And she and I remain on the same page more than three decades on (two of which were consumed with child rearing). We both have made sacrifices, but she more than I. It isn't fair, but from our anecdotal perch, it has turned out ok so far, I guess.

And all of this makes me question Capitalism and religion. It also makes me put great value on enduring relationships with one's life partner. Aside from an enduring relationship that hopefully results in the continuation of the species and/or the betterment of the next generation in some stable way (I'm a big fan of adoption), or otherwise just trying to mitigate in some small way the abundance of human misery which surrounds us, much of human existence seems largely meaningless, from my perspective.
Last edited by RockyMtnLiving on Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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